Free weights require more muscle activation because your body has to stabilize itself. Therefore you are involving stabilization and smaller muscle groups to perform the exercise at hand.
False confidence: have you ever been totally impressed by how much you are lifting on one of those fancy machines? Well, that’s because you, as a whole person, are not lifting that weight. You are being aided by the machine, which might sound good in theory, but is a. unrealistic that you will be lifting thngs in isolation with mechanical support and b. you are not engaging those important supporting muscles. if it feels like a breeze, you’re not doing it right. There’s a reason lifting looks and is hard. Your results are proportional to your effort and dedication, so use your body, not a complicated looking padded lifter-majig.
BUT: you do put yourself at risk for injury if you do not use proper form. By involving so many muscle groups to stabilize, you put even more muscles at risk for injury and without the support of a machine, it is easy to fall out of form. So, be present, be educated, rock and roll!
Machines can be incorporated into a routine effectively, but should not be the bulk of your sessions!
machines limit range of motion, preventing overextension and injury because of such.
machines are safer (mostly) because (mostly) a giant weight isn’t going to fall on you.
They are set up to encourage proper form
You can target muscles you are worried you aren’t getting to in your current routine
Cable machines can give you resistance in pulling and a good range of motion- in my opinion, cables are the machines you should gravitate to
My own workouts and machines and free weights:
my workouts are majority free weight based: bicep curls, chest presses, incline flys, etc.
I do work in cables mostly for triceps. I love some tricep pulldowns! But, on days I am doing more tricep focus, I will use free weights to do overhead triceps presses and bent over tricep presses, etc.
remember progress is increasing weight and reps
Happy lifting!! I’d love to expand further or answer any questions from the comments!
HI INTERNET, I MISSED YOU!
I have been M.I.A.- not like the British rapper- for WAY too long. Mostly because I was healing that nasty injury. Lesson learned, running is not like that saying about riding a bike. At all.
And then I healed my injury, and then I got the flu. I swear I broke a mirror while walking under ten ladders that black cats were walking up.
I am back in good health though and ready to kick some
It is T-minus 3 weeks until I am on the beach with two of my very thin, fit friends. This means it is time to kick it into HIGH GEAR! I will be posting later about free weight exercises, because I don’t think I have done enough posting about specific exercises at all. But, to get back in the game, I’m throwing some fitspo your way. Happy Friday, happy sweating, let’s enter the weekend with adrenaline and lactic acid in our systems like we were born to get swoll. Or booze. Or both. Whatever you’re into.
I am going to try to do a fitspo Friday post from now on (do I just love series of posts or what?).
I am dealing with tendonitis in my foot right now, so I will be doing some low-impact/upper -body exercises this weekend. I am planning on swimming, TRX-ing, and lifting…and icing my foot, a lot. I hate injuries, who doesn’t? I go nuts without exercise, but I am just looking at it as an added challenge in structuring effective workouts.
Here’s my fitspo for the weekend! I tried to chose one (from the billions I have collected) that was relevant to my inured training schedule.
My body and mind are on different pages this weekend, but it is my job to put it together and make it work.
Happy sweating ya’ll!
Abs part 2: My favorite ab exercises
My stomach has always been where I store the most fat. So, I have a particular obsession with trying to tone that are. Here are my favorite ab exercises to end my workouts with:
TRX Pike- I hate love these. When I first started, I could barely get through 5. My record in 30 seconds is 20, but I generally try to do 3 sets of 10-15. Make sure you aren’t dropping your butt too low in your plank.
(tip: to get your feet in the trx, lay on your back with your feet toward the trx, cross the straps- right to left, left to right- and put your feet in toes first, then flip over to your stomach. The straps should uncross- if you did right over left, you should be turning to you right side- and your feet should be in them. This might take some practice)
Bosu Ball crunch: I mention this in my last post, but it really is one of my favorite. Use a Bosu ball to do a regular old crunch and get a wider range of motion and more rectus abdominal activation.
Ball pull in:
This one is killer and is made even more challenging because of the instability. Try adding a pushup whe you are in the extended position if you feel like having a real good time.
I tend to forget about this one, but it is a good one. Pay attention to your feet, you should end up on your toes after the “fall”. Make sure you are using your abs and not arms. Watch that you are keeping a super straight body position (tendency is to poke you butt backwards when returning to the starting position).
When should you do your abs workout?
Women and men alike obsess over their stomach region. Flat, abs, lean, whatever you’re going for, you’re probably thinking about ab exercises to achieve what you want. So when should you do abs?
Abs should always, always be done after your workout. I think many people intuit this because it is the way most exercises classes are set up. However, why? There is always, or should always, be a reason for the order in which you perform exercises. The answer to this is rather simple. Your abs, or rather, your core, is, well, your core. It is supporting and stabilizing throughout your workout. By doing abs before your workout, you are tiring out the system that is supporting you and therefore putting yourself at a much higher risk for injury. Abs should therefore be done at the end of your workout and you do not need to spend too much time doing ab exercises since you have been using them throughout your entire workout. Abs can be done every day if you please, but 15 minutes is a good place to call in quits.
So what are so ab exercises? We all know basic crunches, but one of my favorite modifications to crunches is to use a BOSU ball. Lie on the BOSU (the ball side) in regular old crunch position (legs on flo0r) and crunch away. This is a great modification because it gives the body a larger range of motions (going backwards over the ball) while supporting the lower back and providing a different kind of instability that the body isn’t used to.
(photo: www.rippednfit.com )
I haven’t been running as much since the temperature has been out of my comfort zone here in Boston, but I ran yesterday. I did a
slow nice 10 mile run yesterday and thought I would share my favorite cold weather running pants.
I am the BIGGEST fan of Lululemon’s running pants. I bought my first pair over a year ago because they were on sale, not knowing it was the start of an
expensive amazing love affair. Why I love them- the have a pocket in the back with zipper for my inhaler (any asthmatic runner know how important this is!), ID, key, and subway pass or gym card. They also have a tie on the inside in the front. This tie saves me! Since I am still losing weight, I was constantly having to buy running pants because they would start falling down. Not a problem with these. They also make a slightly insulate version. Which I am featuring for this post. They are pricey, but so worth it. I ask for workout gear for every holiday and I got a new pair of these for my birthday in October! The crop version is my favorite for summer runs (wait, is there a gift-giving holiday between now and summer?!)
Lululemon running gear: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/category/run-clothes?mnid=mn;women;activities;run
*Weight loss tip: I stopped rewarding myself with food and started buying workout clothes when I hit my goals. Lululemon is my favorite brand (controversy aside) and for a year I bought a new piece every 10 lbs I lost. This helped keep me motivated in the gym because I always had an obtainable goal AND new workout gear I was excited to sport. It also helped because when I was dropping sizes so quickly, I needed clothes that fit. Especially in the gym. It is so important to feel comfortable in the gym. I spent way too much time tugging and pulling at ill-fitting clothes. WASTE OF VALUABLE WORKOUT TIME!
The holidays were full of travel ad family and friends and transitions in my schedule for the new year.
However, I am back at it!
I will still be lifting, boxing, yoga-ing, running, and I’m adding….drum roll please…..swimming!
I am just going to slowly add it in 2-3 times a week after my workout. I was a swimmer for many years, but haven’t swam laps in years, so I’m taking baby steps to get back into it. I was also a swim instructor for many years and will be working on (and blogging about) my technique.
In other news: I am reevaluating when I do my cardio. I have, in the past, done it BEFORE my workout. I guess I thought this was how it is done, but now I am rethinking that. I read a compelling argument for doing cardio AFTER lifitng. The main reason was that glycogen stores are majorly depleted and protein breakdown occurs during cardio and if you are doing lifting after, you are fighting against low energy (low glycogen) and protein breakdown (the very thing you are trying to avoid!). The best formula seems to be breaking up cardio and lifting days. Weirdly, I am not sure I have the self-control to do NO cardio during my lifting days. I will do, shorter, lighter cardio AFTER lifting. I may also try to rearrange my schedule a bit to do morning cardio and afternoon lifitng (or the other way around, I will need to get up
early as fuck really early to do this in order to eat with enough time before working out-because you DO NOT WORKOUT ON A COMPLETELY EMPTY STOMACH!).
Do you do cardio before or after or on different days? Do you get up early to workout?
Don’t wish for it, work for it.