Does heavybag training make sense for a home workout?

Posted in Fighting by quadriceps on April 8, 2011

Heavybag training is a great conditioning exercise, and it’s an essential part of self-defense training too. But often, people find it hard to work out with the heavybag at home. This is because it takes up a lot of space and it’s really noisy.

To really get a good workout with your punching bag, you need at least five feet around the bag. More room would be even better if you have the space to let the bag swing freely on a chain.

Most people don’t have a big space suitable for the punching bag. Since it takes at least a 10 by 10 area, this is a lot of floorspace that lots of folks are unwilling to give up in their homes.

But a more pressing concern is the noise and vibration caused by the heavy bag as you punch (or kick) it. It can shake the entire house and nobody wants to be in a home while someone is working out with a heavybag attached to the rafters or floor joists. To reduce heavybag noise, you can try mounting the bag from a more sturdy mount, or try using some rubber between the bag and the mounting point. But generally, it’s a losing proposition when it comes to coexisting peacefully in a house that someone is using as a makeshift boxing training gym.

So yes, you can get a good workout if you have the space and don’t have touchy neighbors or housemates. But often, the best option is to join a boxing gym.


Injury Free ‘bell Workouts

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on March 6, 2011

For most folks, it’s a real pleasure to stroll along a golf course. But pleasure quickly turns to panic when you hear thunder in the distance. After all, you have a 576000 to 1 chance of being struck by lightning if you wander around outside in the rain. If you like to wander around in the rain, you radically increase your chance of being hit by lightning; it’s no secret.

However, if you like to work out with kettlebells, I’d assume that your odds of getting an injury — either a serious injury like a slipped disc in your back, or hopefully something less serious like bruises — were a lot greater. In fact, members on one popular kettlebell forum estimated that, in the 1st year of working out with kettlebells, 1 in 6 kettlebell enthusiasts suffers injury that puts them out of commission for a week or more.

But don’t get me wrong. Kettlbells are not particularly conducive to injury in and of themselves. The main idea I want to get across to you is that parts of the design can be better. Let me expand on this by giving a few examples.

Bruising of the forearms bothers just about everyone who starts with kettlebells. Avoiding these forearm bruises is difficult (if not impossible), because of the way the ‘bell swings into the arm during overhead movements. Since the kettlebell is round, it hits your forearm almost like a point. Even if your kettlebell isn’t moving very fast, it still hits hard. It’s like getting hit by a rounded baseball bat, you can’t avoid bruising from even a moderate impact. But picture a kettlebell with flat sides instead of round surfaces. Instead of feeling like you forearm bones got tapped by a baseball bat, you’d feel like the energy of the impact was distributed across a much larger area. You’d be much better off because it would be like taking the impact from a flat board instead of from a round bat or pole. Bruises would be banished from your workouts forever.

I have good news for you. An adjustable kettlebell with a modern design like the Ironmaster kettlebell handle has flat sides instead of spherical. This makes your workouts sustainable and suitable for the long-term because the kettlebell is designed with ergonomics in mind. With a properly-designed kettlebell, you can go through your workout and not get bruised up as if you got smacked with a Louisville slugger baseball bat. .

People suffer with injuries when they really don’t need to. Here’s another way. Lots of kettlebell athletes get blisters and other hand injuries because traditional bells have large, thick handles that are not very comfortable to grip. Let me explain whey older kettlebells have such terrible handles.

When a kettlebell is made from cast iron, the handle needs to be thick enough to resist cracking when it’s dropped from shoulder height. They made their bells with thick handles to prevent them from breaking. That’s right — in order to prevent the kettlebells from possibly cracking when they were dropped from shoulder height, the handles needed to be stubby and thick. But that’s not the way things are in modern times. Things are better now…

Modern kettelbells are built with thinner steel handles. Steel is forged instead of cast in a mold. That means it can be thinner and stronger, and shaped to fit the hand.

Today’s kettlebells are built with proper grip in mind. They don’t destroy the hands and palms like thick-grip bells. You can grip them tight during pulls, or let them find their natural orientation during swings and presses. Basically, you have options that are lacking in old-style stubby kettlebells.

You have to get off the golf course when you hear thunder in the distance, that’s obvious. But now you know that you can reduce your chance of getting injured by a kettlebell if you go for a modern adjustable kettlebell. Today’s designs are better than their predecessors, and that means you’ll work out more often and more safely.

What are the best biceps exercises?

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on January 1, 2011

There are a ton of biceps exercises available for you to choose from. Here are some of the issues involved in picking the best biceps exercises.

Compound versus isolation exercises

Some exercises are compound exercises. That is, they work more than one muscle group and involve several joints. An example of a compound exercise that works the biceps is a pull up. It involves your biceps muscles, but it also works the back and the grip. There are many, many chin-up variations for you to choose from.

Isolation exercises work a single muscle, and only one joint is involved in the movement. Biceps curls are isolation exercises. The biceps muscle is isolated as much as possible, and the elbow joint is the only joint in motion.

Stretched, contracted, or mid-way

Some bodybuilders like to work the biceps 3 different ways.

  • Concentrating on the stretched part of the movement
  • The weight at its heaviest mid-way through the movement
  • Focusing on the contracted part of the movement

Here are some examples:


Preacher curls using an ez-curl bar and a preacher bench. The maximum weight is ‘felt’ when the biceps muscle is at a fully extended — stretched — position.


Regular standing dumbbell or barbell curls put the most weight on the biceps when the muscle is about halfway between fully stretched and fully contracted.


Something like a concentration curl will put the majority of the stress on the biceps when the muscle is fully contracted at the top of the movement.

Don’t overwork your biceps

Until your arms get big — like 16 inches or more — there’s not much reason to concentrate on your biceps to the exclusion of other areas of your body. It’s best to work on your back rather than you biceps (if you are pressed for time). Once you get big, then you can begin to specialize and prioritize the upper arms.

Weight Lifting Belts And Squats

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on November 20, 2010
Tags: ,
high-bar back squat

Do you have lower-back muscles like this? If not, you can benefit from using a weight lifting belt

Squats are a great exercise for building full-body strength. But for untrained individuals, they can be hard on the lower back.

Most adults who are trying to make the transition from a relatively sedentary lifestyle to that of a fitness enthusiast are not flexible enough to squat properly. This is especially true when they try to squat with a loaded barbell across their back.

Until you develop proper mobility in your joints — and flexibility in your hamstrings — your squats will wrench your lower back out of alignment. That’s not good.

Weight training and flexibility training are two sides of the same coin. You can’t improve as a weight lifter unless you simultaneously work on your flexibility.

But if you’re fully flexible, with proper mobility in all your joints during the weight lifting movements like the squat, you can still have lower-back problems. This is because the lower back is the weak link that holds back your ability to squat ever-increasing poundages.

That’s where a weight lifting belt and squats are two sides of another important coin. With a weight lifting belt, you take a lot of stress off your lower back muscles. This means you can lift more weight, since the other parts of your body that are heavily involved in the squat usually get stronger and more capable much more quickly than the muscles of the lower back.

So to get better at squats, keep two things in mind: you need to be sufficiently flexible, and once you are flexible, you can benefit from wearing a weight lifting belt to give your slow-growing lower-back muscles a rest during some of your squat workouts.

Protect your knuckles when you punch

Posted in Fighting by quadriceps on August 12, 2010

Everyone knows you should protect your knuckles and hands during boxing workouts and martial arts training. But fewer people realize that anyone who expects to get into any sort of fistfight needs to be prepared to protect the knuckles (and hands) or they’re faced with the prospect of getting a serious hand injury.

This is especially true for bouncers, security guys, bodyguards, and anyone in a job where they’re exposed to drunk and disorderly people.

Protect the hands during fights

Gloves are not just for keeping your hands warm and clean. If they’re designed right, they can also protect you from injury:

  • Gloves with tough leather or kevlar offer abrasion resistance
  • Gloves with hard knuckles offer impact resistance for fighting or motorcycling
  • Gloves with foam palm pads (or removable gel liners) protect the palms from falls or the jarring vibration of motorcycle handlebars

Most well-made protective gloves are marketed towards law-enfocement officers, the military, and people in the physical security business. These gloves are called tactical gloves and they are not cheap, but they’ll serve you well if you get into a rough situation.

Check out some sap gloves if you’re a bouncer, or spring for some hard-knuckle gloves if you plan to ride an offroad bike.

Exercises to get you ripped: Workout secrets

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on August 7, 2010
Tags: , ,

When you want workouts to get ripped, you don’t need to go to some secret bootcamp somewhere and do bizarre moves that few people know. All you really need to do is burn off that last stubborn layer of body fat while maintaining your muscle mass. And the best way to do this is to do the same things done by athletes who require this sort of super-lean physique. Boxers and wrestlers — for instance — need to be as strong as possible without going over a pre-set weight limit. And this means they know exercises to get you ripped.

Get ripped by keeping the muscles active

It’s not enough to (for instance) hit the treadmill an hour per day. That will probably lean you out, but it will also lead to muscle atrophy in the upper body.

What you need are workouts that stress all your muscles with high reps. Full-body workouts to get you ripped that don’t neglect any body parts.

Here are some examples:

Kettlebell Swings

If you have access to a kettlebell, there’s no better kettlebell exercise than the swing. It’s fairly simple to learn — especially when you plan to use high reps — and it really works.

Use a wide handle kettlebell if at all possible, because you want to use two hands. If that isn’t an option, use a regular kettlebell one-handed, and switch hands often. Or, use a dumbbell and perform one-handed dumbbell swings.

No matter which variation of this exercise you choose, you’ll get good results if you incorporate it into your workouts. It’s a great fat-burning, muscle-sparing exercise.


This funny-sounding exercise is like a squat-thrust with a little something extra.

  1. Squat down
  2. Thrust your legs out straight until you’re in the plank position
  3. Do a pushup
  4. Jump back to the squat position
  5. Do a jump-squat
  6. Repeat immediately

Burpees are not for the faint of heart. They’ll fatigue you very quickly unless you’re in top shape. If you’re not quite there yet, stick to regular squat-thrusts like you learned in gym class.

Barbell complexes

Take a light barbell (or two light dumbbells) and use it to work your entire body in one super-duper workout that’ll get you ripped.

Try cleaning the barbell to your collarbones. Then immediately squat down and up again. Then press it overhead.

This is a simple barbell complex that will get the blood flowing. It works just about the entire body (push, pull, and squat) and puts a lot of stress on the cardiopulminary system, which is just what you want when you want to get shredded.

So there you have it: three simple moves that you can add into your workouts to work your entire body and boost your cardio endurance. Have at it and don’t be afraid to perspire!

Article: Confessions Of A Steroid Addict

Posted in Uncategorized by quadriceps on August 6, 2010

In a “Men’s Health” article — Steroid Addict — Paul Solotaroff tells the tale of how he went from a skinny, 150-pound college kid to a huge, steroid-fueled bodybuilder. And he talks in poignant detail about the toll it took on his life.

It’s an interesting, provocative article.

Knuckle Pushups: Do They Help Your Punching Power?

Posted in Fighting by quadriceps on July 25, 2010
Tags: , ,

It stands to reason that knuckle pushups help to improve your punching technique. After all, they simulate the punching movement. And since you’re supporting yourself on your knuckles, they strengthen your knuckles, hands, and wrists.

But does this logic really hold up to a thorough analysis?

Which knuckles are you using?

During knuckle pushups, you have a choice: either support yourself on the two “big” knuckles, or on the three “smaller” knuckles on the “outside of your hand.

Some fighting systems — particular “traditional” martial arts — have you punch using the two big knuckles near your thumb. If that is how you like to punch, it is also how you should support yourself during your knuckle press-ups.

On the other hand, if you just want to strengthen your wrists, feel free to use the three smaller knuckles. Your wrist aligns more naturally when you support yourself on those knuckles, so things will be easier. Plus, you’ll have less knuckle bruises to deal with.

Improved range of motion

The good thing about knuckle push-ups is that they improve (or increase) your range of motion. This gives you a greater stretch in the pecs and deltoids, and makes the exercise harder than the traditional version.

Knuckle conditioning: is it for real?

But let’s get right down to it. You really want to do knuckle push-ups because of the knuckle and hand conditioning aspects of the exercise, right?

Ask yourself if this is really important? You’ll never make your hands hard enough to withstand a damaging punch to your opponent’s forehead, elbows, or canine teeth, so what’s the point really?

Knuckle conditioning is mostly a myth. You’re better off worrying about full-body conditioning, skill training, and fitness.

Pushups: 5 tips for perfect technique

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on July 24, 2010

There is no such thing as a one size fits all pushup technique that is perfect for everyone. But there are some guidelines that apply equally well to everyone. And here they are, in 5 easy pointers that’ll have you doing pushups like a pro in no time at all:

1 – Comfort

If you drop down and do some push-ups without really thinking about it, you’ll naturally settle into a groove — comfortable exercise form that suits your body type, limb length, preexisting injuries, etc.

Unless you have a really good reason for doing so, avoid unnatural hand placements or body position during pull-ups. Advanced athletes can benefit from unorthodox push-up variations, but when you’re trying to make progress in the basic exercise, stick to what works.

2 – Alignment

Keep your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line. There can be a temptation to stick the rear end in the air, or to let your middle sag into a swayback position.

Avoid both extremes and keep yourself ramrod straight.

If you really have a hard time keeping your body straight during press-ups, work on your lower-back strength by performing some plank holds.

3 – Legs together

Make sure your feet are together when you do the exercise. It can be tempting to keep the feet spread apart, but this is less than ideal because it makes it easier to keep your body from falling to either side.

With your legs together, you’ll be working on torso stabilization as well as triceps, shoulders and chest strength.

4 – Soft elbows

Don’t lock your elbows out hard at the top of the push-up.

There is no good reason to risk hyperextension of the elbow joint. High-rep sets of pushups put you at risk for this sort of injury — especially when you get fatigued — so keep in mind that the elbow joints should remain soft at the top.

5 – Even breathing

If you are not breathing easily and evenly, something is probably wrong with your form. Your breathing shouldn’t call attention to itself while you’re doing pushups.

Most people breathe out when they go up and in when they go down. But feel free to take some extra breaths if necessary.

How to keep your yoga mat clean

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on July 20, 2010
Tags: ,

Yoga mats: keep them clean and they last longer. Plus, it’s nicer to use a clean mat.

When it needs washing

As with most things, clean it with soap and water.

Use warm water, dishwashing liquid, and a soft brush (or a lint-free rag). To avoid making a mess, do this in the bathtub or shower (it’s easier than washing a dog!). Hang it to dry, but keep it out of the sun. Never, ever put it in the clothes dryer.

Need some extra oomph to clean your yoga mat?

You might try this:

Mix some white vinegar and warm water and use it to wipe off your mat.

If you’re the sort who doesn’t care about keeping it all-natural, feel free to substitute a bit of bleach in warm water, instead of vinegar.

Lemony freshness

When your yoga mat starts to take on an unpleasant odor, make sure to clean it. But if you clean it and it still smells, try this:

Mix a bit of lemon juice with water in a spray bottle. Use this lemon water as a handy yoga-mat deodorant. Some people really enjoy this, others can’t be bothered.

Don’t be part of the problem

Always wash your hands and feet with soap and water before using your yoga mat.

There’s no sense in introducing oil and dirt to the mat if you can avoid it with a quick, 30-second wash up.

Stay clean

Don’t use oils or creams before yoga practice. If it’s on you, it’ll eventually end up on your yoga mat. And you don’t want that.

Of course, always make sure you don’t have anything like that on your hands and feet during yoga.

Don’t sweat it

Keep the yoga mat free of perspiration during yoga practice. Wipe it down liberally with a cotton towel during your yoga sessions.

Keep dry

If you’re really perspiring, you can look into using a rosin bag. This increases the friction between your feet (or hands) and the mat. Increased friction means less slipping.

Looking for a new yoga mat? Check out exercise mats for an overview of all the styles of mat available, and why you’ll benefit from getting the sort of mat that suits your own personal style.

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