October 10, 2017
The jump rope is the true pound for pound champion in the world of fitness equipment. The speed jump rope is a modern upgrade to this tried and true piece of equipment.
World class athletes turn to the jump rope for cardiovascular workouts similar to running. If jumping at a high intensity one can burn 700-1000 calories over the course of an hour.
Professional trainers and fitness experts will recommend jumping rope over running because of the many benefits.
Benefits of Jumping Rope
What kind of jump rope should I buy?
There are various types of jump ropes each with pros and cons. Varying from the double-dutch, cloth beaded, weighted, leather to speed ropes. We believe the most versatile rope for athletes is the speed rope due to its ability to achieve a higher rate of rotation compared with its counterparts. More rotations per minute equals to more calories burned and a more intensive workout.
Where should I jump rope?
Now that we’ve determined the speed rope is the way to go for you, next you have to decide where you should use it. The ideal surface to jump rope on is a shock absorbent surface such as the rubber flooring in a gym. If the a gym isn't feasible because of traveling or you want to take your new speed rope outside the next best area would be to find a tennis court, track or a grassy area. We advise not using your speed rope on hard rough surfaces like concrete because of the high impact on your joints and feet plus the rough surface could do some damage to the rope.
How do I determine what length the rope should be?
We made a quick reference video to resize your speed rope according to your height. Depending on your skill set and experience with the jump rope, please follow the general guidelines below.
Beginner: When standing on the rope with one foot; the rope should be level with your shoulders.
Intermediate/Advanced: When standing on the rope with one foot; the rope should be level with your armpits or just below.
How long does it take to learn how to jump rope?
Everyone learns at different speeds so take this as a rough guideline. If you are a beginner we suggest you start with trying to jump rope without mistakes for up to 20-30 seconds. This may take some practice of a few weekly sessions. Once you’re able to jump rope fluently for 30 second clips then you should set the goal to make it to 3 minutes. At first this can be frustrating, but as with any new skill there is a learning curve. Once you feel comfortable jumping rope for a few minutes at a time then you can start trying out the different styles below.
Tip** Hang your speed rope on a hook or peg so the cable stays true and straight. If any kinks develop it will hinder spinning speed.
What are some basic styles of jumping rope?
What is the best jump rope workout?
After you've become comfortable and built up your skill set to use the speed rope fluidly then you're ready to complete a full workout. There are many different types of workouts you could do with the jump rope. We believe the best jump rope work out is to jump rope for timed rounds, similar to the way boxers train with them.
For example, complete 5 rounds of 3 minutes non-stop jumping. Try to alternate between fast paced jumping like double-unders mixed with less intensive jumping in place. Take 1 minute rests between rounds.
You can also incorporate the speed rope into a bodyweight circuit to get a full body workout that will melt that pesky fat into sweat.
The speed rope is a must have in your fitness equipment arsenal. For under $30 you have a light-weight, durable and portable workout that is sure to improve your athletic ability.
We recommend adding jumping rope to your normal workout routine. Use the speed rope in various ways; in your warm-up, HIIT workouts, cardio and footwork drills.You will reap the benefits of jumping rope in no time if you use it consistently.
Grab your ropes, battle on!
September 20, 2017
At some point in life, everybody's neck and shoulders become tight, stiff and sore. From office workers to athletes to couch potatoes, no one is spared. Thankfully, with a few simple techniques using massage balls for myofascial release and resistance bands for stretches, you can release tension in your stiff, sore neck and shoulders.
The most common causes of a stiff neck are bending the neck down to look at a phone or computer for extended periods of time and poor posture. Having your neck bent to look down for long periods of time causes the neck muscles to overstretch and it overuses them. Poor posture has the same effect. Luckily, this is easily fixed with the techniques we will show you below and you can simply adjust your seating and improve your posture to avoid it happening in the future.
Other causes of a stiff neck are minor sprains and strains, which can happen from sports or workouts as well as sitting for prolonged periods of time or sleeping awkward. Stiff neck can also be caused by whiplash or arthritis. If you think your stiff neck is caused by whiplash or arthritis, then you should consult a doctor before doing the exercises below.
Poor posture and bending your neck over to look at a computer or phone for long periods of time each day can cause tight shoulders just like it can cause a stiff neck. Your shoulders may also be tight from overtraining them or an injury. It could even be poor sleeping positions. Reflect on your day, your training and your sleeping habits and you should be able to determine the cause.
Stiff neck and shoulders often go hand in hand because the causes are the same. Moreover, often times, when your shoulders are tight, your neck will become tight. Therefore, we first address tightness in the shoulders and then tightness in the neck.
We must also emphasize the importance of improving your posture!
To release tension in your neck and shoulders, adjust your habits and spend 5-10 minutes a day doing the following movements/trigger point releases.
Give these easy trigger point release massage ball exercises and dynamic resistance band stretches a try to cure your neck and shoulder pain.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
2. Place the massage ball on your rear delt where it connects with your back.
3. Lean towards your shoulder for more pressure.
4. Start rocking your arms in a small semi-circular motion or side to side with your arms in a 90-degree position, targeting any tight pain points.
5. After 20-30 seconds move on to the next sore spot in your rear delt and rotator cuff area.
Repeat on the opposite side.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
2. Place the massage ball under your back in-between your trap and your scapula.
3. Keep your arm that is on the same side as the ball straight and move it up and down (to your side then over your head).
4. Adjust the ball's position slightly to target any pain points in the area.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Spend 30-60 seconds on each side.
**For added pressure and a deeper massage, lift your butt off the ground using the extra bodyweight to really dig in.
1. Lie down on the ground.
2. Place the lacrosse ball in-between your front delt and your outer pec, close to your armpit.
3. Keep your arm straight or in a 90-degree position and pull towards your lower body without causing discomfort in your shoulder joint.
4. For added pressure, push your opposite hand into the ground, so that you are leaning into the ball.
5. Roll the length of your pecs and front delt for 30-60 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.
1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor.
2. Place the peanut massage ball on your upper spine, just above your traps.
3. Roll up and down the length of your upper back and lower neck, massaging the sore spots away. 60 seconds should be enough, but do it as long as you feel is necessary.
**To get a deeper massage place your hands across your chest and repeat the rolling movement.
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Hold the resistance band in front of your thighs.
3. Relax your shoulders and circle your arms over your head behind you.
4. Reverse this circle back to starting position.
Complete 10-15 repetitions.
1. Extend both arms in front of you; holding the resistance band towards the ends (bring your hands closer together for more tension).
2. Start the movement by performing a reverse fly, moving your hands out to the side of your body.
3. Keep your elbows extended until the band touches your chest.
4. In a controlled way, return to starting position.
Complete 10-15 repetitions.
Dynamic stretches are movements that bring your muscles through their full range of motion. They are not like static stretches where you hold a stretch for an extended period of time and bring the muscles past their normal range of motion. So, by doing dynamic stretches with resistance bands, you can improve mobility and release tightness by allowing your shoulders to open up without overstretching them.
You can do these dynamic shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises everyday if you'd like. Do 10 reps of each per day and see how you feel.
If you don't want to do them every day, just do them when you feel tight or a couple times a week. These exercises are not demanding and they are not lengthening your muscles past their normal range of motion, so there is no harm in doing them often.
Myofacial release is great because it releases both tension and it improves mobility without stretching the muscle. Obviously this is important for muscles that have become tight from overusing and overstretching them.
With the improved mobility and release of tension, you can benefit from a relief of pain and you can stand taller with good posture.
These myofascial release exercises combined with simple neck stretches can be performed daily. It will have you feeling better in no time. If you stay consistent with this 5-7 minute routine you will have a long-term fix for stiff neck and shoulder muscles.
Just remember, these exercises don't replace the need to strengthen the shoulders and neck muscles. Combine them with shoulder strengthening routines to get the best of both worlds.
Keep doing this routine a couple times a week to ensure you never have a stiff neck and tight shoulders again!
Also, work on improving your posture, sleeping habits and sitting habits!
**Below are affiliate links where we will receive a small commission if you purchase. There is no additional cost to you, of course**
August 26, 2017
If you follow any professional sports these days you will tend to see a lot more athletes using resistance bands in their workouts. This is because they work wonders. Elastic resistance is one of the key components of functional exercise. Using elastic resistance will enhance athletic power, increase mobility, improve flexibility and help correct posture.
However, athletes should still incorporate weight training into their exercise regimens but elastic resistance can provide an efficient form of loading that is directly transferable to athletic prowess.
You might be asking “what are the benefits of elastic resistance training?”
-Increased range of motion with added strength
-Improved bodyweight to strength ratio
-Force of production enhancement
-Better flexibility and mobility capabilities
-Reduction in chance of injury
-Lower impact on joints and tendons
No gimmicks here! Peak performers in all athletics as well as strength and conditioning communities are using elastic resistance as a compliment to more traditional styled strength training.
Try to pick up a light weight and throw it. What happened? If you applied enough force to overtake its inertia it went flying. On the other hand not even Usain Bolt could move fast enough to overtake the acceleration of an elastic resistance band; the result would be the elastic stretching out further. This means that during exercise using elastic resistance you are never left with zero resistance. Constant tension on the muscles leads to more power and speed.
Have a look at some athletes competing at the highest levels who reap the rewards of elastic training.
Get yourself some bands here.
July 29, 2017
Yes, it’s true the steel mace will transport you back in time leaving you feeling like a marauding warrior. One physical ability that people had before modern days was real rotational strength. This was the direct result of day to day manual labor and brutal hand to hand combat during war times.
Needless to say, we’ve lost some of that rotational strength over time as our lives have become less demanding due to the use of technology. Gone are the long days on the farm; picking, chopping, planting, and digging. For most of us, we relate more to the strain of staring at computer screens all day.
Get up and move! Too often we go to the gym and move in the same direction, repeatedly. Frontal movements, check. Sagittal movements, check. Transverse movement, oops.
Move in every direction to become truly functional. These top 7 steel mace exercises for rotational strength are necessary to get you back to being human again. This workout will have you feeling all those smaller stabilizing muscles going into overdrive.
Complete this workout with five rounds in sets of ten. And yes, ten on each side!
Get in a staggered stance.
Place one hand lower on the handle and the other hand towards the head.
Bring the steel mace back and down then circle up and overhead before slamming the mace down to the ground.
Use your legs while pivoting your back foot, keeping your knees bent; drive the steel mace down.
As you’re slamming, your top hand should move down the handle towards your opposite hand.
Tire slams and why the steel mace is the best tool for the job.
Grip the mace with your right hand just under the head.
Punch outwards towards your right side at shoulder level.
Return back to center position and switch grip to your left hand.
Repeat punching movement across your body.
5. Ninja Strike
Grip the steel mace underhanded with your right hand towards the head. Place the opposite hand with an overhand grip towards the end of the handle.
Squat down while moving the mace to the left side of your body.
Perform a reverse lunge with your left leg while stabbing forward with your left arm. Your right hand will slide down the handle of the mace.
Step forward into a squat position while sliding your right hand back to its original position.
Stand up and pass the mace to the other side using opposite hand placement.
Repeat the lunge and stabbing movement.
Grip the mace with both hands employing an overhand grip.
Position the mace to one side with the handle facing front.
Uppercut the mace upwards while bringing your front hand over your opposite shoulder.
Use an underhand grip with your left hand towards the head keeping it in front of your left shoulder. Use an overhand grip of the handle with your right hand; keeping it at your right hip.
Extend your left hand out from the side of your body while guiding it up with your right hand.
Once fully extended, return to starting position.
Repeat with the other side.
Place your right hand with an underhand grip towards the end of the handle. Use your left hand with an overhand grip towards the head.
Bring the mace to the left side of your body.
Perform a reverse lunge with your right leg.
Repeat with the other side.
Grip the mace overhand with both hands; shoulder width apart. Your left hand should be at the end of the handle and your right hand will be a closer to the head.
Get in a prone position with your back straight, butt up, and knees bent.
Holding the mace parallel to the floor, perform a row and bring the mace up towards your stomach.
Push the mace down with your right hand while bringing your left hand up.
Return to upright row position with the mace toward your stomach.
Rotate at the hips towards your right side, pushing the handle down across your body as the head goes up. The steel mace will be perpendicular to the floor, level with your right elbow at the top of the movement.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Ready to start training with a steel mace? Use our steel mace training e-guide to learn everything you need to know about the mace, including videos of hand placements, starting positions, grip orientation, and tons of exercises so that you can become a pro mace athlete/trainer.
Want to learn more about steel mace training? Read our 5 steel mace workout methods for full body conditioning.
More advanced rotational exercises from the steel mace community on Instagram: Transverse Plane Exercises For Core Stability & Rotational Power Using The Steel Mace.
July 20, 2017
Supersets with resistance bands are sure to give you an intense, kick-ass workout. The famous Arnold Schwarzenegger is often considered the “Godfather of superset training”. He promoted supersets because of the intense workout leading to more calories burned while reducing the chances of injury. So, we took the liberty of recreating Arnold's infamous upper-body antagonist workouts with chest/back and biceps/triceps. We also created a shoulder superset workout to highlight the difference of supersetting the same muscle group. All of the following exercises can be performed using resistance bands.
What are supersets?
Supersets – are completing two exercises back to back without rest in between. They can be performed with two exercises targeting the same muscle or opposing muscle groups. We believe in supersetting opposing muscle groups to reduce any chances of overwork or injury. For example, doing a set of bench presses then wide grip pull-ups or standing bicep curls then over-head tricep extensions.
Who are they good for?
Supersets are great for people looking to increase strength, decrease workout time and burn more fat.
What are the benefits of supersets?
There are many benefits to using resistance band supersets during your workouts. Supersets allow you to burn more calories in less time compared with regular straight sets. Growth hormone levels also increase because the short rest intervals increase lactate production and decrease blood pH, triggering the anterior pituitary to secrete growth hormone. The increase in growth hormone leads to the release of fat cells which travel to the muscles to be used as energy resulting in increased fat loss. Lastly, supersets are also great in improving your cardiovascular health.
Follow the supersets below for a great upper-body workout split into three different training sessions. If you’re newer to fitness then start by performing 3 sets of each exercise and over time work your way up to recommended sets of each exercise.
Follow the workout below and make sure to keep your rests between supersets from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keep in mind your fitness level when choosing the bands you use.
|Wide-grip pull ups||5||10|
|Standing lat rows||5||10|
|Tricep push ups||5||10|
|Close grip pull ups||5||10|
|Overhead tricep extension||5||10|
|Tricep push down||4||10|
|Iso. Tricep Extension||4||10|
April 26, 2017
The steel mace was historically used as a weapon. It had spikes and it bashed heads in. Now we use it to train our bodies in functional manners. With regards to functionality, a warrior workout is essential, even in today's society.
The moves in this workout are warrior inspired, and will definitely kick your butt, as much as you'd like it to be you kicking someone else's.
Do each exercise below continually. Once you have done all 5 exercises, rest for 1-minute then repeat. Complete 4 rounds. It's killer.
Get War Ready Now - SET FOR SET STEEL MACE.
Want more steel mace training and programming? Use our steel mace training e-book to learn everything you need to know about mace training, including videos of hand placements, starting positions, grip orientation, and tons of exercises so that you can become a pro mace athlete/trainer.
Are you ready for battle? Steel Mace Game of Thrones Workout