Thursday, January 31, 2013

Article # 245. Plyometrics vs. Cardio



Plyometrics vs. Cardio: Exercise Regimes Compared
Difference between Plyometric and Cardio
With the relatively new found popularity of plyometrics, many people have wondered whether this type of exercise provides the same benefits as cardio. As it turns out, while they may involve the use of many of the same parts of the body, they actually have a number of differences, as you will see in this comparison article.
Definition
Plyometrics or "plyos" is a set of exercises designed to increase speed and power, and enhance the function of the nervous system. This type of exercise is typically performed by athletes as a way to improve sports performance. Plyometrics involve lengthening and then contracting a particular muscle rapidly. This results in increased jumping, running, throwing and hitting ability, depending on the muscle that is exercised.

Cardio or aerobic exercise is a set of exercises intended to strengthen and improve the oxygen system. Many types of exercises actually fall into the cardio category, and should be performed at moderate intensity levels for lengthier periods.
Purpose/Benefits
The main purpose of plyometrics is to increase the speed or force by which muscles contract. This provides the strength and power needed to perform physical activities specific to certain sports. Among the athletes that would benefit from plyometrics training are soccer, rugby, and basketball players, track and field runners, players of racket sports, and parkour and martial arts practitioners.
Among the main benefits of cardio is the strengthening of muscles required for respiration. This helps improve airflow in and out of the lungs. Cardio also helps strengthen and enlarge the heart muscle, improving its ability to pump blood efficiently and reducing the person's resting heart rate. Cardio also has the additional benefit of strengthening various muscles throughout the body. Cardio also has numerous benefits with regard to reducing blood pressure, increasing the red blood cells, facilitating oxygen transport, improving mental health, reducing stress, and preventing depression and diabetes.
Procedure
Plyometric exercises typically involve an initial rapid lengthening of the muscle that is to be worked. This is followed by a very brief resting stage, after which a quick muscle shortening movement follows. This combined action causes the muscles to perform together in a specific motion.
The large number of cardio exercises makes it difficult to pinpoint a specific set of movements or procedures. However, most cardio exercises are performed at moderate intensity levels over long periods. This is best illustrated with running, in which a moderately paced long distance run conforms to the criteria of cardio exercise, while a sprint does not. Singles tennis may also qualify as a cardio exercise, since the players are almost constantly in motion. In contrast, doubles tennis–in which players do not move as much–does not fall under the category of cardio exercise.


Similarities and Differences
Plyometrics
  • A set of exercises designed to increase speed and power
  • Is typically performed by athletes as a way to improve sports performance
Cardiovascular
  • A set of exercises intended to strengthen and improve the oxygen system
  • Performed at moderate intensity levels for lengthier periods

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Article # 244. Exercises to Grow Taller


Exercises to Grow Taller
There are some exercises that can really help you to grow taller. In this article, you will get some detailed information on various exercises to grow taller.
A good height enhances the personality and confidence of any person to a large extent. For this reason, there are many people who dream of having a good height. Sometimes, even those people who are quite tall also like to increase their height even more. There are some surgical procedures that can increase the height, but they can be risky as well as painful. Exercises are the natural ways to grow taller faster. These exercises, when performed correctly and on a regular basis will be effective in giving the best results. That is why more and more people are opting for exercises that can help them grow taller, faster.

Which Exercises Help you Grow Taller?

Stretching exercises are the best to grow taller. There are some simple stretches of the body that bring about improvement in the strength of the core muscles and body posture. They also facilitate increase in the quantity of growth hormones released into the blood which is responsible for making us taller. The movement of the body at the time of exercise make the body flexible, and as a result the bones and cartilage are more receptive towards growth. Other than these stretching exercises, there are some yoga exercises that help you grow taller.

Just exercise is not enough to increase the height. These exercises should be accompanied by an appropriate diet which will be helpful to grow taller faster. Intake of vitamins and minerals should be increased for faster growth. Additionally, adequate amount of sleep is also very important to make you grow taller. Lack of sleep often leads to lack of spinal recovery that can cause harm to your posture. Most importantly, you should believe in yourself that you can grow taller with the help of these exercises. Your body always needs the support of your mind, that believes that the exercises that you are doing will yield the desired results.

Types of Stretching Exercises

There are various forms of stretching exercises that can improve the height of a person. Here are some of the easy-to-do stretching exercises to grow taller. You should include them in your exercise program and you will find its huge impact in increasing your height.

Body Stretching Exercises: This is the most simple stretching exercise that can be done. To perform this exercise, you need a pull up bar as an exercise equipment. You have to hang on the bar for about 5 - 10 minutes everyday. While hanging, you have to change the grip continuously from underhand to overhand. Also, the spacing between the grip should also be altered after every few minutes. These changes are made so that different sections of the muscles are stretched out well. It will bring about a lot of improvement in your physical structure. If you have a bad posture, then it can be rectified with the help of this exercise. It helps to regain the body its natural shape. This exercise will help you to gain around one to one and half inches quite easily.

Legs and Spines Stretching Exercises: The best stretching exercise that can make your legs and spines flexible is the traditional form of 'touching the toes'. Sit on the floor and spread your legs at the front. Now lean your body forward to touch the toes. While you bend to touch the toes, you should not bend your legs at the knees. In the initial stage, you may find it difficult to touch the toes. As you start doing it regularly and push yourself, you will find that you are being able to do it. Once you are able to touch the toes comfortably, you should wait in the same posture till you feel the stretch in your hamstring muscles and in the spines.

Shoulder Stretching Exercises: Lie flat on your stomach and keep your face on the surface of the floor. Then slowly lift the arms and the shoulder from the ground. Hold the position till you finish counting up to 10. Then gradually get back to your original position. While doing this exercise, make sure that you do not hold your breathing. Repeat this exercise for 5 - 6 times. If you do this exercise twice a day for 3 - 4 weeks, you can see some increase in your height.

Apart from these exercises to grow taller, there are some anaerobic exercises like swimming and cycling that provide good stretches to our body. Sports activities that involves a lot of body stretching are also useful to grow taller.

Article # 243. Stretching vs. Warm-up


Stretching vs. Warm-up
Many people may ask, “what is the difference between stretching and warming-up?”, or “aren’t they the same thing?”. Well, there is a difference, and no they are not the same. The definition of warm-up is commonly confused in relation to stretching whereas stretching is considered by many to be a warm-up in itself. If you were to take a look around your local gym, you would probably witness many people coming in and doing a short stretch or two before beginning their routine. In this day and age as new technology emerges, new discoveries about our health and fitness techniques does also. We are a generation that likes to follow the crowd and stick to our old ways, when we should be implementing change. Change is good! Many professional athletes and personal trainers have made the switch and they are getting better results because of it. The change is simple: Warm-up first, then stretch. You will be glad you did.

Warm-up first
In order for you to see the difference you must first understand what the difference is. Warming up simply prepares your body mentally and physically for the workout ahead. For example, take the word warm-up, it is just that. It warms up your body by increasing blood flow and generating heat throughout your muscles. Warm muscles means less risk of injury. If your muscles were cold they would be more susceptible to pulls and tears. A step by step look at what warming up does for your body would reveal that by warming up and increasing blood flow, your muscles become loose and relaxed. With the blood coursing through your veins at a faster rate, your muscles are receiving more oxygen. This enables your muscles to actually withstand better during physical activity. Although warming up by itself has no effect on your muscles range of motion, a warm-up followed by stretching increases your muscles range of motion. A muscles range of motion is the full range of movement a muscle can go without tearing or pulling.

Then Stretch
There is no doubt that stretching is a very important part of any physical activity. If your muscles are tight and stiff, they can easily be injured. Stretching is a perfect remedy for this. According to experts, stretching is best after physical activity to relieve muscle aches and pains. It can also be used before exercising to reach full range of motion by pushing your muscles to the max. But to use it before, you would want to warm up first to get your muscles heated so they can stretch farther. By stretching farther you are increasing your muscles range of motion, which means you can get the most out of your work out. While stretching before you work out is ideal, you definitely want to stretch afterward to relieve tension that is built during physical activity. This tension could lead to painful cramps. So all in all stretching can be a very valuable asset when getting ready to perform your fitness routine, and after to relax those tight muscles. Remember, stretching itself does not prevent injury, but a warm-up prepares your muscles for stretching, which aids in avoiding any injury.
Now that you know the difference between stretching and warming up, it should change the way you look at physical activity, pre-exercise and post-exercise. This is the first of many changes to come in our health and fitness education, but hopefully the word will spread and we can see less injuries in our future!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Article # 242. Muscle Anatomy




There are over 600 skeletal muscles in the human body attaching to a bone and connecting a joint to enable us to move our limbs.

Every muscle in the human body is responsible for extending or flexing of joints. There are 15 major muscle groups and each one performs a unique function. The Triceps Brachii lie opposite to the triceps. The function of these muscles is to extend the elbow. The Biceps Brachii are located in the upper arm. These muscles assist with elbow function. The Rhomboid Major is an upper back muscle that helps elevate the scapula. The Trapezius is also a back muscle that helps with elevation of the scapula. The Latissimus Dorsi is located in the lower back and is used in extension and internal rotation of the body. The Deltoid is the shoulder muscle. Its function is to flex, rotate or extend the shoulder. The Pectoralis Major lies in the front of the shoulders. Its function is similar to that of the Deltoid . The Erector Spinae is located in the back and is necessary for trunk extension.

The External and Internal Obliques are on the front sides of the torso and make torso rotation possible. The Rectus Abdominus' function is to flex the spine and stabilize the torso. The Gastrocnemius is the calf muscle and ankle flexion is its function. The Adductor Magnus and Adductor Brevis and Longus are muscles in the inner thigh. Flexion and internal rotation are the main functions of this muscle group. The Rectus Femoris allows hip flexion and knee extension. The Gluteus Maximus functions in hip extension and external rotation. The last of the muscles are the Gluteus Medius and Tensor Fasciae Latae and they are the outer thigh muscles. Their function is hip abduction. Flexion and extension are the primary functions of the 15 major muscles and muscle groups. Regular exercise is essential to keep the muscles, muscle groups and joints of the body working together.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Article # 241. Alternating Floor Press




Work out Name: Alternating Floor Press

Also known as: Kettlebell Floor Press, Alternating Kettlebell Floor Press

Type: Strength

Muscle Targeted: Abdominals

Other Muscle: Abdominals, Shoulders, Triceps

Equipment: Kettlebells

Mechanic Type: Compound

Level: Beginner

Sport: No

Force: Push

Alternating Floor Press Guide:

1.Lie on the floor with two kettlebells next to your shoulders.

2.Position one in place on your chest and then the other, gripping the kettlebells on the handle with the palms 
facing forward.

3.Extend both arms, so that the kettlebells are being held above your chest. Lower one kettlebell, bringing it to your chest and turn the wrist in the direction of the locked out kettlebell.

4.Raise the kettlebell and repeat on the opposite side.

Article # 240. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - What Increases Your Risk



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - What Increases Your Risk

The main risk factor for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a family history of PCOS. Experts think that a combination of genes plays a part in PCOS. If you have the syndrome, your sisters and daughters have a 50% chance of developing PCOS.

A family history of diabetes may increase your risk for PCOS because of the strong relationship between diabetes and PCOS. Research on this risk factor is ongoing.
The use of the seizure medicine valproate(such as Depakote) has been linked to an increased risk of PCOS.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - When To Call a Doctor

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a long-term (chronic) condition. Symptoms tend to start gradually. It is common for PCOS symptoms to be mistaken for some other medical problem.
PCOS causes a wide range of symptoms, so it may be hard to know when to see your doctor. But early diagnosis and treatment of PCOS will help prevent serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. See your doctor if you have symptoms that suggest PCOS.

If you are a teenage girl, see your doctor if you have:

Not started menstruating by age 14 and have hair growing on your chest, back, belly, or face (hirsutism).
Not started menstruating by age 15 or within 2 years of breast and genital hair development.
Fewer than eight menstrual cycles a year, and this has lasted for 2 years after you started menstruation.
Severe acne.
Hair loss from your scalp.
Excessive hair growth or hair growing in places such as the chest, back, belly, or face.
Menstrual cycles that are consistently less than 21 days apart or more than 45 days apart.
Any symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night), unexplained increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss,fatigue, blurred vision, or tingling or numbness in your hands or feet.
Skin problems such as acne, oily skin, dandruff, skin tags (acrochordons) in the armpits or neck area, or dark skin patches (acanthosis nigricans) in skin folds or on the neck, groin, or underarms.
Depression or mood swings. Many women may have emotional problems related to the physical symptoms of PCOS, such as excess hair, obesity, or infertility.
Excess weight gain or upper body obesity (more abdominal fat than hip fat). This is linked to high androgen levels.
Decided to quit smoking, if you have been smoking. 

If you are between 20 and 40 year’s old, see your doctor if you have:

Menstrual cycles that are consistently less than 21 days apart or more than 35 days apart.
Regular menstrual cycles but you have been trying unsuccessfully to becomepregnant for more than 12 months.
Vaginal bleeding that lasts more than 8 days; large clots; or excessive spotting.
Pelvic pain that lasts for more than 4 weeks.
Excessive hair growth or hair growing on the chest, back, belly, or face (hirsutism).
Any symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night), unexplained increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, or tingling or numbness in your hands or feet.
Skin problems such as acne, oily skin, dandruff, skin tags (acrochordons) in the armpits or neck area, or dark skin patches (acanthosis nigricans) in skin folds or on the neck, groin, or underarms.
Depression or mood swings. Many women may have emotional problems related to the many physical symptoms of PCOS, such as excess hair, obesity, or infertility.
Excess weight gain or upper body obesity (more abdominal fat than hip fat). This is also known as android obesity and is related to increased male hormone (testosterone) levels.
Decided to quit smoking, if you have been smoking. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

If you are older than 40, call your doctor if you have:

Vaginal bleeding that lasts more than 8 days; large clots; or excessive spotting.
Pelvic pain that lasts for more than 4 weeks.
Any symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night), unexplained increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, or tingling or numbness in your hands or feet.
Any symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or high blood pressure (hypertension).
Depression or mood swings. Many women may have emotional problems related to the physical symptoms of PCOS, such as excess hair, obesity, or infertility.
Decided to quit smoking, if you have been smoking. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Article 239. AB Crunch Machine








Work Out Name: Ab Crunch Machine

Type: Strength

Muscle Targeted: Abdominals

Other Muscle: NA

Equipment: Machine

Mechanic Type: Isolation

Level: Intermediate

Sport: No

Force: Pull

Ab Crunch Machine work out Guide:

1. Select a light resistance and sit down on the ab machine placing your feet under the pads provided and grabbing the top handles. Your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle as you rest the triceps on the pads provided. This will be your starting position.

2. At the same time, begin to lift the legs up as you crunch your upper torso. Breathe out as you perform this movement. Tip: Be sure to use a slow and controlled motion. Concentrate on using your abs to move the weight while relaxing your legs and feet.

3. After a second pause, slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in.

4. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Caution:

For this exercise, always select a weight that you can easily handle as using too much weight can easily lead to injury.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Article # 238. Alternating Deltoid Raise






Work out Name: Alternating Deltoid Raise
Also Known as: Front and Side Raises, Shoulder Raise
Type: Strength
Other Muscle: NA
Equipment: Dumbbell
Mechanic Type: Isolation
Level: Beginner
Sport: No
Force: Push

Alternating Deltoid Raise Guide:

1. In a standing position, hold a pair of dumbbells at your side.
2. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise the weights directly in front of you to shoulder height, avoiding any swinging or cheating.
3. Return the weights to your side.
4. On the next repetition, raise the weights laterally, raising them out to your side to about shoulder height.
5. Return the weights to the starting position and continue alternating to the front and side.

Article # 237. Combination Lifting Exercises



Combination Lifting Exercises
Time is a major concern if you have a busy schedule and are looking to fit workouts into your day. When 60-plus minutes of training is not an option, you can incorporate combination exercises into your routine. These exercises combine two or more movements in one motion. This will allow you to make fast progress in less time.
Theory behind Combination Exercises
A compound exercise involves more than one joint movement at a time. When you activate more than one joint with an exercise, you in turn work more than one muscle. This leads to a maximal amount of muscle fiber recruitment. Combination exercises involve compound exercises, isolation exercises or both. Isolation exercises work only one muscle and involve one joint at a time. A dumbbell triceps kickback is an isolation exercise. Being that you only extend your elbow, the triceps are the main muscles targeted. A one-arm, bent-over row with triceps extension is a combination exercise that has an isolation and compound movement together. Lateral to front dumbbell raises are two isolation exercises combined.
Equipment
Combination exercises require the use of weight training equipment. Being that machines focus on one movement pattern, they are unsuitable for combination exercises. A leg press machine, for example, works the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. This makes it a compound exercise, but you are fixed in one place as you push the platform away from your body, making it impossible to add another movement. Free weights, such as dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls and resistance bands, make better options for combination exercises. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, free weights also cause more muscle activation than machines because they have freedom of motion.


Proper Technique
Proper technique is important when you combine two or more exercises together. For example, the front squat with press exercise works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, deltoids and trapezius simultaneously. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders with your hands about shoulder-width apart and palms facing up. Slowly lower yourself into a squat by bending your knees; stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Steadily rise back up and push the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended and hold for a second. Slowly lower the bar and repeat. Keep your back straight and abs tight throughout.
Resistance Used
Under normal circumstances, your goal is to use a heavy resistance with exercises to fully tax your muscles. This is especially the case with a compound exercise such as a lunge. When you do a combination exercise, you need to reduce the weight because of the additional movement. A lunge with biceps curl involves the muscles of the legs and biceps brachii. Being that the biceps are smaller, you cannot lift as much weight, so you need to compensate by using a lighter resistance.

Body Weight
When you want to add variation to your workouts, the weight of the body can be used for combination exercises as well. A burpee for example, is a combination exercise used in boot camp and circuit workouts. You perform it by lowering yourself into a squat, kicking your legs backward, performing a pushup, then kicking your legs back forward again. Once you kick your legs forward, you have the option of just standing back up or jumping into the air. This exercise combines elbow, shoulder, knee, hip and ankle movement, which recruits muscles throughout the entire body. Pullups with knee raises, pushups with rotations and double crunches are other examples of body weight combination exercises.




Article # 236. Compound Exercises VS. Isolation Exercises

Compound Exercises VS. Isolation Exercises
There has been a controversy over what type of exercises lead to better muscular development; isolation or compound exercises? Both Isolation and Compound movements have tremendous amount of benefits that complement one another. In other words, why not have the best of both worlds and combine the power of both the isolation and compound exercises.

ISOLATION EXERCISES: Isolation exercises are movements that only work one joint and muscle group at a time. A good example of isolation exercises would be the Leg Extensions.

One of the ultimate benefits of performing isolation exercises is their power to work a specific muscle group very effectively without exerting too much energy. Certain muscle groups can not be isolated effectively due to the poor bio-mechanics of compound exercises. In most cases, there are several weak areas of your body that could be left out without being noticed during a compound exercise whereas an isolation exercise would allow you to realize your strengths and weaknesses as you are performing that given exercise. This way you can target a weak body part and specifically isolate that body part in order to improve.

Also, Isolation exercises are also commonly used while recovering from an injury. Since you are able to isolate specific areas without putting stress on multiple joints, it is more favorable of an option as opposed to a compound movement.

EXAMPLES OF ISOLATION EXERCISES:


Shoulders: Front Raise, Side Raise, Reverse Fly
Biceps: Concentration curls, preacher curls, Spider curls
Triceps: Cable Press downs, Triceps kickback, Single arm overhead extensions
Legs: Leg extensions, leg curls
Back: Straight arm pull downs, barbell pull overs
Chest:Cable Crossovers, dumbbell fly



COMPOUND EXERCISES:

Compound Exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscle groups all at once. A perfect example of a compound exercise would be the Barbell Squat.
One of the biggest reasons why compound exercises can not be avoided is their ability to release anabolic hormones naturally. Hormones such as testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and growth hormone are released after the nervous system goes under stress through compound exercises. In return, these hormones aid recovery which will lead to muscle growth and help with overall mass gains.
Time is another positive factor when it comes to compound exercises. Since multiple muscles are all working at once, this is a great choice for individuals who are short in time to get a great full body workout.

As far as the weaknesses goes, the compound movements are not mechanically engineered to isolate weak areas specifically form different angles. Also compound movements are not the best option to train with if you are suffering from an injury such as an ankle sprain. For example, you could still train your legs with isolation exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls without having to put any weight on your ankle joint.

EXAMPLES OF COMPOUND EXERCISES:


Shoulders: Military Press, Arnold Press, Hang Clean and Press
Biceps: Close-Grip Chin-Up (with palms facing toward your face), Standing Barbell Curl
Triceps: Close-Grip Pushup, Dips, Close Grip Bench Press
Legs: Stiff Legged Deadlift, Barbell Squat, Lunges
Back: Deadlifts, T -Bar rows
Chest: Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press



THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS:


We talked about a few different pros and cons of both the isolation and the compound movements. But the ultimate and most beneficial workouts are achieved through a combination of both these movements.
A great strategy while combining these 2 movements would be to start with a compound exercise that works several different muscle groups including a lagging area. For example, if a trainee wanted to bring up his/her hamstring muscles, it would be a great option to begin with a compound exercise such as the Stiff legged Deadlift and finish out the workout with an isolation move such as the lying leg curl.
In this article, I will keep it quite simple and give you 2 options to pick from.

OPTION 1: TRADITIONAL METHOD

COMPOUND EXERCISES first:
ISOLATION EXERCISES as finishers:
EXAMPLE QUADRICEPS WORKOUT:
Warm up: Of choice

BARBELL SQUATS: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
DUMBBELL SQUATS: 3 sets of 10 repetitions
LEG EXTENSIONS: 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions

OPTION 2: PRE-EXHAUSTING METHOD

This method consists of a workout program that begins with the isolation exercise to pre-exhaust the targeted muscle group and then go into a compound exercise to finish with.
Warm up: Of choice
3 sets of 15-20 Seated Leg Curls
3 sets of 15-20 Lying Leg Curls
3 sets of 10-12 Stiff Legged Deadlifts

CAUTION: If you pick this method, make sure to go much lighter than normal on the compound exercise due to the pre-fatigued muscles.

Next time you are in the gym, pick one of the above options and work on the weak areas. For those of you suffering from injuries, you can always get around certain injuries by picking the right isolation exercise and continue your training.









Article # 235. Benefits of Isolation Exercises



It is common in fitness centres to have several equipment’s that have specific purposes for weight training.  These machines often target specific sets of muscles in your body to help build size and strength. These types of exercises are called Isolation exercises, where specific muscle groups are used in order to be executed.

Isolation exercises are often used when someone comes back for fitness training after an injury or an illness that makes it difficult to perform compound exercises.  It can also be beneficial as you recover after surgery.  Any part of your body that has been weakened regardless of the circumstances can be brought back to the same level as the rest of your muscles with this type of exercise.



Because activity is isolated in one area of the body only, you will be able to customize your program to concentrate on weak areas, or specific body parts that have been left out.  If you are doing compound exercises, you will not notice that there are muscles that are being left out because of bad bio-mechanics.  You will only notice that one part is weak compared to the others when you do isolation exercises.

This concentration will then give you the ability to build strength in  specific body parts.  You will notice that there are some people who have bigger torsos compared to their legs.  This is because they are just targeting their upper body with both compound exercises and isolation exercises.  Including isolation exercises in your workout will help increase muscle mass faster.
There are several types of isolation exercises that you can do to compliment or enhance your current fitness program.  These include bicep curls, front raises, and leg extensions to name a few.   All of them can be customized according to your level of need.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Article # 234. What Is a Compound Exercise?




What Is a Compound Exercise?

A compound exercise targets more than one joint and muscle group, as opposed to a single-joint exercise, which works only one muscle or muscle group. Compound exercises typically emphasize the major muscle groups, such as the buttocks, hamstrings, lower and upper back, quadriceps and shoulders, and involve lifting relatively heavy weights. Consult a personal trainer to determine which compound exercises are appropriate for you and how to fit them into your exercise regimen.

Benefits

Emphasizing compound, or multijoint, exercises during your workouts will likely prove more effective at helping you reach your goals than single-joint exercises, says Roger Earle and Thomas Baechle, authors of "NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training." This is perhaps due to the fact that many daily activities -- sitting, standing and walking -- involve multiple joints and muscle groups, making compound exercises more practical than single-joint exercises. Additionally, workouts that stress compound exercises are more efficient, allowing you to train all the major muscle groups in less time than those that emphasize single-joint exercises.



Lower Body

The back squat, deadlift, front squat, leg press, lunge and stepup are classic examples of lower-body compound exercises. Each targets the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, which extend your hips, and the quadriceps, which extend your knees. The deadlift and squat exercises also work your lower back, so they could also be classified as full-body exercises, but they primarily emphasize the hips and knees.

Upper Body

The bench press, bent-over row, lat pulldown and military press are examples of upper-body compound exercises. The bench press strengthens the pectoral muscles of your chest, the front of your shoulders and the triceps on the back of your upper arms; the bent-over row targets the back of your shoulders and your upper back; the lat pulldown works the latissimus dorsi muscles, or lats, that span the sides of your back and the elbow flexors; and the military press strengthens your shoulders and triceps.

Full Body

The clean, jerk, push press and snatch are examples of full-body compound exercises. These are explosive exercises performed with light-to-moderate resistance to increase your power. Each exercise targets the buttocks, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back and various muscles within your forearms, shoulders, upper arms and upper back.

Considerations

Perform compound exercises before single-joint exercises during each workout to ensure your muscles are fresh. Always have a spotter nearby to provide encouragement, feedback about your technique and assistance, if necessary. Compound exercises are more difficult than single-joint exercises because they're more complex, requiring coordinated efforts from multiple muscle groups. Consequently, performing them may increase your risk of injury, so start with light resistance until you master the correct techniques, and then increase the amount of resistance conservatively. Consult your doctor if any exercise causes pain.




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Article # 233. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Treatment Overview




What treatments are available for infertility?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Treatment Overview

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a group of health problems caused by out-of-balance hormones. It often involves irregular menstrual periods beginning in puberty or difficulty getting pregnant.
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and weight control are all important parts of treatment for PCOS. Sometimes, also using a medicine to balance hormones is helpful.

There is no cure for PCOS, but controlling it lowers your PCOS risks of infertility, miscarriages, diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer.

Initial treatment

The first step in managing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking. This is a medical treatment for PCOS, not just a lifestyle choice. Additional treatments depend on your symptoms and whether you are planning a pregnancy.

•If you are overweight, a small amount of weight loss is likely to help balance your hormones and start up your menstrual cycle and ovulation. Use regular exercise and a healthy weight-loss diet as your first big treatment step. This is especially important if you're planning a pregnancy.

•If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher levels of androgens than women who don't smoke. Smoking also increases your risk of heart disease.

•If you are planning a pregnancy and weight loss doesn't improve your fertility, your doctor may suggest a medicine that helps lower insulin. With weight loss, this can improve your chances of ovulation and pregnancy. Fertility drug treatment may also help start ovulation.

•If you are not planning a pregnancy, you can also use hormone therapy to help control your ovary hormones. To correct menstrual cycle problems, birth control hormones keep your endometrial lining from building up for too long. This is what prevents uterine cancer. Hormone therapy can also help with male-type hair growth and acne. Birth control pills, patches, or vaginal rings are prescribed for hormone therapy. 

Androgen-lowering spironolactone (Aldactone) is often used with estrogen-progestin birth control pills. This helps with hair loss, acne, and male-pattern hair growth on the face and body (hirsutism).
Taking hormones does not help with heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes risks. This is why exercise and a healthy diet are a key part of your treatment.

How is it treated?

Regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control are key treatments for PCOS. Medicines to balance hormones may also be used. Getting treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help prevent long-term health problems.

The first step in managing PCOS is to get regular exercise and eat heart-healthy foods. This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

•Try to fit in moderate activity and/or vigorous activity on a regular basis. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do.

•Eat a heart-healthy diet. In general, this diet has lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It also limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods. If you have blood sugar problems, try to eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. A registered dietitian can help you make a meal plan.

•Most women who have PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even losing 10 lb (4.5 kg) may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. PCOS can make it hard to lose weight, so work with your doctor to make a plan that can help you succeed.

•If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms.1Smoking also increases the risk for heart disease.
A doctor may also prescribe medicines, such as:

•Birth control pills. They can help your periods be regular and can reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne. An androgen-lowering medicine,spironolactone, may be used with birth control pills to help reduce symptoms even more. These medicines are not used if you are trying to get pregnant.

•A diabetes medicine called metformin. It can help restore regular menstrual cycles and fertility.

•Fertility medicines, if you are trying to get pregnant.
It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make sure treatment is working and to adjust it if needed. You may also need regular tests to check for diabetes,high blood pressure, and other possible problems.
It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms such as facial hair or acne. In the meantime:

•Over-the-counter or prescription acne medicines may help with skin problems.

•Waxing, tweezing, and shaving are easy ways to get rid of unwanted hair. Electrolysis or laser treatments can permanently remove the hair but are more expensive. Your doctor can also prescribe a skin cream that slows hair growth for as long as you use it regularly.

•It can be hard to deal with having PCOS. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to other women who have PCOS. Ask your doctor about local support groups, or look for an online group. It can make a big difference to know that you are not alone.