Isometric Arm Exercises: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 2


The Simple Workout Series – Isometric Arm Exercises

Welcome to Part 2 of the Simple Daily Workout series where we will show you isometric arm exercises that will tone and strengthen your arms. Whether your goal is to get more cut for the beach or just lose that dreaded arm flab, the Activ5 isometric arm workout will help you see results faster than ever.  Get ready to “curl-up” with Activ5!

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Bicep Exercises

Be honest… next to losing a few inches off your waist, having nice muscle definition in your arms makes your feel pretty good about yourself.  That’s probably why arm exercises are often more popular than others because you tend to see results almost immediately and increases in your strength and stamina more quickly. From the bench press to curls to dips to presses, the Activ5 isometric fitness device can replicate almost any kind of arm exercise, only as an isometric arm workout. Let’s start with exercises that target biceps.

Bicep Curls

This is the foundation of bicep exercises, the basic arm curl. Do this exercise while seated.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Lean forward at the waist and place your left elbow on the inside of your left knee
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • Keep your right elbow above your right knee

Switch and repeat with your right arm.

Hammer Curls

A simple twist of the wrist and making a fist targets a different part of your bicep with this curl.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side at 90 degrees
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on top of your left fist with your right palm
  • Squeeze your left bicep as you press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm
  • Keep both elbow bent at 8

Repeat on your right side.

Left Hook

This is a combination exercise that works your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Bicep Exercises

  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Bend and bring your left elbow up, keep your forearm parallel to the ground
  • Position Activ5 between your right palm and your left fist
  • Keep both arms parallel to the floor
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm

Repeat on your right side.

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Triceps Exercises

Often overlooked, triceps exercises can help get rid of your arm flaps, but also aid in other endurance workouts like running and swimming.

Single Arm Chest Press

Shoulder injuries due to improper bench press technique are some of the most common weight lifting injuries. This is our version of the bench press and saves your shoulders from overdoing it.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Extend your left arm to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees
  • Place Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press your left fist into Activ5, while squeezing your chest
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90-degrees, with your arms parallel to the floor

Repeat with your right arm.

French Triceps Press

This classic triceps exercise also gives you a shoulder workout too.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on the bottom of your left fist with your right palm
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles
  • Keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back

Repeat on the right side.

Side Bend Press

While this may not seem like a traditional triceps exercise, is works the same muscle groups as the dip.

Isometric elbow exercises

  • Place Activ5 on your desk in front of your left arm
  • Place your left palm on Activ5
  • Bend sideways slightly to the left
  • Push down on Activ5 with the heel of your palm, using your triceps and oblique muscles

Repeat on your right side.

Standing Chest Fly

The chest fly is a gym favorite and works your core as well as your triceps and biceps.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer positions with your arms stretched out in front of you
  • Straighten your back and pull shoulders back
  • Press Activ5 between the heels of your palms into and squeeze your chest muscles
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground

Zen Chest Press

If you’ve done all of the previous isometric arm exercises, you may need to go to your “zen” place. So here’s the perfect exercise for you!

arm exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out, bent at 90 degrees
  • Lift your hands, so your palms are just above eye level
  • Press Activ5 with both heels of your palms by squeezing your chest muscles

The Ultimate Bicep / Triceps Exercise

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Opposing Bicep & Tricep Press

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Isometric Arm Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Bend your left elbow at 90 degrees
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of both palms
  • Keep both arms bent at a 90-degree angle

Using Activ5 for the Best Arm Workouts

You just completed one of the most effective isometric arm workouts you can find, and it’s something you can do at home or on the road. Forget going to the gym or packing travel weights. Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric shoulder exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. If you don’t have one yet, get one and get started!

Full Body Workouts: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 1


Full Body Simple Daily Workout with Activ5

Isometric exercise is one of the fastest, safest and most effective ways to build strength and endurance, increase your flexibility and improve your balance. However, as with any exercise program, it’s not effective if it’s not done properly. So, we’ve developed the Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series, which utilizes powerful isometric exercises to focus on the parts of your body that you want to improve the most. Ready for a simple daily workout? Let’s get started!

Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 1 – Full Body Toning

Variety is the spice of life, but it’s also the key to an effective exercise program. There’s a reason most fitness experts recommend incorporating a variety of exercise types into your workout regimen. If you do the same thing over and over, you’re only working on specific parts of your body. Ideally, your workout program is a combination of exercise types, such as strength training, cardio, interval training, weights, cross fit, yoga, and more.

With the Activ5 isometric fitness device, you can replicate almost any kind of exercise. Your muscle groups never plateau, and your entire body gets fit fast. Activ5 pairs with a smartphone app that calibrates to your fitness level, coaches you through the exercises, and tracks your progress. It even functions as a game controller so the actual exercises become fun, challenging games you play on the app.

In part 1 of the Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series, we’ll show you the Activ5 version of five core exercises that will give you a muscle-crushing, full body workout in under 30 minutes.

Five Simple Isometric Exercises for a Full Body Workout

There are five basic exercises that have been around since humans have been walking on two legs – the squat, lunge, push-up, pull-up and sit-up. But pull-ups and push-ups can be too difficult for many people and all five can cause muscle strains or other injuries if done improperly. We recommend doing these simple isometric exercises with the Activ5 fitness tracker and app so you can exercise safely and effectively, and also monitor your activity and progress.

Isometric Squat

simple physical exercises

The Activ5 version of the isometric squat is the Chair Pose. Often referred to as the “mother” exercise, a properly done squat works almost your entire body with one exercise.

 

  • Stand up straight and place Activ5 between both knees.
  • Extend both arms in front of you.
  • Bend your knees and slowly squat down as if you’re about to sit in a chair, keeping your hips above your ankles. Stop when you’re a few inches above your “chair.”
  • Press Activ5 with your knees as you squeeze your thigh muscles. Your app will tell you how long to hold the pose. Trust us. You’ll feel the burn.

Activ5 has several other simple daily exercises that are based on the squat, such as the Squat Crush and Sumo Squat.

Isometric Lunge

Simple Daily Workouts

The Activ5 version of the lunge is the Single Leg Deadlift, which is done on both the left and right leg individually. Let’s start with your left foot.

  • Step forward with your left foot.
  • Lower your hips until both knees are bent at about 90 degrees.
  • Place Activ5 on your left leg just above the knee.
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your leg muscles
  • Keep your left heel firmly on the ground. Again, use your app for guidance.
  • Repeat with your right leg.

Pull-Up

Right Hook simple isometric exercises

A pull-up requires a great deal of arm and shoulder strength. Activ5 has over a dozen exercises that work the same muscle groups. We’re using the Hook, which works your biceps, shoulders, and core.  Do this one sitting down. As with the lunge, you do this for both your left and right arms individually.

  • Make a fist with your left hand.
  • Bend your left elbow and bring it up until your left arm is parallel to the ground.
  • Hold Activ5 in your right hand in front of your left fist.
  • Press Activ5 between your left fist and right palm.
  • Repeat with your right fist and left palm.

Push-Up

Simple Isometric ExercisesAs with the pull-up, the push-up requires a variety of muscle groups, including your chest, and Activ5 has several exercises to develop these muscle groups. Let’s start with the Standing Chest Press.

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in “prayer” position, with your elbows out.
  • Press both palms into Activ5 to squeeze your chest muscles.
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground.

Sit-Up

simple daily workout

Old fashioned sit-ups often result in back injuries. Activ5 gives you a safer sit-up with the Crunch.

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and knees about hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your chest, with Activ5 beneath your palms.
  • Contract your core to lift your head and shoulders off the ground.
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles.

That’s the Activ5 Full Body Simply Daily Workout. If you already have Activ5, you just worked your arms, abs, shoulders, legs and butt. Your app (and the Activ5 Guide) can show you other exercises that replicate these 5 core exercises.

If you don’t have Activ5, give it a try. You will be amazed at how effective isometric exercises can be. We designed Activ5 to be portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day. At your desk, in your car, on the sofa watching TV… pretty much anywhere you are, you can workout with Activ5. Here are just a few features of Activ5:

  • Personalized: Activ5 calibrates to your unique strength and fitness level.
  • 5 Minute Workouts: Activ5’s isometric exercises are fast and efficient.
  • Play Games: The Activ5 device works as a game controller on the app.
  • Low Impact: Isometrics uses static muscle exercises. No jumping or running.

Other benefits of isometrics include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Aiding in weight loss
  • Improving range of motion
  • Quitting unhealthy habits
  • Increasing strength
  • Increasing endurance

Over the next few weeks, we’ll show you simple workouts you can do with your Activ5 anywhere and anytime. The Activ5 workout series will strengthen and tighten your body and give you the results you want faster than you thought possible. We are going tone your arms, flatten your abs, build your shoulders, and give your legs and butt the workout of a lifetime!

Ten things you can do TODAY to improve your yoga practice


A recent study by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance revealed that 36 million Americans practice yoga. And every one of you yogis have a lot more in common than you might realize. Most of you perform yoga for three reasons 1. To improve flexibility, 2. To reduce stress, and 3. To improve your fitness level. It’s also interesting that nearly 80% of you give back to your communities. Go Yoga!

In the spirit of giving back, we have a few tips you can do today in your yoga practice, whether you’re a beginner or advanced, young/old, man/woman… doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter what kind of yoga you do either.

Here Are Your 10 Yoga Workout Tips:

While these tips might seem obvious, they are often overlooked. Give them a try (or remember to do them) and get more out of your yoga practice.

  1. Breathe: Talk about obvious, right? But listen… proper, deep breathing will help you relax, focus, and keep better posture. It also gives you something to think about other than tomorrow’s to-do list.
  2. Prepare for class: Don’t show up to a yoga class with only moments to spare before it begins. You need time to relax, focus, and prepare your mind, as well as your body.
  3. Drink and thrive: You probably don’t drink water during your practice, so remember to be thoroughly hydrated before you begin your yoga workout and drink throughout the day.
  4. Dress properly: Ideally, you can eliminate anything that can take you out of your mental focus during your practice. It may not seem like much, but if you have to adjust your yoga outfit, you can’t concentrate. And you just might be distracting others around you.
  5. No prop-shaming: You may not want to use them but put a block and a strap near your mat. At least they will be there. Don’t let your pride lead to an injury.
  6. Zero expectations: Your physical and mental state changes every day, right? This impacts your practice too. Just because you nailed a difficult pose yesterday doesn’t mean it will be so easy the next time. Give yourself a break. Be in the now.
  7. Focus on YOU: Yoga isn’t a competition, so don’t compare yourself to other people in class or be self-conscious about your form. If your form is off, your teacher will help you. Stay inward.
  8. Turn that frown upside down: It’s that simple. Not an idiotic, ear-to-ear grin, but a nice, calming smile. Yoga is about positive energy and a joyful demeanor. If you’re frowning, you might be in pain and not doing something properly.
  9. New is good: Try something new. You may not get it right today, but you are challenging yourself to achieve a new goal. That’s good for both your mind and body.
  10. Don’t skip savasana: If you’re in too big of a hurry to do this, then you’re missing the point of yoga. You warm down after any other type of long exercise, so don’t skip it here. In your yoga practice, it’s especially important to give your body and mind the attention they deserve. Relax. Breathe. Rejuvenate.

Yogis Lead by Example

These are all things you can do today and immediately improve your yoga practice. If you’re already doing them, good for you. Spread the word and improve the yoga practice of those around you. Lead by example!

Finally, if you practice yoga, it is a fact that you are much more likely to engage in other forms of exercise, like running, swimming, cycling, and/or weightlifting. We recommend incorporating a zero-impact exercise into your fitness regimen – isometrics. It is the perfect fit for yoga conditioning.  Yoga Exercises incorporate Isometrics and help with concentration, breathing and body positioning. Isometric workouts increase strength, flexibility, and stamina, all of which are necessary if you want to hold beginner yoga poses longer and learn more advanced poses and sequences.

5 Steps to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life


More and more people are turning to yoga to become healthier both physically and mentally. Yoga can have many health benefits including improving your muscle strength and tone, increasing your flexibility, protecting your spine and increasing your energy, vitality and mindfulness. 

Of course, starting and maintaining a new habit or routine can be difficult. Behavioral scientists suggest that the best way to create new habits is to start small and build on success.  To help you get started we’ve pulled together five different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life right now.

Yoga Stretches at the Office

You’ve probably never imagined lifting weights at the office, but you can easily do yoga while at work. In fact, you don’t even have to bring a yoga mat along. You can perform Chaturanga, plank, upward-facing dog and several other yoga poses right at your office desk.

Take a Community Class

When you hear the words “community class,” you likely envision nighttime lectures focused on gaining a technical degree. As it turns out, though, there are also yoga community classes offered nationally.

Many studios, in fact, offer at least one free weekly class. Once you get involved and meet other participants, you’ll be more inclined to make it a normal part of your routine, if for nothing more than the social benefits.

Practice Yogic Breaths

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “breathe consciously.” While yogic poses may be the most recognizable aspect of yoga, conscious breathing is also central to the practice.

Whether sitting at your desk or waiting in line at a convenience store, consciously controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths will calm your body and mind. This will also help you master the breathing techniques used with poses regardless of where you are.

Work with What You Have

Everyone wants to feel like they’re progressing in their yogic journey by constantly learning and incorporating new poses. Don’t let this drive slow you down. If you only have five minutes, refrain from wasting that time looking up “how-tos.” Use the ones you’ve already memorized and learn new yoga poses when you have more time.

Download Apps that Incorporate Yoga

Mobile apps  will allow you to incorporate yoga into your new routine at a moment’s notice. Instead of downloading an app that only focuses on yoga, however, get a more rounded app.

The Activ5 app, for instance, has five-minute yoga-themed workouts that track your results and personalize your routine. It also uses gamification, so you’re more likely to develop a new routine just to stay competitive. Activ5 also provides other five-minute isometric workouts, which will help you to build a more comprehensive fitness routine.

From increased flexibility to improved cardiovascular health, yoga comes with numerous benefits. Once you start incorporating yoga into your life, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get involved in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons You Need Strength Training


 

75% of US adults don’t achieve the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control minimum recommendation of 2-3 days of strength training per week. Here are 10 reasons you should engage in strength training every week.

Increases Lean Muscle Mass

There are two types of resistance-based strength training: Isometric Resistance (contracting muscles against non-moving object, such as planking  on floor) and Isotonic (contracting muscles through range of motion, such as bench press with weights). Both increase lean muscle mass, making you stronger and more toned.

Burn More Calories

More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat. Building muscle can boost your metabolism by as much as 15%.

Increases Resting Metabolic Rate

Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in your body, and the breakdown of old protein and synthesis of new protein in your muscles accounts for roughly 1/5 of your resting metabolic rate, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D. for the University of New Mexico.

Protects Bones

Whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose ~1% of your bone density every year. “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts,” advises Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

Prevents Injuries

An often overlooked effect of strength training is its benefits for injury prevention. Resistance training helps strengthen muscle and tendons while increasing the flexibility of the ligaments, decreasing the risk of one becoming strained or torn.

Develops Better Body Mechanics

Strength training aids in balance, coordination and posture. If you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40%, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

Boost Energy and Feel Happy

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. This is why people who strength train often refer to getting an “endorphin rush.”

Maintains Long Term Weight Loss

A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.

Fight Disease

Not only does strength training help you get toned, as you get in shape you also see improvements in your resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal transit time. Resistance training can improve stamina, and even help to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep Better & Be Smarter!

Clinical studies have linked strength training to improved sleep, reduced depression and even better cognitive abilities.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/258368-how-to-raise-your-thermogenic-basal-metabolic-rate/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/add-strength-training-to-your-workout.aspx

http://athleticlab.com/strength-training-to-prevent-injury-by-morgan-pillsbury/

http://stretchcoach.com/articles/strength-training/

Why Over-Exercising Can Damage Your Health


The idea of “over-exercising” seems counterintuitive, when mantras like “no pain, no gain” encourage the idea of physical fitness as torture rather than an investment in your health. And while most of us don’t get nearly enough exercise, it’s also possible to exercise too much or in a way that puts unhealthy stresses on your body.

The Link Between Stress Hormones, Over-Exercising, and Your Health

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study on the effects of jogging and long-term mortality rates and coronary health. The study confirms what you probably already know. Getting regular exercise is much better for your health and longevity than a sedentary lifestyle (aka “the new smoking”). 

However, this study also illustrated that when it comes to exercising and your health, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Surprisingly, physically intensive workouts actually have a ceiling for increased heart health and longevity. At a certain point, exercising harder for longer periods of time reaps no benefits and can actually be harmful to your health.

Some of the study’s main highlights include:

  • Light to moderate joggers generally live longer than their sedentary, non-jogging counterparts.
  • On the flip side, the mortality rates for strenuous joggers were found to be statistically similar to that of sedentary non-joggers.

The study found a type of sweet spot for running that consisted of no more than three days a week of activity, for a total of one to three hours at a slow to moderate pace.

How Cortisol Affects Your Body and Ability to Effectively Lose (and Keep Off) Weight

If you’ve ever noticed that, despite how much you exercise, you can’t seem to lose weight, you are not crazy. You are also not alone. If you’re like many people, you’ve probably blamed yourself, wondering if you’re not pushing yourself “hard enough.” Science has found that in reality, the opposite is true.

The answer lies in a stress hormone known as cortisol. Known as the “fight or flight” hormone, the adrenal gland releases cortisol as a response to stress. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to stubborn belly fat, making it harder to effectively burn fat. In addition to storing fat, cortisol has also been linked to other potentially serious health risks such as:

  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Immune problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Depression

So what does exercise have to do with the fight or flight hormone? Scientists and researchers believe that the body interprets intensive physical activity above the ideal threshold for health and weight loss as stress. This triggers the production of cortisol, creating a dangerous cycle that makes it difficult to lose weight.

The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternated with periods of rest and recovery. HIIT also incorporates weight and strength training,  shown to be an essential part of fat burning and weight loss, but often overlooked in favor of intensive cardio. Typical HIIT workouts often include:

  • Sprinting
  • Short Cycling “Sprints”
  • Jumping rope
  • Weight training (with weights and/or body weight exercises)

HIIT workouts provide for a well-rounded and effective full-body workout, making it a great option. In addition to being short and easy to incorporate into a busy schedule, they can be tailored to activities that you actually enjoy. All too often, people sabotage their exercise and wellness plans by focusing on activities they don’t enjoy, leading to ineffective, unsustainable workouts. For example, how many times have you made yourself miserable on a treadmill, when you really enjoy hiking in the outdoors?

HIIT workouts allow you to start with small, manageable steps that you can incorporate into your schedule when convenient, making it more likely to turn your workouts into a regular habit.

Most importantly, in addition to being more convenient, HIIT workouts effectively offer health and wellness benefits, such as:

  • Burning more fat and calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Continuing to burn fat after your workout by increasing your metabolic rate.
  • Building and strengthening muscle.
  • Reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

Smarter Workouts

Are you ready to get started with a safe and sustainable exercise and strength training routine that fits into your lifestyle and fitness goals? The Activ5 app is the world’s first portable smart strength training device. Activ5 exercises are short – you can complete an Activ5 workout in just five minutes. The device and app adapt the exercises to your fitness level, so each workout is challenging but achievable. The Activ5 coaches you through more than 100 five-minute workouts, measures your strength, and gamifies workouts for a fun, interactive experience. Activ5 makes strength training convenient, fast, fun and effective. Visit www.activ5.com to learn more.

Sources:

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit#section7

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

http://time.com/3683118/working-out-not-losing-weight/?xid=time_readnext

http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/65/5/411?ijkey=1daf5c212b8f3b61b4d66aabc898186bff82facb&keyt

Isometrics Can Improve Range of Motion


How Isometrics Improve Range of Motion

A sure-fire way to break through a strength plateau is to increase your range of motion. One of the most overlooked and underrated methods to do that is through isometric training. First discovered in the 1950s by researchers Hettinger and Muller, isometrics is where your joint angle and muscle length stay the same during muscle contraction. In essence, your muscles are working but you aren’t actually moving. Although you’re performing little to no movement, isometric training has been proven to increase muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility with surprising effectiveness. But one of the most interesting aspects of isometric exercise is its ability to increase range of motion. Why is this important, you ask? Let us count the ways:

By Increasing Flexibility

Regular isometric exercise significantly improves flexibility which, in turn, contributes to a better range of motion. In Barbosa et al., a resistance training program implemented for elderly women resulted in a significant increase in flexibility. In other words, resistance training without stretching itself increases flexibility all on its own. This result has massive implications for the rehabilitation and physical conditioning of our bodies as we approach the senior stages of life. A further study by Houssein Mohammadi Sanavi et al. found that hamstring muscles of the males in the test group were significantly improved after a six-week program combining isometric contraction with passive stretching. Yet, surprisingly, not only was flexibility increased but also the strength and endurance of the hamstring muscle. Which brings us to our next point…

By Improving Physical Performance

Put simply, isometric exercises will not only increase your flexibility but also make you stronger. A single daily isometric exercise at two-thirds maximum effort for six seconds increases strength by a whopping five percent each week. More curiously, research further revealed that static strength continued to improve even after the conclusion of a program. Not bad results for a week of rest. In Thépaut-Mathieu et al., it was also discovered that subjects had an improvement of muscle contraction at specific training angles that was greater than at other angles (not trained with isometric exercises). So you can be pretty darn confident that isometric exercises will increase flexibility, improve stamina, and produce muscles that are more adaptable, stronger and durable.

By Decreasing Risk of Injury

As flexibility increases and physical performance improves, athletic range of motion is a natural byproduct. You’ll gain a greater sense of coordination and be more able to bend, twist, and avoid injury due to your increased ease of motion. Moreover, since isometric exercise also increases muscular endurance and strength, you’ll be combating early fatigue. And we all know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of injury whether due to decrease of mental capacity or simply because of clumsy limbs.

How Do I Start Isometrics?

Isometric exercises are straightforward and require no equipment, but it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, Activ5 is a fantastic way to easily incorporate isometric exercises into a busy fitness schedule. It pairs with your smartphone and coaches you through a full-body strength training workout. It makes integration of an isometric program a no-brainer. You can measure your strength level, gamify your workouts, and track your progress with ease.  That leaves you to just concentrate on your results – and sweating it out, of course!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834101

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/working-at-a-stand-still-how-to-do-isometric-training

http://jap.physiology.org/content/64/4/1500

http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-effects-of-maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction-durations-in-pnf-training-on-muscle-performance.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15462615

Fun Exercises: Jazzercise or Zumba?


Most fitness classes include music, but both Jazzercise and Zumba are fun exercises that step up engagement with dance routines designed to shape and strengthen you. Latin and world beats reign strong in Zumba’s salsa-style cardio routines as participants rumba and cha-cha through the hour. Jazzercise lovers, on the other hand, insist there’s no better full-body workout to be found. If you want to explore the proven mind-body benefits of dance-cardio, learn a little more before signing up for these fun exercises.

Choreography

Choreography is a key difference between the two programs. All Jazzercise routines are designed in California and passed to instructors before teaching them in class. Zumba has a more fluid system in which instructors design dance routines using combinations specific to all Zumba classes. While some participants appreciate the impromptu energy of a loosely choreographed Zumba class, fans of Jazzercise love learning routines by heart and dancing to them on their own.

Music

While the Latin spirit is a consistent theme in Zumba, techno and pop song mixes are also common, especially in the specialty classes that focus on strength-training. Jazzercise classes are less genre-specific and will include a range of routines set to pop songs, Broadway musical tracks, world techno mixes, Latin beats, alternative hits and R&B melodies. Expect to dance to recent releases by Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, among many others.

Attire

Both programs have their own brand of clothing, but neither requires participants to wear it to class. Some Zumba dancers wear the trademark drawstring pants, bra tops, and colorful smooth-soled sneakers, and keep their hair down instead of tying it back so their locks move with their bodies. Jazzercise clothing is more form-fitting and in tune with popular fitness style trends. Members wear graphic tanks, compression tights, and open-back jackets and shirts. Because Jazzercise usually includes high-impact routines, most members wear supportive sports bras, well-made athletic shoes and tie their hair back.

Isometrics

Because isometric exercise builds strength and stamina through stationary poses, like planks, it pairs well with a cardio session. While both Jazzercise and Zumba burn fat and build muscle, you might engage in more isometric exercises with Jazzercise. Their routines are inspired by yoga, ballet and pilates, and some of their specialty classes are dedicated to those forms. Zumba continues to expand its program offerings. Specialty classes focused on muscle toning are more common now. You can also do an isometric session on your own. For example, you can press your hands together and squeeze, or try a plank position on your hands or elbows.

Verdict

For all their differences, both are fun exercises that offer a structured environment to burn calories, make friends and get the feel-good endorphins pumping. No matter which program you pick, chances are good you’ll enjoy the chasse and cha-cha toward better health. So why not try them both?

Activ5 Health Tip: 3 Rules for Healthy Meal Prep


Dieters often shy away from meal prep as they associate it with spending hours in the kitchen cooking. However, your experience can be different once you know the right way to play your meals. By making smarter decisions you can save time, and set yourself up for a great and healthy week.

Planning your meals is important because:

  • It helps you follow your weight-management program
  • It’s efficient and saves time
  • It’s ideal to compliment and help you achieve your fitness goals

Trade in your old habits for new ones by applying these three must-do rules for successful meal prep.

1. Plan Your Meals to Fit Your Workout Program

One of the biggest mistakes dieters make during meal prep is not making smart meal choices that are suited for their fitness program. If your fitness goal is to build muscle strength, then your meals should reflect the appropriate ratio of proteins to carbs for the day. Plan your meals to complement your fitness target. Research or consult with a fitness professional ahead of time. This step does take time and effort, but the results are more than worth it.

Fitness Tip: To get stronger, incorporate at least 10 to 15 minutes of isometric exercises (static training) into your daily exercise routine.

2. Your Oven Saves Time — Use it for Meal Prep

Use your oven to prepare a variety of dishes with less effort than on the stove top. A good working oven lets you stack and time your meals as you carry out your normal activities of the day.

Great options include:

  • Baking casseroles
  • Roasting vegetables and meats
  • Broiling meats and seafood
  • Grilling meats, seafood, and vegetables
  • Steaming custards and puddings

Plan your meals the night before. Cook a large amount of meats and root vegetables, enough to last the week. In a baking pan, lay out your meats and vegetables for roasting, baking or broiling. Sprinkle on any spices you like.

Fitness Tip: Get toned while you wait. Do simple workouts like keeping your abdominals contracted while seated.

3. Divide Your Meals into Portion Sizes

A common misconception among dieters is that portion control is only important if you don’t exercise. Not true. To achieve weight loss, the calorie count is just as important as the type of workout you perform. Portion sizes should be established according to the amount of calories you need per day. This is an essential step in any weight loss plan.

Fitness Tip: Combine a fast workout with fitness technology, like a smartphone app to track your progress and make exercise fun. Together with your meal prep, your fitness goals will soon be realized.

No Matter Your Sport, You Must Do Squats


Squats Are for Everyone!

Too many people repeat the same workouts every day and neglect squats. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, you might think, “I want to lose weight, so I should just burn calories with cardio. I don’t need to do strength exercises like squats.” You would be wrong! Squatting is one of the single best things you can do for your body. Squats help burn fat, build strength, and improve overall fitness. There are several different ways to squat, including isometric squats, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the reason you’re exercising, your routine must include squats.

All athletes benefit from squats

As an athlete, it’s easy to focus too much on one type of exercise, especially if you’re a specialized athlete like a sprinter or a swimmer. The truth is, though, that exercises like squats promote overall fitness and can actually improve your performance in sport-specific movements. The Poliquin Group found that squatting enhanced a variety of abilities in athletes, including sprint speed and vertical jump height. Simply put, squats make your body work better!

Squats make your body stronger and healthier

Squatting is an excellent way to protect yourself from injuries and osteoporosis because it strengthens muscles and improves bone density. One study showed that adding multiple squat workouts per week made women stronger and significantly raised their bone mineral content. Squats make you a better athlete and prolong your athletic career by making you healthier!

Experiment with Isometric Squats

People are normally familiar with squats done eccentrically and concentrically by repeating the motions of squatting the body down and pushing it back up. Isometric squats consist of getting into the squatting position and holding it. They are a great variation to regular squats as they are better at building muscular endurance and they don’t put as much stress on your joints. Isometric squats also help athletes overcome sticking points, and improves body control.

Try Activ5 Squats for a fun, easy and effective squat workout!

Activbody recently developed the Activ5, which is a connected device that pairs with smartphone apps to coach you through full body workouts. The Activ5 measures strength, tracks progress and makes exercise more fun and enjoyable. The Activ5 Squat is an isometric exercise which makes use of static positions to amplify athleticism. Activ5 Squats have been found to register increased EMG muscle activity when compared to traditional squats and may be a great addition to your routine!