How to Use a Rowing Machine the Right Way

The rowing machine isn’t as popular as it’s cousins in the gym; the treadmill or the elliptical. It can, however, provide a deep and fulfilling exercise routine.There are many benefits of using the rowing machine, you’ll be able to burn fat away while building up muscle strength. It’s also low impact and doesn’t put body weight on your extremities if you’re in recovery.

Used properly, the rowing machine can build muscle on the legs, the glutes, the arms, the chest, and the core. Used improperly, and it can bring muscle pain and back strain, but that can easily be avoided.

Concept-2-Rower-Workout

Let’s learn how to use this machine so you don’t end up causing pain and damage to your body.

Learning the Numbers

Most modern rowing machines are infinitely customizable and have a range of settings that can be overwhelming if you’re new to this machine. The basics are strokes (measured per minute), calories burned, kilometers traveled, or a split of those measurements.

You can learn to track those measurements to help you plan your improvements. Those numbers can also be used to help set workouts where you have to row a certain distance or maintain a certain stroke rate for a length of time.

Getting Set Up

Because you’re going to be moving around on the machine, it’s best to wear close-fitting clothing so nothing gets caught or trapped in the mechanism.  When you sit on the seat, strap in your feet so that they are securely fastened and you can pull on them without risking losing your grip on the pedals.

Pull your knees in and fully extend your arms to grasp the handle of the machine. Your back should be flat throughout this range of motion, and your core should be completely engaged as well. At the moment, you’re sitting in the position that rowers call the Catch. It’s that moment on the boat when the paddle ‘catches’ in the water and your body is poised to pull.

The Movement in Rowing Machine

In rowing, there are 4 positions to help you think about each section of your motion. There’s the Catch, the Drive, the Finish, and the Recovery. You already know the Catch.

The Drive is when your body explosively pushes back against the pedals and your arms pull the bar into your chest as you drive backward and sit up. Keeping a straight back throughout the motion and your body comes upright, your arms start the pulling motion.

 

Now, you’re in the position known as the Finish. You should have an engaged core, a straight back and be in an upright position with your legs locked. You finish the pulling motion, ending with the handle right up against your lower chest. Try not to flare to your elbows out but keep them reined in close to your body.

Lastly, move into the Recovery position. First, your arms straighten back into the first position, you hinge forward at the hips and your body leans forward, back straight as always. Your legs pull into your chest as you come forward to a full and tight crunch at the front.

If you can think about keeping the order correct, you’re already ahead of 95% of everybody out there. Most people draw their arms in too soon, or they don’t keep their back straight and core engaged. This can lead to excessive strain and back problems if continued.

Even if your first rowing movements are slowed and methodical, this order will help keep you safe and your workout will pack a more powerful punch for you.

Tough day at work? Try these Best Yoga Poses to Relax

Most of us dread going to the office because well, come on, sitting at your desk the whole day looking at a bunch of appointments is exactly nobody’s idea of fun. Getting up in the morning can be a pain and getting ready for work doesn’t make it any more exciting.

Office-Stressed

But with the help of these 5 yoga poses, you can start looking forward to your day and survive it if not completely enjoy it.

#1 Up and Stretch – Sitting Reed Pose

Sitting Reed Pose helps you start your day with a yoga pose sitting on your bed itself. Doesn’t that sound a perfect start to your perfect day?

What you have to do is sit on the edge of your bed and interlace your fingers while stretching your arms up towards the ceiling. Take in a deep breath and feel your body open. Now exhale while tilting towards your right side, you will feel your left side of body stretch and open. Now take a deep breath in while coming back to the center and go again to the other side. Repeat this for a few minutes, you will feel instantly energized and ready to take down your day.

#2 Shut it down – Centering Mountain

Centering Mountain pose is the simplest of the yoga poses which can be done anywhere and anytime on short notice. You can do this on a bus, in office, while walking, anytime and find your center with this pose.

You can sit or stand. Feel a lift from the center point of your body, starting from the base of your hip to the crown of your head. Shut your eyes and let go of your nearby surroundings. Take slow deep breaths and feel the quite centering and calmness which enters your body as your inhales and exhales become even and constant. Once you learn this centering technique, you can use it any time of the day. You will feel warmth and peacefulness in no time at all.

Yoga-Relaxing

#3 Cow Face Yoga Pose

You can do this pose while sitting anywhere, in your office, bed or kitchen chair for that matter. All you need for this is a chair where you could sit on comfortably. It is said that if you’re working on a computer all day, you should take a break every 15 minutes to stretch out your neck and back. This pose is perfect for those breaks.

All you have to do is take your right hand and bring it near your upper back. Now get your left hand behind your back and try to touch your right hand but don’t force it if it is not touching. Hold for 5-8 seconds and feel your body stretch throughout your back and shoulder. Now switch the sides and repeat the whole process for another 5 minutes.

Cow-Face-Yoga Pose

#4 Seated twists

Seated twists are considered to be best to prepare your digestive system when you are about to eat. All you have to do is twist on your chair and let your body do all the work.

Make sure you sit with your knees and feet together and then lift your spine by taking in a deep breath. Turn your body to the right once you start exhaling. Keep your left hand on your outer right thigh and keep your right hand behind on your right side itself. Don’t forget to drop your shoulder blades from your ear. Hold this position for 5-8 breaths and then switch the sides.

Seated-twist

#5 Bend it – Standing Forward Bend pose

Standing Forward Bend pose can be one of the best poses to relax your body for a long office day. All you have to do is allow 5-10 minutes for this exercise every day specifically on the yoga mat. It is beneficial for your digestive system and circulation and helps with back pain too. You can stretch your hamstring, arms and back with just a few simple steps.

Stand erect with your hands resting on either side of your body with your palms facing your thighs. Take a deep breath and lift up your hands. Now with a gradual exhale, bend forward while letting your torso and hands to move in a synchronized order until you touch the matt. Make sure you are looking at the floor the entire time of your bending. Keep this pose for a count of 15 and then slowly come back to your initial position.

Once you start doing all these yoga poses before or during your office day, you will feel energized and ready to take on your office day with a new kindred spirit. So what are you waiting for? Go and start feeling revived now.

 

How Yoga Will Make You Better At Any Sport

Yoga is an art which helps in boosting your strength and posture and guess what? It’s not just beneficial for hippie girls anymore. So all you weight lifters out there who think Yoga is probably a waste of time, I guess it’s time you put your weights down and give yoga a try.

Yoga-Pose

Yoga not only helps in increasing your flexibility but it is quite beneficial to athletes also who are prone to a lot of injuries and pain. Don’t you believe me? Well, see for yourself.

More flexibility

Imagine all those Matrix movies you have seen and now imagine yourself doing that. Yes, it sounds incredible right? But that is exactly what Yoga can teach you.

A lot of players injure themselves because they use the same muscles again and again which results in tight muscles. As a result, when a player needs to make some sudden movement and needs the help of his other muscles, which are at this point untrained it results in a tear in the muscles and well we all know what comes next.

Elastic muscles and supple joint points are the key to efficiency and help you in recovering quickly and all this is possible through Yoga. Increasing your flexibility means increased range of motion and in turn output of power which could prove to be beneficial during any point of the game. Still, think yoga is for girls?

Mental Toughness

While physical training and body building are important, learning the art to quieten your mind is equally important. Many athletes talk about “being in the zone” when playing a big shot. Well, guess what? Yoga is all about helping you be in the present and quieten your mind so that you can make your shot count.

Yoga will make you aware of your body and mind and help you focus on your game more intensely. Distracted by crowds? Yoga would build up your concentration to such a level that after some time you won’t even notice they are there.

Apart from all the benefits mentioned above, yoga also proves to be a nice way to restore all your mental energy which you used up in the game. Yoga helps you to unplug yourself anywhere anytime, so if you feel too overwhelmed after your games then I would suggest you start doing Yoga.

Increased Muscle Function

Even though yoga is a combination of a lot of things but on a basic level, it’s all about breath and movement. Yoga helps you in relaxing and focusing on deep breaths which in turn results in more oxygen intake and more body awareness.

Better breathing techniques help in preventing muscle fatigue, side stitches, and erratic breathing. Imagine you playing for hours on the field and not experiencing any stitches or fatigue, sounds like a dream right? But this is all possible with a few Yoga workouts every day.

While training is the heart of any routine, yoga is the soul and both are equally important. So next time when you think that yoga is just for girls wearing hot pants, think again. You never know but it might just help you win that match which you’ve been anxious about for days now.

5 Yoga Poses Every Beginner Should Know About

Although it’s an ancient art but in recent times, yoga has become the go-to mantra to cure any illness or injuries. Doctors and physicians are encouraging more people to perform yoga to strengthen their body muscles. It is not only the perfect way to stay fit and healthy, it also provides a mental peace which is found to be lacking in this current world.

Then what are you waiting for? Start your yoga sessions with these 5 common poses and you will notice how much your body has been benefited from it.

#1 Tad Asana

The Mountain pose or more commonly known as Tad asana is simplest of the yoga poses and helps in getting your balance right, directing your attention to the present and increases height.

The Technique: Stick your feet together while standing. Interlock your fingers facing away from you and lift your hands over your head. Your thighs need to be lifted too. Make sure that you elongate your spine while breathing easily the whole time. This might sound a banal exercise but this is a starting pose in most yoga sessions.

Tad-asana

#2 Savasana

This pose is another simple pose which is incorporated in every yoga class. This pose puts your body and mind at peace and gives it the ability to soak in all the benefits of the session.

The Technique: Lie down on the mat with your face up. Create some distance between your legs and spread out your feet. Now with your arms by your side and facing the roof, calm your body and mind down, shut your eyes and take in few deep breaths. Simple, isn’t it?

Savasana

#3 Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Also, known as the bridge pose, this helps in stretching your neck and spine with great ease. This pose is also known to calm your mind while reducing your anxiety and stress levels. It also is known to help in improving your digestion.

The Technique: Lie on the mat with your knees bent and your feet touching the mat and the hands by your side. Also, make sure your feet are well aligned and distant from each other.

Now with your feet underneath your knees and your arms straight and grounded, lift up your hips and midsection off the floor. Shimmy your shoulders under your chest and interlace your fingers. Still troubled? See video below.

 

#4 Urdhva Mukha Svansana

Although not one of the tougher poses and often used by instructors in their classes this pose helps in opening up your chest and shoulders while stretching your abdominals and hip flexors.

How to perform it: Lie on the mat facing the floor. With your elbows in a half push-up pose, keep your hands close to your ribs. Stretch yourself out and upward till your arms straighten and lower back arches out. Hold the position for a few seconds and return to normal pose.

 Urdhva-Mukha-Svansana

#5 Vasisthasana

Side planks are said to build your muscles of the shoulder, back and abdominal and further improves stability which could prove to be useful for those looking to better their arm strength and stability.

The Technique: Begin as you would for a downward dog. Now keep your right leg on top of your left and your left hand grounded and stretched. Now open up your body and raise the other hand upwards (like in the image below).

Vasisthasana

There are various yoga poses that can help you relax from a tough day at work you just need to find the yoga pose that suits your need.

5 Common Yoga Mistakes Beginner Makes and Their Simple Solutions

Squat…up down…stretch…bend…and repeat. Yoga has a lot of poses to perform and while you might not be a master of them yet, you are most definitely on the way to it. It might not happen overnight but hey Rome wasn’t built in a night!

So step onto your mat and avoid these 5 mistakes while doing yoga to become the ultimate Zen master:

Breathing Wrong

Breathing is the basic foundation of Yoga and if you end up doing this wrong, you don’t have much chance of becoming a yoga expert after all. When you are trying too hard to get a pose right, you tend to hold your breath which is a big No-No. Stop holding your breath and let go of it with ease.

Holding your breath creates a tension in your body which is the exact opposite purpose of yoga. If you feel that you are holding your breath, its sign that you are pushing too hard too fast. Slow down and try breathing deeply into your belly, through your nose, for the entire session.

Remember, practice makes a man perfect so don’t stop trying.

Getting into an Advanced Pose

What are you in a hurry for? Are you going to miss a train? If not, then just slow down. Don’t try a complicated yoga pose too fast; you might just end up with an injury. People don’t have the patience for appropriate practice, so they jump into the advanced stuff and later suffer.

Don’t jump, take yoga slow. Your body needs to feel comfortable before you hit an even trickier pose. Always start with a few warm-up exercises and then choose a few rounded yoga poses to make your body slowly flexible. Once you have enough practice, you can start on with a few advanced poses.

Advance-Pose

Too much Focus on Pose

We tend to forget that our body and our neighbor’s body are not same and so we have different limitations. Stop trying to compare your pose to other’s poses. It’s all about how comfortable you are able to handle a pose. If you try too hard to copy other’s pose, you might end up in injuring yourself.

Yoga isn’t about a perfect pose because there is none. It’s all about performing the steps to achieve a pose which is comfortable to your body. That being said, practicing your poses certainly doesn’t hurt. So keep on practicing but don’t strive for any idea of a perfect pose.

Too Cool for Props

Don’t skip on the props. When you are new to yoga poses, performing them could prove to be a little tricky as your body is not flexible enough yet.

So instead of forcing yourself to complete your yoga pose without any help, make sure you use a few props to give you some support. Everyone has a different body structure and limitations and props help to modify the pose to your needs.

Use blankets, straps, and blocks to support your body during yoga practice. Using a blanket or block as a prop in a seated position is not a sign of weakness but rather you being smart and avoiding injuries. Props help us in focusing on the correct body part so next time you think about losing those props, think again.

props-yoga

No Time to Relax

A lot of people don’t deem this necessary and tend to skip out on this. They’re  in a hurry to either leave to handle some “important” work or just want to get on to the next pose and be done with it. Yoga is an art which is not to be hurried, it’s important to take your time before each pose and give a chance to your body to relax.

After a yoga session, give your body a 5-minute rest and let it stimulate your nervous system back into coordination. Let your body get back to its original state lest you shall have uncharacteristically loose body parts. Just 5 minutes of cooling down can result in a day of happiness so do anything but don’t skip out on this.

I hope now that you know what mistakes to avoid, you will see how wonderfully yoga can benefit your body and mind. You will be able to see how beautifully yoga can transform you from a slacker to a fit and healthy person. So get up, do yoga and relax.

5 Post Workout Stretches and Exercises to Ease Up Muscle tension

One of the most important parts of your workout is the end. And it’s a shame that most people don’t give it as much credit as is due. The post-workout routine should be as planned, as carefully exercised, and as closely monitored and measured as any other exercise you do in the actual workout.

Your body has just taken a beating and is depleted and in stress mode. You need to perform some post-workout stretches and movements to release the tension in your muscles. Too much tension or an imbalance on the strain of the muscles can lead to knots and radiating pain throughout the body.

Many people actually get confused thinking that stretches should only be done pre-workout. They’re actually just as beneficial for your post-workout routine as well.

post-workout

Try these simple movements to increase your flexibility, improve your circulation, prevent pain, and elevate your energy levels.

Forward Bend

Sit on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. This will pull and stretch your hamstrings to help them retain their elasticity. Reach out as far as you can with your legs straight on the floor and try to touch your toes if you can. If you’re flexible enough, you can also bend forward at the hip and lower your torso onto your legs to help further the stretch.

You’ve probably engaged your hamstrings with heavy lifting and cardio movements. Try to help them remain flexible or you could have a strain in the morning afterward.

The Runner’s Lunge

While you’re still focused on the leg, stand up and find a wall you can use. Put both hands on the wall and take a step back with one leg. Put both heels down on the ground, stretching your calves and hamstrings as you lean into the stretch.

This movement just builds on your previous step and starts to engage your calf muscles which could be a source of bad cramping if you leave it tight.

Lower-Back Stretch

Take the time to care for your back, which has been put under some strain from your movements. Lie on your back on the ground and slowly bring your knees up together, grasping them in your arms. Hug your knees tight into your body, focusing on the stretch in your lower back.

Alternatively, you could do this by kneeling on the ground and bringing your torso down to the ground, hands and arms flat on the ground behind you with your head down.

Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Stand upright and keep your shoulders square. Find a pole or a doorway, and put one hand on it. With your right hand on the door, turn to your left to slowly stretch out the muscles in your shoulder and chest. Hold for a period and then repeat on the other side.

Help the muscles in your chest rebuild some circulation and movement after heavy lifting exercises and push-ups.

Abdomen and Arm Stretch

Lie flat on the floor on your stomach. Have your hands in the pushup position at your sides and your toes pointed together behind you. Lift up your body, keeping your legs straight and your toes pointed. Look upwards and stretch your arms and torso with this movement. You should feel a gentle pulling in your abs and arms together.

Simple movements like this help to stabilize your body, bringing it back to a place of peace, and reenergizing your body after a strenuous workout. Don’t ignore this step and your body will thank you well after your routines are done.