This is your promo text. Link to something new and exciting, like a revolutionary WordPress theme!

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. 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.

how-to-use-a-rowing-machine

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 travelled, 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, 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 backwards 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 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.

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.

Up and Stretch

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.

Shut it down

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.

Cow Face 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.

And we twist

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.

Bend it

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 allot 5-10 minutes for this exercise every day. 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 floor. 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 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.

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.

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?

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 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.

 

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 position for a few seconds and return to normal pose.

 

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).

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 become 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.

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 comfortably 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.

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 simulate 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-stretches

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 afterwards.

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.

5 Post-Workout Drinks to Recover Faster and Build More Muscle

After your intense workout, you have a small window of opportunity to effectively refuel your body. Studies have shown that there is a 45 minute timeframe when your body can effectively absorb nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins.

You could use this time to get a high protein meal, or try and cook up a delicious dish of the carbohydrates and sugars that your body is craving.

A better solution would be to grab a power-packed post-workout drink that gives your body a quick intake of those nutrients. A post-workout drink could be the key to getting past the next plateau of your workout schedule.

post-workout-meals

Try one of these delicious post-workout drinks to revitalize your body.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Right after your workout, your body is looking for fuel to break down into the building blocks it needs to build up tissue. Try this powerful smoothie with a burst of flavor and a punch of protein.

Add 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, 1 cup of water or unsweetened almond milk, ice, and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Throw in ½ cup of cottage cheese and blend together until smooth.

This drink gives you 40 grams of protein and 20 grams of carbohydrates in one gulp.

Banana Nut Blend

Bananas are a great source of potassium that keeps your muscles from cramping and helps your sensory system communicate better. Use a banana in this recipe for those benefits plus a flavor-enhancer.

Add 1 banana, 1 teaspoon of organic honey, 1/4 cup rolled oats, ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and ice. Blend until smooth.

This drink will give your body a hit of 15 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbs. Your body needs the carbs to build up energy reserves and so that it doesn’t break down muscle tissue for that energy.

Nutty Nectar

Nuts are your best friend after a workout because of how much protein and good natural fats they contain. They are rich in the sorts of nutrients you need for quick recovery.

1 scoop of a protein powder of your choice (chocolate, vanilla…etc.)

To this, add a handful of walnuts, a handful of raw almonds, 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, water and ice. You could even add a couple spoonsful of ground flaxseed for an added protein boost. Blend until smooth.

Berry Blast Protein Smoothie

Berries are a super food that taste great and are easy to add to anything you’re already eating. Throwing in berries just makes sense for an after-exercise drink that will swiftly restore your energy levels. The berries also add glycogen to your blood which is an added bonus.

Add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup of almond or low-fat milk, ½ a frozen banana and 1 cup of frozen berries. Blend until smooth and add water if needed.

The frozen banana and berries give this a rich and thick texture that feels great after a hard session at the gym.

Chocolate Milk

You shouldn’t use chocolate milk as your go-to drink every time, but as a reward for a particularly grueling session, it’s an excellent post-workout drink. It also gives you the bonus of restoring your glycogen levels and hitting you with fast-absorbing whey proteins. It will rehydrate you as well as any other drink, but its best used in moderation, and not as a daily recovery system.

So, there you have it. There are some quick and simple drinks that help boost your immune system, build up your muscle, drive up your energy levels, and push you on the way to a speedy recovery. Plan your diet regime and you’ll see faster results every time.

7 Rowing Machine Workouts for a Shredded Body

Rowing is rapidly becoming the latest craze for cardio workouts. Here’s good reason for it as well. Traditionalists like to tout running as the best thing since sliced bread for building up a sweat and burning calories. Running, while effective, isn’t for everybody.

The treadmill can be hard on your bones and muscles with the impact of every step. These hard runs can have a jarring effect on your muscles, and cause joint pain all the way up to your back. So, to counter this workout, people have turned to rowing.

rowing-machine-workouts

It’s a low-impact workout that actually engages different muscle groups as well as raising your heart rate. It strengthens legs, arms, back, and your core, all while giving you a great heart-pumping blast of cardio exercise.

They key is create new and exciting workouts to help you get that ripped body. Here are 7 rowing workouts that can help you achieve your goals.

HIIT It Up

By using rowing as the key ingredient of a quick workout, you can get a great result even in short times. This one is perfect for those who can’t commit to a long workout every day.

Start with 10 minutes of easy rowing. Then do 5 x 30 seconds of maximum effort rowing sprints followed by 30 seconds rest. Do 2 minutes of air squats off the machine.

Again do 5 x 30 seconds of maximum effort rowing sprints with 30 seconds rest in between. Follow with 2 minutes of push-ups.

Lastly do 5 x 30 seconds of maximum effort rowing sprints with 30 seconds of rest. Follow with 2 minutes of air squats.

Rowing Ladder

Work your way up and down the ladder with this simple ladder routine. Try to keep your rowing during the workout at a 75% effort level consistently.

Start with 10 minutes of easy rowing. Then, follow this structure. 1 minute of rowing, 1 minute of rest. Do 2 minutes rowing – 2 minutes rest, 3 minutes – 3 minutes rest, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and then 1 minute, folowing that pattern.

Leaping Back and Forth

Leap back and forth between sprinting and resting with a simple combination. If you can, aim to have a stroke rate of 26-28 per minute.

5 reps of 1 minute rowing – 1 minute rest, followed by a 2 minute rest. Repeat this pattern for 3 rounds, trying to maintain a consist level of output.

Go the Distance

For this workout, don’t focus on time, but on the distance you travel with your rowing. Try and complete this in as short a time as possible. If you can, aim for a rowing session of under a minute each time.

Start with a 250 meter row, followed by a 1 minute rest. Do this for 10 rounds.

Off and On

Your rowing machine can be incorporated into your workout with other exercises included. Try this one to keep your workout varied and interesting.

Do 30 calories of rowing, followed by 30 kettlebell swings, and then 30 crunches on the mat. Rest for one minute. Do this for 4 rounds in as little time as possible.

More and Less

Change up the frequency of your workouts with this fun challenge.

Row 1000 meters, do 20 pushups

Row 750 meters, then do 30 pushups

Row 500 meters, then do 40 pushups

Row 250 meters, then do 50 pushups.

Coming Down the Mountain

By starting off big on this routine, you’re gradually easing off the rounds and working toward a goal of getting ripped while doing it.

50 squats, 45 calorie row, 40 kettlebell swings, 35 calorie row, 30 sit-ups, 25 calorie row, 20 pushups, 15 calorie row, 10 burpees, and you’re finished!

Hopefully, you now have a good selection of rowing techniques in your arsenal to get an awesome workout that will build muscle and conquer fat.

The Minimalist’s Checklist to Building Your Home Gym

For many who want to go to the gym, the cry is the same.

“I don’t have time for all of that”

It’s a common complaint, and it’s not without merit. Although some gyms have begun to open up to the idea of 24-hour access, it’s still a hassle to get to the gym, workout, shower, and then drive home afterward. This is, of course, on top of owning a membership that can end up being quite costly.

So, for those who can’t make it to the gym, there are other options. And one of the best options is to create a home gym right where you live. The best part is that it doesn’t have to take over your home with huge and bulky equipment. You can set up a minimalist gym in your home that is both affordable and effective for your workout goals.

building-a-home-gym

Here’s what you’ll need:

Free-weights (Dumbbells)

This is probably one of the most important parts of your workout. You can alternate your workouts, you can create new movements, and you can focus on entirely different muscle groups, all while using a simple set of free weights. You don’t even need more than one. If you get a heavy free-weight that’s around 70-80% of your maximum weight limit, you can do squats, arm rows, bicep curls, and modified push-ups. If you can, a set of three different weights would be good for alternating your movements.

If you get a heavy free-weight that’s around 70-80% of your maximum weight limit, you can do squats, arm rows, bicep curls, and modified push-ups. If you can, a set of three different weights would be good for alternating your movements.

If you get a heavy free-weight that’s around 70-80% of your maximum weight limit, you can do squats, arm rows, bicep curls, and modified push-ups. If you can, a set of three different weights would be good for alternating your movements.

Resistance Bands

The best part about creating your own home gym is that your body only does a small number of movements every day. You sit, squat, hip hinge, lift, lunge, and crawl. And that’s pretty much it.

When you understand that your range of motion can be broken down into very basic movements, you can put resistance on those movements to tone and strengthen your muscles. Resistance bands take your average body movements and transform them to become effective body weight exercises. Train your body, with your body, by using resistance bands.

Resistance bands take your average body movements and transform them to become effective body weight exercises. Train your body, with your body, by using resistance bands.

Kettlebells

If you’re able to expand beyond just the free-weight set, you should be including a kettlebell in your tool kit. The kettlebell is also a versatile piece of equipment that can be used to strengthen and train your core, your glues, your biceps, and your back.

Again, try to aim for a kettlebell that challenges you when you swing it, not one that you can move around with ease.

Stability Ball

By using one of those large blown up stability balls, you’re not just working your core; you’re supercharging it. In your workout, you need an element of balance and flexibility. When you’re adding muscle mass, you need something that will help strengthen the muscles that help stabilize your body.

A stability ball can be used in conjunction with other weight exercises to work on two muscle groups at once.

Skipping Rope

If you’re taking a rest day from the weights, don’t forget your cardio. Get your blood pumping with a good quality skipping rope. It’s an effective way to build up coordination, foot speed, and your heart rate. It gets the circulation going like nothing else.

Foam Roller

We speak at length about foam rollers in another blog, but it’s a crucial tool for you in your home gym. Your advantage of not having anyone else around is also your disadvantage. There’s no one to massage or work your sore and aching muscles, and that’s where the foam roller comes in.

It targets those muscle pains with deep-tissue massage. It’s a good way to cool down from a particularly heavy workout session as well.

Having your own home gym doesn’t have to be full of complicated equipment. Just choose the basics and you’ll have more than enough to get a solid workout every day.

What Is a Foam Roller and How Do I Use It to Release Muscle Knots?

Foam rollers can now be found in just about every gym. You’re sure to see a stack of rollers in the corner, most likely neglected, because they aren’t fully understood.

Foam rollers are actually an effective and precise way to trigger pressure points on your body to release muscle knots and work out pain points. Foam rollers are basically a form of self-massage that can be modified to your levels of health and your stress points on the body.

They mimic movements used by professional therapists to loosen and release the trigger points in your muscles that can refer pain around your body.

What Are Muscle Knots?

Your muscles have points that can develop “knots” in them. They are called knots because of how they feel when pressed. A good indication that you have a knot in the muscle tissue is when you press on the affected area and feel pain. That pain also radiates to other areas around the knot.

When you trigger or put pressure on these points, the pain can radiate all the way down a leg, along an arm or across the back. It can limit your movement and be damaging to your body’s alignment.

How Do Foam Rollers Work?

They work by using your own body weight to pressure deep tissue and stimulate circulation in those areas. As you use the foam roller, your body pushes down on the roller while rolling along the length of the muscle. That works to break up scar tissue, adhesions in your muscles, and speed up the healing and rebuilding process after a large workout.

You can use foam rollers to do a number of things which is why they are so ubiquitous in the gyms. They provide good acupressure, they stimulate core body strength, and they can facilitate stretches for deeper release in the muscles’ tension.

How Do Foam Rollers Relieve Muscle Knots?

The reason you’ll want to use a foam roller is to act as a myofascial release system. That is, to say, a way to work and knead the tissue deep within your muscle mass. You can use those muscle knots as a pinpoint on the areas that you need to release from the pain. It’s an uncomfortable pain, but not unbearable.

Why would you want to do something that hurts? It’s the way your muscle reacts to the pressure that is different to normal stretching patterns. When you stretch the muscle, it doesn’t release that tension that’s built up over some time. That stretching process can sometimes actually tighten the knot, not doing anything to ease the discomfort.

When you use the foam roller, it encourages the muscles to relax and stimulates blood flow throughout the muscle area. The reason foam rollers are so effective at this is because when you are performing your own muscle massage, you’re able to regulate the pressure and what areas you need to attend to most. It’s effective most because you know your own body and what it’s reacting to.

Muscle knots can develop from poor posture, neglecting the balance in your workout patterns, or compensating for injury. Our bodies are exceptionally good at maintaining the status quo or our normal lives, but when the stress gets too much for your body, that’s when muscle knots can form.

Regular foam roller exercises can keep your body in the right alignment, your muscles loose, and your core stable. Don’t neglect this powerful tool during your next workout.