Gym Triathlon

The gym triathlon is a multi-discipline activity consisting of rowing, cycling and running. It is a great way to keep active, and by taking on these three challenging elements of rowing, cycling and running you can keep training fun and varied too!  

The triathlon is to test yourself against yourself. How fast can you row, bike and run a certain distance on each activity. It is a way to improve your cardio and endurance using different equipment and different muscle groups. Each aspect of the triathlon brings its own challenge.  

Rowing machine 

Rowing is an excellent way to condition the whole body. As it is working on a vast range of muscles it is also improving cardiovascular endurance. Along with all these benefits it is a low impact activity so it is safe for all ages and all levels of fitness. Rowing works most of the joints through significant range of motions without damaging them. This is a great advantage as it avoid any unnecessary injuries. As well as increasing lung capacity, rowing can also help with weight loss, muscle toning, flexibility, endurance and strength.  

Bike 

The exercise bike is a popular tool in the gym for fitness. The cycling movement requires little co-ordination, making it easy on the hips, knees and ankles, therefore it is an exceptional option for beginners, the elderly or people recovering from injury. Cycling will cardiovascular endurance while working large muscle groups.   

Treadmill 

For most people running is probably the first exciting exercise they done. Running comes with many benefits. Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions. What’s more, scientists have shown that running also vastly improves the quality of your emotional and mental life (1). Treadmill running is a great alternative over running outdoors. It has many advantages such as keeping running more consistent and not dependant on the weather. It will also help you maintain a steady pace while you are running. The ability to change the incline of the treadmill is a great feature to challenge your legs. The main muscles used while running is the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes.  

Join our challenge of the month! 

Find a fitness instructor to help with this exercise or to record your triathlon time.

Advertisements

Exercise of the Month

TRX Suspended Reverse Crunch

If you are looking to have a strong core muscles – check this awesome move out! TRX Suspended Reverse Crunch is an exercise that keeps your core tight at all times while staying in a plank position. To get the most of this exercise keep a straight line from the neck all the way to the heels, activate your glues, quads and hamstrings. It is a fantastic overall body exercise with more emphases on the core.

To perform it correctly, follow these steps:

  • Secure a set of suspension straps with the handles hanging about a foot off of the ground. Move yourself into a push-up plank position facing away from the rack.
  • Place your feet into the handles. As a starting position, you should maintain a straight posture, not allowing the hips to sag.
  • Begin the movement by flexing the knees and hips, drawing the knees to your torso or, to make it more challenging, raising your hips up and bringing in your legs straight.
  • At the top of the controlled motion, return to the starting position.

 

Besides having an overall toned body and strong shoulders, this exercise helps you to build a rock-solid core. Having a strong core means more than having a visible six-pack. If you want to move, feel and look better, chances are you should start with your core. That’s why TRX Suspended Reverse Crunch will help you to brace and stabilize your abs, oblique’s and lower-back so you can leverage your own bodyweight as resistance.

 

And here are some extra tips on exercise technique:

  • You don’t want your shoulders to come too far forward of your wrists.
  • It’s tempting to use your quadriceps and hip flexors for most of the effort, but try to pull from your abdominals instead.

 

Sounds intriguing? Give this exercise a go! If you need any help or advice, please ask our SportsDock fitness team.

Guys: it’s time to talk!

adult-art-conceptual-278312

By Jonathan Watkins. 

When you go into the Strength and conditioning room at SportsDock and see big guys lifting very heavy weights, it gives the impression of strong, resilient guys who are confident in life. However, you would be surprised to know that those same guys are THREE times more likely than women to commit suicide! (The Office for National Statistics).

The Fitness Team and I have written blogs on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes and the problems they cause within the UK population. However, it was found that suicide causes the highest amount of deaths amongst men in the UK. The most common suicide rates being in men aged 50 years old and younger, 40-44 being the age group most like to take their own life. A recent Horizons documentary, ‘Stop male suicide’, on BBC IPlayer pointed to depression and other forms of mental health as the biggest reasons for male suicide.

High profile actors like Robin Williams, and sportsmen, such as Gary Speed, being the most current stories of men taking their own lives due to depression. It seems, however, to be an embarrassing male topic, easier to avoid than to confront. Furthermore, we want to know what can help and how?

Of course, exercise is only a small part of the answer to better mental health. Nonetheless, there are studies that suggest exercise does have a positive effect. A recent study by Kathleen Mikkelsen et al, on Exercise and Mental Health (Sciencedirect.com, Exercise, and Mental Health), looked at exercise as an alternative to medication and concluded that exercise does have several positive effects on psychological, physiological and immunological systems of the body, all of which improve mental health. The study went further to say that exercise worked very well with people suffering from high anxiety and depression in particular, both of which are two of the most common causes of male suicide. It is evident that exercise has a positive effect on various aspects of mental health, although it is not the complete answer.

Encourage your friends, fathers, brothers, and uncles to exercise regularly. It could improve their quality of life.

The wonders of resistance band training

boy-elastic-rope-exercise-176794

By Aemilia Cooper.

It’s common belief that the ultimate strength building tools are weights but behold, resistance bands offer an alternative method of strength training. You can do just about any type of strength exercise without the need for heavyweights.

Like free weights or weight machines, resistance bands provide a force against which your muscles must work. However, where they differ to weights is that they hit the full range of motion, working many parts of a muscle often underworked when using free weights.

The common problem with using free weights goes down to technique. The working muscle shortens during the lifting phase of a movement and lengthens during the lowering phase of a movement. Very often the lowering phase of an exercise is rushed so the muscle is not fully activated during the whole of the movement. For example, while most lifters are performing a standard barbell curl, they often lift the weight up explosively and lower it back down at an incredibly fast rate. However, with the use of resistance bands, the muscle is provided with constant tension and both phases of the movement are more controlled. Anything that puts your muscles under tension causes them to adapt and transform. Therefore, with more of the muscle under tension during resistance band exercises, the more defined the muscle growth.

Resistance bands come in a variety of tensions, depending on your needs you can use a band that offers tensions anywhere from 15lbs to over 200lbs. This makes them suitable for beginners and the more advanced lifters. Now, we are not saying to ditch the weights, but consider throwing in a few resistance band exercises in your workout to work your muscles to their full capacity.

Here are a few exercises to try and see for yourself!

Pectoral fly: 3 sets, 8-10 reps

1.01-2

Upright row: 3 sets, 8-10 reps

be8546c064002e29276590a765adb470

Biceps curl: 3 sets, 12-15 reps

Resistance-Band-Bicep-Curl_Exercise

Shoulder press: 3 sets, 10-12 reps

Resistance-Band-Overhead-Shoulder-Press_Exercise

Can exercise be addictive?

athlete-biceps-body-38630

 

With social media being bigger than ever, it is clear to see that many fitness influencers spend, what seems like their whole lives, at the gym. Do they exercise far too much? Is there such a thing as being addicted to exercise? And if there is, can it really be that harmful?

Exercise addiction has been written about by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This organisation is responsible for identifying any type of addictive behaviour and have suggested that this type of addiction is more of a behavioural nature, and is similar to obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Other types of behavioural addiction are things such as gambling, food, and alcohol. The organisation goes on to suggest that the body releases an ‘endorphin high’ which leads to the feeling of euphoria, which in turn can lead to the body craving this feeling.

The simple answer to our question, therefore, is yes. In the same way as doing anything in excess, is and can be addictive. The most important thing to remember is balance – that’s balance in exercise, healthy diet and rest. Too much exercise causes unnecessary stress on the body and can lead to exercise plateau.

Don’t work yourself too hard, sometimes less really is more!

Body Image, Love Island and Social Media

adult-arm-art-326559

By Jonathan Watkins. 

I have a 10-year-old daughter who is not averse to telling me off regularly, however, I was told off last weekend for describing a person we saw on TV as ‘fat’. I was promptly informed by my daughter that she would be told off at school for using this type of description and I could understand the point she was making. On the other end of the scale, my thoughts drifted to the recent series of Love Island and how ITV had apologised for advertising plastic surgery companies during the break. I was shocked that most of these young women, and some of the men, have had plastic surgery costing anywhere between £400 – £12,000! So, what are the rights and wrongs of portraying the “ideal” body image, and does social media have a positive or negative effect?
For as long as I can remember, body image has always been a big issue, especially for women, and increasingly for men too. I recently listened to a debate on Radio 5, hosted by Nicky Campbell, talking about the negative impact of body image and how some people are turning to Plastic surgery for help. They went on to discuss how social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are causing younger and younger men and women to self-evaluate their body image, with plastic surgery being seen as an easy option to achieve what they are looking for. We are, however, being told – sometimes by the same radio station – that we have an obesity crisis and worry about all the health impactions with it. So what is the truth?
I was able to find statistics from 2014 with regards to Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, which shows NHS Anorexia admissions were up by 8% from January to October 2014. Unfortunately, of the 2,560 people admitted to the hospital that year, the average ages for females and males were 15 and 13 respectively (HSCIS). The Beats Charity for Anorexia and Bulimia points their finger at different types of social media, suggesting that the 1.6 million sufferers in the UK are due to popular cultural images, social media pressure and irresponsible advertising of skinny models and actors.
I would be oblivious if I was to say that those statistics aren’t shocking and upsetting, but the obesity figures for the same year are shocking too. Of the total UK population, 24.4% of men and 25.1% of women are classed as obese, and 9.3% of reception age children are thought to be obese (HSCIS). In total, obesity is thought to cost the UK £47 billion! This is the second highest health-related issue in the UK.
Do the likes of Love Island cause millions of people to re-evaluate their body image? Well, an interesting article in the Independent suggested that a Harley Street Plastic Surgeons had seen a 200% increase in sales. In fact, due to the popularity of the show affecting income, they had now included a ‘Love Island’ plastic surgery package… So to answer the question – yes! Shows like Love Island and social media, in general, have a huge impact on body image. I believe that body image will always be a contentions topic and quite rightly so, however, I am not sure that getting a nation to re-evaluate their self-image is such a bad thing – considering the epidemic which is obesity. Nonetheless, I do not fail to remind my daughter that the images she sees on posters, TV adverts and social media have most likely been photo-shopped or altered, just as her filtered selfies on Snapchat.
If you have fitness goals that you want to achieve, why not speak to one of our Fitness team to book a Personal Programme. During your programme, all your fitness goals will be discussed and planned out for you by our highly qualified fitness professionals. You don’t need to go under a knife!

August Class of the Month – Core Conditioning

Loverboy

By Jelena Jemeljanova. 

Core conditioning

Core conditioning is an anaerobic, muscle-toning class, usually focused on core muscle strength. Most sculpting classes use weight bars, exercise bands, dumbbells, or your own body weight. It is important to train your core muscles because ‘the stability of the lumbopelvic region is crucial to provide a foundation for movement of the upper and lower extremities, to support loads, and to protect the spinal cord and nerve roots’ (Panjabi, 1992).
There are many complicated global and local muscles in this region and each has a certain role. The global group consists of the large, superficial muscles that transfer force between the thoracic cage and pelvis and act to increase intraabdominal pressure (e.g., rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique abdominis, transversis abdominis, erector spinae, lateral portion quadratus lumborum) (Willardson, 2007). Conversely, the local group consists of the small, deep muscles that control intersegmental motion between adjacent vertebrae (e.g., multifidus, rotatores, interspinal, intertransverse) (Willardson, 2007). Core conditioning is focused on training all of these muscles, and more. Unfortunately, traditional ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups don’t target every muscle. Luckily, exercises such as hanging knee raise, plank, boat, ball push-away and many more, do.
Core conditioning improves posture, which contributes to a trimmer appearance. Moreover, developing core muscle strength can boost the effectiveness of workouts and reduce the risk of injuries that sideline our efforts to stay in shape (Slentz, Houmard, and Kraus, 2009).
The class is suitable for people of any age and fitness level. It does not require too much coordination, so anyone can do this, however, it may take a few sessions to learn proper movements. This class is great for anyone who wants to improve core strength whilst toning those muscles. In addition, body sculpting and core strengthening are great if you want to learn the fundamentals before you start training in the gym on your own.
Join Core Conditioning classes at SportsDock, every Friday at 12.00-12.30.