Best Supplements for Strength Building – Top 7 to Consider

If you want to augment your strength, taking supplements that feature glutamine, leucine, creatine, protein powder and zinc can be beneficial to that goal when done properly.

Additionally, you may do research on roducts that contain citrulline, which is an amino acid that is able to stimulate the creation of nitric oxide in the blood.

Likewise, citrulline can increase blood flow to the muscles and may augment the natural production of human growth hormone.

Let’s go over all seven of the above mentioned and what role each plays in strength building, as well as how it affects your muscles and anatomy.

The Benefits of Creatine

benefits-of-creatine

Creatine is able to substantially boost the amount of water that reaches the muscle fibers, and consequently, the natural compound raises the levels of vitamins and minerals that positively affect the muscles.

Creatine can tremendously increase strength, and one study suggested that a daily dose of 15 grams of creatine may boost power output by approximately 12 percent within 80 days.

In addition, the supplement can significantly augment the volume and the hardness of the muscles.

The compound is capable of inducing the production of adenosine triphosphate, which can boost energy and prolong workouts. Creatine is also able to notably increase a bodybuilder’s level of testosterone.

If you’re in the market to buy right now, make sure to do your research first. This is a handy list of the best creatine supplements to consider by Top10supps.

Glutamine

In general, glutamine is the most prolific amino acid in the skeletal muscles, and the natural compound can augment power output, decrease fat, stimulate the production of testosterone and reduce soreness that may be caused by training sessions.

If an athlete experiences an injury, glutamine may notably shorten the individual’s recovery period. Additionally, the amino acid can prevent the muscle fibers from breaking down when the body is in a catabolic state.

Protein Powder

protein-powder-nutritional-supplement

Protein powder can increase overall strength and improve the hardness of the muscles, and the supplement may speed up the recovery period after workouts. Typically, an athlete should consume at least 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight every day.

Many manufacturers will also list the levels of amino acids that each serving contains, and ideally, a dose should provide more than 2 grams of glutamine and 250 milligrams of lysine.

Every serving can also offer at least 300 milligrams of glycine, which is an amino acid that increases the amount of collagen that the body produces.

As with the creatine list above, this is another great article from Top10supps that ranks the top 10 protein powders in every category. Make sure to check it out before making any purchases! It’s a great resource.

Ashwagandha

Various analyses have shown that ashwagandha may increase power output and improve cardiovascular endurance, and if an athlete takes at least 500 milligrams of ashwagandha every day, the compound is able to augment muscle mass and to boost an individual’s level of testosterone.

The herb may also decrease anxiety and reduce jitteriness that can be caused by caffeine and other stimulatory compounds.

Ashwagandha features numerous antioxidants, which are able to significantly mitigate the effects of environmental toxins, stress hormones and overtraining.

Protects Muscle Mass

Numerous analyses have shown that the herb’s antioxidants can protect muscle mass when the body is undergoing a stressful experience, and extra oxidative stress may be caused by an injury, a particularly long run, a chronic lack of sleep and certain foods.

Ashwagandha is also capable of stimulating the production of triiodothyronine, which is a thyroid hormone that can augment energy and reduce fat.

Additionally, several detailed reports indicated that the botanical may allow athletes to extend the duration of each training session by approximately 28 percent.

Leucine

Like arginine, leucine can stimulate the creation of human growth hormone, which is able to boost the density of muscles, reduce fat, increase the thickness of the skin and improve energy.

If a bodybuilder takes at least 500 milligrams of leucine before a workout, the supplement may increase the production of nitric oxide. Therefore, the amino acid can cause extra oxygen to reach the muscles and may boost the athlete’s strength.

Various analyses have shown that isoleucine and valine can enhance the positive effects of leucine. The three amino acids may substantially enhance protein synthesis after extensive training sessions.

Likewise, the natural substances can prevent the breakdown of muscle fibers when the body is lacking protein, glutamine or a sufficient amount of calories.

Citrulline

l-citrulline-malate

Citrulline is able to increase the amount of oxygen that can positively affect the muscle fibers by enhancing blood flow to the skeletal muscles. Consequently, the compound may improve muscular endurance, augment the volume of the muscles, increase the weight that an athlete can lift and reduce fat.

An extensive report showed that citrulline could boost the production of human growth hormone by more than 65 percent during workouts. After a single dose of citrulline, the amino acid’s positive effects will generally have a duration of four hours to seven hours.

Before each workout, a bodybuilder may take at least 500 milligrams of citrulline. Optimally, an individual should consume 1,500 milligrams of the amino acid per day.

Utilizing Zinc

Zinc can substantially improve strength by stimulating the production of testosterone, and like leucine, the compound might raise the blood’s concentration of human growth hormone.

The mineral also boosts levels of thyroid hormones that can enhance energy. Moreover, zinc will typically raise an individual’s level of collagen, which is a natural protein that is found in skeletal muscles.

Collagen may lessen the risk of injuries and reduce the effects of soreness during intense training sessions.

Generally, an athlete should consume at least 15 milligrams of elemental zinc every day. According to one analysis, more than 72 percent of Americans likely have inadequate levels of zinc.

Conclusion

anatomy of supplements-for-strength-building

Incorporating supplements into your strength building workouts and regiment can be a great additional if executed correctly. Your body will develop and recover faster, and your muscles will gain the strength you’re after in a more clinical way.

Final words of wisdom are that you should always consult with your physician or doctor before taking any supplements at all. Especially if you have a condition or are experiencing pain; even if you are on other medications, you want to make sure things mesh.

Top 4 Ultimate Strength Building Techniques For Women

Women who have tried their hand at strength training know that pairing heavy weights with the proper exercises is the best way to speed up the process of getting that toned physique you desire.

Women who have tried their hand at strength training know that pairing heavy weights with the proper exercises is the best way to speed up the process of getting that toned physique you desire.

Long gone is the myth that lifting weights will give you the physique of a body builder overnight. While that goal can be accomplished through heavy training, if you use the proper weight and repetitions to complete these exercises you will get that toned, sexy physique you desire at a much faster rate than you would just using machines and isolation exercises.

When performing strength building exercises keep in mind this rule of thumb. You should always select a weight that you can use for 8-12 repetitions to build muscle.

If you can only complete 1-7 reps then you are focusing more on strength building. If you are capable of doing more than 12 repetitions at the selected weight then you are focusing on muscle endurance.

Dumbbell Lunges

dumbbell-lunges

This workout targets your lower body, focusing on the quadriceps, but also targeting the calves, glutes, and hamstrings. To perform this exercise you will need to select a pair of dumbbells that has a weight that challenges you.

You don’t want to go with too high a weight, as this can cause damage to your muscles and will quickly exhaust you. Select a weight that is just a little higher than your comfort level.

  • Begin this exercise by positioning your right foot about two feet in front of your left foot, with the dumbbells positioned to either side of you midway between your feet.
  • Squat down so that your left knee is touching the floor and grip the dumbbells.
  • Exhale as you stand back up in an upright position, being sure to keep your back straight and your core tight. Only the toes of your left leg should be touching the floor.
  • Inhale as you lower your left knee back towards the ground. Be sure to keep your knee elevated just above the floor at the lowest point. Your right leg should be forming a 90 degree angle at the knee.
  • Repeat this movement 8-12 times per each leg.

Dumbbell Bench Press

dumbbell-bench-press

This is an upper body workout that targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Most females who are new to strength training should use 5 or 10 pound dumbbells.

As you continue to perform this exercise over the coming weeks be sure to not add too much weight at one time. Keep your increase in weight increments gradual with any strength training exercises.

It’s better to do more repetitions than it is to strain yourself with too high of a weight – potentially causing damage to your body.

  • Lie down on a bench, face up, with your palms facing each other and the dumbbells resting atop your thighs.
  • Use your thighs for assistance to raise the dumbbells over your chest, about shoulder width apart. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing towards your feet. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle to begin the workout.
  • Use your chest muscles to raise your arms straight up, towards the ceiling. Lock your arms and hold the position for a second before slowly lowering your arms back to the 90 degree angle.
  • Repeat this movement 8-12 times.

Seated Cable Rows

seated-cable-rows-strength-building

This exercise provides a killer workout for your mid-back, lats, biceps, and shoulders. It is an exercise that is performed on a low pulley row machine while holding the V-bar.

  • Sit on the machine with your feet planted on the floor. Be sure to keep your knees bent slightly.
  • Keep your back straight as you lean forward to grab the handles of the V-bar.
  • Keep your arms extended as you pull back, forming a 90 degree angle in the seated position. Keep your chest out and back slightly arched. This is the starting position.
  • Breathe out. Use your back muscles to pull the V-bar towards your body until it is touching you, keeping your arms close to your sides. Hold this position for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement 8-12 times.

Barbell Deadlift

barbell-deadlift-strength-training-for-women

This is one of the best exercises to have as a part of your strength training routine. It works many muscles including the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and lower back.

Many people who focus on strength training claim that if they had to choose any one exercise to do it would be the barbell deadlift. If you are new to this exercise start off with 5-10 pound plates.

This exercise can be performed with the maximum weight you can lift only one time, or you can do repetitions when using a lower weight.

  • Begin with the bar centered over your feet, and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at the hip to grab the bar, keeping your hands spread about shoulder-width apart. Have one hand facing away from you, and other facing towards you.
  • Inhale deeply. Lower your hips until the bar is against your shins. Keep your chest up, back arched, and head up.
  • Drive through the heels to begin moving the weight upward.
  • Once the bar reaches your knees, pull your shoulder blades together and your hips forward as you jerk the bar back.
  • Lower the bar back to the ground by bending at the hips.
  • Repeat based on the amount of weight being used.

Final Take

Whether you are first starting off on your strength training journey or have been strength training for years, it is always important to stay focused.

Be sure to keep good form – if your form is poor you are likely using too high a weight. Don’t overexert yourself, and always have a partner spot you when lifting heavy weights.

Mix it up when working out to keep yourself motivated, occasionally trying different variations of these exercises.

5 Strength-Building Exercises for Arthritic Knees

Cutting out physical activity altogether can be detrimental to your overall health, putting you at greater risk of developing certain debilitating conditions.

People with arthritis are no strangers to pain, swelling, and compromised mobility. These and other symptoms of arthritis might cause you to ditch physical activity and hit the couch instead.

But avoiding all forms of physical activity might do you — and your arthritic knees — more harm than good, according to MayoClinic.org.

You might need to adjust your expectations and monitor yourself more closely, but abandoning physical exercise altogether can actually lead to an increase in knee pain and a further decrease in mobility.

Furthermore, cutting out physical activity altogether can be detrimental to your overall health, putting you at greater risk of developing certain debilitating conditions.

Instead of avoiding physical activity, do what you can to strengthen and stabilize your joints. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a sensible strength training program can help boost blood flow to your knees, beef up the muscles that support them, and help reduce the load that contributes to arthritis-related pain.

Warming Up

warm-up-before-ftrength-training

Before performing strength training, engage in a five to 10-minute general warmup to increase blood flow to your limbs and joints and to warm up muscle tissue.

March in place, take a brief walk around the block or do gentle range-of-motion exercises, such as small knee lifts.

For more severe cases of arthritis, Dr. Ana Bracilovic, an arthritis specialist based in Princeton, New Jersey, suggests applying a warm compress to the knees to prep them for their strength-training workout.

5 Arthritis Friendly Effective Knee Exercises

Try these five arthritis friendly knee exercises next time you’re at the gym, or even at home.

Exercise 1: Isometric Quad Sets

isometric-quad-sets

Isometric exercises involve no movement at the knee joint. To perform quad sets, begin by sitting or lying on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of you.

Place a rolled-up towel under your right knee. Tighten the muscles of your right thigh, pressing the underside of the knee into the towel. Hold the position for five seconds, inhaling and exhaling evenly.

Relax the leg briefly and repeat the exercise eight to 12 times before switching to the left leg. Complete a total of two or three sets on each leg.

Exercise 2: Mini Squats

mini-squat-for-knee-strengthening

Mini squats work the gluteal and thigh muscles. For mini squats, stand with your back facing the seat of a chair. Position your feet shoulder-width apart and engage your core muscles to keep your spine stable.

You can extend your arms in front of you or cross them at your chest. Exhale and slowly bend your knees until you come to a sitting position.

Pause briefly, and then slowly straighten your knees and return to a standing position. If the chair is too low, pile several pillows on the chair seat to raise it to a more comfortable height. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Exercise 3: Leg Extensions

leg-extensions

Like mini squats, leg extensions build upper leg strength. For leg extensions, lie on your back with your right leg extended in front of you.

To help with stability, bend your left knee and place the sole of your left foot on the floor. Tighten the muscles of your right thigh and raise the leg to the level of your bent left knee.

Hold the position briefly, and then slowly lower the working leg. Perform eight to 12 repetitions, and then switch legs. Complete a total of two to four sets on each leg.

Exercise 4: Seated Hip March

seated-hip-march

Hip marches target the hips and thighs. To perform seated hip marches, sit on a sturdy chair. Engage your core muscles, press your shoulders downward and straighten your spine.

Shift your left foot back slightly, but keep your toes in contact with the floor. Slowly raise your right foot off the floor, keeping the knee bent. Hold the position for three seconds, and then slowly lower your right foot to the floor.

Repeat for a total of eight to 12 reps, and then switch legs. Complete a total of two to four sets on each side.

Exercise 5: Pillow Squeeze

pillow-squeeze

Work your inner thigh muscles with the pillow squeeze exercise. Lying on your back, bend your knees, planting the soles of both feet firmly on the floor.

Place a pillow between your inner thighs, gripping it lightly with your knees. Engaging your core muscles to stabilize your spine, squeeze your knees and thighs together, compressing the pillow.

Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax your legs briefly. Complete two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Post Workout Stretches

To reduce post-workout soreness and to promote greater range of motion in your knee joints, follow strength exercises with light stretches that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs and calves.

If you experience joint soreness from exercising, Bracilovic suggests putting ice or a bag of frozen peas on the affected area.

Keep in Mind

best-knee-strengthening-exercises

If you aren’t currently physically active, speak to your doctor before getting started with strength training. MayoClinic.org suggests resting a day between workouts and taking an extra day or two to rest if your joints are painful or swollen.

Always listen to your body, and avoid exercises that appear to cause or increase knee pain.

Strength Training: Benefits of Building Strong Leg Muscles

Having lower-body strength makes it easier for a person to do everything from climbing stairs to playing sports, lifting things, riding a bicycle, walking, running and more.

According to WebMD, there are a number of benefits associated with strengthening leg muscles.

Having lower-body strength makes it easier for a person to do everything from climbing stairs to playing sports, lifting things, riding a bicycle, walking, running and more.

A person’s legs have quite a bit of the body’s muscle mass. When a person uses strength training to help build their leg muscles, they can burn calories as well as improve their overall health and many other things.

Lower Body Building

There comes a time during the journey toward physical fitness that the lower body must be worked. Many training experts advise people to not focus all their muscle development efforts above the belt.

The legs are where some of the body’s largest muscles are located. According to the Daily Burn, it’s not all about just looking good. Exercises that challenge a person’s legs will leave them with toned calves, powerful glutes as well as strong quads.

Cardio Workouts

This type of exercising is able to burn fat, but it also benefits the legs. When people focus on training their legs, they should use multi-joint compound exercises. This will burn more calories than just doing upper-body moves. It will result in a higher rate of fat loss.

This will happen from the release of hormones from lower-body training. According to Live Strong Magazine, a person’s leg muscles are so large; the hormonal response can help their upper-body muscle mass to be toned as well.

Osteoporosis and Arthritis

There are benefits to resistance training, as well as weight-bearing exercises on the lower body. It can help with managing or preventing the development of arthritis or osteoporosis. Many people use a form of weight training to maintain their joint health later in life.

This could involve stiff-legged deadlifts, leg presses as well as other leg exercises that will challenge a person. When someone is diagnosed with a joint or bone condition, it is important they talk with a physician, as well as a qualified trainer, prior to starting of any formal of training or exercise program.

Range of Motion

It’s important for a person to have the highest possible flexibility for their health. Everyone from Olympics weightlifters to people who regularly exercise as well as CrossFit athletes and more need to have mobile joints.

This enables them to maximize the strength and power output of their legs. Amateur, as well as professional athletes, need to learn correct movement patterns when they exercise.

Trainers recommend the squat and lunge to improve a person’s range of motion. Once a person knows the proper movements, they will be better able to increase weight and have more gains in their workouts.

Decrease Injury

When many people work on developing their lower-body, they know doing this could decrease the chances of them experiencing a serious injury.

Strength training for the leg muscles will provide stability in a person’s knee. The American Council on Exercise says this is the best way for a person to avoid experiencing a tear in their ACL.

People have also been able to use this type of training to recover from an injury and return to their exercise routine quicker.

Fat Loss

When a person wants to improve their metabolism, they should engage in lower-body resistance training. According to GQ Magazine, a study was done by Journal of Applied Physiology.

It showed that after approximately 90 minutes of heavy lower-body weight training, a person’s metabolism rates increased dramatically.

What was interesting in the research is that is showed a person’s metabolic rate remained high for hours after they were finished exercising.

It was shown to also enhance lipid oxidation hours after a person was done with physical activity.

Muscle Building Hormones

Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology did a study that measured hormonal responses during lower-body resistance workouts.

During the research, participants had to do multiple sets and repetitions of squats withing a 90 second period. They were permitted a short rest time between sets.

Men experienced a dramatic spike in their testosterone levels. This type of heavy resistance exercise provided a similar experience with young as well as older men.

Better Digestion

Research conducted at the University of Washington showed that heavy lower-body training improved the ability of the GLUT4 protein.

This resulted in increased efficiency of a body’s insulin sensitivity. It improved the rate at which a person is able to absorb glucose.

This means that after a person is finished with their leg exercises, their body will be better able to repair and re-grow damaged leg muscles. Food will be processed more efficiently and won’t be stored as fat.

Improve Balance

When a person has to move quickly so they can avoid something coming at them, a well-developed upper body won’t help. Having lower body strength and balance could make it possible to avoid a bad situation.

Doing strength training for leg muscles will improve a person’s stability. It will increase their proprioception. This is a person’s ability to properly move their body in relation to objects around them.

This will help a person who participates in sports, plays physical games for exercise and more. Balance is essential for a person to maintain control of their body.

Conclusion

building-strong-leg-muscles

As you can see, training legs is super important, probably the most interesting is the study that showed an impact of 90 minutes of lower body exercise on your metabolism.

Hope you learned something new that you can now apply to your workouts and fitness regiment.

Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate Joint Mobility When Building Strength

Joint mobility enables you to move a limb and other body joints in full range. Poor mobility in a particular part of the body can affect muscles far away from the affected joint.

Joint mobility enables you to move a limb and other body joints in full range. Poor mobility in a particular part of the body can affect muscles far away from the affected joint. For instance, when the mobility of your feet is compromised, the effect may cause shoulder stiffness.

Compromised joint mobility results from inactivity or performing exercises that restrict joint mobility. For instance, the hamstring and hip flexors shorten in people who major in running.

Furthermore, weightlifters that practice on lifting weights at a restrictive movement stand a risk of compromised joint mobility.

Most people tend to underestimate joint mobility when exercising. However, orthopedic sports professionals have found out that when working to build your strength, joint mobility should be a priority factor.

Here are reasons why you should consider joint mobility when exercising.

Joint Mobility Reduces the Risk of Injury

reduce-risk-of-injury-through-joint-mobilit

According to physiotherapists, an improved range of movement helps to reduce muscle strains that cause pain during exercise.

Before any workout, it is recommended that you start with joint mobility exercises as part of the warm-up session. The warm-up will increase joint and muscle flexibility thus reducing incidences of injury associated with normal tension when exercising.

People with a Healthy Joint Mobility Have a Higher Range of Motion

Body flexibility is necessary for sports people and all people in general. Improved joint mobility is important in body movement and agility.

Indeed, the more your joints bend, the more your body turns easily at any joint. Muscles around a joint shorten due to disuse.

Improved Workout

Poor joint mobility may affect your ability to exercise. This is because stiff joints can make strenuous activity challenging and painful.

Regular joint mobility exercises help the muscles and tendons to adapt to stress. With the exercises, the muscles can withstand the natural pressure even if you increase the intensity or frequency of exercise.

Pain Management

Improved mobility can help in managing lower back pain, knee pain, and pain resulting from arthritis. Frequent mobility exercises alleviate muscle stiffness while enhancing the body’s ability to lubricate joints.

Muscle strains emanating from stiffness and poor joint lubrication are the primary causes of pain. Stiff ligaments tear when involved in a strenuous activity, which is the reason why most people experience joint pain after undertaking a strenuous activity.

Improved Flexibility

Joint mobility contributes to body flexibility. Inactivity and restricted movements contribute to muscle stiffness. Inactive people may experience atrophy, a medical condition that causes muscle wasting and pain.

Joint Mobility Facilitates Independence during Old Age

fitness-exercise-elderly-people-running

Joint mobility deteriorates with age. At a youthful age, a person can comfortably squat and quickly engage their muscles. However, senior citizens may find it painful and hard to sit, bend, or perform activities that involve stressing a joint. With proper joint mobility, an elderly person can carry out most activities independently.

Joint mobility exercises focus on improving the mobility of all joints ranging from the joints in the fingers, knees, spine, hips, ankles, neck, elbows, and the wrists.

To reap the benefits of joint mobility, one needs to identify the workouts that increase the flexibility of major joints in the body. The best exercises should increase;

Ankle Mobility

Ankle mobility exercises aim to improve the range of motion in the subtalar joint, inferior tibiofibular joint, and talocrural joint.

Ankle mobility exercises increase knee mobility while also reducing the chances of knee injuries during sports.

Hip Mobility

Hip mobility exercises are done to improve the flexibility of your hip joint by increasing the movement of the hamstring and gluteus muscles.

The hip joint supports body weight. Stiff hip movement can impact your ability to perform various exercises like sprinting and changing direction.

Spine Mobility

The backbone is made of small bones joined by ligaments. The spine is high bending and controls the ability to run and undertake other body movements.

Therefore, weak spine mobility can hamper body movement. Spine stiffness may cause a bad posture and back pain.

Shoulder Mobility

Shoulder mobility is crucial as it makes it possible for a person to regulate hand movement. The shoulder joint works in conjunction with the shoulder blade.

For this reason, during a workout, it is important to carry out exercises that can engage both the shoulder joint and the shoulder blade.

Undertaking any of the joint mobility exercises, the body responds by producing the synovial fluid that lubricates the various body joints. When a joint is poorly lubricated, the exercise may be accompanied by pain at the joints.

Furthermore, joint mobility exercises help in keeping the muscles around the joints active and energetic. For this reason, the joint muscles can withstand the strain of a higher intensity.

Parting Words

joint-mobility-when-building-strength-yoga

Before any workout, it is recommended that you speak to experienced physiotherapists to suggest some of the exercises that facilitate joint mobility.

Despite the fact that most types of exercise are important, exercises that do not incorporate body mobility may end up causing harm to the person exercising.

Just like any exercise, a full range joint flexibility can only be achieved when one undertakes the right workouts regularly.

10 Best Strength-Building Exercises for Mixed Martial Arts

The following are some of the best strength-building exercises you can incorporate into your mixed martial arts training.

Mixed martial artists must incorporate a unique blend of strength, agility and endurance to be proficient in the sport.

And while sparring in the ring with partners can help you improve your agility and techniques, resistance training, including weightlifting, is the best way to add strength for the various movements and catapult your success.

The key to training is to include a combination of upper and lower body exercises as well as work your core muscles. That said, following are some of the best strength-building exercises you can incorporate into your mixed martial arts training.

Sprints

While most people don’t think of sprints as a de facto resistance exercise, they provide a great starting point for your training, enabling you to attack muscle fibers essential for forceful, explosive movements, according to Men’s Fitness. Commence your mixed martial arts strength training with a 25 meter sprint, then walk back to your starting point. Perform sprints for five minutes before you start your weight training.

Pushups

Pushups are an ideal strength-building exercise because you can perform them many different ways. They also work multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, triceps and abs.

Place your hands about shoulder-width apart — with your feet extended behind you. Inhale as you go down, then exhale as you push yourself back up.

On days you want to focus on endurance, perform four or five sets of pushups to failure. Use kettle ball handles with your feet elevated to make the exercise more difficult.

Shoulder Presses

Shoulder presses increase strength in the muscles necessary for shoving adversaries away from you. You can perform them with both dumbbells or barbells.

Do the exercise while seated some days and standing on other days. Standing incorporates more of the stabilizer muscles you’ll use during fighting.

One caveat is to always bring the bar or dumbbells down toward the front of your shoulders. Never perform behind-the-neck presses because they can injure your rotator cuffs, according to Livestrong.

Bent-Over Rows

One of the best all around exercises for strengthening upper back muscles is bent-over rows. For best results, perform this exercise with a barbell.

Bend your knees slightly as you bend at the waist so you focus more on your upper back and less on your hamstrings. Perform the exercise on top of a block or bench to get a fuller extension when you lower the weight.

Deadlifts

Having a strong lower back is essential in mixed martial arts because there are times you’ll rely on these muscles to lift or throw and opponent.

Again, bend your knees so put the emphasis on your lower back and not your hamstrings. Exhale as you lift the bar from the floor, and inhale as you lower it. Like most exercises, perform three to five sets of ten repetitions.

Kettlebell Swings

This is another strength-building exercise for your lower back, muscles that you can easily injure if you don’t train them. Kettlebell swings also foment explosive hip extension, bring your glutes into play and strengthen your grip, according to Diesel Strength & Conditioning.

At the top of the movement, swing the kettlebell above your shoulders, then take it down between your legs. Avoid going too far above your head or you’ll place an undue amount of stress on your spine.

Bicep Curls

Frequent movements where you pull an opponent toward you incorporate your biceps muscles. To increase strength for biceps, perform barbell curls while standing.

Use a combination of static and cheat movements on different days to force the muscles to grow. Cheating allows you to handle more weight and works the shoulders and hips in conjunction with the biceps.

Tricep Extensions

Triceps strength enables you to push adversaries away from you, whether your standing or on your back. You can perform tricep extensions with straight or E-Z Curl bars.

The latter is a bit easier on the joints. Taking the weight behind your head better enables you to build the long head of the triceps, which is essential for building strong triceps.

Squats

The squat is the best overall exercise for building leg strength, which you need kicking and outlasting your opponent.

Place the bar behind your head on the natural padded shelf of your traps. Take the weight down until the bottoms of your legs are about parallel to the floor, then push the weight back up.

Free-standing squats are best for MMA training because you must learn to balance the weight, which replicates more natural movements in the ring.

Static Holds

Strength training wouldn’t be complete without at least one isometric movement. To render the movement apropos for mixed martial arts, try performing some static holds.

This is as simple as taking a large keg and squeezing it with both your legs and arms. Hold the movement as long as you can to build muscular endurance.

One the most important aspects of MMA strength training is to perform exercises that simulate movements in the ring, according to Bodybuilding.com. Static holds accomplish that goal.

Final Take

mma-strength-training-exercises

Hopefully after reading the above you may already be aware of some and some may be a good refresher. Jump back into the octagon at your next training session and try some out in the surrounding gym.

5 Strength-Building Exercises for a Better Yoga Practice

With the incorporation of strength building exercises, yoga practice can help you to achieve optimum physical and mental well- being.

The Yoga practice has proved to be one way you can maintain good health and self-healing.

With the incorporation of strength building exercises, yoga practice can help you to achieve optimum physical and mental well- being.

Here is a suggestion of strength exercises that you should consider including in your Yoga Practice.

1. Push Ups

Also known as Press- ups, Push- ups are an exercise that engages thoracic muscles, deltoids, abdominal muscles, triceps, and biceps.

Most therapists recommend push- ups because they are easy to do, no sports equipment is required, and you can do the exercise in the comfort of your living space.

To do perfect push ups:

  • Place your palm on the floor.
  • With the support of your toes, align your body in a straight position from the head to the legs.
  • In the straight position, lower your body, bending at the elbows till you are close to the floor.
  • Raise your body to the original position, and repeat the process for as long as you can.

Some of the conventional types of press ups include the knuckle push ups whereby you do the exercise in a fist position. Backhanded push ups are done in support of your back palms.

In a one arm press up, you have to lift yourself with a single arm. You can interchange the arms as you continue your workout.

2. Split Squat

The split squat exercises are important in developing the quadriceps muscles. For maximum strength, physiotherapists recommend that you use dumbells when working out. Remember to use weights that you feel comfortable carrying.

To start the exercise:

  • Stand upright with one foot elevated and stretched backward and the other one placed forward.
  • Hold a dumbbell hanging on each arm.
  • Start your workout by lowering your body, bending at the knee and hip joint of the back leg.
  • Lower your body till the back leg touches the ground.
  • Raise your body back to the starting position.

3. Pectoral Weightlifting

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Pectoral weightlifting is a type of exercise that aims to improve the strength of chest muscles. The muscles engaged in this kind of exercise are the deltoids, triceps, and back muscles.

When doing the exercise:

  • You will be required to find exercising equipment like dumbbells or a bench press machine.
  • Find a seat with a soft, comfortable top
  • Lie on the bench facing upwards
  • In that position use your hands to lift up and down the weights using both hands.

The various types of pectoral weight lifting that exist include inclining dumbbell press and dumbbell flys.

The latter type requires that you exercise with different types of dumbbells.

4. Pull Ups

Pull-ups are a form of exercise that is used to improve muscles on the upper body. The muscles include the trunk muscles, muscles on the arm, shoulder muscles, abdominal muscles and muscles of the pelvic floor. Pull-ups do not require sophisticated equipment when working out.

The procedure to be followed while making pull-ups includes:

  • Find a pull-up bar that you can easily reach with your arms raised.
  • Hold the bar with the arms facing in front.
  • With the help of your hands, pull the rest of the body upwards till the pull-up bar is at the same level as your neck.
  • Lower the rest of your body until your arms are fully stretched.
  • Repeat the pull-ups as much as you can.

Different types of pull-ups can be used to improve your exercising experience. Some of the conventional types include the weighted pull-ups that involve working out with weights held between your feet.

5. Hip Thrusts

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The gluteus muscle is an important muscle that helps in body movement and changing direction. Hip thrusts are one of the ways that you can improve the strength of the gluteus muscles.

Carrying out the exercise does not require many training pieces.

Here is a simple procedure that will help you start off:

  • Find a bench that is below your knee height.
  • Use the bench to support your shoulders while looking up.
  • With the assistance of your legs, pull your body up; ensure that your shoulders are aligned in a straight line to the knees.
  • Lower your body to the initial position and repeat the exercise as long as you can.

With regular exercising, gluteus thrusts will help you to improve gluteus strength and reduce back pain. A common hip thrust exercise is the hip thrust with bands.

In this kind of exercise, an elastic band is placed on the hip joint to bring about resistance when exercising.

The Takeaway

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Incorporating the strength exercises into your Yoga practice will help you to maintain a good body mass index by reducing excess fat in your body. Regular strength exercises are also ideal for healthy bones.

As one grows old, his or her muscle mass diminishes. With proper exercise, however, one can maintain a healthy muscle mass.

Furthermore, strength exercises help to improve your body’s ability to withstand illnesses such lifestyle diseases, management of knee, and spine pain.

Final Say

To reap the maximum benefits of a strength exercise, one has to ensure that he or she is doing each exercise correctly and to do it regularly.

10 Strength-Building Strategies That Will Never Die

Whether your goal is to run faster, weigh less, or hit harder, strength is the key. You see strength doesn’t just involve muscle size and capacity.

Whether your goal is to run faster, weigh less, or hit harder, strength is the key. You see strength doesn’t just involve muscle size and capacity.

The stronger you get, the more your overall athleticism improves, which transforms the way your body functions while active or at rest. If you want to reach your fitness goals, then strength training is the way to go. Follow these ten tips to start feeling stronger and fitter than ever before.

1. Practice the Classics

The shoulder press, deadlift, squat, and bench press are notorious as the most classic strength-building techniques. Incorporate these classic exercises in all of your strength workouts to get the biggest benefits.

The row and chinup are also beneficial moves, but they need not be the focus of your program. Rather, these two should be assistance lifts that serve as a complement to the bench and shoulder press. Incorporating both will help you train your pressing and pulling muscles in balance.

2. Use the Right Equipment

Too many people get caught up in the newest fad equipment when the basics offer the greatest payoff. When it comes down to it, the barbell is most important, followed closely by the dumbbell.

Everything else is just extra. It may offer some benefits, but it’s not absolutely essential. For the most effective workout, begin with barbell exercises, including the four classics mentioned before.

Barbells allow you to lift the greatest amount of weight, and lifting heavy is the most essential step for increasing your strength. After you’ve completed your heaviest strength training exercises, you can proceed to dumbbell and bodyweight exercises.

3. Focus on Control

Instead of complicating your program with specific rep speeds or complicated rhythms, just keep it simple and focus on control. Don’t worry about counting anything besides the reps in your set.

Focus on lifting and lowering your weights with control, holding for a count of one at the top of the set. Worrying about a complicated rhythm can cause you to reduce tension on your muscles or lift varying weight. The only way to make sure you increase your strength is to consistently lift heavier loads.

4. Track Everything

Keeping track of lifts and reps will help you set goals for progress. Make sure you write down all of your exercises, reps, and sets. Then work to constantly increase those numbers.

5. Keep It Short

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You don’t need to work out for hours on end to see progress. In fact, keeping your workouts short will actually help you take advantage of hormonal surges to get the most build from your work.

Keep it to around three or four lifts per workout. If you try to do many more than that, you’ll end up giving half-effort somewhere and lose the benefit of your workout. Focus on incorporating one main lift (one of the big four classics) and one or two assistance lifts.

Following those exercises, you can incorporate core or specialty work focused on your goals. Anything beyond that will only reduce your results.

6. Count to Five

For the most benefit, you should cycle through different rep ranges. Sets of five seem to be the “magic number,” though, offering the best combination for building muscle and gaining strength.

Particularly if you are working through one of the big four moves, you’ll often find that your form begins to suffer much beyond five anyway.

7. Gradually Add Weight

People often hit a plateau and stop gaining when they have been going too heavy for too long. Leave your ego behind and follow this strategy instead.

Do your heaviest lifts with 10 percent less weight than the heaviest you can lift for the given rep and workout. Then with each session, increase your weight gradually.

Do not add more than 10 pounds with each workout, though, and stick with the same lifts.

8. Don’t Forget Cardio

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If you want to be lean and healthy, cardio is a must; however, you need to do it right. Long-distance running or cycling actually causes too great of a breakdown of muscle tissue.

Instead focus on doing cardio in short, quick bursts to get stronger and leaner. Running hills is one of the best strategies. Select a moderately steep hill and sprint up it.

Then walk balk down. Once you feel ready, go again. Your first go round, only do half as many sprints as you think you can, and then add two sprints with each workout.

9. Keep Things Balanced

You don’t want to be lopsided, so it’s important to keep everything balanced. Anything that you do on one side, be sure to do it on the other.

You don’t have to do it in the exact same workout, but you should make it in the same week. And keep your exercises in a ratio of two-to-one between your pulling and pushing movements.

10. Watch Your Form

While you probably know how to do the big four, there are probably a few tweaks you can make to get more out of each one of them. In your squat make sure to push your hips all the way back and squat low.

Keep your stance narrow in your deadlift, and keep your back straight. For your bench press, make sure you pull your body off the bench as you move forward and arch your lower back as your butt comes back down.

In your shoulder press, flare your lats to be able to use the greatest amount of weight.

Final Verdict

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These strategies will not only allow you to lift heavier, they’ll also help you build the most strength. Whatever you do, don’t over complicate it, and stick to the basics.

Why Squats Are the Best Strength-Building Exercise for Your Legs

If strong legs are the goal, squats are the answer. Not only are they a common movement we utilize every day, they are also an efficient movement and almost endlessly customizable to your specific requirements.

There’s no doubt about it; If strong legs are the goal, squats are the answer. Not only are they a common movement we utilize every day, they are also an efficient movement and almost endlessly customizable to your specific requirements.

You would be quite hard pressed to find a movement that strengthens your legs more succinctly and easily.

Though they should be approached with proper care and technique to ensure knee health, a squat is a straightforward movement that can easily be incorporated into your strength training program, regardless of your age, weight, or access to gym equipment.

An Everyday Movement

There are many people in the fitness world who harp in the dangers of squats, particularly about how the movement can damage the knee joint if not performed with care.

While this is certainly true, it is important to remember that squats are not some scary monster lurking in the back of the gym. In fact, you’re already doing them and have been doing them all your life.

A healthy, able bodied person will do at least a couple of squats, or squat like movements, every single day. Any time you sit down in a chair, or when you lower your body while maintaining a straight back, you’re performing the essential movement of a squat.

Picking Stuff Up

You will also do so when you stand up from the chair. A squat is also present each time we go to pick something up off the floor. From babies to boxes, proper lifting technique demands proper squatting form to avoid injury to the back and knees.

What this means is that when you begin squatting in the gym, the effects will become immediately present in your daily life. You will feel stronger and be able to lift things with more ease, both in your workout and at home.

Consistent squatting, and strength training in general, will lead to greater mobility throughout your life. It is also worth mentioning that stronger, sexier legs will leave you feeling more confident, especially during the summer months spent in shorts and bathing suits.

A Compound Exercise

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While there are some people who enjoy spending hours in the gym pumping iron, most would prefer to get in and out quickly and spend their free time elsewhere. In these moments, efficiency is the name of the game.

When choosing your strength training strategy it is important to remember that the more muscles you can work at the same time, the fewer exercises you need to perform. You want to look for compound exercises and this is where squats come in.

Engages Multiple Muscle Groups

The squat is a compound or multi-joint exercise, meaning that it is one movement that engages multiple muscle groups at once.These muscle groups include the hamstrings, located on the underside of your thighs, the quadriceps, the tops of your thighs, and the gluteus maximus, your rear, as well as smaller muscles in your hips, calves and ankles.

When you first start squatting, you may end up with sore muscles you never knew you had to begin with.

While squats are primarily a lower body exercise, you will also be working several surprising muscles, like the erector spinae group. These muscles span the length of your back along the spine and do not contract during the squat movement in the same way your thighs do.

Instead, the erector spinae assist in stabilizing your spine and will get stronger every time you squat. This leads to better posture and balance and, ultimately, less back pain.

Endless Variations

What really sets the squat out from the seemingly endless ocean of leg movements and machines is the fact that it is an exercise that is almost infinitely customizable. It doesn’t matter how strong, weak, old or young you are there’s a squat variation you can do today.

You do not even need a gym membership or any equipment to start squatting. Doing a few sets of simple, well-executed body weight squats every day can help you set the groundwork for a stronger lower body.

Switching Things Up

When these become too easy, or too boring, you can use the same movement but with a couple of slight changes. There are a few different ways to vary your squats, and each of theses variations can be done alone or in tandem with another variation.

You can add weights, like the goblet squat or the barbell squat, to improve your overall strength and muscle tone. You can also alter your leg positioning, like the pistol or sumo squat, to help zero in on different muscle groups.

There’s also the jump squat and squat jacks that can add a cardio element to your lifting sessions to help burn more calories. Finally, there’s the front-facing wall squat which will put your balance skills to the test.

Final Say

Whatever squat you choose, you can be sure that you will be performing the best movement possible to improve your lower body strength.

Make sure to incorporate properly executed squats in your exercise routine to reap the benefits.

Science Backed Health Benefits of Weight Lifting

Research has shown that weightlifting not only results in a toned appearance, it also improves one’s overall health. Read on to find the benefits associated with weight lifting.

Nowadays, many people are obsessed about having toned and perfectly shaped bodies. One of the approaches used to achieve the ideal body is weight training.

Research has shown that weightlifting not only results in a toned appearance, it also improves one’s overall health. Read on to find the benefits associated with weight lifting.

Muscle Fights Fat

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In a 2008 study by Boston University researchers, it was found that type II muscle fibers which are built by lifting weights, improve the body’s metabolism. The researchers injected mice with the type II muscle growth gene that they could easily activate or deactivate.

After feeding the mice with a high sugar, high fat diet for 8 weeks, they turned on the gene and continued feeding the mice with the diet. Without changing their activity level, the mice demonstrated a loss of body fat.

The conclusion was that type II muscle fibers are effective in fighting against obesity and reducing body fat without altering diet.

Keeps Diabetes at Bay

Weight lifting and other forms of exercising are able to reverse diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the body does not produce sufficient insulin.

When your muscles and other body tissues do not get enough glucose from the blood, you begin to experience blood vessel damage and this leads to serious conditions such as strokes, and heart disease.

In patients with diabetes 2, the accumulation of fat interferes with the transport of glucose in the body. However, physical activity can reverse this condition. Muscle contractions stimulate the production of a special kind of enzyme that breaks down fats that hamper the transport of glucose.

Strong Bones and Back Muscles

Studies have shown that weight training increases bone mass and lowers the risk of osteoporosis. As you grow older, you lose bone mass and muscle.

This is especially true for women who have small bones and normally grow weaker with age. Muscles adjust to the stress of weight training by becoming bigger.

The same case applies to your bones when forced to carry more weight. When muscles contract during weight lifting, they apply force on the bones that in turn create new tissue to bear the excess weight.

Researchers believe that exercising stimulates the mature bone cells to instruct the cells responsible for bone building, to build new bone tissue.

Weightlifting results in strong back muscles. Experts recommend hip extensions, step-ups, and squatting exercises as good for the back.

Oxygen Production

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Weight training improves the body’s capacity to utilize and carry oxygen during workouts also known as VO2 max. This capacity determines your physical fitness.

According to a university study conducted in 1993, weight training was found to be more effective in increasing oxygen demand and supply than treadmill exercise.

Improved Heart Health

Weight training improves the condition of your heart. According to a college of science study, there is a 20 percent drop in blood pressure after 45 minutes of strength training.

This improved blood flow effect persisted for 30 minutes after the training session and lingered for 24 hours in individuals who trained often.

Improved Brain Function

Exercising increases brain molecules that are essential for cognition. One of the molecules associated with exercising is the brain-derived neurotrophic factor also called BDNF. This molecule is crucial for the survival and growth of brain cells.

Research on rats has shown that physical activity boosts the levels of BDNF in the hippocampus- the area of the brain associated with memory formation and learning. The high levels of BDNF helps the rats remember how to find their way in underwater mazes.

Studies on humans have also shown that exercising improves cognition. A clinical trial on individuals aged 50 years and above with memory problems confirmed the effects of exercises.

Participants who were assigned to a workout regimen scored higher compared to their sedentary peers.

Fights Cancer

Studies have linked exercises with the prevention of the risk of cancer. Since physical activity affects your body weight, leaner persons have a low circulation of insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas and necessary for the absorption of glucose by the body.

People who are obese or overweight are resistant to insulin since their cells do not respond to insulin.

In such cases, the pancreas secretes great amounts of insulin flooding the bloodstream and these high levels are associated with some types of cancer- insulin can create tumors or increase the growth of tumors.

Exercising helps overweight people to shed excess weight hence rectifying this insulin disorder.

Exercise also reduces the presence of female hormones progesterone and estrogen in one’s blood. This lowers the risk of developing uterine and breast cancers which are brought by high levels of these hormones.

Improves Sport Performance

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Many people believe that weight lifting builds bulk muscles and is likely to slow down athletes. On the contrary, weight lifting aids in construction non-bulky muscles consisting of dense fibers.

When combined with strength training, resistance training, and power training, weight training helps improve performance in sports. Experts note that weight lifting helps to improve endurance, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity, important elements for success in any sport.