How to Use Self Myofascial Release to Feel Your Best

How to Use Self Myofascial Release to Feel Your Best

Ah, the foam roller. The glorious foam roller.

After an extensive training session, it hurts so well to roll around on that hardened piece of foam. But apart from feeling so awesome on aching muscles it can also reduce chronic pain and rehabilitate a host of injuries.

The proper word for this method is called Self-Myofascial Release Technique (SMRT), and it really is the smart way to long-term regeneration.

Let’s first deconstruct this word and technique

Fascia is a sort of sheet of connective tissue that covers the muscles, bones, and joints. The entire body's structure is covered in a fascia layer, from organs to muscles to blood vessels.

When we overwork the muscles, the fascia layers can tear and turn into adhesions. This is when the layers of fascia stick together. These adhesions halt normal muscle development and can cause pain and discomfort.

The good news is that these adhesions can be released when we apply pressure, such as through deep tissue massage, mobility balls or foam rollers. When we release these tissues it creates a biochemical and mechanical change that provides the opportunity to become more flexible in the future.

The 4 Key Rules for SMRT

rules for SMRT

Before getting into the specific techniques, there are some general rules to follow when practicing self-myofascial release.

  1. Always proceed with caution. Don’t go rolling willy-nilly, over bone and at a fast pace. Take it easy and locate tender areas.
  2. When you do locate a tender point, stop rolling and rest there until the pain decreases by at least 75% (i.e. 10 to 20 seconds). Remember that it’s the pressure, not the rolling that smooths out fascia.
  3. To apply more pressure use only one appendage at a time, for example, when rolling your hammies, put your foot on your thigh to apply more pressure.
  4. You will most likely feel pain in certain areas. This is normal as releasing adhesion is no walk in the park. Just remember to be controlled and slow, pausing when necessary. Just remember not to apply pressure to the bone, only muscle.

What you can use

  • Foam roller. Any foam roller will do, but I recommend one with PVC piping in the middle as it holds its shape for longer.
  • Mobility ball. A lacrosse ball is a good option if you can’t get your hands on a proper mobility ball.

Self-Myofascial Release 101: 5 Techniques You Have to Know and Use Every Day — Be SMRT!

You can easily spend 45 minutes on a full body SMRT session and it can be combined with any warm up/cool down, pre or post-exercise. Here are some techniques, but remember you can focus on any part of the body that needs attention. These next 5 Self-Myofascial Release Techniques are enough to make your body feel great again…

SMRT techniques

1. Adductor

If you sit for long periods of time, this will help open up the hips, alleviating lower back pain.

Extend the thigh and place the foam roller in the groin region with your body face down. Be cautious when rolling near the adductor complex at the pelvis, do not roll on bone. Roll from pelvis to knee.

2. Hamstring

Foam rolling your hamstrings can lead to a significant increase in your general range of motion.

Place your hamstring on the roller with your hips unsupported. If you want to apply more pressure, you can cross your feet. Roll from your knee toward you posterior hip.

3. Quadriceps

Rolling out the quads can also increase your range of motion significantly.

Place your quads on the foam roller with your body face down. Don't slouch! It's important to maintain proper core control, with tight abs and glutes. You don't want to overarch your lower back, which can cause additional injury. Roll from pelvic bone to knee.

4. IT Band

Your IT band is connected to your knee, so when you loosen the muscles around your IT band, your kneecap starts to track correctly.

Position yourself on your side, lying on your foam roller. The bottom of your leg should be raised slightly off the floor. Keep your head in a neutral position with your ears aligned to your shoulders. Don't overdo this one. Keep it in moderation otherwise, you could injure yourself. Roll just below the hip joint down to the outside thigh and then to the knee.

5. Upper Back (Thoracic Spine)

Poor spine mobility is quite common from our slouching sedentary lifestyle. It can lead to tension in your neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips. This tension can then lead to bad posture, aches, and pain. Foam rolling your upper back can lead to better posture.

Place your hands behind your head and wrap your arms around your chest to open the shoulder blades. Raise your hips. Stabilize your head to a neutral position. Roll your mid-back area on the foam roller being careful not to roll on your bone or vertebrae.

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight without that Expensive Gym Membership

10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight without that Expensive Gym Membership

There are some people who are actually enthusiastic when it comes to attaining their weight loss goals and have an adequate amount of time and money to join a gym and exercise every single day. On the contrary, there’re some people who don’t want to take an expensive gym membership and don’t have sufficient time or find gym too boring.

According to most health professionals, one needs to follow the recommended diet and regular exercise. Of course, this combination has a proven track record of helping in losing weight and maintaining the same for a prolonged time. Though moderate intensity exercise is beneficial for improving and maintaining your health, over fifty studies have revealed that exercise may not be the ultimate way to lose weight.

Exercise can definitely help you maintain a svelte physique and develop fat-burning muscle but there are other ways that you can apply to shrink your waistline. In a nutshell, you don’t necessarily need to join an expensive gym to maintain your daily exercise regimen. According to several studies, dietary changes can have a significant effect on weight loss compared to regular physical activity. Furthermore, there are lots of other ways to exercise and lead an active lifestyle that doesn’t involve hitting the gym.

10 Cheap and Simple Ways to Lose Fat without a Gym

However, if you want to have a toned body, here’re 10 easy non-gym techniques that’ll help you shed those extra pounds.

1. Commit to a lifestyle change

Commit to a lifestyle change
To lose extra pounds, you need to have a proper calorie deficit program in place. This means you’ll have to consume less amount of calories and burn more of that. Lifestyle changes can greatly help you to attain that. Developing healthier habits can help you to reach your overall goal of weight loss.

Many people fail to lose weight by following the latest trends such as diet drinks because they can provide you with an adequate amount of nutrition but fail to get you moving, change your mindset or make you accountable. Here’s a list of some key things that would help you to change your lifestyle and thus lose weight.

  • Try to have seven to nine hours sleep every night because inadequate sleep increases your hunger and cravings the next day
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene such as turning off all electronic devices and lights
  • Keep track of your daily food and beverage intake
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet
  • Increase your daily activity levels
  • Set healthier habits and mindset
  • Be accountable

Sometimes, weight loss becomes an uphill task, particularly when you’ve been trying to lose weight for the prolonged time. Getting support from family members or friends is a good idea to stay motivated.

2. Focus on your diet

Focus on your diet
In today’s hectic lifestyle, many people don’t have sufficient time to give a thought about their body’s requirements and fill it with processed, unhealthy foods such as chips, burgers etc. and that’s one of the main reasons they fail to succeed in their weight loss endeavor. Regardless of the fact, you’ve joined a gym or not, consuming clean and staying away from junk food, is a definite way to lose extra weight. You need to make sure that your intake of carbs is paired with protein or fat. This combo will help you avert your blood sugar as well as insulin levels from increasing and then back down to aid you to feel fuller, thus cut calories effortlessly.

So, it’s advisable that you should concentrate on eating less but healthy instead of suffering yourself on a skipped workout. Here’re what an ideal diet plan should include.

  • Keep your intake of high-calorie at a moderate level
  • Eat five to six small meals instead of three big meals
  • Try to consume most calories before the noon
  • Eat whole fruits than fruit juice
  • Go high on vegetables
  • Eat only when you feel hungry
  • Stay away from white foods such as sugar, white rice, white bread etc.
  • Consume grilled or boiled foods
  • Concentrate on eating lean protein and fresh fruits
  • Stay away from mindless snacking

3. Go cycling

Go cycling
Whenever we talk about weight loss, the equation is quite simple – calories out must be excess than calories in. So, you’ve to burn more calories compared to the consumed and cycling perhaps is one of the most enjoyable and simple ways to do that.

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Cycling comes with a multitude of benefits. Apart from making blood circulation better, improving cardiovascular health, muscle toning, this simple form of medium physical training helps to burn calories – 400 to 1000 per hour, based on the rider weight and intensity. Here’re some additional health benefits that you would get from cycling.

  • You’ll have quality sleep
  • It lowers the signs of aging thus making you look younger
  • Boost your bowels
  • Sparkle your brain power
  • You’ll be able to beat the illness
  • You’ll burn more fat
  • It’ll make you happy by releasing feel-good endorphins
  • It’ll lower cancer and heart disease risk
  • It’ll help you to control diabetes
  • It’ll reduce depression and stress

Apart from all these benefits, cycling empowers you to keep the environment pollution free to a great extent as it lowers the emission of the greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur oxides.

4. Turn up the music

Turn up the music
While you can find some motivational and upbeat music constantly playing in today’s gym to boost the members’ motivation, you can still reap the benefits of music when you’re performing physical activities somewhere else. Make your workout sessions an occasion for wearing the iPod or MP3 player and listening to some favorite tunes. Music is widely considered as a great motivator and it becomes even more enjoyable when you can perform to the beats. Many athletes across the globe listen to their favorite music while training because music leaves a positive effect on the limbic system of our brain.

Millions of people from the realm of fitness world use music as a great driving force. Simply re-stocking your playlist can trigger a pleasant boost in your workout intensity. In addition, music can simply modify your mood meaning even if you’re feeling tired, playing a particular song can dramatically modify your mood and raise your workout intensity almost instantly while making you distraction free and extremely focused.

According to research conducted by Brunel University School of Sport and Education, listening to music while exercising can enhance your endurance up to 15 percent. Furthermore, motivational music can help you finish the final four reps of a difficult exercise set. In case of music isn’t your favorite cup of tea, you can always try simple instrumental or sounds of the Mother Nature instead.

5. Go to sleep before 10 PM

Go to sleep before 10 PM
Sleeping plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health, but it becomes even more critical when it comes to weight loss. According to studies, insufficient sleep affects the body’s hunger hormones thus enhancing your hunger and cravings the next day.

Less sleep is synonymous with high levels of stress hormone cortisol that increases your appetite. A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that sleep-deprived people usually eat approximately 300 more calories each day. So, if you’re not sleeping enough, sleeping poorly, or having problems going to sleep, you must address the underlying problem. Getting an adequate amount of good sleep aids to optimize the levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, both of which play a significant role in controlling your metabolism and hunger levels. It may sound actually daunting to miss out on your favorite serial late at night but that one hour of extra sleep can pay you off, especially when your goal is to lose weight.

Here’re some tips that you can follow to have an adequate amount of good night’s sleep each day.

  • Try to have seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This is a common recommendation and should provide a sufficient amount of rest for most of the adults.
  • Exercise good sleep hygiene such as stop using stimulating devices like TV, tablets, smartphones, laptops etc. – approximately thirty minutes before trying to fall asleep.

6. Drink lots of water

Drink lots of water
Did you know we often fail to differentiate between hunger and thirst and end up eating when what we really needed was just a glass of water? Yes, that’s true. 60% of the time, people respond to their thirst by eating (and not drinking water) as they get confused and think of that as hunger. So, drink a glassful of water and wait for 15-20 minutes to see if the hunger subsides. If it does, you would have done yourself a great favor by avoiding unnecessary snacking. Drinking adequate water (about 2 liters a day) will keep you feeling fuller.

You may even drink a glass of water before your meals to ensure you eat less, which would let you beat the flab. Drinking lots of water would keep you hydrated, encourage improved digestion, let you have clearer skin and make your body metabolize fat better. However, don’t drink aerated drinks and sugar-laden beverages to quench your thirst as they do more harm than good. Opt for plain water instead to enjoy the true benefits.

7. Skip elevators, use stairs instead

Skip elevators, use stairs instead
Taking the stairs, especially for going up, will give you a low impact workout that offers optimal benefits in minimum time. Remember – stairs are almost everywhere though they are rarely used as a means of staying in good shape. Rather than cycling or jogging at a moderate pace an incline, stair climbing can help to shed the flab due to the vertical component in it. Since it makes your body work against the gravitational force, it’s a bit more challenging and lets you burn more calories than you would when cycling or jogging for the same period.

Since stairs give you a free workout where you don’t need to buy costly equipment or pay for a steep gym membership fee, you can include this form of exercise in your daily routine. Apart from helping you in losing weight, climbing stairs can even help your knees and joints. So, skip elevators the next time you see the stairs and take the latter instead to keep your body moving as part of your daily physical workout.

8. Learn to manage stress

Learn to manage stress
Stress has become an inevitable part of the modern lifestyle and you can’t run away from it. So, the next best thing is to manage it well. When you are stressed, you often end up eating wrong, unhealthy foods, which add to your weight. You even have problems with sleep and may encounter other health ailments, all of which would eventually make you sick. So, find ways to cope with and manage stress effectively.

Exercising daily, practicing meditation and deep breathing techniques, tai-chi and Pilates are some ways that many have put their trust in to beat the blues. You too can take your pick from these to manage stress.

Additionally, lean back on your social support system (family, friends etc) to discuss matters that can trigger stress to find solutions or coping mechanisms. Being proactive in this way would help you to steer clear of stress which would have otherwise buckled you down. Plan your day before starting work or your household chores to tackle each element on your agenda on time and efficiently as being unorganized too can create a lot of stress in your life.

9. Skip TV

Skip TV
Being a couch potato would do you no good. Of course, you can watch your favorite TV show or the news but spending the majority of your waking hours perched in front of the TV would only add to your weight. So, keep moving to stay in shape. Do the household chores, rustle up a quick meal, enjoy a few laps in the local swimming pool, go out to shop for the groceries, or simply play out in the open with your friends. Take a walk in the park, or go cycling in the neighborhood – do whatever you feel like to stay active rather than sitting idle all day long in front of your TV and eating loads of unhealthy snacks.

In case you find skipping TV an uphill task (which most of you may!), at least make an effort to limit the perils. For instance, you could do a few squats or pushups every time a food-related ad is aired, or do a couple of jumping jacks during the TV commercials to challenge yourself.

10. Have Fun and Don’t Give Up

Have Fun and Don’t Give Up
Fitness isn’t just about gyms and treadmills. You can stay fit by planning your regular activities to give you some necessary workouts without the need of having to go to the gym. From taking the stairs instead of the elevators and walking down to your grocery shop, to find a fitness buddy who can give you company during those morning runs or evening laps in the pool, it’s all about striking a balance between what you love and what your body needs to stay fit.

Rather than being boring, your ideal exercise session should be fun and interesting. Despite the sweat session, you should be eager to get back to the routine the next day – that’s what true fitness and real motivation are all about! There would be days when you may feel like running away or simply stopping, don’t give in to the temptation. Keep saying to yourself you are doing this for your own good and stick to the plan. Continue having fun while giving your body the necessary workout and you will soon find that the consistent effort gets paid well in the form of a fit and active body that’s radiating a healthy glow.


Emma Johnson Author Bio: Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson works as a content editor for Best Brands HQ. She likes to blog about Fitness and Camping. In her free time, she loves to cycle, swim and trek a lot.

An Intense HIIT Workout Today Makes For A Better Tomorrow

An Intense HIIT Workout Today Makes For A Better Tomorrow

Why put off to tomorrow what you can do right now? It’s workout time! Anytime, anywhere… let’s get a sweat on while training for this beautiful thing called LIFE!

In this simple and sweaty workout, we hit the whole body with some functional movements targeting the core, legs, and upper body…

The following workout is one of the many weekly workouts provided in the RBT Shred 6-week Lifestyle program. You can learn more about it here.

The 12 Minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) Workout is as follows:

Complete 4 rounds of the following:

– 30 seconds of squats
– 30 seconds of right side plank hold
– 30 seconds of glute bridges
– 30 seconds of left side plank hold
– 30 seconds of reverse lunges
– 30 seconds of front plank hold

That's it! That's all!

Remember, give it your all, and modify movements to work with your ability and fitness level. You got this!

A sweaty little workout today makes for a healthier tomorrow… join me!

Why put off to tomorrow what you can do right now? It’s workout time! Anytime, anywhere… let’s get a sweat on while training for this beautiful thing called LIFE! In this simple and sweaty workout, we hit the whole body with some functional movements targeting the core, legs, and upper body… The workout is as follows:12 Minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)Complete 4 rounds of the following:- 30 seconds of squats- 30 seconds of right side plank hold- 30 seconds of glute bridges- 30 seconds of left side plank hold- 30 seconds of reverse lunges- 30 seconds of front plank holdThat's it! That's all! Remember, give it your all, and modify movements to work with your ability and fitness level. You got this! #RBTShred #WLFManifesto

Posted by Dai Manuel: Your Lifestyle Mentor on Tuesday, June 26, 2018


 

5 Practical Tips to Help Skinny Guys Grow New Muscles

5 Practical Tips to Help Skinny Guys Grow New Muscles

In the gym, same as in life, we have to play with the cards that are dealt with us, and this saying refers to our body constitution and genetics. Yes, it is true, genetics DO play a tremendous role in one's ability to put on muscle mass, and some people are less fortunate than others. There is a name for them – hard gainers.

Building some serious muscle might be harder for these folks, but it is possible, and I am about to present you with some essential tips for going from scrawny to brawny. Enjoy!

5 Essential Muscle Building Tips for Hard Gainers

Tip 1) Bump up your calorie intake with the right foods

You've probably encountered a skinny gym goer desperately trying to put on mass by eating extraordinary amounts of food every day, but still no luck.

Most of them have started this eating “regimen” because someone told them that “To get big, you need to eat big.” This idea makes sense, but some of these poor guys are stuffed all the time without making any progress because they still don't consume enough calories.

Well, one crucial thing to realize is that more volume DOES NOT always equal more calories. For example, one big bowl of oatmeal can barely pack up 300 calories, while only 100 grams of beef contains around 250 calories.

By comparison, that same bowl of oatmeal will most likely fill you up but 100 grams of beef won't. Focus on calorie and nutrient-dense foods such as meats and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds).

By doing this, it will be easier to get in enough calories, along with all the necessary nutrients, without torturing your stomach. There will still be a place for good quality carbs in your life but think of them as a filler or addition to the before mentioned foods.

Tip 2) More time under tension sets

“Feel the burn” is a phrase constantly thrown around in the workout community, but what does it mean? This saying refers to the burning feeling that arises when your muscles spend some time under tension, for example during the last few reps in your set. That is important because it challenges your muscles which ultimately produces progress (hypertrophy and strength gain).

The way to achieve this is to perform slower reps. As you may have noticed, the speed at which you do a particular exercise can make it easier or harder, and you are looking for the latter as a hard gainer.

To start, concentrate on the length of your reps and don't worry about the amount. 5-second reps would be a good beginning. Next, try to keep a steady tempo when doing the exercise; you can even get a buddy with a stopwatch to count the seconds for you.

Another vital thing is the form, and remember that you should NEVER compromise it only to get another rep. My advice would be to try this method with bodyweight exercises, such as pull-ups, and eventually move on to free weights.

Tip 3) Get more quality sleep

When it comes to putting on muscle mass, sleep is the elephant in the room that many people neglect, overlook, or simply do not wish to accept as crucial.

To clarify this point, we can start with the question – why do we sleep in the first place? Well, sleep serves many functions, all critical to our health and well-being.

It is the time when the brain gets much-needed rest which provides us with alertness and mental clarity throughout our waking hours. Also, quality sleep is a significant factor in hormone optimization without which there can't be such a thing as a healthy body.

During the night, testosterone and human growth hormone are released, both of which are responsible for muscle growth. Cortisol, the stress hormone, gets regulated and lowered during this time and insulin sensitivity gets better.

Besides this, hard gainers need to know that sleeping is the time when muscles go into the catabolic mode, therefore eating just before bed is a must if you don't want to lose any precious gains. Having a protein shake or a protein-heavy meal before slumber will prevent muscle breakdown and provide your body with much-needed nutrition.

Tip 4) Compound exercises for Hard Gainers

When it comes to your workout program, think more in terms of strongman rather than a bodybuilder. “What do you mean by this?”, You might ask.

Bodybuilding workouts, which are very popular with gym “bros” all over the globe, contain a lot of isolation exercises (e.g., bicep curls, triceps extensions, etc.) They can be great for some people, usually the genetically gifted kind, but for a hard gainer, it would most likely be a waste of time.

Strongman programs, on the contrary, are composed of compound, whole-body exercises such as squats, dead-lifts, chin-ups and so on.

Compound movements like these produce a response in your central nervous system which promotes serious muscle gains throughout the whole body.

For beginners, it is imperative to learn correct form first, before jumping into a 5-days-a-week heavy lifting program.

Some of these exercises can be overwhelming at first so if squats are too challenging, start with leg presses to build up the necessary strength.

Start with about 70-80% compound exercises in your regimen and over time the squat rack, Olympic bench, barbell and pull up bar will become your new favorite tools in the gym.

Tip 5) Worry about under-recovery instead of overtraining

Overtraining is a word that you can hear a lot among exercise enthusiasts. Some claim it's a myth, an excuse of the weak, while others say they've experienced its dreadfulness. The truth is, overtraining is real, in the world of professional sports.

If you are an average Joe, who lifts several times a week, this thought shouldn't even enter your mind. On the contrary, proper recovery should be a great concern, and this is where most recreational athletes fail. People who have overtraining-like symptoms most likely don't eat right, sleep enough or rest properly, thus they fall into a continuous under-recovery mode.

The majority will then assume that too much training is the problem, and then proceed to decrease their workout frequency and volume, and this will only take decrease or diminish any possible progress.

So how do you do it the right way? There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to putting on muscle, so hire a professional to write you a good program and stick to it, all while making recovery a PRIORITY. It doesn't have to be more complicated than this.

The list doesn't look too bad, right?

If you are still having second thoughts about some of this advice, I encourage you to do more research, and there is plenty of material for that online, this is time-tested and scientific information, guaranteed to produce results if you put it into practice correctly.

It will not be easy, but it will sure as hell be effective, and if you can gather some motivation to get you started, the results that you will see will keep you going.

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Author Bio:

Annie Jones is the woman behind the BoostBodyFit.com website. She started off a bit on the chubby side, but went through the transformation and now enjoys excellent health and looks great.

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5 Martial Arts Workouts That Will Get You Ripped

5 Martial Arts Workouts That Will Get You Ripped

Martial arts alone do an excellent job at conditioning your body. Certain styles may focus on specific areas of the body over others (e.g. an emphasis on punching with boxing compared to grappling and throws in BJJ), but the training practitioners undergo still work to strengthen the entire body.

The following contains five of some of the best workouts that martial arts practitioners use to condition and strengthen themselves. Whether or not you practice a particular style, you can still take full advantage of any exercise on this list.

Top 5 Martial Arts Workouts that will Help You Condition Your Body (aka get you strong and ripped!)

Focus Pad Training

Focus pads, otherwise known as “focus mitts” or “punch mitts,” are flat, hand-held pads that come in a variety of sizes, and they have been used in martial arts training for years now. They are inexpensive, versatile tools that you can take anywhere as long as you have a partner or coach to hold them up for you.

Focus pad training conditions the body as it forces you to exercise in several different ways. The exact exercise you do is up to you and your partner, and it's best to switch things up now and again to work on a variety of moves.

Go on the offense, utilizing footwork to move around while you strike low and high. Add combinations and work on your speed, timing, accuracy, and basic hand-eye coordination so that you're landing each strike correctly.

Switch up and go on the defense. Have your partner “swing” at you with the pads. This forces you to move some more to block, roll, parry, etc. Raise and lower the intensity levels, and go a few rounds depending on how difficult you want this exercise to be.

Heavy Bag Drills

The heavy bag is another tool used across various martial arts styles. It is such a great conditioning tool that many non-fighters and other athletes have embraced it as a part of their workout arsenal.

One of the best ways to condition your body by using the heavy bag is through performing drills in a series of rounds. Now, there are several ways to go about doing drill work on a bag. Before you do so, be sure you have all the right protective gear and that you keep in mind proper form so that you don't injure yourself.

Try your hand at going five rounds with each round being three minutes long; rest for 30 seconds between each round:

  • Round 1: This is simply a warm-up drill. Make use of only the jab here, but be sure to move around the bag to fall into a comfortable rhythm. This builds up a good pace that you'll need for the upcoming rounds. The first round also helps your body understand the distance between your reach and the bag.
  • Round 2: Pick up your pace and make use of combinations. You can completely freestyle here with whatever you're comfortable with. If you want to stick with striking, you can try a jab-cross, jab-rear hook, cross-lead hook, etc. Those good with kicks can try out double jab-hook-right kick, left kick-cross-left hook, etc. Improve your speed and change your combos as the round goes on.
  • Round 3: Turn this into a “speed round” of sorts. Move in and out of the bag as if you were in a real fight. Keep up the momentum the entire round, and don't forget to mix up your combos.
  • Round 4: This is more of a “power round.” Attack the bag with power strikes/kicks. Act as though you have an opponent in front of you that you're trying to knock out.
  • Round 5: As this is the end, just empty yourself out. Stay busy by going in fast and hard, using different combos while moving around the bag. In essence, the final round is a combination of the previous two rounds.

By the end of the five rounds, if you're completely spent, then you're done. You have the option to repeat the drills again if you feel as if you can for a truly intense workout.

HIIT w/ Medicine Ball

Most people understand by now just how incredible HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is. Throw in a medicine ball, and you can condition your body with minimal equipment. Depending on your level of skill, you can use anywhere between an 8lb to a 20lb medicine ball.

The following workout should be performed in 30-sec intervals with a 5-sec break or so between each exercise.

Here's the list of what you'll be doing as well as an explanation on how to do them:

  • Wood Chops: Stand with your feet a bit more than a shoulder width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. With the ball in-hand and your arms straight, rotate at your waist while you bring the ball up to shoulder height and to the left. Lower to waist-height and raise the ball again, this time to your right. Repeat the process.
  • Squat-Curl-Press: Starting with the ball held in front of your pelvis, sink into a squat, return to the start position, curl the ball under your chin, press it up overhead, and return again to the start position.
  • Jackknives: Hold the ball with both hands and assume the usual jackknife position (laying flat on your back, arms extended past your head). Tighten your abs and bring your arms and legs up, holding for a second before returning to the start position.
  • Mountain Climbers: Perform these as you would regularly except by using the medicine ball as support. Begin in the push-up position, grasping and balancing with both hands on the ball. Alternate bringing your knees in toward your chest and the ball.
  • Transfer Push-Ups: Place the ball in front of you and assume the plank position. Grip the ball with both hands so that you're in the push-up position. Remove one hand, doesn't matter which one first, and lower yourself toward the ground to do the push-up. Return the hand to the ball and repeat with the opposite hand. A more advanced variation of this is to just roll the ball from one hand to the other after each push-up.

Jump Rope

Jump rope is a fine way to get in your cardio to improve endurance, agility, and burn calories. It seems like such a simple exercise, but if you use it right, jumping rope can stimulate interval training you'd get at the gym.

There are endless jump rope techniques that martial artists use. If you're unsure, always start with the basic two feet skip, but never stay with that as it doesn't nearly give you the conditioning workout you're looking for.

You want to integrate more difficult moves. Alternate your feet, hop on just one foot, double under, jump and squat, crisscross, etc. Jumping rope is super easy on your joints, can go just about anywhere you do, and doesn't cost as much as other gym equipment. All-in-all, it's a great, cheap tool that provides you a head-to-toe workout if you know how to use it right.

Speed Bag Drills

This small bag may not seem like much at first glance, but it is a great piece of equipment that works various parts of your body. It improves hand-eye coordination, timing, shoulder endurance, and more. When you want to work some drills with the speed bag, you need to remember to never sacrifice control for speed.

Time yourself for 30 seconds and strike the bag as many times as you can, making sure to count how many times you actually hit the bag. When you do this, use one type of strike like a hook or a jab, and go for three rounds. Try to increase the amount of hits you land each round. This will help you build up your punching speed over time.

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Author Bio: Jason Maine

Jason is the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to provide best martial arts advice and information. Jason helps his readers with martial arts training by sharing personal tips and thorough research. Check out fullcontactway.com to get more about Jason’s work. You can find him on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

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Get Down and Dirty with these 2 Beach Workouts

Get Down and Dirty with these 2 Beach Workouts

I believe in protecting the body today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. But I also love, love, love playing in the sun! I chase it every chance I get.

Those that know me, know I'm a big fan of bodyweight based workouts. So when Coppertone® Sport Sunscreen asked me to share two of my favorite fun in the sun workouts while testing the new Coppertone Sport lightweight and breathable formula, I was totally game. I can barely feel it on my skin. After 80 minutes of sweating or swimming, just reapply and keep moving.

Ready and willing, with the sun out, we set out to Seseh Beach in Bali, Indonesia, and got our guns and buns out! Check out the video below…

2 Beach-Body-Ready Workouts to Help You Get Your Guns n' Buns Out Next Time the Sun's Out

Suns Out, Guns Out: 5 Rounds for Time

Set your timer and work through 5 rounds of the following circuit:

  • 25-meter dash
  • 10 push-ups
  • 25-meter dash
  • 10 squat jumps or Reverse Lunges
  • 25-meter dash
  • 10 burpees
  • 25-meter dash
  • 10 mountain climbers

When you're done, write down your final time and compare your progress next time you give this one a try.

Suns Out, Buns Out: 15 Minutes As Many Rounds As Possible

With your countdown timer set for 15 minutes, see how many rounds of the following circuit you can complete. 1 round is as follows:

  • 25-meter walking lunge
  • 15 glute bridges
  • 25-meter 2-foot broad jump
  • 15 squats to parallel (add a jump for spice)
  • 25-meter dash

Don't Forget About Sun Safety for Healthy Skin

Don't forget to practice sun safety anytime you find yourself outside and playing this summer. Check out The Outside-In 5 Point Radiant Skin Maintenance Plan along with The Inside-Out 5-Point Skin Maintenance Plan to ensure your skin stays healthy, hydrated and vibrant.

Have fun!

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Dai Manuel - HeadshotThis is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Coppertone. The opinions and text are all mine.

And to be absolutely clear, this is my disclaimer: “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t  share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Coach Moose

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