If you've worked hard at some point to get into the best shape of your life, you may also recall that you had to work hard, work out consistently and stay focused to build you muscles and your endurance. It probably didn't happen overnight. And you may also recall how easy it was to lose that level of fitness.
Of course it's not easy, or recommended, to try to maintain an elite level of fitness year-round. Even the pros alternate between moderate and top fitness, and use several weeks during the off-season for complete rest and recovery. Of course, if you want to maintain a relatively high level of fitness, you can't give it up altogether and expect your gains to last. And during breaks, injuries and illness, losing a bit of fitness is inevitable.
But just how quickly and how much fitness you'll lose depends upon a few factors. Deconditioning, is the term that describes the 'use it or lose it' principle, and it's a bit more complicated than you may expect.
Fitness: Use It or Lose It: Learn more about how deconditioning happens and get a few tricks to help you maintain a reasonable level of fitness despite a short break from your workouts.
There are as many ab exercises as there are personal trainers. The abs and the core have a variety of functions, and therefore, a variety of ways to exercise them. But no matter what exercises you choose, there are some basic ideas you'll want to keep in mind. Getting strong, stable abs takes more than lots and lots of crunches.
If you want to build a better, stronger and more functional midsection, you'll want to exercise your core through a variety of movement patterns that include more than forward flexion.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the ab exercises?
- Can You Exercise the Upper and Lower Abs Separately?
- Can I Lose Belly Fat by Doing Lots of Crunches?
- What Is the Best Abdominal Exercise?
- Does the Order of Ab Exercises Matter?
- Can I Use Weights When Exercising the Abs?
- How High Should I Lift Up During a Basic Crunch?
- How Often Should I Do Abdominal Exercises?
- What's the Best Pilates Exercise for the Abdominals?
- How Does the Captain's Chair Exercise Work the Abdominals?
- Do Standing Side Bends Exercise My Abdominals?
If you have a sports injury that takes you out of your normal workout routine, you may wonder if physical therapy is worth the time and cost. What exactly happens in PT? You might assume you could easily find some rehab exercises on your own and be your own physical therapist.
While you may be able to fully recover on your own after basic injuries including sprains and strains, the benefits of visiting a qualified physical therapist are many. For an athlete, physical rehab is an important part of an injury treatment plan because the therapist will not only help you recover faster, but will provide a thorough assessment and help correct any specific muscle imbalance or weakness that may have lead to the injury in the first place. A skilled therapist will not only help you get back in the game, but will help you boost your game by improving your overall strength, flexibility and biomechanics.
Going to PT consistently after an injury can help you regain the strength and mobility lost due to your injury. For athletes, working with an expert sports physical therapist can help you not only regain function, but move to a higher level of conditioning than before your injury.
Learn more about the benefits of Physical Therapy.
Everyone can use a good dose of balance training, but for athletes better balance can help reduce the risk of ankle sprains. Adding a few balance exercises to your training routine can be as simple as practicing one-leg standing, and then closing your eyes. This simple, but effective exercise will engage the fine proprioceptors and help you learn to react and recover more quickly when your balance is challenged.
For more targeted balance training, you can add a few tools, including balance boards, balls, and foam pads. As part of a regular balance training program, they will keep you on your toes, and keep your workouts fresh and fun.
Here are a few products to consider adding to your balance training workouts:
Top 10 Balance and Proprioception Training Products
Athletes often experience aching, weakness, or a slight twinge in the knees. Sometimes this pain can be the result of overuse that causes some soreness along the front, or sides of the knee. Often, rest is all that is needed to treat this sort of pain. But how do you know when knee pain is serious and when you just need some time to recover?
There are some red flags that indicate it may be time to see a doctor for your knee pain. Among the most obvious warning signs of serious knee pain is any pain or swelling of the knee joint that persists for more than 48 hours.
Read More About Knee Pain
Building a better butt isn't simply about vanity, it's critical to athletic performance, and it can greatly reduce your risk of back, hip, and knee pain and injuries.
Given how large the gluteus medius and maximus muscles are, it's surprising how many people have a weak backside. Part of the reason is that today many of us spend a lot of time sitting, and sitting for extended periods of time can result in tight, shortened hip flexors and hamstrings, and weak glutes that fail to fire properly. But the good news is that some basic exercises can help get your glutes properly firing and build more strength and power. Read on to learn more.
Odds are you're reading this post while sitting. Odds are, you spend a lot of time sitting.
Sitting for long periods of time causes a cascade of harmful health effects, including slowed metabolism, poor body mechanics, weak and shortened muscles, higher cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.
And while all that may sound awful, it may not be the motivation you need to get up just yet. Most of the health ills I just mentioned appear slowly over time. And as most of us know, unless we see the immediate consequences of our actions, it's often hard to make a change or develop a new habit.
But if you suffer from low back pain, getting out of you chair and making some changes to your routine today may have obvious results tomorrow. Low back pain is wide-spread and one of the most common reasons people go to a doctor. The good news is that home treatment can usually prevent or alleviate back pain fairly quickly.
Start here: Exercises for Preventing Low Back Pain
Are your workouts dull, stale or uninspiring? Or maybe you've simply stopped making progress?
If you find yourself moving through a workout on autopilot, or are simply bored and distracted while exercising, you might be in a fitness rut. Or perhaps you are training hard, but just don't seem to be making progress? You may be hitting a plateau. Both of these scenarios are common.
Many exercisers get into fitness ruts and hit plateaus after about three to six month of doing the same routine. To give your workouts a boost of fresh air, to keep making progress, and to avoid an overuse injury, perhaps all you need is a bit of variety and a new perspective.
Here are tips to help you overcome exercise boredom and break out of the rut.
Most athletes have suffered through an injury at some point during training or competition. Some injuries are completely unexpected and random, but more often than not, there may have been something you could have done to prevent or reduce the severity of an injury.
What Do you Think?
If you have ever suffered a sports injury, have you thought about what you might have done to prevent it? Are you following that advice today? Here are some common responses. What about you?
Injury Prevention Poll: "I Could Have Prevented My Sports Injury By..."
(To vote, simply click on one of the following links. Feel free to add your comments below)
- Warming Up More
- Exercising Within My Fitness Level
- Stopping (Back Off) at the First Sign of Pain
- Using Protective Gear (helmet, mouth guard)
- CrossTraining to Avoid an Overuse Injury
- Listening to My Body (Heeding Warning Signs)
- Getting Medical Attention Sooner
- Getting Better Instruction (from a Trainer, etc)
- No, there was nothing I could have done.
- Other Reason
If you suffer from knee pain, you may benefit from building up your hip stability with exercises that work the hip through the entire range of motion.
To help the patella tracking properly, it helps to do exercises that engage the abductors and adductors. Theses muscles are essential for providing stability in the hip joint and they help create a strong, balanced link between the lower body and the core.
If you exercise the hip primarily through a forward motion (walking, running, cycling) you may be neglecting the lateral movements that help maintain structural integrity of the hip, as well as the entire lower body.
To avoid or reduce knee pain, do specific knee and hip exercises that help build hip joint integrity.
Example Beginner Exercises
Example Intermediate Exercises
Example Advanced Exercises