Tag Archives: resistance training

Machines VS. Free Weights

Any workout program you choose, any training style you choose, resistance training (weight lifting) is beneficial to you.  There are two ways to accomplish resistance training, Machines vs. Free Weights.  Machines are stationary, usually plate loaded or have a weight stack and pin system for choosing the amount of weight you wish to lift.  “Free weights” is a broader term, and refers to things like dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, body bars, and body weight resistance tools such as a BOSU, stability ball or TRX.

Which is better?

Well that depends.  Both have a role in training, and it really depends on what you are looking to accomplish.  Stationary machines are a wonderful tool for beginners, and they help to teach the body about postural awareness, what an exercise should feel like and where exactly you should be feeling it.  Machines are also useful for intermediate and advanced lifters, as they work to isolate specific muscles or muscle groups.    Machines may also facilitate the ability to lift more weight, as you are more stable and controlled.  Stationary machines hold your posture, thus they take out the necessity to have an advanced body awareness, and it can be easy to forget to activate your core muscles. Because a weight machine keeps the body in a stable position, it usually only works the muscle in one plane of motion at a time.

Free weights generally require heightened body awareness, as proper posture and core activation will reduce the risk of injury.  When beginning to lift with free weights, you can start by doing many of the exercises seated as opposed to standing which keep a greater amount of control.  Seated vs standing free weight exercises also allows for heavier weights to be lifted safely.   Moving to dynamic equipment such as a TRX suspension system, a greater awareness of proper posture and core activation is recommended. Free weights also train the body in more than one plane of motion at a time.  The body moves dynamically, and free weight training is more functional in terms of movements in every day life.

There are definitive benefits and drawbacks to both – mix it up and try something new.  Remember that if you need help with any of the topics discussed, spotting, or an idea for a different exercise, please ask us!


Be FITT

We’ve all heard of the dreaded workout “plateau” but do we know how to avoid it?  There are many different variables in every workout program that you can change to help avoid hitting that plateau and help your body continue to see the benefits of physical activity.  The four basic areas in which you can change your workout come from the acronym F.I.T.T. – Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

The body reacts differently to the different stimuli that you provide it. By changing that stimuli, you help the body avoid adaptation, thus continuing to achieve results.

Frequency – Changing the days you workout or how often

Intensity – Increasing weight when lifting, adding cardio intervals into your program, change your sets and reps to challenge your muscles in different ways and different energy systems

Time – Length of workouts; can work in conjunction with Frequency, try working out more days for less time, or less days for longer

Type – Change the style of cardio you choose (treadmill vs. bike), try a new fitness class, or learn a new piece of equipment

 

Remember, change is a good thing


Let the Rhythm Move You!

Inspiration comes in many forms, for me music is a huge motivator.  I’ve always been a musically inclined person, even if I didn’t know it.  I started in elementary school playing the recorder, graduated to the clarinet for junior and senior high school, and I still play the clarinet today, mind you not nearly as well anymore.  I have always been able to feel and move to the beat of the song but don’t be mistaken, I dance like Elaine from “Seinfeld”.  There I go dating myself again.

Music is an expression of feeling or mood, even an expression of identity for some.  I have several playlists that I listen to when working out, and they’re all based what my program of the day consists of as well as the mood I am in walking into my workout.  I edit my playlists about once a month to update my motivation and keep from overplaying these delightful gems.

When I want to hit the cardio hard, I focus on pop music, whether it’s current top 40 or from another generation all together, if it makes me smile and want to dance, it makes the cut.  This week’s current cardio-killer favorites include Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop The Feeling”, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears “Scream & Shout”, Nicki Manaj “Super Bass”, and Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”. Love them or hate them my friends, but they make me smile and move a little bit faster.

Weight lifting/resistance training is a completely different beast for me.  My focus and mindset changes, as I suddenly have to pay close attention to my posture and form as well as breathing and core engagement.  With so many more factors to be considered, I need something rock to focus..  My favorite lifting anthems right now include Rise Against “Prayer Of The Refugee”, Metallica “Better Than You”, and Social Distortion “Story Of My Life”.

Cool down and stretching are important components of fitness that are forgotten or skipped quite frequently.  I have made my self an amazing chill playlist to enjoy at the end of my workout to inspire me to stay those five minutes longer and work on my balance, range of motion, and relaxation.  Current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem’s “Bring It On”, Pearl Jam’s “Release”, and Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.

I’m pretty passionate about both wellness and music, so I’m elated that the two can go hand in hand for me.  I feel like my musical tastes are a part of me and I’m happy to share a snippet of myself in the form of musical identity with you.  Take the time to build a stellar playlist.  Keep a list in your “notes” app on your phone of songs you hear and decide you love so you can download and add it later.  Something that makes you want to dance, sing and have a great time.  It’ll brighten up your day, kick up the intensity in your workout, and leave you feeling refreshed and in a better mood walking out of the gym.

Shake it Off!


The Functional Movement Screen

In the interest of serving our members better, and at the same time remaining in line with the best practices in our industry, the Eau Claire YMCA recently sponsored the four full time staff members of the strength and conditioning department to attend a 3-day certification course on delivering and programming the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).

What is the FMS?

The FMS is a quick and easy tool comprised of 7 movement patterns which identify deficiencies, asymmetries (left/right imbalances) and indicators of pain across multiple joints and planes of movement e.g. shoulder issues that may be causing low back pain or vice-versa. It was developed in the late 90s by Gray Cook and Lee Burton, both physical therapists, and has since been adopted by professional sports teams, the military, police and fire services, EMS, and a growing number of commercial fitness facilities.

What does this mean for my training?

Primarily, it empowers your trainer to identify and work towards correcting deficient patterns in your everyday movement that if unaddressed may lead to injury, or most likely re-injury, since we typically develop asymmetries during injury recovery. Overall, it means that your trainer is better equipped to make you stronger, leaner and more fit to keep you running, swimming, biking and hiking for many years to come.

Where do I go from here? How do I get involved?

To get screened, register your interest with one of our member services staff*. You can also contact Geoff Starling (see below) or speak to one of the weight floor staff.

For more information on the FMS, check out: www.functionalmovement.com

*Please be aware that as a pilot program only full time staff of the Eau Claire Strength & Conditioning department are presently capable of delivering the FMS. Other branches will likely complete the necessary training as demand grows.

 

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
Eau Claire YMCA
geoff.starling@calgary.ymca.ca


Contributing to a Healthy Community


Sometimes it can be challenging to get your workout in during peak hours on our weight floor.  Take note of other people around you in workout areas.  Help reduce wait time and maximize resources by sharing exercise equipment, machines and space to ensure everyone has the best possible experience during each visit.

If you let someone else use the machine while you have your “rest” period, several people can use the same piece of equipment at the same time.

It’s all part of the respectful and caring culture we promote and build at YMCA Calgary.  And who knows, while exchanging pleasantries during interactions, you may even meet a new workout buddy!


How Often Should I Exercise?

Good question. While the answer varies depending on individual goals and circumstances, these general guidelines can be helpful for your good health.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Adults should accumulate 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity
  • The activity can be one continuous session of 30 – 60 minutes, or multiple bouts of at least 10 minutes

Resistance Training

  • Adults should train each muscle group 2 – 3 times per week, using a variety of exercises and equipment
  • Muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between sessions to recover.
  • For general fitness, 30 – 90 seconds or rest in between sets (helpful hint:  try a Muscle Works class!)

Flexibility

  • Don’t skip this!  Work into your program at least 2 – 3 times a week to improve range of motion
  • Stretches should be done after your workouts so the muscles are warm, hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds.

Use these guidelines for a great workout. If you’d like to seek some specific advice, there’s no better time than now to invest in personal training!

Andrea Oikawa
Shawnessy YMCA Strength and Conditioning


YMCA Calgary Spring/Summer Program Registration

Program registration for Spring and Summer Programs begins on Feb. 25th for members and Spring Registration begins on March 5th for non-members.  Spring Break and Summer Day Camp registration is also on-going.  Check out our Program brochures or contact your nearest branch for more information!


Be Your Best in 2013

Starting at the YMCA!

YMCA Calgary offers so many options for you and your entire family to get out of the house, get active, and most of all – have fun together!

Whether you’re looking to learn how to swim, a rock-climbing adventure, somewhere for your children to run off some of that energy, or just want to dance your cares (and holidays goodies) away in Zumba, YMCA Calgary can help you meet your goals.  With both drop-in and registered programming for all ages, YMCA Calgary can help you discover who you are in 2013.

Check us out; with five locations across this great city, there is a YMCA near you!  YMCA Calgary is Building Healthy Communities.

Wishing you and your family a happy, safe, and healthy New Year!


Winter program registration is OPEN!

Come in, stay warm and be healthy with the YMCA.

Winter programs start the week of January 7th! Registration is open!

Join us for a great winter workouts and stay warm!

Programs include:

Pilates, Yoga, Fusion, Martial Arts, XFit, TRX, Metabolic Conditioning, Hard Core, Resistance Training, Resistance Training for Triathletes, Metabolic Conditioning for women over 40, Run for your life, Ski and Snowboard Conditioning, Boxer’s workout, Swimming programs for preschoolers, youth and adults, Kangaroo and Climbers, Preschool Variety Programs, Steve Nash Basketball, Youth Leadership Programs, Court Sports and so much more!

Visit www.ymcacalgary.org to find out more!


Demo Days at the Eau Claire YMCA

Join us September 4th -9th for FREE Demo Days at the Eau Claire YMCA. Try yoga, pilates, TRX, Zumba and much more! See schedule below. Please contact 403-781-1684 for more information.

Tuesday September 4th

Aqua Boot Camp                      12:05-12:50                      Pool            

TRX                                           12:05-12:50                      Studio a/b

Yoga                                           5:00-6:00pm                   Meeting 2/3

TRX                                           5:45-6:30pm                    Studio a/b

Wednesday September 5th

Strength for Triathletes         11:00-12:00pm              Weight floor

Yoga                                          12:05-1:00pm                 Meeting 2/3

Ski and Snowboard Cond.       5:20-6:00pm                 Studio c/d

Pilates Infused Core                6:20-7:20pm                   Meeting 2/3

Zumba                                       6:30-7:30pm                  Studio c/d

TRX Hard Core                         6:30-7:00pm                 Studio a/b

Thursday September 6th

Yoga                                            6:00-7:00am                  Meeting 2/3

Interval Blast                            6:00-7:00am                   Studio c/d

TRX                                            9:30-10:00am                 Studio a/b

Yoga                                            9:30-10:30am                Meeting 2-3

Boxer’s Workout                       5:15-5:45pm                   Studio c/d

Run for your life                        5:30-7:00pm                  Lobby

TRX                                             6:30-7:00pm                  Studio a/b

Friday September 7th

Zumba                                        12:05-1:00pm                Studio c/d

Yoga                                            12:05-1:00pm               Meeting 2/3

Olympic Lifting                          12:05-1:00pm              Weight Floor


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