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How Ballistic Stretching can Change your Life for the Better

How Ballistic Stretching can Change your Life for the Better

If you are a serious athlete, pre-exercise stretching will certainly be a major part of your routine, especially if you are about to take part in a big game.

There are countless approaches to stretching and each technique works in a different way. The most widespread approach is static stretching, which we are all taught from an early age when engaging in any sort of exercise.

But have you ever heard of ballistic stretching? You might be surprised by its many benefits.

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What is ballistic stretching?

Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or limb in an attempt to force it beyond its normal range of motion. In a nutshell you stretch by bouncing into or out of a stretched position.

What are the benefits of ballistic stretching?

The core purpose of ballistic stretching is to increase your range of motion, hence why the approach is extremely popular amongst dancers, basketball players and footballers.

By increasing your range of motion you’ll be able to jump higher and kick with more force, amongst other things, so the benefits of ballistic stretching can certainly lead to improved performance within the sporting arena. This is why ballistic stretching is particularly popular amongst professional athletes.

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How it works

Rather than remaining static, in ballistic stretching you use your muscles as a springboard to pull you out of a stretched position. A common example of ballistic stretching is to repeatedly bounce up and down while bending over and touching your toes.

How is it different to other stretching methods?

Ballistic stretching is different to other stretching routines primarily because it pushes muscles beyond their usual range of motion.

Other methods like dynamic and static stretching don’t involve any bouncing or jerking and they are designed to purely heat muscles up rather than increase your range of motion.

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What exercises can you do?

Now that you know more about ballistic stretching and the benefits it can present in your life, it’s time to dive right in and give it a go.

(Note for caution: Ballistic stretching pushes you to your limits, but if you start to feel pain during any of these exercises, stop and check your form. If pain persists, consult your GP or physiothearpist.)

Toe touching swing

Place your feet shoulder width apart and slowly bend down to touch your toes. Unlike a static stretching routine where you would hold this position for a few seconds, you need to repeatedly bounce down to touch your toes in a spring like motion.

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Forward leg swing

Hold onto something that provides you with both support and enough room to swing your leg back and forth in front of you. Flex and extend one leg and slowly swing it back and forth, gradually doing larger swings with each rep. Once you have done it ten times on one leg it’s time to switch it up.

Hamstring stretch

Find a piece of equipment that you can rest and elevate your leg on in front of you – a table is a good choice. Once your leg is stretched out, straighten your back and repeatedly reach over to touch your toes. After you have felt a good stretch, switch to the other leg.

Bent over torso swing

This stretch is designed to prepare multiple muscles for improvement. Simply place your legs shoulder width apart and spread your arms so you are in a star-like position. Bend down and touch your right leg with your left arm and then rotate your torso so you touch your left leg with your right arm. Repeat this processes until you start to feel looser.

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Ballistic stretching presents a wealth of benefits to athletes by increasing their overall performance and improving dynamic flexibility. Try it out today!

Featured photo credit: IM Free via flickr.com

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James Timpson

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

Are you frustrated by the fact that you haven’t been able to lose weight? Have you ever wondered if you don’t actually know how many calories you eat in a day? How much exercise do you ACTUALLY get, and why doesn’t anything seem to be working? A weight loss tracker can help you answer all of these questions and more.

How can we start to see results and have the momentum to keep moving forward? The answer is simple:

Have a game-plan and know exactly what is going on inside your body.

If you really want to excel at your fitness goal, then you need to have a game-plan for success. You need to know what will keep you motivated, how to simplify things, how to be more efficient at your goals, and even find what you enjoy the most.

You can start by checking out Lifehack’s Busy Yet Fit Course, which will help you get into the groove of working out, even if you have a busy lifestyle.

If you’re blindly trying to chase your goals, then you probably feel about as hopeless as a carpenter with a butter-knife. So, it’s time to stock your toolbelt for success!

I am about to show you the top weight loss tracker apps that will be game-changers for you. From nutrition trackers to step counters, these apps are sure to set you on the fast track to your fitness goals.

Keep reading to find the apps that might just shoot you past your plateau and into the lifestyle you dream of.

1. MyFitnessPal

    When it comes to the best weight loss tracker apps, this one takes the cake (The Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan cake that is).

    MyFitnessPal is the best all around calorie counter that I have found on the market. This app is free and has almost all the calorie counting resources available to you. Not only does it seamlessly estimate the daily calories needed to hit your goal, but it also gives you the methods to track it.

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    Just enter the ingredients of each meal you eat, and it will add up how many calories you eat. It can also scan product barcodes and automatically enter those calories for you.

    Going a step beyond that, this app also tracks your macros (according to your own customized goals) and nutrients. Furthermore, you can input a desired weight to track your weight loss journey.

    While that all seems impressive enough, this app also tracks exercise calories and can sync to Fitbit, MapmyRun, and other apps to measure your exact energy ratio.

    If you want a one-stop map to success, then this is it! This will not only help you develop a game plan, but will also create a flexible plan to get you there.

    Get the app here!

    2. Fitbit

      I know you’ve already heard of this app, and for good reason. Fitbit has been helping thousands step their way to health since it first came out.

      While investing in a Fitbit may not be cheap, I believe it to be well worth the investment.

      Fitbit will track your total amounts of steps each day. For those of you who are competitive, this is the perfect app to keep you moving and motivated throughout the day.

      This app can also sync with other fitness apps, like MyFitnessPal, to measure your exact energy expenditure each day. It’s a keeper for sure, especially if you’re looking for a great weight loss tracker.

      Get the app here!

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      3. MapMyRun

        This is another one for the competitive, beginner, or exercise enthusiast. MapMyRun measures the distance that you run and even tracks your route. Furthermore, you can sync your daily results with MyFitnessPal to keep track of your daily calorie burn.

        If you want to go at it with a friend, you can challenge them in competitions that are sure to keep you both moving!

        Once, my husband ran for 2 miles just before midnight to beat me in a competition that was ending the next day. Talk about motivation!

        MapMyRun is perfect for those who like to challenge themselves, love to be part of a fitness community, or want a place for friends to hold them accountable to their goals.

        Get the app here!

        4. Zombies, Run!

          Are you having trouble pulling away from entertainment to go out and run? Then why not combine the two?

          ZombieRun is a fun app that is sure to get you moving if you are someone who is motivated by a good time. In fact, you might even have such a blast you will forget you are exercising!

          This app takes you through a storyline and makes you the hero. Each level will present a new challenge to help you progress and keep things exciting.

          You certainly won’t need to worry about your pre-workout. Imagining you are the hero in the story will be enough to keep your adrenaline pumping on its own.

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          Just be sure not to move too slow or the “Zombs” (as we runners affectionately call them) might catch you!

          Get the app here!

          5. Prepear

            Are you tired of sitting down for hours and trying to strategize what to eat? This app helps cut this time in a quarter and is a great addition as a weight loss tracker.

            Simply add online recipes into your weekly meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and it will organize all the ingredients you will need into a shopping list.

            With all your meal planning in one organized area, it will be easy to find which meal you plan to make for the day. This will keep your healthy recipes delicious. You will seriously never have to fret about meal planning again!

            Get the app here!

            6. Strava

              If walking is your health resolution, this weight loss tracker might be for you. Strava is sure to get you into healthy habits that you enjoy. In fact, you might start losing weight before realizing that you’ve even been exercising.

              This app enables you to track your trails and mileage, take pictures, and invite friends to join. It is a keeper for beginners and hikers alike.

              Get the app here!

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              7. Aaptiv

                If you find yourself at the gym and not sure what to do, then this app might be for you. Aptive gives you workouts to do and instructs you how to do them.

                While there’s nothing quite like the accountability of a personal trainer, Aaptiv is a great way to be guided through exercises without having to dish out tons of money.

                The online instructors will guide you through the movements and keep you focused on finishing the workout. This app is sure to make you a gym rat in no time!

                Get the app here!

                8. Freeletics

                  Here’s one for those of you always on the move! Freeletics is an incredible app designed for people who just don’t have the time (or motivation) to drive down to the gym. Freeletics provides online workouts designed specifically from bodyweight with no equipment needed.

                  You will be surprised at what a great workout you can get without any equipment.

                  That’s right, you work-travelers; say goodbye to your excuses because this app is bringing the trainer to you!

                  Get the app here!

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 8 weight loss tracker apps are sure to revolutionize your fitness goals. Guesswork will no longer be a part of your fitness journey. These apps are like carrying professionals around in your pocket all day!

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                  Get ready to be motivated, informed, and ready to start achieving your dreams!

                  More Tips for Weight Loss

                  Featured photo credit: Gabin Vallet via unsplash.com

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