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5 Things Not To Do Before Working Out – And What To Do Instead

5 Things Not To Do Before Working Out – And What To Do Instead

What you do before a workout session can have incredible benefits on your body – or it can derail any attempt to get in shape whatsoever. Before hitting the gym, take the following precautions so you don’t end up leaving in worse shape than you were when you walked in.

Sleep

Of course you want to be rested before you start working out. But getting too much sleep before a session at the gym can actually hinder your performance. When you sleep for more than 30 minutes, your body enters a deep sleep – just as it does when you lie down for the night. A nap that lasts longer than 30 minutes will only make you feel even more groggy and exhausted than you were when you laid down.

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If you must nap before the gym, make sure you set an alarm for 15-20 minutes ahead of time. This will give you enough time to rest your eyes and body but not trick your mind into thinking it’s time to go to bed for the night.

Stretch

When we were younger, our gym teachers all told us make sure to stretch before doing any sort of strenuous activity. However, experts now say stretching before a workout might actually do more harm than good. Not only does static stretching before exercising decrease the strength of the muscles being stretched, but it also increases the risk of pulling or straining these muscles.

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Instead of using static stretching methods before a workout, warm up your muscles by moving them in some way or another, such as running in place, doing jumping jacks, or riding a stationary bike. Save the static stretching for after your workout. Stretching is much more beneficial after you’ve “loosened up” your muscles.

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training is – surprise, surprise – intense. It also varies in intensity throughout each session. Because High-Intensity Interval Training varies in intensity, it disrupts your body’s natural respiration, as the amount of energy you put forward changes over time. HIIT also decreases your stamina and strength quickly, which you certainly don’t want to do before you even get started with your workout.

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As previously mentioned, you should definitely do some sort of cardio to begin a workout session, but there’s no need to go from zero to sixty. Instead of diving into high-intensity activities, wade in with some steady state cardio in which the energy you put forth doesn’t vary much at all.

Eat or Drink Too Much

Remember when your mom always told you not to go swimming until a half-hour after you ate? It turns out there’s some truth to that old wives’ tale, after all. After you’ve eaten a large meal, your body will obviously start to digest it. What we often don’t realize is just how much energy this process takes. If we try to work out during the digestive process, we overburden our bodies, which can lead to stomach cramps and nausea. Additionally, drinking beverages that are high in sugar content can lead to an athlete quickly “hitting the wall,” and being unable to complete a workout session.

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Instead of eating and drinking everything in sight, maintain a healthy pre-workout diet to properly energize yourself before a gym session. Stick to wholesome foods like fruits, grains, and yogurt – stay away from sweets. Check the labels on your sports drink; you might realize there’s a lot more sugar in it than you thought there was, and it might be hurting you more than helping. Stay away from chemicals; find nourishment that actually helps you rather than giving you a superficial boost that will lead to a crash.

Take Too Many Supplements

If you eat well, you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need to prepare yourself for a workout session without the need of supplements. But if you do choose to use them, don’t overdo it. Taking too much “product” can lead to an irregular heartbeat, nausea, and anxiety – and more. It’s definitely not worth doing long-term damage to your body just to get an extra boost during a workout.

If you’re going to use supplemental powders and pills, read the label. Know exactly what you’re taking before you put anything in your body. Know how it will affect you, and know the warning signs your body will give you if you’ve taken too much. It’s okay to try to give yourself an edge while working out – just don’t abuse it.

Featured photo credit: working out / Tomas Salinka / Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Published on June 7, 2019

10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

There’re 3 main parts in this article:

If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

1. The Starter Workout

3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

  • Squat
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Glute Bridge

(30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

2. The 7 Minute Workout

3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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  • Walking Lunges
  • Quarter Squat
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(1 min rest in between each round)

3. The Unilateral Workout

4 sets of 16 reps of:

  • Reverse Lunges
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Skater Squat
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge

(30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

4. The Endurance Workout

2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

  • Squat
  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Glute Bridge

(1-2 min rest in between each set)

5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

  • Skater Squat
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Quarter Squat

(30 min rest in between each round)

6. Strength Lower Body Workout

5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Squat

(30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

7. Glute Burner Workout

4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • Quarter Squat

(1 min of rest time in between set)

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8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

  • Squat
  • Walking Lunge
  • Skater Squat
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Glute Bridge
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(2 mins of rest time in between set)

9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

2 sets of 10 reps of:

  • Reverse Lunge
  • Step Up
  • Single Leg Deadlift

10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

  • Walking Lunge
  • Single Leg Deadlift

(4 mins of rest time in between set)

Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

1. Squat

    A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

    How to squat:

    Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

    2. Walking Lunges

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      A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

      The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

      3. Reverse Lunge

        A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

        By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

        4. Quarter Squat

          A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

          5. Skater Squat

            A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

            6. Step Up

              The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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              7. Glute Bridge

                Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                  Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                  9. Single Leg Deadlift

                    Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                    Before & After Working Out

                    Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                    Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                    Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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