Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

Thera-Band Exercise Balls

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

There have been many clever innovations produced in recent years that make use of simple ideas to provide us with exercise and rehabilitation options that can be utilized anywhere in our office or home. Thera-Band Exercise Balls are simple inflatable balls, available in a range of sizes, that can be used to help strengthen muscles required for better posture and as a way of preventing back pain. These balls are also commonly referred to as stability balls.

These balls can be utilized in a number of different ways in exercises designed to increase range of motion, strength and endurance. They may be used during yoga, pilates and aerobics and they can be helpful for stretching exercises.

Something that must be understood right from the start, when you buy a Thera-Band Exercise Ball it does not come with a pump. You must buy one separately to inflate your exercise ball – for convenience a very good pump made by Isokinetics has been displayed below.

Types of Thera-Band Exercise Balls

Thera-band Exercise Balls are available in 5 different sizes and have been color coded to help you determine which one you require. They are also available in two different models, the original Standard Exercise Balls and the newer Pro Series SCP Exercise Balls. The size/color combination is the same regardless of whether you use the Standard or SCP balls.


This handy color/size/body height chart has been provided above to give you a guide as to which exercise ball to buy.

Thera-Band Standard SDS Exercise Balls

These balls are the original inflatable balls that were first brought out by Thera-Band. These balls are made from durable PVC and have been described as having a Slow Deflation System (SDS) which means they will not burst if they are punctured. This is the original exercise ball that is easy to clean and able to be used indoors and outdoors.

These exercise balls come with two plugs and an inflation adaptor. You also get an Exercise Ball Guide Poster explaining 24 exercises.

The original SDS exercise balls are available for sale and can be bought slightly cheaper than the newer Pro Series balls.

Buy A Standard Thera-Band SDS Exercise Ball

Thera-Band Pro Series SCP Exercise Balls

The newer version of the Thera-Band Exercise Ball is the Pro Series SCP Exercise Ball and this features a thicker surface that provides a number of added benefits to the original. The Pro Series balls will provide even more support without feeling overly soft. The Pro Series balls provide increased elasticity which will improve performance as they want to bounce back into position. This reduces muscle fatigue as you are working out. The final improvement comes down to the safety of using the balls because they are even more burst resistant with slow deflation capabilities.

The Pro Series exercise balls come with two plugs, a plug puller an exercise guide poster and a measuring tape that contains color codes marked at 80% and 100% inflation positions to help you gauge when the ball is properly inflated.

Buy A Thera-Band Pro Series SCP Exercise Ball

 

Inflating the Thera-Band Exercise Balls

A lot of the negative comments hat have been noted about the Thera-Band Exercise Balls have been to do with claims that the balls do not inflate to their advertised size and that the balls were too soft to be useful. In just about all of these cases the problem has actually been that the correct inflation process was not followed.

The Thera-Band Exercise Ball comes with instructions but for your convenience here are some tips for the correct inflation methods.

  • The ball should start off at room temperature.
  • Use a two-way air pump, a manual pump or an air compressor to fill the ball. (Note: a bike pump is not going to provide the required air pressure).
  • Inflate the ball until it reaches the 80% filled mark. (The Pro Series Balls come with a measuring tape that will tell you the size of the ball when it is 80% inflated).
  • Leave the ball at this point for at least 24 hours.
  • Complete inflating the ball until it reaches the optimum inflation size.

If you are looking for a cheap but effective two-way air pump you might like to use the Isokinetics Exercise Ball Air Pump. This is a heavy duty pump capable of generating up to 14.5psi and it pumps on both the up and down stroke to make the process particularly quick. The pump stands 18″ tall and it is available in three different colors, black, gray and yellow.

Click here to get more details about this pump

Exercises Using the Thera-Band Exercise Balls

The Thera-Band Exercise Balls can be used in many different ways and will help with working your abs and strengthening the back. The following couple of videos provide demonstrations of a few simple exercises based around these balls.

This first demonstrates 3 exercises for the abs.

The next is a longer video that covers 10 more exercises.

Regardless of whether you need to perform balance, strengthening or core exercises there are a number of different ways in which the various balls may be put to use.

A simple process of kneeling on top of the ball will give you a good balance test. As a variation you can shift your weight from the knees and slowly move it back to the shins. This may need to be performed by leaning against a wall as you become accustomed to the process. When you become more proficient your might be able to perform the balancing process with your arms held at your sides.
Core exercises are going to work the abdominal and back muscles. The plank exercises where you place your feet on the ball and walk slowly out on your hands until you are only supported by the ball with your hands directly beneath your shoulders is a great starting point. There are numerous variations such as push-ups, walking backwards until the ball is under the knees and then walking forward again until the ball reaches the shins.

The exercise ball may be used as part of your strength program by placing the ball against the wall and leaning back into it until it sits in the small of your back. Lowering yourself until the thighs are parallel to the floor and then rolling back up is a simple but effective exercise.

Thera-Band is also responsible for more products that are trusted by doctors and physiotherapists for treatment of injuries and chronic conditions. Take a look at the comprehensive review of the Thera-Band FlexBar.

A Gripmaster Hand Exerciser Will Strengthen Fingers and Hands

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The Gripmaster Hand Exercisers provide you with a way in which you can exercise the fingers, wrist and forearms safely and at your own leisure. They are available in different tensions for lighter or heavier workouts, depending on the needs of the individual. The fact that they only cost a fraction over $10.00 each means that the outlay is a no-lose situation.

Not only will this type of exercise equipment give you a stronger grip, it will help anyone suffering from hand or wrist injury to rehabilitate through daily exercises that can be controlled without the risk of straining and causing further injury.

The Gripmaster Hand Exerciser allows the fingers to be isolated and exercised independently from one another. The pistons are spring-loaded and there are four of them, one for each finger. Whereas other hand exercisers will allow the stronger, more dominant fingers to do most of the work, this exerciser can be used one finger at a time ensuring that every finger gets the same workout.

The Gripmaster Hand Exerciser is available in four different tensions from the extra-light yellow (3 lbs), light blue (5 lbs), medium red (7 lbs) and heavy black (9 lbs). It is recommended that those who have not worked out before should start on the lighter grips, either the yellow or the blue.

They are available for sale below, simply select one of the Gripmaster Hand Exercisers in a tension that will suit your strength level.

Buy A Gripmaster Hand Exerciser


3-Pounds

5-Pounds

7-Pounds

9-Pounds

It is important that you take into consideration the condition of your hands and the amount of weight they are capable of pushing. Also important is the reason why the hand exerciser is required. Those who are using it for rehabilitation after an injury will only require a minimum of resistance making the extra-light model perfect until some strength returns.

Sportsmen aiming to tighten their grip for holding such equipment as tennis racquets, baseball bats or even golf clubs may already have a strong grip that will enable them to start on a heavier hand exerciser such as the blue or red model. As well as being able to use the Gripmaster Hand Exerciser finger by finger it is possible to use it with the whole hand which means it will be of benefit for those playing these types of sports.

As well as the four hand exercisers offered above there is an extra extra light model that comes at 1.5 pounds of tension per finger. You can buy this one too if you feel you will need to start off at a particularly light model.

Guitar players or anyone taking up a stringed instrument will find their fingering will be improved after using the Gripmaster Hand Exerciser. It would be used with the tips of the fingers and would help to build up the dexterity and strength of the fingers as they are required to move over the strings. Similarly a keyboard player will also find benefit from using this type of exercise equipment with the fingers getting a great strengthening workout.

There are a number of different ways in which the Gripmaster Hand Exerciser can be used to provide various different types of workouts for the fingers, the hand or the wrist. The first is to individually work the fingers by pressing down a piston with the tip of each finger one at a time. It may also be used to exercise the fingers together by placing all fingertips on the pistons and working them together. The thumb may be exercised by holding the exerciser end-on and squeezing a piston with the thumb tip. Gripping the hand exerciser in the palm of the hand and hooking the fingers over the pistons will provide a strengthening workout for the entire hand.

When you take a look at the Gripmaster website you will find 6 exercises detailed along with a graphic illustration of how the hand exerciser is to be used in each exercise. The exercises are called gross grasp, hook position, key pinch, trigger pinch, tip-to-tip pinch and wrist flexion.

Taking Care of Your Climbing Rope

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Avid climbers often accumulate a number of mountain equipment in the years they devote to the hobby. One of the best ways of getting your money’s worth is taking care of said equipment. Not only that, when things go wrong, well maintained climbing gear can be your only chance. With this in mind, one might want to practice these rope care tips:

* Dry climbing rope that has been exposed to moisture as soon as possible. You can drape it over some branches or across your tent’s guy lines. A wet rope loses some of its strength and prolonged exposure to water may produce permanent damage. This is why the sheath of a climbing rope meant for ice climbing is often treated with a process that helps it repel water. Be careful not to dry it under the sun – or God forbid, near the campfire. UV rays and excessive heat will damage it faster than exposure to water.

* Before heading out, inspect the entire length of your climbing rope. Look for cuts, tears, and signs of excessive wear on the sheath. Run it through your fingers and feel for any irregularities. Small nicks are common, especially for ropes used for rock climbing. But if you see a cut that is deep enough to reach the core, you need to get yourself to a climbing gear store soon.

* If the damage is near the end, you are in luck. You can simply cut off the damaged portion and as long as you end up with enough length, you’re still fine.

* After a major fall, use the other end of a dynamic rope. A fall stretches out the fibers and stresses them. Repeated stress over the same area will severely weaken that part of the rope. Switching ends will give one end some time to “rest” and regain some structural integrity as well as elasticity.

* As with all camping equipment, keep your climbing rope clean. Small dirt particles find their way through the sheath and abrade the core. You cannot see it, but dirt is slowly wearing down the fiber. And because it is hidden, it is doubly dangerous.

Some basic care and maintenance tips can go a long way into ensuring the continuous service out of your climbing rope. A little TLC may be all that you need for an enjoyable time outdoors.

Benefits of Using BSN Supplements

Monday, September 6th, 2010

They say that your body is the temple of your soul, thus you have to make an effort to take extra special care of it; after all, we only have one body to take care of, right? And the way to do this is by: Exercise

Exercise in any form is very important.  It builds stronger muscle strength and resistance. Plus it promotes good circulation all over your body, gives you a longer life and protects you from illness. Not to mention having a to-die for body everyone will surely feel envious of.

Body building requires a lot of work such as a strict exercise regimen that you have to follow every SINGLE day and a healthy diet. You need strong motivation and discipline in order to attain that goal.

To help you enhance your muscles whereas exercising on multigym taking BSN supplements can definitely help. It’s a secret every hard body keeps up their sleeve! Why is it worth considering? Because the supplements contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that will help you achieving your goals. It’s safe and effective and you can see the difference usually within a few months. Remember to also maintain a good diet rich in protein and carbohydrates to optimize the effects.

There are a variety of yummy BSN supplements out there. Choose one that is specifically designed for you.  Choose the best BSN supplements for your body type and what you wish to achieve, for example, there are ones for building muscle, for weight loss, for metabolic enhancement, for lean muscle growth stimulation, for energy etc. Discuss the ones that your friend’s may be using and ask for recommendations from fitness experts and trainers, and bodybuilders, at your local fitness center. If you surf the net, you’ll also find reviews of BSN products and you can get advice on what works and what doesn’t. The BSN supplements website also has a list of ingredients for each product. It’s good to read that before deciding what product to buy.

Workout Plans for Specific Sports

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Maybe you’re playing a fun pick-up game of basketball on Saturday mornings, or your church has started a softball team, whatever it is, you should consider finding some workout plans that fits your activity. When I first started playing golf, I had a friend tell me I needed to work on my “muscle memory” if I was ever going to improve my game.  I had no idea what muscle memory was and I didn’t even think about the physical requirements of golf.

There a lot of reasons you’ll want to engage in a workout routine for your favorite sport, but the most important is your own person safety.  Whether you just started or you’ve been playing a long time, you not only need to make sure you have the strength to compete, you want to make sure you’re not asking your body to do something it’s not used to doing.  Even playing golf puts a tremendous amount of strain on certain parts of your body.  You need to work those specific areas and make sure you’re including a good amount of stretching with every workout.

You also want to make sure you’re heart can handle the cardiovascular strains you’re going to put on it.  Again, even golf or walking each night is going to increase your heart rate and put a little extra stress on you.  If you’re a little overweight, I suggest you dig up some quality weight loss tips, drop a few pounds and give your heart a break.  Whether we like it or not, when we’re overweight, we put more strain on our heart than it was designed to endure.

Optimum performance is the a huge benefit of any sports specific workout plan, but it’s not the biggest benefit in my book.  When you step out on the court, course or field, you probably have another group of people who are depending on you to be able to do your best.  Even if you’re playing a one of one sport such as golf, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be the best you can possible be and give everything you’ve got.  It may sound like more work right now, but once the game is over, you’ll find you were able to enjoy it a lot more than you did before.

So, take the time to find the right exercises for your sport and start to incorporate them into your existing workout or if you’re not working out, let this be the reason you start.  Getting in shape, having fun with friends, living a little longer, and playing at your peak performance makes life better.

As always, before you engage in any type of physical training program, make sure you’ve consulted your physician to clear you of any unknown issues.

Use The Thera-Band FlexBar

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

A Thera-Band Flexbar is a physiotherapy tool that is used to improve grip strength and as a remedial device for treating painful wrist or elbow injuries. The FlexBar is made from dry natural rubber and is 12”long with ridges along its surface so that it can be gripped securely. It provides resistance at difference levels of force and can be used in a number of ways whether bending it, twisting it or using it with an oscillating movement.

The big deal about using a Thera-Band FlexBar is that it provides you with the eccentric portion of your resistance training. Eccentric exercise is the part of weight training that involves the lowering of the weight and with the FlexBar, the effectiveness comes not so much from bending the bar or twisting the bar but controlling its return to its original position.

There are currently 4 different Thera-Ban FlexBars available: the Yellow FlexBar (1 3/8” diameter) takes 6 lb of force to bend, the Red Flexbar (1-1/2”) takes 10 lbs, the Green Flexbar (1-3/4”) takes 15 lbs and the Blue Flexbar (2”) takes 25 lbs. The level of force you require and therefore the color you buy will depend on your stage of rehabilitation as well as your body type.

It is possible to buy all 4 Thera-Band FlexBars or, if you only need a specific level of force you can buy the size that you need. Select one of the FlexBars to get more details and information on how to buy.

Buy A Thera Band FlexBar

 
6lbs force
1-3/8″ in diameter

 
10 lbs force
1-1/2″ in diameter

 
15 lbs force
1-3/4″ in diameter

 
25 lbs force
2″ in diameter

Thera-Band FlexBars available for sale

The Features and Uses of the Thera-Band FlexBar

  • Improves grip strength and upper extremity strength
  • Wrist, forearm, and hand rehabilitation
  • Upper extremity stabilization
  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Massage therapy
  • Martial arts
  • Sports grip strengthening
  • Allows oscillation movements for neuromuscular and balance training
  • Provides soft tissue and joint mobilization
  • Used in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Sport and Fitness

Recently a study was done by researchers at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City to develop an effective treatment for chronic tennis elbow. What resulted was an exercise now termed the “Tyler Twist”, after Dr Timothy Tyler, that was found to be an effective treatment for the condition. (You can read the New York Times article here).

Using the Thera-Band FlexBar as the exercise tool to treat what was previously a debilitating condition means that for less than $20 and a consistent exercise regimen, the pain of chronic lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) could be reduced.

The following video explains how the Thera-Band FlexBar is used in the Tyler Twist exercise for the treatment of tennis elbow.

Inevitably the question about the possibility of whether the FlexBar could be used to treat other types of injuries was raised. Golfers Elbow is a condition that is also known as ‘medial epicondylitis’ and the pain occurs on the inside of the elbow as opposed to the outside with tennis elbow.

An exercise known as the “Reverse Tyler Twist” was invented and is being researched to ascertain whether the same relief can be achieved as has been found with the Tyler Twist exercise.

Here is a demonstration of how the Reverse Tyler Twist exercise is performed.

Buy a Thera-Band FlexBar here.

Consumer Reviews

Bouquets

Good product. I’m using it to heal tennis elbow and it is a big help. Make sure, however, you select the right tension for your intended use. For tennis elbow therapy you pre-twist the bar and then release the twist with your hurt arm. The blue bar is very stiff and challenging to twist. It would likely be painful for a moderate to severe case of tennis elbow. I suggest the red or green bar for tennis elbow. For strength building by bending the bar, the blue is challenging but fine. For reference I am a 48 year old male, 6’3″, in good shape, who plays competitive tennis 5 times a week.

Use the Thera-Band flexbar as directed for “tennis elbow” and you should get relief as did I. Had to dig deep to find out the recommended regimen is 15 reps, three times a day. I bought both the red and the green bars, and found that either would work just fine–don’t need both.

I purchased this brand and model to compare against the Cando twist-n-bend, which is a very similar product. The Thera-Band Company makes quality products and some of them are designed for very fit individuals. However, the Flexbar heavy model is not a product for a person of even moderate strength. It is far to easy to twist and bend this model to get a decent workout. The Flexbar heavy, medium, and light models are better suited for people going through rehabilitation, those that lack upper body strength, and teenagers whose muscles have not fully developed. Although the material ingredients are a little bit better quality than the Cando twist-n-bend, the Cando extra heavy model, which Thera-band does not have a similar model, is designed for strong athletes, martial artists, boxer, wrestlers, bouncers and many others. The Cando model is also cheaper.

I tried the soft (red) bar somewhere for twisting motion and liked it but it was too soft for me. I purchased the meduim stiffness one and after trying it a few times for twisting motion I gave up using it. The twisting motion creates too much friction on palm of my hands and after a few minutes my skin starts burning. Now I only use it for flexing which works better without skin irritation. However, the flexing motion range is rather small and starts too easily and ends too hard. It is just a small range of motion that the resistance is just right. This is a problem with all spring-like devices as opposed to dead weight resistance. So, not a total loss but not as good as I thought it would be.

Brickbats

The Thera-Band flexbar is supposed to be the magic cure for tennis elbow, but I saw limited progress doing the exercise described on several sites. Others I know personally say it helped them though. Either way, I found the red bar to be too little resistance and changed to the blue. I’m guessing the green is right for most people.

Read more consumer reviews here.

Get Fit At-home with Home Gym Routines

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Coming up with your very own fitness plan that you can perform at your own home is not just easy, but fun and exciting as well. As a matter of fact, the only reason why many people fail in doing so is because they tend to over complicate the entire process. If you too want to create your own home gym exercise routine so you can get fit and exercise at home, here are a couple of pointers that you might want to consider. Read on!

First of all, one of the most important factors that you need to take into consideration if you want to reap nothing but success out of your home gym routine is the proper distribution of your time. You need to make a time table wherein you can layout your exercise schedule which you can observe and follow on a day to day basis. If you a have an exercise schedule all planned out, you can lessen the chances of you skipping or cheating on your workout. When it comes to scheduling your at home exercise routine, time is not just you main concern, but the dates as well. Generally, four to five times of workout sessions per week will already suffice.

Another thing that you need to consider is your workout clothing. You know, just because you are exercising at home and nobody is seeing you, it does not already mean that you can exercise bare footed or in your pajamas and the like – that is not how you do it! You still need to wear the right shoes for protection and the apt clothing so you remain comfortable while you go about with your routines. In addition, wearing the right clothes will also work as your motivator.

Aside from workout clothes, music is also a wonderful addition to your at home exercise routine. This will also work as your motivator that will keep you up and running.

Maintaining Your Physical Condition

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Regular workout routines are recommended; they need to be part of the daily program of activities. Begin in a slow pace and doctor check up is necessary, especially for people who have not practiced physical activity for a long time or for those with heart problems.

Regular physical activity during the day causes burning calories and maintaining weight. Minor activities are indicated, like climbing stairs or walking longer distances than usual. Try cycling at least once a week. You can count the number of steps that you take while walking with a device called a pedometer, which you can buy at sporting goods stores.

Exercises in a structured manner can be made in a fitness club. Choose an activity that is pleasant and it is recommended that these activities vary so that boredom does not appear (aerobics 3 times a week, a walk with a friend, or lifting weights in successive days, is an example program varied). Sports like volleyball, basketball, swimming, cycling are indicates. Also some awesome workout music does a very good job at driving away boredom.

Indications

The overall benefit of physical activity is to improve health condition in general and the possibility of certain activities for a longer period of time (playing with children, dancing, walking).

Experts have demonstrated on several occasions that fitness is a measure of health. A survey conducted on 25000 volunteers has shown that physical activity is more important than weight. People who were overweight but had a good physical condition had a lower risk of mortality than people of normal weight but sedentary.

Physical condition improves health status and reduces the risk of disease.

The benefits of exercises for flexibility

As flexibility is better developed, you could perform tasks that were harder to make before weight loss (from taking a book from a higher shelf, to tying your shoes). It also improves balance.

The more you move the better you will feel and the more mobile your body will become. If it has been awhile since you have done any meaningful exercise it may take some time before you experience the benefits, but you body will eventually adapt to the increased workout regimen.


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