Hunching over personal electronics can wreak havoc on your posture. The tendency to slouch forward is made even worse by the popularity of laptops, tablets, and technology that encourages people to look down, says Paul Drew, DPT, author of Red Carpet Posture.
Two exercises to help undo damage of poor posture.
Tips For Working Out (Without Burning Out)
• Have a plan. An unorganized, sporadic or overly intense exercise schedule can put undue stress on your body and rob you of fitness results.
•Mix it up. Periodic harder workouts (called “functional overreaching”), followed by periods of reduced training (called deloading), can lead to terrific fitness gains.
• Go hard, not long. Excessive volume (spending too much time exercising) is more likely to cause overtraining than excessive intensity.
• Embrace variety. Cross-train and adjust variables (like distance, speed, weight lifted, and sets, reps and exercises performed) in your workouts.
• Nourish yourself. The quantity and quality of the food, sleep, and social support you get can make or break the best fitness program.
• Recoup. A single “overreaching” workout can require days of recovery. Recovering from an extended period of “overdoing” may require a few weeks to a few months to bounce back. A serious case of overtraining can take several months (or even years) to repair.
• Seek balance. Remember that any and all forms of stress affect your body’s ability to recover from exercise.
• Don’t worry. Overtraining is unlikely unless you’ve been doing the same repetitive activity for years with no breaks. When in doubt, consult a trainer.
Nothing says “I feel strong!” quite like hefting a barbell overhead and holding it motionless for a second or two. It looks pretty cool, too.
All Olympic-style lifts are variations on the two weightlifting movements featured in the Olympic Games: the “snatch,” in which you pull a barbell from the floor to an overhead position in one explosive movement; and the “clean and jerk,” where you hoist the bar to shoulder level, then push it overhead (see “Learn to Power Clean” for details on proper form).
Both lifts require — and build — lots of power. Most people begin to lose muscle mass around age 30, starting with the white, fast-twitch muscle fibers — the largest, most powerful fibers in your body. The best way to work these fibers, and stave off age-related muscle loss, is with exercises that require you to move either as quickly or forcefully as possible. “Heavy Olympic lifts require you to do both,” says Olympic weightlifter Wil Fleming, CSCS.
Practice these moves often enough, continues Fleming, and your increased strength will also help you jump higher, run faster, and throw farther in your favorite sports. Another benefit? Because “O-lifts” engage nearly every muscle in the body, you’ll burn fat at the same time.
One important caveat: Olympic lifting requires not just full-body strength but also mobility, coordination, timing, and balance. So for those interested in working up to challenging weights, Fleming recommends seeking out qualified instruction. “I’ve been practicing these lifts for 15 years,” Fleming explains, “and I still work on my technique, the same way a golfer might work on his swing.” To locate a club, visit USAWeightlifting.org or seek out a trainer certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
IT Band Roll
The iliotibial band is a straplike length of connective tissue that runs along the outside of your thigh from your hip to your shin. It can get very tight. Release yours — and guard against knee pain and injury — with this simple one-minute drill.
- Place the roller on the floor.
- Lie on it on your left side, perpendicular to the roller, with the outside of your left thigh resting on the roller.
- Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of your left knee and place your hands comfortably on the floor in front of you, supporting your upper body.
- Bracing yourself with your hands, slowly roll the outside of your left thigh along the roller, all the way down to the outside of your knee, taking 20 to 30 seconds to get there. Spend a few extra seconds on any areas that feel tender.
- Repeat the movement on the other thigh.