The trap (or ‘hex’) bar—a hexagonal shaped bar you can literally step inside—has been around since the 80s, when a powerlifter named Al Gerard invented it to reduce the stress deadlifting put on his back, according to the USA Weightlifting Association (USAWA). These days, just about every gym has one—but since most people stick to straight barbell deadlifts, it often sits in the corner, collecting dust.
For whatever reason (*cough, excuse, cough*), plenty of people skip leg day. But ignoring all of the muscles below your belt-line is a massive mistake—training your lower body not only guarantees you’ll never be the victim of a nasty ‘skips leg day’ meme, but also helps you reap a number of health and fitness benefits. Here, experts share six big reasons why you should start showing your bottom half more love at the gym.
From crunches to situps to planks to toe touches, there are endless ways to work your core. Many of our go-to moves give all the love to our upper abs and obliques, though, leaving our hard-to-target lower abs a little neglected. And that’s less than ideal, considering our lower abs are crucial for preventing pain and injury, according to Hannah Davis, C.S.C.S.
Bat wings. Bingo wings. Hello Helens. Hey Nancies. Squish. Flappy arm fat. These are just a few of the not-so-nice names women call their upper arms (on Reddit, anyway).
First thing’s first, ladies: Stop it with the negative self-talk! We won’t have any of that bat wings nonsense here.
If you can’t help but step on the scale when you pop out of bed in the morning, consider yourself in good company. It’s hard not to get caught up in the number on the scale, but most experts agree that daily—or even weekly—weigh-ins are not our friend. Here, three experts explain why, and share healthier, more effective ways to evaluate your well-being, fitness, and fat-loss progress.
Solid glutes make your waist seem smaller and your booty look amazing in anything form-fitting, says Melody Scharff, C.P.T. trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City. But beyond that, they improve speed, agility, and power, and help protect the back from injury. Not to mention, since lean muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain, a strong booty means a faster metabolism and more calories burned every single day.
Yoga is well-known for its ability to crush stress and help us take on a sunnier disposition, but it’s good for more than just our mood. Yoga can also ease muscle aches, improve posture and muscular endurance, lead to better quality sleep, sharpen mental focus, and even boost your sex life.
You probably already know that the half-hearted stretch you rush through before lifting isn’t doing much to better your fitness. Stretching and warming up are not the same thing, and hitting the weights without warming up not only limits your performance, but puts you at risk for injury.
Below are nine exercises trainers turn to when they want to really fire up their obliques and develop overall core strength. Try adding three sets of 10 to 15 reps of a couple of these moves to your next workout, suggests Wickham. (Just remember that visible obliques require a healthy diet and low body fat percentage.)
If there’s one surefire way to turn up the intensity in any workout, it’s with plyometric moves. These intense, explosive movements (think lots of jumping) help you develop muscle strength and efficiency, condition your cardiovascular fitness, and build speed, stamina, and agility. They’ll also challenge your core stability and balance—while exhausting you fast.
We all know our hormones are important for our health—but how much further does your knowledge on the subject extend?
Hormones are chemicals that act like messengers, traveling through our blood to control various body functions, like our blood pressure and heart rate, bathroom habits, hair growth, libido, and sleep, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
CrossFit® exploded onto the fitness scene in 2000, and it’s been nothing short of a phenomenon ever since. But just because you might not have a local CrossFit® box (a.k.a. gym)—or don’t want to shell out the often-expensive membership—doesn’t mean you can’t make its fast-paced, functional workouts a part of your routine.
“CrossFit® workouts are scalable so exercisers of all fitness levels, technical abilities, and strength, can benefit from them,” says Liz Adams, head coach at ICE NYC Tribeca and three-time regional CrossFit athlete. And there are plenty of WODs (‘workout of the day’) that require just your body weight and only basic equipment. The cardinal rule of these workouts (whether you’re at a box or on your own): Technique first, consistency second, and intensity last, she says.
We’ve all experienced one (or both) of the following workout struggles. The first: Feeling totally wiped halfway into your routine after skipping out on a pre-workout snack. The second: Fighting off stomach gurgles and cramps while you sweat because you ate something beforehand that’s just not jiving.
Your pre-workout grub is a make-it-or-break-it decision—and what you should munch on depends on what kind of workout you’re fueling for. Follow these nutritionist-backed guidelines to pick the pre-workout grub for an energized body and a happy belly.
We’ve all heard it before: “you snooze, you lose.” Yet, most of us start the day by procrastinating and hitting the ‘snooze’ button. Then we struggle to cram in a shower, chug some coffee or some sort of breakfast before running out the door—all while cursing ourselves for not being a ‘morning person.’But changing habits is easier said than done. To make your transition from night owl to early bird as painless as possible, we rounded up seven totally legit tips and tricks to add to your routine.