2nd Wind Team

  1. 10 Reasons To Add Kettlebell Training To Your Workout

    Kettlebells are the door-stop looking, cannonball-shaped workout tools that you’ll want to add to your routine if you want to get a leaner, tighter figure without spending much time. If you're curious about all the benefits training with these weights can have, then you've come to the right place. Here are 10 benefits of kettlebell training:

    • Saves money: No gym membership required here, and only one kettlebell needed in this training, saving you space and money (depending on the type of training you do, a second kettlebell may be required). You can do kettlebell training in your living room, backyard or take them to the beach.
    • Lose more weight in less time: Kettlebell workouts can tighten and tone your whole body, but the dynamic all-muscles-on-deck movements also burn a lot of calories – studies show up to 20 calories per minute, or 400 in a 20-minute session.
    • Combine “cardio” and “strength” training: This exercise gets your heart racing, building cardio as well as strength. Your whole body is working to move, or swing, as well as stabilize the kettlebell, building the proper balance of mobility and stability.
    • Versatile and fun: Let’s face it, long exercises can get boring. And as a result of that boredom, they're easy to give up on. As mentioned earlier, kettlebell training can be a quick exercise, so that makes it more achievable and fun! From swings to squats to arm strengthening exercises, you’re constantly moving and burning through this workout. With an exercise that’s quick and versatile, you’ll likely stick with it!
    • Solution for busy people: Busy people want the biggest bang for the buck. Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio and strength training in an already busy schedule. Because of the intensive nature, the workout duration must be kept short. Best of all, they are so small and portable, training can take place even in your office.
    • Improves posture: Using so many muscle groups in conjunction means your core has to stay engaged 360 degrees to stabilize each and every movement. It’s important to note that good form is essential in kettlebell workout, so stop and rest if you feel like your form is deteriorating.
    • Easier time performing daily tasks: Working out with a kettlebell is the definition of what fitness pros call a "functional" workout. That means it works your muscles in the same way as when you do everyday activities, like picking up a toddler, carrying your laptop bag, hoisting a gallon of milk, or lugging a heavy grocery bag.
    • Increase core and back strength: As you train with kettlebells, keep your core engaged and posture stabilized. As you move through your training, you’ll build strength, as well as flexibility.
    • Full-body workout: From shoulders to calves, kettlebell training works many different muscle groups, all while giving you a cardio lift. As you train with kettlebells, you’ll notice your entire body engaged and working hard, burning and conditioning.
    • Boost your bum: The kettlebell swing is the foundation for many other kettlebell exercises, and it simultaneously firms your butt and abs. As you do the kettlebell swing, your body is in a squatting position, already firing up the bum.
    • Here’s a how to do a swing: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, your hips and knees slightly bent, and your back and arms straight, pick up the kettlebell by the handle with both hands, knuckles facing forward. Hinge forward from the hips and swing the bell back between your legs, then exhale, straighten your legs, and pop your hips and pelvis forward to propel the kettlebell upward to about chest height (that’s the butt-toning part). As you lower the kettlebell, your abs will contract—like a built-in crunch. Continue with one fluid movement as you lower back to the start and repeat. (It’s okay to start with smaller swings to build the momentum until you get the hang of the movement and can swing it to chest height.) Once you’re comfortable with the movement, try to swing the kettlebell with one hand, alternating hands with each rep (both hands come to the handle on the upswing, and one releases as you swing down).
    If you want to add kettlebell training to your routine, you’ll want to know what moves will help you achieve all these great benefits. If you’re near a 2nd Wind store, stop in and ask one of our Fitness Consultants for some tips. They’ll fit you with the proper weight and exercise to get started. Otherwise, below you’ll find a helpful blogs with exercise examples.

    Men's Fitness & Bodybuilding.com
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  2. Exercises to Improve Posture and Strengthen Your Core

    Exercises to improve posture are needed due to our current habit of spending hours each day hunched over a desk and slouched in a chair lead to rounded shoulders, a forward drooping head and a rounded back. We call this postural distortion Upper-Crossed Syndrome, or rounded shoulders. If left unchecked the Upper Crossed Syndrome can lead to shoulder and neck pain. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time leads to tight traps, lats and chest muscles, and can cause weakness in the rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles. The rhomboids are a key muscle group because they help pull your shoulder blades together.

    In order to fix rounded shoulders, we need to relax the tight muscles with a combination of rolling and stretching and also strengthen the muscles that are weak.

    Six Exercises to Improve Posture

    1. Foam Rolling Your Lats and Chest

    Demo Video: How-to Foam Roll Lats and Chest 

    Purpose: Relaxing the lats and chest muscles

    Execution: To roll your lats, lie on one side on the floor. Place a foam roller just under your armpit nearest the floor, and reach your arm above your head. Roll back and forth, pausing when you find a tender spot. Hold pressure from the foam roller on that tender spot for 30-60 seconds until it's no longer uncomfortable. Switch sides and repeat.

    To roll your chest: Lay face down on the floor. Place a foam roller under the right side of your chest. Extend your right arm out to the side. Roll side to side looking for the tender spot.

    Hold pressure on that tender spot for 30-60 seconds until it's no longer uncomfortable. Switch sides and repeat.

    2.  Pectoral Stretch

    Demo Video: Pec Stretch

    Purpose: Lengthen the muscles in the chest

    Execution: Stand next to a wall (a bookshelf or other sturdy object will work as well.) Place your right forearm on the wall so that your elbow is in line with your shoulder, your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling, you elbow pointing toward the floor.  Step your right foot forward. Rotate your torso toward your left side until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

    3. Lat Exercise

    Demo Video: Stability Ball Lat Stretch

    Purpose: Lengthen the lats.

    Execution: Kneel on all fours in front of an exercise ball (a chair or bench will also work for this). Place both hands on the ball and roll forward until you feel a gentle stretch along your back and sides. Be sure to keep your back flat. To intensify the stretch, you can sink your chest toward the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

    4. Back and Shoulder Exercise 

    Demo Video: Stability Ball Back and Shoulder Combo

    Purpose: Strengthen the traps, rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles

    Execution: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball with straight legs, toes on the ground. Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, squeeze your shoulder blades together and row your arms, driving your elbows up toward the ceiling. Next, rotate your shoulders and arms so that your hands are in line with your ears. Now drive your arms straight ahead. Bring your hands back down to ear level and then rotate your shoulders inward so that your hands are pointing down to the floor. Return your arms to the starting position.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    5. Shoulder Exercise

    Demo Video: Resistance Band - Extensions

    Purpose: Strengthen rhomboids, traps, rotator cuff and rear shoulder muscles.

    Execution: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grab a resistance band with both hands. Lift your hands in front of your chest, level with your shoulders, palms facing the floor. With straight elbows, stretch the band by moving your arms out to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades. Pause and return to the starting position. Be sure you're not bunching your shoulders up to your ears to complete each movement.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    6. Back Exercise

    Demo Video: Floor Cobra Exercise

    Purpose: Strengthen rhomboids and lower back

    Execution: Lie face down on the floor with your arms by your side and palms flat on the floor. Keeping your nose pointed toward the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your torso up off he floor. Ease back to the floor and repeat.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    Article by Andrae Delaney, a Fitness Consultant with 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment as well as a Certified Personal Trainer, certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Andrae holds certifications in Weight Loss, Fitness Nutrition, Corrective Exercise, Group Training and is currently working toward a Master Trainer Certificate.
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  3. How to Push Yourself to Run Faster and Farther

    Runners are always looking for ways to push themselves harder. They want to get more out of their workouts or to beat previous personal records. The truth is that to get different results, you need to make some changes in your life and routine to help your body qualify for a harder, faster and longer running session.

    We'll be going through some effective techniques that will help you run faster, farther and have a more enjoyable experience. However, before we dive in, it's important to know your current metrics and abilities so that you’ll be able to track your performance and improvement over time.

    Apps such as "Strava" or "Under Armour MapMyRun" are perfect for this and available at no cost for both Android and iOS. If you want to track all aspects of your fitness routine download Viafit. You can pull in data from your favorite apps like MapMyRun or MyFitnessPal and tie it in with the data from your workouts on your cardio equipment. It’s great to see it all in one spot!

    Warm Up Is Essential

    If you rush your warm up or even forget to do it, you will significantly reduce the efficiency and longevity of your running session. Always make sure that you stretch and warm up before heading onto the treadmill or outdoors for your run. Warming up prevents your muscles from getting too tight, which can hinder your performance. It also helps your blood to flow more effectively through the body, improving your heart rate and oxygen levels for the session ahead.

    Run Outdoors

    Many runners take advantage of the great outdoors when training, and it is beneficial to breathe in the fresh air, and scenery.

    Our minds can often cut our runs short through boredom or lack of distraction. Outside, we have a lot to look at, which helps us to change our thoughts from how difficult or strenuous our run may feel to thinking about what we can see. The atmosphere is different, wind can pick up and drop down, and noticeable weather changes help us to let go of thoughts that can sabotage our efforts.

    Running outside does produce a harder workout due to gradient changes and surface areas, but it doesn't necessarily mean we won't run faster or further. With the distractions of weather and visuals, we find ourselves continuing and pushing through where we may have otherwise stopped.

    You can also supplement your outdoor runs with treadmill workouts. Treadmills allow you to change your inclines on a whim, push you to run faster at an even pace, and there are even social media, TV, and entertainment apps on treadmills that can help to keep you engaged.

    Change Your Route Often

    If you run the same route every session, it's going to get boring eventually. Sure you can track your performance and try to beat your time, which can help sometimes, but a more effective way to defeat your metrics is to change your route often. For example, let's say you run five miles each session and you do this in 50 minutes on average. You can take that data and use it for any route you use. Just make sure you run five miles and then check how fast you did it on your new route.

    Changing routes helps to keep things fresh and interesting. Seeing the same trail every session can make your mind turn off and leave you feeling like you’re stuck in a loop. Stick to the same running schedule but alter your course frequently to keep your mind guessing. It'll help pick up your energy as there'll be a sense of wonder throughout the session.

    Strength Training

    By training and developing your muscles, your body will be able to cope better with the stresses of running. Through fine-tuning your muscles, your fatigue levels will drop and your running time will increase and become faster. You don't have to go overboard; simply training your muscles for 15-30 minute sessions, two to three times a week is enough.

    Here are some effective strength training exercises for runners:

    • Squats
    • Deadlift
    • Lunges
    • Push-ups
    • Planks
    Using something such as the Hoist - V Express Home Gym as an all-in-one solution for strength training would be very beneficial, since it covers every area of the body and is simple to use.

    Make Adjustments and See Progress

    Overall, we can see that improving our runs involves both physical and mental adjustments. We must keep our routes fresh while ensuring that our body is finely tuned and warmed up for the sessions. Also, we can use strength training to enhance our stamina and speed when running.

    Author bio: Faith is a fitness and tech blogger who enjoys teaching from her personal experiences. She also enjoys keeping up to date with the latest solutions and technology in the health and fitness industry, using apps and wearable devices to track her performance. Faith is a member of the team over at eHealth Informer.
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  4. Proven Sprint 8 Program is For All Levels of Fitness

    Sprint8 Image

    It’s no secret that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the top training trends in the fitness industry today.  In addition to being a good challenge (the words “high intensity” in the title give that away), HIIT workouts can be quick and very effective.

    While there are many ways to get in a HIIT workout (bodyweight intervals, Tabata, Boot Camp-style workouts, spin class, etc.), beginners can be somewhat intimidated and unsure where to start.

    Matrix treadmills inside a 2nd Wind Exercise Store

    Enter the Sprint 8 program!

    Sprint 8 is a well-rounded HIIT program because it allows everyone the opportunity to tackle a HIIT workout at a level that’s appropriate for them.  So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced exerciser, Sprint 8 offers pre-programmed options that best fit YOU!

    Another big advantage to the Sprint 8 program is that can be done on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer.  In fact, Matrix Fitness has the Sprint 8 pre-programmed into select pieces of their equipment.

    Example of the XER console on a Matrix exercise bike.

    Before we continue, let’s give a quick re-fresher of how HIIT works…..

    Because of the higher intensity, HIIT recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers.  Fast twitch fibers are designed for anaerobic or short but powerful bursts of energy (think a track & field sprinter, a running back in football, etc.).  Steady-state cardio on the other hand recruits slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are designed for aerobic or endurance-type activities (think long distance runners).

    Fast-twitch fibers need more fuel than slow-twitch fibers. This allows them to not only function properly when called into play, but also to recover properly following a workout or sporting event.  If your workout targets fast-twitch fibers, you’ll burn more calories during the workout AND after the workout.  This later is known as the “after-burn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which allows your body to continue to burn calories well after your workout is over.

    The Sprint 8 program makes HIIT training really simple and consists of 3 main components:
    • A pre-programmed 3 minute warm-up that gradually increases your heart rate.
    • Next it goes into the heart of the workout as the user goes through a series of 30 second sprints (8 in total), followed by 90 seconds of active recovery (slower pace that allows the heart rate to gradually come down). The HIIT portion of the workout is based on the user’s input of age, weight and desired level of intensity.  The Sprint 8 equipment will then automatically adjust speed, elevation and/or resistance throughout the workout.
    • The workout then finishes-up with a pre-programmed cool-down that allows for proper heart rate recovery.
    Console interface displaying an in-progress Sprint 8 program-

    In this example the user is at a 4.0% incline and sprinting at 8.4mph. The exerciser is 22 seconds into their third 30 second sprint. Don't worry there are beginner levels, see below.

    Who Can Do HIIT Workouts?


    Although many think of HIIT being for advanced exercisers that are already in great shape, HIIT workouts can be modified to fit all levels of fitness and all ages.

    The key for beginners is to learn how to listen to your body.

    The Sprint 8 program does a great job with this because you can adjust the workout to fit your fitness level.  For instance, there are five levels – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite, & Custom. The beginner level starts with the lowest incline and speed settings and as you move up in levels the incline and speed increases. In each of these levels are sub-levels (see photo). While the goal of this program is to complete all 8 sprints at your maximum potential, the Custom option does allow you to choose how many sprints you want to do. You can then gradually work your way up to a full 8 sprint workout as your bodies adapt to the introduction of HIIT training.

    This what the Beginner Level looks like:

    Within the beginner level there are 5 sublevels. The first of the five is shown. The console is listing the 8 sprints and recovery sessions for Beginner Level 1. So as you can see the first sprint would be at 3% incline and 3.2 mph and the recovery is at 0% incline at 1.5mph.

    Who Should Do HIIT Training?


    Well, at least those who are ready to take on HIIT and have the ok from their physician to add it into their exercise regime.

    HIIT training and the Sprint 8 program offer a quick and effective way to get your body in great shape.  Focus initially on 2-3 days/week, with a full Sprint 8 workout only taking 20 minutes!

    To supplement, add in an additional 2-3 days/week of resistance training or other beneficial workouts such as yoga or pilates.  And don’t forget to focus on a clean meal plan that includes plenty of protein, healthy carbs (fruits & veggies) and fats (nuts, fish, avocados, etc.), and lots of water.

    Why Sprint 8?

    Again, with many of Matrix Fitness products, the Sprint 8 program is built in and ready to go!  This takes the guesswork out of having to build your own HIIT workouts and allows you to follow a proven program that can offer some great results.

    And, as previously mentioned, with the Sprint 8 program you don’t need a ton of time to accomplish a very effective workout.  That alone is a game-changer for many of you who struggle to find the time each day to fit in a workout.

    Finally, it works!  Take some time to research the Sprint 8 program on your own and you’ll find plenty of evidence as to its effectiveness.

    About the writer: Ken Grall is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and owns and operates an Edge Fitness in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Ken.

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  5. The Resurgence of Stepmills – The Matrix Fitness Climbmill Improved

    In the peak of their popularity in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it was difficult to go to a fitness facility and not find stepmills. They were a very popular machine on cardio floors allowing users to have a never ending set of stairs in a very small space with adjustments at the tip of their fingers. Stepmills began to lose some of their popularity in the 2000’s for many reasons; elliptical market advancements & popularity, improvements in treadmills cushioning, cost of ownership, and reliability of the product.

    Today stepmills are resurging in popularity and perhaps nobody is offering a better product than Matrix Fitness and their Climbmill lineup. Matrix didn’t want to reinvent the wheel on stepmills, but rather seek to improve on the areas that current models in the industry were falling short. By assembling a panel of service technicians, fitness facility owners, and end users Matrix gathered data on all the ways they could improve the stepmill design. Leading to a transformational product, the Matrix Climbmill.

    Matrix has improved the serviceability, performance, user interaction, and cost of ownership on the Climbmill. The Matrix Climbmills boast a comfortable 10” step-depth to accommodate a wide range of users. The incorporation of a multi grip ergonomic hand rails design with built in controls creates a safe and comfortable user experience. The addition of a control zone sensing safety feature also makes the machine incredibly safe. Highlighting the commitment to providing a better product investment are features like an anti-rust frame design, sweat managements system, and oil free modular drive all designed to extend the life of the product. Matrix has quite simply taken the best stepmills on the market and improved all of their features to create the best owner and user experience in the market today in their Commercial Matrix Climbmill line.

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