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    Pregnancy Exercise: All You Need to Know Before You Start

    Pregnancy, especially the first one, brings up a lot of questions. And while exercise is generally advisable for pregnant women, it can be hard to figure out what exactly to do.You’ll find everything you need to know here:Answers to the most common questions regarding safe pregnancy exerciseSpecific trimester tips and other tips for prenatal workoutsTraining plan examplesPrenatal home workouts in the adidas Training app1. Who should not exercise during pregnancy?In uncomplicated pregnancies, exercise is highly encouraged (see Pregnancy exercise benefits). However, there are certain conditions in which exercise is not permitted (absolute contraindications) or allowed only under special supervision (relative contraindications).(1)Keep in mind: You should always get approval from your doctor before starting any exercise during pregnancy.Absolute contraindicationsMultiple pregnancies at risk of premature labor Persistent 2nd trimester or 3rd trimester bleedingPlacenta previa after 26 weeks of gestation Premature labor during current pregnancyRuptured chorioamniotic membranes Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension Severe anemia Certain types of heart and lung disease Incompetent cervix or cerclageRelative contraindications: AnemiaChronic bronchitisPoorly controlled type 1 diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, or seizure disorderExtreme obesity or underweightHistory of extremely sedentary lifestyleIntrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancyUnevaluated maternal cardiac arrhythmia Orthopedic limitationsHeavy smokerBefore you begin exercising, make sure to also check the warning signs to know when you should stop exercising.2. What kind of exercise is safe? Even though the doctor has cleared you for exercise, the changes you experience during pregnancy might still make you wonder what kind of exercise is safe. Unsafe sports during pregnancy(2)Sports with a high risk of falling or injury (i.e. skiing, climbing, horseback riding, martial arts, diving, surfing, etc.)Contact sports like soccer, handball, and basketballLifting weights heavier than you are used to and need to strain to liftCompetitive sports and races, unless you are an athlete supervised by coach and doctorActivities at high altitudes ( > 2500 m/8,200 ft) and high temperatures (hot yoga)Scuba divingMost other sports activities are generally safe, but you still need to consider your individual experience and skill level. If you were…Active before pregnancy – can you keep doing what you were doing?If you were active before pregnancy, you can consider continuing with the same or similar activities, unless they’re on the above-mentioned list of unsafe sports. You need to consider your physical changes (see Exercise Tips and Adjusting to Your Trimester) that may require necessary modifications and adjust the intensity (see How intensely can you exercise while pregnant).Not active before pregnancy – can you start exercising?Yes, but you need to do it gradually. Start at a low intensity (where you can normally keep a conversation while active), working out continuously for 10 minutes. You can start with 10-minute walks, too.Over the next 2-4 weeks, aim to increase the duration of the workout (or walk) to 30 to 45 minutes and the intensity to a moderate level (see How intensely can you exercise while pregnant). This will entirely depend on how your body responds to the exercise and how your pregnancy evolves.(3)Prenatal workouts such as Short Seated Stretching and Yoga Inspired Mobility in the adidas Training app can be a great start. Pregnancy is unpredictable. So instead of setting expectations, aim to be content with knowing that you are doing the best you can, while at the same time honoring your current situation, whatever that is.Make sure to check the warning signs to know if you should stop exercising.3. How to choose the best pregnancy workoutPregnancy is a unique opportunity to learn what it really means to “listen to your body”. Choosing the best activity depends not only on your previous experience and preference, you should also consider the current state of your body (and mind). Golden rule: The best pregnancy workout is the one that makes you feel better – more energized or relaxed – than when you started (and not more tired or nervous). Physical changes from pregnancy that may affect exercise(4,5,6)Abdominal muscles get stretched, the core is less efficient in handling loads and pressure Changes in postural balance make pregnant women more likely to sustain a fallHormonal changes causing increased breast size, relaxed ligaments, swelling, fatigue all directly affect how you feel before, during, and after exercise.Oxygen requirements increase, making it harder to sustain longer or intense exerciseIt gets harder to stay hydrated. Drink more water and watch out for signs of dehydrationPostural changes such as changes in the curvature of the lower spine and rounding of the shoulders affect movement The expansion of the belly changes the rib and diaphragm position, affecting breathing.Considerations for different types of activitiesTip:If you like exercise classes, make sure to look for a qualified prenatal instructor and inform them that you are pregnant before starting.Strength TrainingRecommended to support muscle function, improve posture, and metabolism. There is no need to completely avoid resistance training in pregnancy; it can be adapted.Can be done with weights or just using your body weight. There are no specific weight limitations. It depends on your fitness routine and experience before pregnancy. Do not lift anything that requires you to strain or hold your breath. This might be a loaded barbell for some, while dumbbells may be too much for others. A general rule to follow is: never “max out” and stick to higher rep ranges, ending the set when you feel like you could still do some reps. Try the 25-Minute Full-Body Pump and Full-Body Strength prenatal workouts in the adidas Training app.Stretching & Pregnancy YogaMake sure not to overstretch; only stretch as far as is comfortable. Consider avoiding any poses that include backbends, strong and rapid contractions of the abdominal muscles, holding your breath, deep twists, inversions… Try the Yoga Inspired Mobility and Short Seated Stretching workouts in the adidas Training app. For more advanced workouts, qualified supervision is advised (instructor or coach with certification for prenatal workouts).CardioStick to moderate intensities (check out How intensely can you exercise while pregnant?)Avoid any jumping, high-impact, or bouncing movements. The Low-Impact Cardio workout from the adidas Training app was created especially for pregnancy cardio at home.You can keep running during pregnancy if you were running before, as long as you keep the intensity moderate and stop the instant anything begins to feel “off” (pelvic floor heaviness or any other symptom). If you were not running before, stick to walking workouts during pregnancy.Other cardio ideas: swimming, stationary cycling…What’s best? Staying active by combining different types of workouts will bring the best results. For example, a combination of strength and cardio will have a greater effect on reducing the risk for gestational diabetes.(7) 4. Pregnancy Training PlanWhen it comes to prenatal workouts, the most important thing is to listen to your body, not follow a set schedule. That’s why you can find examples of two completely different training plan weeks for pregnancy. These are suggestions only; they show you how much a training plan can depend on our energy levels and current state. You can get all workouts in the adidas Training app and use them according to what feels best!DownloadRemember:At any point in your pregnancy, you might experience changes that require you to modify your fitness plan. Embrace the changes and look for other options. Never push your way through a plan for the sake of discipline.5. How intensely can you exercise while pregnant?The easiest way to measure intensity is the talk test:(8)Can you still hold a conversation while exercising, even though it might be a bit harder? If you have to stop to finish a sentence or pause to be able to breathe normally, the workout is too intense.When it comes to prenatal exercise, it’s essential to keep the intensity moderate. What this means, however, can be different for each person and can also be measured differently.(9)What does moderate intensity feel like? You could continue the activity for a longer period, even though your breathing is getting slightly heavier. It might be more difficult to sustain a conversation, but still possible. Singing would not be an option. You start sweating but are not yet on the verge of feeling uncomfortable.Use a measurement scale: On a scale of 1 to 10, your effort should not feel like more than 6; ideally, it would be between 4 and 6.Doctors and coaches can advise more experienced athletes on how to train at higher intensities.Keep in mind:Some days, the same workout will feel much harder or easier than another day. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Don’t get stressed out and modify it or choose another workout to be able to keep the intensity moderate.What should my heart rate be during pregnancy exercise?The 140 bpm limit for pregnancy exercise is outdated. Published expert guidelines around the world do not agree on a single number that applies to all pregnant women.(10) A better approach is to modify the intensity based on your perceived effort as explained above.6. Warning signs – when to stop exercisingIf you notice these warning signs at any point during the workout, stop the workout and consult your doctor:(11)Dizziness or feeling faintVaginal bleeding Shortness of breath before starting to exerciseChest pain or abdominal painHeadacheMuscle weakness affecting balanceCalf pain or swellingRegular, painful uterine contractions Fluid gushing or leaking from your vagina7. How often should you work out during pregnancy? 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day on most or all days of the week is considered ideal.(12) However, the ideal fitness routine is not always realistic. Pregnancy is a time when you need to honor the current state of your body. Some days you can do more, others less, or you might even need to just take a day off to rest.Can you work out every day if you feel good? It is best to take rest days from working out (at a moderate intensity), but stay active (with low-intensity activities). You should definitely, as much as your energy allows, be active every day. Movement is healthy and it doesn’t always have to be exercise!Check out the weekly training plan suggestions to get an idea of how to adjust workouts to your energy levels.8. Exercise tips – pelvic floor, breathing, postureEven if you have always exercised regularly, your body will change during pregnancy. It’s important to consider these educational tips when working out.Your Pelvic Floor and Kegel ExercisesWhat is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus. These are located inside the pelvis. Among other things, they are important for sexual function, stabilization of your core during movement, and preventing incontinence. Why is the pelvic floor important for pregnancy exercise? Pregnancy affects the pelvic floor, mostly by increasing the pressure on it. It can lead to complications such as prolapse or incontinence. You need to watch out for symptoms such as a feeling of heaviness, the sense that something is “falling out of your vagina”, or pain in the pelvic area. This helps you react early enough, modify activities, and avoid further complications. Should you be doing special exercises for the pelvic floor (Kegels)?Doing Kegel exercises can help you get familiar with your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them (both are equally important!). That is crucial for your pelvic health, also later in the postpartum period. However, more is not always better. The pelvic floor works also when you just walk or do other types of work, so don’t overdo it. Based on current research, specific pelvic floor training during pregnancy can decrease the risk for urinary incontinence and may reduce the symptoms of existing urinary incontinence in pregnant women(13,14). If you had a high BMI ( >30) before pregnancy, are over 35 years old, experience coughing, or have a family history of incontinence, it is worth considering adding specific pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy. A general approach is to do 3 sets of 8 repetitions of Kegels, 2 times a day. Pelvic floor muscle training can also be part of your existing workout, like in some of the prenatal workouts in the adidas Training app.Important:When experiencing pain or heaviness in the pelvic area, always consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise plan on your own.Breathing During Pregnancy ExerciseBreathing is an important part of core stabilization, as it regulates the pressure inside your abdomen. This is even more important during pregnancy, as the growing belly presents an even bigger challenge. It pushes up your diaphragm and restricts its movement. What to focus on during pregnancy breathing exercises Work on rib cage mobility and diaphragm expansion to practice the 360 breathing pattern, where the whole torso expands in all directions, instead of directing the breath only to the upper chest or pushing the belly out. Pregnancy yoga is a great way to get in touch with your breathing. Try the Yoga Inspired Mobility workout or practice for a few minutes every day using exercises such as Side Lying Breathing, Kneeling 360 Breathing, all available in the adidas Training app.Inhale: feel the side and back ribs expand (instead of inhaling into the upper chest and shoulders), relax the pelvic floor and let it “fill with air”.Exhale: feel the pelvic floor move back up and in as the abdomen and rib cage deflateMatch the exhale phase to higher efforts during exercise; avoid holding your breath!Start to practice engaging your deep core muscles (especially m. transversus abdominis), for a couple of minutes each day. This will be especially useful to rebuild core strength postpartum. By adding a pelvic floor contraction to your exhale, you can try to feel your lower abs gently pulling in. If you stand in front of a mirror you should see your belly pull in, while the belly button should ideally not move up. Make sure to relax and inhale fully (releasing the pelvic floor) before each repetition. Try to let the pelvic floor relax naturally as you inhale, and then feel it contract, activate and lift back up as you exhale. Contracting the muscles with more intensity is not better; this is an exercise in awareness.Posture and AlignmentThe weight of your growing belly pulls you forward, which you adapt to and compensate for with your posture. Working on body awareness can help you notice and improve your posture in exercise and in daily life. That way you can build muscles for better alignment, enabling you to distribute the load more equally. It’s also more comfortable in the long term.Posture tips for exercise and daily lifeWhen getting up from a lying position or relaxed sitting on a couch, always roll to your side first and then get up by supporting yourself with your arm.During exercise, keep your chin tucked and ribs aligned over your hips.Check your alignment as often as you can, try to align your ribs over hips, pull your chin back, and use your glutes for support instead of locking your knees.9. Adjust the Workouts to Your TrimesterKeep in mind:Embrace the changes and keep adjusting to what your body is capable of at the moment. These adjustments aren’t permanent, but you don’t want to push too hard and possibly cause permanent issues.Can you lie on your back to exercise while pregnant? Lying on your back for longer periods of time carries some risk, once the weight of the belly is heavy enough to press down on the venous system/blood flow. Exercise promotes blood flow, which is why supine exercise is different from just lying down; it is still safe in most cases. Check with your doctor or midwife if you are unsure. Monitor for dizziness or other uncomfortable feelings. Using pillows under your back to lift up your upper body (at least 15 degrees) will reduce any risks.(15)Can you do Squats?If you don’t have any heaviness or feeling of bearing down in the pelvic floor, you can keep doing squats throughout your pregnancy. Adjust the depth and width of your stance for your comfort. Make sure not to hold your breath. What about abdominal muscle exercises? Exercises that place extra load on the front abs, such as Planks, Sit Ups, Push Ups, Mountain Climbers, Leg Raises will become uncomfortable at some point during your pregnancy. That’s when it’s time to work your core in other ways, especially through breathing and stabilization. Monitor your body for any signs of bulging/doming on the midline of your abs and modify the exercise or skip it. See more under 2nd-trimester tips.First TrimesterFatigue and nausea might increase. Adjust the workout volume, and accept that you have to cut down for now to avoid pushing yourself.Your weight might quickly start to change and you might get hungrier. Pay attention to whether you are experiencing uncomfortable feelings of guilt related to food and trying to compensate with exercise. If this persists, consider working on mindfulness in your relationship with food and your body, seeking help if needed.When tired and in doubt, sleep instead of working out. In most cases, you’ll have more energy during the 2nd trimester.Practicing breathing and connecting the breath to the pelvic floor will pay off in the future, especially during postpartum recovery (see Exercise Tips above). Consider focusing more on the upper body and glute strength to support the upcoming postural changes and loads (growing belly and breast size). You can find lots of prenatal exercise ideas in the adidas Training app. Second TrimesterAs your belly starts to grow, it’s time to watch out for bearing down. This is the sensation of pushing down on your pelvic floor when you need extra support (similar to how you might strain when having a bowel movement). It can be a compensatory strategy to handle the additional pressure. When you engage your abs, the belly should slightly draw in, without a sensation of pushing down on the pelvic floor. If not, modify and/or stop the exercise. Look for a coach or physical therapist who can teach you better strategies to handle the load in person.Are you starting to feel a pulling sensation when tightening your abs? Does the midline on your abs start to come up under effort, creating a doming/bulging look? The diastasis rectus abdominis, a separation of the abdominal muscles, occurs naturally as the belly grows. Most exercises that work the front abs might become uncomfortable in the late second and third trimesters. That’s when they should be replaced with an easier version (that you can still control without bearing down or holding your breath) or avoided entirely.Practice engaging deep core muscles instead with exercises such as Breathing Leg Pointers, Quadruped Tuck, Heel Slides, and many more you can find in the adidas Training app. The home prenatal workouts featured in the app are designed to minimize the front loading.Third TrimesterPosture and movement strategies keep changing as the belly grows and might aggravate existing pain points or create new pain. Common problems in pregnancy are pubic symphysis pain, located on your pubic bone; a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic floor; lower or upper back pain. Monitor yourself for changes and types of pain and consult your doctor. Modify and adjust exercises accordingly. For pubic bone pain avoid single-leg exercises (and other asymmetric exercises) and narrow your squat stance. When it comes to heaviness in the pelvic floor, scale down the movements (avoid weights, adjust depth and stance for lower body exercises) and intensity. For chronic lower and upper back pain, try mobility flows such as Yoga Inspired Mobility in the adidas Training app. Remember to consult your doctor before starting a pregnancy exercise program, especially when feeling pain or discomfort.Stability starts to be affected, so make sure you find your balance before starting any exercise move; this is especially important as the belly gets bigger.Breathing gets harder each day – work on rib mobility and maintaining a full, 360-degree breathing pattern, with side and back expansion of the ribs and the connection to the pelvic floor. You can include an exercise such as Kneeling 360 Breathing from the adidas Training app to your daily routine, if even for just 5 minutes.Pay special attention to signs of pelvic floor dysfunction such as baby feeling very low, difficulty starting urination, evacuating bowels, urine leakage during exercise, or – check with a pelvic floor physiotherapist and modify your workouts to avoid anything that causes symptoms.Reduce walking times if long walks start to cause discomfort, primarily in the pelvic or lower back area. Plan some rest after workouts whenever possible.When strength exercises feel uncomfortable, opt for more seated and side-lying exercises, such as the Short Seated Stretching and the Yoga Inspired Mobility in the adidas Training app.It gets harder to stay hydrated; make sure you drink water throughout the day, especially when you work out outdoors or sweat.Pregnancy Exercise BenefitsResearch has shown that regular exercise is not only good for the expectant mother but the child as a fetus and into childhood, too.(16) If you need some extra motivation to start, here are the key benefits of prenatal exercise.Exercise in pregnancy…eases common pregnancy-related problems like backache, posture issues, and constipationreduces your risk of gestational diabetesincreases the supply of oxygen for you and your childstrengthens your cardiovascular system, making you feel fitter and more resilient, which might also help you handle the strain of giving birthmight help prevent blood clots and varicose veinscould improve the quality of your sleepenhances your general sense of well-being and helps with mood swings and stressTakeawayAt first it may seem at first like exercising during the prenatal period is really complicated. However, your body will tell you a lot of important information to guide you.Pregnancy is an opportunity to learn what it really means to “listen to your body”. You might encounter roadblocks, but if you don’t give up, you will also discover new strategies for self-care and awareness, which will also be useful postpartum.Remember, staying active throughout your pregnancy benefits both you and the baby.*** More

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    7 Exercises to Build Strong Shoulders Without Weights

    Today we’re talking about the shoulders. Now it might seem more intuitive for a man to train his shoulders because “men need and want strong arms,” right?Wrong! Everybody needs to strengthen their shoulders because, while the shoulder is extremely mobile, it’s also extremely unstable and susceptible to injury.Some words on shoulder injuries:Shoulder injuries are really common because the potential range of motion is great, yet not very many people do what it takes to strengthen and work on shoulder flexibility.If that’s not enough reason for you, strong and defined shoulders can create the illusion of making your waist appear smaller. Now you’re listening…While many of us aren’t really thinking about the role our shoulders play in everyday activities, let me remind you: bringing in the groceries, lifting up the kids, picking things up off of the floor and putting them in the closet, cleaning up — you’re using your shoulders.What Exercise is Best for the Shoulders?You can try out the bodyweight exercises listed below to help build strong shoulders while strengthening all the tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissue (of course!). And the great thing, you don’t even need equipment such as weights at all.Shoulder Muscles Anatomy: What Are the 3 Shoulder Muscles?Before we start, let me give you a super quick shoulder muscles anatomy lesson. The deltoid is the main muscle in the shoulder.It is a large, triangular-shaped muscle. Even though it is one muscle, due to its size and different muscle fibers, it is usually talked about in three parts:anterior (front) deltoidmedial (side) deltoidposterior (rear) deltoidThe anterior, medial, and posterior parts of the deltoid help move the arm and stabilize the shoulder joint. But they do not work alone. There are many more muscles supporting the shoulder joint. The so-called rotator cuff muscles are a good example. Hidden below the larger deltoid, they are not the first thing you notice when you look at your shoulder. However, these four small muscles on the back of your shoulder play an extremely important part in arm movements and stabilization.We’re going to hit all of these with the following exercises so you strengthen your shoulders and stay pain- and injury-free.What Exercises Build Shoulder Muscles? ► 7 Exercises for Anterior, Medial & Posterior Deltoid Muscle GrowthFrom simple beginner exercises to advanced: Here are shoulder exercises to build your shoulder strength at home, without equipment, no matter what your current fitness level is. Plus: Don’t miss the bonus postural exercise at the end! 1. Plank-to-Down Dog How to Do a Plank-To-Down Dog:This is a great move for shoulder flexibility — especially the rotator cuff. You don’t need to perform this exercise quickly. Take your time. This is actually a good bodyweight warm-up exercise before you start your shoulder training.2. Inclined Wall Push-Ups How to Do Inclined Wall Push-Ups:Having your upper body higher than your lower body in this movement will recruit more of the anterior deltoid. Choose a surface lower than the wall to challenge your shoulder more, like a table or a low stair. Make sure that your core is engaged and your hips, shoulders, and feet are in one line (as in a regular push-up). You want the edge of whatever surface you’re doing this exercise on to come right underneath your chest (or boobs).3. Pike Push-ups How to Do Pike Push-Ups:This exercise is a step on your way to mastering a handstand push-up and is great for the anterior as well as the medial deltoids. Make sure that you look at your legs (not your hands) while keeping your spine neutral and the crown of your head pointing towards the ground.Ready for the next step?Elevate your legs on a step, bench, curb, chair, etc. The same rules apply: keep that neutral spine position and the crown of your head pointing towards the ground. If you’re attempting to do this for the first time alone, put a pillow under your head just in case. This is what the advanced exercise should look like:4. Prone X How to a Do Prone X:This exercise is good for the posterior (rear) delts as well as the back muscles. Be sure that your core and glutes are engaged throughout the movement. Focus on using your shoulder blades to pull the arms out to the side. And, like the Plank-To-Down Dog, this is not a race – slower and more controlled is better and safer!5. Up Downs How to Do Up Downs:Are you looking for a Plank variation that will challenge your shoulders? Try Up Downs to really feel your anterior (front) deltoid work.Place your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage the core to keep the hips square to the ground and avoid rotating the body to the sides. Pressing asymmetrically requires a lot of stability and is not something you usually do with other Plank and Push Up variations. So don’t be surprised if you feel a bit sore!6. Hindu Push Ups How to Do Hindu Push UpsThe Hindu Push Up is an advanced Push Up variation that takes shoulders through a bigger range of motion.Start the exercise by doing a Plank-To-Down Dog. Then dive deeper to the front, keeping the shoulders controlled as possible. The movement should be fluid. Tip:Keeping your elbows away from the floor throughout the movement will engage your deltoid more. If you bring your elbows down closer to the floor, you will feel your triceps work more.7. Wall Handstand Kick Up How to Do Wall Handstand Kick UpAre you an advanced athlete looking for the most challenging shoulder moves to do at home without any equipment? Then handstand variations are the way to go! Good to know:Make sure to build up shoulder strength slowly and carefully. Even just climbing up a wall with your legs and holding for a couple of seconds will heavily load your shoulders, so you need to be prepared and already have a strong base.Keep your upper body aligned (shoulders over hands) and aim to create a 90-degree angle with your hips for the Wall Handstand Kick Up. If you can, lift one leg at a time, keeping glutes engaged.Bonus Exercise for Better Shoulder PostureWall Lateral Pull-Downs  Did you know that your posture affects strength, function, and even the appearance of your shoulders?Wall Lateral Pull-Downs can help you open up your shoulders, discover a better alignment, and increase confidence. It is especially beneficial for those with forward “rounded shoulders”: This type of posture is common for those who spend a lot of time with their head forward or looking down (example: desk jobs, fine handwork, holding a baby, or even browsing your phone).Tips:If the exercise seems very easy, you are either very flexible or not doing it right!Tuck your chin. Your arms should be in contact with the wall at all points. Shoulder blades are stable and down. Make sure not to lift your lower ribs up to increase shoulder range of motion. Don’t push it. Try to relax. The range of motion will come with repetitions!Looking for more exercises you can do to build a strong body without any equipment? Download the adidas Training app and start your complete 12-week personalized bodyweight training plan today!*** More

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    11 Muscle Building Tips for Huge Gains

    These 11 muscle building tips can help beginner athletes get started with their muscle building journey. These muscle growth methods can also enable advanced athletes whose muscle growth has plateaued. Muscle building is a complex physiological process that takes significant time and commitment. At the same time, there is a lot of wrong information about building muscle best. Cut through the noise with these 11 muscle building tips to start building bigger muscles today!SummaryMuscle building tips from workout structure (like sets and reps) to how much protein to include in a muscle building diet. Clever ways to build muscle and reduce total workout time with muscle building tips on supersets and pushing to failure. Learn how to increase lean muscle mass ratio.Muscle Building Tip 1: How much weight is best for building muscle?Numerous studies have shown that a weight you can lift a maximum of 8-12 times produces the most significant gains in muscle size[1, 2]. Depending on the exercise and your fitness level, this is equivalent to 60-80% of your one-rep max (the maximum amount of weight you can lift in a single repetition).Many people mistakenly think that the only way to trigger muscle growth is by lifting heavy weights in a gym.You can build bigger butt muscles, a strong core, a massive chest and even a super strong back with bodyweight exercises (or resistance band exercises) you can do at home or wherever you are!Heavy weights are only necessary if you want to have a bodybuilder’s physique. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean having the type of strength athletes need to compete, which translates to everyday health and fitness.Fact:Muscle growth is mainly due to an increase in the size and not the number of muscle fibers.Muscle Building Tip 2: How many sets per exercise are right for you? Single vs. multiple set trainingA set is the number of times you complete a certain movement (reps) and its recovery period. For example, 3×8 push-ups would be 3 sets of 8 push-ups each. The rest interval is usually 1-3 minutes between sets (more on that below).The optimal number of sets is a hot topic in the strength training world.There are big differences here depending on your fitness level.In the first weeks, novices and beginners show the same gains with single set training as they do with multiple set training.More advanced athletes achieve significantly better results with multiple set training because the training stimulus with single set training is too low to stress the muscles to adapt. Therefore, multiple set training is recommended in this case.Beginners should stick to two or three sets, whereas more advanced strength trainers can do 3-5 or more sets.Good to knowPerform as many reps and sets as you can before your form or technique fails. Continuing to push even though your form has collapsed can lead to injury. Always be in control of your movements and respect the limits of your body and fitness level. One of the biggest challenges is knowing when enough is enough, and this comes with many years (decades) of practice. Skip straight to Muscle Building Tip 7 to learn more about pushing to failure.Muscle Building Tip 3: Reps Per SetHow many repetitions (reps) per set depends on the specific exercise and fitness goals. For example, it would be reasonable to do 30-60 jumping jacks; however, that would be far too many push-ups for most people.Stick to a rep range of 6-12 repetitions of the same exercise if the focus is on building muscle. Once that many reps of an exercise is possible with good form, go all the way to 20 reps for exercises like push-ups, rows, squats, etc. Once 20 reps with good technique are doable, add another set and drop the reps back down to 6-8 reps per set. Add more reps again once you can complete all sets with good form.Muscle Building Tip 4: Rest Between SetsRest between 90 seconds and 3 minutes between individual sets.Add an aerobic component to the workout or if short on time by doing circuit training or supersets[3]. Circuit training means skipping the recovery intervals and going straight into the next exercise. This method of training works the cardiovascular system more than strength training alone.On the other hand, basic supersets involve doing exercises that oppose the same muscle or muscle group—for example, doing a set of push-ups and then going straight into a set of supermans. The two exercises oppose the same muscle group (think pushing versus pulling movements). This means skipping the recovery interval while still pushing hard in each exercise. Check out the below videos to see how push-ups and supermans work opposing muscle groups (known as an antagonist superset):  Be careful with supersets because they can leave you with DOMS for days because they work muscles to the limit! Make sure you understand the benefits of super-compensation and the difference between overtraining.Important:Make sure you perform all the exercises at a steady pace and with proper form.Muscle Building Tip 5: How many times a week for you do strength training?Soreness related to strength training is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It is vital to return or begin strength training very conservatively. Aim for the minimum amount of reps and sets if one hasn’t strength trained in a while (or ever). DOMS may occur one to two days after the initial strength training session. Even if soreness persists, another strength training session two to three days later can help alleviate DOMS and is a good idea for experienced athletes. Athletes who have never strength trained before should do one day of strength training their first week, then try adding a day the next week and see how their body reacts.RememberBuilding muscle is a long-term process. Rushing muscle building will lead to injury eventually, which will cause serious setbacks. Trust in the process, go slow and be patient. Always leave one or two reps “on the table.” When in doubt, leave it out.For beginners, two strength sessions a week is enough. An all-around program that works all the major muscle groups is best. These are often called “fully-body workouts.” Some examples of full-body workouts in adidas Training are: Full Body with Weights (use dumbbells or water bottles as weights), 8-Minute Fully Body Workout, 10-Minute Tabata HIIT, and so many more! More advanced strength trainers can work out three to four times per week.Split training is a good way to make sure there is enough time for muscle recovery. Each major muscle group will work twice a week if you do a two-body-part split four days a week. The most common types of split training are dividing your workout into upper and lower body or push and pull exercises.Advanced athletes can consider building their workouts with the adidas Training Workout Creator. This feature enables athletes to choose specific muscle groups, difficulty, workout duration and equipment. A common way to use this feature to split workouts would be to target legs and lower body one day of the week, then target arms and upper body the next day, then go back to lower body. This type of training is only for advanced athletes because it adds significant training stress, which is needed to promote further muscle growth due to the principle of progressive overload[4].Muscle Building Tip 6: How many weeks to see visible results?When starting strength training, strength increases, but your muscles won’t look any bigger.This is because the strength gains at the beginning are due to improved intra- and intermuscular coordination (improved activation and interaction between muscles). Training blocks should last between eight and twelve weeks, including a recovery week every third or fourth week depending on experience level and injury propensity.Muscle growth requires continuous additional training stimulus. Muscle Building Tip 7: Push Muscles to Failure Pushing to failure sounds dangerous (and it can be). Pushing muscles to failure is also a great way to induce muscle growth. Pushing to failure means one could not complete another rep with good technique. If one completes that final rep with poor technique, they have pushed past failure, which can quickly lead to injury at worst and is counterproductive at best.An excellent way to push to failure for bodyweight exercises is simply doing as many reps of an exercise until technique suffers. For example, do as many push-ups as possible and stop when hips and/or shoulders sag towards the ground. Rest for a minute, then do another set and note down how many reps are possible. Try to do more reps and/or sets in the next workout to build muscle. The key to this tip is to push just until it is almost too much and then stop. It’s never productive to get injured, so be very careful. Beginner athletes should focus on developing perfect technique before attempting this training tip.For example, here are 9 of the most common mistakes for the most common exercises to watch out for when pushing muscles to failure.Muscle Building Tip 8: Cut Cardio (If Muscle Building is the Only Goal)Cardio or aerobic exercise can impact the body’s ability to build muscle. If big muscles are a primary goal, cutting cardio is required. However, beginner athletes will likely realize significant gains fast if they do strength training and cardio workouts. Being able to climb stairs without getting winded is good for overall health! Plus, muscle growth will happen in a functionally natural way. For example, including running workouts will develop important leg muscles and work the cardiovascular system.The bottom lineUnless bodybuilding is a goal or muscle growth has plateaued, include cardio workouts in training.Muscle Building Tip 9: Muscle Building NutritionBuilding muscle requires fueling muscle growth. Cutting calories to lose weight is counterintuitive to building muscle. Additionally, calorie needs will increase as muscle mass increases.Protein Intake for Muscle BuildingProtein is essential for muscle building. Adequate protein intake doesn’t mean cutting out the other macronutrients of carbs and fat. It also doesn’t mean consuming more than 25g of protein an hour (the maximal protein absorption rate for humans). Supplements that have hundreds of grams of protein are a waste of money. Use this protein calculator to quickly and easily figure out how much protein is needed to build muscle. Carb Intake for Muscle BuildingMany people falsely believe that cutting carbs is an excellent way to promote muscle growth. The body prioritizes carbs as its primary fuel source during very intense exercise (like strength training or sprinting through the physiological process known as glycolysis). If the body doesn’t have enough carbs to fuel the exercise, it breaks down protein in muscles and converts protein into glucose to cover the energy expenditure of the training. This has the negative effect of breaking down the very muscles being built!Eat enough carbs to cover the energy cost of the exercise. Find that out using this carb intake calculator.The bottom lineInstead, eat a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat. Get protein from the diet, not supplements.Muscle Building Tip 10: Lose Weight and Build Lean Muscle MassIt is possible to use strength training to increase the ratio of lean muscle mass while losing weight [5]. Muscle mass may not increase (and may even decrease) during weight loss. However, increasing protein intake and maintaining strength training while cutting carbs and fat can help one maintain or increase their ratio of lean muscle mass. Think of it like this: if total bodyweight drops but muscle mass stays the same, the ratio of muscle to body weight has increased despite muscles not growing. In other words, lean muscle mass has increased.Muscle Building Tip 11: The Role of RestMuscle doesn’t get built during workouts: they break down. Muscle grows during rest because rest allows the body to repair broken muscle tissue stronger than before. Get eight to nine hours of sleep every night, especially during heavy training. Napping is also critical for serious muscle growth.ConclusionThe most important thing for effectively building muscle (as well as for every training goal in general) is that you continue to work out regularly.If you stay consistent, all the hard work will pay off and you are guaranteed to see visible results.Are you ready to get in shape and build strength? Get the adidas Training app and join a challenge!*** More

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    Stress Relievers: Which Sports Are Best to Reduce Stress?

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the daily grind, you might be tempted to lie down on the sofa and rest.But actually, experts agree that exercise is the key to relieving stress. Those who work out regularly reduce their stress levels, improve their mood, and enhance their mental health.In this article, we answer the most common questions on stress and list the best sports to soothe the body and mind.Where does stress come from?Strain at work, in the family, or in your free time – there are plenty of reasons why the body and mind react to stress. Since every person is different, how stressors (things that cause strain or tension) are perceived varies. That’s why some situations might be a threat for some people, while others consider them eustress  (positive stress) that pushes them to a higher performance level. Take a look at what happens in the brain.In the prefrontal cortex……information that we take in is sorted, evaluated, and processed. When the brain is confronted with too much information, it is unable to process it. This leads to a sense of being overwhelmed and stress symptoms, which has, in the long run, a negative effect on our health.When stress occurs frequently or constantly, but the body is unable to manage it, it is felt as something negative. Stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol are released, which make the body more efficient for a short time. It is preparing for fight or flight (just like our predecessors had to flee from wild animals). We want to survive, and this means running away in dangerous situations.Why Can You Relieve Stress With Exercising?The age-old physical reaction – running – still helps our bodies and minds regain balance in today’s world.(1, 2)Physical exertion and sports……are controlled by the motor cortex in our brains. When we move, this area is hard at work and requires much of the resources available to the entire brain. The result is that the prefrontal cortex, which controls our emotional response to stress, lacks resources – it simply cannot maintain the state of being stressed. Its activity level decreases, and the stress level is reduced. What Should You Keep In Mind When You Exercise to Relieve Stress?Exercising is a great way to reduce stress because when you move, your body produces endorphins, which elevate your mood. It’s important……to avoid pushing yourself too hard or trying to reach a new level of performance when you’re stressed out. This can be harmful to your health and even increase your cortisol level and therefore, stress.Keep your workouts shorter and stick with recovery runs or swimming. Low-intensity exercise is effectively lowering cortisol levels.(3) Look for a sport that’s fun for you and makes you feel good. Remember: make sure to take it down a notch on the days when your schedule is packed.What Are the Best Activities to Reduce Stress?There are a lot of ways to relieve stress with sports:Running:Many experts recommend running because it is one of the first skills that we learn. The important thing here is to stay in the aerobic range (your breathing speeds up, but you aren’t out of breath), in order to avoid putting too much strain on your body.Walks:In addition to endurance sports, regular, short walks can help reduce stress hormones.Yoga:Yoga is another effective way to clear your head. By concentrating on your breathing, you enter a meditative state.Team sports:If you spend a lot of time alone, either at work or in your free time, team sports like soccer are a great way to relieve stress. Don’t underestimate the support a social network can provide. In a team, you work together, which builds self-confidence and can reduce stress.Self-defense:Self-defense gives you a heightened awareness of your body, which helps your balance, and improves coordination. You’ll also be more self-confident—low self-esteem can contribute to your stress level.Climbing:Sports you do outside in the fresh air like climbing give you a greater sense of freedom. You learn to focus on the essentials and not get distracted. SummaryIf you want to reduce stress through sports, it’s important that you have a positive association with the activity you choose. In other words, you should enjoy the sport and not overdo it. A short workout that’s not too exhausting helps you feel good and regain a sense of control.There are no advantages to choosing a sport or training plan that just creates more stress because you are overly-competitive or push yourself too hard. The key is to find out how much exercise you need to relax. Your friend might run 10 km to relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean this is what your body needs.Is the stress getting to you? Sports can help! Try the adidas Running and Training apps, and make your workouts more fun.*** More

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    Meet Your Goal with The Best Strength Training for Women

    With so many bodyweight workouts available for women out there, it’s hard to choose. On top of that, every woman is different. So there is no “one workout fits all” solution. Finding a fun way to work on your personal goal is how your fitness story comes to life. Looking for a bodyweight workout to start right away? Stop the scrolling madness and try out these recommendations. Depending on your goal, fitness level, and experience, you can: Start with one of the video bodyweight workouts (that our female users love!) Or…Get a free personalized strength training for women with the Workout Creator. Start with a workout video: 4 unique bodyweight workouts What makes these bodyweight workouts special?  8-20 min long, easy to follow along  Female users around the world love them  Each one has a different focus Depending on your time and goal, pick the one that works best for you. Bodyweight workout #1: Toned Legs and Glutes Duration: 15 minutes Focus: Legs and glutes This workout is perfect to start strengthening your lower body. And if you sit a lot, your glutes need your attention, for sure. For an extra challenge, you can always do the workout twice! If you are looking to add variety to your lower body workouts, check out these 15 bodyweight exercises for legs and glutes. [embedded content]Bodyweight Workout #2: Short Full Body Workout Duration: 8 minutes Focus: Full body exercise combos This workout is just 8 minutes long, but it will work your whole body. If the classic reps and sets workout style is not your thing, you might enjoy exercise combos like this instead. Also, it’s great strength training for women on the go – do what you have time for; if you are not in a hurry, repeat it 2-3 times! Get the free 8-minute full body workout in the adidas Training app. Track your workouts to stay motivated! Bodyweight workout #3: HIIT Dance Workout Duration: 11 minutes Focus: Energize and de-stress Whether it’s the first thing you do to start the day or a home office break to re-energize in the afternoon, a dance-inspired workout will always put a smile on your face. By the way… Did you know that HIIT workouts are a great way to improve fitness in short training sessions? Or that a specific phase of your menstrual cycle might make you feel more ready for high intensity workouts? Get the free Energy HIIT workout in the adidas Training app. Track your workouts to stay motivated!  Check out more bodyweight exercises to make your own home HIIT workout. Bodyweight workout #4: Gentle Yoga Flow Duration: 20 minutes Focus: Stretch and unwind Enjoy a gentle yoga session for any fitness level. If you keep track of your menstrual cycle you will notice there are days when pushing it is just not your thing – especially if you have cramps. That’s when this workout might be exactly what you need. It’s perfect to unwind and spend some time getting centered. [embedded content]Get the free Yoga Flow workout in the adidas Training app. Track the workouts to stay motivated! Get a personalized bodyweight workout: Workout Creator Beginners, both women and men, often wish they could just improve a certain body part.But most often than not, focusing on a certain area of your body does not bring satisfying results. Training all muscle groups throughout the week will make you feel and look better. It will strengthen the targeted areas more effectively. Once you cover the basics, you can always add a little extra focus here and there.The Workout Creator tool from the adidas Training app is your shortcut to a personalized bodyweight workout.With the Workout Creator you can…  Choose workout duration  Pick which muscle groups to target  Edit the workout to suit your preference So easy to start, right?You can find out here how to set up the Workout Creator in the adidas Training app (for free!). Takeaway There is more than one bodyweight workout that will help you reach your personal goal. It may seem confusing, especially if you are just starting out. But the good thing is that there’s no wrong way to start! Just make sure to pay attention to your form. You will find tons of different bodyweight workouts focused on strength training for women in the adidas Training app and on our YouTube channel. Looking for something personalized? Make a custom bodyweight workout in just a few seconds using the Workout Creator tool.  More

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    How to do the 9 Most Common Exercises Right

    The nine most common exercises are Plank, Sit-Up, Bridge, Squat, Push-Up, Triceps Dip, Lunge, Side Lunge, and Donkey Kick. Performing common exercises may seem easy, but many people make easily avoidable mistakes that decrease the exercises’ effectiveness, or worse, lead to injury.Learn how to perform the nine most common exercises the right way by following the images and descriptions below. 9 Most Common Exercises with Correct and Incorrect Examples1. PlankPlank mistake #1One of the most common exercises is the classic Plank. It’s such a common exercise because it’s easy to do and hits the primary muscle groups (especially the core) throughout the body. It’s also an easy exercise to perform incorrectly.Common Plank mistakes include hips pushed up instead of level. This reduces the load on your core; thus, missing most of the benefits of this common exercise. Dropping the hips is another frequent plank mistake. This happens when your core is too weak to sustain the proper position throughout the plank interval. Beware of dropping hips and decrease the time of your planks so that you maintain good form.Check out the examples below to see the right and wrong ways to plank. The right way to plank is to keep your body in as straight a line as possible. Arms form an L shape from your shoulders; hips stay level with your shoulders and heels.Tired of the common plank? You have to try these nine plank variations!Wrong: Hips too highRight: Keep hips in line with shoulders and heelsPlank mistake #2Wrong: Hips too lowRight: Keep hips in line with shoulders and heels2. Sit-upAnother widespread exercise is Sit-Ups. Sit-Ups target the abdominal muscles and promote lower back flexibility and good posture when correctly performed. The most common exercise mistake for Sit-Ups is to round your back by pulling your neck forward. This happens because of underdeveloped core muscles (which is why you do sit-ups in the first place). Your body recruits other muscles to pull your body through the movement to compensate for poor form and underdeveloped muscles. Unfortunately, this negates the focus of sit-ups as an ab focused exercise and can lead to lower back pain and neck strains.Keep your eyes focused forward to maintain a neutral back. Pick an object a meter away on a wall and keep your eyes locked on it as you sit up. This will help you maintain proper form. Think of really engaging your ab and lower back muscles to pull you through the sit-up. If you feel like your upper back and neck contribute to the exercise, slow down and refocus on your form.Sit-up mistake #1Wrong: Pulling on your neckRight: Keep your neck straight, in line with your upper backSit-up mistake #2Wrong: Leading with the chin (poking your chin out)Right: Keep your chin tucked in and your eyes facing straight aheadSit-up mistake #3Wrong: Anchoring your feetRight: Keep your feet stable on the floor3. BridgeBridge is a super common exercise to build glute strength, which is essential for running and building a bigger booty. Glute bridges are great to do as a warm-up before strength training or after long periods of sitting at a desk to wake up your glutes.If this standard exercise isn’t part of your routine, make sure it is now and do it right by following the examples below!Check out this post for 4 Glute Bridge exercises for your next butt workout!Bridge mistake #1Wrong: Overarching your backRight: Start lifting from your hips and go up until your body forms a straight lineBridge mistake #2Wrong: Uneven foot pressureRight: Distribute the pressure evenly. Push from your heels, not the edge of your foot or your toes (unless you aim to activate your calf muscles more).4. SquatSquats are a prevalent exercise because they hit all the major muscle groups in a compound movement. While Squats look easy, they’re very easy to do wrong. Even squatting without weights can lead to injury if performed incorrectly. However – done right – Squats build glute, quad, lower back, and core muscle. They’re fantastic for your posture too!Squat mistake #1Wrong: Knees caving inRight: Keep knees in line with your toes or slightly pushed outSquat mistake #2Wrong: Bending the knees firstRight: Initiate the squat by pushing your hips backCheck out other common Squat mistakes or try these 6 Squat variations.5. Push-upWho hasn’t done or tried Push-Ups? They might be the most common exercise of all time. That’s because push-ups target many of the major upper body muscle groups like shoulders and pectorals. They’re also great for your core. Plus, you can do them anywhere! Push-ups can lead to shoulder, elbow and wrist pain if done wrong. Like the plank, don’t let your hips drop towards the ground. Additionally, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together during the push-up phase and keep those elbows tucked like a bird, not a frog.Check out ten ways to add some spice to your push-up routine! Push-up mistake #1Wrong: Elbows flaringRight: Keep your elbows slightly tucked in and your shoulder blades together Push-up mistake #2Wrong: Sagging midsectionRight: Keep hips in line with shouldersPush-up mistake #3Wrong: Hands in front of shoulders, elbows in “T-shape”Right: Put your hands directly under your shoulders, elbows in “A-shape”Remember to set up properly for the Push-up. 6. Triceps DipThe Triceps Dip is a less common exercise but still valuable to include in your workout routine. It works the triceps and upper arms. It’s perfect for working on shoulder mobility (but be careful if you have sensitive shoulders)!Think of this exercise as a reverse push-up. The same rules apply to the Triceps Dip as the Push-Up.Dip mistake #1Wrong: Flaring elbowsRight: Try to keep elbows in line with your shoulders and your shoulder blades togetherDip mistake #2Wrong: Back collapsing, shoulders going forwardRight: Keep your chest “open”: shoulders back and your shoulder blades together7. LungeLunges are a common exercise for runners because they target the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. They promote hip mobility and proper running form. Lunges have the potential to cause knee injuries if poorly done. They can lead to injuries like Patellar Tendonitis. Avoid injuring your knees or pulling your hamstrings by ensuring your knee doesn’t go past your toes. Keep your back neutral in a straight line. Don’t jump or bounce off your front foot–bring your trailing leg up to it and come smoothly out of the lunge into a standing position.Learn more about taking care of your knees and overall joint health.Lunge mistake #1Wrong: Front knee too far forwardRight: Try to keep your front knee over your toesLunge mistake #2Wrong: Excessive forward lean in upper body Right: Look straight ahead and try to keep your chest upMaster the basics and you’ll be ready for these 10 Lunge variations!8. Side LungeA less common exercise is the side lunge–but it shouldn’t be! Side lunges are great for ball sports athletes, skiers, trail runners, and overall functional mobility and stability. They help your legs, especially your knees, cope with sideways loading. Think of sudden changes in direction like in football–this is a perfect case for doing side lunges.Since most of us spend most of our time moving forward and backward, the stabilizer muscles that help us cope with lateral loads can become too weak. If those muscles are too weak, sudden lateral movements (like tripping while trail running or catching an edge skiing) can cause severe and instant injury.Ease into lateral lunges as they can leave you pretty sore if you’re not used to them. Of course, follow the examples below to do this common exercise the right way!Side Lunge mistake #1Wrong: Collapsing ankleRight: Keep back foot stable on the floorSide Lunge mistake #2Wrong: Pointing toes of the bent leg sidewaysRight: Point the toes of the bent leg forwardSide Lunge mistake #3Wrong: Pushing the knee too far outRight: Keep your bent knee over your toes9. Donkey KickDonkey kick is another widespread exercise that is like a reverse one-legged bridge. Donkey kicks are terrific for improving hip mobility, quad strength, and of course, building that booty! But be careful because they can also lead to groin injuries if you suffer from tight hip flexors (like sitting at a desk all day).Donkey Kick mistake #1Wrong: Overarching the backRight: Try to keep your lower back in a neutral positionDonkey Kick mistake #2Wrong: Foot turns inward or outwardRight: Keep your foot parallel to your lower leg, even if you move your thigh to the sideImportant:Be patient. Don’t expect to get it right the first time! Look at yourself in the mirror, take a video, practice, and explore the movement. Don’t get discouraged by all these common exercise mistakes. It’s easy to “remember” the right form once you feel how your muscles are more effectively activated.For a balanced home bodyweight workout program check out the 12-week training plan from the adidas Training app. Exercise videos demonstrating proper form are included in all workouts.*** More

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    Best 6 Bodyweight Bicep Exercises >> With a Pull Up Bar or Resistance Band

    Having muscular arms is a sign of strength and fitness. Sporting a pair of guns is one of the easiest ways to make a big impression. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that one of the most popular gym exercises is the biceps curl. Practically everyone who holds a dumbbell in their hand for the first time instinctively does a curl. But what if you want to do a bicep workout at home without weights? Here is a list of bodyweight bicep exercises you can do at home with a pull up bar or resistance band. The best bodyweight exercises for your bicepsHere’s how to combine bicep exercises into a great home workout: Choose three of the exercises and do 8-12 repetitions. Do three sets of each exercise with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets. During isometric exercises, try to hold the position as long as possible. Repeat this three times with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets.1. Chin-upsStarting position:Grab the pull up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Let yourself hang with your arms nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shouldersHow to perform the exercise:Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar (end position). Then lower yourself back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.2. Isometric Chin-upsStarting position:Grab the pull up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. If you are unable to do a chin up, you can still do this exercise by using a chair or step to jump. Alternatively, and a more challenging bicep exercise, you can bend your arms until they are at a 90-degree angle.How to perform the exercise:Hold this position for as long as you can.3. Negative/eccentric Chin-upsStarting position:Grab the pull up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the barHow to perform the exercise:Lower yourself down into a hanging position in a slow and controlled manner. Your arms should not be completely straight in the end position. Make sure to maintain tension in your arms and shoulders in the end position.Note:If you cannot do a chin-up, you can always do the negatives. Feel free to use a chair or step to jump up. Then, perform the bicep exercise.4. Commando Chin-upsStarting position:Place your hands close together on the pull up bar. Your thumbs should be facing you and your arms should be nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shoulders.How to perform the exercise:Pull yourself up with your head to the left of the bar. Try to touch the pull up bar with your right shoulder. Then lower yourself back down to the starting position in a controlled manner. Then, pull yourself up with your head to the right of the bar. Try to touch the bar with your left shoulder.5. Head Bangers (advanced exercise)Starting position:Grab the pull up bar with your palms facing you and your hands about shoulder width apart. Let yourself hang with your arms nearly straight. Maintain tension in your arms and shoulders.How to perform the exercise:Pull yourself up until your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. While holding this position, push and pull your body back and forth in an explosive manner, as if you were trying to hit the bar with your forehead.Extra: Bicep exercise you can do at home without a pull up barWould you like to do your bicep exercises at home, but don’t have any dumbbells or a pull up bar? No sweat, all you need is a resistance band.6. Resistance Band Bicep CurlsStarting position:Sit down with your knees flexed under you, so that you are sitting on your heels. Keep your upper body tall and shoulders relaxed. Tuck the resistance band underneath your right knee and hold it with your right hand.How to perform the exercise:Pull your hand up towards your right shoulder against the resistance of the band. Your upper arm should stay stationary as you pull on the band, keeping your elbow underneath your shoulder and close to your body. Release the hold and return to the starting position. Do all repetitions on one side, then switch to the other side.If bigger, stronger arms and a stronger upper body are your goal – don’t forget to check out the best bodyweight exercises for triceps, too. For more tips on how to build muscle with bodyweight exercises check out Muscle Gain 101. Want to improve your overall strength and fitness? Find the perfect bodyweight training plan for your needs in the adidas Training app now.*** More

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    Working Out on Your Period >> Understand the Menstrual Cycle Phases

    There are days when you power through a HIIT workout with ease and then those days when you don’t want to get out of your bathrobe. By understanding your cycle, you can stop seeing your period as a burden and be able to take advantage of the physical and emotional benefits. Find out how to schedule your workouts to maximize those hormonal boosts and learn when it’s best to focus on recovery and regeneration. Breakdown of the Menstrual Cycle PhasesMenstrual PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your cycle starts on the first day of your period. The lining of the uterus is shed through the vagina, releasing blood, mucus, and tissue. Symptoms like cramps, bloating, headaches and mood swings can add an extra challenge to your fitness motivation. Yoga Poses for Cramp ReliefDo you get cramps? Try easy yoga poses like the child’s pose, cat-cow, and savasana to ease the pain.You might feel tired or lethargic and need more rest than usual. This is a great opportunity to cancel plans, stay home, and write in your mindfulness journal. Set some goals for yourself that you can achieve during the follicular stage. Keep in mind, this is not the time to stress yourself out with setting a new PR (personal record). The goal of working out on your period should be to stay active and listen to your body.What to WearWhether you prefer tampons, pads, menstrual cups, period underwear, adidas Techfit Period Proof Tights, or a combination of these – there are plenty of options to keep you comfortable during menstruation.Your workoutFollicular PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your period is over and now your pituitary gland releases the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. Your estrogen and testosterone levels will begin to increase, which energizes you and might improve your mood. You’ll feel more social, and assertive as testosterone stimulates your libido. Now is the time to take the initiative and focus on achieving goals. An egg will be released from a follicle in your ovary around day 14, at the end of the follicular phase. At this point the estrogen and testosterone peak, which makes you feel more confident. Enjoy it!Your workoutLuteal PhaseWhat’s happening in the body?Your body is starting to wind down after the high of the follicular and ovulatory phase. After the first couple of days, your estrogen and testosterone production will decline and your body will ramp up progesterone levels. Focus on a healthy, balanced diet right now and boost your serotonin levels by staying active. As you enter the second part of this phase, you may notice your skin getting oily or even breaking out, breast tenderness, and mood changes. These are all symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome. Reduce your symptomsCut down on caffeine to reduce breast soreness, reduce your sugar intake, and make sure you stay hydrated. Avoid fatty, processed foods and salt, too, as they increase water retention. Studies show that regular yoga sessions can reduce the common symptoms of PMS.(1)Your workoutTime to build lean muscle. Focus on strength training and challenging yoga sessions. Research shows that this is when strength training really pays off.(2)Gradually shift to lighter workouts as you approach your upcoming menstruation. Try the Strong Before Your Period workout in the adidas Training app.TakeawayThe key to staying active throughout your menstrual cycle phases is understanding what is happening in your body. Everyone’s cycle is different; keep track of yours so you can really get the most out of those powerful follicular and ovulatory phases and use the luteal and menstrual phases for healthy nutrition, recovery, regeneration, and mindfulness. Remember, if you want to keep working out on your period, there’s no reason you can’t. Just pay attention to how you feel and make sure you take a bit more time to rest.*** More