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    Tight Hip Flexors? 3 Stretches & Hip Stability Exercises

    Do you have lower back pain, pain in your glutes or hips, trouble walking, bending, or standing? The problem might lie deep within your hips in muscles that are often overlooked in strength training. Your hip flexors are the powerhouse of motion. They play a key role in core strength and stability. If your core is weak, your hip flexors will take over, causing the iliopsoas to tighten up, which limits your mobility. Stretching and strengthening these stabilizing muscles can improve your athletic performance and reduce reduce the risk of pain and injury.(1)Find out if hip flexors are causing you pain and if so, what to do about it. What are hip flexors?The hip flexors are a group of muscles located around the top of your leg in the pelvic area. They connect the lower back to the hips, groin, and thighs. The primary hip flexor is called the iliopsoas and is responsible for lifting your leg off the ground and moving forward when you run, walk, and climb stairs. It is a compound muscle located in the inner hip and comprised of the iliacus and psoas muscles. 6 Symptoms of Tight HipsIs your iliopsoas your problem? Here are six common symptoms:Tightness in the lower backPoor postureNeck tightness and painWalking with stiff kneesGlute painAchiness in hipWhat causes tight hip flexors?The most common cause of tight hip flexors is too much sitting. If you sit at a desk all day, your iliopsoas shortens, which tightens your hip flexors. The muscles maybe also be weak, putting more strain on the joints.Tip:If you have a desk job, adding regular stretching during breaks can relieve tension in your hips, neck and back, too.A weak core will also contribute to tightness in your hips, as your flexors take over to stabilize the spine, compensating for the lack of core strength. Make sure to incorporate regular strength work for your core––especially if you are a runner. Runners often suffer from tight hips, because the iliopsoas is responsible for lifting the leg with each step. Since there is no movement in running that balances out that shortening of the iliopsoas, it is essential to stretch your hips and quads regularly.3 Hip Opening StretchesReady to loosen up your tight hip flexors? Try these warm up stretches with running legend, Haile Gebrselassie. Each stretch should be held for 20 seconds; do two rounds of the three stretches.1. Hip flexor stretch [embedded content]2. Knee hug stretch [embedded content]3. Hamstring stretch[embedded content]Hip Stability Exercises for the IliopsoasDon’t stop at stretching. Increased flexibility is just one step in the journey to flexible, strong hips. Research shows that hip flexor strength training can improve sprint and agility performance among amateur athletes.(2) The benefits of strong hip flexors include greater hip stability, which can lengthen your running stride and reduce joint strain, more power in your explosive movements like jumping and sprinting, plus reduced back pain. LungesLunges are a great way to strengthen several muscle groups in and around your hips. Start with the basic forward lunge and then move on to curtsy lunges and jump lunges when you’re ready.Leg raisesStraight leg raises are an easy way to work your lower back and hip flexors. Make sure to keep your back on the floor. If the double leg raise is too tough, start with one leg at a time.Speed skatersThis exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, gets your heart rate up and builds stability and balance.Looking for more strength and mobility workouts? Check out the wide variety of workouts in the adidas Training app for full body strength training. *** More

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    Fitbit Charge 5 Is Better Than Expected

    The new Fitibit Charge 5 builds on the advanced features of the previous model, offering a sleeker, more rounded body, and new bands. A more efficient (but also brighter) AMOLED color screen has been added, to, which helps it get up to seven days of battery life.

    The Fitbit Charge 5 also has some celebrity chutzpah behind it with Will Smith saying it helped him lose his “dad bod” (he took to Instagram earlier this year to confess he was in the worst shape of this life). The new Fitbit model isn’t just a regular tracker. Along with the normal health metrics that most trackers assess, like steps, fitness, sleep, and overall well-being, buyers will get a free six-month trial of Fitbit Premium, a new service that gives you health and fitness guidance plus access to more than 500 workouts, mindfulness and nutrition sessions.
    Courtesy ImageWith the Daily Readiness feature, the Charge 5 will tell you every morning whether your body is ready to sweat or if a recovery session is needed instead. Upon awaking, you’ll get a score based on your fitness fatigue (previous activity), heart rate variability, and quality of sleep. An analysis of how you got that score will also be on hand, along with health and fitness suggestions like a recommended target goal for being active, and workouts or sessions that can help you make the on-target decisions for your body that day.

    The updated device will also track stress, breathing rate, skin temperature variation, and oxygen saturation in your blood. And the Charge 5 includes GPS, 20 exercise modes, auto exercise identification and a V02 max estimation, and have accessibility to their ECG app while monitoring heart health 24/7 and pushing notifications to you if your heart rate goes above or below personal ranges.

    Courtesy ImageThe free trial of Fitbit Premium will also include an exclusive content series developed with, and featuring, Will Smith, which drops on September 27. It’ll have video sessions featuring Smith and his training team, as well as other health and wellness programs designed specifically to focus on both physical and mental strength.

    For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube! More

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    The 8 Best Vegan Protein Powders and Best Vegetarian Protein Powders

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    If you want to get the best results possible when you hit the gym, you can’t just expect results without supplements. You need to fuel your body up with the right nutrients and ingredients to get the best results possible. This means for many that a good protein powder needs to be used before, during, and after a workout. But for vegans, that isn’t usually the case with most powders. That’s why vegans need to find and use the best vegan protein powders.
    “There is no reason that someone who eats a vegan or vegetarian diet can’t build just as much muscle as an omnivore,” says Matt Ruscigno, MPH, R.D. “They can get all of the same amino acids in the right amounts.”
    Why can’t vegans use most of the protein powders that exist out there? That is because most of them are made with dairy or other such non-vegan-friendly protein sources. And that isn’t just a problem for them in a grander sense but in a micro sense. Going from vegan to nonvegan is not a shift you make easily. And if you vegans want to put on the most muscle possible, then you need to use protein powders made from vegan-friendly sources.
    There are plenty of options out there for you vegans. Maybe not as much as the non-vegan options, but they are there. Options for protein sources being such options as Soy and hemp and brown rice amongst others. These have all been formulated with the intent of getting you fueled up with a ton of energy to burn off at the gym. And when you burn them off, your muscles will grow and recover much quicker. Great results all around.
    We have gone ahead and found some of the best vegan protein powders you guys could hope for. They are all found beneath and have been picked for their differences in protein sources. You can choose the one that works best for you. And in no time, you will be ready for a vigorous workout with the results you’ve always wanted. Get your body properly fueled and bulk up right now.
    The Best Vegan Protein Powders More

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    Get in Shape with these Wheelchair Exercise Tips and Workout

    These wheelchair exercises and full workout will help you begin your fitness journey or continue on it if you’re an athlete with an impairment that requires you to use a wheelchair. Maybe you are even thinking of trying a wheelchair racing event or other wheelchair sports. Whatever your goals, this wheelchair exercise workout will get your going and challenge you! First, learn why wheelchair exercise is like any other exercise program.Wheelchair Exercise Isn’t Fundamentally DifferentThe basics of fitness do not change just because an athlete happens to use a wheelchair. All athletes need to build a solid aerobic engine. All athletes need to develop functional strength. We are all athletes, and we build fitness in unique ways—wheelchairs don’t change this.Our bodies do not care if you use a wheelchair, a prosthesis, have a visual impairment, etc. As far as fitness is concerned: energy goes in, and energy comes out. All athletes must constantly monitor their body to see how it is reacting to workouts. Athletes need to ensure they don’t overwork muscles or overtrain. Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.With that in mind, try this wheelchair exercise workout!Wheelchair Exercise WorkoutWarm-up Start every workout by warming up soft tissue and mobilizing the joints and muscles to be worked. The goal of the warmup is to raise your body’s temperature so ork up a light sweat. Get in the right mental space by doing mental exercises (disregard the title of the linked blog post—these exercises are for all athletes).Warm-up Wheelchair ExercisesTriceps stretch (stretches your triceps, upper back and shoulders): Keep back straight and your arms at your sides.Lift one arm up overhead, and then bend your elbow and reach your hand down your back as far as you can. Use your opposite hand to give gentle assistance until you feel a stretch. Exhale and hold for 2-seconds.Relax and return to the starting position.Complete the set on one side before repeating with the opposite arm.Trunk Rotation (stretches your trunk and hips):Sit on the ground with legs straight.Cross right leg over left, bending the knee and placing the right foot on the ground to the outside of the right knee.Twist trunk to right placing the left elbow on the outside of the left knee.Exhale and hold for 2-seconds, relax and repeat six times.Trigger Point – Chest (releases tension in your chest):Press a trigger ball (tennis ball, for example) against your pec just above your armpit with your opposite hand.Adjust your position until you find a sore point.Holding pressure on this spot, slide your free hand overhead and back down.Re-adjust your position and repeat the movement on any other sore spots you find.Complete the set on one side before repeating on the other side.Ys – (works your shoulders and upper back):Raise your arms overhead to form a Y. Keep your torso tight and thumbs back.Glide your shoulder blades towards your spine and pull arms slightly back.Return to the starting position.Repeat six times.Ts – (stretches your chest):Raise your arms overhead to form a T. Keep your torso tight and thumbs back.Glide your shoulder blades towards your spine and pull your arms slightly back.Return to the starting position.Repeat six times.Ws – (works your shoulders and upper back):Raise your arms overhead to form a W. Keep your torso tight and thumbs back.Glide your shoulder blades towards your spine and pull arms slightly back.Return to the starting position.Repeat six times.This comprehensive warm-up will help prevent muscle spasms and cramps.Compound Movements Wheelchair ExercisesBalance the workload across the body by breaking the workout into the two primary muscle groups to be worked: core and upper body. To further spread the load across each muscle group, focus on the arms’ arms’ direction during the exercise.Compound Movement ExercisesOverhead Press – Dumbbell (Works your shoulders):Back straight, chest up, holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing forward.Press the weights overhead while keeping still.Lower the weights to your shoulders.Do two sets of eight reps (2×8).Row – Cable (Works your upper back, shoulders and torso):Attach two handles to the cables. Sit facing the machine, just farther than arm’s length away.Keeping your torso stable, pull the handles to your body by driving your elbow back and close to your torso.Return to the starting position.Continue for the full set.Complete two sets of eigh reps (2×8).Core Movements Having a strong core makes everything in life more manageable. For athletes that use wheelchairs, a strong core means more rotational stability and a strong base for propulsion.Focus on rotational, diagonal pattern movements. Do moves that go from high to low. Then do moves that start low and go high. Core Movement Wheelchair ExerciseRotational Lift – Low to High (works your shoulders, triceps and torso):Attach a rope handle to a low cable pulley. Holding the rope with both hands, sit with your side to the cable machine.Rotate your shoulders and arms toward the machine.In one continuous motion, pull the handles toward your chest, rotate your shoulders away from the machine and push the rope up and away.Reverse the movement back to the starting position.Complete the set on one side before repeating on the other side.Complete two sets of eight reps (2×8).Isolated Movements Wheelchair ExercisesIsolated movements build strong and defined muscles. Due to the focus on one muscle, few reps and sets can be completed before the muscle tires. To work specific muscles, begin with bicep curls, lateral raises and triceps extensions.Isolated Movement Wheelchair ExercisesBicep Curls – Alternating Dumbbells (works your biceps):Sit holding dumbbells in each hand at your side.Keeping your elbows at your sides, curl one dumbbell up to your shoulder.Lower the weight back down to the starting position. Repeat with the other arm.Continue alternating for the full set.Complete two sets of eight reps (2×8).Tricep extension – Dumbbell (works your shoulders):Hold the dumbbell slighly behind your head with your elbows bent.Extend both elbows to push the dumbbell overhead.Bend your elbows to return to the starting position.Continue for the remainder of the set.Complete two sets of eight reps (2×8).CardioThe goal of cardio work is to elevate your heart rate for an extended period of time.You could do this by doing a resistance movement at a low resistance for several minutes. One amazing cardio exercise for athletes that use wheelchairs is to head out for an extended time on your wheelchair. The movement is inherently aerobic! You could also try using a hand ergometer or swimming.If using a resistance machine for cardio, set it to low resistance. Perform the movement for 10 minutes to start and work your way up to 20 minutes.Cool-DownA massage is great for cool-down. Focus on areas that feel like you really worked them. A massage tool is sufficient but a professional massage can do wonders for your recovery.Perform the same exercises as in your warm-up to stretch out worked muscles and get your body’s recovery process kickstarted.Include these muscle-boosting foods in your post-workout meals to recover quicker and build muscle.Help us produce better content for you. What fitness and health topics specific for athletes with impairments would you like to learn? Leave a comment:*** More

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    The Best Casein Protein Powder for Men 2021

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    Bulking up at the gym is no easy feat. Not just because you need to work your way up to weights that will really put you to the test. But because you need to fuel up with protein powders to get your body to improve in the way that you want. A lot of people tend to use Whey Protein Powders to bulk up, and it is a good way to do so. But there’s also something to be said for using the best casein protein powder in your workouts.
    Casein vs Whey
    What is the difference between Whey and Casein? Well, the difference between the two is mainly in how quickly the body absorbs them. Whey is absorbed much quicker and thus helping bulk up the body easier. But Casein is beneficial because of the fact that it’s slower acting. This means that your body will have that fuel in it longer in the day. You can use it before bed to have it get the job done while you sleep. And it’s a good source of calcium to keep those bones nice and strong
    Now, there are a lot of options out there if you are looking to pick up some Casein Protein Powder. A lot of options. So much so that it’ll make your head spin. And all of them have their different benefits when stacked next to the other. You can get one that tastes better than another or one that is better for muscle growth than another. All in all, you need to know what you are looking for when it comes to picking up the powder that works best for you.
    Saving you guys a whole lot of time, we have picked out 5 of the best options available on Amazon. Each one is a winner yet each one has a specific benefit that you want to take into account. So check out each of the options we picked out below and make sure you pick one of them up now so you can get your workout routine rolling with the proper fuel.
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    4 Tips for Running on Vacation • How to Stay Fit and Have fun

    ​​Summer is in full swing and your vacation is just around the corner. For many people, running is an active way to relax and recharge: therefore, many runners can’t imagine not running while on holiday. That being said, here are 4 tips for running on vacation so you can stay fit and enjoy your time off: 1. Mix up your routine with cross-trainingRunners who have a race scheduled after their vacation might want to use the time to take their training up a notch. However, you shouldn’t forget that your break is supposed to provide you with some much-needed recovery time from your normal busy life. Be careful that your running doesn’t add additional stress. You should decide before you leave if you want to do a training camp or focus on rest and relaxation.Of course, it’s a good idea to use running as an active way to relax and relieve daily stress. But on vacation, just try not to focus on distance, pace, and intensity. Take a short break from your training plan and do some cross-training like swimming or cycling. Try some bodyweight training workouts for runners when you wake up in the morning. The change can actually help improve your performance in the long run.Sometimes, less is more:Vacation means rest. Don’t force yourself to work out if your body needs a break.2. Don’t forget about your travel companionsIf you want to run on vacation, you need to balance this with the needs of your significant other, family or friends. There is nothing more annoying for your fellow travelers than constantly having to organize their day around your training plan.Timing: The best times to go running are early in the morning or late in the evening. Plus, it is a good idea to let your loved ones participate in your running experience: have your significant other, children or friends run along with you – together we are stronger!3. Embrace the new opportunitiesRunning on vacation shouldn’t be goal-oriented. Your mind would also benefit from some variety from your usual running routine. Aim to discover new things: marvel at the scenery, discover new routes, and use the time to explore your surroundings. Why not try trail running for a change? This knowledge of the area can come in handy later on day trips and you get to see places off the normal tourist track.Tip:Before setting out, make sure your GPS is functioning and that you have a map of the area downloaded to your phone. That way you don’t have to worry about finding your way back.4. Get used to the new conditionsPay attention to the new conditions of your vacation location and don’t underestimate the effort needed to adjust: differences in climate, time zone, or running surface (sand or rock) can have a big impact on your body. Also, the intensity of the sun should not be underestimated during the summer months. A light wind or a cool breeze might make it difficult to tell the temperature or how much UV radiation your body is being exposed to. Plus, many runners are not accustomed to the extra effort of running in mountain air.Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. You should also give your body ample opportunities to recover from the extra stress of the new conditions. Remember, staying fit on vacation is not only about exercise. Rest and relaxation is a big part of staying healthy; a holistic approach will give you better results in the long run.TakeawayThere are lots of benefits to running on vacation: you add to your holiday experience and can work off some of the stress of your normal busy life. Vacation is a perfect time to recharge your batteries and a great opportunity to try a digital detox.These tips for running on vacation should help keep you on track with your fitness, but more importantly – help you prioritize during this well-earned break. Try to free your mind of any thoughts about races and training plans.*** More

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    Best Supplements for Men

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    When you hit the gym hard, it can be tempting to load up on every shiny tub of mysterious purple powder you can get your hands on in hopes it’ll turn you into vintage Schwarzenegger overnight. But rather than loading up on some generic “best supplements” just because they’re popular, it makes sense to identify your specific needs as an athlete, then address those issues first.
    Are you a hardcore powerlifter? A physique-focused bodybuilder? A long-distance cyclist? All those endeavors require slightly different nutrient profiles—but it’s important to start with the fundamentals.
    “The average guy doesn’t always need to take anything crazy,” says Kylene Bogden, M.S., a board-certified sports dietician at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. “If your diet is great and you’re sleeping well, it’s rare you’d need anything besides these select supplements.”
    Oh, and one more thing: If you’re subsisting on late-night fries and couch pizza, fix that problem first. “Our rule is ‘food first,’” says Damon McCune, M.S., the director of performance nutrition for the athletics program at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas and a consultant to physique athletes and bodybuilders. “The number one thing I see across the board is people aren’t eating enough. This means they’re deficient in one or more nutrients because of that.”
    So before you blow your next paycheck on some rattlesnake venom that promises to increase your bench press max (hint: it won’t), make sure you’ve got your nutrition plan down. If you’re still feeling sluggish in the morning or run-down after workouts—and your doctor gives you the go-ahead—consider taking these seven nutritionist-recommended supplements to get what you need. More

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    The Best Healthy Protein Bars for Men 2021

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    Who doesn’t love a good protein bar? Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or just something to tide you over until mealtime, protein bars are a fantastic option that provide nutrients and energy with great taste—and usually very little (or even zero) sugar. But with so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one to pick. So we’ve rounded up some of the best and most popular protein bars for you.

    Our Top 3 Picks

    No matter if you’re on a low-carb, high protein diet or just trying to lose weight, a protein bar is a great choice. They help keep you full between meals, and have vastly more nutritional value than a candy bar. They’re better for breakfast than cereal and pastries. They work awesome as a between-meal snack. And a lot of people substitute them for meals when altogether.
    They’re also great for athletic recovery. After a hard session in the weight room or CrossFit arena, a protein bar can give your muscles and tissues a kickstart to recovery with a jolt of amino acids, to get you back in the game faster while keeping vital nutrients flowing.
    Protein bars come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. The most popular—LUNA bars, PureProtein, and ONE come to mind—have been around for years. But the new breed of protein bars like GoMacro, PowerCrunch, and thinkThin are taking the protein bar into previously uncharted territories, providing vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options. Even stalwart brands like Gatorade and SlimFast have gotten in on the protein bar action.
    So quit snacking between meals, kickstart your recovery, and start enjoying healthy snacks today. There’s a flavor to suit every taste. And most come in a variety of flavors and package sizes, so experimenting until you find the one that’s right for you is a breeze. So try some of these bestselling protein bars, and take our health and fitness into your own hands. More