Covet strong glutes? We asked the Base Body Babes to share their advice when it comes to training your glutes. We love having and creating well balanced, beautifully proportioned and functional bodies. Our programs are specifically designed to ensure the body is structurally balanced and moving correctly, with a focus on posture and creating feminine
Hands up if you find the rowing machine a little daunting?
We don’t blame you. On a treadmill, you run. On an exercise bike, you cycle. Perfect rowing technique, however, can seem far less straightforward, which means many people are steering clear of this effective piece of gym kit – and missing out on its big-time benefits.
But, master the moves for this machine and you can expect weight loss, better fitness and increased upper and lower-body strength – all without the harsh impact that some cardio exercise can have on joints.
‘Indoor rowing is a complete form of exercise,’ explains Olympic rowing coach and Concept2 fitness expert Terry O’Neill (concept2.co.uk). ‘Rowing is a combination of cardiovascular and strength conditioning, making it a great addition to any fitness regime or training programme – for people of all ages with a wide variety of goals.’
Whether you’re a beginner or an Olympian, there’s a way to make rowing a key player in your workouts.
One of the main reasons that people opt for a workout on the rower to get their cardio fix is because – unlike the treadmill, stepper and stationary bike – it offers plenty of added value. Using correct technique harnesses the power of both the upper and lower body, so your bum, thighs and calves will get a real push as well as your arms and shoulders. Rowing also requires solid activation from your core and back to maintain good form (particularly in the upper back) with each and every stroke, which means that a good session on the rower can hit almost every muscle, offering total-body conditioning. Plus, the cardiovascular movement of rowing gives your heart and lungs a great workout, too.
‘Indoor rowing is great for toning up, as it involves more muscle groups over a wide range of movement, with little pressure on the joints,’ says Terry. ‘No matter why you choose to row, the rowing machine will offer just the right level of resistance for your goals, as well as an infinite variety of workouts.’
If you think rowing is just for steady-state fitness, think again – the machine is great for both endurance and interval training. ‘Because the rowing machine activates a large muscle mass, it helps you achieve better cardio results in less time,’ Terry explains. ‘It can also provide excellent anaerobic workouts complementary to explosive power sport training. Plus, indoor rowing is a great endurance exercise that really helps to boost both your heart and lung functions.’
If you’ve ever tried high-intensity interval sprints on the treadmill, you’ll know how annoying it is having to repeatedly press buttons while you’re trying to run to adjust the speed of the belt. One of the great things about the rowing machine is that – although the resistance can be tricky to adjust once you’ve got going – you can control the speed simply by increasing or decreasing your own work rate. So, while some people enjoy longer, steady-state sessions on the rower, those looking for a heart-pumping interval session
can get on with focusing on their technique, instead of pushing buttons.
Of course, the crucial element here is technique – the better your form, the more efficient your workout. Use the steps below to perfect your stroke and practise rowing at a comfortable pace until you’re ready to up your speed.
The rowing masterclass
Use these simple step-by-step instructions to get to grips with perfect rowing technique. Remember to avoid letting your shoulders round or your lower back arch beyond its neutral position. Ready, set, row!
• Keeping your legs straight, lean back slightly with the handle close to your body and your forearms parallel to the floor.
• Extend your arms fully, rocking your body forward slightly and keeping your arms extended.
• Slide your lower body forward from the hips until your knees are above your feet, keeping your arms extended.
• Push down on your feet to drive your body back, straightening your legs and leaning your body back slightly as you do so.
• Pull the handle back past your knees towards your body to return to the starting position. Repeat.
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A good training regime is, of course, essential for distance running. But for real success on the endurance front, it is important to give your nutrition a long hard look. The longer you run, the more fuel your body needs. As a general rule, if you exercise at intensity beyond one-and-a-half hours, your body needs to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes to maintain performance, says nutritionist Sarah OíNeill (sarahoneill.co.uk). And if you don’t consume the extra salt and sugar your body craves, you’re more susceptible to dehydration.
While yoga is undoubtedly known as the go-to for limbering up, de-stressing and boosting flexibility, it’s less known for its contribution to cardio fitness. Wild, a new class from Fierce Grace (fiercegrace.com), is looking to change that, though. Taking inspiration from martial arts, ballet, qigong, physiotherapy, resistance exercises and, of course, traditional yoga, Wild is a functional-based workout designed for anyone and everyone. Try this workout for a taster of what this innovative class offers. Ready?
With your feet hip-width apart and arms loose, perform continuous little jumps for 30 seconds.
Stand with feet wider than hips. Bend your knees if you need to.
Hinge at the hips, reaching your arms out. Graze the floor with your hands as you go, exhaling all the way to reach your arms through your legs.
Inhale to bounce back, then reach through again, taking a second to complete each reach-through.
Do 15 reps in total.
Standing up straight with your feet wide, reach down to the floor by your toes.
Walk forward with your hands until your body is in a straight line.
Bend your arms to lower your chest, then push back up.
Walk your hands back to the start.
Repeat for 10 reps.
Sit cross-legged on the floor with your hands on your ankles.
Exhale, round your spine and relax it, look down and feel the stretch in your upper back.
Inhale and arch your spine, look up and push your chest forwards, using your hands to help you.
Repeat, performing one rep per second for one minute.
Sit cross-legged with your hands resting on your shoulders – fingers in front, thumbs at the back and elbows out to the sides. Keep your eyes and head forward throughout.
Inhale to twist left, then exhale right.
Pull your belly in and lift your chest.
Repeat once per second.
Hold a plank with hands under your shoulders, fingers spread, tailbone tucked under, abs and quads tight.
Practise ‘fire breath’ (drawing breath from your navel area, quickly breathe in and out through your nose, pulling your belly in as you exhale).
Hold for 45 secs.
Now, without losing form, lift your left leg and right arm.
Bring them back to the plank then do the same with the opposite limbs.
Do this twice more on each side.
Lie on your back with your palms under your hips for support and legs off the ground.
Scissor your legs up and down, performing fire breath through your nose once each rep.
Go for one minute.
Lie on your front with your arms beside you, palms down, elbows locked and forehead on the floor.
Bend your knees to take your feet off the floor, keeping them together.
Inhale and squeeze to lift your knees off the floor, then lower them straight back down to finish the rep.
Do 30 reps.
Check out www.fiercegrace.com for more information on yoga, classes and training