Those who have participated in Functional Fitness or core programs might be well aware of Physioballs and Bosu Balls. Physioballs are also known as Swiss Balls or Stability Balls and are those large blow up plastic spheres folks sit on while doing strange exercises. A Bosu Ball is actually an acronym for BOth Sides Up because you can use either side. It really looks like a Physioball cut in half.
Both of these items are great for activating your core and developing not only the core strength, but also all the neural-muscular connections (your brain working well with your muscles). If you have any questions about the importance of a strong core, try this quick read – Functional Fitness Defined.
Moving on….let’s talk about homemade core-activation. There are 2 pieces of equipment I highly recommend. If you are familiar with this site, you can probably already guess what they are. They are….wait for it….wait for it…Slosh Tubes and Clubbells.
Slosh Tubes are long, 1/2 filled with water, pipes. Simply described, when the water “sloshes” to one side, you are forced to activate you core muscles to stablize. Clubbells are also very excellent tools to help work your core. Check out this post for more on them. If you have both, then we have a great 12 week program for you called K-Element. Further, if you need directions to make your very own – like those colorful ones I have in the pic above - then download (for free) the Low Cost Gym.
We aren’t going to stop here!
A really cheap way to challenge those neural muscular connections and core muscles is to exercise in sand. Yep, working out in sand is an excellent way to add resistence and to put you off balance a little. Trail runs are also great for this, as you have to jump over logs and roots, while ducking under branches. These tips are not the same as having some great, core-activating pieces of equipment, however, they can be a great addition to your program.
Most folks can find trails somewhere nearby. As for sand, if you don’t live by the beach, you can still usually find sand at your local school in either the playground or over by a beach volleyball court. Imagine doing Burpees, Bear Walks, Medicine Ball Get-up Stand-up Slams, etc in the middle of a sand pit. Talk about adding resistance!
The point here is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the results you want. Just be a little creative.
Anybody else have any tips in this regard? Leave a comment on this post and share.
It is time!
My various Slosh Tubes and Clubbells have been locked away in my pole barn all winter. Thanks to Michigan weather, I had several months where exercising outdoors was simply prohibitive. I suppose I could have done some Rocky Balboa type training in the deep snow, but I am just not that intense I guess.
We actually did a couple bootcamp style workouts the last few weekends and for some reason I stuck with K-Bootcamp, where the only piece of equipment is a Medicine Ball (well, and some cones). But now it is time. We need to dust off the tubes and bats and get ready for some serious workouts. By the way, don’t get me wrong – K-Bootcamp is a killer program, so be prepared if you haven’t tried it before.
However, to highlight my babies, I think I’ll just pull out the old K-Element 12 program to begin the punishment. My friend Aaron, the inspiration behind the Aaron Robert’s workout just commented on a recent post about creating his very own Clubbell and Slosh Tube. I don’t want to speak for him, but it is truly an enlightening experience. Transcending really.
So if you haven’t pulled the trigger, just take a few bucks with you (not much really) to your local sports store for the bats, and then the home improvement store for the Slosh Tubes pieces and cement for the Clubbells. A little work and some patience, and boom – you have a whole new fitness arsenal!
Don’t forget The Low Cost Gym for directions on building your own. And please share with us your experience with either of these wonderful, core-building, pieces of fitness equipment. Just leave a comment on the post.
I admit Kemme Fitness can be on the edge of the cliff for over-intensity. I own that. I take responsibility for that. There is clearly a moral obligation for any trainer/blogger/instructor to be responsible to his/her audience and this program has the potential to overtrain.
How do I combat this? Well essentially I combat it in two ways. First, I provide many levels of workouts and programs to help those new to fitness or who need to start slowly. Secondly, I write many posts such as this one to help guide folks.
With that all said, it is easy for any of us who are pushing ourselves week after week to go a little too hard and overtrain. Just in case you wondered….overtraining is BAD! Yep, BAD!
To avoid overtraining, the biggest rules are to start slow and listen to your body. Your body has a way to help steer you in the right direction. Here are a few tips to help you be in tune with your body and avoid the nasty overtraining problems.WARNING SIGNS: #1: extreme sore and stiffness after training #2: irritableness (not just at me during the workout, but actual mood changes) #3: decrease in body weight (not healthy shedding of fat, but more coupled with #4. #4: loss of appetite #5: lack of motivation and being unable to complete a training session. Essentially, you should feel better over all – not worse. It’s called common sense, but we all tend to put blinders on to this at times. PREVENTION: #1: increase training gradually (duh) #2: alternate more aggressive training days with less aggressive training days. (I’ll add to avoid more than 3 days in a row) #3: get plenty of sleep (can’t underestimate the importance of this one folks) #4: eat a healthy diet (keeps you able to work out, helps to avoid injury, and is obviously great for weight loss). #5: make adjustments to training program when needed (keep your ego in check and try less intense workouts when needed). Essentially, watch out for a plateau or drop in performance over a period of time, which is due to not letting your body sufficiently recover. I hope these tips help you to avoid the very common pitfalls of any intense fitness program. Stay safe!