10 Fitness Essentials Every Athlete Needs
Cardio, strength training, flexibly, agility. It's remarkable how some areas go unrecognized by fitness enthusiasts, which is why some struggle to get their desired results. What are the right tools? What can you use to ensure your fitness path will be successful? We cover 10 fitness essentials every athlete needs, to gradually deliver those wanted results!
The one thing many people miss when shooting for their fitness goals, is management. Time management, and progress management is KEY, in order to maximize the body's potential for muscle growth. Before you hit your target, you have to set a target. Going out and "winging it" is not managing your workouts at all, but in fact, possibly damaging your progress, and putting it in reverse. Track your body's capabilities, it's the smartest essential to have!
Some people love a nicely organized planner, with all the weeks broken down. But some, and most just use something simple like blank pages, or lined note paper. After all, your body is consistently changing, and you want something flexible to write on. Having something complex, with too many boarders, can limit those quick-scratch notes.
A big uprise in the fitness community, as they have becoming more popular than ever, packed with benefits your body only dreams of. By applying resistance bands to isometric, or just standard daily workouts, you capitalize on your dexterity & stability. You'll start off very shaky when using them, because your muscles are focused on stabilizing the threshold of pressure. The more you use them, the more stability your muscles gain, as well as tone. And who doesn't want a toned body?
There are many styles of resistance bands, as well as different varieties of intensities. Weather you're into bodybuilding, yoga, pilates, or track, resistance bands can & will enhance your performance!
3) Ab Roller
You see them everywhere! Gyms, retail outlets, on TV.. Why? Because they work! Not only do they target your upper & lower abdominal muscles, but also hit your external obliques, chest, deltoids, and legs.
Ab rollers have become a trainers best friend again, and again since invented in 1994 by Don Brown. These small, portable, yet very durable and effective products have been redesigned since the early stages, and now are manufactured in many different style. It is safe to say that these wont be going anywhere, any time soon!
4) Pull-up Bar
The amazing thing about pull-up bars, is that they come portable! I've gone on several business trips, where I've only stayed sane because I brought one with me. You know the feeling of not working your latissimus dorsi for so long, you start loosing that "V" shape, and it doesn't look or feel good!
Having a pull-up bar is handy, and can be taken pretty much anywhere. Attach it on a door frame, and just start hitting those muscles! Your body's weight, can go a long way in shaping itself out, without needing a lat-pull resistance machine. Whether you're doing pull-ups, chin-ups, leg raises, negatives, or cliff hangers, you can kick your own but, by using a pull-up bar.
The benefits of using an elliptical are unreal, and can't be compared to just going for a jog in the street. The smooth functionality and structure of an elliptical, reduces all stress placed on the knees & hips, while targeting the lower body muscles with extreme intensity.
Doesn't matter how much you weigh, or how old you are. An elliptical machine is a great way to put your body through the ultimate test of both endurance and strength. No need to read a manual in order to understand how to use it, just use it! Compared to a treadmill, the elliptical works the upper body as well, which knocks 2 birds with one stone if you need a quickie workout.
6) Weight Bench
Weight benches are a must-use, when aiming to gain muscle mass. Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, and the anterior deltoids are worked during fist-front bench-pressing. Traps & back are worked as secondary muscles, when executing the flat barbell bench-press.
When regularly working out, doing so incorrectly can do more harm than one may think. Check out the guide from Stonglifts.com that teaches you the proper ways on just how to bench-press safely, and most effectively. Nonetheless, bench-pressing is no question, a major essential for athletes, and fitness enthusiasts alike.
7) Glider Discs
With tight schedules, and limited time to hit the gym, portable fitness equipment is becoming a popular trend in the fitness community. You can perform endless amounts of workouts with gliders, on any hard surface such as a kitchen or garage floor.
Here's Ray Wallace, showing you 31 exercises with glider discs. You may have a lightbulb going off in your head, and if so, buy a pair of your own! Not only are they small and effective, but very affordable.
8) Yoga Mat
Some may think of a yoga mat to be only used by yoga enthusiasts, but all in all, they can be essential for any athlete who takes care of their physical health. Using a yoga mat takes pressure off the joints and tendons, allowing you to stretch comfortably while enhancing your stability with the high-bounce padding. Stretching not only removes that sluggish feeling you usually get by mid afternoon, but also increases your blood-flow to the body & brain, which is an important factor for muscle and brain health.
Stretching on a daily, also increases your balance, which enhances your overall posture. Everyone should be aware by now, that posture is a fundamental factor in how long your body will withstand the test of time. A 60 year old man who never stretches, may have a hunch, while the one who does stretch may enjoy the retired life of teaching Karate.
There are endless amounts of poses one can do, so how do you learn them all? Well get yourself a yoga mat(link of product selection below), and check out these poses provided by PocketYoga.com
There have been many "tough guys" who will say that straps are "cheating," and you shouldn't use them. And sure, they aren't often allowed in powerlifting competitions, but they do play a major role in muscle gains during prep. As Jason Ferruggia once said, "No straps, no traps."
When making a deadlift without straps, you put a lot of tension on your wrists, to the the point where they either feel like pulling apart from the hands, or just fail your lifts all together. With wrist straps, you can start to fatigue your workouts, take the weight off the wrists, and add it to your back muscles, shoulders, trapezius, legs, buttocks.. you get the point. After all, we do weight training to see results right?
Want to start using weightlifting straps? We provided a link below, to a wide selection of weightlifting straps & hooks. Don't how to use them? Watch this video to learn how!