• The Ultimate Fitness Couple Workout

    Full Body Fitness Couple Workout

    Working out with a partner can help to motivate you and getting fit with your other half can also be a great bonding experience. Follow Sundried's workout routine to become the ultimate fitness couple!

    You will need:

    Resistance bands 

    Medicine ball

    Warm Up

    You’re going to warm up using your resistance bands with four simple exercises. You should spend around 2 minutes on each exercise to ensure you are fully warmed up.

    Resistance band chest stretch

    Hold the resistant band in front of you with both hands. Start with your hands in front of your shoulders and then pull the band back, opening out your chest and pulling your elbows back, keeping them high. If you can, extend a little past this position to feel the stretch deeper into your chest and then release the resistance. This should be a constant fluid movement resisting and returning the band, rather than a static stretch, so be sure to keep it moving!

    Resistance band chest and shoulder opener

    Start by holding the resistance band tightly with both hands. Pulling against the band, lift your arms up above your head in a Y position and then as far back towards your bum as your shoulders comfortably allow, return to the start position and repeat in one fluid motion.

    Resistance band travelling squats

    Tie your resistance band in a loop around the bottom of your thighs, just above the knee. Now squat and step laterally against the resistance, making sure to travel in both directions.

    Resisted runs

    Take it in turns to loop your resistance band around your runner and hold onto the ends like reigns. Now sprint on the spot, running against your resistance partner's resistance. Keep your knees up to further engage the glutes.

    The Workout

    We've all seen videos of couples working out together and it looks so fun! Make sure you enjoy yourselves while doing this workout routine and motivate each other to keep going!

    Med ball waltz

    Stand face to face with your partner with one of you holding a medicine ball to your chest. One partner steps into a forward lunge, the other steps the same leg back into a lunge. As you lunge forwards and backwards, pass the medicine ball between you with each step.

    Squat and dip

    One partner stands against a wall and sinks into a squat. The other stands in front of them facing away and puts their hands on their knees to do tricep dips. Complete a minute on each move before you swap over.

    Plank double jumps

    One partner sets up in a regular elbow plank, with elbows under shoulders and spine in neutral alignment. The move from this position is to jump both legs outwards and then inwards to the regular plank position. Your partner stands with one foot either side of your legs and as the planker jumps the legs out, they simultaneously jump their legs in. It should look a little like a human hopscotch. Be sure to concentrate and not land on your partner! 1 minute for each move before swapping over.

    Hand-held pistol squats

    Face your partner and grab their hands. Stretch one leg out straight, making sure it's the opposite to your partner. Sink down in unison into a pistol squat and then swap to give the other leg a turn.

    Push-up high fives

    Both assume the push-up position facing one another. Lower yourselves to the ground in sync and as you reach the top of the push-up, high-five each other with opposite hands. Complete as many as you can in one minute, resting or coming down to your knees if you need to.

    Russian twist passes

    Both of you sit on the ground beside one another, with one of you holding the medicine ball. Each of you is required to lean back, keeping a neutral spine to engage the core, then lift your legs off the ground with a bend at the knees so that the backs of your calves are parallel to the floor. As you twist, pass the ball to each other. Complete for 1 minute.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Kettlebell Training

    kettlebell exercise workout fitness

    Kettlebell training is an incredibly popular way to get fit. It can be incorporated into many workouts and adds a different dimension to your training. We look at kettlebells more closely and explain how they can help you achieve your goals.

    What is a Kettlebell?

    A traditional kettlebell is a cast iron weight, it’s spherical in shape with a flat base and handle at the top. Kettlebells come in different weight variations and are often used in pairs. Kettlebells are originally Russian and They can used as an alternative to dumbbells in movements like presses and step ups, and can also be used in their own right in exercises such as the kettlebell swing. They are the perfect addition to a circuit routine and due to their unique shape, they will work your muscles in a different way to dumbbells and a barbell, meaning you get more out of your workout.

    Why are they named Kettlebells?

    Kettlebells originated in Russia and were originally used to weigh crops in the 18th century. They were then used for more recreational use in the 19th century as circus strongmen became a popular attraction. Russian kettlebells are traditionally measured in 'poods', a term still used in CrossFit training, and translates to roughly 16kg. So 1 pood is 16kg, 2 poods is 32kg and so on. The English term 'kettle bell' dates to the 20th century as competitive strongman competitions began to gain popularity. 

    The history of Kettlebells

    Kettlebells, or 'Girya' as the Russians refer to them, were originally used as measuring tools, most typically on marketplace scales as counter-weights. 

    In 1981, the first official Kettlebell Commission was formed in Russia with the sole mission of enforcing mandatory kettlebell exercise and conditioning for the population. They understood that this singular instrument could keep people fit, increase productivity, and decrease healthcare costs. Kettlebells became the conditioning tool of choice for the Russian Special Forces, the “Spetznaz”, creating soldiers who possessed incredible explosive power and endurance. Now many professional athletes and recreational gym-goers use the bells in their training programs for the same results.

    kettlebell training

    Kettlebell Anatomy

    Kettlebell Anatomy

    By their nature, typical kettlebell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength. The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities to develop functional strength.

    Benefits of kettlebell training

    1. The American Council on Exercise has found that the average kettlebell workout results in significant calorie burn – 300 calories in 15 minutes.
    2. Serious cardio without the boredom of steady state cardio.
    3. Builds functional strength without the monotony of isolated reps.
    4. Improves flexibility.
    5. Workouts can be varied so they’re never boring.
    6. Kettlebells are an easily portable device.
    7. Safe for anyone to try, at all levels of fitness.
    8. Combines cardio and strength training, by keeping heart rate elevated.
    9. The workouts can be short and still very effective.
    10. Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio, strength AND flexibility training in an already overbooked schedule.
    11. No need for gym memberships, use kettlebells at home, outside, wherever you can carry them.
    12. Very different from dumbbells and barbells. Anyone who has picked up a kettlebell has felt the difference. The off centered weight of a kettlebell requires stabiliser muscles and works the targeted muscles through a wider range of motion.a
    13. Kettlebell training consists of whole-body movement exercises. It’s well-known that compound, whole body movements  are the best for burning calories and increasing muscle mass.
    14. Kettlebells focus on movement not muscles, combining strength, function, cardio and mobility.
    15. The moves are easy to learn. Movements are simple and you can start using them right away.
    16. Kettlebell training is great for raising your heart rate for HIIT.
    17. Kettlebells strengthen your joints with ballistic non impact movement.
    18. Develop functional strength. Kettlebell training uses fundamental movement patterns making everyday activities easier and injury less likely.
    19. Builds mobility
    20. Prevent injury by developing mobility, stability, and strength.
    21. Kettlebells require you to engage the core in almost every lift.
    22. More coordination. The brain knows movements and not “muscles” you become more coordinated with kettlebell use.

    kettlebell swings exercises

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Strength Training

    Strength training workout benefits gym

    What is a good strength training workout?

    Strength training is a form of exercise where muscular strength, size, and endurance are increased by adding resistance against movement. This resistance can come in a variety of forms, from dumbbells to barbells to kettlebells, even sandbags and tyres.

    A good strength training workout incorporates the 'big four' compound movements of the squat, bench press, deadlift, and shoulder press. It also incorporates a combination of barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells. This is to get a rounded workout and work your muscles in different ways by putting them under different stresses. Finally, the best strength training workout is safe and incorporates both a thorough warm up and cool down in order to maximise efficiency and reduce the risk of injury.

    What are the benefits of strength training?

    Strength training has many benefits, from being healthier to looking better.

    Being strong is useful.

    Being strong is a great asset in daily life. You'll be able to lift your kids with ease as well as heavy shopping and moving furniture. You will have fewer limitations and face fewer obstacles on a daily basis. It's especially useful if you work a manual job which involves a lot of heavy lifting and functional movement.

    Strength training increases bone density.

    The older we get, the more fragile our bones become as well as becoming more likely to break and develop osteoporosis. Strength training increases bone density which will help you stay healthy as you grow older and prevent bone-related health issues. Having increased bone density is also good for your joints as will prevent excess stress being placed on your knees and ankles when you run and walk. Strength training even stimulates the manufacture of new bone. 

    Strength training increases your metabolism.

    Lifting weights raises your metabolism and it stays at an elevated level long after you're finished. Experts estimate that your metabolism stays elevated for up to 39 hours after your workout! This is because lifting strains your body so much that it needs extra time to recover and you burn calories even when you're resting after the workout.

    Strength training improves blood flow.

    Resistance exercise (such as lifting weights) produces a different pattern of blood vessel responses to aerobic exercise, suggesting that it may have specific and important benefits for cardiovascular health. Research has shown that strength training improves blood flow and can lower your blood pressure.

    Helps control blood sugar.

    A study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested the effects of resistance training in people with type 2 diabetes. The study found in subjects with type 2 diabetes, both the low and moderate intensity circuits reduced blood glucose concentrations. However, the low intensity circuit produced lower glucose levels with less metabolic stress. This finding is particularly relevant to overweight, often untrained individuals who are just beginning a diabetes management program. Even a single bout of low intensity resistance exercise offers clear benefits for blood sugar management. As the individual progresses, intensity can be increased.

    Improves cholesterol

    Weight training can help lower your bad cholesterol. According to a 1987 study conducted by I.H. Ullrich and colleagues published in the "Southern Medical Journal," HDL and LDL cholesterol levels can benefit from weight training. This study took 25 men who weight trained for eight weeks, three times per week. The weight-training program showed a decrease in blood LDL levels.

    Fights depression.

    Strength training increases serotonin, your happy hormone. A Harvard study once found that ten weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counselling. This is particularly important for women since they are more than twice as likely to experience depression and only one out of three actually seek care.Not feeling good? Then train. Not happy? Then train. Need an instant mental and mood boost? Then train!

    Strength training muscle shoulder press gym workout

    Can I do strength training at home?

    You don't have to just do heavy lifting at the gym to benefit from all these fantastic health improvements. Resistance training involves any kind of weight or resistance, and this can include household items. You could use this surprising household item to switch up your training.

    You can get stronger by using dumbbells and kettlebells in your own home and cables and resistances bands. If you do want to lift heavier weights or benefit from the expertise and experience of a personal trainer, find a local gym and enquire about strength training programmes that they recommend. 

    Bicep curl strength training programme for men women

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Runner's Winter Strength Workout

    Strength workout for runners winter indoors

    When it comes to running, there's more to it than just pounding the pavement. In order to avoid injury and stay strong, you need to cross train to keep your muscles and joints healthy. Follow our runner's winter workout to give you the base you need to succeed.

    Indoor Winter Workout For Runners

    Warm Up

    Leg Swings

    Hold onto a wall or bar for support, and swing one leg in front and behind you 10 times. Repeat on the other leg. Make sure you feel the stretch in the hamstring as the leg comes forward, and the stretch in the hip as it goes behind you.

    Lateral Leg Swings

    This is the same thing, but now you swing the leg from side to side in front of you. Feel the stretch in the inner thigh (adductor) as the leg swings out to the side.

    Hip Openers

    For this warm up, you imagine you are stepping over invisible hurdles. Lift up your left leg and step it sideways over an invisible hurdle, making sure as the right leg comes over it steps over too. Do 3-4 steps one way and repeat going back the other.

    Main Set

    Banded Back Squats

    Back squats are a great exercise for runners as they target all of the muscle groups in the legs. By using a resistance band round your knees, you will train your hips to stay open and encourage perfect form. This will also help to strengthen your IT band which is a common cause of injury for runners.

    Place the resistance band just above your knees and keep your knees pushing outwards for the duration of the lift. Place a bar on your back and drop into a squat. Make sure your hips drop below your knees and then use your glutes to squeeze you back up. Complete 3 sets of 10 on a fairly light weight.

    Banded Front Squats

    Front squats also work all of the muscles in the legs, but they also encourage you to keep your chest up because the bar is on your front. Front squats will work your glutes harder as you can't cheat!

    Place the resistance band just above your knees again but this time place the bar on your front, supporting it with your hands. Keep your elbows high. Keep your chest proud and drop into a squat. Make sure you really squeeze your glutes so that you can shoot back up without leaning forwards and dropping the bar. Complete 3 sets of 10 on a light weight.

    Deadlifts

    Deadlifts are another important exercise for runners as they will strengthen your back and core so that you can stay strong throughout the race and not suffer from any aches as the miles rack up.

    With the bar on the floor, place your feet under the bar so that it touches your shins and bend your knees so that you can grab the bar. Keep your bum down and your chest high, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pick the bar up off the floor. Lock out at the top by pushing your hips slightly forward and then bend back down to place the bar back on the floor. Do 3 sets of 10 on a fairly heavy weight. Make sure you keep your back dead straight throughout the lift and squeeze your core tight to protect your spine. 

    KB Single Leg Deadlifts

    This is a fantastic exercise, especially if you suffer with pain in your feet and ankles when you run. It will correct any strength imbalances between your legs and help with your balance as well as leg strength.

    Start with the right side: Find your balance on your right leg and hold the kettlebell in your right hand. Slow lean forward so that the kettlebell lowers to the floor while simultaneously lifting your left leg behind you. Squeeze your glutes so that your left leg lifts nice and high and see if you can lean all the way forward so that the kettlebell touches the floor. Slowly pivot back to centre. Repeat 10 times then switch to the other side.

    KB Side Leans

    Time to target the abs. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand and keep it by your side. Lean to the right, moving only your waist. Slide the kettlebell down your right leg and then squeeze your abs to come back up. Repeat 10 times then swap to the left side. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 10 TRX Trainer Exercises To Improve Your Power, Speed, Strength

    TRX suspension trainer exercises

    From runners to cyclists, triathletes to yogis. Whatever your sport, a strong set of abdominal muscles is crucial in every exercise. To increase power, strength, speed, balance, agility and coordination, a strong core is the centre of all training.

    The TRX trainer is renowned for its challenging abdominal exercises and good beginner strength is needed for even the simplest of its exercises as suspension training causes your abdominals to fire, braced under constant tension.

    Our TRX workout comprises of 10 exercises, each getting progressively harder as you dig deeper into the challenge.

    01. TRX Plyometric Lunges

    Hold both TRX handles at a medium length and sink into a lunge. As you hit the bottom of the lunge (knee just off the floor), explode off both feet and switch legs (whilst airborne) to lunge on the alternative leg. Perform a minimum of 10 to pass this move.

    02. TRX Pistol Squat (Single-leg Squat)

    The pistol squat is perhaps one of the toughest body weight exercises there is, requiring leg strength, balance, flexibility, supple joints and advanced coordination. Holding onto the TRX will help you with balance, but the leg strength is all down to you. Grabbing both TRX handles, extend one leg in front of you and sink down into a squat, driving off the single supporting leg to return to standing. Let’s see 6 per side before you check off number two!

    TRX Pistol Squat

    03. TRX Wall Row

    Grab your TRX handles facing the anchor as though you were about to perform a row, except now we’re taking it off the ground. Place one foot a time onto the wall so you are fully suspended and now perform your row, keeping your back flat and drawing yourself up until your hands meet the sides of your rib cage. This is a tough exercise as you are now fully suspended and controlling your full body weight whilst also maintaining a tight core in order to balance against the wall. If you can’t reach a wall from your attachment, try placing your feet on a high step. Do 12 rows before you move on.

    04. TRX Single-Leg Burpees

    For exercise 4, loop your handles so that just one is taut and hook in your foot over the bottom stirrup. The handle should hang around knee length. Now, facing away from the anchor, you’re going to burpee or ‘squat thrust’ as they are more formally known. Take you hands down to the ground as you jump the free leg back into extended plank. Explode off this leg and jump back to standing. This is an intense full-body plyometric exercise. A total of 10 is required, that’s 10 per leg. 

    TRX single leg burpee start position

    05. TRX Triple Threat Abdominals

    Our next move is a triple threat; you’re going to need abs of steel for this one. Facing away from the anchor, come onto all fours and attach your feet into the stirrups, lift your knees off the floor so you are in a floating plank position, this is your start point. From here, complete the following sequence: push, pike, crunch. For the push-up, sink your chest down to the floor engaging your abdominals to prevent your feet from swinging in the stirrups. Next, the pike, lock your knees and keep your legs and arms extended whilst bringing your feet forward towards your hands. Your bum should lift into the air and it should feel like you're trying to fold in half. The third part to this move is a suspended crunch, return to your plank and then tuck your knees in towards your elbows, bum down this time. Hint: You need to shorten your straps so that as you pike your feet remain elevated.Completing all three moves counts as one rep. Hit 10.

    TRX pike

    06. TRX Row to Extended Plank

    Grab both handles and lean back for a body weight row. Palms face each other as you pull your body up, elbows shaving the rib cage. This is the turning point where, maintaining a neutral spine, you now bring your hands up past your head and into a fallout position, shifting your body weight forward simultaneously until your hands are straight above your head. Your body weight should shift backwards and forwards between these two moves. Another 10 will see you through to TRX exercise three. A row plus a plank counts as one.

    TRX side view fallout

    07. TRX Single-Handed Push Up

    To complete the seventh move, loop your TRX handles through one another so that one handle is taut. Hold one handle and come to the ground to set up for a single hand push-up. One hand is going to remain suspended in the TRX, whilst you push up using the other. Sink down until your nose is scraping the floor for your push up and then explosively drive off and extend both arms, the TRX arm should now be fully extended supporting your weight, whilst your other arm hovers above the ground. Give me 8….. per side!

    TRX single arm push-up

    08. TRX Chin Up

    For the TRX chin up, shorten your straps and loop both handles through so that they stay together, then grab them with palms facing towards you (chin ups palms face you, pull ups palms face away). Suspend completely so that you are hanging, cross your legs or tuck them behind, just make sure they don't touch the ground. Pull up until your chin faces your hands and then relax back down. Let’s go for 5, 10 if you're showing off.

    TRX chin-up

    09. TRX Handstand

    This one is advanced. You're going to start by hooking both feet into the stirrups, your hands facing the anchor. Taking both hands to the floor, lift one leg off the ground and begin simultaneously walking your hands back whilst you lift the second leg off the floor, driving both feet back into the stirrups. Continue walking your hands back until you reach a vertical handstand. The ultimate balance challenge this needs advanced core and shoulder strength and is a tricky one to master.

    TRX Handstand

    10. TRX Handstand Push Ups

    Set up the same as move 9 and walk into a TRX handstand, but this time, once you’re in the handstand position, lower your chest towards the floor to complete a handstand push-up. Perhaps the toughest TRX move there is, master this and you have exceptional calisthenic skills, a show stopping party trick and of course, most importantly scored a 10/10 in our TRX challenge.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren