Plyometrics Exercises: What You Need To Know

Plyometric workouts (or “plyo,” for short) have been espoused by elite athletes for years, and they’ve recently gained traction in the general fitness world.

Plyo workouts essentially involve jumping, skipping, hopping, and one-legged bounces. If your mind immediately harkened back to your playground days, you’re not too far off-base. In fact, plyometric workouts used to be referred to as “jump training.”

Our elementary-school selves were onto something, though, as plyometric workouts have distinct health and fitness benefits.

Here’s what you need to know about plyometric workouts as you consider adding them to your fitness routine.

What Can I Expect From a Plyometric Workout?

We mentioned that plyo workouts involve jumping, but it’s much more structured than that. Throughout a plyometric workout, you engage in a series of explosive jumps, jump squats, and one-leg hops.

Every time you perform a jump and land it, you stretch and fire your muscles. This combination of stretching and contracting (landing and jumping again) is one of the best ways to work your leg muscles.

Unlike cardio or core exercises, you don’t want to add plyo to your routine on a daily basis. Your muscles will need a break after such intense exercise, so incorporate plyo about every three days.

What Are the Benefits of A Plyometric Workout?

While plyo shouldn’t constitute the bulk of your fitness routine, it can be a great option for athletes who want to condition their fast-twitch muscles.

Plyo simulates the explosive muscle movements you’d perform during basketball (jump shots), baseball or softball (an infielder fielding a far-away grounder), tennis (a serve), volleyball (a spike), and just about any high-paced athletic competition you could think of.

If you want to be at the top of your athletic game, you should strongly consider plyo workouts.

Additionally, plyo adds a dynamic energy to your workout. If you get bored running for miles on a treadmill, plyo is a much faster-paced workout you can perform.

Even if you’re not an athlete but want to strengthen your legs and glutes, plyo could work for you.

Where Can I Do a Plyo Workout?

At our local gym in Bethlehem, we have the boxes and fitness space you need for a plyo routine. Our state-of-the-art fitness floor has ample space so that you can engage in this dynamic workout without worrying about falling onto the elliptical next to you.

If you’re just establishing a fitness routine or want more guidance for a plyo workout, consider working with one of our personal trainers. Let them know your fitness goals and ask them if plyometrics makes sense for your body.

Plyo Workouts at Steel Fitness Riverport

To take your fitness routine to new heights (literally, see how high you can jump after a few weeks of plyo training), join Steel Fitness Riverport today.

We’re a great option for anyone who’s searched “gym near me” to no avail, or for those specifically seeking plyo training.

Register for a free three-day pass today and see what we’re all about at Steel Fitness Riverport!

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Joint Protection Tips

While there are innumerable benefits to working out and establishing a dedicated fitness routine, there are only a few downsides.

One potential obstacle, if not preempted, involves joint pain associated with high-impact workouts. If your body isn’t used to running on a treadmill, you might notice some achy knees. Similarly, if you’ve never taken a HIIT workout class before and now you go a few times per week, your shoulders and ankles might be giving you a bit of trouble.

The solution to joint pain during a workout isn’t to stop working out; instead, you should take precaution and strategically choose your workout so that you can have a sustainable, healthy fitness routine.

Our local gym in Bethlehem, Steel Fitness Riverport, is committed to educating our clients so that they feel empowered and comfortable in the gym.

Consider these tips from Steel Fitness Riverport to minimize joint pain as you exercise.

1. Find Proper Fitting Shoes and Insoles

If you’ve always had knee, hip, and ankle pain, finding the right pair of shoes can make all the difference in the world. Don’t just put on any old flimsy running shoe. It’s worth the investment to go to a local shoe store, have your stride analyzed, and buy a shoe that fits your foot correctly.

Similarly, consider a shoe insole or orthotic for added support. New shoe insoles on the market, such as those from NOENE as seen on Shark Tank, use shock-absorbing technology to disperse harmful vibrations associated with impact.

If you have existing conditions such as arthritis, be sure to consult with your doctor to get their opinion as well.

2. Take Low-Impact Group Exercise Classes

One of the best ways to ensure you’re training in a safe manner is to take group exercise classes. We highly recommend spinning, anti-gravity fitness, and yoga.

By design, these group fitness classes are low-impact yet high-intensity workouts. You still get a great sweat without needing to do squat jumps or treadmill runs.

Check out our group fitness schedule today to find a class that works at our local gym in Bethlehem.

3. Hire a Personal Trainer

If you experience chronic pain or significant joint pain, working with a personal trainer might be your best bet for a safe fitness regimen. Each of the personal trainers at our local gym is certified and experienced — it’s their job to tailor workouts to fit the individual needs of their clients, and they have the exercise science background to do so effectively.

For more information about personal trainers at our local gym, check out the personal training page.

Finding a Gym Nearby

Steel Fitness Riverport is a premier fitness club in Bethlehem. Our facilities include a state-of-the-art workout floor, outdoor training, group exercise classes, and luxury locker rooms. We also partner with Steel Fitness Premier in Allentown, so you can access their aquatic center, group classes, and gym nearby.

Become a member of Steel Fitness Riverport today, and develop a fitness routine with longevity in mind.

 

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Benefits of Fitness Classes

We are six months into the year and those fitness goals are starting to hang over many us. With warm weather making an appearance here in Bethlehem, that “beach bod” we’ve been working towards is something that is front and center. If you’re starting to get a little bit frustrated with the process or you’re looking for a new challenge, one of the best things that you can do is sign up for a fitness class.

Steel Fitness offers a selection of classes that make it easy for you to prioritize your health and stay on track. If you’ve never participated in one of these classes, here are a few of the reasons you might fall in love with them.

 

Something New to Try

If you’re experiencing a plateau that’s frustrating you, it may be because your body is getting accustomed to the workout that you’ve been doing. If you have been doing something similar for the last couple of months, then it is just about time to switch it up. These different classes allow for you to try something new whenever you feel like it while still getting a workout that challenges you.

If you’re nervous because you’ve never tried the class before, don’t fret. We’ll cover a little bit more of how you can shake these nerves later on in the blog.

 

High Energy Environment

Something that we love about classes is the high energy environment that is inevitable each and every class. Whether you’ve tried the class before or it’s something that you’re doing for the first time, you’re never alone in the challenge. Everyone that is in that class had to start somewhere, and they’re only going to support you as you make your way through the workout.

If you’re someone that loves having a group to cheer them on, then these classes are something you definitely need to give a shot!

 

Easy to Modify Workouts

The saying goes:

“If you want something that you’ve never had before, you need to do something that you’ve never done before.” – Thomas Jefferson

This quote applies to so many aspects of health, but when we’re talking about the goals that you have for your fitness and the types of activities that you’d like to try out – you need to get out there! Don’t let the classes intimidate you — we have made it so that each of these classes offer easy to modify opportunities so that each and every individual in that classroom, regardless of their experience, can gain something.

If you’ve never participated before, feel free to schedule a time with one of our trainers or teachers and have them walk you through some of the more common moves, that way you at least have an idea of what you’ll be getting into before the class. Even without the preparation, you absolutely will be able to rock that first class.

If you’re ready to spice up your summer workout, stop by your local gym in Bethlehem and try out one of our classes. Browse the schedule here and stop in to enjoy any of the classes that spike your interest. We look forward to pushing your goals to the next level. Stop by Steel Fitness today!

 

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Preparing for Anti-Gravity Fitness Classes

When you think of an anti-gravity fitness class, do you picture NASA-esque space simulators where your body is floating through the air? Or maybe you’re thinking of the moment in Harry Potter when Harry experiences flying on a broomstick for the first time.

Either way, the concept of “anti-gravity” fitness certainly conjures up some intense images.

In reality, though, anti-gravity fitness classes are a form of aerial exercise that comes with distinct benefits — not to mention, they’re really fun.

If you’re already convinced to try acrobatic fitness for these reasons, the next step is preparing yourself for this type of class.

Preparing for Anti-Gravity Fitness Classes

Anti-gravity fitness classes involve being suspended in an elevated hammock as you exercise. Although you flow through familiar exercises from yoga, pilates, and calisthenics, the aerial aspect of the class certainly adds an added challenge.

To maximize your fitness class experience, keep these tips in mind as you prepare for class.

  1. Find a gym that offers anti-gravity classes near you: Keep in mind that because anti-gravity fitness takes a particular environment and the right equipment, these exercise classes aren’t offered everywhere. Luckily, our local gym in Bethlehem offers anti-gravity fitness classes as part of our group exercise class offerings.
  2. Do not wear jewelry, belts, clothing with studs, etc.: Because you are suspended in a hammock (made specifically for exercise, not lounging), you do not want to wear anything that might cause a snag. Take off rings, earrings, necklaces, and be mindful that you do not wear any clothing with studs, gems, or anything else that might rip the material.
  3. Avoid baggy or loose-fitting clothing: Being prepared to invert your body means wearing clothing that won’t lift up. The last thing you want is to be constantly grabbing your shirt or tucking it in as you exercise. Consider wearing tight leggings or spandex, too, so that your shorts do not ride completely up.
  4. Do not use lotion or sunscreen before class: Lotion and sunscreen are slippery, and “slippery” is not a good adjective to have anywhere near “anti-gravity” fitness. You will need a firm grip as you learn to maneuver the hammock, so do yourself a favor and skip the lotion before class. Additionally, you do not want any potentially irritating products to rub onto the hammock, as other people will use the equipment as well.
  5. Save eating and drinking for after class: It’s never the best idea to eat a full meal before any type of exercise, and this is especially true of the fitness involves inverting your body. You are more likely to feel dizzy or sick if you have a full stomach. Stay hydrated, of course, and eat a little snack, but don’t get too full before class.

Watch a class so you know what to expect: Whenever we try something new, it’s easy for our imaginations to get the best of us. If you can, stop by our local gym in Bethlehem to spectate an anti-gravity fitness class. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect. You can also watch a video of an anti-gravity class in action on our website to get a feel for the class!

Steel Fitness Riverport

Our local gym in Bethlehem chose to offer anti-gravity fitness classes because they are extremely beneficial and a nice way to reinvigorate a tired fitness routine.

Come see why anti-gravity exercise is all the rage these days at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem.

If anti-gravity classes aren’t right for you, check out the 60 other group fitness classes offered on our weekly schedule!

Not a Steel Fitness Riverport member yet but want to try these classes? Sign up for a free three-day trial today!

 

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Benefits of Off-Season Training

As the parent of an athlete, you know first-hand the role that sports play in positive development.

Sports are the way your kid stays active, gets outside, makes friends, has positive role models, develops discipline and passion, takes on leadership roles…we could go on forever.

Athletics are truly a foundation for our children and teenagers, and they have increasingly become a way for young adults to connect to their school and local communities.

Over the summer, Steel Fitness Riverport, a local gym in Bethlehem, is offering sports-specific off-season training (S.O.S.) precisely for this reason.

Benefits of Off-Season Training

Aside from further connecting your kid to the sports they love, there are many advantages to signing your kid up for a summer training camp.

Consider the advantages below as you decide whether a sports-specific training camp might be the right activity for your child this summer.

1. Preparation for Fall Try-Outs

If you have a high schooler, you know how important it is to make a Varsity team. If you have a rising freshman or an athlete who has played on JV teams for the last few years, a sports-specific training camp is one of the best ways to ensure that they get the Varsity letter.

Even if the local high school has “off-season” training, chances are it’s just lifting a few weights and getting in good face time with coaches. At Steel Fitness Riverport, however, our program involves comprehensive training to develop strength, speed, and endurance geared specifically toward the sport your child plays.

At tryouts, your kid will outshine the competition; after all, they’ve been working hard and getting stronger all summer, while other teens might have just been sitting around playing video games.

2. Giving the Edge for Making a Travel Team

Travel team tryouts usually occur at the end of summer, especially for fall or year-round sports such as softball, baseball, and basketball.

If your kid has struggled to make a travel or club team (or wants to make a better one), then a sports-specific training regimen is another way to set them apart. Our youth program supplements the skills that your child develops at sports practice by focusing on specific muscle groups, cardiovascular stamina, and fast-twitch responses.

Steel Fitness Riverport

Being physically fit as a young person is a key to health as an adult. Sign your child up for S.O.S. today at our local gym in Bethlehem.

 

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Why You Should Add Yoga To Your Workout Routine

When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson working out, what image comes to mind? Chances are, you picture these men, with biceps the size of your face, benching a midsize Chevy truck. Maybe you imagine them squatting a small house or cranking out 100 pull-ups in under a minute. Whatever you thought of, we highly doubt it was yoga.

But at Steel Fitness Riverport, we want to change your conception of yoga as merely a stretching class. Instead, we believe yoga is an asset to any fitness routine. Dedicating even one day a week to yoga can make you stronger, more focused, and, of course, more flexible. Consider the specific ways that yoga can enhance your workout routine, and then drop into a class at your local gym in Bethlehem to give it a chance.

Our Pulse X Schedule for group fitness classes at Steel Fitness Riverport offers multiple yoga classes for a reason. Stop by today and supplement your fitness routine with yoga group fitness classes.

Yoga Builds Strength

Push-Ups

While it is typically called “chaturanga” or “your vinyasa flow,” yoga class involves push-ups — a lot of them, we might add. Unlike push-ups you might already have included in your gym routine, yoga push-ups primarily build forearm strength while they also tone your deltoids and pectoralis muscles. Going through these forearm chaturanga push-ups at a sequenced pace also helps you to prioritize good form in your push-ups. Finally, when it comes to push-ups, you can always add as many as you want. If you feel like you aren’t getting a good enough strength workout in your yoga class, add a double push-up or try a one-legged variation of the forearm push-up.

Full-Body Engagement

Yoga poses also encourage engagement from every single muscle in your body. Whereas a more traditional workout might isolate legs, abs, or arms depending on the day, a yoga practice gives you a full-body workout by design. Take chair pose, a foundational yoga posture, for instance. Chair pose works your biceps, quadriceps, abductors, glutes, hamstrings . . . and we could continue through practically every muscle in the human body. When you commit to proper engagement throughout your body during a yoga pose, you will experience how challenging yoga can truly be. You will leave feeling sore in muscles you didn’t even think you worked out, simply because you practice full-body engagement.

Bandhas for Nuanced Strength

If you have a fitness routine already and go to your local gym even a few times a week, you have probably already developed strength. Yoga, though, teaches you to build strength in areas of your body that you would have never thought to engage. While bulging biceps or six-pack abs are “showy” muscles that you can flex, your internal core muscles are actually more important to overall health.

In yoga, the “bandhas” refer to energy locks in your body. In other words, bandhas are areas of your body that you can engage and disengage strategically to either encourage strength or relaxation. Your three main bandhas are the mula bandha (a few inches below your navel), your uddiyana bandha (by your core), and your jalandhara bandha (by your throat). If these seem like foreign concepts, that just further shows why you should try out yoga. You’d be amazed to see how engaging your core (uddiyana bandha) in a specific way can help you add more weight to the squat rack, do more sit-ups in a minute, or even do one-armed push-ups.

Yoga and Lung Capacity

Remember your last core workout, maybe it was sit-ups or a plank, where you forgot to breathe the entire time? You ended the sequence feeling winded, light-headed, and generally weak because you were not giving your muscles any Oxygen. Yoga classes force you to consider your breath as an active component of your fitness routine. By moving through postures on inhales and exhales, you build breath awareness and experience the correlation between breath and power. Additionally, yoga encourages you to maximize your inhales and exhales by focusing on breathing from your diaphragm all the way up to your throat. This means you are taking in more air and activating all organs of your respiratory system. If you engage in any cardiovascular activity such as running or swimming, take a yoga class at Steel Fitness Riverport and just see how much it enhances your favorite workout.

Yoga Builds Balance

Even if you have the most intelligent fitness routine, chances are you have tendencies that get your body out of balance. Whether you spend more time on your right side as you stretch, compensate for a heavy squat by putting more weight into your dominant leg, or even just stand with weight to one side of your body, you are upsetting your body’s equilibrium. It is nearly impossible to be fully balanced because daily activities send us askew every day, but yoga and its focus on both sides can really help to reset your body’s balance.

Balancing Postures

When is the last time you included balancing exercises in your general fitness routine? Nearly all yoga classes include a balancing series, but here’s the secret: balancing postures are really just core workouts disguised by being on one leg. To balance on one leg requires incredible core engagement and stability, which means you are also working out as you enhance your brain’s vestibular system (balance). Balancing postures are tough, and they will require you to engage all parts of your body and brain in order to be successful. To ramp up your fitness routine, take a yoga class at your local gym and see how your body responds.

Mental Focus and Resilience

In yoga, it’s called “drishti,” but in a fitness gym world it’s really just focus. Balancing postures in yoga require you to set your gaze on an un-moving point, quiet your mind, and maintain full-body engagement. Otherwise, you’ll fall out of the pose. The mental energy that balancing requires easily translates into your workout routine. That time you thought you couldn’t do one more rep; that other time when you hurt yourself because you lost your focus; and, yes, even that moment when you tripped on your jump rope. Developing balance and body awareness through yoga is an incredible way to bring it to the rest of your fitness routine. Try a class at Steel Fitness Riverport, your local gym in Bethlehem, and bring balance to your workout routine.

Yoga Builds Flexibility

We know this is probably the first benefit you associate with yoga, but have you thought about why flexibility is a benefit to your fitness routine in the first place? After all, you can just cool down and stretch after your workout, so why go to a yoga class for the stretching?

Deep Stretching

The difference is that we usually hold yoga stretches for much longer, which promotes the stretching of fascia (the body’s connective tissue). Think of fascia like a gel between our body’s tendons and ligaments. When the fascia gets warm, it becomes more liquid and helps to lubricate your body’s muscle system. When the fascia cools down, it gets more solid and tends to get stuck. Repeated exercises, postures, and routines can also “stick” the fascia in place, leading to soreness and tightness. Yoga stretches get into the deep tissue of your muscle, encouraging the fascia to move freely and release from certain spots.

Twists and Internal Stretching

When is the last time you explicitly stretched your ascending and descending colon? That’s what we thought. Yoga poses allow us to give attention to areas of the body we didn’t even know needed our focus. When you engage in twists and cool down at the end of yoga classes, you focus on your digestive health and help to reduce inflammation in your colon. Not only does this promote general health, but it also helps to purify your body and restore for your next workout.

Steel Fitness Riverport offers yoga classes every week for those who want to enhance their fitness routine. The next time you’re at our local gym in Bethlehem, take a yoga class and see how it transforms your workout routine.

 

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