Category Archives: Fat loss

Alternative Plyometric Exercises

I’ve incorporated plyometric exercises into my routine for a while now (explanation of plyometrics) and have come across some more. Like most of the exercises and workout routines posted here, they are focussed on developing the necessary muscles for martial arts:

    From the lunge position, jump up by driving your back leg to your chest
    Box jumps
    Bunny/frog hops (from low squat position to a tuck jump)
    Hop, skip and jump
    Clap push ups
    Alternating jumping lunges
    Push up and feet take off (like a horizontal star jump)
    From kneeling, jump into a squat position
    Push up into a squat (by tucking your knees right in)

Partner Workout Routine

Here’s a kickboxing style workout routine that takes about an hour to complete. It’s predominantly stretching and body-weight exercises. All you need is an open space and a kick shield (or focus pads):

Open park

Warm up
20 x star jumps
20 x side to side hops
20 x press ups
20 x burpees

Stretch
Rotate arms
Leg raises to the side and front
Static stretch arms (across the body and behind the back)
Side splits
Front splits

Exercise
For the length of a sports hall and back (or 100 metres):
Step forward lunge front kick
Step forward squat turning kick

In pairs (person A and person B), or it can include a third person to hold the pads and time:
A squat jumps B jab cross sprawl
Change after one minute
AB long jump burpees (one minute)
A turning kicks B splits/hamstring stretch
Change after one minute
AB bunny hops
A and B alternating turning kicks
AB plank
AB sprints (50m sprints, walk back and repeat 5 times)

Pre-workout Coffee

According to sale pitches from health and supplement shops, “caffeine is a powerful stimulant which can increase mental alertness and improve physical energy levels.” This is a well researched area and it has been shown on several accounts that caffeine has a positive effect on both endurance capacity and in reversing muscle fatigue (see references).

Caffeine and Biology?
Caffeine acts on the central nervous system, increasing alertness and concentration, which also stimulates adrenaline release and – in doses above 5mg/kg body weight – mobilizes fatty acid release. This means more fatty acids are used for energy and less glycogen, therefore increasing endurance. Caffeine can also increase the strength of muscle contractions which is advantageous for both anaerobic and aerobic activities.

The level of stimulation varies depending on several factors, including the amount used, the level of tolerance a person has to caffeine (as seen with habitual caffeine users), metabolism, and other drug use.

Coffee?
Drinking two cups of coffee an hour before exercise, may encourage your muscles to burn more fat and help you exercise longer and harder.

To make the most of its benefits, drink coffee with no or only a small amount of low fat milk, simply because milk slows down the absorption of caffeine.

If a person already drinks 3 to 6 cups of coffee a day, the pre-workout caffeine will do little for increasing energy levels or focus. The tolerance to caffeine will be so that the extra caffeine will make little difference. For the person who does not drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks (e.g. Red Bull and Coke etc) regularly, the caffeine might give a slight energy boost for the workout.

Are there Side effects?
When caffeine is consumed in large quantities, it’s side effects include anxiety, trembling and sleeplessness. If you are sensitive to caffeine, it is best to avoid it. Scientific research shows there is no link between long term caffeine use and health problems. However, there is a connection between raised cholesterol levels and heavy coffee consumption which is caused by certain fats in coffee.

Conclusion
To benefit from caffeine, follow the simple steps below:
1) cut (or minimize) caffeine out of your regular diet
2) consume two cups of coffee an hour before your workout
3) reap the rewards!

Appendix
Data from Bridge et al. (2000) show that caffeine increases endurance time at 75% VO2max. This study also demonstrated the positive effect of caffeine on athletes’ rate of perceived exertion during exercise for 45min. Similarly, Graham & Spreit (1991) reported an increased time to exhaustion in athletes exercising at 85% VO2max following caffeine ingestion at 9mg per kilogram of body weight.