Men's Weightlifting: 5 Things You Should Know

Men's Weightlifting: 5 Things You Should Know

Weightlifting is the glue that holds health, fitness, and sporting performance together.


Whether you want to be stronger, rehab an injury, lose weight, or be a better athlete (or all of the above), there’s a place in your routine for weightlifting.


In this article, I’m going to share 5 insights into men’s weightlifting from 20 years of working as a personal trainer…


Before you start weight lifting make sure you have appropriate flooring. Check out some of the best gym flooring mats here. 

1. Coaching is a cheat code…


Learning to lift weights with great technique isn’t easy. It’s made a lot easier (and safer) by engaging the services of a professional coach. 


By having an experienced coach teach you the fundamentals of weightlifting, you’ll improve much faster. Better form leads to better muscle recruitment. That makes you stronger and enables you to build muscle more quickly. 


You can certainly improve by practice alone, but if you’re starting from scratch you may pick up bad habits that are more difficult to undo later on. One way to get around this is to film yourself lifting, then look out for mistakes that you can’t ‘feel’ during the lift. 


Watching yourself back allows you a chance to cast a critical eye over your movement.


The problem comes when you’re not sure what a good technique looks like. By having somebody with an experienced eye teach you, you’ll develop in the fastest way.


There’s also a safety element at play. 


Poor form can lead to injury. The first rule of coaching is ‘do no harm’, so if your personal trainer or coach spots something that is likely to cause injury, they’ll step in and stop it. 


Additionally, when it comes to progressions and lifting more weight, a good coach will prevent you from taking on more than you’re capable of. You should advance at an appropriate rate, so you don’t pick up preventable injuries. 

2. Improvement still takes time


Coaching is a cheat code and cuts the time to progress down significantly, but it still takes time. It’s a process and one that you can’t rush.


At the start, you’ll be awash with enthusiasm and your body will respond quickly. Your strength will seemingly leap as you make the beginner gains. In time though, these gains slow down and the progress begins to tail off. 


That’s not to say progress stops - far from it. You just don’t make the huge leaps you do in the immediate beginning.


Once you’ve exhausted those beginner gains, a good rate of strength progression is around 2-5% per week. This isn’t always going to happen, but if you can progress at this rate for the medium term, you’re doing a lot of things very well. 


By incorporating large compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench presses, pull-ups, etc in your programming, you’ll develop all-body strength faster. The muscle you build in squats, for example, will help your deadlift strength.

3. The right equipment helps


Whether you’re a home gym trainer or you’re out looking for a facility to train from, the right equipment helps. 


The fitness equipment world is huge and confusing. 


Everyone seems to have a different opinion about what you need, and how much you need to spend. The good news is that you can get started with a relatively small investment and just a couple of major items.


You don’t need to blow the bank to begin with - just an Olympic barbell and some weights are enough to get you started.


With these couple of items, you’ve bought yourself (literally) hundreds of exercises and years of progress. They’re the most important items in any gym, and they’re easy to get started with.


If you want to add to this later, but to begin with this is all you need. 


These two items alone are enough for pressing, rowing, squats, lunges, deadlifts, Olympic weightlifting movements, abdominal exercises, and the like. You can also adapt the load, sets, and reps to suit different workout goals.


Some people like to use a weightlifitng platform to save their floor if they are doing heavy deadlifts.

4. You’ll have down days too


One of the things you need to make your peace with early is that you’ll have days where last week’s easy is this week’s hard!


When you’re learning new exercises, you might struggle to get the technique right. You might make the same mistake time and again, or develop faults seemingly out of nowhere. The good news is that’s completely normal and to be expected!


There are a lot of reasons why we have these days. Sometimes they’re because we’re tired. We might not have gotten our nutrition right. We might have trained too much recently and are fatigued. 


The important point is not to dwell on them. Accept them as part of weight lifting. Not every workout is an epic. You won’t always make strides - sometimes you just go in, do what you can, and get out. 


Go home, rest, treat yourself to a nice protein-rich meal, and remember: Tomorrow is a whole new day.

5. Your all-round athleticism will improve


Weightlifting does interesting things to your overall fitness and athleticism. 


First, it will improve your strength, which makes an obvious difference to your capabilities. Being stronger doesn’t just affect your muscles either - it improves the strength of your connective tissues, which reduces your injury risk.


You’re stronger and more robust.


The next point is it improves your power (yes, they’re different).


That means you’ll likely be a faster runner, able to jump higher and you’ll be more explosive in the different movements. You’ll be stronger in sports where it’s required. 


You’ll also likely develop some endurance. 


When you strength train, you improve your body’s ability to deal with force and impact. One of the reasons we fatigue during a run for example is because of the impact forces. Our muscles work hard to absorb the impact on behalf of the rest of the body, and it fatigues them. 


When we strengthen our legs, they’re able to deal with these impact forces more effectively. This reduces the fatiguing elements, improving our endurance.


It’s why even distance runners (who are only interested in endurance as a training outcome) still weight train. 

Men’s weightlifting - final thoughts


Weightlifting is one of the most rewarding activities for both your mind and your body. It makes you fitter, stronger, and healthier in both mind and body.


Small wonder then, that it’s practiced by everyone from amateurs to pro athletes - fighters, boxers, football players, tennis players, crossfitters, the whole lot!


Hopefully, this article gives you a real-life insight into what to expect when you start lifting weights, so you have a realistic viewpoint of weightlifting and the process to make the most of it.


Be sure to check out these gym flooring options for complete floor protection and injury prevention.

 

Article by Steve Hoyles - Personal Trainer

Steve is a personal trainer, qualified weightlifting coach, gym owner, and writer.
With a career spanning since 2004, he has been an influential figure in the fitness industry, guiding thousands of individuals towards achieving their fitness goals.
Steve actively contributes to the dissemination of the most up-to-date and accurate strength training advice. As the owner of My Gym (Hazel Grove - UK), his expertise has been recognized in notable publications such as Men’s Health, Kymira Sport, and various other media outlets.


February 08, 2024 — Michael Geraghty
February Giveaway - WIN A Weightlifting Platform!

February Giveaway - WIN A Weightlifting Platform!

February just got a little brighter with our latest Giveaway!

Subscribe to our Sprung Life Newsletter and nab 20% OFF your next order plus the chance to win a Weightlifting Platform.

With 30mm rubber pads and a multi-layer wood positioning surface, our sleek 50cm x 50cm platform is the ultimate weightlifting station for anyone serious about optimising their form and raising their lifting game.

 

 

Why Use a Weightlifting Platform?

Weightlifting platforms are designed to help lifters determine the best position and focus on their form when tackling heavy weights.

Not only do they create the perfect protective surface for withstanding heavy plates and preventing damage to the floor, they also clearly define the foot and hand positioning for precise lifting.

Weightlifting platforms are used regularly in professional olympic weightlifting and are a staple in all high-end gyms across the country.

Ready to take your lifting game to the next level?

Subscribe now for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway.

January 31, 2024 — Michael Geraghty
Sprung Gym Flooring Named Official Supplier for the International Space Station

Sprung Gym Flooring Named Official Supplier for the International Space Station

Glasgow, 16th December 2023 – Sprung Gym Flooring, a leading provider of high-quality gym flooring solutions, is thrilled to announce its selection as the official gym flooring supplier to the International Space Station (ISS). This groundbreaking partnership marks a significant milestone in the company's history, showcasing its commitment to innovation and excellence in fitness environments.
The collaboration with the ISS involves equipping the space station with Sprung Gym Flooring's state-of-the-art flooring solutions, designed to meet the unique demands of exercising in a zero-gravity environment. This initiative not only represents a technological breakthrough but also underscores Sprung Gym Flooring's position at the forefront of the fitness industry.
"Our team is incredibly proud to be part of this historic venture," said Richard McKay, CEO of Sprung Gym Flooring. "Being chosen by the International Space Station is a testament to the quality, durability, and innovative design of our products. We're excited to contribute to the health and fitness of astronauts, aiding their vital missions in space. The floor that we designed is ultra lightweight, has anti-microbial properties and has a thin film of anti radiation material within the gym flooring structure.”
The ISS selection process emphasised the need for flooring that could withstand the rigours of space while providing optimal safety and performance for astronauts. Sprung Gym Flooring's products were recognised for their exceptional quality, innovative design, and ability to meet these stringent requirements.
This partnership is not only a significant achievement for Sprung Gym Flooring but also a leap forward in supporting human health and performance in space. The company's involvement in the space program demonstrates its commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in fitness flooring solutions.
For more information about Sprung Gym Flooring and its products, please visit www.gym-flooring.com
About Sprung Gym Flooring
Founded in 2020, Sprung Gym Flooring has established itself as a leader in the fitness flooring industry, known for its innovative and durable products. The company's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction has made it a preferred choice for fitness professionals and enthusiasts worldwide.
Contact Information:
Name: Richard McKay
Title: CEO
Company: Sprung Gym Flooring
Phone: +448081098457
Email: info@gym-flooring.com
Website: www.gym-flooring.com
December 16, 2023 — Richard McKay
The Benefits of Opting for An Outdoor Sports Court with Markings (Pre-Lined)

The Benefits of Opting for An Outdoor Sports Court with Markings (Pre-Lined)

The Benefits of Opting for An Outdoor Sports Court with Markings (Pre-Lined)

There are a number of outdoor sports surfaces to choose from for court games such as Basketball, Football and Tennis. Surfaces such as grass, synthetic turf, poured rubber and concrete are all popular options for a variety of sports. Although good playing surfaces in their own way, there is still the process of marking out court lines which adds costs and increases longterm maintenance. This is where modular court tiles with prepainted sports court markings come in handy.

 

 

In this blog, we explore the benefits of installing a prelined modular court versus investing in a traditional surface and adding court markings after installation.

What are Modular Court Tiles?

A modular court is made up of interlocking tiles constructed from a durable, weather resistant rubber. They connect together to form a versatile and portable playing surface that can be used for all types of sports from Basketball and Football to Tennis and Volleyball. Modular basketball courts and multi sport courts come in various surface designs with options for open-mesh as well as flat textured tiles which determine the ball bounce and speed of the playing surface.

 

 

Installation is simple and much quicker than alternative surface options. What makes these tiles even more attractive is the fact that they can be pre-painted with basketball court lines, tennis markings or multi court markings for a range of sports on one surface.

Benefits of a Pre-lined Sport Court

Let's look at the many benefits to choosing a pre-lined sport court or school playgrounds MUGA system.

Cost Effective

Pre-painted basketball courts and multisport courts are more economical than having them painted after installation. You have a few options in masking out your court markings from using specialist sports line paint then sealing or using sports tape. Painting the lines requires a specialist to apply the lines and fully seal the area which can be expensive. On the otherhand, sports tape can prematurely peel and wear easily in different weather conditions and temperatures.

Pre-lined tiles means your court design is planned accurately then each court section manufacturerd to your exact specification. Industrial sports line paint with a protective coating is applied at factory stage then allowed to cure before packaging. Each part is clearly marked to allow simple assembly (similar to putting a puzzle together).

Ready to Use

There is no preparation needed with a pre-lined basketball court or multi sports system. The tiles come factory finished and ready to use right away. They can be installed onto all types of outdoor surface and are easily assembled.

 

Low Maintenance

The level of maintenance is dependent on the type of surface you have as well as the kind of markings applied. Real grass requires consistent upkeep to keep it in good condition including watering and cutting with court lines needing touched up on a regular basis. Likewise, some Astroturf needs to be industrially cleaned or refilled to keep it performing at its best. Taped markings need replaced regularly as outdoor conditions and constant use will cause them to wear quicky.

Prelined modular tiles are factory finished to ensure a long lifespan, resistance to all weather conditions, heavy footfall and repeated use.

Year Round Use & Suitable for all Weather Conditions

Some sports surfaces rely on dry weather and certain temperatures to be used. Natural grass and even some synthetic turf options will freeze over or become waterlogged in the winter months.

Modular tiles have a clever built-in drainage system to prevent water from pooling on the surface. They also are UV treated and resistant to thermal expansion meaning greater stability. Lines are marked with colour fast, hardwearing sports paint which will not fade or wear in outdoor conditions.

Versatility

Having a pre-lined multi court design adds versatility and maximises a courts overall use. Multiple sports and activities can be enjoyed on a sports or playground court system. They can also be installed in a number of locations from schools, play parks and community facilities to sports campus venues and private back garden spaces.

 

Top Performance

Ball sports such as Basketball, Football and Tennis require a quality surface that allows good ball bounce and speed. Our modular tile solutions are qualified by FIBA and ITF and approved by all UK and European standards to conform with ISO 9001/ISO 14001. With superior traction and ball rebound, our modular systems allow for optimal performance and comfort in all ball sports.

Increased Safety

Outdoor Basketball courts and other outdoor sports surfaces should protect the user from injury and be comfortable to play on. Modular tiles with court lines are shock absorbent with a slip resistant surface which minimises the risk of accidents or injury.

Final Thoughts

Choosing outdoor basketball courts or the perfect multi-sport court can be a challenge. Affordability, durability and suitability are all high up on the list of things to prioritise. Selecting safe and high performing surfaces for different sports means looking at surface options which combine all these features.

Pre-lined modular systems are the most cost-effective way of achieving this. They tick all the boxes when it comes to injury prevention, high safety and top performance while having the ability to cater for multiple sports. Not only do pre-painted tiles cut down on maintenance they also mean less preparation time, less wasted match days due to bad weather and more time enjoying the sports you love.

December 14, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
Why a Lifting Platform Will Make you an Athlete

Why a Lifting Platform Will Make you an Athlete

Olympic weight training is not just about strength. There is a lot more involved in the perfect lift that's worth our attention. In this blog we look at how weightlifting platforms can enhance your lifting performance, the many benefits of weightlifting flooring and how a platform can elevate your lifting status from beginner to skilled lifter.

What is Olympic Weight Training?

Olympic lifts are performed using heavier weight plates and an olympic barbell. It is a popular CrossFit activity aswell as for seasoned weightlifters and professional powerlifters. Precision, skill and attention to positioning, footwork and handwork are all part of achieving a good technique.

 

How do Lifting Platforms Work?

A lifting platform is a rectangular base for performing heavy loaded barbell lifts. It is usually made up of three sections, a middle wood section to stand on and 2 side sections in a heavy duty rubber for resting your weights. This layout makes it easier for lifters to measure their stance against the barbell and adopt the best positioning for taking their lift.

What are the Plus Points of Lifting Platforms?

There are a ton of benefits in investing in a lifting platform in your home gym or commercial studio. Not only do they create a safer space for deadlifts but they are a key piece of kit to master your lifting form and optimise your performance. Let's look at these in more detail.

Increased Safety

With a dedicated area for lifting, a platform carves out the exact space you need for performing lifts to the best of your ability. Free from obstructions and distractions, it allows you to carry out deadlifts in a much safer environment without the risk of accidents. Furthermore, the slip resistant surface and shock absorbent rubber pads minimise slips and falls aswell as absorbing impact which could cause injury and discomfort. A lifting platform helps to protect your body aswell as safeguarding against damage. With greater piece of mind in terms of safety, a lifter is able to channel all their attention to their performance without distraction.

 

Sound Reduction

A lifting platform is designed to mimimise noise and vibration from weight drops. This helps to reduce disruption to others if you train in an upper ground space or have neighbours or other gym users in the same viscinity. It also helps with concentration and focus when practicing your movements and polishing up your technique.

Ultra Durable & Low Maintenance

Made from hardwearing steel with heavy duty rubber padding and robust timber, a lifting platform is a tough piece of equipment that will last for years. It is simple to look after, easy to clean and is virtually maintenance-free.

Enhanced Performance

You don't have to google 'weightlifting form' to know that positioning and grip are key in perfecting your lifting technique. A lifting platform creates a solid and level foundation for achieving the correct stance and measuring accuracy in your footwork and hands. Platforms are specially designed to create the exact placement for optimal weightlifting.

 

Reduces Damage to Gym Equipment & Floor

Gym equipment like weight plates, bumpers and barbells can become cracked and damaged with repetitive impact on hard surfaces like concrete. Likewise, concrete flooring or wood flooring can easily become damaged with excessive weight dropping. Using a platform or extra thick rubber flooring adds an extra layer of protection from hard and heavy impact.

Ideal Surface for a Gym Rig

The perfect layout for a weightlifting gym usually includes a power rack or squat rack for barbells. Racks should be bolted to the floor for maximum stability, however some people may not wish to screw through their existing flooring. A lifting platform allows you to set up your rack permanently by securing it onto the platform base for support.

Adds Flair to your Gym

Adding a durable platform solution to your gym space instantly adds aesthetic appeal and character. It looks professional and sleek and can be customised with adding your own brand or club colours to give it a personalised finish.

 

Boosts Motivation

When you have a dedicated work station to perform lifts it can elevate your motivation to progress to the next level. Having a commited area to refine your technique can only enhance your workout experience and in turn take your skill level up a notch.

Final Thoughts

Olympic lifting flooring platforms instantly upgrade your barbell workout experience. They offer huge benefits from increased safety and minimised injury risk to the opportunity to fine tune your lifting technique and become an advanced lifter. If you're serious about olympic lifting, we would highly recommend a weightlifting platform for optimising your overall performance while creating a safe and productive environment to practice and hone your skills.

The UK market has a number of platform options with competitive prices, different designs and setup options available. When you choose to purchase a platform, you don't just pay for a premium workout station that will elevate your lifting performance, you also invest in greater safety and optimal comfort for years of supported training.

December 10, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
Why a Home Air Track is the Best Solution for at home Gymnastics Equipment

Why a Home Air Track is the Best Solution for at home Gymnastics Equipment

Gymnastics training is an intense, high impact activity that requires specialist equipment to minimise the risk of injury to the body and surrounding surfaces. When attempting to train from home, issues such as space and storage can present a challenge. Even light-hearted gymnastic play needs a proper set-up to ensure there is enough space for fun while remaining safe and supportive.

 

 

 

In this blog we look at gymnastics air track solutions and the key benefits of using an inflatable home air track whether it is for gymnastics practise or play-time tumbling.

Contents

  • What is a Home Air Track?

  • Who uses Air Tracks?

  • Can they be for Indoor and Outdoor Use?

  • Key Benefits of an Air Track

What is a Home Air Track?

A home air track is an inflatable gymnastic mat which comes in various lengths, shapes, colours and sizes. It is made of high density PVC with reinforced handles for easy mobility.

The tracks come with an electric pump for fast and simple assembly as well as a storage bag for holding the mat when it is rolled up. Gymnasts are able to tumble, jump and carry out moves with the comfort of a safe and soft landing as the mat absorbs impact and prevents injury.

Who uses Air Tracks?

The main use of inflatable mats are for Gymnastics. The longer length designs available and larger crash mats mean, gymnasts can practice over larger areas. Similarly, air mats can be used for other sports such as parkour, martial arts, some forms of dance and yoga.

 

 

 

Kids play is another popular use of air mats, where children can play and tumble safely without fear of hurting themselves. Suitable for both athletes, professionals and beginners, air tracks are used by people at all levels of fitness and skill aswell as for a variety of sports and disciplines.

Can they be for Indoor and Outdoor Use?

One of the great things about air tracks is their versatility. As well as being suitable for a wide range of activities, air mats can also be used in the garden for summer gymnastics training or play. They are able to withstand varying temperatures as well as suitable for pool use.

 

Key Benefits of Home Air Tracks

  • Affordable - inflatable mats are less expensive than permanent gymnastics mats

  • Space-saving - inflatable mats take up less space when training at home

  • Portable - simple to handle and lightweight for moving from place to place

  • Easy to assemble with electric pump - fast and quick set-up

  • High Durability - made from strong non toxic PVC for maximum longevity

  • Suitable for Indoors and Outdoors

  • Suitable for Home training and Commercial/Club Use

  • Simple to Repair (come with Puncture Repair Kit)

  • Low Maintenance - easy-clean

Final Thoughts

When choosing the perfect surface solution for Gymnastics at home there are a few key things to consider. Important features such as durability, safety and comfort should be at the top of your list as well as space, price, ease of use and portability. Inflatable home air tracks deliver high on a number of factors making them the ideal option for at home gymnastics equipment.

 

 

Did You Know? We offer FREE SHIPPING to all of the UK mainland. With already competitive prices (similar to the popular Cannons UK) we can deliver your Air Track at no additional cost. Explore our collection here for all the details.

You may also be interested in:

Why are People searching for Inflatable Gymnastic Mat UK?

December 04, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
The Role of Exercise in Addiction Treatment: Tackling Physical and Mental Wellbeing

The Role of Exercise in Addiction Treatment: Tackling Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Reach mental and physical wellness through fitness

Recovering from addiction is not an easy hurdle to overcome. Family, friends, and supporters have your back but ultimately the effort and commitment to recover comes from yourself.

 

 

Including some exercise options into your daily routine can boost your motivation and energy levels as well as help towards creating a structured lifestyle that enhances your recovery path.  Follow our guide to help you reach your mental and physical wellness goals through rehabilitation.

 

Contents

• The impact of addiction on the body

• The importance of treating addiction.

• The benefits of fitness in the recovery process

• Exercises to include in your workout

• How to prepare for exercise in your treatment

• Summary

The impact of addiction on the body

Addiction has many consequences on the mind, body, and social life. It can cause a lot of destruction in all areas of life that require a lot of effort to set straight.

On the body specifically, you are more prone to illness, infection, skin and dental problems.  It can trigger mental illness, cause memory loss, affect your body size, mood, and sleep. Depression and anxiety are excerbated with substance abuse and the withdrawal effects of it.  in short, your body will suffer both mentally and physically from drug or alcohol misuse. 

The importance of treating addiction

Getting help for a substance abuse problem is not easy, and it takes hard work and dedication to become sober. With the help from a good support network starting with your family and friends, you can seek help from the numerous rehabilition centres that offer alcohol treatment in Glasgow or a GP referral for specialist support. Here licensed therapists will help you lay out a plan to work towards a healthier, happier life. These rehab centres and clinics help people with all types of addiction from alcohol and drugs, to gambling, sex and overspending.

The benefits of fitness in the recovery process

Including fitness in your recovery process will help minimise withdrawal symptoms, and help curb any cravings that you may experience. It can also help you to refocus your thought patterns that may trigger addiction behaviour.  

Exercising will improve your body physically. You’ll begin to see a difference in your appearance as you build lean muscle and strength.   Internally your body will start to heal which may have been damaged due to substance abuse.  It will improve your endurance, and stamina as well as boost your overall self-esteem and sense of achievement as you start to see and feel the benefits of exercise as a tool in recovery.  

 

 

Other ways that a fitness-focused mindset can help with is mental health-related issues. You’ll see an overall improvement in your mood, fewer instances of anxiety and depression, which in turn will improve your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep.

Exercises that can help

Before starting an exercise programme, remember to get the go-ahead from your therapist or key worker.  Check that this is the right time for you as working out too early in the withdrawal process could be more detrimental than useful.

Start with moderate cardio-related exercises like jumping rope, walking, jogging, or aerobics for 150 minutes a week. This type of exercise will help get your heart rate up and your cardiovascular functions working. You can also invest time practising yoga and meditation, which is a mindful exercise that helps with your mind and body connection.

When you are ready, you can slowly branch off and do more intense exercises like strength training after you build up endurance and stamina.  Strength training will protect the bone and muscle mass in your body, it will make you stronger, help you maintain body weight, and help tone your body.

 

How to prepare for including exercise in your treatment

Your fitness journey will require a lot of hard work and dedication, so you need to be well-prepared. You can join a fitness class at your local gym or get in touch with a personal trainer to help you stick to your goals and offer you support when you need it.

If you rather walk this road on your own, you can work out from the comfort of your own home.  Just make sure that you have enough space to follow your routines. Invest in gym flooring and some equipment to make your space like a home gym you can use at any time you need.  Following online tutorials and workouts are excellent for mastering your form and boosting your motivation.

Alternatively, you can opt for cardio exercises outdoors by going for a power walk or run. Exercising in nature is proven to improve mood and clear your mind. 

It goes without saying that aiming to eat nutrition meals and drinking plenty of water will contribute to the overall effect of your exercise plan.

Summary

To get the most out of your recovery from addiction treatment it's helpful to introduce a fitness routine into your plans. Not only will you benefit physically but most importantly, you will feel better.  It will provide a focus with a goal to reach that in turn will help you to feel empowered and mentally stronger.  The natural endorphins of exercise coupled with a steady routine lay down the foundations for a balanced and happier approach to life. 

December 04, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
Why are People Searching for Inflatable Gymnastic Mat UK?

Why are People Searching for Inflatable Gymnastic Mat UK?

This may be clever SEO on our part but it is also a valid question. Why has Gymnastic Mats and Airtracks become so popular in the UK?

In this short blog we will look at the main reasons as to why tumbling tracks are getting so much attention plus recommendations on our favourite mats for all types and levels of Gymnastics practice.

What is an Air Track?

Air tracks are inflatable surface mats which use air to support and protect the body from injury during high impact gymnastic activities and disciplines such as Parkour and Free Running. They are specially designed to create a comfortable and durable surface for landing while tumbling, vaulting, spinning, jumping and other general sports applications eg Yoga, Pilates, Fitness, some Martial Arts and Dance.

 

Air Tracks UK

Over the last few years, enhanced quality and design of air tracks has made this surface option one of the most popular solutions in the UK for safe gymnastics practice. The increase in gymnastics being a sport for all as well as various forms such as tumbling and cheerleading becoming more inclusive means a higher demand for air tracks and other gymnastic equipment that can be used from home.

Similarly, there has been more gymnastic clubs sprouting up over the UK with the need for high quality equipment which ensures optimal safety and top performance.

Lets look at the key reasons for investing in a gymnastics mat in more detail.

Simple Assembly

Air track mats are the easiest way to create a safe and protective surface for gymnastics practice without the need for heavy, bulky equipment or using up lots of space. The mats come with an electric pump for quick inflation.

More Affordable

An inflatable gymnastics mat is more affordable than roll-out options or specialist rubber mats which can also take up more space and storage.

Hardwearing

Air tracks are made from fantastic quality PVC, robust and ultra durable. They are pressure and bounce tested to ensure they are able to withstand high impact and repetitive use while remaining soft and easy on the body for maximum comfort and support.

Portable

Whether you're a professional athlete or budding gymnast, air tracks are compact enough to transport from location to location. Useful for competitions, events and home gymnastics practice, an inflatable air track can be set up and dismantled whenever needed.

 

Easy to Store

An air track comes with a free carry bag for clever storage which doesn't take up lots of space.

Low Maintenance

Gymnastics mats are easy to keep clean and look after. There is no specialist upkeep costs unlike other surface types and the material is simple to wipe down after use.

Versatile

An air track is not limited to gymnastics and can be used for parkour, wrestling, dance, cheerleading, leisure activities and water games.

Our Favourite Air Track

Opt for our 3m Inflatable mat which comes in 3 colour options. Made from high density PVC, this non-slip gymnastics mat is the perfect solution for optimal safety and ticks all the boxes for high comfort and durability.

 

Final Thoughts

It is clear to see why inflatable tracks have become so popular. With gymnastics being more mainstream and people of all ages taking up the discipline as a sport or leisure pursuit, there is more of a need for easily assessible equipment that is simple to use and maintain. Modern airtrack technology has allowed for improved products that satisfy the need for safety, comfort and resilience whether you're practicing gymnastics at home, a gymnastics club or investing in a play surface for your kids.

December 03, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
5 Tips to Make Your Workout More Effective

5 Tips to Make Your Workout More Effective

 

The purpose of a workout is to be healthier and to reach your fitness goals, but in order to do so, you can tweak your routines to make the most out of it and to see better results.  In this article we will look at some of the ways you can make the most out of your exercise routines and get further in your fitness journey.

We'll cover the following lifestyle aspects that will help enhance your workouts sessions.  These simple changes, such as prefacing your workouts with a warm-up and drinking more water, are easy steps that can make all the difference. 

  • 1. Workout Prep & Recovery
  •  2. Diet & Nutrition
  • 3. Hydration
  • 4. Workout Space
  •  5. Motivation

Free Man Wearing a White Tank Top Stock Photo

1. Warmup and cool down sessions

Never underestimate the importance of a good warmup and cool down session before and after your workout routine.

The purpose of these sessions is to make sure that you do not strain your muscles and to reduce the risk of sustaining an injury. When you engage in these practices, you end up regulating your breathing and heart rate before and after the activity.

Some ways that you can warm up and cool down is to jog or walk for five to ten minutes. Or you can swim laps for the same time, increasing or decreasing your speed in relation to whether you are warming up or cooling down.

2. Improve your diet

Changing your diet will have a positive effect on your routine and will help you reach your fitness goals. By eating the correct foods, you will take care of the muscles in your body, and increase your energy and stamina.

Eating well also means reducing your intake of sugar. Remember not to omit sugars from your diet entirely, as it is a good source of energy that can be consumed before and after your workout. But it is important not to overdo it as well.

Try to omit highly processed food - this includes fast foods, as this will have a negative effect on your goals. It will undo the hard work that you have put in so far.

Some foods that you need to add to your diet include lean proteins, carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables, and vitamin supplements.

Make sure that you start the recovery process by eating well and taking post-workout supplements.

 

Healthy fats, plant based proteins: On World Vegan Day, expert shares health benefits of diet

 

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking water is important to your health goals, and equally important when you are working out. By drinking water during your workout you will keep yourself hydrated, and replace the fluids that you have lost during the workout via sweating. Drinking enough water will also keep you cool during your workout.

When you are working out, you need to have an idea of the signs and symptoms of dehydration, so that you will know when to drink more fluids. Be wary when you feel dizzy or nauseous, experience a lack of sweating, or if you have an increased heart rate.

4. A good workout space

Make sure that you have enough lighting in your house as well as enough ventilation. This will help you work out better and breathe better.

By having a workout space that is sufficient, you will be able to experience a better workout.

Make sure that you have suitable flooring by using rubber gym mats, so they will not damage your flooring if you drop your weights. It also helps improve your posture when you are working out, it also helps with blood flow due to mats allowing even distribution of pressure in the body.

5. Stay Motivated

It is hard to always stay motivated, especially when you need to follow through with a goal. That is why it is important to make sure to continue to bolster yourself and keep around things that will keep you going.

Try to stay positive and motivated by reminding yourself why you are on this journey.

It is also helpful to keep motivational quotes or images that inspire you in your home gym. Keep a progress journal of your journey to help you keep going and pursuing your aspirations. It will show you how far you have come during this time.

Practice yoga to help you build core strength and flexibility. This will help improve your breathing and perform your techniques better. Because it can reduce stress and anxiety it will help you sleep and regain your strength for working out.

Summary

To maximize your workout and get the best results that you can, you need to make sure that you keep on your grind and treat your body well so that you will be able to continue working out with fewer setbacks.

These five steps will help you on your way to maximizing your workout and seeing better results.

 

November 08, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
Parkour In The UK - The Natural High You Shouldn't Resist

Parkour In The UK - The Natural High You Shouldn't Resist

Over the last few years, Parkour has taken the UK by storm with Parkour Parks and Activity Centres sprouting up all over the country.  The fast-paced urban sport has gained popularity with kids and adults alike with some merely enjoying the fitness element and others embracing the full philosophy of the discipline and the lifestyle it offers.

 

 

In this blog we delve into the world of parkour, what it means, how it's practiced and why.  We look at the differences between the original form of Parkour and other variations, such as Freerunning which shares many of the same techniques but varies in core principles.

If you've ever wondered about Parkour and why some kids are leaping of buildings, then read on to get the lowdown. 

What is Parkour?

When we speak of Parkour, it's not unusal to imagine skateboard types scaling walls and jumping from rooftops at scary heights.  But it's surprisingly much more than that. 

Parkour is a highly regarded discipline with a rich theology and a thriving community.   Since the early 00's, enthusiasts and traceurs have come together, creating events, competitions and training courses as well as popular videos, documentaries and gaming content.

In its simplest explanation, parkour involves overcoming obstacles while getting from Point A to Point B using various movements and techniques, such as running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and spinning.  The athletic discipline uses speed and power to advance through natural or rural terrain as quickly and skillfully as possible.

 

 

What makes this adventurous sport so unique is that it is practiced outdoors, using the landscape as its platform, whether in an urban or rural setting.  More recently, parkour enthusiasts use Parkour Parks to practice their techniques and movements. These spaces have specially designed equipment and agility apparatus for users to master their skills in a safe environment and is particularly popular for beginners.

How did Parkour come about?

With military roots and a strong Martial Arts influence, the name Parkour was established by David Belle in the nineties.  He was inspired by his military-trained father (Raymond Belle) to create a method of training that focused on human performance and endurance that enhanced all aspects of life.  It combined creative, athletic movement, mental strength and a strong work ethic to challenge and motivate people to strive for their own personal potential.

 

 

In fact parkour is often described as a discipline itself as opposed to a sport.  Its core philosophy is based on overcoming and adapting to mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical barriers.  Similarly, its essence is about engaging with the world around us, using our own natural abilities to overcome obstacles and fears that stand in our way.  Many practitioners today have created a lifestyle based on these values, encouraging personal growth and life balance.

What type of exercises are involved in Parkour?

There are a few different forms of Parkour or rather variations which have derived from the discipline. 

Parkour works like a military obstacle course with the athlete running, jumping, leaping, swinging and climbing through the environment.  They use ledges, walls, rooftops and rails to create fast and fluid ways of progressing through obstacles, using both mind and body. 

 

 

Practicing the discipline at a high level requires an advanced degree of body strength, excellent balance and a strong mental acuity.  The training involves consistent bodyweight and strenth building exercises, plyometric workouts and body conditioning to build power and speed.

Training Exercises (suggested by the WFPF Word Freerunning Parkour Federation)

  • Pull Ups
  • Broad Jumps
  • Handstands
  • Monkey Plants
  • Knees to Elbow
  • Air Squats
  • Quadrupedal Moves

 

Freerunning

FreeRunning is based more on the art and expression of movement with less focus on overcoming obstacles.  It has a more theatrical element to the sport and athletes perform flips, spins and other acrobatics.  Like Parkour, Freerunning requires quite intense training to master the balance and agility needed to perform. 

 

 

One of the main differences of Freerunning to Parkour is the values behind it.  Parkour is more about the discipline of oneself and is more about individual progression.  Freerunning on the otherhand is more sociable and centres around the performance aspect.

What are classic Parkour moves?

Parkour tends to be made up of a series of moves, each with several techniques -  Vaults, Landings, Walls, Bars and Combinations.  

 

 

Here are some examples: 

  • Speed Vault - used to quickly jump over low walls and rails
  • Precision Landing - also used in Freerunning, the athlete starts and lands on an exact spot with limited momentum
  • Cat Leap - this move is used regularly to land on to a high wall or ledge from a running jump
  • Lache - this is a swing from one bar to another using backwards momentum to reach forward
  • Double Kong - used to leap over large gaps or multiple objects like a double wall, the athlete pushes off twice rather than landing

Is there any equipment needed to practice Parkour?

Unlike many sports, Parkour doesn't require specialist equipment.  However, to train, an athlete would benefit from strength training kit such as Pull Up Bars, Gym Rings and Plyo Boxes for building up power and body strength.

Lightweight or shock absorbent shoes and protective gloves are preferred for some although many enthusiasts favour barefeet and hands.

Protective mats are useful for home training or specialist Parkour Gym Mats for ultimate safety at outdoor training centres.

Is Parkour Safe?

Parkour is as safe as any other high impact sport if it is practiced properly.  Athletes should be fully trained with a high level of fitness and skill before attemping to perform in the urban environment. With proper Parkour training, athletes become better at making informed decisions about specific feats and high risk moves and are able to determine what is achieveable and what is best avoided.   

There is a strong etiquette of respect within the Parkour circles which acknowledges responsible training and appreciation for the environment, society and safety of others.

 

Where can I practice Parkour?

Parkour parks are a good way of training outwith the environment and are best for beginners who can practice in a safer space with less height and cushioned surfaces for extra support.  These training spaces are kitted out with boxes, walls, fences, rails and agility equipment with proper high density rubber surface mats that absorb impact from landings, falls and possible accidents. 

 

 

Many sports centres, schools and universities now offer Parkour training courses as well as a number of community events where enthusiasts can meet up and train together.

Final Thoughts

Parkour is not your average sport.  It takes time, effort and commitment to reach the standard you witness on You Tube.  That being said, it is becoming more inclusive and accessible with the increase of Parkour Parks and Training Centres allowing young kids to experience the thrills of the sport in a safe setting.

  

 

Parkour is a personal pursuit - everyone has the natural ability to thrive in this style of training and experience the liberty of movement.  It does require a certain level of commitment but there are no set rules on what you should achieve, how advanced you should be and how slick your performance is.  You are free to take from it what you need.

Whether you appreciate the artistic movement of freerunning or prefer the disciplined approach of Parkour, both variations of the sport have one thing in common - the freedom of movement and expression within the environment.  This in turn makes both methods equally rewarding.

September 20, 2023 — Katie McKay
Outdoor Garden Gym

8 Things You Need to Build a Garden Gym

Find out all the essentials things to consider before creating the ideal outdoor fitness space in the garden. Get recommendations on outdoor gym flooring and equipment plus handy tips for nailing a hot workout spot this summer.
August 17, 2023 — Michael Geraghty
Karate-Do Training - Why We Could All Benefit From Some Karate Kicks

Karate-Do Training - Why We Could All Benefit From Some Karate Kicks

With the hit show Kobra Kai hitting our screens a couple of years ago and the well-loved Mr Miyagi still a firm favourite in our hearts, Karate has always been a fascination for young and old alike.   Now a mainstream sport with Tokyo 2020 hosting its Olympic debut , Karate has been branded the fastest growing sport globally.

 

 

That brings us to our own brush with the world of Karate.

Now proud sponsors of the World-Class Shitokai Karate Club, a dynamic Martial Arts community who coach youngsters, teens and adults in the Greater Glasgow areas of the city, it is one of the largest Shitoryu Karate Associations in the country with leading instructors boasting over 30 years in practicing the art. 

 

 

They specialise in Karate-Do, a form of the sport which focuses on the balance of movement and mindset to create optimal performance, both on the Karate Mat and in all areas of modern life.

 

 

Run by Terry Connell, a time-served Karate master, the club has moulded the talents of many International athletes for Scotland's National Karate Team, the European Championships and Team GB.  Terry's daughters, both coaches and medallists themselves play a large role in promoting and fuelling the clubs passion for the sport within this friendly and family-like environment.

The Shitokai club is a diverse group, ranging from 4 years to senior adults, an ASN class for all age groups and a huge community summer camp following. 

 

 

Multiple Awards 

With the highest number of candidates chosen to represent Scotland and Britain from just one club, the high-achieving group are prominent players on the international stage with a legion of medals and awards to their name.  

 

 

So what is it that makes this lively group so successful?

Personal Approach

The club's philosophy is not soley based on skill and commitment to the sport.  There is a strong culture of fellowship, wellbeing and self-growth. Talent is nurtured gently but with spirit allowing individuals to work on their own personal development and achieve their goals. 

 

 

 

Shitokai promotes a great sense of community, social inclusion and perhaps most of all, adventure.  In other words, it's fantastic fun.  Kids can enjoy summer classes, workshops and events while working towards individual goals.

 

 

Kicking Up a Storm

It is easy to see why Karate is one of the most popular Martial Arts sports out there given the ongoing success of Shitokai.   Not to mention the thousands of online searches growing each month for available lessons.  Parents are particularly keen to enrol their own little ninjas into Karate training, with the sport being synonymous with discipline, respect and skill.  

With that being said, let's look at the main benefits of Karate training in more detail.

Key Benefits for Kid's Karate

1. Confidence

Learning a discipline such as Karate from a young age helps to build confidence and self-esteem.  Kids learn through fun, fast-paced skill games how to protect and defend themselves while developing their agility, co-ordination and flexibility.  These skills help children to appreciate their own capabilities and thrive among their own peer group.

 

 

2. Improved Fitness Levels

Karate is an active, cardiovascular sport which uses all muscles of the body.  In Karate coaching, kids learn various techniques and moves that improve their general fitness, build strength and power.  It encourages them to keep active by practicing their newly learned skills at home and learn fun and rewarding aspects of fitness.

 

 

3. Increased Concentration

Another great life skill to master, Karate lessons can enhance a young person's concentration span.  They learn to focus on their technique, master their form and practice their performance through structured practice and commitment.

 

 

 

4. Self-Defense

One of the main benefits of Karate is learning self-defence.  It encourages children to counter measure as opposed to attack, learn self-restraint and how to manage conflict in order to interact effectively with others.  

 

 

5. Instills Discipline & Respect

The ancient art of Karate has an ethos of honour and respect at its very core.  Children and youths learn these fundamentals from the beginning of their Karate training which developes their character and helps them to build positive relationships based on mutual respect.

 

 

These are just some of the plus points of youth Karate.  At Shitokai Karate, Terry Connell and his committed team have excelled at providing a constructive and inspiring platform for children and youths to develop their abilities, build character and make great friendships.

 

Final Thoughts

Martial Arts, namely Karate-Do has been recognised as an excellent opportunity for young children to enjoy an active sport and at the same time, harness essential life skills along the way.  Whether it is used to improve fitness, learn self-defence or work to a professional standard, Karate is a versatile and rewarding sport whatever you're looking to get out of it.

 

 

Have you ever considered sampling what Karate has to offer for yourself or little one?  The sport is available to anyone, at all levels of fitness and age groups and tons of parents, kids and siblings train together.  Great news is, most Karate Clubs, including Shitokai offer free Trial sessions so there's no reason why you shouldn't give it a go. Go on, Mr Miyagi would be proud.

RELATED:

The Low-Down on Martial Arts Mats

 

August 15, 2023 — Katie McKay