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Equipment Guides Health and Lifestyle

Can Resistance Bands Build Muscle? Are They Effective?

Have you considered buying resistance bands, but you aren’t sure if they will actually help you build muscle? If so, you’re not alone. Many people wonder about the prospect of using resistance bands and how effective they can actually be in helping you achieve your fitness goals. If you’ve found yourself wondering these same things, you came to the right place. This article offers an in-depth guide to resistance bands, including what they are, how to use them, the pros and cons of using them, and best practices for using resistance bands to gain muscle.

resistance bands on a power rack

What Is a Resistance Band?

A resistance band is a stretchy band or rope usually made of latex or rubber. They come in a variety of different resistances, i.e. some are very easy to stretch while others “resist” more, or are more difficult to stretch. Resistance bands can be used for a number of different exercises, and they allow people to work out by using the natural resistance of the band instead of lifting their own body weight or heavy weights. They are a very safe option for training because they tend not to overstrain any muscle groups. 

Resistance bands are also a popular choice for people who have to travel a lot or work out on the go. The small bands can easily be packed into a backpack or suitcase and you can use them to work out pretty much anywhere. Plus, resistance bands tend to be inexpensive, compared to a lot of other fitness equipment, which makes them an appealing choice. 

How Do Resistance Bands Work?

Resistance bands work by providing a resistance for you to push or pull against during your training. They are different from weights in that instead of being a weight that you lift, pull, or push, they create tension throughout your reps and sets. As you pull the band further, it gets tighter and harder to move throughout the movement. 

Can Resistance Bands Build Muscle?

If you are looking to start building muscles without spending long hours at the gym, resistance bands can be a really great option. Especially considering that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults do strength training exercises two times a week. You can do strength training in a number of different ways – including using resistance bands. They are an excellent option for people just starting out on the fitness journey and looking to build and tone muscles early on. 

To build muscle size, you have to overload the muscle with weight or resistance. The overload creates small tears in the muscle fiber (hence the term “getting ripped”) that allow new muscle tissue to grow. Lifting weights, lifting your own body weight, and using resistance bands helps to overload your muscles and build them up. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that resistance bands were just as effective as a weight machine in activating the quadriceps during the concentric or “up” phase of a knee extension.

Progressive Overload

The way that muscles get bigger and bigger is through a process called progressive overload. We tear the muscle fibers and the body repairs them bigger and stronger than before. As we progress, we need bigger weights or more resistance and a variety of exercises to keep growing. 

The body is responsible for doing all the repairs, and it uses hormones, such as testosterone, to do a great deal of this work. But we also have to give it extra fuel, in the form of calories and protein, to make sure it has the energy to repair the muscle damage. 

If you get enough resistance from the bands to contract your muscles beyond a point they have gotten used to – and you are consuming enough protein and calories, then you should be able to build muscles. Up to a point. 

Practicing Progressive Overload with Resistance Bands

In order to make sure that you are building muscle and not just toning, you have to keep forcing your body to adapt to more stress or tension. Here are some ways to do so with resistance bands:

  • Using higher tension bands: As mentioned earlier, resistance bands come in varying levels of resistance. Over time, you will want to increase the resistance level so that you continue to build muscle instead of just toning your muscles. 
  • Increase reps: Continuously increasing the number of reps you do with resistance bands will promote muscle breakdown. 
  • Increase sets: In addition to increasing reps per set during your training, you should also increase the number of sets you are doing for each exercise. 
Resistance bands

Benefits of Using Resistance Bands

Training with resistance bands is much different than lifting weights. With bands, your muscle is constantly under tension and contracted. This makes it a much more effective and high-quality workout. Bands also use stabilizing muscles, which create a more well-rounded workout than just exercising the big muscle groups. They can be added to body weight exercises, such as doing banded push-ups, to increase the intensity of the exercise. Let’s look at some of the other main benefits of using resistance bands.

Portable

Resistance bands are small, lightweight, and easy to pack, making them an excellent choice for travel. You can take them on trips with you or store them at home for easy workouts wherever you are. 

Inexpensive

Resistance bands are also much less expensive than hand-weights, barbells, and power racks. You can also save money on a gym membership by using resistance bands at home. 

Less Chance of Injury

Lifting weights is undoubtedly a great way to build muscle. But they also come with a higher chance of injury than resistance bands. It is possible to drop weights on yourself as well as injure vulnerable spots on your body, such as wrists, elbows, and knees. Resistance bands make you much less prone to injury during your workouts. They are also great for healing injuries because they can add resistance to different movements without putting undue stress on your joints. 

Stabilization

Resistance bands can be used for their own exercises or you can add them to your existing workout routine to promote instability in your muscle movements. This is a great way to bring stabilizing muscles into the mix. For example, if you are lifting a barbell, the gravity of the weight pulls your muscle back down to the starting position. With bands, there is no gravity acting on your muscle, so the stabilizing muscles need to jump in and offer help. 

Help with Stretching

Resistance bands not only build muscle but can also be used to help you stretch and lengthen your muscles. Attaching resistance bands to door handles, legs of furniture pieces, or your own body can help you use the resistance to stretch out tight muscles – a key component of building muscle and maintaining a healthy body. 

Concentration

Using weight machines or benches that focus on one large muscle group can make it easy to zone out during a workout. Resistance bands require a lot more focused concentration, fostering an improved mind-body connection. 

resistance bands

Cons Of Using Resistance Bands

Just like with other forms of exercise, there are cons to using resistance bands, too. 

Bands Can Snap

It’s not common, especially when bands are used correctly, but resistance bands are subject to snapping or tearing. They are usually used on their own without other equipment for this reason. 

Hard to Measure

When you lift weights, you know exactly how much weight you are lifting. This makes it easy to track your progress. When you use a resistance band, however, it’s not that easy to measure just how much resistance you are getting. The resistance level depends on your input, which tends to rise and fall depending on how much energy you have or how weak your muscles have gotten toward the end of a workout, etc. 

Not a Full Workout On Their Own

Resistance bands are an excellent addition to any fitness training program. But they don’t serve as a replacement for weights. They are meant to supplement your resistance/strength training because they work muscles that you don’t use as often as your larger muscle groups. But you’re not going to get a chiseled all-over body just from using resistance bands on their own. 

It is absolutely possible to build muscle with resistance bands – especially if you are a beginning weightlifter. Once you have progressed into further stages of muscle building, resistance bands are better suited for toning muscle than for building it. Toning doesn’t necessitate the same level of muscle breakdown as building muscle. It’s more about maintaining the status quo of the muscle fibers than breaking them down. 

Word of caution…

Like with any exercise equipment, remember that resistance bands can break down over time due to normal wear and tear. Make sure that you inspect the bands often to see that they are safe and that the latex or rubber doesn’t have any tears in it. Also, make sure that you always release a resistance band slowly when it is under tension. Suddenly releasing the band can cause it to snap back, which can cause serious injury if you aren’t careful. 

Are you shopping for resistance bands?

Ready to supercharge your workout? Check out our heavy resistance bands, designed to meet all of your strength training needs. These durable latex bands are the perfect addition to your home gym. They can aid in pull-up assistance, add resistance to stretches and bodyweight exercises and add resistance to the barbell for various lifts.

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Health and Lifestyle

Powerlifting vs. Strongman: 12 Differences You Need to Know

In the world of weightlifting, the two words you’ll probably hear most often are “powerlifting” and “strongman.” Although you might see the terms used interchangeably, each refers to a specific type and weightlifting style. When comparing powerlifting vs. strongman, each offers different results and requires specific training routines.

Interestingly, when comparing powerlifting vs. strongman, you’ll find that both disciplines often use the same equipment, but it’s used differently. For example, powerlifters and strongman lifters use dumbbells, barbells, and power racks to achieve their strength and training goals. Fortunately for home gym users, much of this equipment can be used interchangeably for powerlifting and strongman routines.

Powerlifting and strongman are excellent fitness regimens and great for cardio, fat burning, and body sculpting. Plus, if you want to take your athleticism to the next level, both regimens allow you to compete at various achievement levels. If you’re considering powerlifting vs. strongman and wondering which style is right for you, here’s a look at 12 differences between these two classic weightlifting styles.

person working out

1. Powerlifting has its own specific goals

In powerlifting, the main goal is to increase your ability to lift the heaviest weights, using three primary lift techniques (which we’ll discuss below). Powerlifters typically use only a minimum of repetitions, motions, and movements to achieve this.

2. Strongman has different goals from powerlifting

With strongman training, the primary goals are to increase raw power, strength, and endurance. To accomplish this, it’s necessary to build muscle and stamina through more repetitions, as well as a variety of movements.

person using a yoke

3. Powerlifting relies on basic resistance training

If you’re considering powerlifting vs. strongman, you’ll need to know what type of training is involved. Powerlifting depends primarily on resistance training to build up strength. This type of training often uses lower rep counts than strongman training, although the loads are still extremely heavy.

When lifting heavy barbells, it’s crucial to protect yourself from strain and injury. For ultimate protection, check out these Safety Squat Olympic Bars. They’re constructed with a built-in padded harness that enables you to lift more weight while decreasing the strain on your shoulders and back.

4. Strongman is based more on endurance and power

Strongman training focuses on activities that build core stability, strength endurance, and mighty functional strength. Toward this end, strongman training uses more reps and movements that might involve carrying or moving extremely heavy loads.

To increase raw power, strongman training sometimes requires different types of barbells that you might not find in a commercial gym. For example, these Axle Barbells from Titan Fitness are often used in strongman training. They weigh a comfortable 24 pounds yet have a hefty weight capacity of 880 pounds.

5. Powerlifting has specific key components

When looking at powerlifting vs. strongman, it’s essential to know that their primary components are fundamentally different. The key components of powerlifting are the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Throughout the training, the goal is to increase overall strength while performing these movements. As you build strength, you’ll want to invest in heavier barbells, such as these Blues City Power Bars. They weigh around 45 pounds. And have a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. Thanks to their rigid design, they’re built to accommodate the extremely heavy weights necessary for competitive powerlifting.

person working out in home gym

6. Strongman uses different movement-based components

Unlike powerlifting, strongman relies heavily on crucial components such as pulling, pushing, and pressing heavy objects. This is because strongman competitions feature a wide range of specially created obstacle-themed events. In each of these competitions, lifters have to achieve lifts and carries, moving heavy objects to and from designated locations within a set time limit.

7. Powerlifting uses progressive overload training

Powerlifting uses a training technique known as progressive overload. To achieve this, you’ll want to increase your performance boundaries gradually. For example, if you can bench press 75 pounds on Monday, you’ll want to push it to 80 pounds in a later session.

Powerlifters use barbells with bumper plates to increase their weights. Bumper plates can be costly, but at Titan Fitness, we offer them at a wide range of affordable prices. For example, check out these LB Economy Bumper Plates, available in various convenient weight-coordinated colors.

8. Strongman uses progressive overload in a different way

Progressive overload techniques are also used in strongman training but are adapted differently. In strongman lifting, progressive overload can be readjusted by adding more reps, changing tempo and pace, and decreasing rest time, as your trainer recommends. In addition, strongman training includes a variety of movement exercises, including distance walking with heavy weights, hoisting logs overhead, and giant tire flipping.

For this type of specialized training, these EZ Curl Rubber Fixed Barbells are ideal for your home gym. They have built-in weights, so you can follow a progressive overload regimen without having to change plates.  

9. Powerlifters aren’t typically as “shredded” as strongman lifters

When considering powerlifting vs. strongman training, you may have noticed that powerlifters usually don’t have the massive, muscle-heavy, “shredded” bodybuilder physiques like strongmen lifters. Of course, powerlifters can get a great physique with good muscle definition if they train hard enough. However, if you want a classic, Atlas-style shredded bodybuilder physique, strongman training is better for achieving those oversized, ripped muscles you see in the competitions.  

10. Powerlifting competitions focus on three events

Powerlifting competitions focus on the three basic components of powerlifting: squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. The lifter is allowed three attempts in a typical competition, with a maximum single repetition for each lift. The most successful lift attempts are added to calculate the lifter’s final score.

Person using a yoke outside

11. Strongman has a wide variety of competitive events

Strongman has a designated roster of competitive goals and challenges designed solely for strongman events such as the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) competition. Here are some of the most popular strongman challenges:

Atlas Stones

Atlas Stones requires competitors to lift five heavy round stones, each weighing 220-352 pounds, and place them atop five high platforms along a course that’s 16-33 feet long. The contestant who completes the task in the least amount of time is declared the winner.

Farmer’s Walk

One of the most popular strongman events, Farmer’s Walk, requires competitors to walk at a specified distance while carrying extremely heavy items such as refrigerators. In some events, competitors often carry multiple items, weighing as much as 350 pounds.

Vehicle Pull

As the name implies, the Vehicle Pull involves the competitor wearing a harness and pulling a heavy vehicle with a rope. These vehicles typically include trucks, buses, train cars, and airplanes.

Deadlift

While most powerlifters know about deadlifts, the strongman version takes it to a new level. The lift is still done in one strong pull from the floor, but lifters must perform multiple repetitions of the move with extremely heavy weights. This shows off the lifter’s overall endurance as well as strength.

Fingal’s Fingers

Introduced comparatively recently in 2000, Fingal’s Fingers requires competitors to lift a series of progressively heavy hinged poles (or “fingers”), then flip them to the opposite side. As with many strongman events, the competitor who achieves the highest score in the shortest time is the winner.

12. Strongmen lifters often have coaches or trainers

While it’s not necessary to have a coach or a trainer to prepare for a strongman competition, the experts strongly advise having one. This is because each event has strict protocols and regulations that must be followed, and coaches can help competitors strategize these rules for maximum effect. Also, coaches can share time-honored techniques for achieving the highest possible scores on each event.

Special coaches aren’t as essential for powerlifters because the events aren’t as varied but focus on the three primary lifting techniques. However, a good coach or trainer can help you optimize your abilities, correct bad habits, and hone your technique to help you ace your next powerlifting competition.

Powerlifting vs. Strongman: Which should you choose?    

The experts agree: Strongman training provides an excellent foundation for powerlifting. With the strength and raw power you’ll develop through strongman training, you’ll be able to transition into powerlifting easily. Likewise, the opposite is true — powerlifting can provide great muscle buildup to help you transition easily to strongman training.

Powerlifting vs. strongman: Which discipline is easier? To be honest, both have their challenges and advantages. However, if you’re using a commercial gym, you might not find some of the specialized equipment you’ll need for strongman training. For example, you’ll find the barbells and dumbbells needed for both disciplines, but you probably won’t have access to Atlas Stones.   

That’s why lifters around the country know that the best way to train is to build your own home gym. You can customize your equipment and add specialized pieces you’ll need, such as this rugged Atlas Stone Platform from Titan Fitness. And if you decide to join the thousands of lifters who train for both powerlifting and strongman, you’ll be able to maintain the right equipment for both disciplines in your own customized home training space.

Whichever discipline you decide to pursue, Titan Fitness has you covered with a wide range of powerlifting and Olympic barbells, specialty bars, power racks, dumbbells, and just about everything else you need for your home gym. Titan Fitness offers premium quality equipment without the premium costs, so you’ll be able to equip your gym fully and still stay within your budget. Plus, Titan Fitness has free shipping on everything and offers a one-year warranty so that you can buy with confidence.

If you’d like to know more about buying the right equipment for your powerlifting, strongman training, or daily exercise routine, visit Titan Fitness. We’ll provide you with the equipment you need so you can create your dream gym at a price you can afford.

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Health and Lifestyle How To's

How to Build Your Own Workout Routine: Plans, Schedules, and Exercises

A customized workout schedule can be a fun and rewarding experience – not to mention a goal many people strive to achieve. Finding the right combination of cardio exercise, strength training, and rest days can help you fine-tune your body to get into optimal shape. But many people trying to get on a regular schedule have many questions about how to build a workout routine that gets results.

When you are just getting started on the path to designing your workout program, there are a ton of variables to consider. What kinds of exercises are best for your body? How many sets and reps do you need to gain muscle? How many days off should you take? How quickly should you increase the amount of weight you are lifting, the length of time spent training, etc.? The list goes on and on! This guide takes an in-depth look at everything you need to know about building a workout routine so you can get started on your own.

Whether you are a seasoned weightlifter looking to update your exercise schedule or designing your first workout plan, read on to learn everything you need to know about building a workout routine that works for you.

Person working out outside

How to Build a Workout Routine

When designing a workout routine, there are a few key questions you will want to consider. 

What are your goals?

First things first: what do you want to accomplish with your workout routine? Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to build muscle? Are you training for a 5k or a marathon? Whatever your goals, you should write them down and keep them top of mind so you know what you want to achieve. Your goals will direct you on how to build a workout routine that gets you where you want to go. 

When creating goals of any kind – but specifically when it comes to fitness goals – try using the SMART method. SMART is an acronym for:

Specific: Make sure your goals outline what you are trying to accomplish in a clear and concise way.

Measurable: Your goals must allow you to measure your progress. For example, maybe you want to lose 5 pounds by a specific date. Or, perhaps you would like to be able to do ten bench presses with a certain amount of weight. Whatever your goals are, you need to make sure you can connect them to tangible progress markers. 

Attainable: Make sure your goals are realistic. Depending on your body weight and BMI, losing weight, gaining muscle mass, etc., will take different amounts of time. 

Relevant: Keep your goals relevant to your interests, likes/dislikes, abilities, etc. For example, if you hate running or have a leg injury, setting a goal to run x amount of miles won’t be relevant. 

Timely: Make a timeline for your goals that ensures that you stick to a steady schedule without putting yourself at risk for injury. 

What has worked in the past? 

If a particular type of training has worked for you in the past, the odds are pretty good that you can continue with that training and see results. Consider the types of exercise that made you feel excited about training – and the types that you didn’t enjoy. That way, you will have a baseline of activities to start with. 

person benching

How much time do you have to devote to your workout goals? 

You also have to determine the level of commitment that you can devote to your goals and training. This will be primarily based on your work schedule, lifestyle, family life, social obligations, etc. Training 3-5 days per week is a good goal for most people. Once you have figured out how many days a week you will train, you can start to schedule your days to design a training split and training frequency. 

Training frequency

Training frequency refers to how often you will train a muscle. Usually, people start with training a muscle group 2-3 times per week. This means 12-18 total sets per week. Of course, it’s a good idea to experiment with the amount of training and sets you do in order to find the best results and track your progress early on. 

Training Split

Training split refers to splitting up which workouts will train which muscle groups. If you train 2-3 days per week, you might consider doing a full body split. This means that each day you work out, you are working on your full body instead of just one set of muscle groups. If you train more frequently, you will want to factor that into how to build a workout routine. You might spend two days on your upper body, two days on your lower body, etc. 

How long will you give yourself to reach your goals?

Make sure that you set realistic timeframes for gaining muscle or losing weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, the best way is to maintain a calorie deficit by consuming 250-500 fewer calories per day than your normal calorie intake. This should result in losing 1-2 pounds per week. 

If your goal is to gain muscle mass, aim for a calorie surplus by adding 250-500 calories to your normal calorie intake. This results in gaining lean muscle mass of about .5 pounds per week. 

What exercise and movements should you include?

There are so many different exercises to choose from – it can be overwhelming when you are figuring out how to build a workout routine. The most important factor for strength, muscle gain, and general fitness is to create a workout program that builds a foundation for success in the future. Here are a few of the most important considerations when you’re deciding how to build a workout routine.

Bodyweight movements

Bodyweight movements are pretty much just what they sound like. They are exercises where you are moving your own body weight vs. lifting or pressing weights. Developing a firm grasp of bodyweight movements can help you develop a better form in other movements. The main bodyweight movements include push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, single-leg squats, jumping, and more. 

Compound exercises

Compound movements are key for building muscle. These are movements that stress multiple muscle groups at the same time. This means they involve multiple joints flexing, extending, and/or rotating in unison with each other. They train more muscles at once, making them more time-efficient and increasing loading stress. Common compound movements include the deadlift, rows, and the overhead press. 

person performing a barbell squat

However, compound lifting can also have some disadvantages to watch out for. It can be difficult to isolate muscles, muscle fatigue can sometimes make the movements less effective, and it can be challenging to address movement imbalances. 

Accessory movements

Accessory movements exist to support the main lifts in your workout and help support your growth over time. They add additional balance, coordination, and strength to your workout goals. Accessory movements are a great way to add variety, creativity, and fun to your workouts. 

It’s Time to Begin Your Fitness Journey

When you’re deciding how to build a workout routine that works for your body, it’s hard to go wrong with a full-body program. It can help you establish a workout routine while also keeping your schedule super simple, and they let you train the main muscle groups multiple days per week. Full-body workouts are also great if your goal for working out is for your general health rather than for aesthetics. And another perk is that they require much less time, whether you are working out in a gym or in your home gym. 

At Titan Fitness, we have all the equipment you need to achieve your workout goals. Our home gym equipment can help you figure out how to build a workout routine that makes your body look and feel great in no time. 

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Health and Lifestyle How To's

The Ultimate Guide To Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle at the Same Time

In the quest to build a strong, healthy body, fitness enthusiasts often focus on either losing fat or gaining muscle. But is it possible to work toward both goals at the same time? Many trainers and fitness experts will tell you that losing body fat and gaining muscle simultaneously is possible — but you have to understand how to do so and be willing to do what it takes to get there. Let’s take a closer look at how to go about losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time.

What Is Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle All About?

Essentially, losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously means “getting toned.” It refers to shaping the body and slimming down. It would be one thing if the human body were made up of only one consistent material, but it’s not. Our bodies are comprised of many different types of materials of varying densities. Getting the body into shape involves both losing fat and gaining muscle. But muscle and fat are two very different materials, and working with each requires a different approach. 

In other words, we can’t swap out fat for muscle or muscle for fat. Your body composition is the ratio of fat mass to lean mass. Fat mass is just what it sounds like — body fat. But lean mass includes your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc. 

At first glance, the methods needed for the respective goals of losing fat and gaining muscle seem to be at odds with each other. Losing fat requires burning more calories than you consume. But to build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you burn. 

To burn fat, you need to ensure your body is in a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories than you burn every day. A deficit means that your body must tap into pre-existing fat to get the energy to move or exercise. On the flip side, your body needs to be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle. A surplus means that your body has excess calories to rely on for energy, so any fat stored on your body remains untouched. 

So, how do we tackle the paradox of losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time? 

Person doing kettlebell squats

Is it Possible to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?

Getting toned is not always easy — but it is possible, and anyone can do it with the proper guidance, knowledge, and self-discipline.

Making your body more athletic, or losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously, is done by changing the fat mass ratio to lean mass. This process is very different from weight loss. Losing weight means losing both fat and muscle. It makes your body smaller, but your shape doesn’t change. Many people can lose weight and feel very slender but not have the shapely and toned physique they want or the muscle strength they desire. 

Instead of aiming for weight loss, focusing on fat loss tends to be healthier for your body. It also helps to ensure that you don’t lose muscle definition. Fat loss boils down to consuming fewer calories than you burn — or being in a calorie deficit. 

The Mayo Clinic offers a free calorie calculator to estimate the daily calories you need to maintain your current body weight. 

When you’re low on calories or on a cutting diet, as some trainers call it, your body will depend on pre-existing fat when you’re exercising, but it will also start to break down muscles. For optimal health, it’s generally best to avoid breaking down muscle. This will result in a healthier body that looks and feels toned. 

Losing fat and gaining muscle help reduce your body fat percentage because the fat mass ratio to lean mass decreases. You are changing your physique, not your weight. As you begin this process, you can see your body change. You might notice that your favorite pair of jeans fit slightly differently or that your stomach looks firmer. Even if you begin to gain weight, it will feel like your physique is smaller overall. 

What Does Energy Have To Do With Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle?

When working on losing fat and gaining muscle all at once, it’s essential to consider where calories go. When we burn calories by expending energy from the body, does our body pull from muscle or fat tissue? The short answer is: we don’t know! When we reduce our caloric intake, we don’t get to control whether our bodies turn to fat or muscle for energy. It would be great if all our calories fed our muscle tissue and none fed our body fat, wouldn’t it? The uncertainty of where our calories will go is called calorie partitioning. 

What Is Calorie Partitioning?

Calorie partitioning depends on how much protein our bodies gain or lose when they are over-fed or under-fed. This number is referred to as the P-ratio. For the most part, we can’t control the P-ratio because it tends to be genetic. But physiologist Lyle McDonald explains that we do have control over about 15%–20% of it, based on how we diet and what we do when we exercise. 

Table of food

Hormones are one of the main determinants when it comes to our P-ratios. Higher testosterone levels lead to reducing more fat than muscle. And chronically high levels of cortisol lead to reducing more muscle than fat.

However, it’s still tough to predict what percentage of energy goes toward creating muscle cells versus fat cells when we are in a calorie surplus. If you are doing enough training for strength, consuming enough protein, drinking enough water, etc., your body could theoretically use stored fat to build muscle tissue. But it doesn’t happen this way for most people. 

You want to eat 300–500 calories per day above your baseline needs for sustainable muscle gain without excess fat gain.

How to Easily Lose Weight and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?

The people who stand the best chance at losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time fall into two different groups based on how long they have been strength training, their current ratio of fat mass to lean mass, hormone levels, and genetics. 

See which group you fall into to find out how to go about losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time.

People With High Body Fat and No Training Experience

If you haven’t done strength training before, it will be easy for you to gain muscle. And those with a higher percentage of body fat have more energy to spare and gain muscle. A higher body fat percentage also means that your body is likely more insulin resistant, a condition in which your fat cells resist taking on more calories, so the energy is diverted toward muscle.

Strength training will help muscles grow rapidly, improving insulin sensitivity and the muscle cells’ ability to uptake nutrients. When both of these factors are present, it is a perfect combo for losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. 

Very Athletic People Coming Back From a Break

Athletes who, for various reasons, have not been as active in some time also find losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time much easier than most. They lost muscle mass and gained body fat during their reprieve, but it is easy to rebuild that mass due to the muscle memory effect. They are also more likely to be the kind of people excited about working out and may have previously had a training schedule they can easily jump back into. 

What About Everyone Else?

Losing fat and gaining muscle is more difficult for people who are very lean and muscular — but it is still possible. It requires an exercise program and diet that maintains the right amount of caloric intake versus expenditure. 

The best way to approach this problem is to tackle one objective at a time. Losing fat and gaining muscle can be subsequent goals instead of simultaneous goals. Many people have found it most effective to focus on losing body fat first and then working toward toning and gaining muscles. 

You need a healthy diet and cardiovascular exercise to get into a calorie deficit that enables fat loss. Fad diets are never good because they often aim to shed pounds too quickly. This isn’t safe or healthy, and these diets are tough to maintain over time. Lower your calories and do cardio exercises that keep your heart rate up, and you will start to trim some fat off your body. 

Once you have shed some fat, you can begin the muscle-building process. This involves strength training and dietary changes. You want to add protein to your diet — and a lot of it. Protein helps your body convert fat into muscle. When you do strength training, you push your muscles to the point that they start to tear and break down. In the time between workouts, protein helps your body repair muscles and build them back up. 

In addition to changing your diet and incorporating cardio exercise and strength training, it is critical to ensure that your body gets adequate sleep each night. Sleep is the body’s time to repair, replenish lost energy, and heal broken tissues. 

How Titan Fitness Can Help

Losing fat and gaining muscle isn’t easy — but it certainly is possible. With a blend of determination, discipline, and mental strength, you can achieve anything! If you’re interested in setting up a home gym, Titan Fitness has all the equipment you need. Browse our collection of home gym equipment and choose the gear you need to meet all of your health and fitness goals. 

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Equipment Guides

Ultimate Guide to Unconventional Cardio Equipment

Your health: there’s no better investment you can make throughout your lifetime. After all, a healthy body can ensure you live longer, feel better, and have more active, fulfilling days.

person using a plyo box

Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy and looking your best. To make exercise more accessible, many people choose to build home gyms as a convenient alternative to fitness centers. A gym at home lets you slip a good workout into the middle of your regular daily activities since the prep time required is minimal. Also, with a home gym, the equipment you want will always be available, and you can ensure that the space and machines are as clean and organized as you prefer.

One of the best parts about establishing a regular fitness routine at home is that you don’t have to go anywhere to complete your workouts. Sweating it out at the gym doesn’t always fit everyone’s schedule. So, why not do these workouts at home?

Titan Fitness has a vast selection of unconventional cardio equipment to support working out at a home gym. This equipment helps you perform exercises and get your heart beating without needing high-tech workout machines.

Here’s what you should know about doing cardio at home. We’ve also included what equipment will help you do cardio without machines to maximize your outcome, no matter your goals.

What Is Considered a Cardio Workout?

A cardio workout is essentially the same as an aerobic one because it elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping fast. By increasing blood flow, these workouts speed up oxygen flow throughout your body. The only difference is the mechanism they refer to: cardio exercise refers to the heart pumping blood through your body, while aerobic exercise refers to the oxygen moving through the body.

While most types of exercise increase your heart rate, some focus more on helping you build muscle—or alternating periods of high intensity with periods of rest (anaerobic exercise). These are usually not considered cardio. 

Instead, cardio or endurance workouts get you to raise your heart rate and keep oxygen circulating through your blood vessels consistently over some sustained period. One way to determine whether you’re doing a cardio workout is to ask yourself if you’re breathing harder than usual but not so hard that you must stop and take long breaks.

Enduring this process improves your cardiovascular system, including the strength of the heart, blood, and blood vessels. Ultimately, these workouts make your body more efficient at delivering oxygen to all body parts that need it.

Person using a slam ball

Cardio workouts usually do other good things for your body besides making your heart healthier. They also strengthen and tone your muscles. However, for something to qualify as cardio, it should consist of aerobic exercise to improve endurance and make you fitter.

When you finish your workouts, you’ll likely sleep better at night—a bonus. Cardio also boosts adrenaline and creates other feel-good chemicals in your brain. 

What Are Examples of Cardio Exercises?

Cardio can look like almost anything, as long as it gets your blood pumping. Some of the most popular examples of cardio exercises are:

  • Running or jogging
  • Walking at a brisk pace
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Boxing
  • Walking or running stairs
  • Rowing
  • Jumping rope
  • Dancing
  • Kickboxing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Rollerblading or inline skating

What Is the Most Effective Cardio Equipment?

Cardio equipment helps people get their blood pumping as they build cardiovascular strength. Machines also assist athletes with targeting specific muscle groups.

As for which equipment could burn the most fat, one machine doesn’t work better than any other. What matters is how hard you work and how long you can sustain your workouts, whichever equipment you choose.

Cardio machines often include:

  • Treadmills
  • Ellipticals
  • Stationary bikes
  • Rowing machines
  • Stepping machines
  • Recumbent bikes
  • Stair climbers
  • Ski machine
  • And more

What Home Gym Equipment Is Particularly Good for Cardio or HIIT Training?

There’s no need to belong to a gym to master cardio workouts when you can do cardio at your home gym. Plus, you don’t need to invest in any large, pro-gym-style cardio machines. Instead, you can buy unconventional cardio equipment that helps you achieve an equivalent, high-quality workout.

Many types of unconventional cardio equipment are available to get your blood pumping. The following equipment options are some of the best types you can use to improve your fitness without leaving your personal space.

person using a pro sled in the gym

Sleds

Sleds are a type of weighted workout equipment that athletes pull and push across the floor. They offer the opportunity for a cardio workout that also builds strength. Make sure to use sleds on a surface that won’t get damaged by dragging a heavy object.

Sandbags

As their name suggests, sandbags are small bags filled with sand that can make any cardio workout more challenging or taxing. Consider holding them while running or doing other movement exercises for an even tougher cardio experience.

Person running in a weighted vest

Weight Vests

Like sandbags, weight vests add more strain while you exercise to make the exercise challenging—but they are wearable, leaving your hands free. Weight vests are fantastic for any cardio, and you can pick the weight you want to wear to manipulate the difficulty of your workout.

Ropes 

Ropes are an excellent way to get in a cardio workout that builds upper body strength. Weighted ropes called battle ropes can be swung and manipulated to get your heart pumping fast. You can use battle ropes with a partner or attach them to a sturdy surface and swing them on your own.

Boxing Equipment

Boxing isn’t only a pro sport but a way to do cardio without machines. When you use boxing equipment like a bag and gloves, you’ll work your arm muscles while you get your blood flowing. Boxing is also a good option for exercise if you want to release some negative emotions. When you box, you can release a lot of frustration or pent-up anger while working out.

Person using a fan bike

Fan Bike

The fan bike is the closest thing on this list to a cardio machine you’d find at a gym. However, a fan bike is simply an upright stationary bike with a fan as its wheel, letting you power the fan as you pedal.

Fan bikes are great options for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). During HIIT, you can alternate between pushing yourself hard/to the max and then letting up on your speed and intensity to keep the heart pumping without overtaxing your cardio fitness and muscles. One final good thing about a fan bike? You can cool yourself down while you make yourself sweat!

Weight Balls

Weight balls can be tossed around for a home cardio workout. You can pair up with a partner and throw the balls back and forth, or if you’re alone, you can throw the weight balls hard against the ground or wall, pick them up, and repeat. Weight balls are just one type of manipulable weight that creates the opportunity for tough cardio workouts for athletes.

Kettlebells

Kettlebells are excellent for building muscle. Adding them to a movement workout will increase the taxation on your cardiovascular system, making a workout effective for strength and endurance training. Kettlebells are liftable, swingable, and passable, so there are many ways you can incorporate them into a fast-paced workout that increases your heart rate.

Person jumping on a plyobox

Plyo Boxes

Plyo boxes are sturdy, balanced boxes that athletes jump on and off during a workout. You’ll find many types available for exercise, including ones made of foam or wood. Others are adjustable, so you can increase or decrease the difficulty of your workout as needed.

You can also use plyo boxes as a tool for plyometric training that builds endurance and strength. A plyometric workout is one of the best well-rounded exercise choices because it greatly stresses your cardio system and muscles. And it helps you develop coordination and balance, too.

Is It Okay to Do Cardio Every Day?

If you’ve gotten used to doing cardio at home regularly, you may be wondering if it’s okay for your body to do a cardio workout every day. The answer is: it depends on your fitness goals.

You might want to avoid doing cardio every day when trying to lose weight. While cardio helps build endurance and burn fat, it can also put you at risk of injury. 

Additionally, people with chronic health conditions or those recovering from injury or illness may not want to do cardio daily. Cardio can be intense and taxing, and you might want to ease back into a cardio fitness routine two or three days a week. This slower approach helps you build up your endurance without harming your body.

If you’re already fit and want to maintain your fitness level (or improve it), doing some daily cardio should be fine. However, keep daily cardio sessions to 30 minutes maximum.

Exercise should be sustained, moderate-level training because overtraining can lead to injury. So, unless you’re trying to stay in shape for a sports team’s season or you’re training for an upcoming endurance event, it may be safest to alternate weight or circuit training with cardio mixed in. And don’t forget to rest, too!

Are You Shopping for Unconventional Cardio Equipment?

A home gym has plenty of benefits, particularly as we ease out of the pandemic and adjust to changes in our work and life routines.

Check out our Titan Fitness endurance equipment if you want to fill your home gym with unconventional cardio equipment. These pieces have been designed to help you do a powerful and effective cardio workout—and build muscle—without needing to drive anywhere.

Built to last, our unconventional cardio workout equipment can help you reach a new level of fitness and maximize your superpowers—with no cardio machines required.

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Squat Stands vs. Power Racks: How Are They Different?

Squat stands and power racks are standard equipment for any gym and have become increasingly popular for home gyms as well. Next to barbells and dumbbells, a power rack and squat stand are two of the most essential pieces of strength training equipment you can buy.

But for all their popularity and importance, squat stands and power racks are constantly mistaken for one another. The mix-up is understandable because both power racks and squat stands provide a safe, secure place to rack your barbell while doing squats, bench presses, and other strength training exercises. However, there are distinct differences between squat stands and power racks, and it’s important to understand these differences before you start equipping your home gym.

What is a Power Rack?

power rack (also called a “power cage”) is comprised of four tall upright metal posts that resemble an open cage. These posts are fitted with J-hooks and may have other features, including:

  • Pull-up bars
  • Weight horns for bumper plates
  • J-hooks (to support different exercises)
  • Safety straps
  • Band pegs

You can also add extra accessories to a power rack, including weight benches, dip bars, rack-mounted lat tower, knee holders, and cable crossover attachments.

Person front squatting in a power rack

A power rack is essential for weight training, especially if you’re training by yourself and don’t have a spotter. In fact, a power rack acts as a “mechanical spotter” in many ways because it’s equipped with supports for standard and specialty barbells at various points along the posts. These types of supports include J-Hooks and Safety Spotter Arms. J-Hooks hold your barbell at a height you determine to allow for easy lifting based on the exercise you are performing. Safety Spotter Arms is an attachment that allows you to perform heavy lifts with the benefit of catching the barbell if it were to be dropped.

Uses of a Power Rack

A power rack is used for all kinds of strength training routines, including:

Bench presses: With a power rack, you can place the barbell above your chest without worrying about slippage.

Pulley/cable exercises: You can add detachable pulleys, cables, and hooks to your power rack to facilitate a variety of muscle-strengthening exercises.

Squats: You can add horizontal bars at strategic points for a wide range of squat routines.

What is a Squat Stand?

At first glance, a squat stand resembles a power rack. Construction-wise, a squat stand consists of a back stand that, like a power rack, is equipped with J-hooks for holding barbells. Unlike a power rack, however, a squat stand is made up of two metal posts, not four. That’s why some weightlifters also refer to a squat stand as a “half cage.”

Person squatting in a squat stand

Uses of a Squat Stand

Squat stands are mainly designed for two types of exercises, squats and bench presses. For a basic squat with a squat stand, you simply position yourself under the barbell, lift it off the squat stand, step back, and squat. Once you’ve completed your final rep, you step forward and place the barbell back on the squat stand.

What are the Differences Between Squat Stands and Power Racks?

The primary differences between squat stands and power racks can be summed up in two words: versatility and safety.

Power racks are equipped with J-Hooks and safety spotters or safety straps placed along the vertical posts, giving you a multitude of options for barbell placement before and after lifting. As a result, if you fail on a rep, you can quickly replace the barbell without having to drop it to the floor. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries, enabling you to perform heavy lifts without a spotter. With a power rack, you don’t have to worry about bailing on a lift because your equipment has you covered.  

Typically squat stands don’t have this safety feature, so if you have to bail on a lift, you’ll have to drop the barbell all the way back down to the floor. However, Titan Fitness does offer this safety attachment on its squat stands, making them safer and more secure than squat stands without this feature. However, caution should always be practiced when dropping heavy weights.

As for versatility, power racks are built to not only accommodate heavier weights; they’re also designed for add-on attachments such as pull-up bars, cables, and pulleys, enabling you to do a wide range of exercises. On the other hand, squat stands are built just for squats and bench presses. They aren’t strong enough to accommodate heavier weights or other types of pulley/cable exercises.

Benefits of a Power Rack

  • More versatility is achieved with power racks because they accommodate a wider range of exercises. In addition to squats and bench presses, you can do pull-ups, chin-ups, deadlifts, and much more.
  • Power racks feature horizontal adjustable safety bars placed on each side, so you have optimum support during lifts. 
  • Power racks hold significantly more weight than squat stands, so there’s less risk when using heavy bumper plates.
  • You can add a variety of safety attachments to your power rack for added stability and security.
Person squatting in a squat stand

Benefits of a Squat Stand

  • Squat stands take up considerably less room and don’t require a high ceiling in your home gym. Titan Fitness offers squat stands in both short (72″) and tall (91″) sizes to accommodate an assortment of home gyms.
  • Squat stands are cheaper. For example, you can get a top-quality squat stand at Titan Fitness for under $270.
  • If you only perform bench presses and squats without the need for extra-heavy bumper plates, then squat stands can be an affordable, compact option.
A squat stand

If you’re ready to optimize your strength training regimen with the best home gym equipment, you’ll find a power rack or squat stand can take your workout routine to a whole new level. With a power rack, you can do dozens of routines, enabling you to perform a full weight-strengthening workout — but if you have limited space, a squat stand can help you maximize those all-important squats and bench presses. Whichever you decide to buy, Titan Fitness is happy to answer any questions you might have. And don’t forget to visit our website, where you can learn about all the latest fitness equipment and accessories for your home gym.  

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What is a Safety Squat Bar?

If you’re looking for a new piece of equipment that has the potential to improve your leg day workouts, look into getting a safety squat bar from Titan Fitness. This specialty bar is the perfect alternative to a regular barbell and is specifically designed to help improve your squats. So, why should you consider switching to it, and what can it do for you? Here are the benefits of the safety squat bar and why it’s the perfect addition to your home gym.

What is a Safety Squat Bar?

First, it’s important to understand what a safety squat bar is, including how it differs from a standard Olympic barbell that you might be used to. Simply put, it is a steel-cambered bar with padding in the middle and handles on both sides. 

The padding makes it comfortable to rest the bar on your neck and shoulders during squats. The handles on both sides allow you to get a good grip on this specialty bar throughout your movements and provide support for people who suffer from shoulder mobility issues.

What is the Benefit of a Safety Squat Bar?

Now that you know the difference between a safety squat bar and a standard barbell, you may wonder why these features are beneficial. What can the safety squat bar do that a regular barbell can’t? There are many benefits of this type of barbell: 

One of the most important ones is that it can protect you from back injuries. That’s because when you use a safety squat bar to squat, your spine is in a more vertical position than it is with a straight barbell. This can minimize the impact on your lower back as it puts more pressure on your quads and glutes, reducing the chances of back injuries while doing squats in the home gym you’ve built

If you’re a beginner at working out, you’ll especially appreciate the fact that a safety squat bar can reduce the chance of injury. The cambering of the bar can help steady your center of gravity and help you maintain proper form, and the grips on both sides make it easier to hold on to the bar comfortably. This way, you’ll feel more secure as you hold it and can worry less about dropping it while exercising. 

Not only can a safety squat bar help prevent new injuries, but it can also give you the chance to work out if you’ve lost mobility due to a previous injury. In particular, if you have limited mobility in your shoulders, the shape and padding of the safety squat bar will let you comfortably do squats without having to rotate your shoulders too much. This way, you can still do leg day even if your shoulders are recovering from an injury. 

Is a Safety Squat Bar Better for Your Back?

As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of a safety squat bar is that it puts less pressure on the lower back, allowing your quads and glutes to do more of the work. So the answer to this common question is yes, the safety squat bar tends to be better for your back. 

This is especially true if you are a beginner and need to build up your back muscles in the gym. It’s also helpful if you are at an intermediate or advanced level but have had back injuries in the past that you do not want to worsen. 

So, why is this bar better for your back? In short, it has a different camber from the typical barbell. With a straight barbell, its weight is directed along the path of where the bar lies against your back. 

But with a safety squat bar, the weight is directed differently. This creates a vertical and slightly horizontal pull that puts you in a different position than the straight barbell. It pushes you slightly forward so that you have to fight to stay upright as you would in a front squat, putting more of the weight on your legs and less on your lower back. 

The result is that your lower back is less likely to end up injured. At the same time, you’ll get a better range of motion through the knees, hips, and ankles when you use a safety squat bar. 

Can You Squat More With a Safety Squat Bar?

Another question that comes up when people look into buying a safety squat bar is whether they’ll be able to lift more. The answer is that it depends. There have been some studies on this, each coming to slightly different conclusions. While some studies have shown that people can squat more with a safety bar, the difference isn’t much, usually a few pounds.

The people who can squat slightly more with this bar are likely people who have limited shoulder mobility or similar injuries. They may be better able to handle the safety squat bar’s feel than a regular barbell so they can use it longer. This can lead to increased gains over time as they can work out more when using this bar than a straight barbell.

In general, you shouldn’t get this equipment just to say you can squat more, as there’s no guarantee you’ll see a difference in how much you can squat with it. Instead, you should get it because of its other benefits, like the ability to prevent certain injuries and improve your form while you squat.

What Exercises Can You Do With a Safety Squat Bar?

One of the best things about the safety squat bar is that it’s versatile. There are lots of exercises you can do with it in your home gym. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a variety of ways to use a safety squat bar or just want some new variations on the typical squat to try, you can do any of the following exercises with this equipment: 

  • Hatfield squat
  • Good mornings
  • Front rack position
  • Step-ups
  • Box squats
  • Walking lunges
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Explosive box squats with chains
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlifts

What Should You Consider Before You Buy a Safety Squat Bar for the Gym?

If you ever notice discomfort on your back and shoulders while you use the barbell for squats, you should try a safety squat bar to see the difference it makes. It might let you do more reps at a time or more sets during your workout overall. That alone would make this piece of equipment worth investing in!

Once you’re ready to buy a safety squat bar, you should keep in mind what to look for. First, note that most safety squat bars weigh a bit more than a standard barbell, usually about 60 pounds. So if you pick one up, don’t be surprised if it feels heavier than you’re used to.

As you consider the safety squat bar you want to buy, note how much padding it has. The more padding it has, the more comfortable it will feel on your shoulders and neck, allowing you to use it longer during your workout. 

Finally, make sure the bar you buy has the weight capacity you need. Preferably, these types of specialty bars should hold much more than you’re able to lift. The average safety squat bar has a weight capacity of about 1,000 pounds, but the higher-rated ones can hold up to 1,500 pounds. 

Are you ready to see what a safety squat bar can do for you? Check out our Titan Fitness Safety Squat Olympic Bar or our all-new black Titan Series Safety Squat Bar made with American Steel.  The search is over, get yourself a safety squat bar today and see the improvement in your leg day workouts.

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Barbell Ultimate Guide & How To Choose The Right One For You

Barbells might look like they’re all fundamentally made the same, but nothing could be further than the truth. Barbells differ considerably in size, materials, construction, weight capacity, and even shape. Whether brand new to weight training or a seasoned pro, these tips can help you choose the best barbell for your home gym.

Are Barbells the Best for Strength Training?

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), heavy resistance training is the most effective way to increase lean muscle and improve strength. And the experts agree: Barbells provide one of the best, most effective ways to pursue this type of training regimen. By mastering five of the most essential barbell routines — the bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press, and lunge — you can get a great workout that will help you achieve your strength training and overall fitness goals.

Male holding a barbell with weight plates on either end.

Barbells vs. Dumbbells

Barbells and dumbbells can both accomplish many of the same goals in your workout routines. Barbells are much larger, heavier, longer, and more versatile. Dumbbells are small and compact and resemble a barbell in miniature, but with the weight plates permanently attached.

Barbells can be used for a wide range of Olympic-style weight training routines, including bench presses, deadlifts, overhead presses, and squats. They’re ideal for a variety of strength training programs because they allow you to work with heavier lifts as you progress. On the other hand, dumbbells are ideal for joint-isolation routines, such as shoulder raises and bicep curls, and are excellent for muscle building and different types of endurance training.

Each has its purpose, and ideally, a good home gym should have a selection of both barbells and dumbbells on hand.

Barbell Terms You Need to Know

If you’re shopping for a barbell, here are four barbell terms you’ll need to know:    

Whip: “Whip” refers to how much a barbell will flex during a lift. A high whip means the barbell will have more flexibility during lifts, while a low whip means the barbell will remain rock-solid. If you’re doing heavy bench presses, you’ll want a low whip barbell for easier lifting as well as safety.

Knurling: The grip markings on a barbell are called “knurling.” The deeper the knurling, the more grip on the barbell.

Yield: The “yield” is how much weight the barbell can take before it permanently deforms and won’t go back to its original shape. You might also see this referred to as “yield strength.”

Spin: The “spin” indicates how much the sleeve on the shaft rotates. Certain movements, such as the clean and press, require more spin to protect your wrists.

Male holding a barbell with weight on it

What Makes a Great Barbell?

A great barbell should have enough tensile strength to accommodate heavyweight plates (or bumper plates) without bending, fracturing, or breaking. Depending on the type of barbell you want, a high-quality barbell should have the right level of whip, smooth rotating sleeves, and the right amount of knurling at optimum places for multi-grip ease and comfort. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a great barbell for your home gym, look for quality in construction. And speaking of construction…

What Are Barbells Made Of?

Barbells are made of different types of steel. The highest quality barbells are constructed of stainless steel, which provides greater yield strength while maintaining stability and straightness during repeated lifting. The outer layer of a barbell is coated with various materials, including black oxide, black zinc, and Cerakote. For example, Titan Fitness sells top-quality barbells that are coated in zinc and Cerakote for extra durability.

Types of Barbells

These are the basic types of barbells you’ll see on today’s fitness market:

Many different barbells in a barbell holder

Men’s Olympic Barbells

Olympic barbells are made from a variety of materials that gives them more whip. Titan Fitness’s Blues City Olympic Cerakote Barbells weigh around 45 pounds, with a diameter of 28.5mm, and have a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. 

Olympic weightlifting bars usually have fairly light knurling and are fitted with needle bearings that make them spin more easily to prevent arm and wrist injuries. Because they can accommodate a wide range of weights and fitness routines, Olympic weight barbells have more versatility than other types of barbells.

Women’s Olympic Barbells

So-called “women’s barbells” are simply Olympic barbells that are thinner, shorter in length, and lighter in weight than a standard barbell. Titan Fitness’s Women’s Bombshell Olympic Cerakote Barbells weigh 33 pounds and measure 25mm, with a shaft diameter of just under an inch and a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. These barbells are ideal for serious lifters who are building up their strength and need a lighter barbell that’s easier to handle.

Powerlifting Barbells

Powerlifters generally concentrate on three kinds of lifts: bench presses, squats, and deadlifts. Titan Fitness’s Blues City Power Bars weigh around 45 pounds, measure 86.75 inches long, have a 28.5mm diameter, and have a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. They’re designed to be more rigid, so they can accommodate the heavier weights required for powerlifting.

Quality powerlifting and Olympic bars usually hold up to 1,500 pounds. However, it’s important to be aware that, depending upon the quality of the barbell, some bars will start to bend when the weight reaches above 405 pounds.

In addition, you might also want to consider these types of barbells:

Hex or Trap Barbells

Hex bars (also known as trap bars) are made in the shape of a trapezoid. This unique shape enables you to position yourself in the center of gravity while doing deadlifts.

Deadlift Barbells

Deadlift bars have sharper knurling, plus more whip for better bar speed during lifting.

Specialty Barbells

In addition to the standard barbells listed above, you can also purchase specialty barbells, including:

Multigrip Barbells

Multigrip barbells provide multiple grips so you can vary your routine while reducing stress on your shoulders and wrists. As an example, these Angled Multigrip Barbells from Titan Fitness offer four grips set at varying lengths, allowing you to work different muscle groups from a variety of angles.

Safety Squat Barbells

Safety squat barbells are designed to safely enable you to add weight to your squats. For instance, the Safety Squat Olympic Bar from Titan Fitness has a bend on the weighted sleeves to help stabilize your center of gravity while the comfortable handgrips give you more control of the bar during the lift, boosting the security and safety of the exercise.

EZ Curl Barbells

EZ Curl barbells are amazingly versatile, with a twisted design that enables you to get a total body workout from your lifting routine. Titan Fitness offers a variety of EZ Curl Rubber Fixed Barbells that allow you to work with built-in weights so you can change up your lifts. And be sure to check out our huge selection of specialty bars, where you’ll find a wide range of angled, curl, Swiss, multigrip, and other bars to add more variety to your routine.

What to Consider When Buying a Barbell

Bar Diameter

Even the slightest variation in the bar diameter (or grip diameter) can determine how well a barbell will perform with specific routines. That’s why each type of barbell has a specific regulation diameter.

Strength

These two factors determine barbell strength:

  • Tensile Strength

The tensile strength refers to the amount of weight a barbell can take before it fractures or breaks. Typically, a barbell’s tensile strength ranges from 120,000 to 230,000 pounds per square inch. The higher the tensile strength, the better the quality of the barbell.

  • Yield Strength

The yield strength is the amount of weight it takes to bend the barbell permanently. Most of today’s barbell manufacturers list tensile strength rather than yield strength because tensile strength is considered the standard test of barbell strength.

Cost

Typically, barbells with higher tensile strength, such as Olympic bars, will cost more than standard barbells. However, Titan Fitness believes in providinge premium-quality equipment without the premium costs.

In addition, Titan Fitness offers free shipping on everything so your budget can go even further, plus a one-year warranty on all its equipment, so you can buy with confidence.

Female using a hex bar

What Type of Barbell Should You Get?

As with many types of exercise equipment, barbells aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition, and the type of barbell you get should depend on how you train.

Before choosing a barbell, it’s important to do your homework and learn about the different types available and how they can maximize your workout regimen. By talking to a fitness expert and considering your fitness and weight training goals, you should be able to choose a barbell that will optimize your strength training and boost your performance.

If you have any more questions about barbells or home gym equipment, we’ll be happy to help. Be sure to visit Titan Fitness to learn more about barbells, power racks, and everything you need to create an ideal workout space.

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Kettlebell Ultimate Guide & How To Choose The Right One For You

kettlebell can be a valuable — and affordable — addition to your home gym. Whether you’re concentrating on strength training, core and muscle building, cardio, or overall total fitness, kettlebells can bring you a positive impact with only a minimum investment of time.

Here’s a look at all things kettlebell: different types, their benefits, how they compare to dumbbells, and how to find affordable kettlebells for your home gym. We’ll also add a few kettlebell exercises, so you can learn how to use them to change up your strength training and fitness routines.

Kettlebell vs. Dumbbell: Which Is Better?

Before answering this question, it helps to explain their differences in construction.

A kettlebell is comprised of an iron ball — similar to a smaller-sized bowling ball — with a huge handle attached to the top. To exercise with a kettlebell, you grip the handle, then perform the required reps for total-body or muscle-isolating benefits.

dumbbell, on the other hand, is comprised of a short handle with weighted plates attached to each end. These weights, which can be in the form of round discs (weight plates), balls, or cubes, are usually permanently attached, except in the cases of adjustable dumbbells.

Comparatively speaking, a kettlebell enables you to do all the strength-building exercises of a dumbbell while allowing for a wider range of movement and more variety of routines. For example, many classic kettlebell exercises involve swing moves, which you can’t perform as easily with a dumbbell due to its shape. In addition, you can use kettlebells for various cardio and fat-burning exercises to achieve weight loss.

Benefits of Using a Kettlebell

What does a kettlebell do for your body? A kettlebell enables you to build strength quickly while simultaneously building stability, flexibility, and balance. A kettlebell can help you tone and strengthen your forearms, upper arms, legs, and rear. Plus, kettlebells can also help you burn fat while sculpting muscles.

Here are some of the benefits of kettlebell training:

  • Can be used for a wide range of movements, including swings
  • Ideal for strength, balance, and endurance training
  • Can be used for core strength routines, as well as muscle-building and muscle-isolation exercises
  • Great for fat-burning workouts
  • Can be used for cardiovascular routines with non-running exercises
  • Can increase mobility
  • Requires no equipment space and little training space
  • Can improve posture
Male using a kettlebell

Kettlebells and Weight Loss

Unlike some types of gym equipment primarily designed to build muscle, kettlebells can be used in certain types of cardio and calorie-burning routines that can help you lose weight.

According to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), kettlebells may enable you to burn twice the calories that you would while working out with other types of equipment. For example, according to the research, you can achieve the same fat-burning and cardio results in a 20-minute kettlebell workout as you would with a much longer workout involving a treadmill and weights.

In the study, the average calorie burn totaled 272 for a 20-minute kettlebell workout consisting of basic snatch routines, switching back and forth to opposite hands. This means that participants were burning at least 20 calories per minute, which, according to fitness professionals, is equivalent to running a six-minute mile pace.

This type of kettlebell cardio-calorie-burn routine isn’t just quick; it also provides a huge impact — or, as ACE experts put it, a big bang for your buck within a short amount of time.

female using a kettlebell outside

What Type of Kettlebell Should You Buy?

Here’s a look at the main types of kettlebells, with advantages for each one:

Cast Iron Kettlebell

As the name implies, this standard kettlebell is made of cast iron and is the type that you typically find in both commercial and home gyms. It has a handle that makes it easily recognizable because it’s much wider than the “bell” (ball part).

This standard kettlebell is best for:

  • Home gym users and recreational lifters
  • Newbies to kettlebells who need a wider grip for greater ease
  • Lifters who want to do swings, goblet squats, and other two-handed movements

Competition (or “Girya”) Kettlebell

Competition kettlebells are made of steel and have a slimmer handle that aligns with the circumference of the bell. Typically, competition kettlebells have handle diameters that are 33mm to 35mm, or around 1.29 to 1.37 inches.

Competition kettlebells are best for:

  • Competitive lifters, or lifters who want to train for competitions
  • Lifters with smaller hands who want to perform exercises where they can fit both hands inside the handle
  • Lifters who are working on one-armed movements

As a top-notch example of this type, Titan Fitness offers an Adjustable Competition Style Kettlebell that actually allows you to adjust the weight from around 26 pounds to 70 pounds simply by adding or removing a screw. This is a great all-in-one kettlebell that allows you to customize it for each exercise you perform.

Kettlebell Materials and Construction

While standard kettlebells are usually made of cast iron and competitive ones are made of steel, you may find some variations on these materials as well. However, the biggest variations are in handle construction, as we’ve discussed, and in coating types.

While many kettlebells have an exterior of unfinished iron, you may also find rubber or powder coatings. These coatings don’t really add to the kettlebell’s effectiveness but may give it a smoother feel, as well as extra durability and protection against rust and corrosion.

Another feature to look for is “bottom finish,” which refers to a flattening at the bottom of the kettlebell. This is primarily for convenience, as it allows you to sit the kettlebell upright and evenly on the floor without it toppling over.

How to Pick the Right Kettlebell Weight?

If you’re just beginning with a kettlebell, some fitness coaches recommend starting with a weight of 33 pounds for men and 18 pounds for a woman. However, if you’ve been strength training, you can increase these numbers to 35 pounds for men and 26 pounds for women.  

Essentially, the suggested weight for a kettlebell depends on the exercises you plan to do, as well as your current fitness level and future training goals.  

Are Kettlebells Worth Buying?

If you’re dedicated to any kind of fitness regimen at all, kettlebells are worth buying because they enable you to perform a wide range of exercises to help you achieve multiple fitness goals, from strength training to cardio workouts.

Titan Fitness offers kettlebells, as well as a huge selection of home gym equipment, all offering premium quality without the premium costs. One example is this 40 LB Adjustable Kettlebell, which features six drop cast iron plates that can be removed or added to customize its weight to each routine.

Person holding a kettlebell

Alternatives to Kettlebells

As alternatives in some kettlebell exercises, you can use: 

  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Wrist bands with weights
  • Cables and pulleys (especially if you have a power rack)

These types of equipment each have their limitations, however. That’s the great thing about kettlebells — you can perform so many exercises with one piece of equipment.

What To Consider When Buying a Kettlebell

Ready to buy a kettlebell? These factors can help you make the right choice when it comes to the weight and type of kettlebell you choose:

Training Style

Are you primarily focused on serious strength training, or are you a recreational lifter? And are you looking for a total body workout, muscle-building exercises, or cardio and calorie-burning routines? These all play a part in the type of kettlebell you’ll want to buy. For example, if you’re a recreational lifter or want a total-body or cardio/calorie-burning workout, a standard kettlebell should be ideal. If you’re into serious or competitive weight training, you might want to consider a competition kettlebell.

Price

No matter what type of training you’re doing, price is always a consideration when it’s time to equip a home gym. And whatever kind of equipment you’re looking for, it’s important to get the best quality you can afford. At some retailers, competition kettlebells start at well over $100 and can run into hundreds of dollars more, plus shipping. But at Titan Fitness, we have a wide range of premium kettlebells starting at under $50, with free shipping as well. In fact, Titan Fitness offers free shipping on all our gym equipment, in addition to our one-year warranty.

Handles

Standard kettlebells have wider handles, while competitive kettlebells have slim handles aligned, so they’re flush with the sides of the bell. You’ll want to choose a kettlebell with a handle width to suit your training routines.

Weight

Before choosing a kettlebell, consider your current fitness level and overall goals, and choose accordingly. It’s best to start with a weight you can handle, and if you have a personal trainer, be sure to ask for advice before buying.

Female using a kettlebell and plyo box

Benefits of Buying with Titan Fitness

As thousands of fitness fans know, Titan Fitness believes that everyone should have access to premium equipment without the premium costs. If you shop at Titan, you’ll be able to outfit an entire home gym with quality equipment at prices that you can afford. And to get you started, Titan Fitness even offers home gym packages, including a Starter Package and a Space Saver Package, both of which include a power rack or squat stand, a barbell, and a flat bench.

As another benefit, Titan Fitness offers free shipping on every order, so you’ll save even more on your home gym equipment. Plus, Titan Fitness offers a generous one-year warranty on its equipment, so you can buy with confidence. With free shipping and affordable prices, Titan Fitness can help you equip your home gym with everything you need without breaking the bank.

If you’re ready to take your workouts to the next level, we can help. Be sure to check out Titan Fitness for a wide variety of top-quality kettlebells, plus everything else you’ll need to equip your dream home gym.

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Equipment Guides

Dumbbell Ultimate Guide & How To Choose The Right One For You

If you’re serious about your workouts, one of the best investments you can make is building a home gym. With a workout space at home, you no longer have to pay for a gym membership. You can save on the gas it would take to get to and from a workout facility. Also, you can have access to the fitness equipment and weights you want to work out with, whenever you feel like lifting—which means you can more easily fit working out into your day, even if you only have a short break between responsibilities to get your exercise in.

One crucial element of outfitting your home is choosing all of the right new products for your space—including the right type of dumbbells for your workouts.

Dumbbells are small hand weights used for body workouts or weightlifting. They are usually knurled, with weighted caps on each end, and they are easily lifted in one hand (instead of both, like a barbell or a kettlebell). Dumbbells are likely a central part of your workout routine if you intend to get strong and build muscle from exercise, and they can be used in a variety of workouts to increase the difficulty and make the effects more wide-reaching and varied. For example, carrying a pair of dumbbells while you do a cardio workout can help build muscle and make the cardio workout more intense.

What to Consider Before Buying Dumbbells

Before you jump in and purchase dumbbells to suit your workout needs, it helps to understand the most important considerations for choosing a dumbbell.

Adjustable or Fixed

Some dumbbells are fixed. They weigh a set amount that cannot be changed. Other dumbbells are adjustable, which means that you can switch the weights out on the dumbbells and make them heavier or lighter to suit your workout needs. To change the weight of these types of hand weights, you simply remove weight plates and replace them with plates of the right weight.

Ease of Use

Consider how easy dumbbells are to use before you decide which ones to buy. Dumbbells that come assembled, padded, and fixed are one of the most basic, straightforward pieces of exercise equipment. They are really simple to pick up and start using, especially if you are in a hurry to complete all your reps. Adjustable dumbbells that have to be set up and prepared in order to use them can be more time-consuming and less convenient to use, which makes them better suited for longer workouts. 

Male doing concentration curls with dumbbells

Common Dumbbell Materials

If you are going to buy a dumbbell set in order to stock your home gym, one consideration you should keep in mind is the materials the dumbbells are made out of. Dumbbells are made of a variety of materials, and each type is best suited for a kind of workout or activity within the gym. Whether you do a body workout or need a free weight set for weight lifting, the material of the dumbbell set you choose matters.

Below, we’ve outlined the most common materials dumbbells are made out of. Consider how you’ll be using the dumbbells and how heavy you need the dumbbells to be before you decide what dumbbell material is best suited for the gym at your home. 

Rubber

One type of dumbbell set popular for home fitness aficionados is the rubber-coasted dumbbell. Rubber-coated dumbbells are usually “hex” in shape. (This means the end/weighted part of the dumbbells are hexagonal in shape). That’s why they’re often called the “rubber hex dumbbell.” The rubber hex dumbbell often ranges from 5 to 50 pounds in weight, but at Titan Fitness we offer all the way up to 100-pound pairs. This kind of weighted dumbbell appeals to everyone, from bodybuilding experts to home fitness novices, because it has handles that are easy to hold and comfortable.

Rubber hex dumbbells are best suited for beginners since they are lightweight, easier on the hands, and the heads on either side are shock-absorbing—which means that if you drop them, they’re likely going to cause little damage (just avoid your toes!)

Urethane

Urethane dumbbells are also metal dumbbells that are encased in another material. However, instead of the ends being encased in rubber, they’re encased in urethane—which is a man-made plastic-like material. Urethane capped dumbbells oftentimes have a sleeker look than rubber dumbbells.

They also have a high-quality urethane coating on the ends of the weights so they do less damage and cause less sound if you drop the weights on the ground. People choose urethane-coated dumbbells over rubber dumbbells because they are waterproof, able to withstand a huge variety of environments, easy to clean, and very, very durable.

Urethane dumbbells come in a wide weight range—Titan Fitness offers all the way up to 120-pound pairs—so they may be a better option for more advanced lifters who have spent some time mastering home fitness.

Neoprene

Do you want your dumbbells to look particularly pretty in your home gym? Consider getting a dumbbell set that is made out of neoprene. Neoprene dumbbells are smaller dumbbells. They are not made for heavy lifters. Instead, they are ergonomic weights that are easy on the hands and arms, and they are best used to incorporate into other types of workouts or to use for very lightweight workouts.

Neoprene dumbbells usually weigh from 5 to 10 pounds, and they are very easy to handle in your hands. Choose a neoprene dumbbell set if you want dumbbells to incorporate into aerobic or cardio workouts, or if you really like colorful weights.

Dumbbell Buying FAQ

Now that you know the basics of dumbbells, you may want some more guidance on your dumbbell buying journey. It’s common for people outfitting a home gym for the first time or just beginning a strength training program to wonder how many dumbbells they should buy, what weight of dumbbells they should buy, what they should buy to complement dumbbells, and more.

Male placing dumbbells on a dumbbell rack

Should I buy dumbbells or kettlebells? 

Both dumbbells are kettlebells are types of gym equipment that are smaller and easier to use than barbells. So, how do you know whether you should invest in a dumbbell set or a kettlebell set? In reality, you likely need both in your gym. Kettlebells are best used for dynamic exercises, like snatches, swings, or jerks. They are likely used in cardio or high-intensity interval workouts.

Alternatively, dumbbells can be incorporated as fitness equipment into interval workouts and cardio workouts. But, they are a better choice for people who are only going to be using their weights for lifting. Also, dumbbells make more sense for beginning exercisers, since dumbbells are balanced pieces of equipment with equal weights on each end of a bar. This makes them safer and easier to handle for people who are inexperienced with lifting.

Should I buy something to store dumbbells?

If you buy a dumbbell set for your home gym, you should consider also buying a weight rack to store the dumbbells on. If you store dumbbells on the floor, not only does it make your home workout space look messy and disorganized, but you can also shorten the life of your dumbbells.

Storing your dumbbells the right way also helps you keep them in some order, so you don’t have to search through all of your dumbbells to find the right weight every time you go to lift or work out.

A piece of equipment you should consider is one completely dedicated to storing your weight set. There are different kinds of racks that allow you to store dumbbells, including racks that are made specifically for dumbbells, or large cabinets that are built to hold all of your workout equipment.

How heavy should my dumbbells be?

The weight of the dumbbells you end up buying should be guided by how experienced you are in the gym. It is a good start for anyone who is just beginning to use a dumbbell set for the first time to consider buying weights that range from 5 to 20 pounds. 

It makes sense to buy a dumbbell set that contains multiple weights to augment different types of exercises. Alternatively, you may want to invest in one set of adjustable dumbbells since the one set will give you the ability to increase what you’re lifting in increments.

As you embark on your fitness journey, you’ll likely want to start with light sets of weights. Then, you will want to increase to heavier weights that will continue to help you build muscle. You can increase the weight of the dumbbells in increments so that you gently and safely increase the amount you are weightlifting over time. Buying a set of dumbbells with range is an investment in a piece of equipment (or set of equipment) that will last you a while and provide you with equipment that you can use as you advance through a fitness journey.

Buy Your Perfect Dumbbell from Titan Fitness

If you are interested in building a home gym, dumbbells are going to be an essential part of stocking that space. Further, if you know what kind of dumbbell you need to achieve the results you want from your workout, it’s time to invest in the right kind of dumbbell. Shop the selection at Titan Fitness today. We have a huge selection of dumbbells so you can get just what you need for the perfect lift—or get a combo of dumbbell types, so your workouts can evolve as your fitness goals do. Browse our large selection of dumbbells here.