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    Use These 5 Resistance Band Moves To Ease Knee Pain

    Niggling knee pain can make it hard to keep up your exercise habit, even if you aren’t running marathons. These resistance band knee exercises could help. They strengthen the joint so your knees can cope better with the demands of your workouts.

    Where does knee pain from exercise come from?

    You don’t need to be a long-distance runner to suffer from knee pain. It can show up during squats and lunges or even just climbing the stairs. And it’s hard to ignore. Typically, knee pain from exercise occurs when the muscles and joints are overused, leading to pain either during or after the workout. You’re not alone: one estimate is that about 25% of adults experience knee pain. Among women, the number is higher and affects around 30% of female runners and is called runner’s knee.

    How to ease knee pain

    Often, strengthening the surrounding leg muscles can help take pressure off your knees. But the trick is not to do more squats and lunges, but rather to target the smaller, stabilising leg muscles with small, precise movements. Hayley Schuter, a physiotherapist at HSPhysio in Cape Town, often prescribes these five strength exercises to patients suffering from knee pain. Bonus: All you need is a light, stretchy resistance band and something sturdy to attach it to. 

    READ MORE: Try This 30-Minute HIIT Workout At Home For A Total-Body Burn

    How these resistance band knee exercises work

    While these moves may not look as impressive or torch as many kilojoules as, say, a box jump, you’ll feel the burn as you isolate those smaller muscles. And the stronger they become, the better your box jumps, squats and other big movements will be. Perform each of these moves until fatigue – you should feel a slight exercise burn, but not pain – then move on to the next. Do two to three rounds in total.

    A dose of common sense: If you’re suffering from debilitating pain or have recently injured yourself, skip the online workouts and head directly to your physio – there could be something more serious at play. 

    1. Standing Knee Extension

    Tie a loop in your band. Close it in the door or tie it around a sturdy chair or table leg.

    Step into the band at knee height and move back to create resistance in the band, causing your knee to bend.

    With a slow and controlled movement, straighten your knee into the band, then bend back to start.

    2. Clam

    “This is a nice exercise for people who have pain with standing exercises, like squats,” says Schuter.

    Lie on your side with knees bent and the band looped around your knees.

    Without rolling back, lift your top knee up into the band.

    READ MORE: Hunch Over Your Desk? These Moves Will Sort Out Your Shoulders STAT

    3. Lying Knee Extension

    Another good one if you feel pain during standing exercises.

    Lie on your back, band looped under one foot with the knee bent, holding the ends in your hands.

    Straighten your knee as you press the band upwards.

    4. Sumo Side Walks

    Tie the band around your knees and stand in a mini squat position, legs close together.

    Walk sideways, then reverse back to start.

    “You can vary this one by taking a few steps to the one side then coming back or walking forward and back in the mini squat position,” says Schuter. “When you get stronger, progress by putting the elastic around your ankles.”

    5. Standing Adduction

    “Most knee exercises concentrate on strengthening the outer leg muscles and this one balances it out,” says Schuter.

    Tie one end of the band to a sturdy chair or table leg and the other end around your ankle.

    Walk out to get enough resistance from the band and hold on to something for balance.

    Start with feet apart, pulling your banded foot in towards your other foot.

    As you get stronger, progress to kick your banded foot past your other foot.

    READ MORE: We Asked A Yoga Instructor For The Best Back Stretches To Tackle Upper And Lower Back Pain

    Watch one of our WH staffers perform the moves:

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    10 Super-Cool And Inspirational Fit Moms You Need To Follow On Instagram

    When you’re doing the most just to keep your new little human alive, it’s a winning day when you find time to wash your hair. As for exercise? Healthy eating? Leaving the house? This is what dreams are made of.  Well, these fit moms are proof that there is hope. Follow them on Instagram for fun ways to incorporate baba into your healthy lifestyle, post-baby workouts and, most importantly, to remind yourself that you’re not alone in this strange, new world.

    1. Takkies

    @Takkies7

    SA’s queen of sass and self-love shares heartwarming videos featuring her adorable daughters. Trust us, these kiddos are natural-born co-stars (following in their mom’s dancing shoes)! Follow Takkies for a dose of positivity and some delightful family moments.

    2. Abbi McDuling

    @_activeliving

    The mama we just can’t get enough of! She’s all about prioritising self-love and embarking on a journey every mom can relate to. As she puts it, “My body will NEVER be the same again & neither would I want it to be because these changes have transformed me into a mother & given me my beautiful baby boy.”

    3. Uleen Fourie

    @uleenfourie

    Uleen is a health coach, a soon-to-be mom of two and the co-founder of Health-e App. Juggling motherhood and fitness like a pro, her feed is loaded with quick workout videos and time-saving healthy food ideas. Need pregnancy fitness tips? She’s got those too! Plus, Uleen keeps it real about the ups and downs of motherhood.

    READ MORE: Hey New Mom — These Products Will Change Your Life

    4. Daniella Lagerwey

    @healthylivingwithdaniella

    Daniella is all about pregnancy and postpartum workouts, guiding women on their healthy living journey. With her easy-to-follow workouts, she offers great advice and shares mouthwatering recipes to keep you on track.

    5. Kayla Itsines

    @kayla_itsines

    With a whopping follower base of over 15 million, chances are you’re already following Kayla Itsines. This fit mama’s account covers it all: high-intensity, strength, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and low-impact workouts.

    6. Caley Jäck

    @caley.jack

    Former WH cover star Caley Jäck is not just a mom of two, but also the ultimate #bodygoals! Check out her Instagram for workout videos featuring her adorable ‘babas’. As she mentioned in one of her posts, “I want my girls to love physical movement as they grow up, to have a healthy relationship with exercise and food and to have it built into their daily lives.” Follow Caley for some inspiring workouts and heartfelt messages about fostering a healthy lifestyle for the next gen.

    READ MORE: Caley Jäck’s Simple Formula For Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle

    7. Raeesa Solwa

    @RunItWithRaeesa

    We’re totally inspired by this Durban-based biokineticist and running coach’s workouts. While her kids are all grown up now, her older content is packed with bright ideas for working out safely with a bump on board and the road to recovery.

    8. Rachel Brathen

    @yoga_girl

    If you’re looking for a dose of calm and inspiration in your feed, Rachel Brathen, also known as Yoga Girl, is a must-follow. With her soothing yoga flows, candid reflections on motherhood and glimpses into her daily life, Rachel offers a sanctuary of mindfulness and positivity.

    9. Emily Skye

    @EmilySkyeFit

    For every reward that comes with being a new mom, there’s also a boatload of struggle and self-doubt – which is why it’s so comforting to see Emily talk openly about issues like her postpartum depression, how much work really goes into shedding the baby weight in a healthy way and some of the totally gross “joys” of motherhood that no one usually talks about.

    READ MORE: Here’s How To Actually Practise Mindfulness And Unlock Inner Peace

    10. Meg Lagerwey

    @the_good_gut_guru

    Finding time for a well-balanced meal might feel daunting, but look to Meg, mama of two, for healthy and nutritious meals the entire family can enjoy. As a certified wellness and nutrition coach, she’s passionate about gut health and shares delicious, wholesome recipes that make eating well a pleasure. More

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    Get Moving The Fun Way With This High-Energy Dance Workout

    The gym isn’t for everyone and if that includes you, it’s totally fine. There are many ways to get a good workout in. And right up there, is dancing. You might not think of shaking your booty as exercise, but spend a Friday night burning up the floor at the klurb and don’t be surprised if you struggle to get out of bed the next day. This dance workout from Toka Lintsa is perfect for women who love to move on the dance floor, not so much on the gym floor.

    Work Out Without Even Realising It

    So how do you turn your love of dancing into a workout? It’s easier than you think! “Dancing comes from the inside,” says Toka. “What you see inside a club, try to see which muscle groups it targets – like if you get down low, this is a squat and it benefits your thighs.” Similarly, moving your arms works your shoulders and the muscles of your upper back. You may not be holding any weights, but do it for long enough and you’ll feel the burn, don’t you worry!

    READ MORE: 6 Dance Fitness Lessons From The Fitness Marshall

    Toka’s 15-Minute Dance Workout

    Ready to give this whole dance workout thing a try? Try this routine from Toka. Spend five minutes learning the moves, then when you’re feeling confident, dance along with Toka in real time. Got it down? Repeat the dance, feeling free to improvise as you go along and feel the beat. Just like any dancing, a dance workout should be free and fun.

    READ MORE: Tone Up The Fun Way With This Strength And Cardio Dance Workout

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    Your Moves

    1. ‘Roll It Dance’

    Walking squats: 8 steps to the front

    Spin punches to a dynamic shoulder roll: alternative sides x4

    Reversed walking squats: 8 steps/counts to the back

    Spin punches to a dynamic shoulder roll: alternative sides x4

    2. ‘Kick and side-tap’

    Kick and side-tap: alternating sides x8 times

    3. ‘Upper body roll-tap’

    Upper-body roll and toe-dip: alternating sides

    Report To The Dance Floor!

    The WH editors have dropped their go-to dance workout jams and trust us, resistance is futile! Try not to groove along as you add these tracks to your playlist. Feel free to throw in your own signature moves and make it a dance party workout. More

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    Hey New Mom — These Products Will Change Your Life

    Being a new mom is filled with all kinds of good stuff: curious stares, endless cuddles and cute giggles. But let’s be honest – there are tough times too: not enough hours in the day, sleep deprivation and you put yourself second… or third.

    Real talk: self-care is important, so we sourced the multi-tasking, do-it-all products that every new mom needs to make your life a whole lot easier.

    Skincare To Soothe Hormonal Skin

    Changes in hormones can induce red, flaky patches on your face. To combat dermatitis, you need to use skincare products that are ultra-soothing, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic and good for sensitive skin. It’s formulated to minimise the risk of allergies and is soap-free, so baby can use it too.

    Nourishing Body Oil For Stretch Marks

    Now stretch marks ain’t no thang, because we all have them. But if you want to minimise the collagen layer tears, it’s worth using a tissue oil. This fast-acting specialist skincare product can help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It’s also recommended for ageing and dehydrated skin. Best part: it’s easily absorbed and non-greasy.

    READ MORE: 4 Postpartum Exercises That’ll Give You A Tighter Core

    Refreshing Haircare For Time-Strapped Moms

    Fresh smelling hair is probably the last thing on your to-do list right now… But enter dry shampoo – and your excuse to skip a few washes.  This baby cleanses, refreshes and removes excess oil and odour. Plus, it has the added benefit of volumising limp hair. Score!

    Multi-Functional Make-Up Remover

    A frantic home means you need to remove make-up, tone and moisturise quickly. Do this in a flash with a three-in-one product. These wipes contain micellar water, enriched with vitamin E, to deeply clean without leaving an oily residue, and gently remove even waterproof make-up without rubbing. Done!

    READ MORE: “I’m Fit But Had A Rocky Pregnancy — Here’s How I Stayed In Shape”

    Face Cream To Hide Tired Skin

    Not exactly feeling fresh? Zero sleep? It’s okay. What you need is a face cream that can restore radiance and moisture, so at least it’ll look like you got some solid shut-eye.  This moisturiser instantly peps up the skin, helping it feel hydrated and refreshed, with a glowy finish.

    Solve-Anything Spritz

    Body crying out for all-over moisture? Got rough skin? Dry, dull hair? Need to soften your cuticles? Desperate for a massage oil? Struggling with sleep? So many questions. And only one answer to them all. This product will legit change your life!

    Hydration Boost

    Every mom deserves hassle-free nourishment for herself and her baby. This combination of a collagen supplement and breastfeeding support is exactly what you need to boost your postpartum wellness. Plus, it is free from dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, GMO, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colourants. Adds to cart immediately! More

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    30 Plank Variations That Will Transform Your Core From A Trainer

    I’ll admit, I sometimes sigh when an instructor cues up a plank. I know, they will *always* burn. Planks are a classic core move for a reason and offer so many benefits.

    “Planks target and strengthen the core muscles, including transverses abdominals (the deepest abs muscles), rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques, so in simplest forms, a simple plank will fire up all of your core muscles,” says Jade Morning.

    But planks are also kind of, well, boring. Holding a plank for 30 to 60 seconds means I have nothing but the floor to distract me from that deep burn quaking up through my whole bod. The burn is a good thing; the boredom is not. The good news, though, is that there are tons of plank variations to spice things up depending on your skill level and core strength.

    Meet the experts: Jade Morning, CPT, is a certified personal trainer and Alo Moves instructor. Kaisa Keranen, CPT, is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the founder of KaisaFit.

    Plank variations don’t just target the core, either. Many will also strengthen other muscles, like your quads and glutes and can reduce back pain, improve posture and increase balance, she explains. To maximise your gains, Morning suggests incorporating plank variations into your weekly workout routine *at least* three times a week.

    “I recommend finishing each workout with core activation, so doing a plank challenge before heading out of the gym would be ideal.”

    Once you’ve nailed proper plank form, it’s time to have some fun to the tune of the 30 best plank variations.

    1. Down Dog To Knee Drive

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position.

    Lift hips into a downward dog position.

    At the same time, lift right foot from the ground and extend right leg toward the ceiling while keeping hips square.

    Return to plank, driving right knee to tap right elbow.

    Continue for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    2. Side Plank Crunch

    How to:

    Start in a side plank on right forearm with left arm bent and hand resting behind head and legs extended, feet stacked. Head to heels should form a straight line.

    Bring left knee toward left elbow in a crunch, engaging obliques as you do.

    Return to start and continue for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    3. Side Plank Knee Raise

    How to:

    Start in a side plank on right forearm with left arm extended overhead.

    Slightly lift left foot and bend knee to bring it forward and up to hip height while swinging left hand down toward shin.

    Reverse the motion to return to start and continue for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    4. Side Plank Toe Tap

    How to:

    Start in a side plank on right forearm with your left arm toward ceiling.

    Slightly lift left foot and swing it forward while bringing left hand to tap toes.

    Return to start hovering left foot over right and continue for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    5. Forearm Plank Saw

    How to:

    Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and head to heels aligned, core engaged.

    Lift hips slightly and rock backwards slowly, allowing shoulders to shift behind elbows and heels to push back.

    Then shift forward to bring chest beyond elbows and heels slightly forward.

    Continue moving back and forth for 30 seconds. (Toes and forearms stay rooted to the mat throughout.)

    6. Forearm Plank With Knee Touch

    How to:

    Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and head to heels aligned, core engaged.

    Slowly and with control bend and lower right knee to touch mat.

    Reverse the motion.

    Repeat with left knee.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    7. Plank Knee-To-Elbow

    Why it rocks: Your obliques work extra hard as you pull your knee to your elbow in this move, which is a staple in many a yoga flow.

    How to:

    Start in high plank position.

    Lift left foot up off floor and drive toward left elbow while keeping hips level and back flat.

    With control, reverse movement to return to start.

    Repeat on the other side. That’s 1 rep.

    Modify it: Drop into a tabletop position and complete the movement from there, pulling one knee to the corresponding elbow, says Jones.

    8. Bird Dog

    How to:

    Start on all fours with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders.

    Engage core and lift left arm and right leg off the mat at the same time, keeping hips level and core engaged so back doesn’t arch.

    Slowly return to start.

    Repeat on the opposite side. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 reps.

    9. Plank Hip Dips

    How to:

    Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and knees, hips and torso in a straight line.

    Drop right hip toward the floor, then return to centre.

    Immediately drop the left hip toward the floor.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    10. Plank Shoulder Tap And Jack

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position with knees, hips and shoulders all in a straight line.

    Simultaneously tap right hand to left shoulder and jump feet out wide.

    Simultaneously jump feet together and replace hand on the mat.

    Repeat with the left hand to right shoulder. Continue repeating for 45 seconds.

    READ MORE: The 15 Minute Bodyweight Home Workout You Can Do On Your Couch

    11. Side Plank Thread The Needle

    How to:

    Start on left side with left forearm on mat and knees bent.

    Raise right arm toward ceiling and lift hips up and away from the floor until body forms a straight line from head to heels.

    Keeping hips lifted, rotate left arm down and underneath torso and allow gaze to shift toward the floor.

    Reverse the movement to return to start.

    Continue repeating for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

    12. Forearm Plank Knee Tap

    How to:

    Start in a forearm plank, with elbows under shoulders, head and spine in line and back flat.

    Without moving hips, slowly bend and lower both knees to the ground with control.

    Gently tap the mat and straighten legs back out.

    Continue repeating for 45 seconds.

    13. Plank Jumps

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position with knees, hips and shoulders all in a straight line.

    Bend knees and jump both feet in toward arms.

    Jump both feet back and extend legs to high plank position.

    Continue repeating for 45 seconds.

    14. Plank Up Downs

    How to:

    Start in a high plank with back flat and shoulders over wrists.

    Lower right forearm to the mat.

    Lower left forearm to the mat and pause in the forearm plank position.

    Place right hand on the mat and press to straighten right elbow.

    Place left hand on the mat and press to straight left elbow into high plank.

    Continue repeating for 30 seconds.

    15. Side Plank Hip Dips

    How to:

    Start in a side plank on right forearm with left arm extended toward ceiling. (Holding a dumbbell in left hand is optional.)

    Use obliques to lower hips toward the mat with control.

    Reverse the movement to return to start

    Continue repeating for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

    16. Single-Leg Knee Drive to Kick Out

    How to:

    Start in high plank position with shoulders over wrists and body in a straight line.

    Drive right knee to tap right elbow.

    Straighten right leg back and up without moving hips.

    Lower right foot to return to start.

    Continue for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

    17. Quad Hold Knee Taps

    How to:

    Start on all fours, in tabletop position.

    Lift knees to hover two inches off the ground.

    Squeezing core and keeping back flat, lift right hand and left foot and tap left knee.

    Return right hand and left foot to floor.

    Then, lift left hand and right foot and tap right knee.

    Replace left hand and right foot on the amt.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    18. Bear Plank Shoulder Tap

    How to:

    Start on all fours, in tabletop position.

    Lift knees to hover two inches off the ground.

    Squeezing core and keeping back flat, lift right hand and tap left shoulder.

    Replace right hand on the floor.

    Repeat with opposite side.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    19. Side To Side Plank Hops

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position.

    Jump both feet toward left elbow, then return to the center.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    20. Sprawl

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position.

    Jump feet in toward hands, planting them behind or just outside arms.

    As soon as feet come in, lift chest into a low squat position.

    Raise arms next to ears.

    Place palms down on the ground and jump back to start.

    Continue for 45 seconds.

    READ MORE: 9 Bodyweight Exercises That Will Improve Your Mobility

    21. Forearm Plank

    How to:

    Start on forearms and knees with elbows under shoulders and palms pressing into the mat.

    Extend legs straight and lift hips so body forms a straight line.

    Hold the position for 45 seconds.

    22. Scapular Pushup

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position, with shoulders stacked directly over hands.

    Engage core and glutes, inhale and squeeze shoulder blades (scapulae) down and together in your upper back.

    Exhale and separate scapulae again, with back moving upward to the starting position.

    Repeat for 45 seconds.

    23. Modified Side Plank

    How to:

    Lie on right side with legs bent at 90 degrees, right elbow directly under shoulder and left-hand palm down.

    Lift hips off the mat, keeping right knee and right forearm and elbow in contact with the ground.

    Hold the position for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    24. Side Plank

    How to:

    Lie on right side with legs bent, right elbow directly under shoulder and left-hand palm down.

    Lift hips off the mat, extending legs to form a straight line from head to heels.

    Hold the position for 30 seconds.

    Repeat on the opposite side.

    25. Renegade Row

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position holding a pair of dumbbells with hands under shoulders and feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

    Drive left arm into the floor, stiffen entire body and row the right hand up and to the side of rib cage—elbow should be pointed up and back.

    Pause for a second, then keep body stable as you slowly lower back to the starting position.

    Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    26. Plank Jacks

    How to:

    Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and palms pressing into the mat.

    Engage core and jump both feet out wide to each side.

    Quickly jump both feet back in together to the starting position.

    Continue jumping in and out for 45 seconds.

    27. Plank Punches

    How to:

    Start in high plank position with shoulders over wrists and body in a straight line, back flat.

    Lift left hand and punch forward with force, while keeping back and hips stable.

    Replace hand on mat.

    Lift right hand and punch forward with force, while keeping back and hips stable.

    Continue alternating for 45 seconds.

    28. Reverse Plank

    How to:

    Start by sitting on the ground and prop yourself up on hands (hardest) or forearms (easier).

    Keep elbows in line with shoulders and fingers facing toward feet. Extend legs out in front of you (harder) or bend knees (easier). Raise hips so your body forms a straight line from ankles to chest and hold for 5 to 30 seconds.

    29. Plank Jacks

    How to:

    Start in a high plank position with wrists under shoulders and palms pressing into the mat.

    Engage core and jump both feet out wide to each side.

    Quickly jump both feet back in together to the starting position.

    Continue jumping in and out for 45 seconds.

    30. Classic Plank

    How to:

    Start on the floor on your hands and knees.

    Place your hands directly under your shoulders.

    Step your feet back, one at a time. (For more stability, bring your feet wider than hip-distance apart and bring them closer for more of a challenge.)

    Maintain a straight line from the top of your head through your heels, gaze down just above your fingertips.

    Now, tighten your abs, quads, glutes and hold. Think about digging through your heels, squeezing your quads and keeping everything nice and tight. (If you feel your body shake, that’s a good sign you’re creating enough tension from head to toe.)

    This article by Andi Breitowich & Ashley Mateo was originally published on Women’s Health US. More

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    Tried & Tested: New Running Shoes From Asics, PUMA & Salomon & Under Armour

    Are you on the hunt for a comfy pair of new running shoes? Or maybe you’re after your very first pair and don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with the sheer volume of new takkies dropping seemingly weekly. Wherever you are in your running journey, we’re here to help you.

    There are so many factors to consider when looking for a pair of running shoes. Think: price, cushioning, pronation, heel drop, distances and of course, the look and feel. So we put the newest running shoes to the test, racking up kms to find four that are worth your hard-earned rands. Here’s what we thought about the latest offerings from PUMA, Under Armour, Asics and Salomon. Happy running!

    READ MORE: Beginners 5K Running Training Plan And How To Crush It In Just 6 Weeks

    PUMA Velocity Nitro 3

    Heel drop: 8mm | Cushion: Medium | Pronation: Neutral | Price: R2 599

    Pros

    ✅ Versatile and comfortable 

    ✅ Affordable price

    Cons

    ❌ Those with wider feet might find it a bit snug

    #WHTestsIt

    PUMA may not have been the first brand that came to mind when you went to your local Sportsman’s Warehouse a few years ago, but they sure should be now. They’ve put considerable research and tech into their new fleet of running shoes to bring you launches that will get you where you want to go (and fast)!

    Last year, their ForeverRUN NITRO was one of the pairs I wore the most and I loved it. Now, the Velocity Nitro 3 is overtaking that shoe as one of my favourites. PUMA has taken comfort seriously meaning you don’t have to worry about any niggles or discomfort. You can thank the NITROFOAM™ which makes the shoe well-cushioned yet responsive. 

    If you do a lot of your runs on the treadmill at your local gym or if you’re just starting out and find yourself doing a combination of running and walking these will be your go-to trainer. But they aren’t just for the treadmill, they hold up well as a daily trainer on the road too. The PUMAGrip on the outsole gives you great traction so you can focus on smashing goals rather than whether you’re going to slip.  PUMA has done it again and you’ll definitely be seeing the bright flash of green zoom past you in months to come.

    READ MORE: These Strength And Cross-Training Workouts Will Improve Your Running

    ASICS Gel Nimbus 26

    Heel drop: 8mm | Cushion: Maximum | Pronation: Neutral | Price: R3 799

    Pros

    ✅ Plush and comfortable

    ✅ Improved grip

    Cons

    ❌ Not the best for speedy runners

    #WHTestsIt

    You can’t go wrong with a Gel Nimbus, it’s one of Asics’ best-selling and longest running shoe models. In fact, their Gel Nimbus 25 (released last year) is actually the shoe that made me fall in love with running. It took me from struggling to run a 5km to smashing a 21km in weeks (I couldn’t believe it either!) The Gel Nimbus 26 is everything I loved in the 25 (maximum cushioning and a comfortable upper) with some minor tweaks that make a major difference and ultimately give you a smoother ride.

    The knitted upper has been reengineered so that it’s wider in the forefoot and toe-box. And the eyelets have also changed and give improved lockdown so your foot is secure without being strangled. So overall you have a softer yet more supportive midfoot hold.

    The most impressive improvement is thanks to the addition of ASICSGRIP™ technology and AHARPLUS™ outsole rubber. The outsole uses new hybrid grip technology to give you more traction on wet surfaces (a real winner during winter) and advanced durability.

    The Gel Nimbus 26 also feels a tad firmer than the previous iteration so while it’s become a favourite for my longer, slower runs or even recovery runs, it now will definitely be able to handle those pacier runs, too.

    READ MORE: Long-Distance Trail Running: Here’s Exactly How To Prep And Push Through

    Salomon Genesis

    Heel drop: 8mm | Cushion: Maximum | Pronation: Neutral | Price: R3 599

    Pros

    ✅ Gives you confidence on technical runs

    ✅ Suits newbies and more experienced runners

    Cons

    ❌ Runs quite small so consider sizing up

    #WHTestsIt

    As the temperatures begin to drop, now is the perfect time to get into trail running… or break in a new pair before signing up for a trail running race. First, every time I wear these, I get compliments on how gorgeous they are and while that has no impact on running ability, it sure is a plus.

    But beyond the beautiful colour way, these trail shoes pack some serious tech that will serve beginners and more advanced trail runners well. Many trail shoes prioritise stability and technical support at the cost of comfort and cushioning, but the Genesis does the exact opposite. It has a highly supportive Active Chassis and unique two-part lug pattern (All-Terrain Contagrip® compound) and raised tread so your grip is secure no matter the terrain. And the Energy Foam and weaved Matryx® upper give you a comfortable and cushioned ride.

    When wearing the Genesis, I feel very confident and stable on the trails. This is something super important to me for two reasons. One, trail running is something I only do once or twice a week so I’m definitely an amateur and lack confidence. And because I’m a treadmill/road/gym frequenter, I’m not used to having to concentrate as much and tend to slip or almost lose my footing often on my trail runs. It really is a great trail shoe, I would just recommend sizing up.

    READ MORE: Maximise Your Runs With These Tips From The Pros

    Under Armour Infinite Elite

    Heel drop: 8mm | Cushion: Maximum | Pronation: Neutral | Price: R3 799

    Pros

    ✅  Revolutionary foam

    ✅ Great for long and everyday runs

    Cons

    ❌ Might be too stacked for some

    #WHTestsIt

    Now, this is a LOT of shoe. Your first thought about the Infinite Elite will definitely be about the height of it. It certainly was mine. And when you put them on you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re using stilts. But somehow the Infinite Elite doesn’t feel heavy at all.

    If it’s cushioning you want? It’s cushioning you’ll get with the Infinite Elites. Except the cushioning is unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. Under Armour has used new HOVR+ foam which they say gives the shoe superior energy return and a bouncier ride. And springy she is. This full-length one-piece bead foam midsole gives you a super plush experience that is perfect for your long run days and your everyday kilometres too.

    And if it’s your knees and joints you’re worried about, Under Armour has gone the extra step by using a bevel heel design that helps lessen heel impact and allows you to land smoothly and increase overall stability. I reach for these for my longer Saturday runs and really love how you can quite literally feel them help you bounce off the road.

    Plus if you’re looking for some kit to support you on your runs, the Infinity 2.0 High Sports Bras is one of the most supportive (and flattering) bras I’ve worn in a long time. And the straps can be adjusted to ensure you’ve got the perfect fit, every run

    Kelleigh is the Managing Editor of Women’s Health. When she’s not convincing her colleagues to try the latest TikTok trends, you can find her planning a holiday that never leaves the group chat, binge-reading or eating her way through Cape Town. More

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    The 15 Minute Bodyweight Home Workout You Can Do On Your Couch

    Forget raising the bar – put your feet up, woman! Seriously, we mean it when we say put.your.feet.up. “Lifting them onto a step or bench is the simplest way to build strength faster,” says strength and conditioning specialist Don Bahneman. Yup, you *can* sculpt a better body without lifting a dumbbell. All you need: this bodyweight home workout.

    READ MORE: 18 Feel-Good Workouts That’ll Boost Your Mood, Stat

    How Does Putting Your Feet Up Build Muscle?

    It boils down to basic physics: for upper-body exercises, this tweak changes the angle of the exercise and forces your muscles to work harder to support your body weight.

    For lower-body moves, raising your feet increases how far you have to move with every rep (aka your range of motion), which calls more muscle fibres into action. And for all moves, your core has to work harder to keep you stable and locked into position.

    The 15 Minute Bodyweight Home Workout

    Instructions: Complete the exercises in this bodyweight home workout in order. Move from one to the next without resting. Rest 45 to 60 seconds at the end of the circuit, then repeat for up to five rounds.

    Make it harder: Feeling extra fired up for your bodyweight home workout? Increase the cardio challenge by adding 30 seconds of star jumps or running in place between each move. Get the best out of your chill with this couch workout.

    READ MORE: A 4-Week Home Workout Plan To Get Fit And Strong AF

    1. Bulgarian Split Squat

    Stand about 60 centimetres in front of your couch and extend your left leg behind you, placing the top of your foot on the seat (A). Keeping your chest upright and core tight, bend both knees to lower your hips as much as you can (B). Push through your right heel to return to start. That’s one rep. Do eight to 12, then repeat on the other side.

    READ MORE: Try This 30-Minute HIIT Workout At Home For A Total-Body Burn

    2. Travelling Plank With Leg Raise

    Get into push-up position with your toes on the couch (A). Raise your right arm and rotate your torso to the right until your feet are stacked and your body forms a T. Without dropping your hips, lift your right leg (B). Hold for 20 seconds. Reverse the movement to return to start and hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

    READ MORE: 9 Bodyweight Exercises That Will Improve Your Mobility

    3. Single-Leg Hip Thrust

    Lie on your back on the floor in front of your couch with your left heel on the edge, knee bent about 90 degrees and your right leg straight up, arms at your sides (A). Press through your left heel and raise your hips as high as possible, keeping your right foot in the air (B). Slowly lower your hips back down. That’s one rep. Do eight to 12, then repeat on the other side.

    READ MORE: 10 Best Kettlebell Core Exercises For Strong, Sculpted Abs, From A Trainer

    4. Reverse Inch Worm

    Get into push-up position with your toes on the couch (A). Bracing your core and glutes, slowly walk your hands towards the couch, lifting your hips into the air and keeping your legs as straight as possible (B). Pause, then walk your hands back out to start. Make it harder by adding a push-up here. That’s one rep. Do four to eight.

    Excerpted from the Women’s Health Little Book of 15-Minute Workouts. More

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    Hunch Over Your Desk? These Moves Will Sort Out Your Shoulders STAT

    Picture someone hunching over their keyboard for the majority of the day, shoulders creeping up towards their ears. Does that hypothetical person sound a lot like you? We’re all guilty of being that person at some point or another. And while we should be more vigilant about sitting up straight, it’s easy to forget when you’re rushing towards that 3pm deadline. That’s why we found four simple shoulder strength exercises that will help you get better posture in very little time.

    READ MORE: The 3 Stretches You Should Be Doing Daily

    Why You Should Strengthen Your Shoulders For Better Posture

    Building up your shoulder strength and mobility will help counteract that urge to hunch, even when you didn’t even realise you were doing it.

    “The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, which means there are a lot of things that can go wrong with it,” says physiotherapist Mike Riccardi. “If your shoulders hurt, it’s probably from a combination of a few things, because the shoulder joint is complex. But the one overarching cause is poor posture.” (Did we just see you straighten up?)

    The key to beating the hunch is to increase shoulder mobility and build shoulder strength. But you don’t just want to target your traps and anterior deltoids (the showy muscles that you obviously think of as ‘shoulders’). Remember how the shoulder is a complex joint? It also has a whole lot of muscles round back that help stabilise the joint and pull your shoulders back and down away from your ears.

    The Workout: 4 Shoulder Strength Exercises For Better Posture

    These four simple exercises from coach Lushwill Rossouw will help you get there.

    You need: Barbell, two medium to heavy dumbbells and a PVC pipe (don’t have one? A broom or mop will do too, as long as they’re not heavy).

    READ MORE: Try This Shy Girl Upper Body Workout If You Lack Confidence At Gym

    1. PVC Pipe Complex

    Good for: Mobility Do: 3 sets of 5 reps of each move

    This is a great warm-up to do before any upper-body workout that’s going to be using your shoulders because it targets different muscles around the joint. The first part hits the traps and anterior deltoids in the front and on top of your shoulders, while the next two hit the muscles at the back.

    2. PVC Pipe Shoulder Rotations

    Good for: Mobility Do: 10

    Another good warm-up, this move takes the joint through its full range of motion. The wider apart your hands, the easier it will feel. Your goal is to warm up, not become a contortionist!

    READ MORE: 18 Feel-Good Workouts That’ll Boost Your Mood ASAP

    3/ Push Press

    Good for: Strength Do: 3 sets of 6-8

    Lifting any weight above your head is an easy way to strengthen your shoulders. They difference here is that your stabiliser muscles have to work to control the clumsy barbell. Using your legs for a little boost helps you lift a heavier weight than you would with shoulder strength alone. The real work is controlling that barbell at the top and on the way down and that’s where those rear stabilisers come into their own. Bonus: It’ll also do wonders for your core and triceps.

    READ MORE: The Best Back Stretches To Tackle Upper And Lower Back Pain

    4/ Dumbbell Press With Isometric Hold

    Good for: Strength Do: 3 sets of 5

    Pushing the weights overhead will sculpt those showy muscles at the front and on top of your shoulders, making them look seriously toned and sexy. But here’s the catch: Once they’re overhead, hold them up there, with straight arms, for a count of three. This brings your stabilisers into play to keep the joint, well, stable. Bye-bye hunch, hello toned upper back! More