Exercise Trends Worth Trying

Looking for a new way to work out? At the recent National Athletic Trainer's Association annual meeting, I was able to check out what's trending with exercise experts. Here's the lowdown on the latest gear--and what's worth the investment.

Suspension Training

Specialized straps connected to a door or ceiling allow you to use your own body weight as resistance. You can't even imagine how many different muscle groups can get a workout using these simple bands. TRX is one of the most popular U.S. brands, 4DPro is an up-and-comer. TRX cord sets retail for anywhere from $150 to $250 (in my opinion, they are well worth the investment). They are often used in rehab settings by athletic trainers and physical therapists but they also make a fun and non-cumbersome addition to a home gym. You can find instructional videos to help plan workout routines online.

Stretching Cords

Ever notice how it always feels better to have someone else stretch you out? Since a second pair of hands aren't always an option, cords like Gumbee Cords can help. These cords allow you to attach a limb to a sturdy surface to get an ultimate stretch. They are compact for traveling and retail for $45 each on the website.

Wobble Boards

Half flat surface, half exercise ball, wobble boards like Thera-Band Balance Boards help keep muscles and neurons firing, which helps develop muscle endurance, balance and reaction time (believe me, they're harder than they look!). Balance boards retail for about $65. Ask your local gym to invest in one!

Body-Weight Training

Along the same lines of suspension training, one of the newest trends involves the most old-school equipment–your body! Body-weight training includes push-ups, sit-ups, triceps dips, squats and lunges. The key to getting a good workout and avoiding injury is proper form to maximize muscle engagement (check out this video from WebMD). Body-weight training retails for zero dollars and you can work out just about anywhere!

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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