What’s the Point of Push Up Bars?

With a fitness product like the pull up bar the purpose of the product is clear because there really isn’t any other way to perform this exercise. On the other hand things aren’t so clear with a product like push up bars because you can perform push ups without any type of equipment as long as you have some ground underneath you. In this article we’ll discuss the main driving points of buying a push up product and what they’re purpose actually is (hint: there actually is a purpose).


What’s the Purpose?

woman doing push up

Push up bars do serve a very clear purpose, a few in fact. While you can perform standard and alternative forms of push ups with just a surface beneath your feet you can’t get the same type of workout that products like handles and bars offer you. You also cannot get the comfort and joint stress reduction that this type of fitness product offers. It even allows for different workouts other than push ups.

A Better Workout

The first reason why push up products have a purpose is because they offer you a much greater range of motion than traditional push ups. When you are normally doing push ups the movement required to dip down to the ground and then come back doesn’t add up to very much. Bars and handles on the other hand have you raised off of the ground so in order for you to fully dip your chest downwards you have to move an overall greater distance than you would with a traditional push up workout.

As with any other type of fitness product your mileage may very depending on the quality. Check out our review of one of the most popular choices.

The reason why this is significant is because it makes for a much more challenging workout. Naturally, you won’t be able to as many push ups with bars as you would otherwise and as a result you are going to be targeting your pectorals and upper body in general a whole lot more. In other words, you get a much better upper body workout with bars/handles.

Less Wrist Stress and Pain

A common complaint from those that do push ups is that they put a ton of stress on the wrist joints. This type of joint stress can even lead to pain for some. People often pursue the “rush” or the “burn” associated with lifting weights and strength training but outright joint pain is going to stop most, even fitness enthusiasts, dead in their tracks. Joint pain just isn’t something to mess around with even when you’re not dealing with moving around hundreds of pounds of iron.

cap barbell push up bars

The way in which push up products prevent wrist stress and pain is through the way they position your hands during use. Instead of bending your wrists at a 90 degree angle as you would during normal push ups your hands and wrists are held upright by the grips with your palms facing one another. And any decent product is going to have solid grip handles to prevent any sort of slippage.

Perform Other Types of Exercises

The last purpose of this type of workout product is the fact that you can do more than just push ups. Two other great ways to make use of this product is to perform dips and L-sits. It should be mentioned that whether or not you will be able to perform other workouts will depend on the individual product. The main contributing factor is how far off of the ground the bars or handles are raised. With that said most of the most popular options on the market do offer this kind of versatility.

The million dollar question has been answered. You now now that this product has it’s place in fitness. Whew! Another great thing about this fitness product is that it is very affordable and inexpensive. Be sure to browse our other fitness related content below.

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Photo credit: flickr user mewall82

 

Coffee Contributes to Healthy Liver New Study Suggests

coffee beans

coffee

There seems to never be a definitive conclusion when it comes to coffee, America’s favorite caffeinated beverage, and our health. Pop science articles are always wavering on this matter and yet consumers continue to consume each and every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Why? Coffee provides mental and physical stimulation through caffeine and other constituents such as mao-b inhibitors, dependence and tolerance set in rather quickly as caffeine is a drug just like any other, it is ritualistic and provides a common ground for social interaction, and it simply tastes great to many. We will continue the wavering debate in this article with the discussion of a very recent study, a study which has evaluated possible health benefits of coffee in relation to the liver.

Coffee and the Liver – The Facts

This isn’t the first time the relationship between coffee and the liver have been put under a microscope and it most likely won’t be the last. A visit to PubMed.gov, a database of scientific studies, would yield exactly 482 entries that are either direct analyses of coffee’s effect on the liver or entries which at the very least acknowledge the relationship. In short, the potential health benefits of coffee and its positive effects on the liver is no stranger to science.

A look at the most recent study tells us that coffee, whether it is a caffeinated cup of Folgers or a decaffeinated cup of Maxwell House, lowers levels of liver enzymes. Researchers found that there was an inverse relationship between enzyme levels and coffee intake. In other words, the more coffee that participants drank the lower the level of enzymes. Again, there was no discrepancy between users of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee as both had a positive effect on liver health.

The findings of this study hold their weight in that there was a total of 27, 793 participants. All participants were 20 years or older and the study took place over the course of 11 years (1999-2010).

High Levels of Liver Enzymes – What Does it Mean?

The study suggests that coffee is good for our livers because it lowers the levels of enzymes in the liver. Enzymes tested in the study include aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT). The question is, why are higher levels of liver enzymes bad? High levels of liver enzymes or elevated liver enzymes are associated with inflammation and damage to liver cells.

You can find out if your levels are elevated by undergoing a simple blood test at the doctor’s office. Whether or not actions need to be taken is matter between you and your doctor but it’s important to note that most of us have had elevated enzymes at one point or another in our lives. Drinking alcohol can elevate enzymes temporarily as can medication which is metabolized by the liver. It is when your levels are constantly elevated that you have a problem.

Common Causes of Elevated Liver Enzymes

There are many causes of high levels of enzymes of which you can see here.  Some well known causes include alcohol addiction, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and certain prescription medications.

Coffee is Healthy Today

With this recent study coffee is on the healthy side for now. Liver health benefits isn’t the only punch coffee packs as other studies suggest that it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia among other benefits. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants. But while coffee can keep your liver healthy it’s important to note that you shouldn’t use the beverage as a primary weapon for preventing liver issues. Drink it as the tasty pick me up that it is with the nice bonus of liver health benefits.

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Photo Credit: Flickr

3 Reasons Why Green Tea Provides Unique Mental Energy

chinese green tea

chinese green tea

Green tea may have originated in China but it’s since flooded the West with brute force and the media has scooped it up and exposed the public to claims, sometimes far reaching, of better health and longevity. There is some truth to the many health benefits claimed for this popular type of tea but don’t count on it shredding off the pounds with ease as Doctor Oz might claim. One thing is for sure, green tea is a great option for a pick me up and an excellent way to get the ball rolling at the start of your day. Green tea is a different experience from coffee and it provides a different mental edge, one that is very unique in the way it energizes and boosts your mind.

The Caffeine Collective

America stripped away of its favorite stimulant caffeine mine as well be some sort of hazy dystopian sci-fi novel because we as a collective are absolutely hooked on the drug. There are 100 million daily coffee drinkers in the US and they need the main psychoactive constituent in coffee, caffeine, in order to even think about tackling the day ahead. Most caffeine users are dependent on the substance and while this may not be a particularly bad thing it does require that they give their body what it wants if they would like to avoid the dreaded caffeine withdrawal.

Green tea may lack the edge in popularity that coffee brings to the table but it does offer its users a dose of caffeine with every bag brewed, albeit a lesser amount than that of a cup of joe. The average amount of caffeine in a cup of green tea is about 25 mg (keep in mind that the potency can vary from tea to tea). It’s far from punchy but it’s just enough for some mental stimulation and energy. You can always brew more but you can’t take back a caffeine overdose.

caffeine molecule11

Caffeine acts as the backbone of mental stimulation found in your favorite type of green tea. What does caffeine do once it reaches the brain? The main action of the world’s favorite stimulant is the blockade of adenosine receptors which results in one feeling more awake and energized. Adenosine receptors promote sleep and by caffeine causing a blockade it is in turn stopping the flow of signaling that leads one to hit the sack. 

There are also secondary effects as a result of caffeine blocking adenosine receptors which involve neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. Each of these different brain chemicals are involved in modulating your mood, perception, and energy levels. They all do different things but in the end they work together to give you the current mental state and mood you are experiencing. More dopamine related activity can make you more motivated and eager to get work done and actetylchonine activity can provide a greater sense of acuity.

The energizing bunny that is caffeine is perfect for fighting of sleep, sharpening your senses, and getting you motivated and focused to get loads of work done. It’s almost as if it is the perfect substance for mental energy…but it’s not. The caffeine catch is the issue of tolerance. Caffeine will always help you fight off sleep but if you are using it everyday then you will experience the great cognitive benefits it has to offer to a lesser and lesser degree.

It’s a good thing that caffeine isn’t the only thing green tea has going for it…

L-Theanine – A Yin and Yang Relationship with Caffeine

There’s a naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea that offers risk free relaxation, a substance that few know about and something that largely contributes to the zen headspace that green tea offers to its users. It’s name is l-theanine and though it is entirely natural it offers some outstanding benefits related to cognition.

Have you ever noticed that too much coffee can make you an anxious mess infected with the jitters, sweating at the palms, and warding off a heart that is about to explode? Obviously, this is a tell tale sign that you have ingested too much caffeine but it also shows something that coffee lacks, and that thing, the “X factor”, is l-theanine. Theanine is there in green tea to smooth out the experience, to calm your mind while caffeine energizes it.

yin and yang

The final result of this combination is a focused, clear, content, and stimulated mental state. Green tea is so unique and versatile like this  because it is perfect for kicking back and relaxing as well as hunkering down and focusing on some important work. And when you do decide to sit down and bang out some work with the aid of green tea’s unique energy you should know that it could actually be helping you do better and reach a better level of proficiency.

There are studies confirming that the combination of caffeine and l-theanine enhances cognition. In other words, this combination naturally found in green tea makes your brain work better and you perform better as a result. In this way green tea could be considered a nootropic substance because of the combination of caffeine and l-theanine and the unique mental energy that it provides. Individuals interested in nootropics (cognitive enhancers) actually seek out theanine and caffeine supplements so that they can take advantage of this combination.

You certainly don’t need supplements if you have green tea as it is the original brain boosting substance.

EGCG – Buy 2 Get 1 Free

EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) can be thought of as an added bonus to the zen combination of theanine and caffeine. This powerful antioxidant is quite interesting once you dig into the science behind it. It’s an antioxidant so naturally it takes care of the free radicals (bad for you) in our bodies but the truth is there is so much more to it, especially related to what it does for the brain.

EGCG, like the theanine/caffeine combo, has been found to possess cognitive enhancing properties. One study found that the antioxidant enhanced memory and learning. It has has also been found to promote the growth of new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. It may be the key to fighting off neurodegenerative diseases for some individuals, whether through a spark of interest for new research possibilities or simply an aid in the battle against these crippling diseases.

This is a very promising substance when it comes to boosting one’s cognition. Perhaps it isn’t as big a piece of the puzzle of the unique mental energy provided by green tea, but it is there and it is doing something positive. Another way in which EGCG acts to boost your brain is through something known as MAO-B inhibition. The antioxidant is a natural MAO-B inhibitor and therefore prevents the breakdown of catecholamines such as dopamine. What this means that EGCG is boosting the effects that caffeine and theanine have on dopamine which puts yet another unique spin on the mental state provided by tea.

A Boost in Brain Energy Worth a Shot

If you haven’t already tried green tea for the purpose of giving yourself a mental edge then now is better than ever to give it a shot. It’s inexpensive and it really does provide a zen like boost in cognition. Do you drink 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day? If so, try switching out your last cup of coffee with a cup of tea if you aren’t quite ready to make a complete switch. And if you’re someone who is simply looking for a new substance to boost your brain then tea is one of the healthiest and effective options out there, much better than energy drinks loaded with sugar and other useless garbage. You can’t say the science isn’t there to back it up.

Image credit: Flickr user mckaysavage

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