Core exercises don’t need to be bodyweight-only, and this quick kettlebell abs workout proves that adding resistance to the mix can be a great way to challenge those all-important muscles.In this video, the fifth installment of Sweat With SELF’s new Kettlebells series, you’ll complete a 20-minute core workout that’s focused on your rectus abdominis (the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen) and your obliques (the muscles along the sides of your abdomen). Lee Jimenez, a certified kettlebell level 1 instructor and ACE-certified personal trainer, and ACE-certified personal trainer Tiffany Ragozzino will take you through the routine, which includes three rounds of four kettlebell exercises.After a quick warm-up, where you’ll get the blood flowing throughout your body with exercises like the cat-cow, bird-dog, and plank walk-out, you’ll get into your abs workout. You’ll complete each exercise—the single-arm assisted sit-up, Russian twist, plank pull-through, and side-bend/windmill progression—for 45 seconds, resting for 15 before going right to the next move. After all four exercises are finished, you’ll rest for 60 seconds before starting again from the top.These kettlebell core exercises help you build both strength and stability in your rectus abdominis and your obliques through motions like rotating or flexing (say, when you’re performing the Russian twist or sit-up) as well as through resisting movement (like when you’re keeping your body steady during the plank pull-through). Working all of the functions of your core is important in any strength training routine, since it better mimics the actions of your core in everyday life—which is super important for injury prevention.Throughout the course of this workout, you’ll be encouraged to progress at your own pace and build ownership of these moves. In the first round, for instance, try to familiarize yourself with the movement patterns and get more comfortable performing them. The second round builds on that—to do so, you’ll sub in a windmill progression in place of the side bend—and the third round really encourages you to give it all you’ve got.Choose your kettlebell wisely for these moves—you don’t want to go too heavy, which can cause your form to falter and over-stress related muscles, like your lower back. A light to moderate weight kettlebell will likely be your best bet. (For more information on how to choose the best kettlebell for you, check out our introduction to kettlebells video.)Ready to light up your core? Grab a kettlebell, block off 20 minutes, and give this kettlebell abs workout a try.ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
You don’t need to stack your workout with tons of exercises for it to be effective—and this upper-body kettlebell workout proves it. With just four moves, you’ll really hone in on your upper-body muscles like your shoulders, back, and arms.In this video, the fourth installment of Sweat With SELF’s new kettlebells series, you’ll complete an upper-body circuit that checks all the boxes without taking up too much time. Lee Jimenez, a certified kettlebell level 1 instructor and ACE-certified personal trainer, and ACE-certified personal trainer Tiffany Ragozzino will take you through the routine, starting with a solid warm-up, progressing to the actual workout, and ending with a cool-down to help your body come back to baseline.In your warm-up, you’ll complete bodyweight exercises that will work the same muscles you’ll be using later with your kettlebell. Warm-up exercises like the push-up, high plank, and inchworm will get your shoulders, chest, and core warm for what comes next: a circuit with four kettlebell exercises, which you’ll perform for 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off. You’ll cycle through moves like the kettlebell halo (great for shoulder mobility and strength), bicep curl (which works the muscles in the front of your arm), clean to press (which hits your shoulders and triceps, as well as your lower-body muscles), and single-arm row (great for your lats and rhomboids).You’ll do three rounds of the circuit, and Jimenez and Ragozzino will help you continue to challenge yourself as you progress, whether it’s by choosing a heavier kettlebell weight or fine-tuning your form. You also have the option of modifying the exercises with variations that can make them more accessible and comfortable. (For more information on common kettlebell exercises, modifications, and other tips like how to hold a kettlebell, or what you can do to improve your form, check out the Kettlebells 101 video.)Ready to get started with this 20-minute upper-body kettlebell workout? Grab a kettlebell or two, unroll a mat, and get ready to work!ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
Strength training doesn’t need to take hours—or even half an hour. As this lower-body kettlebell circuit shows, you can get in a great strength-building workout in just over 20 minutes. The key? Choosing compound exercises that help you do a whole lot of work in not so much time.In this video, the third installment of Sweat With SELF’s new Kettlebells series, you’ll complete a comprehensive, lower-body workout that targets the big muscles in your lower half, such as your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Lee Jimenez, a certified kettlebell level 1 instructor and ACE-certified personal trainer, and ACE-certified personal trainer Tiffany Ragozzino will take you through the routine, which—after a solid warm-up—contains three rounds of four lower-body, compound kettlebell exercises.Your warm-up contains bodyweight versions of movements you’ll be doing later in the routine with your kettlebells, including bodyweight squats, lunges, and good mornings. Then you’ll get into the heart of your lower-body workout: a circuit of squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges, and kettlebell swings. This exercise selection is great for a circuit, since even though there’s little rest between moves, your lower body won’t be too gassed. That’s because the exercises alternate between moves focused on your quads, or the muscle in the front of your upper legs (like squats and reverse lunges), and those that really target your hamstrings, or the muscles in the back of your legs (like deadlifts and kettlebell swings.) Of course your glutes, or your butt muscles, will be working hard in all of them!Although the same exercises will repeat in all three rounds, Jimnez and Ragozzino introduce different challenges to keep things feeling fresh, such as adding pulses, slowing things down, or focusing on grip strength. Throughout the routine, try to focus on keeping your form on point, and if you feel it begin to falter, that’s a sign to either slow down or drop down in weight.Before you get started with this lower-body kettlebell circuit, it can be helpful to take a quick kettlebell primer to familiarize yourself with things like how to hold a kettlebell, which grips to use, and how to choose the right weight for your exercises. We have you covered there with this Sweat With SELF introduction to kettlebells video!ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
Mattresses just haven’t been a huge priority for me. Up until last fall I was sleeping on the same mattress I’d had for a decade—the same mattress which spent who knows how many years at my parents’ house before I took it over. The National Sleep Foundation says the average lifespan of a mattress is eight or so years. Suffice to say that I had not been sleeping well. The old mattress felt, well, like an old mattress, meaning whenever I shifted, I’d sink all over the place. The firmness was nonexistent, and I’d often wake up with new aches or pains. My sleep also felt less restorative, in that soreness I’d go to bed with—I’m an avid runner and weight lifter—didn’t really tend to diminish much during sleep time.I knew I needed a change, though, when my partner’s shoulder and back really started bothering him as a result of terrible nighttime sleep. So we went to a mattress chain and picked up a decent, cheapish model to hold us over until we were able to move out of our tiny apartment. It was a big help—but still, sleeping wasn’t really great for either of us.So when mattress testing at SELF came up, I was eager to offer my services. I was excited to try Casper’s Wave Hybrid Mattress, which, right on its website, promised exactly what we were looking for: “less aching, more sleeping.”How I TestedAfter about a month of sleeping on the Casper Wave, I can honestly say we’re getting the best shuteye we’ve ever had. I used SELF’s mattress buying guide, which is based on criteria recommended by sleep experts. Read on for my full Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress review and thoughts.Initial SetupI thought the online ordering was a huge plus (since I always feel a little awkward around pushy salespeople who try to upsell). It’s great to be able to choose a mattress in the privacy of your own home, without any pressure to order something more expensive than you wanted.Once it arrived, though, it got a little tricky. While Casper is a mattress-in-a-box brand, it’s still in a big, rectangular cardboard box that weighs over 100 pounds. The box had no handles on it, making it difficult to maneuver up my steep and narrow apartment stairs. Even if I tried to drag it up step by step, I definitely would not have been able to get in up there by myself. I had to wait for my partner to come home to get it up, who described it as “moderately difficult” due to its weight and unwieldy shape. He got it up by himself, but it’d be best done as a two-person job. (For comparison, our previous mattress arrived looking like…a mattress, with accessible handles on the side. So even though it was heavy, I was able to drag that one up the stairs myself.)Once we got it out of the box—again, a two-person job—we had to remove the plastic wrap around the mattress and lay it flat so it could unfurl and “inflate.” Once the plastic wrap is gone, it starts to take on mattress form pretty quickly, so we really had to rush to get it to lay it flat in our cramped space.Sleep QualityMy sleep quality so far has been really great on the Casper. The main thing I noticed was less time waking up when my partner shifted, which allowed me to sleep uninterrupted throughout the night. That meant more time to get into a deep sleep, which, according to my fitness tracker, is something I tend to struggle with.
Curious about kettlebells? Before you get started with an actual workout, you may be wondering how to use kettlebells to make the most out of your strength training routine.Kettlebell newbies, we have you covered. In this video, the first installment of Sweat With SELF’s new Kettlebells 101 series, we’ll answer some important basic kettlebell questions that’ll help you prep for your workout. Lee Jimenez, a certified kettlebell level 1 instructor and ACE-certified personal trainer, and ACE-certified personal trainer Tiffany Ragozzino will take you through some of the most common questions many new exercisers have. Then, they’ll demo some basic kettlebell moves that put it all into practice.The video begins with some important information on how to buy a kettlebell. Hint: If you’ll be working out at home, you may want to look for a rubberized kettlebell, which can help protect your floors. It’ll also help you decide on which kettlebell weights to purchase—and why it’s important to have a variety of weights to choose from for all the different beginner kettlebell exercises out there that you’ll be trying!Then we’ll get into the parts of a kettlebell. This is super important, because even just holding a kettlebell can be intimidating for people who are just getting started. In this video, Jimenez and Ragozzino will break down the parts of a kettlebell as well as a few common ways to hold it based on the exercises you’re doing. They’ll also demo the best way to pick up the kettlebell to help stave off injury.Finally, they’ll put all this info to the test by showing you how to do a few common beginner kettlebell exercises, such as the deadlift, squat, and kettlebell swing. They’ll also go through some common mistakes people tend to make with these popular kettlebell exercises. Keeping your form on target is vital no matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, but it’s especially important when we’re adding weight to the mix.Ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about how to use kettlebells so you’ll feel ready to crush your first kettlebell workout! (May we suggest this 30-minute, full-body kettlebell routine?)ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
Tight, sore muscles are common after running, which makes recovery a super important part of any training program. And this foam rolling for runners routine—which starts off with some dynamic stretching moves that feel amazing—is a great way to fit that recovery into your regular schedule.In this running recovery workout video, which is the final installment of Sweat With SELF’s Fitness for Runners series, you’ll spend extra time giving your muscles some TLC. Rhandi Orme, a certified run coach and personal trainer, and trainer Quan Bailey lead you through a routine that starts with dynamic stretches that will help work out the kinks from tightened muscles and finish with foam rolling moves to really dig deeper at any knots that remain.In the dynamic stretching portion, you’ll cycle through moves that loosen up your leg muscles, including your quads and glutes, as well as your upper-body muscles, such as your thoracic spine, and your core. All of these muscles can feel tight and sore after a run, so spending some time taking them through gentle ranges of motion can help them loosen up.Then you’ll end with the foam rolling portion of the running recovery video. We get it: Foam rolling can be intimidating—and maybe a little uncomfortable. That’s why Orme and Bailey will take you through beginner-friendly options (as well as suggest modifications) for foam rolling moves to release tension in your back, IT band, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. With foam rolling, you want to pause at a point in your body where you feel a knot—holding it there helps you feel a release, which not only feels great but also helps improve your mobility. (Just make sure to keep the pressure from the foam roller off your bones and joints, and on your muscles.)Ready for a stretching and foam rolling for runners recovery routine that takes just 20 minutes? Grab a mat and get ready to work out those knots.ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
A strong core can help your miles feel easier, since your core helps your body stay stable and withstand the force of running. That makes an abs workout for runners a vital routine to add to your exercise mix.This 10-minute workout video, which is the next installment of Sweat With SELF’s Fitness for Runners series, helps you strengthen those all-important core muscles with a circuit-based routine that’ll be over before you know it. Instructor Rhandi Orme, a certified run coach and personal trainer, and trainer Quan Bailey will take you through a core-focused workout that includes a warm-up to get your heart pumping, a main set of work to target your core, and a quick finisher circuit to provide one last hit to that muscle group.One factor that makes this abs workout such a great choice for runners is that it targets every part of your core. Remember, your core isn’t just made up of your rectus abdominis, the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen that you probably think of as your abs. Your core also includes your obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of your abdomen; your transverse abdominis, your deepest core muscles; and your lower back muscles.This abs workout for runners targets all of these areas: Moves like the sit-up (and all its variations) hit your rectus abdominis, while exercises like the bicycle crunch and the side plank taps target your obliques. Finally, moves like the shoulder tap and plank up-down that work on core stabilization—say, by resisting rotation or bending—challenge your transverse abdominis.The workout Orme and Bailey show in this video will have you finished in under 10 minutes, but if you have a little more time to devote to your core, you can extend it a bit longer: The instructors demonstrate the first round of both the main set and the finisher circuit, but they say you can do each three times total for an even bigger core challenge.If you’re ready to hit every part of your core, grab a mat and get ready to work!ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
Strength training is important for runners, but it’s not just about your lower body: Upper-body strength is vital, too. With that in mind, a full-body workout for runners can be a great addition to your routine.In this workout video, which is the next installment of Sweat With SELF’s Fitness for Runners series, you’ll tackle a strength training routine that works your entire body. It specifically targets your upper body and your core, which will help you run more efficiently and more comfortably. After a solid warm-up, Rhandi Orme, a certified run coach and personal trainer, and trainer Quan Bailey will lead you through a routine that’s centered on two separate circuits of three exercises each.Your upper-body circuit includes the overhead press, push-up, and reverse fly. Orme and Bailey demonstrate the circuit using just their bodyweight, but if you have dumbbells available, you may want to use them for the overhead press and reverse fly. This circuit helps build strength in the front of your body (especially your shoulders and your chest) thanks to the overhead press and the push-up, and the back of your body (especially your rear deltoids at the back of your shoulders) with the reverse fly. Training these upper-body muscles is important because it helps you develop the power you need for arm drive when sprinting, say, during the last few minutes of a race. Plus, by specifically hitting your rear delts, you’re building strength in the back of your body, which will help prevent your shoulders from rounding forward when you get tired while running.The last circuit of your routine is core-centric, which is also important since your abdominal area plays a huge role in stability and transition of power when you’re running. The plank up-down, V-up, and suitcase crunch work your rectus abdominis (the muscles along the front of your abdomen) and your deeper, stabilizing transverse abdominis muscles. You’ll end your routine with a bonus cardio challenge: a push-up to burpee, which will get your heart pumping.So grab a mat and get started with this full-body workout for runners! You’ll be done in under 20 minutes.ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Related:
Looking to work your arms? A triceps workout is a great routine to add to your workout program, since it’ll help you build strength in the upper part of your arms—and it doesn’t require a whole lot of time or equipment to get the job done.In fact, you can get in a great triceps workout at home in under 10 minutes. All you need is one set of light dumbbells to get started. Read on for what makes a great triceps workout, what your triceps muscles even are, and the best way to incorporate triceps exercise and workouts into your overall workout routine.Then, once you have everything down about your triceps muscles, you can get started with the workout. Set aside a small chunk of time (and we mean small—say, like seven minutes), grab a yoga mat for comfort, and get ready to really work your arms. Believe us, this will be one dumbbell workout you’ll want to bookmark to keep coming back to!What are your triceps muscles?Your triceps are a three-headed muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm from your shoulder to your elbow, and help you extend your elbow and straighten your arm. Triceps are considered an accessory or synergist muscle for bigger muscle groups like your shoulders and chest, ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, founder of Strong with Sivan in Baltimore, MD, tells SELF.“The accessory muscle helps the bigger muscles, which are the shoulders and the chest, to do the ‘pushing’ motion,” she explains. That means your triceps are working when you do exercises like chest presses, push-ups, and overhead presses, and even everyday movements like pushing a heavy door closed.Your triceps muscles are the opposing muscles to your biceps, which make up the front of your upper arms. So if you wanted to get in a complete arms workout, you’d likely want to include moves that work your biceps and triceps.How can you work your triceps at home?You can work your triceps at home with dumbbell exercises or bodyweight exercises. For instance, bodyweight moves like the push-up—and especially the triceps push-up, also known as the diamond push-up—will really target the backs of your arms. If you have a set of dumbbells, you have even more options: Triceps workouts with dumbbells include moves like the skull-crusher (less intimidating than it sounds, we promise!), triceps kickback, and overhead triceps extension.Whichever exercise you choose, you’ll see the movement pattern to work your triceps is going to be pretty similar: You’ll be bending at the elbow and then extending your arm.What’s the best way to slot triceps workouts into your workout routine?Your triceps fire during push-focused movements like chest presses, push-ups, and overhead presses. Because those exercises are compound movements—they work multiple muscle groups—they tend to provide a greater fitness benefit for the general exerciser simply looking to increase their fitness level or get stronger, Fagan says. So if you have a larger chunk of time for a workout, like 20 or 30 minutes, you’re better off working those larger muscle groups (which also target your triceps), rather than focusing on one small muscle group during that time. This would be the most time-efficient way to build upper-body strength.The best way to work your triceps, then, is with a short “finisher” type of workout that you can tack onto the end of your upper-body routine, says Fagan, who created this short triceps workout for SELF below. You’ll use lighter weights and little rest as you move from one triceps exercise to the next.If you want to really smoke your pushing muscles, you can do this dumbbell triceps finisher after a chest workout or a shoulder workout. Doing it after a back workout, which works your “pulling” muscles, is also an option, since that way you’d be training opposing muscle groups during your workout and your finisher. (Plus, if you only have a few minutes and want to get some kind of movement in, you can do this triceps workout with dumbbells on its own too.)“It’s a great way to finish your workout,” Fagan says. “You’re going to really fatigue those smaller muscles—you’re going to get burnout from a triset where we hit those muscles from different angles.”So whether you have just seven minutes to do this triceps workout on its own or you want to use it as a triceps finisher, it’ll definitely challenge those muscles on the back of your arms. Here’s what you need to get started.The WorkoutWhat you’ll need: One pair of light dumbbells. Because you’ll be working the same muscle with little to no rest, you should choose lighter dumbbells than you would if you were doing the moves in straight sets or alternating between different moves, says Fagan. You may also want aOnce you’re done, you may want to cool down with some triceps stretches, or other great upper-body stretches that feel fantastic after a workout.The Moves:Triceps kickback in plankOverhead triceps extensionSkull crusherDirectionsComplete the moves below as a triset, performing each move for 40 seconds before going right into the next exercise. After you complete the round, rest for 30 seconds. Complete 3 rounds.Demoing the moves are Amanda Wheeler (GIF 1), a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ+ community and allies; and Rachel Denis (GIFs 2 and 3), a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records.
Fitbit users will soon have a new piece of health information right at their fingertips (or wrists): The company announced this week that they’ve received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the technology that powers their new irregular heart rhythm notifications feature.The Fitbit atrial fibrillation software is an algorithm based on photoplethysmography, which uses a light source and a photodetector on your skin’s surface to measure changes in your blood circulation and volume. Every time your heart beats, Fitbit says, your blood vessels expand and contract based on these changes in blood volume. The wrist-based sensor on the Fitbit can measure these changes, which determines your heart rhythm. Then the new algorithm analyzes this data for any variations that may signal atrial fibrillation, or a fast irregular heartbeat.According to the Mayo Clinic, atrial fibrillation (AFib) often occurs without symptoms, though for some people it can lead to palpitations or shortness of breath. The danger with AFib is that it can lead to blood clots, which can raise your risk of stroke. People who have conditions like high blood pressure, thyroid disease, or chronic conditions like diabetes may be at increased risk of developing it.Fitbit’s devices have measured resting heart rate and workout heart rate for years, but their tracking footprint has grown recently to include irregularities. In 2020, Fitbit announced that it received clearance from the FDA for its electrocardiogram (ECG) app, which premiered on its Fitbit Sense device (which also included additional health-tracking features like skin temperature and oxygen saturation monitoring). This ECG app allowed for on-the-spot readings to detect for AFib.Now, Fitbit’s new algorithm seeks to take this one step further by passively checking your heart rhythm for irregularities while you’re at rest or asleep. If these background readings detect something potentially abnormal, you’d be notified through Fitbit’s irregular heart rhythm notifications feature. Then, Fitibit says, you can take this information to your health care provider.According to the company, data for the new software comes from its Fitbit Heart Study, a large-scale study that launched in 2020 and included more than 450,000 participants. In November of 2021, the company presented their research at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021 and announced that their new algorithm accurately detected irregular heart rhythms and undiagnosed atrial fibrillation 98% of time.According to the Verge, Fitbit’s new background detection of heart irregularities brings its heart monitoring capabilities more in line with that of the Apple Watch, which launched their ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications in 2018. Fitbit hasn’t given a specific launch date for their new AFib detection, or which of their fitness tracker models will feature it, though they have said it’ll be available “soon” to U.S. consumers “across a range of heart-rate enabled devices.”Related: