July 17th, 2014 by Chris Aviles
We’ve been doing a little Spring Cleaning around the office, and I got my hands on a yoga ball. I read somewhere that sitting on one at your desk can be really good for posture and your core. Unfortunately the ball I have is too small to sit on at my desk. I feel like a troll. After the fun of bouncing on it like a child wore off I looked up some actual way to use a Yoga Ball, and I thought I’d pass them on to you. If you’re like me, expensive equipment or gym memberships are just not realistic. In expensive and diverse items like a yoga ball are great!
1. Squat and Reach: Hold the ball with straight arms, so it’s about level with the face. Squat down, bringing the ball all the way to the left side, just above the left foot. Hang tight in this position for three slow breaths, and then untwist the torso and return to standing before repeating on the other side. For the best results, keep that butt down in the squats and hold arms straight out in front of the torso. Try 10-15 reps of this twisty move to get the arms, core, and legs in tip-top shape.
2. Wall Squat: Stand about three feet from a wall with feet shoulder-width apart and the back to the wall. Place the ball between the lower back and the wall and squat down slowly until the legs form 90-degree angles at the knees. Use the ball to support the back as it rolls from the lower back to the shoulder blades. Slowly stand up again, and repeat for 10-15 reps.
3. Standing Ball Squeeze Stand upright and place the ball between the legs, so the center is about even with the knees (it should not be touching the floor). Squat down until knees form 90-degree angles, squeezing the ball to stay balanced. Hold the position as long as possible, working up to 30-45 seconds per set. Note: For this move, consider using a ball that’s not the perfect fit. A larger ball makes this move more difficult, while a smaller ball is a little easier on the thighs. Beginners can also use a chair or wall for help with balance.
4. Overhead Ball Squat: For this one, complete a traditional squat, while holding the stability ball with the arms extended overhead. Adding weight (nope, not quite light as air) plus keeping the torso in an upright position engages the shoulders and deltoid muscles. Go for 10-15 reps of this bad boy.
5. Hamstring Curl: Lie on the floor with arms extended perpendicular to the torso and lower calves and heels resting on the ball. Engaging the glutes and abs, lift the hips up from the floor. Use the outstretched arms for stability, as this is definitely a wobbly position! Exhale and slowly bring the knees in towards the hips, so the feet are resting flat on top of the ball. Pause for a few seconds in this position and then inhale, straightening legs out again. Keep those hips up the whole time to get maximum gluteus maximus benefits. Aim for 10-12 reps of this total-body move.
6. Ball Lunge: While standing, place the ball behind the body and put one foot top-down on the top of the ball. Step the other foot out about six inches, and bend both knees in a deep lunge. Make sure the knee of the front foot does not go over the toes. (For the stability-challenged, a chair or railing can provide extra support.) This advanced move will test stability as well as strength, so shoot for 8-10 reps (or as many as you can do with proper form) on each side.
7. Reverse Extension: Start with your chest on the ball, with fingertips and toes resting on the floor. Roll forward so hands are under shoulders and hips are directly touching the ball. With the feet together and the core engaged, lift the legs straight from the floor until they are in line with the torso. Hold for a beat and then repeat. Try for 12-15 reps before heading back to solid ground.
8. Standing Plank: Using a wobbly stability ball gives the shoulders and arms an extra-tough workout. With one leg extended behind, rest the elbows and forearms on the ball (for a really tough challenge, try this with straight arms). Step the other leg back so the feet are together. Hold the position as long as possible, working up to 30 seconds per set.
9. Roll Out: Kneel behind the ball, with palms down on top. Slowly use the hands to push the ball forward until the triceps are resting on top of the ball and the legs are almost all the way extended with the knees on the ground. Remember: A tight core will keep the body moving straight ahead. Feeling pressure on the knees? Place a towel or yoga mat under them for a little extra TLC. Concentrate on maintaining the proper form for 10 reps straight.
10. Balance Push-Up: Take this basic bodyweight move to the next level with a stability ball. Lie facedown on the ball with hands and feet touching the ground and the stomach on the top of the ball. Walk the hands out until the shins are resting on the ball and the torso is in a flat push-up position. Lower the torso towards the ground until the upper arms are parallel to the ground. Return to the “up” push-up position and continue for 8-10 reps (or more, if you can hang).
11. Tricep Dips: Sit on the ball with legs forming 90-degree angles and feet hip-width apart. Next, place the hands on either side of the hips on the ball and slowly scoot the hips forward so they’re a few inches in front of the ball. At this point, the heels are on the ground and the hands are on the ball supporting the rest of the body. Use the triceps to lower the arms down a few inches, and then return to the starting position. Keep the back straight and abs engaged for 10-15 reps.
12. Back Extension: Start with the stomach and hips on the ball, legs extended straight behind (toes resting on the ground). Hold onto the ball with the hands for balance. If this position is difficult to maintain due to slippery shoes, try placing the feet against a wall. Raise the chest high (like a yoga “cobra”), bringing the hands to the back of the head. Hold for a beat or two, and return to a relaxed position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
13. Pike: Start in the push-up position described above (see no. 10), but with the toes instead of shins resting on top of the ball. With straight legs, use the abdominals to pull the toes towards the chest. Done properly, the torso will be in a push-up position with the back straight (no arching or sagging) and legs angling down towards the ball. This move ain’t for the faint of heart, so give it a shot for 5-8 reps.
14. V-Sit with Ball: Lie face up on the ground with ankles resting on the top of the stability ball. With arms pointing towards the feet, roll the torso up so the body forms a V with the hips on the ground. Hold for five counts (long enough for a serious case of the ab-shakes) and slowly roll back down to the ground. Repeat for 6-10 reps.
15. Ball Jog: For this blood-pumping move, sit tall on the ball with abs engaged and feet firmly on the floor. Lift the knees up and down to bounce as high as possible on the ball. Try bouncing for 2-5 minutes to keep the heart rate up mid-workout (or try it as a fun warm-up!) nice and warmed up.
16. Knee Tucks: This adaptation is easier on the upper body but still brings a serious abdominal workout. Start in push-up position with toes resting on the ball and straight arms, with hands on the ground under the shoulders. Bring the knees towards the chest until the knees are directly under the hips. Extend knees back to push-up position and repeat for 10-15 kick-butt reps.
17. Hand Off: Lie face up on the ground with arms and legs extended. Grab the ball overhead with both hands. In one smooth motion, lift the arms and legs in the air, transferring the ball from the hands to the feet (in between the ankles to be exact). At this point, only the hips and butt should be touching the ground. Lower arms and legs with the ball between them to the ground. Stay strong for 6-10 reps with correct form.
18. Hanging Knee Raise: Place the ball in front of a weight bench or another sturdy piece of furniture. Lie back on the ball, with the shoulders and back touching the surface. Grab the weight bench with the hands and keep the legs pressed tightly together (for a more advanced move, try a free weight). Flex the abs and bring the knees towards the chest, using the arms for stability. 10-15 reps will bring those abs out from hiding.
19. Ski Step: Try this alpine-influenced move to work the sides of the abs. Sit tall on the stability ball with feet together. In one smooth motion, swing the feet to the right and the arms to the left. Don’t be afraid to get into this move — the higher the enthusiasm the better the workout! Bring arms and legs back to center and repeat for 12-15 reps, alternating sides.
20. Side Squat: Finish up an ab-tastic routine with a bit of a stretch. Stand with legs shoulder width apart, grasping the ball overhead with both hands. Keeping theback straight and the abs engaged, bend down bring the ball to the outside of the left foot. Lift the ball again and repeat on the right side. Stay strong (and limber!) for 10-15 reps.
May 30th, 2014 by Stag
I have been a bit of a PC Video Game enthusiast for years now. Of course taking the inevitable breaks here and there and for varying amounts of time but I always find myself coming back to it. I don’t think that I will ever be too old – at least mentally; to play a video game now and again. Now anyone that has played on a PC knows that your set up is very important. Unlike your console games where you can play from your couch with a controller, you need to be sitting in your office chair and using your keyboard and mouse. Now I am not as young and resilient as I once was. So having a good set up is very important. Back problems are no laughing matter.
I used to use your standard office chair. That proved to be very uncomfortable and so I upgrade to a quite expensive full support high-end chair. Even that did not help with those binge weekends; sitting for hours on end. Though eventually I came across something that did; an exercise ball. Surprisingly it was very comfy to sit on and was great for my back. Gave me full range in motion and I would like to think – made me better at the game.
Wreaking havoc in an online game while sitting on an exercise ball is more satisfying than it should be. And definitely works far better than I ever imagined. I certainly recommend it!
May 16th, 2014 by Chris Aviles
Happy Earth Day! MatsMatsMats.com likes to go green every day and provide customers with as many of the best eco-friendly and safe products for your everyday use as we can. We offer a variety of rubber yoga mats which provide excellent traction and yoga blocks that are made from bamboo and cork, sustainable natural resources. We also offer a natural cotton yoga mat and yoga bolster which are made with unbleached and untreated cotton. If you prefer a meditation cushion we offer them with organic fillings; buckwheat or kapok (your choice).
I myself try very hard to go green and be healthy. I’m the guy that goes to the store keeping an eye out for natural cleaning products and organic vegetables, but I load those products into my V-8, because a Prius isn’t “cool” enough for me. That’s totally sounds counterproductive, but let’s be honest the reason most consumers use greener products isn’t their concern for the environment. The real deciding factor is whether or not it’s good for your family, or you can save money. Years ago when this “green” craze started becoming popular, it was a lot more expensive. As Companies and people themselves increase their interest in being Eco-Friendly, the quality of products is going up and costs are coming down. We have a huge selection of things many of us use every day that can protect the earth and your wallet.
I like to be as realistic as possible and being 100% eco-friendly isn’t possible for me. But “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, so I do what I can when I can. For example, almost every product in my home gym is eco friendly including my flooring which is 100% recycled and it all came from MatsMatsMats.com Our green yoga products like eco yoga mats, as well as our meditation cushion and exercise products, allow your body and your conscience to feel good. Also, just to help out a little more, every time one of our resistance tubes or fitness balls is purchased, a tree will be planted to help offset the environmental effects of manufacturing and transporting these products. For every million trees there is enough CO2 absorbed to offset the negative impact of more than 16,000 cars in a year and provide $124 Billion worth of air pollution control. Small steps.. making a HUGE difference.
March 7th, 2014 by Chris Aviles
We have so many products on our website that it’s sometimes overwhelming; even I forget we have some things. While talking to a customer that was inquiring about yoga mats for her studio, I noticed something I thought I’d pass onto you.
Like many of our customers, who are equipping their new businesses with new products, my customer was looking to get as many mats as she could for the best price. I automatically pointed her toward our Deluxe Yoga Mat which you’ve seen in yoga studios across the country and around the world. It’s durable, stable and has a high-tack, sticky surface with a soft feel making it the ideal mat for yoga. It’s normally sold online for $19.95 a piece and as usual I was trying to get her the very best price. After playing around with shipping options and trying to find a different mat that I felt would be good for her, I discovered a service I had completely forgot about! We emboss yoga mats with logos! This was perfect because not only do we imprint logos onto our Deluxe Yoga Mat, but it come out to $14.75 per mat. So now my customer has the quantity and quality she needs at a good price, and has her brand new company logo on all her mats which makes her look more professional.
The cool part about having these mats is you can not only use them in your studio, but you can sell them to customers and get some added advertising.
December 11th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
For those not aware, green is the new black. Businesses of all types are looking to cash in on the various state and federal perks of being certified “green” by using (relatively more) sustainable building materials, products, and infrastructure. As of late, we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries regarding LEED. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The program encourages and accelerates the adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
The LEED rating system is comprised of ratings for different types of projects like new construction, existing buildings, core and shell, etc. However, as there are no products that are “LEED certified”, the use of various products can increase or decrease points needed for particular projects to gain certification. MatsMatsMats.com has been a big player in offering “green” products to our customers for a while now. We removed the heavy metals from our PVC yoga mat, we were one of the first online retailers push hard on our all natural rubber yoga mat as well. However, our biggest and best performing line for LEED certification is our recycled rubber products. Due to the use of regional recycled materials and other helpful parameters, our interlocking zip tiles, rolled rubber goods, and roof walkway pads can rack up anywhere from 4 points as underlayment and up to 8 points as flooring! This is a big help for contractors and architects alike looking to start on the right foot on any new construction projects which require LEED certification. For additional information, contact any of our product specialist or sales reps anytime!
November 19th, 2013 by Stag
I am not what you would call a proponent of Yoga; not in the practical sense at least. However I am a self-proclaimed “Jack of All Trades – Master of None” kind of guy. That being said, I often find materials and things that can serve multiple uses. Many of these items you would not intrinsically think of a specific said project or function.
Let me give you an example. As mentioned above – Yoga, and Yoga items and products. These yoga mats are made of durable and malleable PVC and/or Clean PVC materials. Now if you have ever had a decent tool collection, or any kind of hobbyist activity that would require you to have drawers of your needed items stashed away; you may need them to be protected, yes?
So yoga mats and yoga pads to the rescue. These light-weight and soft yoga accessories are actually perfect for lining these drawers filled with – let’s face it hundreds if not more dollars’ worth of your hobbies necessities. They made an area that is perfect for your goodies and are easily cut to fit the shapes and sizes that you may need depending on your specific storage area. They come in a wide array of colors and last a very long time. After all they are engineered to be laid and stood upon; they can definitely take a little wear and tear sort of speak.
So when you need a quick fix for a problem, or hobby; just look around. The answer may be right in front of you.
September 23rd, 2013 by Stag
I love camping! There, I’ve said it. I love the outdoors, I love getting off the grid if only for a little while. Just you or perhaps some friends and the great outdoors. Now whether you choose the forest or the desert you know that temperatures can raise and drop pretty quickly. You know that the ground is certainly a cruel mistress, and you may have figured out that you need to think on your feet at times.
A good, yet seemingly random item to have that certainly comes in handy for a quick warm up would be a Mexican blanket. Nice and warm, easy to pack and pretty light weight. It comes in handy in a pinch on a long hike or just randomly around the fire when you need it. It is also perfect to use in combination with your yoga mat in the morning in place of a Bolster.
Everyone is different when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Some need less support, others need more. You would be surprised that you can easily use gymnastics mats for a very comfortable camping bed. They are easy to clean, plenty of support and relatively easy to pack for your so-called car camping adventures. However if you require something lighter for those longer walkabouts you may or may not be taking, I would recommend the trusted Anti-Fatigue mats. They are light weight and can be rolled to a small size and easily attached to a backpack.
All in all, you would be very surprised about what things may be used for “alternative” reasons, and in ways that the original manufacturers never really intended. So venture out dear reader, see the world…and bring a blanket.
September 17th, 2013 by Ben Gonzalez
As of late, I’ve grown increasingly aware of the fact that I am getting old. Not old-old, but old like an adult. 3rd floor of life. Where you start reflecting on the fact that you should have been a little more athletic just so your body was conditioned for the hardships of being an American citizen for the next 50 years. Ok, ok, 30 if I’m lucky.
Heavily bombarded with fast food, fast cars, and fast women, it is no wonder our indulgent lifestyle makes it so easy to forget very basic things like regular physical activity. After all, the body wasn’t exactly designed to sit at cubicle trying to think of blogs to write… hmmm…
I’ve become increasingly more interested in keeping my body in shape. Not for looks, but merely for endurance, stamina, and vigor… IN BED! BOOYAH! Seriously, though… life in general. Regular physical activity be it buying a yoga mat and start doing yoga, jogging by myself, getting a few martial arts mats to wrestle with my girlfriend, or just taking the stairs instead of the elevator can substantially improve my metabolism, sleep, and my mood overall. Another big commitment is cutting out ALL sodas. That crap is BAD for you! No more Diet Coke for me! Or Squirt.. or Fanta… or regular Coke. (Beer is NOT soda by the way!)
Take it from someone that has been blessed with a pretty amazing metabolism (I have literally bombarded my body with just about anything you can throw at it for the past 30 years… and I still maintain a happy median weight of 185 lbs at 6’4″), things start to change after the last half of the second decade. If you are feeling the 3rd floor blues, consider taking something up cycling, yoga, martial arts, or cross-fit. One of the very distinct perks of working here has been the employee discounts on a variety things like work-out gloves, yoga equipment, martial arts products, and exercise mats. If you need a bit of a push in the right direction, remember that the body is like a car. Always lease, never buy. Wait, that’s not right… Oh yes, you’re body is like a car and it won’t last forever. But the more regular maintenance you give it, the more mileage you’ll get out of it.
August 29th, 2013 by Kelly Green
MAYO CLINIC APPROVES OF YOGA FOR STRESS RELIEF
Stress. It’s everywhere. A ringing phone at the wrong moment can send me flying through the air, shrieking like a goosed intern . . . not that I’ve ever goosed an intern. . . . Or a waitress . . . or a nun . . . moving on.
Even the “DING” of an arriving email can send my anxiety levels to “Houston, we have a problem” levels. So what can we do in this day and age to help alleviate some of that pent up stress? One possible avenue of relief has recently been suggested by the Mayo Clinic.
“Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.”
Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Sometimes a yoga mat is all that is needed for a beginner or advanced student. Other times a prop like a stretching strap or a Bolster may be part of your experience. Jo-Sha mat wipes are also available to be sure whatever you’re using is clean and smells good.
Hatha yoga, my discipline of choice, is good for stress management because of its Tai Chi style of slower, gentler movement. Hatha is also one of the most common styles of yoga, classes are easy to find and literature abounds. Besides, did you know there are eleventy -gajillion postures that have “prone, seated, relaxed, or rest in their names? But I digress. Most people can benefit from any style of yoga — it’s all about your personal preferences. Mine just happen to consist of sitting, relaxing, resting and proning.
The core components of hatha yoga are:
Poses. Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you stretching your physical limits.
Breathing. Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga. In yoga, breath signifies your vital energy. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.
The potential health benefits of yoga include:
Stress reduction. A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
Improved fitness. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you’re less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
Management of chronic conditions. Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
Once you decide on your style of yoga, head on over to the MatsMatsMats.com website and have a gander at all the different items that you can buy to get the most out of your burgeoning quest for yogism. Yoga Mats, Bolsters, meditation cushions, pillows, blankets, towels, blocks, benches, wedges, straps, cleaning wipes, disinfectants, and so much more.
August 23rd, 2013 by Kelly Green
I recently took a sick day off. For unknown reasons, I had a gland infection under my jawline that made me look like a squirrel harvesting acorns. Not only that but my eyes were reacting to some kind of irritant (I thought it was my mother-in-laws cooking but I could be wrong). Along with this came a nagging temperature, also known as a low grade fever. Is there anything more demoralizing than looking like a rabid wombat and feeling like a piece of meat in a toaster oven? I just wanted to sleep and call it a day. Problem was I could not get comfortable. Twisting this way and that way, I started looking at the bathroom tiles with longing, knowing that the coolness would be a balm.
Enter the Shiatsu Thai Massage Mat, this amazing, comfortable mat wicks away the sweat and keeps me cooler and more comfortable than anything else I know. Although the original purpose was for giving and receiving a massage, I have found it perfect for the rogue nap and camping. It provides a clean, soft platform to ease into slumberland and along with a zafu pillow “borrowed” from my wife’s collection of yoga meditation supplies. I was able to get a comfortable and cool few hours of rest while still able to tell my spouse that I spent the day with her meditation equipment. I merely leave out the part where I am snoozing.
If I had been thinking clearly, I would have added a silk eye pillow fresh out of the freezer to soothe my swollen eyes. But I was already asleep and snoring before I even thought about thinking about maybe wandering in that direction.