Whether you’re looking to build strength and increase muscle tone as a hobby recreationally, or to compete in fitness events and competitions, there’s no denying that resistance exercises have a number of important benefits to your health.
The consensus varies in terms of the type of the best type of exercise, as well as the number of sets, reps, and workout frequency / duration. But providing you train with weights on a regular basis, you can expect to improve coordination, improve how efficiently your body uses oxygen, and increase your metabolic rate to assist with weight control.
With the popularity of weightlifting and strength related competitions exploding in recent years, due to a combination of social media and new advances in training styles, we thought it would be useful to put together our top 10 favourite workout and CrossFit blogs for the year ahead.
Far from being a simple list of workouts, these are sites that we’ve found go to great lengths to produce some of the highest quality and innovative routines available anywhere online, covering everything from pre-workout nutrition to the best ways to recover from lower back pain. Enjoy!
Social Media phenomenon Neila Rey is a site based primarily around workouts that have been put together in such a way that makes them instantly recognizable.
Although Neila is the founder of the site, there’s actually a core team of members working closely behind the scenes to deliver what has quickly become one of the highest quality workout resources online, despite only having launched in 2013.
New workout routines are tested by some of their 100+ volunteers globally, before being designed and created in poster form, then added to the site.
Despite the immense amount of effort that goes into this creation process, you won’t find a single banner ad, popup, or hidden link. This is because the work is supported entirely by user donations.
As well as individual workout posters – which are often attractively tailored towards specific movies, such as the Bourne series – you’ll also find everything from nutrition tips and meal plans, to running advice, and even specialist 30 day fitness courses.
These are less designed around a specific routine, and more helping you achieve a longer term fitness goal, with programs for cardio, strength, HIIT, and bodyweight training.
Each program features a link to the suggested meal plan to use, with a scaled down workout poster created for each of the days.
Founded by John Romaniello back in 2009, Roman Fitness Systems originally started life as a single person blog, run alongside his own personal training company.
In the space of just a few years, RFS has developed into one of the most popular training resources online, and even includes the personal fitness coaching as an online option for anyone that’s looking for an individually tailored fitness routine.
If you don’t know your soleus from your gastrocnemius, the depth of the articles John posts on the site may come as a bit of a surprise. While there’s still plenty of variation between topics such as advanced training techniques, nutrition, and psychology, each article goes to great detail to ensure that when you finish reading, you walk away having learnt something that will genuinely improve your results.
Besides being seen in Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and Women’s Health to name a few, John has also partnered with fitness editor and best-selling author Adam Bornstein – who actually runs the site over at BornFitness – to write a bestselling fitness book. Click here for a free chapter.
The blog itself is filled with high quality articles covering everything from calf workouts to making almond butter cookies. While many of these posts are written by John and his team, you’ll also find an impressive collection of guest posts from highly acclaimed fitness professionals, including an interesting post about strength from one of our top strength bloggers, Eric Cressey.
We’ve chosen to include the personal fitness blog of Tony Gentilcore in our top 10 due to its combination of workout specific articles and ability to directly associate the benefits of training for individual sports.
Whether you want to read more about improving tension in the deadlift, or how to master the kettlebell swing, the site is regularly updated (often up to 3 times per week or more!) with insightful new content that presents a fresh look at a wide range of fitness and health related topics.
There’s also a regular series that goes by the name of ‘Stuff To Read While You’re Pretending To Work’, where you can find a roundup of some top quality articles from other respected writers in the fitness industry.
Interestingly enough, Roman Fitness Systems isn’t our only top 10 workout blog to have a connection with Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Eric Cressey.
In fact, away from Tony’s blog, the pair actually joined with Pete Dupius to create Cressey Sports Performance – a high performance sports training and fitness facility on the East Coast.
If you can’t get enough of the information available through on the blog, Tony also offers a number of Individualized Coaching options, as well as a series of seminars and workshops.
Outside of the blog, Tony has also had his work published on some of the best fitness resource websites in the world, including T-Nation.com, BodyBuilding.com, and Men’s Health.
Many sites tend to focus primarily on the actual workout, with the sets, rep ranges, exercises, and even rest periods. Mobility WOD is different in the fact that it focuses on providing you with information that helps prevent injuries, as well as how to train and recover if you’re looking for rehabilitative exercise.
Although they describe themselves as a site for athletes, coaches, physical therapists, and healthcare professionals, their advice is actually incredibly valuable for anyone who trains with weights on a regular basis.
The site itself works on a freemium model, with much of the content being free to read (as well as a selection of videos from their impressive online collection), but at the same time provides you with a paid subscription service if you want to have access to everything.
From $7.99 per month, this paid section of the site really takes the content to a whole new level, and has been designed more for people currently working in the industry, such as health care providers and fitness coaches.
Mobility WOD even plays host to a thriving online community, where you can find solutions to a wide range of mobility questions posted by other visitors to the site, such as the safest ways to improve squat form, and how to avoid forearm pain when lifting a bar overhead.
Although there isn’t a huge collection of workout plans, we believe the information is unique and valuable enough to people’s training to include it in our top 10, with Neila Rey being our favourite resource for actual workouts.
Tailored specifically towards maximizing the strength of body and mind for women of all ages, Girls Gone Strong is an online community where you can find a wide range of articles covering everything from muscle conditioning to fitness fashion.
Unlike a couple of the sites we’ve just mentioned, the content on GGS is actually a culmination of posts written by women experienced in the field of health and fitness, who often have individual fitness blogs of their own.
The site also has a number of personal transformation success stories, which you can find in a category called the ‘GGS Spotlight’. This is in addition to a series called ‘Ask Ann’, where questions asked by visitors to the site, and usually relating to fitness, injury prevention, and nutrition are answered.
This is designed as a step-by-step guide to strength training for women, and includes a full exercise glossary, training video library, and progress tracker. You can also find a similar guide for nutrition, entitled ‘The Modern Woman’s Guide to Good Nutrition’, which has been written by registered dietician and certified sports nutritionist, Dr. Cassandra Forsythe.
As a certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, and graduate of Harvard Business School, it’s clear that Brit is an incredibly determined and dedicated to living a healthy and successful lifestyle.
Her belief that improving your physical fitness and planning your health goals helps you to be more successful in other aspects of your life is what really shines through in her blog, with a particularly motivational story about her own weight loss journey.
After succeeding in her own personal transformation, Grit By Brit has developed into an effective way to share her life experiences, custom designed workout programs, and guidelines for how to setup your own healthy diet plan.
Whether you’re looking for a new workout routine to tone your arms, full body HIIT workout when you’re short on time, or cardio workout that’s actually interesting, you’ll find a large collection of articles complete with clearly laid out plans that are challenging enough to work for all levels of personal fitness.
But as well as running a highly successful website, and having been teaching fitness clients privately, Brit recently quit her job in management consulting to start her own fitness studio. We look forward to following her fitness journey in the new year, and wish her every success with Dallas Grit Fitness!
With 14 years of experience in the fitness industry and features in some of the most well respected health and fitness sites in the world, such as Men’s Health and Shape, Neghar’s site is based around the principal of living joyfully.
The blog itself is regularly updated with a variety of workouts, from kettlebells to bodyweight only routines, which are usually based around shorter durations of as little as 5 minutes.
In many cases, you will also find an accompanying video that shows you exactly what’s required to get the most out of your time. The videos have the added benefit of showcasing the type of exercise form that’s required to recruit the muscles you’re trying to target, while at the same time minimizing risk of injury.
You’ll also find articles on Yoga, nutrition and recipe ideas, travel workouts, and a variety of interesting life lessons and pieces of motivational advice. This includes Fall Freedom, a four-week fitness and lifestyle challenge that’s designed to help women find greater enjoyment in their workouts and fitness routine without obsessing over food and body image.
Neghar also has plans to create a community on the site, where members will be able to take advantage of monthly workout programs, weekly motivation and inspiration, video tips and demos, and much more.
After the success of her exclusive coaching program, where thousands of women signed up to improve their fitness, we’re looking forward to seeing exactly what’s on offer when the Lean & Lovely Community launches.
As well as writing for well know online fitness sites such as elitefts, Greatist, BodyBuilding.com, and Muscle and Strength, Nia has also built up a highly successful fitness site of her own with NiaShanks.com.
After graduating with a degree in Exercise Physiology with high honours in 2009, it only took a few short years for Nia to become recognised as one of the most influential people in health and fitness, and a rated as a leading motivator on Shape.com.
The whole philosophy behind the site is to maintain a high level of content that’s designed to help you achieve and exceed your fitness and strength goals in a way that’s as simple as possible, in order for it to be realistically maintainable.
This essentially means that you will only find lasting health solutions that will lead to long-term benefits, and none of the short term fads that can have a negative impact on your confidence when they don’t turn out the way you expect.
Together with the in-depth articles and online tutorials that cover fat loss, workout techniques, and strength training, Nia has also written a number of books on the subjects. This includes advanced 10, 12, and 15 week programs, which lay out the entire training plan for you, and a nutrition guide that fits in with your lifestyle and preferences.
Each of the programs also includes a number of exclusive exercise demonstration videos, printable workout logs, and customization options that can be used to help you see quicker results on the way to achieving your next fitness goal.
Whether you’re considering starting your first CrossFit workout program, or are simply looking for some much needed training motivation, the Wine To Weightlifting blog is one of the most comprehensive we’ve come across in terms of its ability to cover every aspect of adopting this intense and addictive style of training.
This includes a hugely useful resource that lists a large number of CrossFit workouts, which includes the number of rounds and exercises required. Workouts with names such as Lumberjack 20, Meadows, Tabata This, and The Seven.
As well as the CrossFit workouts themselves, you’ll also find sections dedicated to healthy recipe prep, a documented experience of what it’s like on the Whole30 Program, and a collection of articles detailing Jennifer’s personal experience of competing in CrossFit.
Another regular feature that should help to motivate you is the ‘Lady Lifter Spotlight‘. This is a section of the site that focuses on another female lifter who has a passion for CrossFit, weightlifting, or one of many other types of strength training.
As well as being an interesting read in themselves, they also act as a great way to discover additional websites that you may want to catch up with in the future, with a number of interviewees running their own strength training blogs.
One final feature worth mentioning that many people will find hugely motivational is a list of her fitness aspirations. This is constantly being updated, with goals getting a strikethrough and link to the story behind it each time a new achievement is realised.
We’ve included Opex Fit as one of our top 10 workout blogs for what are actually fairly similar reasons to Mobility WOD, such as the fact that they specialize in teaching people who already have some level of involvement in the health and fitness industry.
This means that they offer Coaching Certification Programs, On-Site Training, as well as Remote Coaching, whereby you receive 30 minute phone consultations and various other benefits even if you’re unable to meet face-to-face.
But the blog itself is the main reason we chose to include Opex Fit in our roundup, with posts dating back to 2011 detailing a wide range of workout ideas to suit a variety of goals.
Ideas for improving functional fitness, strength, and endurance are provided on an almost daily basis, together with a selection of recipe based nutrition articles.
In case you’re looking to compete in the CrossFit season sectionals, regionals, or the games themselves, Opex Fit offer Athlete Pre Camps, whereby you will be taught how to prepare for events and maintain strength levels for longer periods of time.
2015 also sees the introduction of Nutrition and Level 1 Life Coaching events, which could definitely be worth attending if you’re looking to work in the fitness industry and want to build up your qualifications and experience.
If you can’t make it out for the coaching events but love a challenge, you can even see how you measure up to the OPT athletes by calculating your own performance scores for the OPTathlon.