Feb 21

Parachuting Safety for Beginners

Parachuting SafetyIf you find exciting the new idea you and your friends shared late one afternoon of getting together over the following weekend to try parachuting, the hobby of jumping off a moving training airplane while wearing a parachute, you better read the following tips, as your and your friends’ safety literally depend on pulling the right type of cord at the right time.

Begin by researching the facilities at your area that offer these kind of extreme sports adventures and then speak -in person- with the trainer who has to be an experienced and professional skydiver.

You should be able to tour the facilities, ask for other people’s reviews, request their authorization and certification documents, and generally learn through observation before putting your money, your time and your life at the hands of someone not adequately trained to lead you back to safety once you jump off a moving airplane.

Second, you have to inspect the gear you will be wearing and using. By gear here we mean the garment you should be dressed with, and most importantly, the parachute your life will depend on. In order for a parachute to be of good quality and ready-to-use, it had to be carefully folded, or “packed” to ensure that it will open reliably.

In the U.S. and many developed countries, emergency and reserve parachutes are packed by “riggers” who must be trained and certified according to legal standards. Paratroops and sport skydivers are always trained to pack their own primary “main” parachutes.

Thus, inspect the company’s parachutes and make sure you check their materials for any problems or malfunctions. In fact, parachutes can malfunction in several ways. Malfunctions can range from minor problems that can be corrected in-flight and still land safely, to catastrophic malfunctions that will require the unlucky fellow to cut away the main parachute using a modern 3-ring release system and the reserve parachute to be deployed.

Most skydivers are also equipped with small barometric computers known as an Automatic Activation Device (AAD) that will automatically deploy the reserve parachute in case of emergency. Specifically, if a skydiver does not deploy the main parachute to reduce his rate of descent by a preset altitude, the AAD device “reads” the malfunction and automatically releases the reserve parachute.

If you are concerned whether or not this will happen when you are going to be out there, statistical reports estimate that approximately one in a thousand main parachutes experience some kind of opening malfunction and must be cut away; although some skydivers have on their records many thousands of jumps and never had to cut away their parachute.

But, most accidents and fatalities in skydiving occur under a fully functional main parachute and are due to turbulence or inexperience. Thus, ask, listen, and essentially learn as much as you can from your skydiving trainer before taking off and ultimately jumping off the plane.

Feb 14

Sit Up In a Correct Way to Form Your Ab

Sit UpYour abdominal muscles are really one big muscle called the Rectus Abdominus. You do not have upper, mid and lower abs unless you have some genetic anomaly.

This is really critical to understand because the long muscle fibers in the abdominal muscles start at ribcage and ends at the pubic region.

So, when you contract your muscles during a curl-up or crunch, the two ends of the muscle fibers move toward each other. It is impossible for the lower portion of the Rectus Abdominus (abs) to function without equally “firing off” all the other muscle fibers in the abs.

Once the muscle relaxes and allows its two ends to move apart and reach its original stretched position, you will complete the full range-of-motion of an abdominal exercise,

I am not forgetting the external and internal Obliques because they are directly and indirectly involved while performing any abdominal movement so it’s really not necessary to hammer out your Obliques regularly. In fact, since the only thing a muscle can do is shrink and grow (atrophy or hypertrophy), you probably will not want to overly develop the Obliques because it will create a thicker looking waistline.

That means the key to creating great-developed abs is to use exercises that fully contract the abdominal muscle until it is fatigued and that will take the muscle through it’s full range-of-motion, just like any other muscle you build in your body.

Remember though, you will not see your abs if they are hidden under a layer of fat and you cannot spot reduce the fat from waistline by training your abs for hours on end. Simply doing hours of abdominal exercises may develop your abs but you will still carry that layer of fat around your body if you aren’t burning the appropriate amount of calories.

If you are trying to lose body fat, there are much bigger and better exercises than abdominal exercises for burning calories and body fat.

Now that you know how the abdominal muscle works, it’s time to discover, “The most forgotten productive exercise for your Abs.” The Sit Up.

It’s really, really important for you to know how to properly perform a Sit Up. If you perform the Sit Up like you did in Gym Class, you are reducing the Sit Up’s effectiveness by almost 50% and you could cause some serious low back pain for yourself.

Here again, it is important to understand the rules behind Abdominal-development and the Sit Up exercise really qualifies as a very effective movement.

Remember, when the abdominal muscle is working, “Two ends of the muscle fibers must move toward each other and be able to fully contract”.

Does the Sternum and Pubic area move toward each other when performing Sit Ups?

Does the Abdominal Muscle bend and stretch the spine in its full range of motion in a Sit Up?

Do the abdominal muscles reach full extension to full flexion?
– YES, if you perform the exercise correctly! So, why does the sit up exercise get such a bad rap?

Primarily because the old style Sit Ups you performed incorrectly in gym class put too much stress on the lower back and hip flexors. But, do you know what is really crazy about that logic? If more muscles than one are involved, it is called a compound or multi-joint movement.

You won’t hear me saying compound movements are bad. Are these supposed experts trying to get people to actually believe that compound movements are great for every muscle except the abdominal muscles?

If I remember correctly, didn’t these same exercise physiologists claim squats and Deadlifts put too much strain on your knees and back and that we all needed to stop doing those exercises too? Just a few years later, most of the experts are now eating their words, aren’t they?

The appropriate way to perform an effective Sit Up

Lay flat on your back with a rolled up towel under your lower back. Bend your knees about 45° with heels on the floor and keep your toes pointing up. Do not anchor your feet.

Spread the knees apart approximately 6-8 inches to prevent the hip flexors from contributing too much to the exercise.

Next, extend your arms between your legs and keep your hands between your legs throughout the movement because it will help keep you in the proper position.

Now, exhale and lift your shoulders off the ground, keeping your neck in a neutral position. Concentrate on trying to force the lower portion of your ribcage into your knees by curling the spine upward into the sit up position (DO NOT CURL YOUR NECK).

Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position by uncurling your spine and you are finished with the repetition when you feel the rolled up towel supporting your lower back again.

Notice how both ends of the abdominal muscle fully contract together and are stretched through its full range of motion. When you perform a Sit Up with proper biomechanics, your next crunch exercise will pale by comparison.

Feb 07

Find a Gym to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

The benefits of exercise sound fantastic but there is just one problem. You have to exercise to gain the benefits! For many, this is a big problem. So, what can you do to get yourself motivated to join the wonderful world of exercising?

A great solution is to join a gym where you are in the company of like-minded people. Joining a gym for the first time or after a period of inactivity can be a little scary. I hope this article will make your fitness journey a little easier.

Aren’t all gyms pretty much the same?

The short answer would be. ……. NO. Every gym has its own personality both in the equipment and the type of people it attracts. Some gyms cater to weight lifters with lots of free weights and little else, while other facilities might cater to working women and offer activities such as yoga, spinning or aerobics.

There are locally owned gyms and nationwide chains. Small gyms as well as mega fitness centers. There is a gym for everybody but it will take a little footwork to find your perfect fit.

What’s the most important feature when looking for a gym?

Location must be considered before anything else. Absence will not make the heart grow fonder. A gym more than 10 minutes from your home or office will end up not getting used. If you like to work out in the morning you might want to stick with gyms close to home.

If you’re a lunchtime sweat maven then a gym near work could be a better option. Some of the larger chains may have facilities by both work and home. In addition, if you travel, gyms with multiple locations may let you work out for FREE, or at a discount, if they have a facility at your travel destination.

Other features to consider

Membership Clientele – Check out the other patrons in the gym you are considering. Each gym has its own personality. Is it mostly women or men? Is everybody wearing fashionable workout gear or is it a shorts and t-shirt crowd? Does it cater to families or is it an adult’s only gym?

Equipment – The quality and variety of equipment is very important if you plan on starting a comprehensive fitness program. Is the equipment well maintained? Check to see how many machines are “out of order”.

Check to see if free weights are offered as well as machines. Is there an adequate cardio section with plenty of bikes, climbers and treadmills? These tend to be high use pieces of equipment so it is important that the facility have several.

Hours – Everybody has different times for his or her workouts. Make sure the gym you choose will accommodate your schedule. If you are an early bird and your gym opens at 10:00 a.m. then you are probably going to end up not using it despite the other features you find appealing.

Price – Don’t get fooled by a low-ball price. Make sure the membership includes the use of everything of interest to you. Some gyms have a low membership fee and then charge extra for using the tennis courts, pool, classes etc.

Read the fine print. Also, there are all-inclusive low priced gyms that are in the business of selling memberships and don’t really care what happens after you sign up. You may find that half your town has a membership and you have to wait in line to use the equipment.

Management - Is there an active owner or manager on the premises? What is there policy regarding restacking your weights and the playing of loud music?

In some gyms, anything goes and you may hear 3 or 4 different stereos playing at the same time, weights are thrown around and you can never find the equipment you would like to use. This is a sign of poor and inattentive management and should probably be removed from consideration.

Everybody is different and there is not a single solution for picking the ideal gym. The key is to find a place that you feel comfortable and that you will use on a regular basis. Working out is a habit that takes time to form. Don’t make an impulsive decision that will cause you to lose your desire to get in shape.

Before making a commitment, visit and workout at a few gyms that you are considering. Most facilities will let you try them out for a few days. Make sure you go at the times you would if you were to join.

This will give you a feel for how crowded the equipment is at that time. Now, the only thing left to do is just go out and GET STARTED!!

Jan 31

Barrel Racing

Barrel RacingHere is a sport for everyone. This activity offers to its enthusiasts the relaxation of the outdoors coupled with the excitement of speed and the unparalleled connection with an animal many times larger, stronger, and faster than the individual mounted on top.

The only judge involved is the clock. You won’t find any style preferences, attitude, or subjective opinions here. Either you have the fastest time or you don’t.

Barrel racing has been around for years. It has been a game event in numerous competitions for decades where men, women, and children have enjoyed displaying their expertise at top speed for all to see. Most often the first exposure to it comes from watching the Rodeos.

The cowboys introduced barrel racing into their list of events so their wives and girlfriends would have something to compete in at the Rodeos. However, throughout the rest of the world it is open to and participated in by all.

The race is relatively simple at first glance. It consists of three barrels placed at specified distances in an arena in a triangular pattern, referred to as a cloverleaf pattern. Different associations have their own recommended distances.

A general guideline would be ninety feet from the first to second barrel and ninety feet to the third. These distances vary anywhere from sixty to one hundred and five feet. However, once set, it remains the same for all competitors in that race.

The competitor enters the arena at one end and proceeds at top speed around the first barrel and then proceeds across the arena to the second, which must be turned in the opposite direction from the first. Next they proceed down the arena to the third barrel, which must be turned in the same direction as the second barrel. Then it’s down the centerline at breakneck speed across the finish line. That’s it, fastest time wins.

Barrel racing is a wonderful activity for anyone who enjoys being outdoors, excitement, an adrenalin rush, and the chance to really communicate with horses. When you travel at top speed your communication skills need to be on time and accurate. This is one sport that seems to hold the interest of entire families. Even the teenagers stay with it. That could be due to the fact that most of the time you win cash and not ribbons.

If you think that you’re ready for a little excitement, don’t hesitate, give it a try. Don’t be put off by the idea of competing or even the speed. Many of my students don’t go out and start competing right away. Some never want to compete.

They simply want to enjoy having the ability to do it and the opportunity to give it a try. Most of all they are thrilled to be able to do something so completely different from anything they have ever done before. Barrel racing provides them that fulfillment and excitement.