The bottom of the feet have a number of tiny muscles. Although not serious, cramps have a tendency to occur in these muscles during excessive running. This might not cause a long-term disability, but it can stop you dead in your tracks and force you out of a competition or training session. To help prevent your muscles from seizing up and cramping, you can take several preventive measures.
Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your runs. This will help prevent dehydration, which is a major cause of cramps. Sip on a sports drink enriched with electrolytes for running sessions that are longer than 60 minutes. You also can use gels or bars. Use a sports drink or gel every 30 minutes of training after the hour mark.
Minimize your intake of diuretics. Beverages such as coffee, non-herbal tea, lattes and energy drinks are high in caffeine, which can promote dehydration. Avoid high amounts of alcohol.
Get massages from a sports massage therapist on a weekly basis to keep your muscles loose and to help prevent cramping.
Stretch your feet well before you run. Tight foot muscles have a better chance of cramping up than elongated ones. Place your feet in a staggered stance. With both legs straight, lift your back heel up and down eight to 10 times in a slow and controlled motion. Switch feet and repeat.
Include foods in your diet that contain magnesium, calcium and potassium. These minerals help reduce cramping in the body. Nuts, bananas, soybeans, apricots, orange juice, potatoes and dairy products are examples of foods that contain these minerals.
Insanity and P90X are two home-based fitness workouts offered by BeachBody.com. Both programs promise results if followed judiciously — Insanity in 60 days and P90X in 90 days. Intensity is the common theme in both programs. P90X uses a technique called muscle confusion, developed by Tony Horton, while Insanity’s Shaun T uses his own max interval technique to provide intensity. Each technique targets the entire body effectively, providing results based on the users’ commitment to the program(s).
The Insanity program is a complete fitness regimen that can be completed in your home with little to no equipment required. Insanity was developed by Shaun T, a fitness trainer. Participants of Insanity will workout daily, for 60 total days, to one of 10 different DVD workouts. The workouts include cardiovascular, strength, abs and explosive plyometric intervals. Included with the DVDs are a workout schedule, in the form of a calendar, an eating plan and a fitness guide.
The P90X program is a complete fitness regimen that can be completed in your home with limited equipment required, which includes dumbbells, resistance bands and a pull-up bar. P90X was developed by Tony Horton, a personal trainer. Participants of P90X will workout nearly every day, for 90 days, to 1 of 12 different DVD workouts. The workouts include cardiovascular, strength, yoga, abs, and explosive power intervals. Included with the DVDs are a three-phase nutritional plan and fitness guide.
Insanity can provide participants with many benefits including weight loss, muscular strength and endurance, core strength and some flexibility. The DVDs, providing these benefits, consist of the following: 1. Dig Deeper and Fit Test 2. Plyometric Cardio Circuit 3. Cardio Power and Resistance 4. Cardio Recovery and Max Recovery 5. Pure Cardio and Abs 6. Cardio Abs 7. Core Cardio and Balance 8. Max Interval Circuit 9. Max Interval Plyo 10. Max Cardio Conditioning and Abs
P90X can provide participants with many benefits including weight loss, Muscular toning, muscular strength and endurance, core strength and flexibility. The DVDs, providing these benefits, consist of the following: 1. Chest and Back 2. Plyometrics 3. Shoulders and Arms 4. Yoga X 5. Legs and Back 6. Kenpo X 7. X Stretch 8. Core Synergistics 9. Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps 10. Back and Biceps 11. Cardio X 12. Ab Ripper X
Insanity and P90X are two highly effective DVD workout programs that offer variety in their workouts. Each program delivers similar results using different techniques to push and challenge the body. Both programs suggest participants consult with a physician prior to beginning and, due to intensity, may not be suitable for beginners. Selection of one program over the other is largely dependent on participant preference.
Mental health problems cause struggles within the psyche. Take a look at various types of mental disorders and famous people who have them, along with causes and treatments.
Baseball and backyards go together like hot dogs and buns. But America’s favorite pastime is, somewhat surprisingly, one of America’s most dangerous sports for kids. While the rate of baseball-related injuries is lower than for contact sports like football or hockey, the severity of baseball injuries ¡ª more fractures, for example ¡ª is actually higher than for other kids’ sports [source: Warner].
The good news is that backyard baseball can be both fun and safe as long as you’re aware of the most common safety mistakes. We’ve assembled a list of basic backyard baseball safety tips to keep a great summer tradition alive while keeping families out of the emergency room.
Try this great recipe from the football fans and players on TLC’s Kick Off Cook Off.
See more recipes from TLC’s KICK OFF COOK OFF, a new cooking competition that slams together America’s two favorite pastimes: football and cooking! Served with a garlic pepper lemon glaze.
Check out more recipes for Meat
Rack pulls are a strength-building exercise that targets the so-called posterior chain muscles that are responsible for hip and back extension. Powerlifters use rack pulls to develop their ability to achieve a strong lock out when performing deadlifts, while bodybuilders use this exercise to make their backs more muscular and thick ¨C a process called hypertrophy. Rack pulls are normally performed with heavy weights using low repetitions and, as such, are not a suitable exercise for beginners.
To perform a rack pull, place a loaded barbell in a squat rack at just below knee-height. Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand or mixed grip and stand with your feet directly below the bar. Bend your knees slightly, lift your chest and contract your core muscles. With straight arms, extend your hips and stand upright. Hold this uppermost position for a second before pushing your hips back, leaning forward and lowering the bar back to the rack. Make sure that you do not allow your lower back to become rounded at any point during this exercise, as this can lead to injury.
Rack pulls require and develop the muscles that extend your hip; specifically your gluteus maximus or butt muscle, and your hamstrings on the backs of your thighs. Hip extension is an essential part of many athletic movements, including lifting, running, throwing and jumping. The action of extending your hips is emphasized during the rack pull, as almost all of the movement in this exercise is due to driving the hips forward, as opposed to knee extension, which uses the quadriceps.
In rack pulls, your hips act as the fulcrum, or pivot point, while your thighs and spine act as levers. The muscles of your lower back, your erector spinae, must contract very hard to ensure that your spine remains locked in position. This action keeps the stress of the exercise on your muscles and off your more passive ligaments and spine disks. Although your erector spinae generate a lot of force during rack pulls, they do not change length. This is called an isometric or static contraction.
It is very important that, when performing rack pulls, you keep your shoulders pulled back. Pulling your shoulders back helps to lift your chest, which promotes a strong lower back arch ¨C essential for safe performance of this exercise. The action of pulling your shoulders back, called retraction, during this exercise will strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades, specifically your middle trapezius and rhomboids. Strengthening these muscles can help improve your posture.
The weakest link in the rack pull exercise if usually your hands. Some lifters work around this by using wrist straps or special training hooks. While such practices may enhance your short-term lifting performance, lifting without these aids will help increase your grip strength. A strong grip is important for many sports including wrestling, judo, football, rugby and climbing.
Much speculation surrounds the use of creatine and protein powder before and after workouts. What you should take and when is critical for obtaining maximum results from your workouts. Knowing how your body reacts to each of these supplements will help you determine whether they should be taken together or separate and whether you should take them before your workout, after your workout or both. Check with your doctor before supplementing with creatine.
Protein powder formulas provide the essential amino acids your body requires when building muscle protein. While protein is provided in meats, eggs, milk, beans and many other sources, they must go through a time-consuming digestion process before they are available to your body for building muscle protein. For this reason, it is important that you supplement before and after workouts with a shake made with protein powder providing an immediate or an almost immediate source of the necessary amino acids for building human protein.
Milk, along with casein and amino acids, contains creatine. Creatine has long been used by bodybuilders for maximizing the results of their workouts. Using a creatine supplement before your workout provides the extra energy for working your muscles a little longer and preventing early fatigue. However, creatine used after your workout will supply the energy your body requires for muscle growth. According to Dwayne Jackson, Ph.D., and Jim Stoppani, Ph.D. of Muscle and Fitness, ¡°Getting another dose of creatine post workout is smart because this is when creatine uptake is maximal, thereby ensuring that levels in the muscle are maxed out. In addition, brand-new research suggests that creatine has antioxidant properties. This can help limit muscle damage caused by heavy training and enhance recovery.¡±
For maximum muscle gains, the best time to take supplements such as creatine is immediately after your workouts, according to Weighttraining.com. Creatine uptake is at its highest levels right after you workout so this is an ideal time for creatine supplementation. Jackson and Stoppani also state that ¡°brand-new research suggests that creatine has antioxidant properties. This can help limit muscle damage caused by heavy training and enhance recovery.¡±
The best times for protein powder supplementation are immediately after your workouts. A review in the February 2008 issue of “Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism” explains that the benefit of this timing is probably related to the increased blood flow which increases the transport of the creatine and amino acids to skeletal muscle. If you do not take the creatine and protein powder together, you will end up with a timing issue since you need both creatine and protein powder soon after your workouts.
Badminton is the world¡¯s fastest racket sport. It incorporates a lightweight racket and a shuttlecock, or “birdie,” that must not touch the ground as it passes between players. The game started around 2,000 years ago and was common in countries such as Greece, China and India. Today, it is played around the world for competition and for the benefits it provides, like balance, hand-eye coordination, muscular strength and agility. To prepare for the game or to develop these benefits, try badminton drills and lead-up games.
For this volleyball-like lead-up game, you will need a racket for each player and one birdie. Form two teams, with six to nine players each. Players on one team will hit the birdie over the net so that it falls between the other team¡¯s boundaries. A team is allowed to hit the birdie up to three times while on its side before it makes it over the net. Note that the same player may not hit the birdie twice in a row. The serving team will score when the other team cannot return the birdie legally and within the serving team¡¯s boundaries. However, if the serving team fails to return the birdie to the other team, that specific play is over and other team is up to serve. Set a limit of points at the beginning of the game. The first team to reach this number of points is the winner.
Serving challenge is a badminton drill used to hone your serving skills and hand-eye coordination. Every player needs a racket. Have one net and 20 birdies per group. Students will work in groups of three or four. Have each group stand on the baseline on one side of the net. On the other side of the net, set up different-size targets. Each target will be worth different amounts of points depending on size. Using the 20 birdies, the team will work to score as many points as possible using the correct serving form. To do this, the group will split the 20 birdies evenly amongst the members. Designate an allotted time for students to complete this goal. The team who scores the most points in that specific time wins.
This fast-paced drill requires one racket per person and one shuttle per pair. Separate students into pairs, and have each stand on one side of the net. One player must start off lying down. The other player will serve the shuttle standing up. The lying player must jump up and return the shuttle. However, once the student who serves has served, he must lie down until the shuttle returns over the net. At that time, he will jump up and attempt a return. The drill will continue in this manner until the allotted time is up.
For this game, you will need a racket for each player, four nets and one shuttle per set of four squares. Each game will have four teams of two. To start, set up the nets to make a large “X.” All nets will be hooked to a center pole. Number the squares from one to four, and have one team in each square. The team in Square 1 will serve the shuttle to any other team. That team must return the shuttle to any other square they desire. That team must do the same. Every team has one shot to get the shuttle over the net and to another team. If a team misplays the shuttle or hits it out of bounds, the team members have one strike against them. After this error, the last team to hit successfully will serve again. Each team that obtains three strikes is out. The last team standing wins.
Part of getting ready for the rigors of sports or other physical activity is working on footwork, which affects agility, or the ability to move quickly and effectively in different directions. Agility and footwork is key to every major sport, including football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Drills can help target footwork, helping to improve agility and becoming better at a respective sport or activity.
A ladder is a piece of lightweight equipment put on the floor to help guide players through footwork drills. Made out of tape or other fabric, it is laid on the floor and resembles a ladder, with sides connected by rungs. In ladder drills, the point is to step inside the ladder, between the rungs, without your feet touching it. Different drills can target different types of footwork, such as moving side to side, forward or backwards. To develop quick footwork, try the in-and-out drill, in which the participant stands facing the ladder, with it lying lengthwise in front of them. Starting at one of the far ends, the person puts one foot into a section of the ladder, then the other foot, then removes the first foot, followed by the second one, all done as fast as possible. The person then shifts down the ladder and repeats for all the separate sections until arriving at the end of the ladder.
Jump roping is a popular footwork drill and has been used by boxers as a way to train the feet to move quickly in the ring. Jump rope drills involves using a long rope that is held by both hands and twirled around the body as the user jumps over it. Drills can be done by varying the speed and height of the jump as well as trying to revolve the rope multiple times in one jump. Users can also run or walk as they jump rope, as well as moving the feet in different directions, such as side to side or front and back while maneuvering the rope.
Using a step or elevated platform to perform specific drills is another effective way to develop footwork and agility. As with the ladder drills, step drills can be done side-to-side or front-to-back to develop the different footwork skills needed. A simple step drill involves the participant standing in front of the step or elevated object and stepping up with one foot, then the other foot, then stepping down with the first foot and again with the second foot, as fast as possible. This drill can be performed for a certain amount of time and trains the feet to move quickly in a specific direction. Drills can also be done by standing to the side of the step and stepping sideways with one foot, bringing the other foot up, then stepping off to the other side with the first foot, and then with the second foot, ending up on the opposite side from where the participant started.
Playing defensive line on a football team requires a mixture of strength, agility and speed, and each can be developed and improved with off-season workouts. An effective off-season workout routine should provide you with a combination of strength building, muscular endurance and cardiovascular training activities.
A defensive lineman constantly uses his muscles while performing the bulk of his responsibilities, which include tackling, chasing ball carriers and putting pressure on the quarterback by locking horns with equally big and strong offensive linemen. A player¡¯s core muscles, including the lower back, hip and abdominal muscles, provide the stability and balance needed to outmaneuver and tackle opposing players. It makes sense to strengthen and enhance these muscles through a variety of strength-training exercises, including bench presses, squats, curls, dead lifts and crunches. Every day you spend in the weight room should include a workout for each of the major muscle groups, and this should not be done on consecutive days. At least a day¡¯s rest is needed to allow the muscle tissue to repair itself from a workout and, in the process, increase muscle mass, which translates into stronger muscles.
Few defensive linemen enjoy running, but it is a crucial element of the game. It can be the difference between on-field success and riding the pine. Long-distance and short-distance running, such as sprints, are important elements of an off-season workout that should be done at least three times a week for 30 minutes to an hour per session. When running long distance, end each session by increasing speed until you are in a full sprint during the final 100 yards of the run. Keep your sprints at a distance of 100 yards or less, focusing on sprints of 10 to 20 yards, common distances covered by a defensive lineman during the course of a football game.
Court games, such as basketball, tennis, squash and racquetball, are ideal for a defensive lineman¡¯s off-season workout regimen thanks to their ability to help develop agility and muscular endurance. Racquetball, for instance, requires short bursts of speed and a lot of twisting and turning, moves used extensively during a football game. Basketball gives you the chance to develop the core and leg muscles by rebounding, boxing out and running. Similar to racquetball, tennis involves a lot of lateral movement and helps improve hand-eye coordination, which can come in handy when chasing down a running back. Implement court games into your off-season routine at least once or twice per week.
Jumping rope will improve your hand-eye-foot coordination and agility while providing an effective cardiovascular workout. According to the Jump Rope Institute, 10 minutes of rapid rope jumping burns as many calories as 30 minutes of jogging and 720 yards of swimming. Swimming provides a full-body workout that works each of the body¡¯s major muscle groups. It’s an effective way to tone muscles without the influence of body weight. Jumping rope and swimming should be used as regular components of a defensive lineman¡¯s off-season workout routine and should be engaged in at least twice a week for optimal results.