TAKING A BREAK:

STROKE: Are you prepared?

A stroke happens about every 40 seconds. Each year, about 795,000 Americans have a stroke. Do you know the warning signs?

If you do have stroke warning signs, this means your brain isn’t getting the blood it needs. Damage may be temporary or permanent. For example, you might lose the ability to speak, but recover it with time. You might have partial or complete weakness, for example, in the use of an arm or leg.

The important thing is what you do if stroke symptoms happen. The sooner the treatment, the less chance of serious damage to the brain. And this means less chance of permanent disability.

Stroke Warning Signs

Sometimes symptoms of stroke develop gradually. But if you are having a stroke, you are more likely to have one or more sudden warning signs like these:

Types of Strokes

Stroke symptoms may differ, depending upon the type of stroke, where it occurs in the brain, and how severe it is. A less severe stroke may be more difficult to recognize.

An ischemic stroke happens when a vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked. It can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, fatty deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis) can cause blood clots to form. Sometimes a blood clot forms in the heart from an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It then travels to a place where it blocks an artery supplying the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain. This can also happen for a variety of reasons.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a “mini stroke” from a temporary blockage. Although a TIA doesn’t cause permanent brain damage, it may cause stroke warning signs, which may last minutes or even hours. Think of this as a warning sign you shouldn’t ignore.

What to Do if You Have Symptoms of Stroke

Remember that a stroke is a medical emergency. Sometimes it is even called a brain attack.

Don’t ignore stroke warning signs even if you have just one warning sign or if symptoms are mild or go away.

Don’t wait! Every minute counts. Call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) if you have one or more symptoms for more than a few minutes. An ambulance can get you to a hospital without delay. Check the time when symptoms begin. This is important information to share when you arrive at the hospital.

What if you’re with someone else who might be having stroke symptoms but you’re not sure?

Take charge and call 911. Some people may deny that there is a serious problem. They don’t want others to make a fuss. Or they might ask, “What’s the big rush?” It may help to remember this: What’s the worst thing that can happen if this isn’t a stroke? An unnecessary trip to the hospital. But what’s the worst thing that can happen if you ignore the problem and it turns out to be a stroke? The result could be much worse.

TAKU’s NOTE: The above material was gathered from various sources around the web. I am sharing it here for information purposes. I have been away from my blog because someone near and dear to me recently suffered a stroke. This has been a life altering event for me and my family and I would not wish this on anyone. I’ve learned a few things during this process.

1. Be sure your life is in order. In other words G.-Y.-S.-T.

2. If you or someone you know has already had a stroke, be sure and explore your available resources.

If you think someone may be having a stroke remember this acronym: F-A-S-T

Functional Isometrics: Part Two

By TAKU

In part one of this article we learned about some different forms of strength training and discussed their similarities and differences including Isometrics and Functional Isometrics. In part two we will take a closer look at how to incorporate these concepts into a your workout program. I will also introduce the concept of Static Contraction training an ultra brief, intense and efficient workout system based on the Functional isometric concept.

Exercise Example:

Lets take a look at the execution of the Bench Press using the Functional isometric training style discussed in part one.

Step One: First you will need a good Power Rack / Cage or Smith Machine with multiple height adjustments. Set the safety pins at a position about even with the bottom of your range of movement. Load a weight that is about 50% of your current max. If you rarely or never perform 1RMs then estimate from a 5-10 RM using an RM calculator. You will then position yourself under the bar and get yourself set in a good, solid, pressing position (do I need to explain how to properly bench press?). Lift the bar and hold it just a few inches off the bottom pins, for 6-10 seconds. If it felt super easy, add some weight, rest up a couple minutes and do it again. Once it feels really challenging at that height your done.

Step Two: Raise the pins to the mid-range or sticking point of the movement. At this point (if you are not already there) add enough weight so that you are at or near your current max. Lift the bar and hold it just few inches off the pins, for 6-10 seconds. If it felt super easy, add some weight, rest up a couple minutes and do it again. Once it feels really challenging at that height your done.

Step Three: Raise the pins so that they are just a few inches away from your lock-out position (4-6 inches). At this point (depending on how your other sets have gone) add enough weight so that you are at or slightly above your current max. Lift the bar and hold it just a few inches off the pins, for 6-10 seconds. If it felt super easy, add some weight, rest up a couple minutes and do it again. Once it feels really challenging at that height your done.

When performing these types of sets you want to strive for maximum efficiency. The more accurate your records the less weight adjustments you will be required to make. The goal is for you to know exactly how much weight will challenge you in each range, for each movement. This may take a week or two to figure out. Once you have your weight dialed in for each movement, you should perform no more then one, all-out contraction for 6-10 seconds in each of the three positions.

I often cycle Functional isometrics into my own strength training program for several months at a time. I find these types of workouts to be very challenging and extremely effective and efficient. I will load up for the exercise I am going to perform and start with the weakest part of the range first. I then do one, all-out contraction for 6-10 seconds in that position. I raise the weight to the next part of my ROM and after a brief rest, complete another 6-10 second contraction. One more adjustment, one more contraction, and I am done for that exercise. I find I can complete and entire full-body workout in as little as 20 minutes. This is possible because I know exactly how much weight to use for each movement which makes set up quite simple.

For Ultimate Efficiency

There are thousands of athletes and general fitness enthusiasts around the world who use a type of Functional isometrics termed Static Contraction training as their only form of strength training. In this style you perform just one, all out contraction in the strongest range for each basic pushing and pulling movement. As I mentioned earlier in this article, this style of training is easiest to perform with a dedicated machine such as those produced by www.digitalstrengthtraining.com however terrific results can be had using conventional equipment as well.

With just a little practice and dedication you can learn to fine tune the specific ROM of each exercise to produce amazing results in just a few minutes per workout. Static contractions performed in the strongest range, using one all-out contraction, for as little as 6-10 seconds, can produce rapid improvements in muscular strength and performance. Now those of you who are really paying attention may be saying “hey, what about the joint angle specificity problem you mentioned above? For many people The 15-20 degree carryover on either side of a specific joint angle is more then enough to supply usable functional strength for all activities. For some blessed with what is termed a type “G” strength curve, training in just about any part of ones ROM will produce results throughout the entire ROM (This is a genetic attribute and not subject to change).

The bottom line is that when performing functional isometrics using the Static Contraction method, one may complete a brief, intense workout in just 3-5 minutes (not including set up, breakdown and rest). Individuals who regularly use this style of training will often rest and recover for 7-10 days (sometimes more) before the next session. For those who feel that they do not have time to strength train, Static Contraction training my be the tool you have been searching for.

Now get to it!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

P.S. Functional isometrics are a great tool to have in your tool box. Whether you decide to buy and use a dedicated machine or to incorporate these into your regular weight workouts, I highly recommend you give Functional isometrics a try. Don’t be surprised to find your strength shooting up to new heights in a few short weeks.

Functional Isometrics: Part One

By TAKU

Static or isometric style strength training has probably been around in one form or another, since the dawn of man. Some see it as a tool only to be used to pass sticking points or as an adjunct to “real” strength training. While others use it as their only form of improving muscular performance. Still, for many the whole concept of training statically may seem strange or appear quite revolutionary. Which ever camp you belong to I assure you that Static / Isometric style training is highly effective and can be quite simple to implement with just a little practice. Lets investigate with a little Q&A:

Q: What are isometrics? A: Isometric training refers to exerting strength without movement. The most classic form of isometric training is pushing or pulling an immovable load.

Q: Why include any form of isometrics? A: You actually recruit more motor-units during an isometric action than during a concentric action.

Q: If isometric training is so good, why doesn’t everyone use it? A: Actually many people use isometric or static training in a variety of applications. However, there are two main problems with pure isometric training:

1. It’s impossible to quantify progress. Since you’re not moving a load, you don’t know if you’re improving or if you’re exerting maximal effort or not. This creates problems with accurately determining progression which may lead to diminished motivation.

2. Isometric training is angle specific, meaning that you’ll gain strength only at the joint angles being worked. (There’s only a 15-20 degree carryover of strength gains.)

Q: Then why bother including isometrics at all? A: Isometric or Static training is one of if not the most efficient forms of strength training available. However due to the above mentioned limitations many people do not explore this form of training.

Luckily there are two solutions available which overcome all of the problems of classic isometrics and make them not only worth including but easy to accurately measure and track for on-going progressive overload.

Functional isometrics

Q: What are Functional isometrics? A: Functional isometrics are a bit different. You still exert force without movement, but you’re actually lifting a load or tracking your force output with dedicated technology.

Q: How do I incorporate these into my training plan? A: There are several ways in which you may include functional isometrics into your training. The first is to purchase a dedicated machine such as the ones available from www.digitalstrangthtraining.com .

Q: What if I can’t afford one of these machines or I don’t want to wait to try Functional isometrics? A: Well, you are in luck. All you need is access to some basic gym equipment and you can start using this highly effective style of training right away.

Q: What exercises can I perform using Functional isometrics? A: This type of exercise can be used with many weight lifting exercises. Traditionally power lifters and Olympic style weightlifters have used static holds to over come sticking points in exercises such as the Bench Press, Deadlift / Clean, and Overhead Press.

I find Functional isometrics to be effective for most of your standard pushing and pulling movements. With access to basic gym equipment such as a leg press, rowing and pull-down machines and a good power cage or Smith Machine you can perform just about any exercise you can think of.

Q: How do I execute a Functional Isometric exercise using standard Weight training equipment? A: You start the bar at a specific height and lift it two to three inches. Then you hold the position for six to ten seconds. You keep on adding weight until you can’t lift and hold it for at least six seconds while maintaining a good lifting posture. This way you’re actually lifting weights and can quantify your progress.

Q: How do I overcome the problem of joint angle specificity? A: If you only perform single angle movements, the problem of joint angle specificity still applies. That’s why some may want to use three positions working the whole range of motion of a selected movement. The three positions are:

1. A few inches after the start position

2. Sticking point

3. A few inches from the final position

For more on Static Isometric training including examples of how to set up and perform basic exercises please read part two of this article.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

“PEOPLE SAFETY”

I have been working with the international non-profit organization known as Kidpower for the past 15 years or so. At Kidpower, we use the term “People Safety” to mean people being safe with and around people. A strong foundation of People Safety skills can prepare individuals of all ages and abilities to enjoy life more through increased confidence, better relationships, and fewer problems with people. We teach these 10 core People Safety skills to children, teens, and adults, including those with special needs:

 
1. Act with awareness, calm, and respectful confidence so that people will listen to you better and bother you less.

 

2. Protect your feelings from hurtful words or behavior instead of taking negative messages inside where they can make you miserable for a very long time.

 

3. Stay in charge of what you say and do by managing your emotional triggers so that you are able to think clearly, make wise choices, and act respectfully towards others no matter how you feel inside.

4. Recognize what is and is not safe so that you can assess a situation and avoid most trouble before it starts. This includes knowing and using Kidpower’s Relationship Safety Rules and Stranger Safety Rules.

5. Move away from trouble and towards safety so that you can stop problems quickly, before they grow.

6. Check First and Think First before you make decisions about what you do, who is with you, and where you go. Until they have the experience and the skills to make these decisions for themselves, children are safest if they Stay Together with their parents and other responsible adults and Check First before changing the plan. Both children and adults are safest if they Think First.

 

7. Set powerful and respectful boundaries so that you can speak up for what you do and do not want, listen to what other people do and do not want, and work out problems with others.

8. Follow the safety rules about touch, teasing, and play in healthy relationships so that you can have fun and avoid unsafe behavior.

9. Persist until you get the help you need so that you know how to find people who have the power to help you, when and how to interrupt someone who is distracted or busy, and how to keep asking if someone doesn’t listen.

10. Be prepared to use your voice and body to stop an attack so that you can escape from a violent situation and get to safety where someone can help you.

Not sure how to practice these skills? Our many books make excellent holiday gifts that can prepare you to use People Safety skills in your daily life and teach them to others.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyful, safe week,
PAU for NOW
TAKU

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ONE WORLD FUTBOL

By TAKU

This week I want to shine the spotlight on a wonderful product I recently discovered. ONE WORLD FUTBOL. No matter if you call it Soccer, Futbol or Football, it is truly the worlds game.One World Futbol is on a a mission to bring the sport of Futbol to the world in a brand new way.

The One World Futbol is a nearly indestructible ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times. Whether for use on the street, at the beach, at home or on the roughest landscapes in the world, the One World Futbol will last for years.

Soccer has been my favorite sport to play for years, and the thought of having a ball that never wears out and never needs a pump seemed like a great idea to me….I purchased one of these unique balls as soon as I heard about them. True to it’s description it feels and plays much like a regular ball yet is virtually indestructible. When I take it to the park with me, people marvel as I show them its ability to be completely crushed, and then instantly re-inflate itself. (see it in action around the :25 sec mark of this video)

If you love soccer or if you simply want to support a wonderful cause, buy or help to donate one of these balls today!!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

CONDITIONING 101:

By TAKU

No matter what sport you engage in from Golf to Ice Hockey, American Football to international Futbol (that’s soccer to all you Americans)…all athletes will benefit from a simple solid conditioning program. In fact, even if you are not currently practicing any sport in particular, a simple conditioning plan will benefit everyone when it comes to total fitness.

Most folks who have been reading my work for a while know that I am a proponent of interval style training programs. I know that interval training has become cool of late, but I have actually been recommending brief intense conditioning plans since the late 1980′s.

Interval training plans for sports are often designed with specific distances such as sprint for 60 meters, recover for a specified time, and repeat. Rather than use distance as a goal, I prefer to use time. Using time instead of distance will help people of varied fitness levels and body types stay within the desired range. If you are a 300 lb. Offensive lineman playing american Football, running 100 meters may take you a little longer than it would a 160 lb. striker playing World Futbol. By using specific times (instead of distance) we can insure similar energy systems being activated and keep the work consistent. for everyone. Finally using time instead of distance allows us to choose from a broad array of training tools or modes both indoors and out.

Most athletes will utilize a wide variety of energy systems along the intensity continuum. Remember this is a general conditioning program. It will help build a base of conditioning for almost any activity. Participants playing such sports as American Football, Basketball, Field Hockey, Rugby, Lacrosse etc. may all benefit from this type of program, especially in the off-season.

Once you are nearing the pre-season or are in-season, the playing and practicing of your specific sport should take precedence. Practicing specific sports will always be the best way to prepare for those specific activities. For instance someone training for pure speed such as a 100 meter sprint specialist, will first and foremost want to polish technique and running mechanics. The actual practice of sprinting is designed to be an all-out 100% maximum effort. To prepare for running at full speed, one must practice running at full speed. To allow this to occur maximum recovery between bouts will be required.

Below I have outlined an 8-WEEK Conditioning Program. It is set up with specific work to rest ratios. Each week we will increase the volume of sprints while reducing the actual exertion times. Your goal is to go at the most brisk pace you can tolerate, and still maintain work for the desired time. As you progress through the program (and your conditioning improves) you should be striving to go as fast and as hard as possible during the work phase of each bout of intervals. During the recovery period just walk (or pedal etc.) very slowly while you catch your breath and prepare for the next work phase.

If you are an open field athlete I highly recommend that you do your best to perform this workout on a running track or sports field.

For general fitness enthusiasts, any tool of choice may be used. Recommended tools include but are not limited to:

Bicycle
Rowing Ergo-meter
Step-Climber
Elliptical Cross-Trainer
Jump-Rope

8-WEEK CONDITIONING PROGRAM

In this program I recommend that you perform the conditioning program on two, non-consecutive days in your training week such as Monday and Thursday. You may do strength and conditioning on the same day, or you may separate them. Here are two examples of ways one might combine these types of training in an overall S&C plan:

EXAMPLE 1:

Monday: Conditioning
Tuesday: Strength Training
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: Conditioning
Friday: Strength Training
Saturday / Sunday: REST

Wash – Rinse – Repeat

EXAMPLE 2: 

Week One

Monday: Conditioning
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: Strength Training
Thursday: REST
Friday: Conditioning

Saturday / Sunday: REST

Week Two 

Monday: Strength Training
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: Conditioning
Thursday: REST
Friday: Strength Training

Wash – Rinse – Repeat

Note: The prescription is written so that the work period is first, followed by the rest period. For example in week one, day one you will work for two minutes, followed by a rest period of 4:00 minutes.  After completing the first week of the program, when successive bouts are called for you will complete the specified number of bouts at a given work to rest ratio, then rest three to five minutes before moving on to the next series.

Week 1

Day 1 – 1 x 2:00 / 4:00 & 2 x 1:00 / 2:00

Day 2 – 2 x 2:00 / 4:00 & 3 x 1:00 / 2:00

Week 2

Day 1 – & 2

6 x 00:20 / 01:00

Week 3

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:36 / 01:48

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:18 / 00:54

Week 4

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:36 / 01:48

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:18 / 00:54

Week 5

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:34 / 01:42

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:16 / 00:48

Week 6

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:32 / 01:36

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:15 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

Week 7

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:30 / 01:30

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:14 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

Week 8

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:30 / 01:30

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:14 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

*Rest 3-5 minutes between each series.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

P.S. My personal S&C program is very similar to that shown in example # 2. above

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