Personal Safety Tips: PART ONE – Adults and Teens

This week I offer some simple, no nonsense tips to help you protect yourself from most assault, abuse, & other violence:

1. Act Calm & Confident. People will listen to you more and bother you less when you act aware, calm, and confident, not scared, mad, or aggressive. Show confidence in a way that is respectful, not challenging.

2. Stay Aware. Pay attention to everything around you: people, animals, cars, buses, & bikes. Notice people’s voices & gestures. Think about what you notice. Avoid using headphones.

3. Make Safety Plans. Identify the safest way to go places, even if the safest way is longer. Decide where you can get help, like in stores, along your routes. Practice interrupting & saying, “Excuse me, I need help.”

4. Plan to Carry Stuff Safely. In public, keep money & expensive items, like phones, out of sight. Use bags or carts that make it easy to move confidently. When possible, carry less.

5. Use Simple Safety Strategies. Consider sitting closer to the front of the bus or train, not the back, or by the aisle, not the window. Keep an important key or ticket in a pocket, not in a bag that could get stolen.

6. Move Away From Trouble. If someone’s behavior seems unsafe, leave as soon as you can. Move closer to a place you can get help, like a store or office. Speak up to get help. Persist until you get help.

7. Let Go of Stuff. Fighting over possessions is dangerous. Leave valuables at home when you can. If people are threatening to get your stuff, let it go. Leave. Go to people who can help you.

8. Speak Up. If something bothers you, say so. Set clear boundaries. Know how to say ‘Please stop.” Be ready to yell in an emergency. Be specific about your problem, where you are, & what you need.

9. Use Words Safely. Using mean, threatening, or attacking words, even if someone else did it first, can make problems much more dangerous. Using calm, clear, respectful language is safer.

10. Don’t Let Other People’s Words Control Your Feelings or Behavior. Filter verbal attack so you can notice unsafe, disrespectful words without letting them control your own choices and behavior.

11. Control Your Space. Open the door to your home only when you know you want to let the other in. Be willing to leave places, conversations, or relationships to be safe. Get space from people pressuring you to give money, time, or attention you do not want to give.

12. Put Safety First. Get Help. Being polite, kind, and respectful is important, but being safe is more important than being polite, kind, and respectful. Know how to get help from people you know and how to get help from strangers in public. Safety is more important than embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

13. Know Basic Physical Self-Defense Skills that Work for You. In a short time, people of all abilities can learn simple physical self-defense skills that fit their ages, physical condition, and life situations.

TAKU’s NOTE:

This free resource provided by Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, a nonprofit leader in education for the prevention of bulling, abuse, abduction, and violence since 1989. Serving people of all ages, all abilities, and all walks of life. For more, visit www.kidpower.org, call 800-467-6997 ext.1#, or email safety@kidpower.org.

Everything Works and Everything Fails To Work

Look! It's a magic exercise!When you spend a couple of decades watching the world of fitness and strength training you see a lot of strange things. Often you see the same strange things repeatedly.One of the things that happens like clockwork is a Hollywood movie featuring somebody in great physical shape who has his shirt off for several minutes of screen time – and the inevitable publicity for the ‘workout’ that made it all possible.

Movies like 300 or The Wolverine or a dozen others, TV shows with actors likeTrue Blood’s Joe Manganiello, who has a great physique, all give rise the the inevitable magazine and web articles that feature “The Workout” used by the celebrity.

The idea is fostered that if you only had the Secret Workout of the celebrity you could have the same fantastic physique displayed by him.

There Is No Secret Workout

Here’s the truth: There Is No Secret Workout. The reality is virtually any workout can work to some degree and every workout – without exception – can utterly fail. There is also no secret technique like doing biceps curls on a colorful Swiss ball, or twisting your wrist at the top a a curl or flexing your shoulders at the top of a deadlift. All of these alleged benefits can be thwarted simply by stupid workout planning.

Put three guys in a gym and one of them will swear three sets of 10 to 12 reps to failure is the secret workout of champions. Another will say it’s one very slow set to failure. Another – bless him – will say it’s timed sets of strong range reps.

And guess what? All of them could make good progress or all of them could fall on their face. You can lift cinder blocks in your back yard and build some muscle. You can break rocks with a sledgehammer and build some muscle. You can lift sub-maximum weights and gain some muscle.

You can also do all of the above and overtrain and dig yourself into a metabolic hole where you get sick and/or lose the motivation to do any exercise at all.

Train Blind Or Train Smart

The reason any potentially productive workout can fail is because people train blindly with it.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a celebrity workout, a pro bodybuilder workout or a workout I created just for  for you – you can overtrain or undertrain with it and get absolutely nowhere. In fact, you can make your overall health worse, not better.

The Dirty Secret

The dirty little secret is that it’s what happens outside the gym that is vastly more important. Namely:

a) Did you get enough rest to recover 100% from your previous workout

b) Did some new muscle grow, and

c) What is you plan to generate higher intensity on your next workout?

ALL of that is determined outside of the gym!

There is no excuse for working blind. It’s just dumb. And needless.

Take basic measurements of your intensity and then make sure that intensity  increases on every exercise during every workout. Don’t turn a good workout into a bad workout by not planning it properly.

TAKU’s Note:  This week features another great little article by my friend Pete Sisco. As always I appreciate him letting me share some of  of his excellent work here at Hybrid Fitness

Are You A New Man (or Woman) Today?

Wow! I improved 6.4%!!The logical foundation of strength training is that we build muscle by lifting heavy weights. It’s an adaptation of the body similar to developing darker skin as an adaptation to intense sunshine. We call that adaptation a suntan. Stand in the shade and your tan does not get any darker. Lift an easy weight and your muscles don’t get any stronger. Makes perfect sense.

So if you want today’s workout to build some new muscle you will need to lift a heavier weight than you usually do. A heavier weight than the last time you lifted. Or maybe if you lifted a weight for three reps last time you need to do four reps today. Something more intense. Something akin to brighter sunshine.

If your last workout was truly productive it stimulated some new muscle growth. If you waited enough time for that muscle to grow (like you have to wait for hair and fingernails to grow) then you should be stronger today. So when you return to the gym you should be able to lift a heavier weight or at least generate higher intensity (total weight / time).

Your last workout is inferior now. It’s like standing in the shade. You need more intensity today because you are a stronger person than you were during last workout. You are a new man.

No Two Workouts The Same

If every workout you perform is productive (and is there any reason it should not be?) then it causes new muscle to grow. If you have new muscle you are stronger. If you are stronger you should lift heavier weights more times. If you are doing everything right then every workout should be different than the last one. No two workouts should deliver the same intensity to a target muscle.

Of course, it’s impossible to know if today’s workout is more intense than the last one if you don’t take some basic measurement.

Which Set Is Better?
The fact is the first example is better by about 5% in terms of both momentary intensity andsustained intensity. This is something you can’t just “feel.” To know these facts you have to measure things.

The reason so much crappy advice gets circulated year after year in gyms, magazines and blogs about strength training is because nobody measures anything in the gym. So nobody gets proved wrong. Measurement cuts through the opinions and gets down to facts. What exercises deliver the most intensity to the triceps? What combination of weight and reps delivers more intensity?

When you measure you suddenly have facts instead of lore and opinion.

When you measure you can pre-engineer productive workouts.

When you measure you can become a new man or woman.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks very much to my friend and mentor Pete Sisco for letting me share some of  of his excellent work here at Hybrid Fitness

Product SPOTLIGHT: Solo Strength

 

 

This week I want to shine my spotlight on a very cool product I recently discovered, SOLO STRENGTHSoloStrength is an innovative device designed to allow the user to do a wide array of body-weight exercises. The SoloStrength is built to last and easily adjustable for a wide variety of exercises as well as to allow for all fitness levels from beginner to elite.

With the addition of a few simple tools such as resistance bands or a suspension training device, one could have nearly limitless exercise options. Add to this the ability to do maximum static contractions across various ranges of motion and one can see how this device can easily build maximum strength in minimum time.

Check out the videos on YouTube and give them a call to find out more.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

 

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.

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