Month: March 2017

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Football Goal Post Measurements

When the kicker on your favorite NFL team misses a game-winning field goal, it’s easy to yell at the TV that such a field goal should be impossible to miss. From some angles, the goal posts look extremely wide — but when you’re on the field with the game in the balance, the opening between the two posts can appear tiny.
A goal post’s crossbar must sit 10 feet above the ground, according to NFL Rule Book. This is the same height as a basketball hoop, which is why some players, after scoring a touchdown, pretend to dunk the football over the crossbar as if showing off their basketball skills. NFL goal posts must measure 18 feet, 6 inches wide. The posts themselves must extend at least 30 feet above the crossbar.
In the early days of college football, in the mid- to late-1800s, the goal post was simply composed of two uprights planted in the ground. In 1876, a cross bar was added to give those early goal posts a “H” look. Not long after, goal posts were re-designed yet again to more closely resemble a “Y.” Goal posts also used to be located in the middle of the end zone with the crossbar and posts right along the goal line. In 1974, the goal posts were moved behind the end zones, with the cross bar and uprights on the same plane as the end line at the back of each end zone.
All NFL goal posts must be painted bright gold. Most college, high school and recreational leagues also have yellow or gold goal posts. In addition, at the top of each goal post, a sturdy ribbon 4 inches wide and 42 inches long must be affixed. The ribbons help the players and coaches gauge the speed and direction of the wind on kicks.
Goal posts in college also measure 18 feet, 6 inches wide, with crossbars that are 10 feet off the ground. In college and high school, however, the uprights only need to be 10 to 15 high above the crossbar. In addition, high school goal posts measure 23 feet, 4 inches wide, to encourage more scoring with a wider target at which to kick.

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How to Dip Shoot a Football

Soccer, or what is known as football in most countries, is a sport that puts a premium on players who can score. Most soccer games are low scoring affairs so finding a player with talent to kick the ball and score regularly can help a team win games. Players who can make the soccer ball dip or bend are better able to score since the dip can go around defenders and make it tougher for the goalie to touch.
Run to or approach the ball with your standard approach but take an angle slightly to the inside of your target. Inside means that if your target is the middle of the goal, then you should approach slightly to the left if you are kicking with your right foot and slightly to the right if you are kicking with your left foot.
Point your non-kicking foot and body towards your target as you stop, plant your feet and prepare to kick the ball. By making sure you are kicking towards your target, the ball will travel in the direction you intended.
Kick the ball with the top or inside of the instep of your foot. World Cup Soccer Videos says that the laces of your shoe should contact the ball during the kick. The Barefootballer website notes that your ankle should be locked in an up and down position, which helps to impart spin on the ball and adds to the knuckle or dipping action.
Stop your follow through short or early instead of taking a full high follow through with your kicking leg. According to World Cup Soccer Videos, this helps to create the dip and top spin action on the soccer ball.

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The Best Way to Bulk Up Quickly

Bulking up isn’t something that happens overnight, even if you’re genetically lucky and can build muscle fairly easily. If you’re new to exercise, however, you’ll see some results quickly — even in a few weeks — which can keep you motivated for the months or years it requires to bulk up significantly. To gain weight and bulk as quickly as possible, you’ll need a well-planned diet and exercise program, and you might consider using supplements. Speak with your doctor before making major changes to your lifestyle, though, and get medical clearance to use supplements, if you decide to take them.
How quickly you can bulk up depends on a few factors — your current physique, your genetic potential for muscle gain and the lifestyle modifications you make. Even if you can pack on muscle easily, bulking up requires months of work, which might take more than a year to achieve. Plan to gain about 1/2 of a pound each week by eating an additional 250 calories a day, on top of what you need to maintain weight. This slow weight gain enables your body time to pack on muscle, so you’re not simply increasing your body fat. Create a general timeline for bulking up, based on a weekly weight gain of 1/2 of a pound. For example, if you want to gain 20 pounds, budget about 40 weeks to accomplish your goal. Keep in mind that you might hit some roadblocks or plateaus along the way, which might add additional time to your schedule. You might also need to adjust your caloric intake up or down, as you gain weight to continue gaining approximately 1/2 of a pound weekly. Online calculators give you an estimate of how many calories you’ll need daily, but your actual caloric needs can vary, depending on your genetics and on your metabolism.
Adjusting the amount of food you eat is essential for bulking up — if you’re not eating enough food, you won’t have the additional calories you need to gain weight. But other dietary changes can help, too. For example, you’ll need more amino acids to build new muscle tissue. Shoot for a protein intake of 0.8 gram per pound of body weight. If you weight 135 pounds, that’s 108 grams; if you weigh 180 pounds, that’s 144 grams. Animal-derived protein, such as the protein found in lean meats, nonfat dairy, eggs and fish, offers all the amino acids you need for muscle gain. Soy and quinoa also provide all the essential amino acids. However, you can get the amino acids you need by eating a variety of other protein-rich plant foods such as lentils, beans, whole-wheat grains and nuts. Ensure you’re powering up with carbohydrates. Your body converts carbs from your diet into glycogen, which serves as a primary source of fuel for your muscles during tough workouts. To stay energized during tough workouts at the gym, you’ll need high-quality carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eat healthy fats, too — fat is a concentrated source of energy, so it will fuel your active lifestyle. Choose unsaturated oils, such as olive oil, as well as foods that are high in unsaturated fat such as nuts, seeds, avocado and fatty fish.
Although diet alone can help you gain weight, exercise will trigger muscle growth and you’ll put on lean mass. Strength training is a must if you want to bulk up quickly. If you’re new to strength training, start with three strength-training workouts each week, performed on nonconsecutive days. Your workouts should focus on large, compound movements that allow you to work each major muscle group in your body. For example, you could perform lunges and dead lifts to strengthen your lower body, planks to challenge your abs, and chest presses and rows to work your arms, chest and back. As you become more advanced, consider splitting your strength routine by performing two upper body workouts and two lower body workouts each week. This frees up more time to add targeted exercises that work your muscles from different angles. For example, on upper body days, you might incorporate bicep curls or overhead presses into your routine, in addition to push ups, chest presses and rows. While your focus should be on strength training, don’t forego cardio entirely. A short, moderate-intensity workout of approximately 20 minutes, two to three times a week, is long enough to maintain your cardiovascular fitness.
As long as you follow a proper diet and exercise program for bulking, adding supplements to your routine might help accelerate your results. For example, drinking a whey protein shake can help boost your protein intake to help you meet your protein goals. Whey, in particular, is a quickly absorbing protein, so drinking a whey shake shortly after your workout will supply your muscles with the amino acids they need to grow. Creatine is a supplement widely available at health and fitness stores and it might also help promote muscle growth in some people, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, more research, including larger, well-designed studies, is needed to know exactly how much supplements actually enable a broader range of people to bulk up. For example, creatine, might not benefit you if your muscles already contain high levels of natural creatine, explains the UMMC. Speak with your doctor before taking supplements to make sure they’re a good choice for you.

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Safe Exercises for a Woman 35 Weeks Pregnant

Exercise can play an important role in keeping both you and your baby healthy by reducing your risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, reducing muscle tension and pain and maintaining a healthy heart. As your pregnancy progresses, however, exercise can become more challenging, and some exercises are not safe in the third trimester.
During pregnancy, your muscles tend to become slightly more flexible, but this can actually increase your risk of pulling a muscle. Exercises such as yoga and Pilates can help keep your muscles flexible and healthy by relieving muscle tension and building strength. Because of the increased risk of pulling a muscle during pregnancy, it’s important to avoid forcing poses. Similarly, if a particular routine or movement is uncomfortable, either avoid it altogether or ask your instructor if there’s a way to adapt it to make it less painful.
Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart healthy, and you shouldn’t abandon it in pregnancy. As you approach delivery, however, intense cardio can cut off the oxygen supply to your baby, particularly if you’re not very physically fit. Try low-impact, low-intensity cardio routines such as walking, water aerobics, riding a stationary bike or swimming laps. Running is safe if you were previously a runner, but if you want to try running for the first time, talk to your doctor. Stair stepper machines are also safe, as long as they have side rails to prevent a fall.
Healthy muscles can make carrying your baby easier and can also prevent chronic diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Weightlifting is perfectly safe, so long as you’re not lifting extraordinarily heavy weights that you could drop. Instead, start slow, steadily building strength. Remember that the extra weight of pregnancy forces your body to work harder, so you might want to use lighter weights than you used prior to pregnancy. Consider weight machines, such as the leg press; free-weight exercises, such as biceps curls; and body-weight exercises, such as lunges, pushups and situps.
Avoid anything that poses a risk of a blow to your stomach or back — including contact team sports and risky exercises such as skiing, boxing, football or snowboarding. Team sports can also be risky because of the increased risk of falling or being inadvertently hit by someone else, so save basketball, soccer and baseball for after the delivery. Depending upon your balance, you may also want to avoid activities that require a strong sense of balance, such as cycling outdoors, because of the risk of a fall; stationary cycling is still safe. If you have conditions such as premature labor, eclampsia, ruptured membranes or placenta previa, talk to your doctor before doing any workout routine.

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Schwinn Indoor Cycling Certification

Indoor cycling is a popular form of cardiovascular exercise. You can burn 600 calories or more during a one-hour class, burning fat and sculpting lean legs. Using a stationary bike with varied resistance, the class instructor takes you through a simulated racing course of hills and varied terrain. If you¡¯re passionate enough about cycling to get certified to teach others, you¡¯ll be happy to know that becoming a Schwinn indoor cycling instructor isn¡¯t too hard to do.
The Schwinn certification course is an 8-hour course featuring topics specific to conducting a safe, effective class. It includes proper riding technique, bike fit, physiology and cycling science. The course concludes with a written exam. Test scores, certificate, and instructor card are mailed several weeks after successful completion of the certification course. There are three levels of instructor certification.
Instructors with no previous experience teaching indoor cycling start at the bronze level of certification. During certification, instructors are taught effective indoor cycling, music selection and coaching skills. Instructors also learn muscle anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and mind/body training principles. Instructors participate in a two-day certification which includes a practical classroom setting and a written exam. To maintain bronze-level certification, instructors must complete continuing education courses or participate in a Schwinn Fitness Academy convention every two years.
Bronze-level instructors who desire to reach the silver level of instructor certification must successfully complete the Target Heart Rate course and silver-level test, and two continuing education modules. The total credit requirement for this course is 20. Maintenance of silver-level certification includes continuing education courses or participation in the Schwinn Fitness Academy convention every two years.
The gold and highest level of instructor certification is obtained by passing eight continuing education courses and the silver test. A total of 40 credit hours is the requirement for this level of certification. To maintain gold-level certification, the instructor must participate in continuing education courses and participate in the Schwinn Fitness Academy convention every two years.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Plyometric Exercises

Plyometrics involve power jumping, repetitive bounding and quick force production. When your muscles eccentrically contract, or shorten, then immediately stretch and lengthen, they produce maximal power ideal for athletic situations. It is a fast movement that happens over a short period. Plyometrics are ideal for athletes or people looking to improve muscular power, speed and strength. They also help facilitate weight loss and help tone and define your muscles; however, these exercises are not without risk.
Plyometrics were originally designed for power athletes like sprinters, football players and gymnasts. According to Brian Mac, professional sports coach, your muscles achieve maximum power during eccentric contractions, or muscle lengthening. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with a concentric — or muscle-shortening — contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the stretch-shortening cycle. Plyometric training decreases the time between your eccentric and concentric contractions and improves your muscular speed and power.
With power and speed come muscular strength gains. Plyometrics can improve strength in both your upper and lower body. Examples of lower body plyometrics are tuck jumps, squat jumps, box jumps and depth jumps. The goal of these jumps is to get higher, utilizing your leg strength to improve the height of your jump. Upper body plyometrics include clapping pushups, medicine ball chest press throw and overhead throws. These help improve strength in your upper body.
Plyometric exercises require a lot of energy, because they are highly intense. They utilize the whole body and activate most muscle groups, therefore burning many calories in a single session and aiding in weight loss. The repetitive landing causes your entire leg muscles to contract, helping to improve overall tone and definition. Plyometrics combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise, allowing you to “kill two birds with one stone.”
The only real disadvantage to plyometric training is the high risk of injury. Like all exercise and sports, plyometric training is a continuum, where beginners start with light exercise and low volume and then gradually progress with gained strength. The repetitive jumping and bounding can cause stress on the joints. Do not engage in plyometrics if you have arthritis or joint issues, unless cleared by your doctor. If you are untrained, risk of strains is elevated, because the muscles surrounding your joints are weaker and may not give you the support you need.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that beginners start with 60 to 80 foot contacts. After about four to six weeks of training, progress to 80 to 120 foot contacts. Advanced exercisers and athletes can do upward of 150 foot contacts. You can safely participate in plyometrics once or twice per week on nonconsecutive days. Before beginning, do a 10-minute light cardiovascular warmup to increase blood flow to your muscles and help prevent injury.

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The Proper Way to Wear Soccer Shin Guards with Socks

Shin guards and socks are required for legal play in nearly all soccer leagues. There are two basic types of shin guards: those with ankle guards and those without. For each type of guard, you should know the best way to wear your socks for the benefit of legal play and your safety on the field.
Shin guards with ankle guards have two parts. A hard plastic part covers the shin and a half-sock that slides over your ankle, positioning two protective plastic cups on either side of your ankle bone. Shin guards with ankle guards are typically worn by youth players who need extra protection. To wear socks with this type of shin guard, put the shin guard on first, connecting the shin guard’s Velcro strap around your calf and straightening the ankle guard into position. After the shin guard is in place, pull your sock over the shin guard so that the entire unit is covered by your sock.
Adult soccer players typically use shin guards that do not contain ankle guards. This type of shin guard generally has simple plastic inserts that slide beneath socks or into fabric sleeves, or secure around your calf with a Velcro strap. For this type of shin guard, put your socks and cleats on before positioning your shin guard. Once the guard is in position, pull the sock up over the top of the shin guard. Wrapping athletic tape around your leg just below and just above the shin guard will help keep it in place.
The type of sock you choose may alter your ability to use it with certain shin guards. Socks that are too tight or small may not expand to cover your shin guards, coming up short or not offering enough elasticity. A player’s sock must cover the entire shinguard at all times during the game, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association rules. To avoid problems with the right fit, take your shin guards with you and wear them when trying on new socks.
You may find that wearing a shin guard directly against your skin is irritating, especially if it is held in place by athletic tape on the outside of your sock. To solve this problem, take a pair of soccer socks and cut off the foot portion, leaving the portion that covers your calf. You can slide this sock “tube” over your leg and place your shinguard on top of it to help prevent skin irritation. This is also a good way to recycle old soccer socks that may have holes in the heel or toe.

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Broken Little Toe and Running

Your little toe doesn’t usually break from running itself. It breaks because it’s on the outside of the foot and gets slammed or stubbed against another object or something drops on it. Then the pain kicks in and swelling starts. Within a few moments, it might start turning red or blue. As a runner, probably one of your first thoughts is how the injury will affect your running.
How soon you are able to run after breaking your little toe depends significantly on how quickly and how well you treat the break right after it occurs. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), apply ice to your toe for up to 20 minutes at a time after you think it’s broken. Use an ice pack or towel to buffer the ice from your skin. Also, take ibuprofen or aspirin to help reduce the swelling and pain.
“Rest is the primary treatment for stress fractures in the foot,” according to the AAOS. Unfortunately, rest is a major source of anxiety for runners. According to Jeffrey A. Oster, a podiatrist and medical director of My Foot Shop, resting for a few days ¡ª along with ice, compression and elevation ¡ª is crucial to helping your toe heal.
If the pain and swelling don’t disappear in a few days, if you can’t fit your foot in a shoe or if it’s difficult to walk, then see a doctor. Usually, according to the AAOS, the doctor will x-ray the toe and be able to align it properly without surgery. While casting and having to wear a stiff-bottom shoe are possible, the most common treatment, according to Oster, is buddy-splinting the toe by taping it to the fourth toe so that toe acts as a splint.
Most doctors will recommend you stay off the foot as much as possible ¡ª and completely avoid running ¡ª for at least one week and up to eight weeks. There are a variety of exercises you can do to rehabilitate your toe until you can run again, according to Summit Medical Group. Manually straighten the toe and massage the area three times a day. Lay a towel on the floor in front of your foot and flex your toes so you can grab and pull it toward you until it’s gathered under your toes. Lean against a wall, then back on your heels for five seconds at a time, doing three sets of 10 raises. You can also hold onto a chair and raise yourself up on your toes, doing three sets of 10 reps. As with any exercises, stop if you feel pain or discomfort.

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Types of Football Running Backs

When a team builds a running attack, it can do so with a variety of types of backs. A running back can use his strength and bulk to overpower the defense. A running back can use his speed and quickness to make big plays and key yards. A coach might favor one style over the other and choose running backs that fit that style — or he might want a roster with backs to cover various situations.
A power back is a back that uses his size and strength to run between the tackles and make crucial yards. A power back will almost always run between the tackles and is considered a “north-south” runner. Coaches don’t usually expect power backs to have long runs, but they are valuable on third downs when a team needs 3 yards or less for a first down. A power back uses his strength to punish tacklers and push them backward. When a team uses a power back early in the game, his punishing style can weaken the defense in the second half and allow the offense to eat up the clock and gain important yards. Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Larry Csonka are examples of power backs.
A speed back has the ability to make long runs consistently. A speed back might be the fastest player on the field. If a speed back can get one or two effective blocks before getting to the perimeter of the defense, he can use his speed to run by potential tacklers and make game-breaking plays. Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers are examples of two of the most effective speed backs in football history.
An all-purpose back can run between the tackles, run to the outside, block, pass and catch the football. Some all-purpose backs can touch the ball on 60 percent to 70 percent of the offensive snaps in a game. All-purpose backs are extremely valuable and rare because they have so many skills and can help their team in so many ways. It all starts with running the football, but they can be just as valuable in any of the other areas. Hall of Famer Walter Payton was an all-purpose back who many consider to be the best ever at his position. Emmitt Smith is another Hall of Famer who excelled in all these categories.
Blocking backs help open holes for the ball carrier. They also help protect the quarterback when he drops back to pass. Blocking backs are among the biggest and toughest players in the sport. They must use their physical strength to dominate the opponent. They can carry the ball on occasion but their main job is to block. Some of the top blocking backs include Jim Taylor, Tom Rathman, Bronko Nagurski and John Henry Johnson.

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What Are the Arm Bands That Football Players Wear?

Armbands are regularly seen on the football field. These are not your traditional wristbands, but rather bands of varying thicknesses and widths that players usually wear on or near their upper arms. Players wear these armbands for fairly straightforward reasons, according to The New York Times.
The mystery behind the armbands are not a mystery at all. ¡°It¡¯s a good look,¡± according to New York Giants linebacker Danny Clark, as quoted by The New York Times. Clark said the bands fall right where he has bulging muscles in his upper arm. The bands undoubtedly call attention to these muscles, the same way earrings make people look or your ears or lipstick makes them notice your mouth.
Other players back up Clark¡¯s assessment that armbands are just for show, as does certified athletic trainer Ralph Reiff, who doubles as director of St. Vincent Sport Performance. He told The Times that armbands don¡¯t do anything to enhance the playing ability, the players¡¯ muscles or any other health-related issue. More evidence that the armbands are only for show is the fact that players don¡¯t wear them to practice, only during games when all eyes are on them.
Players wear armbands at different positions. Some, including Clark, wear them in the middle of their biceps. Others keep them right above the bend in the elbow. Some keep them right below it. Still others wear them over long-sleeved shirts rather than flush against the skin. The main key to wearing the armbands is to wear them anywhere around the arm to show off muscles — but not on the wrist.
Stretched-out wristbands may function as armbands, says The New York Times. Makeshift armbands may be made from cut-up socks, strips of stretchy fabric, athletic tape or a section of a too wide and therefore uncool wristband. Armbands usually feature a sweat-absorbing material like a wristband ¨C only a lot bigger. One brand stretches from a slack 9 inches to 21 inches round. Some armbands are reversible, with a dark color on one side and light on the other so players can use them for home or away games. The armbands often have logos visibly displayed, encouraging fans to purchase that company’s products.


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