Achievement

“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
- Conrad Hilton

Racquetball for Weight Loss

Any type of exercise is good exercise, but some forms of exercise are better for greater weight loss than others. Group sports, and other types of exercise that work the body from head to toe, burn hundreds of calories per hour and they also challenge all muscle groups. Not only can this help you lose more weight, it can also help you keep it off. Just a few uber effective forms of exercise are swimming, cardio boot camp, running, basketball, and racquetball.

Racquetball is similar to handball. The game is played on a four walled court with a short-handled racket and a larger ball. The game is usually played by two players, but four players is also common. The amount of calories burned during an hour long game varies by weight and whether or not the game is casual or competitive. To give you an idea of just how many calories you can burn, a person that weighs 125 pounds can burn around 400 calories during a casual game or 568 calories during a competitive game. A 170-pound person can burn 541 calories during a casual game or 773 during a competitive game.

Racquetball can help you lose weight if you make smart food choices and commit to playing at least three times a week. Once you lose the weight, if you want to keep it off, stick to a sensible diet and try play on most days of the week.

So where are the Racquetball Courts?

If you’re looking for a place to play racquetball, look no further than your local health club, tennis club, community center or park district. If you’re looking for the cheapest place to play, try a community center or park district where public courts are typically no more than $10 an hour.

MSG and obesity

The food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) could lead to obesity. Recent research found that people who eat more MSG are more likely to be overweight or obese. What’s more, the link between high MSG intake and being overweight held even after accounting for the total number of calories people ate.

MSG is a widely used food additives. It is often present in processed foods although it is frequently not clearly labeled. MSG is frequently seen hiding behind such innocent-sounding names as hydrolyzed protein,
vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, whey protein, and natural flavoring, spices, enzymes, autolyzed yeast extract, stock, broth and carrageenan. If MSG was as benign as the food industry says it is, why do they have to disguise the name.

Reuters reports:

“In the latest research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, He and his colleagues followed more than 10,000 adults in China for about 5.5 years on average.

The researchers measured MSG intake directly by before-and-after weighing of products, such as bottles of soy sauce, to see how much people ate. They also asked people to estimate their intake over three 24-hour periods.

Men and women who ate the most MSG (a median of 5 grams a day) were about 30 percent more likely to become overweight by the end of the study than those who ate the least amount of the flavoring (less than a half-gram a day), the researchers found. After excluding people who were overweight at the start of the study, the risk rose to 33 percent.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Abe and success

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Free weight bench press VS smith machine bench press

Measuring upper body strength is common in high school, college and professional level sports. Arguments have been made for and against this practice, but that’s for another day. The prime movers in the bench press are the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoid and medial deltoid. However the medial deltoid acts more like a stabilizer than a prime mover. Just for the record, the deltoid is one muscle; Anterior, medial and posterior simply describe areas, they aren’t separate heads.

Two of many ways one can perform a bench press is with a free weight barbell or a smith machine. The free weight bench forces the lifter to balance while exerting force to lift the weight. This higher level of instability is essential for a lifter who wants to engage the stabilizing muscles while training. A smith machine guides the bar in a fixed path and requires almost no balance by the lifter. The almost total lack of instability is thought by many to allow for increased force production of the prime movers. If this were true, bodybuilders or powerlifters who want to concentrate on the development of the prime movers, would be able to accomplish this with the smith machine. More-over, a lifter involved in rehab, novice lifters and elderly lifters may find the smith machine fits there needs because of the lack of instability.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the muscle activation between the free weight bench and the smith machine. The purpose of the study was to compare the muscle activation of the pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and medial deltoid during both exercises.

14 experienced and 12 inexperienced subjects were used in the study. Testing took place in two visits one week apart from each other, each consisting of either smith machine or free weight benching. Electromyography was used during the concentric phase of each lift at a lower intensity (2 reps at 70% of 1 rep max) and higher intensity (2 reps at 90% of 1 rep max) to compare muscle activation.

The study found no difference in the activation of the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid between exercises regardless of load or experience. If the lack of instability of the smith machine allows the lifter to create more force production in the prime movers compared to the free weight bench press, it was not supported in this study. The authors surmise this may be due to the unnatural bar path of the smith machine in contrast to the free weight bench. Also, activation of the medial deltoid was significantly greater during the free weight bench regardless of load and experience. The instability of the free weight bench causes a greater activation of the medial deltoid as a force producer and stabilizer.

(J Strength Cond Res 24(3): 779-784,2010)

From a practical standpoint, according to the findings of this study, the free weight bench press may lead to a greater requirement of stabilization of the glenohumeral joint (shoulder). Increased shoulder stabilization is not only important for athletes but anyone involved in weight training, which requires strength and stability about the glenohumeral joint.

Do the findings of this study suggest dropping the smith machine from your training program and concentrating on free weight bench pressing? Absolutely not. The best thing one can do in regards to exercise choice, is mix things up. There are many exercises one can use in order to build their chest and shoulders. Don’t get caught in a rut using the same exercise over and over.

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