The Rowing Machine: King of Cardio Equipment

It is of the utmost importance to any exercise-oriented individual that an adequate amount of cardiovascular exercise is completed regularly. Whether you are a bodybuilder with 22″ arms or simply a lean yoga enthusiast, the rule applies across all levels. Without a properly trained heart and lungs, your body misses out on a whole slew of health benefits and a decreased risk of heart problems; not to mention creating a disproportionate distribution of vitality within your body. Sure, your biceps have veins thicker than a garden hose, but what about what’s on the inside?

A dedicated gym goer may look at his/her six pack and scoff, “Cardio? My aerobic-free training has me leaner than ever and sweating it up on the Stairmaster for an hour isn’t my idea of a worthwhile workout.” OK, valid point, but a high performance vehicle is for nothing if the goods under the hood are garbage. Moreover, if you pack on muscle yet refrain to train your cardiovascular system, your physicality will resemble a hulking Toyota Tundra with the dinky engine of a Honda Civic. Struggling.

So, why rowing; better yet, why the rowing machine? Well, considering rivers that weave through your neighborhood with adequate boat houses are scarce, the rowing machine is the best substitute to mimic the movement and reap the rewards of such activity. Better yet, you never have to worry about bad weather, and even better than that, a great cardio workout can be accomplished in a fraction of the time that one may be looking at when getting on board an elliptical or treadmill.

The majority of people are under the assumption that rowing is an upper body intensive movement. Although there is some truth to that statement, the driving force in a successful rowing motion is derived from the lower body, where the body’s powerful leg muscles are able to sustain prolonged exertions that only they can deliver.

Need more reasons to try the rowing machine? How about the fact that the word impact can’t even be found in the same sentence as rowing machine, unless the word ‘low’ is front of it. Unlike running, which places unnecessary stress and trauma on the knees and ankles,  rowing favors a far more fluid, floating sense of power and work. As your body moves back and forth over the rolling seat, your joints praise you as they are gently coerced into the flexion and extension of various limbs.

Still need more reasons? One of the greatest aspects of the rowing machine is that it is a cardio exercise that trains your whole musculature; not just your lower body, as many machines do. When stepping away on the Stairstepper, one can feel the sole distribution of strain compiling itself on your legs, while the upper body remains slack and in complete boredom. The rowing machine ties the two sides together, with the legs generating the massive power and force for each stroke and transferring it up the body, giving your abs, arms, shoulders, and of course, back, an awesomely toning workout.

If you have located and affirmed the presence of a rowing machine at your local health club, here is a great way to get introduced to the motion:

  1. Adjust the foot stretchers: Each machine is equipped with a platform to strap your feet into, both in socks or with shoes, and it needs to be adjusted so that the strap rests atop where the balls of your feet are, and also so that your bending motion isn’t inhibited by the strap.
  2. Set the fly wheel resistance: 10 is heavy, 1 is light – to put it simply. Personally, I like to warm up in the higher digits (7-10), and then commit to my workouts between 4 and 5, as most university programs suggest.
  3. Set the clock: The rowing machine has a great computer for tracking your workouts, but for now, simply hit ‘Just Row’, or begin pulling on the handle and the clock will start on its own.
  4. Row!

Of course, it isn’t so easy to master the rowing stroke on your first few tries, so keep in mind these pointers:

  • Always begin each stroke with lower leg perpendicular to the ground and your seat as far up as can be achieved. At this point, your should be fully outstretched and grasping the handle.
  • Legs first! When driving, press off with your glutes, quads, and calves and drive your legs down to full extension.
  • Back second! once the legs are down, lean back with a straight back and begin to transfer the speed of the fly wheel to your upper body.
  • Arms in third! Once you have achieved a slight posterior lean with your straight back, pull the handle into your nipple line with by retracting your scapulae and flexing your arms.
  • The ‘finish’, or end of the stroke goes exactly in reverse order: Arms back out, back over, then slowly move back up the slide with the legs, ready for another stroke.

Sample Warm-Up:

20 strokes arms only

20 strokes arms and back only

20 strokes half leg extension

40 strokes full leg extension (full strokes)

Sample workout: 1 x 3000M, 1 x 2000M, 1 x 1000M, 1 X 500M, 1:00 rest in between each.

As you may notice this is a descending pyramid type of workout and it is great because mentally, the workload becomes easier and easier as you pass through each interval.

Select workout, then select Interval Variable, then enter the first distance, followed by the three others; then the rest.

The first 3000M should be done at 60-80% of your VO2 max, with that intensity increasing until the last 500M goes by at an all-out effort.

That’s it for now, I hope you can look into incorporating the rowing machine into your next workout and join the thousands who swear by rowing as the King of cardio.

 

 

Strategies for Online 7-Card Stud: Starting Hand and 4th Street

One of the biggest threats to your health and overall well-being is stress. It’s important for you to have some stress-relieving hobbies to help alleviate some of the tension. Poker is an excellent way of relieving stress. Of course, learning to successfully play is necessary to maximize the experience, as constantly losing can tack its own undesired levels of stress.

Becoming even more popular than Texas Hold ‘em, 7-Card Stud is an entertaining card game that requires a lot of strategies and close attention. Here are some basic strategies that you can utilize as you get started relieving your stress and having fun.

Starting Hand

When playing 7-card stud, the first strategy is whether to continue the hand once you’ve put in your ante and dealt the first three cards. Remember, you don’t want to get too attached to your ante. You can play online poker for real money, but antes really aren’t that much money and you don’t want to get too invested on a rotten hand. With the first three cards, you want to take a look and see if they fit into any of these four categories:

• Three of a kind
• High pair (10 or above)
• Three to a flush
• Three to a straight

If you have a high pair, you want to drive out the others by betting and getting them to fold early on before they have a pair or other hand that is potentially higher than yours. With a flush, you want a strong flush with a high card, preferably an ace. Since this is a draw hand, it’s a slow build rather than raising wherever possible. It’s pretty much the same deal with three to a straight. With this hand, you’re looking for an outside straight, such as a 9, 10 and Jack, rather than something like an 8, 9, and Jack.

If none of these works out for you, consider folding here rather than losing more down the line.

4th Street Strategies

Once you get to 4th street, if you have a four of a kind, play it slow so that others will drive up the pot as they develop straights and flushes. If you have a three of a kind, you want to drive others out quickly by jamming the pot so that they don’t get the straights and flushes they’re working on. Same goes for a high two-pair. If you have a draw hand, because you’re working on a flush or straight, place a bet and call if you are raised. Keep your eye out too for the cards you need on another player’s porch. The more cards you need that are there, the less chance you are to get the card(s) you need.

Once you get to 5th street, the strategies will change as you near the end of the game, and the most money is lost, so check your pride at the door and be ready to fold if the cards aren’t in your favor.

Should celebrities endorse soft drinks filled with sugar?

More and more studies are teaching us how too much sugar in our diet can lead to serious health issues, including conditions like obesity. This has triggered all sorts of policy debates with the Mayor of New York banning large soft drinks while others argue that the government shouldn’t get involved. Both sides have a point but with so much of our federal budget tied to health care costs we all need to consider these issues, while also looking in the mirror and asking ourselves whether we consume too much sugar.

Soft drinks in particular are a huge source of excess sugar in our diets, and now even stars like Beyonce are feeling some heat around this issue. For example, “The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants Beyonce to turn her back on her $50 million deal with Pepsi because the sugary drink is associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.” That’s quite a bit a money to turn down, and I guess she could only focus on Diet Pepsi, but in many ways this controversy illustrates how far we have come with awareness on this issue. I doubt Beyonce will end her deal, but now there is some PR price to be paid when a celebrity gets behind these types of products.

Of course, we need to do more than just cut down on sugar to improve our diet and our health, though it would be a great start for most people. It’s important to find healthy foods as a substitute for things like sugar and fat that we want to reduce. Another approach involves taking vitamins and supplements like the ones found at Predator Nutrition to round out what you consume as well.

It is encouraging, however, that the feedback we’re getting from commercials might be balanced a bit by the loud voices explaining the health risks of things like sugar along with the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

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