Category Archives: Training

How To Enjoy The Beautiful Game

Soccer is played and watched the world over, and what makes the beautiful game so popular is the variety of ways that fans can enjoy the sport.

Whether 5 or 11-a-side, playing a match is a great way to enjoy soccer. All you need is a ball and enough space for all the players, and what’s more, you don’t even need goalposts. Who can forget the enduring image from the British schoolyard, the game’s birthplace, with schoolchildren chasing after a ball and their jumpers placed on the ground as substitutes for the goals? Of course, a match with friends doesn’t have to be a formal end-to-end affair, games like three-and-in or heads and volleys are terrific fun while also being a great way to practice and enjoy some of soccer’s core skills such as heading, volleying, and dribbling.

Of course, playing a match with friends is a great way to enjoy soccer, but so too is watching a game on television. Nowadays soccer has never been as accessible with games broadcast live from leagues all over the world, so fans can gather to watch Lionel Messi perform an audacious dribble before switching to another channel to see Cristiano Ronaldo score an extraordinary free kick. And there will always be the die-hard supporters who travel to their local stadium every week, wearing their team’s colors and shouting encouragement to the players as they try to score that all-important winning goal.

Reality is becoming more virtual all the time, and after playing or watching a soccer match, many fans look to emulate some of the game’s great managers such as Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, and Johann Cruyff in testing their tactical awareness using a football manager simulation game.

Soccer is often called the people’s game, and with so many ways to enjoy the world’s most popular sport, it truly is.

Exercise your brain: what can you do to give your mind a workout?

Brains. They are a bit of a mystery, even to neuroscientists. However, the connection between mind and body is an incredibly powerful one, even if the process isn’t completely understood. That’s why so many neuroscientists are to be found clad in running gear. Running, they tell us, quite literally makes us smarter. But did you know that it can also work the other way around? If you exercise your mind, it actually makes your body healthier. Sounds like hocus pocus? Read on and see.

Learning a new skill

Gardening is just one of many skills that requires a combination of concentration, repetition, planning, and problem-solving. Knitting, craftwork, and cooking all produce a similar neurobiological effect. These activities build and strengthen neural pathways, improving overall brain function.

However, a remarkable additional effect is that they also force the brain into a state of mindfulness. This has a range of health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, and improving heart health. This isn’t just because activities such as gardening involve exercise, but mainly because the mental focus that is required sends the body into a state of healthy relaxation.

The more effort that is put into learning a new skill, the more powerful the positive mental effect becomes.

But what about ‘serious’ learning?

Think of serious mental challenges, and games of logic spring to mind. Cryptic crosswords, chess, and poker are the forerunners. All of these work in a similar way. Poker, for instance, involves memorising complex strategies and rules that can be applied in order to predict how the game will unfold. Players also have to be able to perform complex mathematics involving probability and chance, and to apply multiple rules of logic.

Difficult? Yes. However, all of these activities are learned through practice and repetition, and that’s where the secret lies. Learning how to play these mentally complex games builds neural pathways. Due to the constant repetition, these pathways are strengthened until they are hardwired.

The result is a supercharged brain, with enhanced memory, concentration, and dexterity. However, one neural pathway that chess and poker players develop is emotional control. This can have a powerful physical effect: it reduces the physically damaging stress hormone cortisol.

Closing thoughts

When people think about exercise, they often forget that the brain also needs a good workout. Learning is not just something done by students, but something that the brain naturally wants and needs to do in order to keep the body healthy. Next time you’re wondering how to improve your gym workout, consider reaching for the chess set!

Common Injuries in CrossFit and How to Prevent and Treat Them

CrossFit is an increasingly popular fitness option that consists of rapid and successive high-intensity ballistic movements. Even though it was once reserved for tough guys, it seems to attract more and more individuals interested in getting a better physical shape. For you to reap the physical benefits of CrossFit training, you need to safeguard yourself against these common injuries:

Anterior Knee Pain

Knee pain, which can occur during a lunge, squat, or single leg work, is usually associated with strain and overuse, but other times it can mean dislocation or even worse injury. If you experience swelling on your kneecap or observe a dislocation, you should avoid physical impact on the knees and do stretches to keep the knee limber. For minor injuries, just ice your knees.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain occurs due to too much stress on the lumbar spine during squats and deadlift exercises. When you experience pain and distress on your lower back, it’s imperative that you halt your training. To prevent this injury, it’s important to first build up your core and glute strength before lifting heavy weights, as well as do the right kind of stretching and strengthening exercises.

Safety Tips

To prevent these CrossFit injuries, it’s important to start training slowly and gradually build up. If you experience any of these injuries, you should consult a qualified sports trainer or doctor. But, if the injuries are serious, lay off the training until you recover to prevent further damage. During your recovery, you can engage in less strenuous games like poker to help you stay busy. Learning a new game and it’s strategies can put your mind off the fact that you can’t workout.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the ligaments and the tendons in the elbow. In case of elbow pain, break off from the activity causing it until the pain subsides, then do some extensor muscles stretches. Wear a compression elbow brace before you start training as it minimizes micro tears, which cause pain associated with tennis elbow.

The Importance of Giving your Body a Rest

The human body requires training to help improve its functions both physically and mentally. Some may think that this is a reserve just for the athletes and those who serve in military or martial forces, but they are wrong. Physical exercise is important even for that one regular person who can only do it once a week. A good routine is important with any exercise, and it must not just be for the purpose of building muscles or losing fat.

What do you do after training?

Many people focus on the diet, training, routines and the long term results. Well, these have been extensively researched. One thing people ignore is what you should do immediately after the training session. According to studies it is important to have some mind relaxation activities to avoid fatigue and over-exhaustion. To this end there are various activities that one may engage in.

Playing Computer Games

One of the best relaxation methods would be to play computer games. Many people like where you can engage in different computer games. A casino is one of the best places people go for relaxation. Doing it online even makes it better because you do not need to move around. If you happen to be in Europe, the environment is well regulated for any player who wishes to play online. You can do this from the comfort of your couch, instead of just sleeping to relax, which is what many people do.

A planned body training and conditioning program can be very strenuous and can affect any body’s performance. Therefore a concrete relaxation program is important, especially for people who do not exercise on a regular basis.

Other Relaxation Activities

One can also relax by watching a movie a particular sport of interest. Another good relaxation choice would be a sauna. Some gyms may also offer swimming facilities for their clients.

The Most Dangerous Exercises in Crossfit

Crossfit is a dynamic and popular way to work out that has swept the world and inspires incredible devotion from participants. A workout methodology that incorporates Olympic-like lifts, cardio training and other whole-body exercises at high intensity, the workouts are carried out at intensity.

Most of the workouts require a high number of repetitions to be completed within a specific time frame, often with a heavy weight load. For some, this is a recipe for fitness. For many, it’s a recipe for injury and there are a number of exercises used in Crossfit workouts which put participants are particularly high risk of injury.

The Kipping Pull Up

The kipping pull up is a signature move in Crossfit and unfortunately one that often results in injury if not carried out properly. Completing a kipping pull up requires a high level of complex technique and poses injury risk even if done properly. Incorrect technique when undertaking a kipping pull up can lead to shoulder, neck and back injury.

High-rep Olympic Lifts

Olympic lifts are meant to be done in moderation and with careful attention to good form. Crossfit takes a high speed, high impact approach to every workout, risking a decline in technique as participants tire. Olympic lifts are also done with significant weight on the bar, increasing the risk of serious injury if not done correctly.

Box jumps

Box jumps require participants to jump from a standing start onto a box and back down again. Gain, the high speed, high impact approach puts participants at risk for significant injury when they begin to get tired and begin using sloppy form. The box jump presents significant risk to the knee, ankle and lower back, not to mention the risk of bruises and scrapes when the box is missed altogether.

The Best Alternatives to Crossfit

Crossfit is a fitness phenomenon which has exploded in popularity around the world. It definitely gets results, but it is not for everybody. There are alternatives to Crossfit which achieve results just as good as those Crossfit achieves.

Body weight workouts

Body weight workouts are simple and easy to complete, but this doesn’t equate to easy. Using only body weight resistance, put together core movements such as squats, push ups, sit ups, hamstring thrusts and plank holds. This creates a whole body workout that will be surprisingly challenging.

Running

Running is an all-round workout that has the added bonus of an outdoor setting. Starting out slowly for beginners, running is easily adaptable as conditioning improves. Running is an appropriate activity for all ages and fitness levels and can be done in a group or alone.

High Intensity Interval Workouts (HIIT)

HIIT workouts are designed to include strength and cardiovascular conditioning into one workout. Short, sharp exercises that push your body to the limit are combined with active recovery. HITT workouts will increase the foundation that your fitness is based on so you can perform better in other areas of your life.

Kettlebell Workouts.

Kettlebells provide an alternative to traditional racked weights. Designed to be swing, pushed, pulled, cleaned and jerked, Kettlebell workouts will combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training into one workout. Kettlebells engage the whole body in almost every move, providing a whole body workout every time.

How CrossFit Makes You better at Sports

What Is CrossFit Training?

CrossFit Training is a training philosophy based on a structured programme that improves strength and fitness in all areas of the body. It is used by military and police agencies as well as in athletics coaching. CrossFit focusses on one set of high-intensity interval training exercises each day. The timed sets of functional movements that go to make up each workout include push-ups, pull-ups, squats, rowing, running, weightlifting and gymnastics.

CrossFit is perfect for those who wish to increase their levels of fitness so that their bodies are capable of almost any activity. Some specialist sports coaches are wary of CrossFit as they believe it has a high risk of injury. However, as long as people are properly trained by competent, well-trained and observant coaches who ensure that the movements are being completed safely, CrossFit enhances an athlete’s performance in many different sports. CrossFit is becoming increasingly popular, with 200 plus gyms offering CrossFit training across the UK. For your nearest affiliation gym, take a look at map.crossfit.com

How Can CrossFit Make You a Better Athlete?

CrossFit enhances performance in any sport, both physically and mentally. For example, Swiss rower Simon Schürch, who competed in the 2012 Olympics, found that after completing a CrossFit programme at CrossFit Turicum in Zurich, his 2000m rowing time improved by more than two seconds, from 6:14 to 6:12. He now does CrossFit training from Monday to Wednesday and sports-specific exercises during the rest of the week.

The benefits of CrossFit include enhanced skill, strength and endurance, and as a rower Simon also finds his balance has greatly improved. The intelligent application of CrossFit techniques enhances the performance of athletes in many other sports. Swimmers, triathletes, footballers, runners and cyclists will all benefit from the programme, both physically and psychologically. However, they should always continue additional sports-specific training alongside CrossFit.