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What guy doesn’t want more power? Unless you are a professional athlete, developing lower body power can’t do much about your influence of work. However, increasing your lower body power will allow you to jump and run with more authority on the basketball court or blast down the field in a pickup game of football. Furthermore, developing a greater base of power can stimulate your balance and coordination while increasing your endurance and explosive strength, and burn a lot of calories to boot. Dumbbell squat jumps are a great way to create a strong lower body and then unleash its power.

Muscle Structure and Function

The squat jump involves all of your thigh, calf and hip muscles, but only the major muscles will be discussed here. The quadriceps femoris is a group of four thigh muscles1 that are hit especially hard by squat jumps. The vastus lateralis muscle covers the lateral part of the femur bone of the thigh. The vastus medialis muscle is anchored to the medial part of the femur. The vastus intermedius muscle is attached to the central, anterior part of the femur.1 The rectus femoris begins on the hip bones at the iliac crest and above the hip joint and not on the femur.2 The fibers from these three vasti muscles attach to the quadriceps tendon, which in turn connects to the patella (kneecap). This tendon continues as the patellar ligament and it anchors on the tibia bone of the lower leg. The four quadriceps muscles work together to extend (straighten) the leg at the knee joint. The rectus femoris is more effective as a knee extensor when the hip is almost straight.

The gluteus maximus is the major muscle of the hip.1 It extends the thigh (moves it backward) when you are jumping upward from the squat position. The fibers of the gluteus medius muscle runs between the ileum bone of the hip and the posterior part of the femur bone of the thigh. It abducts the femur at the hip joint by moving the femur laterally, away from the midline of the body. The gluteus medius maintains body balance during the takeoff and landing of squat jumps.

The long head of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles comprise the hamstring muscles. These muscles attach to the posterior part of the hip and the pelvic bones.1 They extend down the posterior side of the femur bone to attach to the medial side of the tibia bone of the leg (semitendinosus and semimembranosus), or the lateral side of the tibia bone just below the knee (biceps femoris). Together these muscles flex the knee. However, when the foot is on the ground, the hamstrings extend (straighten) the hip joint, and therefore these muscles are very activated during the upwards leap in dumbbell squat jumps.

The calf musculature is invoked during the last phase of the jump upward on this exercise. The upper and middle regions of the medial gastrocnemius form the medial part of the calf below the knee.1 The lateral gastrocnemius forms the outer part of the calf. The soleus muscle is deep to the gastrocnemius muscle. The medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus fibers attach to the thick Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle, and these muscles plantar flex the foot at the ankle joint1 (i.e., raise the heel from the floor).

Dumbbell Squat Jumps

It is important to stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings and warm up for a few minutes on a stationary cycle the first set.3 This is because dumbbell squat jumps are explosive, so the muscles and joints should first be warmed up appropriately. In addition, your shoes should have a good sole that will not slip when you are jumping upward.

1. Stand on a non-slip surface. Take a medium light dumbbell in each hand. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart.

2. Squat down until your knees are flexed to an angle of about 90 degrees.

3. Explosively and powerfully jump upward as high as you can. Make sure that you go up on the tips of your toes at the top.

4. You will leave the floor momentarily, and then come down. As soon as your feet hit the floor, immediately begin your squat downward, but slow the descent of your body, so that it’s a controlled squat back to the starting position.

5. Do not pause at the bottom, but immediately explode upward for your next jump.6

6. Continue for a minimum of 15 repetitions. Rest about a minute and then repeat the set. You can work up to four sets. Do not be too concerned about using heavier dumbbells too quickly.4

The tension in the vasti muscles diminishes as you approach the top portion of the lift (with the knees straightened). Conversely, the rectus femoris is less active at the bottom but becomes more activated when the hip and knee are being extended. Since the gluteus maximus muscle and hamstring muscles are strong extensors of the hip, they are very active during the jump upward. This exercise lengthens the fibers under tension during the drop back to the floor and this can really make your thigh and calf muscles sore, so ensure that you gradually increase the sets and reps in this exercise.

The dumbbell squat jump can be a great complement to other resistance or cardio training. Alternatively, they can work independently to effectively add power and strength to your lower body, while giving you greater jumping ability,7 improved ankle and Achilles tendon strength,8 or explosiveness in each step. The power in your legs and hips that arise from this exercise will certainly command great respect, not to mention performance. Together, your power surge can vitalize almost everything that you do.

References:

1. Moore, KL and AF Dalley. Clinically oriented Anatomy. Fourth edition. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Williams, 1999; 531-546;571-592.

2. Waligora AC, Johanson NA, Hirsch BE. Clinical anatomy of the quadriceps femoris and extensor apparatus of the knee. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 2009; 467: 3297-3306.

3. Pacheco L, Balius R, Aliste L et al. The acute effects of different stretching exercises on jump performance. J Strength Cond Res, 2011;25:2991-2998.

4. Randell AD, Cronin JB, Keogh JW et al. Reliability of performance velocity for jump squats under feedback and nonfeedback conditions. J Strength Cond Res, 2011;25:3514-3518.

5. Foure A, Nordez A, Cornu C. Effects of plyometric training on passive stiffness of gastrocnemii muscles and Achilles tendon. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2012:112- 2849-2957.

6. Iida Y, Kanehisa H, Inaba Y et al: Short-term landing training attenuates landing impact and improves jump height in landing-to-jump movement. J Strength Cond Res, 2013;27:1560-1567.

7. Ziv, G , Lidor, R 2009. Vertical jump in female and male basketball players – a review of observational and experimental studies. J Sci Med Sport, 2010;13, 332-339, 2010.

8. Foure A, Nordez A, Cornu C. Plyometric training effects on Achilles tendon stiffness and dissipative properties. J Appl Physiol, 2010;109:849-854.

The post Blast of Lower Body Power appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Blast of Lower Body Power
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/blast-of-lower-body-power/
Published Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2022 14:44:41 +0000

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How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life

Captura de pantalla 2024 04 11 a las 14.04.04

Captura de pantalla 2024 04 11 a las 14.04.04 1
Photo by spiritvisionstudios / Unsplash.com

“Human beings are creatures of belonging which we achieve through three marriages. First, through relationship with other people and other things (particularly and very personally, to one other person in relationship or marriage); second, through work; and third, through an understanding of what it means to be themselves.” David Whyte, The Three Marriages: Reimaging Work, Self and Relationship.

For more than fifty years I have helped people achieve success in all three kinds of relationships. Like many I married young. My wife and I were together for ten years and had two children before our marriage broke up. After a time of pain and healing, I fell in love again, and remarried. Looking back, I can see that one was a rebound relationship and it too ended.

Endings are painful for everyone, but when you’re a marriage and family counselor who makes his living helping fix relationships, it is not only painful, but shameful as well. I talk about it on my website, MenAlive.com in an introductory video, “Confessions of a Twice-Divorced Marriage Counselor.” Fortunately, I got my own help, worked through unhealed trauma from my past, and learned what it truly takes to have a successful marriage. My wife, Carlin, and I have been happily married for forty-four years.

            We all want a life that is happy and joyful, but how to achieve success is not often clear and easy.

“If you have to make one life choice, right now, to set yourself on the path to future health and happiness, what would it be?”

This question was asked by two world-renowned social scientists, Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD.

Dr. Waldinger is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Study on Adult Development. Dr. Schultz is the associate director. The Harvard Study is the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted. It began in 1938 and offers the most scientifically supported guidance for achieving a great life.

The latest findings are reported in Waldinger’s and Schulz’s book, The Good Life: Lessons From The World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. In a 2007 survey, millennials were asked about their most important life goals. Seventy-six percent said that becoming rich was their number one goal. Fifty percent said a major goal was to become famous. More than a decade later, after millennials had spent more time as adults, similar questions were asked again. Fame was now lower on the list, but top goals again included things like making money, having a successful career, and becoming debt-free.

            What does the data from thousands of interviews over eighty-six years tell us? If we want a great life what is the one thing that is more important than others? The answer can be stated in three simple words: Create Good Relationships.

“In fact, good relationships are significant enough that if we had to take all eighty-six years of the Harvard Study,”

say Drs. Waldinger and Schulz,

“and boil it down to a single principle for living, one life investment that is supported by similar findings across a wide variety of other studies, it would be this:

Good Relationships keep us healthier and happier. Period.”

The Three Marriages We Must Embrace to Have a Successful Life

            In his book The Three Marriages: Reimaging Work, Self and Relationship, David Whyte says,

“Despite our use of the word “marriage” only for a committed relationship between two people, “in reality everyone is committed consciously or unconsciously to three marriages.”

            Whyte goes on to say,

“There is that first marriage, the one we usually mean, to another; that second marriage, which can so often seem like a burden, to work or vocation; and that third and most likely hidden marriage to a core conversation inside ourselves. We can call these three separate commitments marriages because at their core they are usually lifelong commitments and, as I wish to illustrate, they involve vows made either consciously or unconsciously.”

For most of my life I tried to find a balance between my work life and my love life. The truth is that I was much better at work than I was at love. It is not surprising. I had my first job when I was seven years old. My father had left when I was five, committed to a mental hospital after taking an overdose of sleeping pills because he had become increasingly stressed and depressed because he couldn’t make a living to support my mother and me.

With my father gone, my mother had to find work outside the home. We had little money beyond what was needed for the essentials, so I learned early to work for anything I truly wanted. I got good at work, but like many who grew up without a father and mother at home, what I learned about having a healthy and happy married life was minimal and I was too busy hustling for my next job success to have time to wonder about what it meant to get to know my true self.

For too many of us we feel like we are going up and down on a teeter-totter with our work and love lives competing for our attention while our personhood often gets neglected and forgotten. David Whyte offers us all a great service when he suggests this basic reality:

“Each of those marriages, is at its heart, nonnegotiable. We should give up the attempt to balance one against another, of, for instance, taking away from work to give more time to a partner, or vice versa, and start thinking of each marriage conversing with, questioning, or emboldening the other two.”

            With the framework of the three marriages, we can ask ourselves where we might need improvement. Here’s a little scale I find useful.

Captura de pantalla 2024 04 11 a las 13.42.30

How would you rate yourself in all five areas? I feel successful in all five areas, but it has been a lifelong process of healing and learning. I still have a way to go yet, like all of us. My score was 24. How about yours?

Bringing It All Together

For me, I have come to see achieving success at the three marriages as a true hero’s journey, one that lasts a lifetime. My wife, Carlin, is part Native American. In our area, there are several women who weave beautiful baskets made out of local materials that grow in nature. A well-known basket weaver described a well-made basket as a metaphor for creating a great life.

            Here’s how she describes the process.

“Our life is a basket woven from many different strands, each essential for a strong container. Each part of our life is one strand in this basket.It’s impossible to weave multiple strands at the same time; we need to attend to the strand that requires our attention without losing awareness of the others. Every strand will get our attention—just not all at the same time. I know I give attention to where I am most needed, knowing that I will then move on to the next demand. The basket holds my life as I strengthen individual strands. I’m no longer on a teeter-totter—I am weaving my life into something whole and lovely.”

When I reflect on my own life, there are times when I must focus on my wife, Carlin, knowing that there are other parts of my life that will require my attention at another time. At other times, one of our five children or seventeen grandchildren all for my attention. Yet, I can’t ever forget my work and my commitment to my calling. Running through all these “strands of my basket” is my commitment to my deepest self, getting to know who I really am and learning to love the man I am with all my flaws as well as my gifts.

I have written about how I have integrated these strands in the books I have written. If you are interested in learning about me and my work, I recommend, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, 12 Rules for Good Men, and Long Live Men: The Moonshot Mission to Heal Men, Close the Lifespan Gap, and Offer Hope for Humanity.

If you want to learn more about me and my relationship life, I recommend The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationship and Why the Best is Still to Come, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions.

If you would like to take one of my on-line courses, I recommend:

Navigating the 5 Stages of Love.

Healing the Irritable Male Syndrome.

Healing the Family Father Wound.

If you would like to join our mission to improve the lives of men and their families, I recommend:

The Moonshot for Mankind and Humanity.

If you would like to do individual or couple counseling with me, drop me a note at Jed@MenAlive.com and put “Counseling” in the subject line. I will send you the information. If you would like to receive my free weekly newsletter with updates and new articles, you can sign up here.

The post How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: How to Become Successful at the Three Essential Marriages for Achieving a Great Life
Sourced From: menalive.com/how-to-become-successful-at-the-three-essential-marriages/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-become-successful-at-the-three-essential-marriages
Published Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2024 20:02:04 +0000

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The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout

Japanese Interval Walking 3 jpg

Japanese Interval Walking 3 1 jpg

The overarching principle of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is that the harder you do an exercise, the more physiological benefits you accrue; thus, by incorporating intervals of higher intensity efforts in your workouts, you can get more fitness bang for your buck in less time. 

When we think about HIIT, we tend to think about going absolutely nuts on a fan bike or doing all-out sprints.

But as Dr. Martin Gibala explained on the AoM podcast, while high-intensity training rises above the level of the moderate, it doesn’t require a complete max out of your heart rate, nor is it limited to certain exercise modalities.

You can do interval training by pedaling like a madman on a bike, but you can also do it with a less strenuous approach. 

Enter Interval Walking Training (IWT), which originated in Japan.

This 3X3 walking workout is simple: you do 3 minutes of low-intensity walking (40% of peak aerobic capacity for walking — a little faster than a stroll), followed by 3 minutes of high-intensity walking (70%+ of peak aerobic capacity for walking). You repeat these interval sets at least 5 times, and do this 30-minute workout 4 times a week.

Your heart rate during the high-intensity intervals will vary according to your fitness level and age. One 68-year-old who participated in an IWT-based study had his heart rate go up to about 130 beats per minute during the fast intervals, so you’re moving at a good clip.

Even though IWT is highly accessible, studies that have been done on it show that it produces significant health benefits. People who did Interval Walking Training 4X a week for 3 months experienced significantly more improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, leg strength, and aerobic capacity than those who did continuous, moderate-intensity walking. 

Hiroshi Nose, who developed Interval Walking Training, reports that among those who do IWT, “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training, [and] symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent.” IWT walkers enjoyed mental health benefits as well: depression scores dropped by half.

Walking in general is already one of the very best forms of exercise you can do, and IWT just helps you take its benefits up a notch. Hiroshi has used Interval Walking Training to get thousands of elderly Japanese citizens into shape, and it’s a great form of exercise if you’re in the older decades of life. But it’s also good if you’re just beginning your fitness journey and looking to get off the couch and start doing more physical activity. Even if you’re already a regular exerciser who’s in good shape, IWT is a nice way to mix up your usual neighborhood strolls while enhancing your health even further. 

For more HIIT protocols, from the accessible to the challenging, listen to this episode of the AoM podcast:

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/the-japanese-3×3-interval-walking-workout/
Published Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2024 17:35:28 +0000

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The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together

a couple of miracles

a couple of miracles 1

It isn’t easy being a man in today’s world. The same is true for being a woman. Finding the right partner and creating a joyful, long-lasting, marriage is truly a miracle. In their book. In their book, A Couple of Miracles: One Couple, More Than a Few Miracles, Joyce and Barry Vissell share their life journey. Joyce, a nurse/psychotherapist and Barry doctor/psychiatrist, offer wisdom for men, women, and couples who are wanting to find the secrets for a long and successful life, career, and marriage.

I have known Joyce and Barry for many years. My wife, Carlin, and I attended a couple’s retreat with them to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Our forty-four-year marriage has been enriched by our time with Joyce and Barry.

Joyce and Barry have been a couple since 1964, have raised three children, written ten books, and helped countless people in their workshops and counseling practice. They can be reached at SharedHeart.org. I recently did a podcast interview with Barry and we explored their work, the new book, Barry’s work with men, Joyce’s work with women, and their joint work with couples.

I recently attended a men’s retreat with Barry and seventeen other men from around the country. It was a unique and wonderful experience that I recommend to all men. From the very beginning Barry invited us all to be vulnerable and share the real challenges we were facing in our lives. He started by sharing his own, things that most of us hide, even from ourselves.

“We need to let our partners see us more deeply,”

said Barry.

“We need to feel and express our feelings. Men sometimes feel hurt or afraid, but we’re often taught to keep it well hidden.”

Barry went on to share some of the real problems that he and Joyce have experienced in their own lives. As others shared, hearts opened, tears were shed. We talked about our hopes and dreams and our losses and betrayals.

I shared my experiences, having been married twice before, and the shame I felt being “a twice-divorced marriage and family counselor.” I talked about my forty-four-year marriage to my wife, Carlin, and my fear and anguish at the thought of losing her.

Barry shared his own fears of what he would do if Joyce died. Other men opened up about broken promises and broken marriages. Several men had recently dealt with relationships that had recently ended and shared their pain and anger.

 “Outwardly, we often present a strong, competent image,”

said Barry.

“Showing our human frailty to our loved ones gives them a very wonderful gift of love. When we feel sad, instead of covering it up with activity, we can share it with a loved one. Instead of jumping into an angry posture every time we feel hurt, the vulnerable and courageous approach is to reveal the hurt feelings directly, without anger or resentment.”

Barry acknowledged that many of us were in relationship with strong, competent, women. He encouraged us to also recognize “the little girl” that lives inside each of the women in our lives.

When I returned home after the end of the retreat, I shared what Barry had said about “the little girl” within. Carlin wept with recognition.

“I’ve spent my whole life taking care of others,”

Carlin said.

“I haven’t done a very good job taking care of the little girl inside me.

I held her and let her little girl be vulnerable, as she has so often held me as I let the little boy in me reveal his worries, fears, and pain. I used to think that it was manly to suffer in silence, to be forever strong for others. But I now know that our vulnerability is our real superpower.

I have been somewhat obsessed with life and death for a long time now. When I was five years old my father took an overdose of sleeping pills when he became increasingly depressed because he couldn’t support his family doing the work he loved. Though he didn’t die, our lives were never the same. I grew up wondering what happened to my father and when it would happen to me. For most of my life I blocked out the terror of my childhood.

I grew up like many males, denying my own vulnerability, and imagined that if I were smart enough and successful enough I could outrun my fears and furies. At various times I acted like I was the lone wolf, top dog, alpha male, lone ranger, superman. I didn’t trust others, particularly other guys, who I felt I needed to compete against in order to get women, money, power, and glory I craved.

That changed for me when I joined my first men’s group in 1979. Carlin has said on many occasions that the reason she believes we have had a successful forty-four-year marriage is because I’ve been in a men’s group for forty-five years. Our group continues to meet, though three of our members have died. I’m now the eldest member of the group as I recently celebrated my 80th birthday.

Carlin has also been in several women’s groups which give her the love and support that only women can give. We also have been in a mixed group, we call “The Village Circle” where men and women can learn to love and support each other.

Joyce and Barry have had a similar path and offer counseling, retreats, and much more. You can get their latest information at SharedHeart.org. The world needs more miracles. We need each other and the world needs each of us to be the best men and women we can be.

We live in challenging times. Vaclav Havel, Czech statesman, author, poet, playwright and dissident, offers an important truth about the times in which we live.

“I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Today, many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.”

In a recent article, “Men and Relationships,” Barry says,

“Over the years of working with men and their relationships, not to mention my own 59-year relationship with Joyce, I have seen some central issues emerge.”

He goes on to enumerate eight areas that are particularly important. Number eight is “Reach Out More to Other Men.”

Barry says,

“Many men tend to isolate themselves from meaningful relationships with other men. I have observed that many men are nearly starved for father/brother love. Because of our fear of this need, we have pushed away half the population of the earth. Practice vulnerability with other men, and you will find it becomes even easier to be vulnerable with your partner. Deepening your friendship with a man leads to deepening your friendship with yourself. And this allows you to become more accessible to your partner.”

Barry and Joyce practice what they recommend to others. Both Carlin and I have benefitted from their wisdom over the years. You will too. You can visit Barry and Joyce here.

If you appreciate articles like these, come visit me, Jed Diamond, here.

The post The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: The Miracle of Men, Women, and Couples: Allowing Our Vulnerabilities to Bring Us Together
Sourced From: menalive.com/the-miracle-of-men-women-and-couples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-miracle-of-men-women-and-couples
Published Date: Sat, 06 Apr 2024 02:32:57 +0000

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