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Sunday, February 26, 2012

You are the synthesis of your skill sets

For a brief moment, I'd like to make note of the incredible uniqueness of each person.
Not everyone is good at every thing, but everyone is good at some thing. For each person who steps outside micro-cultural standards, I commend you! For each person who brings together interests from diverse sources, I admire you. Please understand the value of your unique being!
For each person who continually labors to overcome a "growth phase," I applaud you. For everyone who rises early and retires late to develop non-job related projects, non-income earning studies, I respect you. Please know that the inspiration you receive from your "extra curricular" activities is making the world a better place!
Only you can live your passion. May you be blessed in diving deeper!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

No-Brainer ReturnTo's*

"No-Brainer:" a word-play to indicate an obvious conclusion, ie. "it takes no brains to figure that out."
"Return To's:" a phrase typically used in the singular, ie. "this is where I want you to return to."

The Two No-Brainer Return To's I'd like to share at this moment are:
1) Chin-tucks
2) Cobra stretch

What - Standing up, with the exhalation, tuck the jaw horizontally toward the brain stem. Release the tuck with inhalation. This can be done with the aid of a hand on the chin or free style. At the end of a workout, this move is frequently done while laying face-up on the floor, ideally with the knees bent and low back flat.
Why - When properly executed, the chin-tuck elongates the neck and releases pressure from the top vertebrae, which in turn frees the brain stem from muscular contraction. Not only will this support relaxation of the nerve endings in the brain stem, it will start a stretch response all the way down the spine, returning oxygen via blood to the muscles that have been contracted during the work set

Cobra stretch:
What - In the prone position, with inhalation, contract the gluts and low back muscles and simultaneously begin reaching the chin sky-ward until the entire front of the body is extended upward. Leave the arms in a shoulders-back position with the hands near the lower ribs. Extend the arms at the end of the inhalation, if at all. On the exhalation, reverse direction, returning the body to the start position, chin last. Throughout this movement, let the entire lower body remain in contact with the floor.
Why - When properly executed, the cobra stretch elongates and oxygenates all the muscles on the front side of the body, and coordinates a cycle of symmetrical contraction with total relaxation of the back muscles. This allows nerves of the lower body to relax and recover from (prepare for more) physical work.

During a workout, I recommend 5 to 8 repetitions of these exercises in between longer work sets. At the end of a workout, I recommend 10 or more repetitions of these exercises to slow the breathing, decompress the spine and begin relaxation.

*This lesson courtesy of Ken Blackburn. CKT Level 1 certification, Lakewood, CO, 2011.