What Is the CrossFit Total?

The CrossFit Total is a series of three exercises combined into a strength test that was conceived by weight lifting coach Mark Rippetoe in 2006 for the CrossFit community. Consisting of the squat, overhead press and deadlift, the CrossFit Total is designed to be more accessible then the Olympic lifts and assesses whole body functional strength. Followers of CrossFit perform the CrossFit Total every month or so to measure their strength gains.
Prior to attempting the CrossFit Total, it is important to warm up thoroughly. This is best achieved by performing some light cardio and dynamic stretching. Once your general warm up is complete you should then perform two to four sets each of the squat, overhead press and deadlift in preparation of your test lifts. According to Rippetoes’ rule for the CrossFit total, you are allowed three attempts at each exercise to establish your one repetition maximum. Your first attempt should be safe — a weight that is heavy but you have no doubt that you will be able to complete the lift. Your second attempt should be closer to your best and the final lift an attempt at a new personal record. Record the weight of your heaviest lift for each exercise and combine them to calculate your CrossFit Total.
All of the exercises used in the CrossFit Total are performed in the standing position. This, says Rippetoe, means that these exercises have the greatest carryover to sports and real life activities. Although good technique is essential, the squat, overhead press and deadlift are easily learned and much simpler to perform than the very technical Olympic lifts: the snatch and clean and jerk. The bench press, not included in the CrossFit Total, is performed lying down. This, says Rippetoe, reduces it’s functional benefits, especially when compared to the standing overhead press. No special equipment is required for the CrossFIt Total which makes it very accessible regardless of where you chose to workout.
Once you have completed all of your attempts and you have your CrossFit total, you can compare your results with other CrossFitters and with the normative table. Based on body weight, your score will result in a ranking of untrained, novice, intermediate, advanced or elite. Each exercise can also be compared individually so that you can ascertain areas of weakness. Strive to maintain your current body weight and increase your total or lose body weight while maintaining the same total. Both scenarios demonstrate an increase in functional strength.
Lifting maximal weights can be dangerous. Your connective tissues, muscles and joints are all placed under tremendous pressure that can result in injury. You should only attempt the CrossFit Total if you have a good grounding in strength training and can perform all the exercises with near perfect form. Maximal strength training can also increase your blood pressure so do not perform this test is you are hypertensive. In addition, if you have any knee, hip, back or shoulder injuries, wait until you are healed and pain-free before attempting the CrossFit Total or any similar test of strength.

Lead-Up Games to Floor Hockey for Elementary Kids

Floor hockey lead-up games introduce the basic skills, focusing on only one or two skills at a time. This allows the students to build a basic foundation for each skill, which they eventually apply to an actual game situation. The lead-up games build excitement about floor hockey. Focus on proper grip and positioning during the lead-up games so the players learn proper game play techniques.
Skills stations give you more control over the specific moves the kids practice. Set up a different station for each skill you want to practice. One idea is a goal station where students try to make as many goals as possible in a set amount of time. Skip the goalie so the kids focus on proper form and aim. Other ideas include passing back and forth with a partner, defending the goal and dribbling. Divide the kids between the different stations. Blow a whistle to signal the beginning and stopping point at each station. Students then rotate and complete the next station.
This group game lets kids practice their passing and stopping skills. All students stand in a large circle with at least a foot on either side to provide enough room to maneuver the hockey sticks. One player passes the floor hockey puck to another player on the circle. That player stops the puck with his stick and gets it under control. He then passes the puck to another player on the circle. Encourage the kids to keep the puck moving at a fast pace. For more of a challenge, add another puck to force the kids to pay close attention.
Orange cones mark a path for students to practice their stick control for floor hockey. Set up several different cone paths to keep the kids moving more. The kids move the puck back and forth through the cones using the hockey stick. The goal is to keep the puck under control the entire time. Encourage the kids to pick up speed as they move through the cones. For additional practice, add a goal at the end of each cone course so the kids can shoot a goal.
A mini floor hockey games gives the elementary students practice pulling all of the skills together in a scaled-down version. Divide the players into two teams, with each team lined up on its sideline. The first six players for each team take a position on the court. No goalies are needed for the mini game. The players stay in the game until a goal is scored. The next six players enter the game as the first six players for each team head to the end of the line.

Epsom Salt for Bruises

One of the most common topical treatments for minor muscle and skin pain is Epsom salt, which has been used for centuries as a home remedy. You can soak bruises in water mixed with this compound. You may find some pain reduction from the use of Epsom salt, but that effect is not proven by medicine.
Epsom salt is the common name for the ionic compound magnesium sulfate. This compound is a solid, transparent crystal that collects in a white powder. Epsom salt is odorless and very safe for use, causing few problems during topical use and only low-level irritation if ingested. The salt is extremely soluble in water and should disappear quickly when added.
Users of Epsom salt claim it functions by drying the skin and helping muscle tissue relax. A small amount of the magnesium sulfate in the Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin, allowing for the release of tension. Such muscle relaxation is the reason it is used to relieve the pain of bruises. Unfortunately, there is little medical research that can either support or refute this claim.
The most important effect of Epsom salt when treating bruises is the reduction of swelling in the affected area. Research at the University of Birmingham in England in 2006 showed that Epsom salt is absorbed into the body after soaking. The Epsom salt will reach the underlying, damaged tissue of a bruise, but research is unclear as to whether this will have much effect.
To use Epsom salt to treat a bruise, add two cups of Epsom salt to a warm water bath. Soak the injured area until the water cools. After soaking, you should rinse yourself well with clean water, as the dissolved magnesium sulfate may leave dried crystals on your skin after the water evaporates. These crystals are harmless but may cause irritation.
Because Epsom salt is a commonly available treatment with a long history of use, many people think that its effects are proven. However, medical research on the properties and benefits of Epsom salt has focused primarily on internal use for the treatment of ailments like irregular heartbeat, pre-eclampsia and tetanus. Soaking in Epsom salt will cause no harm, but medicine has not proven that it works for bruises.

Why Do Football Players Put Tape Around Their Fingers?

From youth levels all the way up to the pros, football players tape their fingers individually or in pairs. Football requires players to hold on tight to the ball and also requires toughness to escape injury. By taping their fingers, it is commonly thought that football players can gain an edge in both areas. Luckily, there are no rules that disallow the practice of taping fingers.
Football is a tough game and fingers are inevitably going to get bent in the wrong direction. By taping fingers at the spots where they bend, some players can gain an edge in preventing fingers from being bent backward. Players who need to throw the ball or catch the ball should not tape their fingers on the fulcrums. But for offensive linemen and most defensive players, taping fingers on the joints can prevent dislocations and breaks.
For the unlucky players who suffer finger breaks, dislocations or sprains, there is a practice called “buddy taping” that can allow the finger to heal without the player having to miss any field time. According to the Sports Injury Bulletin, buddy taping involves taping the injured finger to one directly next to it. The player will essentially have four fingers to use but will not experience the pain of bending the injured digit. This practice is a quick fix that players can implement on the sideline, right after an injury occurs.
Some players believe that taping fingers can help with gripping the ball. According to a study listed in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, it was determined that this is not true. The abstract of the study states, “The results of these clinical measurements of grip strength showed that, contrary to the perceptions of professional and major college football players, taping of the fingers or wrists or both the fingers and wrists does not improve grip strength”. Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers would be the most likely players on the field to tape their fingers in the hope of stronger grip.
Some players also believe that taping fingers can absorb some of the blow from catching a hard-thrown ball, according to an entry on MadeMan. Taping can also provide a buffer for linemen who do a lot of pushing in the trenches. Taping can take the place of gloves for some players.
The PhysioAdvisor website recommends that players use adhesive, non-stretch sports tape if they are trying to restrict undesired motion. The best size, according to the website, is 12.5 mm or 25 mm, but 38 mm can also be used, though players might want to cut it and make it somewhat smaller. The site also recommends that before taping athletes should always use a hypoallergenic tape as an underlay.

A Blood Clot in the Big Toe

Taking care of your body means being aware of sudden changes that can occur — especially in the feet. If your toe is showing signs of redness and pain, you may have a blood clot. This can be caused by an array of medical problems and conditions. If you suspect a blood clot or problem with your foot or big toe, you need to seek medical care immediately. Failure to do so could be life-threatening or cause you to lose your big toe.
Any type of blood clot in the body can be dangerous. When your blood forms a clot within your veins, it is cutting off the flow of blood supply. This can prevent blood flow to certain organs in the body. If a blood clot has developed within your big toe, circulation could cease or be limited — causing the blood supply to be cut off. This could lead to bone and tissue damage or death. In some cases, the blood clot could also break free and travel to your lungs or heart, causing a pulmonary embolism — resulting in sudden death, explains MedlinePlus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health.
One of the most common causes of a blood clot within the big toe is due to surgery. If you have had bunion surgery or any type of corrective surgery involving your toes or foot, you have an increased risk of a blood clot. If you are immobile, bed ridden or have been in an airplane for an extended period of time, you increase your risk for blood clots in the toes and lower legs — this is referred to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT, notes the American Council on Exercise. Being diagnosed with peripheral artery disease or PAD — a condition in which there is limited blood flow to the legs and toes — lupus, heart disease or diabetes also increases your risk for developing a blood clot in your big toe.
A blood clot can be hard to identify initially. One of the main symptoms is pain, tenderness and redness in and around the toe or affected area. If you have a history of PAD, your doctor may give you certain signs to look for in case of a blood clot. These signs include tingling or pain in your toes, painful to the slightest touch, foot ulcers, blood clots or dark spots under the toenail and shiny tight skin, reports “The New York Times Health Guide.”
Treatment involves seeking immediate medical attention. In some cases, you may have to have surgery to treat or remove the blood clot. Your physician may prescribe a blood thinner, such as Heparin, which will help loosen the clot and prevent it from re-forming. You may be evaluated to determine the exact cause of the clot, which may involve being treated for an underlying condition, such as heart disease, or superficial thrombophelbitis, an inflammation in the superficial veins.
You can prevent a blood clot in your big toe by making sure you have adequate blood flow at all times. This means avoiding sitting for long periods of times, lying down for more than 12 hours at a time and avoiding socks or clothing that can constrict blood flow to the feet. Follow your doctor’s orders when taking anti-coagulant medications and get up to 30 minutes of exercise per day, up to five days a week to improve blood flow and maintain heart health.

Football Jersey Number Significance

The NFL requires that players at certain positions be restricted to a range of numbers. This tradition trickled down to the college and high school levels, though no specific rules limit numbers to certain positions. Some high-profile exceptions have existed to the standard numbering system, but fans can generally get an idea what position a player plays just by looking at his jersey number.
The NFL rule calls for punters, kickers and quarterbacks to use numbers 1 through 19. The most famous number 19 is perhaps Baltimore Colts legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas. Wide receivers can also use numbers 10 through 19, under certain circumstances. In college, it is considered an honor to wear No. 1, and often the flashiest or highest-profile players wear that number, whether a quarterback, running back or wide receiver.
Wide receivers and tight ends are assigned numbers 80 through 89, though if those numbers are all assigned, a receiver or tight end can use numbers 10 through 19. While most of the all-time best receivers wore numbers in the 80s, such as Jerry Rice, Kellen Winslow, John Mackey and Lynn Swann, several others went the low-number route, including Fred Biletnikoff, No. 25, and Lance Alworth, No. 19.
Offensive and defensive linemen usually share most of the same numbering system. Centers, though, are supposed to be numbered in the 50s, which is the same as linebackers. Offensive guards and tackles are supposed to have jersey numbers in the 60s and 70s. Defensive linemen are also supposed to have jerseys that fall between 60 and 79, though they can have numbers from 90 through 99 if the 60s and 70s are all taken.
Running backs and defensive backs have the widest range, with options ranging from 20 to 49. Linebackers are supposed to stick with numbers in the 50s, though 90 through 99 are available if the 50s are all taken. Defensive backs tend to go with jersey numbers in the 20s and 40s, while running backs tend to have numbers in the 30s and 40s.
The jersey system has notable exceptions. Raiders¡¯ center Jim Otto wore No. 00, a reference to his last name. Viking defensive lineman and Hall of Famer Carl Eller wore No. 81. And countless college football stars have gone against tradition in their jersey assignments. Michigan wide receiver Anthony Carter wore No. 1, while Florida State defensive back Deion Sanders wore No. 2.
Many rookies in the NFL want to wear the numbers they wore in college, but that isn¡¯t always possible. USC running back Reggie Bush wanted to continue wearing No. 5 when was drafted by New Orleans in 2006. The NFL however, stood firm in its rules and wouldn¡¯t let the running back have the number. He opted for No. 25 when he came into the league. Other players come into the pros also wanted to wear their college numbers or a different number for a specific reason, only to find that the number has already been assigned or has been retired by the team. So, don’t look for a rookie to wear No. 16 for the San Francisco 49ers. That’s the number of Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

The Best Ankle Braces for Basketball

Ankle injuries are the most common and the most preventable injury that occurs in basketball players, according to a study conducted by the University of Vermont. Running, jumping, dunking, sudden stopping and turning as well as incidental contact on the court increase the chances of a player sustaining an ankle injury. Proper form, conditioning and strengthening exercises can help a player reduce his risk of a basketball ankle injury. Ankle braces are another common means of reducing injuries and allowing players to return to the game quicker after an injury. The style of ankle brace used by a player depends largely on the preference of the player and the team’s training staff.
Basketball places a large amount of stress on the ankles, according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. Injuries can include sprains, fractures and tendinitis, as well as damage to the ligaments and tendons surrounding the ankle. Ankle injuries in basketball can be traumatic. Meaning, they occur as the result of contact with another player, fall or sudden twisting of the ankle. Ankle injuries can also become chronic. Chronic injuries are often the result of repeat ankle sprains or returning to the game too quickly after a severe ankle injury. Injuries can also occur due to lack of conditioning, failing to warm-up, shoes that do not fit appropriately or bio-mechanical deformities.
Traumatic injuries in basketball cannot be prevented. It is impossible to know when or where a collision or fall will occur on the basketball court. Overuse injuries and chronic ankle conditions, however, can be prevented. Proper conditioning and wearing the appropriate footwear can cut down on the number of chronic injuries seen in basketball, according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. When choosing a basketball shoe, you should have shock absorption as well as adequate ankle support. Shoes should be the appropriate size and should be replaced when they become worn. Shoes with high-tops provide ankle support and are frequently recommended by doctors. If you are unsure if your shoes are fitted appropriately, have a fitting at a store that specializes in basketball shoes or take them along to a visit with a foot and ankle doctor.
Ankle braces are very popular among players who have sustained chronic ankle injuries, are recovering from an ankle injury or have an ankle condition. Braces help the ankle to better support the weight of your body. This minimizes the stress placed on the ankle. Basketball players with ankle problems will often use an ankle brace for their entire basketball career, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
A visit with your physician can help determine the best type of ankle brace for your particular ankle problem. A physical examination and possible imaging tests can help provide you with an exact diagnosis of your ankle problem. If you suspect you have an ankle injury, you should always alert your basketball team’s training staff and visit your physician.
Ankle braces can cost anywhere from $20 to over $80 as of 2011. Depending on your health insurance plan, an ankle brace may be available to you at little or no cost. You can purchase an ankle brace online, in drug stores, medical supplies stores and sporting goods stores. Ankle braces are made of different materials and can provide anywhere from minimal to maximum ankle support. For minimal support, athletic taping or an elastic bandage — such as an ACE bandage — can provide enough support. Other braces are made of strictly an elastic, stretchy material — such as a compression brace. A majority of ankle braces that provide maximum support combine laces, Velcro and an elastic material. Adolescent basketball players wearing lace-up ankle braces have 68 percent fewer injuries than those not wearing a brace, according to research study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Tim McGuine, the lead researcher in this study and an athletic trainer, notes that wearing lace-up ankle braces is one of the best cost-effective injury-prevention strategies for basketball players.

Adidas Facts

Adidas is known for being one of the most famous shoe and apparel producing brands in the world. The company’s history is rife with anecdotes of success and of strife, from its origins in the washroom of its founder’s mother, to its support of the German Army during World War II, to its successful partnerships with world-famous athletes.
Adidas’ history as a company begins in 1948. Before the company came to acquire its world famous brand, it was known as Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Adi Dassler was the original founder of the company in 1920, with a vision of making superior quality athletic training shoes. In 1924, Dassler recruited his brother Rudolf, a traveling salesman, and formed the Dassler Brothers company. The Dasslers became famous for developing track and field shoes with spikes for additional grip, as well as being the first to produce spikes for football boots.
The Dassler brothers continued to succeed into the 1930s in large part to their successful introduction of their footwear to Olympic athletes. In the 1932 Olympics, Arthur Jonath wore Dassler Brothers shoes during his bronze medal win in the 100-meter sprint. In 1936, Jesse Owens went on to win four gold medals and set five world records also while wearing Dassler shoes. These Olympic wins garnered the Dassler brothers unprecedented publicity and increased demand and popularity for their footwear. Adi Dassler went on to successfully endorse and equip Olympic athletes throughout the century, with more than 6,000 athletes wearing Adidas apparel in the 1996 Olympics, winning 70 gold medals.
After World War II, the Dassler brothers would separate and each form their own company. Rudolf created his own shoe making company, Puma. Adi Dassler re-branded his company “Adidas” and introduced the three stripes as a now famous brand logo. The Adidas name originated from a combination of Adi’s first and last name.
Adidas’ history is studded with innovation and firsts. Adi Dassler created sports promotion and created a weave of sports and commercial products now prolific in the 21st century. Dassler invented track spikes for runners in 1925. Adidas also became renown for diversifying its products and dominating its markets, chiefly by 30 types of footwear for 11 sports, including track and field, football, tennis, golf, cricket, basketball, lacrosse, rugby and gymnastics. Despite this success, Adidas’ innovation and talent had its limits. During World War II, Germany tasked Dassler with switching production of footwear to German army bazookas. The normally shoe-producing factories proved to be extremely ill-suited to the task, and Adidas switched back to shoe production after a year.

Football Games for Kids to Play Outside

Keep your kids entertained as well as improve their throwing and catching skills with some outdoor football games. While a basic game of football can be played by kids of all ages, a variety of different types of football games help to break the game down depending on age and competition level.
Flag football is a football game that can be played competitively as well as for fun. Divide a group of children into two teams. Have them place flag belts on their waists or several socks in the elastic of their shorts if you do not have belts. From here, engage in a normal game of football, pulling flags instead of tackling offensive players. You can either play using a timer or up to a set number of points.
This game is designed to improve your child’s kicking ability and skill. Stand a few feet in front of a field goal post and get down on one knee. Place the end of the football into the ground, holding it steady with your fingertip on top of the other end of the ball. Have your child step a few feet away from you, running up to kick the ball. Keep score of how many kicks he gets through the uprights.
Touch football is a game designed for recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Have your children break up into two even teams and line up on the ball. After the quarterback says hike, he has the option of passing the ball or handing it off to the running back. The player with the ball is considered “tackled” when he is touched with two hands by a defender. If a defender touches him with only one hand, the runner is still not considered down.
This game is designed to improve your child’s throwing accuracy and precision with a football. Hang a tire from a tree with a piece of rope, choosing whatever height your child feels comfortable. From here, have your child step a few yards back and try to throw the ball through the tire. After 10 throws, have another child take a turn at getting the ball in the hole. The player with the most throws through the tire is the winner.

What Are the Benefits of Salt Scrubs?

Sea salts and Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, both commonly used in the beauty industry, contain minerals that can help to enhance the skin. The magnesium in Epsom salts can reduce inflammation, while sulfates flush out toxins, according to the Epsom Salt Council. Sea salt, derived from evaporated seawater, is also chock full of minerals beneficial to the skin. When mixed with olive, almond or rosehip oil, salt can breathe new life into tired skin.
Gently rubbing the skin in circular motions with a salt scrub removes dead skin cells in a process known as exfoliation. Dead skin cells harden with age. The longer they lie on the surface of the skin, the harder they get. This layer of skin will become thicker and thicker until it is finally removed. Layers of dead skin cells can make the skin look dry and flaky; exfoliation with a salt scrub reveals the moist, shiny skin hidden underneath.
The abrasive action associated with salt scrubs invigorates the skin and helps to improve circulation. Improved circulation gives skin a natural glow. Scrubbing with salt also helps to remove bacteria from the skin and unclog pores. Salt has antiseptic qualities, and when applied to the skin it may help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation along with any itching and pain associated with bacterial-related skin disease.
Exfoliating with a salt scrub not only removes dead skin cells and increases circulation, but it also encourages regeneration. Sloughing away dead skin cells actually promotes the growth of healthy new cells. This regeneration process tightens the skin, giving it a firmer and younger-looking appearance. Skin regeneration also reduces skin discoloration, evening out skin tone and improving texture.