Personal fitness trainers design exercise programs and help their clients execute them to maintain or improve health, while physical therapists diagnose, treat and manage pain, injuries and diseases. Fitness trainers often encounter clients with existing difficulties, such as severe back pain and diabetes, and plan activities that blur the line between fitness and medicine. When a problem is beyond their expertise, trainers must refer clients to a proper rehabilitation professional, such as a physical therapist.
Physical therapists must have at least a master’s degree in physical therapy, kinesiology, sports medicine or a similar field. If your bachelor’s degree is not exercise related, you need to complete prerequisites as mandated by a university before applying for the physical therapy program. Physical therapists must also be licensed by the state they practice in, pass the National Physical Therapy Examination and fulfill state requirements such as jurisprudence exams, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They must also take continuing education courses to keep their practice updated to maintain their license.
The profession of personal training does not have an educational standard and is self-regulated. Trainers can have a master’s degree in biomechanics with five years of experience working at a clinical and athletic setting, or simply a weekend certification with no experience. However, personal trainers should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or a related field as well as an accredited certification that extends their academic knowledge, such as PTA Global or the National Academy of Sports Medicine. They should also be CPR and first-aid certified.
Physical therapists diagnose, treat and rehabilitate patients who have an injury or disease that limits their movement. Their job is to help patients move independently, alleviate pain and prevent disability. They often work with patients with joint and muscle pain, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spina bifida and post-surgical conditions. Besides designing exercise programs, personal trainers also coach clients to a healthier and more active lifestyle, help prevent injuries and help clients follow through with their physician’s or physical therapist’s advice. They also screen movement patterns to ensure that clients can move well without pain or severe limitations. Trainers may not recommend diets or supplements, unless they are registered dietitians.
A personal trainer may perform the work of a physical therapist only if he is a licensed physical therapists also. This hybrid professional may work with a patient with back pain and a high school football player who wishes to gain muscle size and speed. Some personal training certification agencies provide a clinical exercise certification for trainers who have little or no experience or qualifications in the rehabilitation field. When in doubt, choose a physical therapist over a personal trainer for rehabilitation services.
Artificial-turf fields, typically harder and shallower than natural-grass surfaces, have been blamed for increases in serious knee injuries and lower-body ligament strains to athletes using the surface. Artificial turf’s stiff plastics and polymer surface is not as forgiving as natural grass, and when you try to pivot or make sharp lateral movements, it “grabs” your shoe; thus, short cleats, or studs, are best. Cleats measuring 1/2 an inch are called firm-ground cleats. Compared to the 1-inch, soft-ground cleats, the short cleats are less likely to get locked into ¡ª or tear up ¡ª artificial turf, and allow athletes better mobility and healthier knees.
In 2008, Dr. Mark Drakos, a fellow at the Hospital for Special Surgery, investigated playing surfaces and cleats with regards to injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. At the time, studies had proved inconclusive on which cleats worked best on which playing surface, and which combination of grass, artificial turf, cleat and turf shoe most reduced the risk of ACL injury. Drakos’ study, the results of which were reported by the “Journal of Biomechanical Engineering” in January 2010, concluded that natural grass combined with long cleats produced the least ACL strain; for artificial turf, the turf shoe, which has minimal studs, fared best. The My Youth Soccer Guide website clearly illustrates different athletic shoes’ cleats.
Proper athletic footgear is so important that, according to the Football Babble website, National Football League teams can average 2,000 pairs of shoes per season; the site reiterates that the least amount of “bottom” is important to reducing grab. For soccer players, the Federation Internationale de Football Association specifies in its rulebook that “footwear” is part of the basic compulsory equipment, but does not specify cleat length. Yet, as with American football, soccer requires great lateral agility and cutting movements, so games played on artificial turf would see more short cleats than long. Rugby, lacrosse, field hockey and baseball are other sports for which short cleats would be used for artificial turf.
Top cleat vendors include Adidas, Nike, Puma and Mizuno. Each company has its own brand-centric variations, but each provides footwear for numerous field sports. Basic shoe categories are divided into those with molded cleats, which are part of the shoe’s sole, and interchangeable cleats, which allow studs of different lengths to can be added or removed with screwdrivers, according to field conditions.
Determining “the best” cleat depends not only on turf condition but also on the athlete’s physiological and personal preferences. Shoe manufacturers will go to great lengths to provide the best shoe possible and will closely follow research such as the studies conducted by the Hospital for Special Surgery. They will also monitor the artificial turf surfaces and tweak their cleat designs to accommodate any new developments in field-surface material. In the end, the best shoe will meet the expectations of both athlete and manufacturer.
Target every part of your body with exercises using 10-pound dumbbells. Depending on your fitness status, however, 10-pound dumbbells may be too heavy or too light. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends choosing a weight that fatigues your muscles in 12 to 15 repetitions for general toning. If your goal is building strength, you need to increase the weight to fatigue your muscles by six to 10 repetitions. In general, 10-pound dumbbells are a good starting weight for most people. Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Grasp the dumbbells in each hand and bring your arms up so the dumbbells are on either side of your head, palms facing forward. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down until your thighs are horizontal with the floor, keeping your weight on your heels, and push your hips back so your knees stay behind your toes. Stand back up while simultaneously pressing the dumbbells up over head. Lower the dumbbells back down to finish in the starting position.
Hold dumbbells in each hand with arms down and palms facing forward. Take a large step forward with your right leg and lunge, but keep your right knee behind your toes. Lower your left knee behind you so it almost touches the ground. As you lower, curl the barbells up toward your shoulders to work your biceps. Stand back up, bring your left leg forward and lower the dumbbells. Repeat for the other leg.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the dumbbells in each hand. Shift your weight to your heels and bend over at the hips about 45 degrees, keeping your back straight or slightly arched. Let your arms hang down with palms facing each other. Keeping your arms mostly straight, but not locked out, open them laterally and squeeze your shoulder blades together to work your back muscles. Slowly lower and return to the starting position.
Lay with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Position your arms so your forearms are straight up in the air, palms forward holding the weights with your elbows resting on the ground. Press the dumbbells up so they meet in the middle over your chest. Hold for a second, and slowly lower them back down so your elbows lightly touch the ground, and repeat. For added difficulty, try alternating one arm at a time while the other remains straight in the air.
Sit on the ground with knees bent, feet flat on the ground, holding one weight with both hands. Lean back about 45 degrees and rotate your torso while simultaneously trying to tap the weight on the ground toward the rotating side. Move quickly but smoothly through each rotation.
A football helmet has one main job: to keep the player from getting a head injury in a high-impact sport. Several key elements work together to ensure the helmet performs its job successfully. Each element serves a specific purpose, although the material and size of each element can differ between football positions and manufacturer — a kicker might have a smaller face mask than a linebacker, for example.
Most football helmets use a polycarbonate shell, which is a type of hard, durable plastic. This helps deflect the force of blows to the head to help prevent skull fractures and other serious head injuries. The plastic is light enough to keep the player from adding too much weight to his head while still providing the necessary protection.
Inside the hard shell, football helmets offer a variety of softer protection around your head. The front of the helmet protects your forehead with a firm foam designed to deflect direct forward hits. The foam around the jaw area is a bit softer for comfort, while still providing firm support. The rest of the helmet provides several layers of foam, including a spongy layer that rests against your head to make the helmet more comfortable. Some also offer inflatable air pockets to help you custom fit the helmet to your head.
When you look at vintage football helmets, you’ll notice the strap at the bottom is longer than modern versions. It was designed to sit lower on the neck, about even with the Adam’s apple. Newer helmets use chin straps instead, holding the helmet more securely while helping prevent potential neck injuries caused by the straps. Most straps are adjustable to help keep the helmet securely on your head, and many have padding where the strap rests on your chin for comfort.
The face mask of a helmet is a balance between protecting your face while allowing you to see and providing adequate ventilation to the helmet. The birdcage-style face mask should protect your face from coming in direct contact with other players, the ball or the ground. Some masks are smaller than others; if you play a position likely to be tackled hard and often, you’ll likely have a face mask with more coverage than players less likely to sustain direct hits. If you have an eye injury, you might wear a tinted visor above the face mask for additional protection.
Pressure and friction cause the skin on your feet to thicken and harden as a protective measure. The result is rough skin, corns and calluses. While removal of hard skin is rarely medically necessary, treatment may be desired to ease discomfort or improve appearance. Do not attempt to treat hard skin, corns or calluses at home if you suffer from diabetes or problems with sensation or circulation in your feet, which can lead to dangerous infections.
Soak your feet in warm water to soften hard skin and make removal easier. Avoid using harsh soaps when washing or soaking your feet, as soap removes your skin’s natural oils, thereby increasing dry skin and making corns and calluses worse.
Rub hard areas with a pumice stone to remove the top layer of thickened skin. Be careful not to rub the stone across soft, live skin, as doing so can cause pain and tissue damage.
Rinse the pumice stone during use to wash away dead skin and debris. This will make removing hardened areas on your feet easier and will prolong the life of your stone.
Apply moisturizing lotion to your feet within three minutes of stepping out of the water. Oil-based ointments work better at trapping moisture inside the skin than water-based lotions, according to the University of Iowa. Do not apply moisturizer between your toes, as doing so increases your risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
Cover hardened areas with petroleum jelly and cover with socks before going to bed at night. As you sleep, the petroleum will soften hard areas and ease dryness. Wash your feet when you wake up with warm water and mild soap.
Visit your doctor to have areas of hard skin cut away. This procedure is called debridement and is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Your doctor may advise you to wear cushions inside your shoes until healing is complete. The New York Times Health Guide warns against cutting away hard skin at home.
Wear well-fitting shoes to encourage healing and prevent calluses from returning. Also, treat any foot or toe deformities that may be contributing to hard skin on your feet. In severe cases, a special insert called a functional orthotic can help relieve pressure. Surgery may be necessary to treat underlying structural problems.
Baseball may be a team sport, but you can practice some skills on your own. Performing solo baseball drills outside of your regular team practices lets you improve your skills faster than players who don¡¯t put in the extra work. You may also impress your coach by going above and beyond the standard team workouts. Most importantly, if you enjoy the game, the solo drills may provide the best possible chance to maximize your potential.
Although there¡¯s no complete substitute for hitting against live pitching, you can improve your swing and your timing by doing solo hitting drills. The closest substitute for live pitching is hitting against a pitching machine. Some machines throw both fastballs and curves at various speeds and in different locations. If your team doesn¡¯t have a pitching machine, you can find them at many commercial batting cages or sports training centers. You can also practice your swing by hitting off of a tee. Place the tee on different parts of the plate to practice swinging at high, low, inside and outside pitches. If you¡¯re practicing on a field, focus on an area 5 to 7 feet above the pitcher¡¯s mound as you begin your swing, then move your eyes back toward the tee, as if you were tracking a pitch. If you¡¯re indoors, put some tape on a wall to simulate a pitcher¡¯s release point.
As with hitting, you can practice fielding techniques with machines at baseball training centers. Some machines throw ground balls while others toss pop-ups or short flies. Alternatively, throw a rubber ball against a wall and catch the ball as it rebounds. To practice grounders, throw the ball in different locations, forcing you to move to your left and right. Throw the ball low against the wall to practice low-bouncing grounders, or throw it higher for longer bounces or to produce balls you must field off a short hop.
You can also use a wall to practice your throwing accuracy. Make a target on the wall, using erasable chalk or tape, and simply throw to the target. Combine fielding and throwing drills by throwing a ground ball, fielding it and then throwing to the target, as if you were trying to throw a runner out at first base. Alternatively, place a ball on a batting tee and try to hit the ball with your throws from a variety of distances.
To improve your pitching accuracy, use chalk or tape to replicate a strike zone on a wall and try to hit different spots within the zone. You¡¯ll also find various commercial targets, such as nets or wooden boards, that you can set up in front of home plate on a regular field. To improve your balance and throwing mechanics, take your normal position on the pitching rubber and execute the first part of your delivery, up to the point at which you lift your front leg to its highest level. Stop at that point and try to remain steady for five seconds.
Most football players have a lot of down time. If you are playing high school football, the season lasts only about four months. Even the pros, who play 18 games and exhibitions and perhaps a number of playoff games, have an off-season of about six months. The work that you put in during the off-season is crucial to your game performance. Off-season workouts can make you stronger, faster and less susceptible to injuries. If you work hard in the off-season, you will have an edge over players who treat their down time as a vacation.
An off-season football workout routine developed by the Muscle and Strength website is geared toward younger players who have done some light weight training. If you plan to try out for your high school team, this is a four-day routine that will increase your strength and power. These workouts feature heavy weights, a low number of repetitions, excellent form and sufficient rest between workouts. On Monday and Thursday, you work the legs, back and biceps. Do sets of squats, leg presses, lat pull downs, bent over rows and preacher curls. You work your chest, triceps, calves and abs on Tuesday and Friday with barbell bench presses, dumbbell flys, lying triceps extensions, seated calf raises and sit-ups from a declining position.
If you are an experienced football player, you need a more rigorous off-season workout routine. The University of Florida’s strength-training department recommends an advanced workout program. Begin with a warm-up that includes jumping rope and a variety of dynamic stretches for the muscles you’ll work that day. Alternate pushing and pulling exercises in each workout, including squats, dumbbell incline presses, dumbbell shoulder presses, barbell incline presses and bench presses. Work out four days per week but don’t work the same muscle group on consecutive days.
For speed, power and explosiveness, an off-season workout routine devised by pro football player Bill Martens stresses you to the max. Martens recommends an extensive stretching routine and a slow run to warm up your muscles. The workout itself begins with 10 sets of sprints from 5 yards to 40 yards with very short rest breaks between sets. Then it’s a series of shuttle runs, in which you run 10, 15 or 20 yards, touch the ground, then run back and touch the starting line. A grueling set of stair runs follows, then a series of sprints at three-quarter speed from 10 to 100 yards, then a fartlek run, also called in and outs, which requires you to all-out sprint the straight portions of a 1/4 mile track and slowly jog the curves, repeating five times. Then comes the Full Monty, sprinting 100 yards, turning around and sprinting back, repeating four more times if you can. Finish up with an easy one-mile jog to cool down and allow your muscles to recover.
If you haven’t done an off-season power or speed workout before, you should see your doctor for a physical exam before starting one. Working out with a teammate or under the supervision of a coach is always a good idea. You and your teammate can push and encourage each other to keep going when fatigue sets in, and a coach can ensure that you are using proper form when weight training.
When you play a sport recreationally or competitively, you can expect to sweat. Generating sweat can be good because it cools your body off. It can be bad because it leads to dehydration, and when you start to lose a lot of fluid your performance suffers. Sweaty hands are especially problematic, particularly when you need those hands to grip a tennis racquet, a basketball or a set of rings.
If you are a gymnast swinging around on a set of bars or putting your hands down on a balance beam that’s four inches wide, too much sweat can cause you to fall and injure yourself. Baseball players swinging a bat with all the strength they have can watch those bats fly out of their hands due to sweaty palms. Tennis players serving a ball at over 100 mph may wonder whether the racquet will slip. If your hands sweat, it’s an indication you are rapidly losing fluid. In addition to keeping your hands dry, you need to replace that lost fluid if you want to stay strong.
The remedy for sweaty hands often depends upon the sport. Gymnasts like to use chalk on their hands to beat back sweat beads, and Olympian Jonathan Horton has even mixed honey with chalk to keep his hands dry and sticky on the parallel bars. Baseball players coat their bats with pine tar, and tennis players use waterproof tape on their racquet handles to cut down on the interference sweaty hands can cause. Try a bit of talcum powder to absorb the moisture on your hands if you don’t have any chalk or honey available. Cornstarch also works to relieve hands of sweat.
You can wear gloves or grips to prevent sweaty hands from getting in the way of your game. Think about batting gloves used by baseball and softball players. Golfers and weight lifters wear gloves to ensure their sweaty hands don’t cause a slip. Gymnasts use leather grips to ensure their hands stay in place. The wristbands tennis players use are getting thicker and longer so they can better absorb sweat that comes from hands. Professional tennis players often ask for towels after every point in a game. Keep a towel close by regardless of the sport you play so you have a quick and accessible way to dry your hands.
It may be impossible to resolve all the sweating in your hands, especially while you’re playing sports. However, you can cut down on your sweat levels by using over-the-counter antiperspirants. Rub the product directly onto your hands while they are clean and dry to cut down on the sweat you produce. Try to relax and meditate, since anxiety and stress can add to the sweating of your hands.
.888 concussions occurred over a 3 season period among 17549 high school and collegiate level football players according to a study. Concussions occur far too regularly on youth, high school, collegiate and professional fields every year.
Much of the effectiveness of the helmet is linked to coach and player education. The helmet itself must manage the impact energies when helmet to helmet contact or helmet to surface contact occurs according to researchers at Virginia Tech University.
This is significant considering the aggression displayed on the field and the amount of concussions and head injuries reported as a result. The Riddell 360, Rawlings Quantum Plus, Xenith X2 and Riddell Revolution Speed score best for helmets reducing concussion risk in comparison to other helmets when evaluated using the STAR rating system.
Teach players to keep their head and eyes up when they hit. Young players especially need reminding multiple times a day– never lower their head when tackling.
Teach and reteach youth and high school players in proper use. Never use a football helmet without the NOCSAE, National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, warning label on the exterior.
In today’s game of football, helmets are vital to preserving the health of players in the game. In the early days of football, helmets provided hardly any protection to the head and often resulted in serious head injuries, including fatalities. Safety is still a concern in the sport, with technologies constantly in development to improve head safety and reduce the risk and rate of concussions, which can end a player’s career early and lead to long-term brain damage.
The earliest helmets used in football featured almost no padding at all — the helmets would be better described as head coverings made out of leather. These had little to no padding and had very little effect in softening blows to the head. According to PastTimeSports.biz, the first helmet of this type was worn in 1893 in a game between the Army and Navy football teams. Helmets continued to be worn from that point on, but the helmets themselves didn’t undergo significant improvements until the 1940s.
By the time World War II had come around, helmets were starting to get some padding into them. Leather was still used, but better head protection offered some relief from head injuries. But these helmets still left players wide open to serious wounds and even brain damage, prompting greater improvements. By the 1950s teams started using plastic helmets with padding set inside the helmet. This was a significant upgrade over leather helmets, but it also allowed helmets and heads to be used as projectiles on the field, with players lowering their head to utilize the hard helmet surface when making contact with an opposing player.
Facemasks help protect the face from serious injuries that can occur during a game. According to ESPN.com, the first facemask was featured in a 1953 game played by the Cleveland Browns. In the game, Browns quarterback Otto Graham suffered a jaw injury and needed some protection placed over his face so he could safely continue playing the game. At halftime, a metal protective cover was placed on the helmet to protect the jawbone, and Graham was able to continue playing the game. In today’s NFL the simple, single-bar facemask developed for Graham is now banned in favor of facemasks that offer better protection to the head.
One of the most significant developments in football helmet technology was the development of the helmet radio. This device allows coaches on the sideline to communicate through an earpiece in a quarterback’s helmet, making it easier to relay play calls in a loud, hostile environment. These helmets were invented in the 1950s but banned from NFL league play after just a few games. However, radios were reinstated in the 1990s and are now used by all teams in the NFL. Many college football teams also use this type of helmet.