The microwave oven as we know it has been around for more than seven decades now, claiming its place in countless home and office kitchens, humbly warming leftovers and cups of coffee for the masses. This ubiquitousness has not only taken some of the sheen off the microwave’s magic, but it’s also spoiled our cooking processes to a point. After all, these electromagnetic boxes work up to six times faster than a conventional oven, saving both time and energy. No matter your situation, anyone can benefit from the resources saved by using a microwave.
If you’re in the market for a new one of these staple appliances, we have a few prime options.
This stainless steel microwave boasts an epic 1250 watts of power, but it still lands on the higher end of the efficiency spectrum. While most models switch on and off at lower heat levels, Panasonic’s Inverter Technology allows for continuous cooking, saving energy and also zapping food more evenly for a tastier, more nutritious meal.
The Comfee compact microwave offers a compact microwave with a throwback vibe that goes well with almost any interior-decor aesthetic. The 700-watt machine comes in red, cream, and pastel green and features a bold curved handle and round buttons. After every cooking cycle, the smart turntable rotates back to its original position, so you can grab your mug or Pyrex handle without getting burned. Additional features include a kitchen timer, 10 power modes, and a child lock. You can even mute the beeps!
Samsung’s sleek and versatile microwave oven is a one-stop solution for fast, experimental cooking. Use it as you would a traditional microwave, or grab the included mesh stand to crisp up bacon, veggies, burger buns, and more. The cooking and grilling functions can even work in tandem, so you can prep a pizza in the microwave and get even, quick heating and a traditional oven-quality crust. The microwave’s ceramic enamel interior looks great and is easy to clean, and the exterior boasts a sleek mirrored front and a black metal casing.
This 700-watt microwave from AmazonBasics takes up just seven-tenths of a cubic foot, making it perfect for apartment living or other situations where space is in short supply. Basic features include a child lock, timer function, a turntable, and 10 power levels, but you can also integrate it seamlessly with Alexa and cook your meals with little more than your own voice, which is ideal for multitasking in the kitchen. You can have it reorder popcorn automatically for you every time you’re running low (and save a small percentage on your order while you’re at it).
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The first time I skied into Great Scott, I did exactly what you should not do. I popped out of a ski and I fell. Which would have been fine, sort of, if it hadn’t happened just as the blue Snowbird tram, full of onlookers, drifted overhead. I could have lived with that, too, I guess, if the devo team—the best 8-year-old skiers you’ve ever seen—didn’t drop in right behind me and zip past while I struggled to step back into my binding in a no-fall zone.
Directly under the tram, Great Scott is the steepest, longest line you can see as you ascend to the 11,000-foot summit of Snowbird’s Hidden Peak. But unlike Hollywood lines like Corbet’s or the Fingers at Squaw, Great Scott isn’t where you go to be seen—it’s where you go to ski. That said, you can’t get to it without everyone watching.
The entrance is technical—a blind wind lip, rocky and rutted out from heavy use. You shouldn’t fall here, lest you risk tomahawking the 1,000 feet of 40-degree vertical to the Cool Whip traverse.
John Cusack, or his stunt double more likely, makes an excellent display of such a tumble in the 1985 film “Better Off Dead” when he arrogantly attempts to chase a lady friend down the line. She, on the other hand, executes it exactly how you should, with style and finesse and no one to impress.
If you get it first thing on a powder day, Great Scott is the crown jewel of Snowbird. Thanks to its position on the mountain, however, it seems to always stash away the goods, fresh snow or not. It catches the sun, but not too much, and whatever snow is blown off the rest of the mountain gets dropped in the chute to create a chalky, wind-buffed treasure trove of steep, technical terrain, soft bumps, and a wide open run out.
Just watch out for that traverse if you’re maching down the line, though. It ruts out, and just when you think you’re home free and let it loose, disaster strikes and you’re on your ass. Again. Where everyone can see you.
– Carpooling up Little Cottonwood Canyon is easy when you download the R.I.D.E. app.
– Like a Vegas casino, the windows of The Tram Club are blacked out. Stay as long as you want. Order a shot and beer and the buffalo cheese fries.
– Don’t fart in the tram.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 (48.3) issue of POWDER Magazine and was republished with permission.
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Traveling plays havoc with workout plans. The time wasted stuck at the airport, the crippling jet lag, and not having your gym or go-to running track at hand, are just some of the most common issues. But not all is lost, and if you really want to keep on top of things, you definitely can.
But how difficult it will be will solely depend on what you’re aiming for: if you simply want to keep active, your options are better and more varied than if you have to stick to a super strict training plan because you’re preparing for a marathon, powerlifting meet, or dance-off.
Sightseeing can be a workout
If you just want to stay active, the best thing to do is bring the right gear. A comfortable pair of walking shoes and your swimming stuff will go a long way. Make sure to pack it small enough so it fits in any bag.
When you’re in a new destination, it’s easy to rack up the steps just by exploring and wandering around. If you really want to make sure you’re getting them in, add a bit more structure to things—maybe avoid taking a taxi or train for less than a mile, or make an adventure out of climbing to the highest point in the area. Give yourself the time to walk from one neighborhood to the other. Or even run there.
Will Henke, head coach for The Program by WanderFit, recommends running as a way to get to know a new place. “As soon as I hit the ground, I set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes, put on my shoes, and go for an easy run. It’s the best way to explore the local area—it’s how I’ve found some of the coolest places when I’ve been traveling.”
Similarly, if you’re on vacation, there are lots of activities you can do that are technically exercise, but are so much fun that you won’t even notice. It’s always a good idea to sign up for a surfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding lesson; a city-wide bike tour; or a sunrise yoga class.
Establish a routine
“Having some kind of workout routine while you travel is the only way you’ll stick to it,” says Henke. “When I travel, I get up at 8 a.m. every day and work out. I’m done by 9:30 a.m. and have the rest of the day free.” While you don’t have to work out first thing in the morning, making it a routine will go a long way—even if it’s just going for a walk as soon as you get up. And, if you don’t do it first thing, life might get in the way.
Keep up with a hobby
One of the best ways to work out when you travel is just to keep doing what you regularly do. Most social fitness activities—like CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or rock climbing—actively encourage it, and gyms (or boxes) have drop-in fees and welcome out-of-town visitors.
Hitting up a new BJJ gym is my favorite way to meet locals when I travel, and it might result in some great tips for your next day of sightseeing, or even new friendships. And this doesn’t just work for organized activities—if you run, for example, you can use Strava to check out the most popular routes for local runners. You’ll most likely see a side of the city most tourists don’t.
Work with an online trainer
If you travel a lot, getting an online personal trainer could be a great idea. Henke is one, and understands the limitations most of us are stuck with when we travel. He gives some of his clients programs that work around their travel schedule and can be done with whatever equipment is available in the hotel gym. And when they’re back home in a better kitted out gym, they’ll be able to adapt the program so they can use such outlandish fitness contraptions as barbells.
Henke says that even if you can’t afford a personal coach, finding an online program that offers options for people with limited equipment is relatively easy—just dive into YouTube and search for something that both interests you and suits your needs.
Sometimes a hotel gym just won’t cut it, so if you are on a specific training schedule, say for a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition, you’ll need to plan ahead and do your research. Having workouts already planned out will save you the stress of walking into a hotel gym and having to wing it.
Search engines are your friend here. Check out gyms near where you’re staying and see if they have the stuff you need—call them and ask if you have to.
If you’re super serious about exercise and your workout is a high priority on your list, find a place to train before you even book your accommodation—that way you can make sure you’ll be staying somewhere nearby.
Work on what you’re bad at
Working on what you’re good at is easy and fun. Who doesn’t like smashing mile splits or doing heavy deadlifts if you’re good at them? Working on your weaknesses, however, is a lot less thrilling.
Henke suggests focusing on your shortcomings when you travel. It’s often easier to do since you’ll probably need less resistance, which means less or very basic equipment. For example, you can learn handstands and other gymnastic skills in your hotel room and most people could do with working on their mobility—which you can do even in the most ill-equipped hotel gym. Similarly, if you neglect your cardio, hopping on a treadmill or rowing machine every day for the week you’re away will push you in different ways.
Schedule a low mileage (or deload) week
Most high-volume training plans have planned low mileage (for running) or deload (for weightlifting) weeks where you still train, but at a much lower intensity. If you have control of both your travel and workout plans (or work with a coach), you can make your life a lot easier by scheduling your trip and down weeks at the same time. You’ll still have to use one of the other options here to get your workouts done, but things will be less stressful because they’re inherently shorter and easier.
Bring what you need with you
There is an increasing amount of travel-ready fitness gear available. Stuff like the Monkii bars and packable kettlebell sandbags fit in your luggage and mean you’ll be able to plan your workouts with equipment you’ll know you’ll have at hand. The downside is that most of it works best outside, so keep that in mind if you’re going somewhere where weather is not on your side—going down to the beach to fill your kettlebell when there’s a storm raging is not likely to happen.
When it comes to packing and workout efficiency, Henke recommends everyone bring a jump rope. “They’re very small and probably the most effective thing you can pack. Bodyweight workouts plus a jump rope are much more interesting than just bodyweight workouts.”
Have fun (but not too much)
Often, the downside of traveling is not the missed workouts, but the unhealthy behaviors that accompany them. To avoid this, Henke recommends abiding by his personal rule: never have two bad meals in a row. That way, if you indulge in cakes or wine at dinner, you’ll have to follow it up with something healthy for breakfast the next day, and a pastry-heavy breakfast can precede a light Mediterranean lunch.
Henke also warns that people shouldn’t get too stressed about not training. Be forgiving with yourself and if you miss a workout one day, know it’s ok. Getting anxious about skipping a day will only undermine your whole vacation, so let yourself enjoy your time off and use the extra energy to hit your workout fresh and hard.
Despite having rather overwrought lyrics and being kind of annoying to listen to, people love the hell out of the Bard Jaskier’s tune “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” from The Witcher’s first season, and it would seem as if Netflix has been listening to the public’s desperate cries for more.
Do you need more reasons to own a dog? Researchers say it might save your life, and not just if you fall down a well and need Lassie to get help: There’s a 31 percent reduced risk of death from heart attack or stroke among people who own a dog, suggests a study by the American Heart Association. The Swedish study linking heart health and dogs was published in the association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
The study built on previous research about the negative effects of social isolation and the lack of physical activity with new, canine-focused research. The study’s authors combed through Swedish health records via the Swedish National Patient Register and found nearly 182,000 heart attack victims and 155,000 ischemic stroke victims, all aged 40 to 85 with incidents between 2001 and 2012. Dog owners comprised only 5–6 percent of each group, meaning that the majority of these cardiovascular incidents occurred among non-owners.
An analysis from Mount Sinai Hospital declared that dogs were due at least some of the credit because they encourage daily social interaction and frequent physical activity. Dogs require regular walks, which keeps you in better shape, plus their unconditional love and endless affection help decrease depression. Compared to non-owners, dog owners also have a 24 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, as well as a 65 percent reduced risk of mortality after heart attack. If you’re looking to bolster your heart health and longevity, maybe you’re due for a visit to your local shelter.
Millions of people visit national parks each year to experience the great outdoors. While hiking and backpacking are natural choices for a lot of adventure-seekers, if you’re ready to try something new, we suggest heading for the water. Check out our top picks for the best national parks to visit for an unforgettable adventure on the water.
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Getting regular exercise year-round requires motivation, perseverance, and convenient access to your workout of choice. No matter how much you want to drag yourself to the gym after a long day at the office, it’s easy to throw in the towel rather than deal with the hassle of getting there. When you have a treadmill in your home, you have one less barrier to reaching your fitness goals. With these four excellent treadmills you can wear whatever you want, sing along with your power anthems playlist, and squeeze in a 20-minute workout on days when that’s all the time you have.
This machine offers a nice balance of features at a reasonable price point for most walkers, joggers, and runners. Simulate hills by working out at an incline up to 10 percent and adjust the cushioning underneath the belt to give joints a break from the feeling of running on pavement. The 10-inch high-definition touchscreen displays key stats about your performance, including your pulse. Stream trainer-led classes in beautiful settings with a free one-year subscription to iFit (optional), and experience hands-free digital adjustments to the treadmill’s incline and speed in sync with the class you’ve chosen. If you’re having guests over, the 20 x 55-inch belt folds up against the rest of the treadmill to save space in your rec room.
If you’re looking for a basic, sturdy treadmill at a budget price, the Xterra delivers. Choose from 12 preset programs that offer intervals at different speeds, and hit your stride on the cushioned surface. Sure, you won’t get a high-definition screen or built-in fan, but you can make up for it by setting up the treadmill in front of your TV, placing a tablet on the console to watch movies, and using as many external fans as you want to stay cool as you sweat. There are a few limitations worth considering if you’re training hard: Runners with long strides may feel restricted by the 16-inch by 50-inch belt, and to change the incline you’ll have get off the treadmill and choose from three manual settings. Fold it up and roll it to a more out-of-the way location when warm weather invites your workouts outdoors.
Avid athletes who don’t want to skimp on training particulars just because there’s a blizzard outside will find this treadmill has everything they need. Push your pace up to 12 miles per hour on this machine (that’s a 5-minute mile), and kick up your heels on the roomy belt surface, which is 22 inches wide and 60 inches long. Adjust the incline during your workout from 3-15 percent, and enjoy a steady breeze from two built-in fans as you log your miles. With a free iFit subscription, choose from thousands of workouts that incorporate weights as well as intervals. The 22-inch HD touchscreen display contributes to the immersive experience of digital adjustments to your speed and incline to keep pace with the trainers on screen.
You don’t need to compromise on useful features with this affordable treadmill. Strive for your personal best up to 10 miles per hour on a belt surface that’s 20 x 55 inches, increase the incline up to 10 percent while you’re in motion, and easily fold up the machine’s frame when finished by leveraging the power of the hydraulic-assisted lift. Charge your phone up with the USB port, connect your device to the treadmill’s speakers with Bluetooth, and wick sweat throughout your session with the built-in fan.
Professional drummers, music producer, and drum enthusiasts everywhere know just how complicated owning a traditional set of drums can be. On one hand, few things are as innately gratifying as banging with sticks to keep a beat. On the other hand, if you’re sharing a wall with someone else or have a tiny space, you’re setting yourself up for a seriously fraught relationship with your instrument.
Music manufacturers have come up with the perfect solution to these all-too-common problems in the form of lightweight and practically silent electronic drum kits that you can play with nothing more than a pair of sticks and a pair of headphones. In addition to being more portable than traditional kits, they also require basically no maintenance at all, which means money saved on expensive drum heads and metal hardware. Since electronic drum kits are digitally controlled and often come with a huge variety of different sounds, they can be an indispensable tool for music producers, too.
This electronic kit from Alesis is the perfect entry-level rig for small studios and drum students. The mesh heads offer a sensitive and realistic response to touch while minimizing stick noise and overall weight. Hook up each of the eight pieces to the included drum module, jam out with 40 different kit sounds, and practice your chops using the 60 included play-along tracks. The whole thing is mounted on a lightweight, foldable aluminum rack so you can quickly contract and expand the kit based on your changing space needs. Alesis also throws in 40 free hours of drum lessons from Melodics.
Few drum manufacturers are as well-established as Yamaha, who have built up quite the reputation for their traditional acoustic drum kits. The company’s foray into electronic drums brings forth the DTX432K, a super-portable and lightweight kit with quiet rubber pads and a whopping 415 different drum sounds that were recorded professionally in a studio. A feature unique to this kit is the iOS-enabled record function, which allows you to review and monitor your performances and even share them with your friends or teachers. This kit would be perfect for a home recording studio, where ambient volume needs to be considered, or for a drum student who wants to record themselves as a practice tool.
Though it’s a bit of an outlier on this list, this roll-up electronic kit truly offers a level of portability that the others don’t. Measuring at only 17 x 11 inches, this kit is ideal for traveling drummers and young students who need to keep up their musical chops on the go. The onboard rechargeable batteries offer up to 10 hours of continuous play on a single charge, and you can either use headphones or opt for the built-in speaker. There are two plug-in pedals included for the kick and hi-hat too. Combined with a one-year warranty and a handy MP3 player input for practice, this kit will satisfy kids and professional drummers alike.
For those who require the most versatile and expandable electronic drum setup, the Roland V-Compact series is far and away the best choice. The included TD-17 drum module includes a plethora of natural modeled sound samples with the added bonus of a coaching mode, which makes it ideal for studio players, home recordists, and serious players who are looking to practice every day and take their skill to the next level. This kit includes pads for a snare, three toms, crash and ride cymbals, and hi-hats, but you can add even more pads separately as your needs change. If you’re in a situation where you’re looking for a no-compromise studio replacement to traditional drums, Roland is the way to go.
If you’re a fan of the now-classic Back to the Future blockbuster trilogy, we have some wonderful news. The DeLorean Motor Company has just confirmed to Hagerty that it plans to produce a low-volume run of its hallowed DMC-12—the early ’80s vehicle that developed iconic status and a core cult following after transforming into the time machine in all three Back to the Future films.
Yep, you heard that right. You could soon be traveling 88 mph as the proud owner of a brand new stainless-steel DMC-12 coupe with its signature gull-wing doors. (Flux Capacitor not included.)
Vice president of DeLorean Motor Company James Espey recently told Hagerty that plans are in fact underway to produce a small run of a “much-upgraded” version of the DMC-12. The limited amount of vehicles produced is due to the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which allows automakers to produce small production runs of up to 325 vehicles per year. However, Espey says that its run will likely be smaller than that. DMC has not begun taking orders yet.
DeLorean had previously made claims that it planned to bring back the DMC-12 in 2016, after the passing of the new law. However, due to the 2016 presidential election, plans by any low-volume automotive manufacturer were delayed after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was tasked with implementing the act, halting the finalization of regulatory details in the fine print, reported Hagerty.
“There will be no cars produced under this legislation for at least a year, and that’s presuming the feds do their job this time and don’t drag it out for four more years,” Espey told Hagerty. Production is not expected to begin before 2021, and the automaker will likely be producing only about one or two vehicles per week.
The original DMC-12s were produced from 1981-1983. The new vehicles will be built using new old stock (NOS) parts, along with brand new materials. The updated cars will also benefit from a new 350-horsepower engine, along with an upgraded interior including modern tech and connectivity, reported Hagerty. Espey stated that the body styling will not deviate much from the original styling from the ’80s (with the exception of modern headlights).
While a 1.21 gigawatt-powered “Time Travel Package” has yet to be announced for the new DMC-12s, we’re crossing fingers for that added option in the years to come. For the time being, the wildly cool steel rides will at least soon be turning heads on the streets once again.
Among children, the percentage of cognitive (mental skills) loss attributed to chemicals in flame retardants rose to 81% in 2015-2016, up from 67% in 2001-2002, the study found.
Researchers discovered that Instagram posts that promote use of the devices outnumber anti-vaping content by a shocking ratio of 10,000 to 1.
After two years of follow-up, the group on the vegetable-rich diet saw no extra protection against prostate cancer compared to the control group, according to findings published Jan. 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In fact, every 4 mm Hg spike in systolic blood pressure -- the top number in a reading -- during young adulthood was tied to a 15% higher risk for heart disease in midlife, the research team found.
A church made headlines for allegedly asking older members to leave. But the reality is more complicated – CNN
It isn’t hard to understand the calculus behind multiple studios’ years-long attempts at turning characters from Valiant’s comics universe into the next big-screen draw. Comic book movies can and often do make outrageous amounts of money because people like watching them. But with each new super solo movie and big…
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Decades of fire suppression combined with the warmer and drier conditions of climate change have left California ripe for catastrophic blazes. While 2019 saw relatively few acres burned compared to the previous two years—which brought the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history—the threat of hazardous flames and smoke is still out there.
From the 1930s to the 1970s, the Forest Service put out all fires on its lands, and state agencies followed suit in this fire suppression policy. But then, officials realized that extinguishing every ember had left mountains covered with leaf litter, twigs, and dense stands of trees—all of which enable fires to grow large and hot, clawing their way from the ground and into canopies. Many of the ecosystems had evolved to withstand and benefit from the occasional fire, which opened up more space for sunlight to reach the forest floor, brought nutrients to the soil, and reduced incidents of disease and pests.
That’s why the officials in California and the West have been trying to return the forest to a more natural state, using a combination of methods including thinning trees and controlled fires. But a study published Monday in Nature Sustainability shows that we still aren’t burning enough land to undo the decades of built up fuel—and that’s due to a combination of risks, regulations, and limited resources.
“20 million acres would benefit from having some combination of prescribed burns, mechanical thinning, or managed wildfire,” says Rebecca Miller, environmental scientist at Stanford University. “There is no ‘no-fire’ solution in California.”
After the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons, Miller became curious about the barriers to using prescribed burns and other preventative management. Even though the benefits of bringing back fires had been known for decades (here is a Forest Service video on the topic that appears to be from the early 90s), California has been slow to widely adopt these tools.
To investigate, Miller and her team interviewed 45 government employees, state legislators, nonprofit representatives, and academics. They also reviewed prescribed burn permits that are submitted to the California Air Resources Board, and searched bills related to wildfire, thinning, and prescribed burns between the 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 state legislative sessions.
The results reveal the obstacles to performing the necessary prescribed burns. From 2013 to 2018, the total acres that were planned for burning doubled, but only about half of those acres were actually ignited. In 2018, 17,933 acres were burned—a small fraction of the massive fuel loads piled up in California’s forests.
Both government officials and private landowners feared the repercussions of a prescribed fire that escapes its boundaries. It’s a rare occurrence (the study found less than 2 percent escape), but often the burner faces harsh punishment. Federal and state forest staff also explained to Miller that they still have to overcome negative public opinions around burning. Although, as Miller notes in the study, recent research suggests that the public has started to embrace the idea. “I think that there may be a bit of a disconnect between how well we think we understand public perceptions and the reality of public perceptions.”
Miller also found that regulations presented a challenge for forest management. Those conducting a prescribed burn need approval of local and state air quality officials, and they also need to prepare an environmental impact review. Local air boards set “burn windows” for when they allow the practice, and they can stop a burn if they fear the smoke will harm air quality. And environmental reports are expensive and time-consuming; government employees told Miller that sometimes their contract for treatment expired before these documents were approved.
Staffing and money are yet another barrier. Money for fire prevention has historically come from the same budget as fire suppression, leaving little for the preventative measures, federal employees noted. In addition, state and private landowners said they had limited access to burn crews and training. “Many CAL FIRE crews are seasonal rather than full-time employees hired during the worst wildfire months rather than the best prescribed burn months,” writes Miller in the study.
“I think it’s a very good study that swarms the problem from multiple angles,” says Malcolm North, fire ecologist for the Forest Service and the University of California, Davis, who was an anonymous reviewer of the study. “There has to be support in the agencies for making the tough choice to proactively use fire.” North adds two regulatory changes that can help: exempting prescribed and managed fires from air quality regulations, and reducing the insurance liability for escaped fires to gross negligence to limit concerns about getting sued.
There’s already some change on the smoky horizon. For private landowners, California now offers a training and certification program for prescribed burning; the certification removes financial liability for burns that escape. Former Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order in 2018 that included support for more education and outreach on fire management. And the just-launched California Vegetation Treatment Program is working to streamline the environmental review process for thinning and burning.
There’s more to be done, of course. Miller notes that right now emissions from wildfires aren’t counted in state inventories, while those from prescribed burns are. “So we give ourselves a pass when it comes to our emissions regulations for wildfires, but we don't for prescribed fires,” says Miller. “if we were to incorporate wildfire emissions into our overall count, then we might see more interest in doing prescribed burns because their smoke conditions are so much lower.” As one study found, wildfires are a much greater source of air pollution than prescribed burns.
The biggest takeaway for Miller is that we need to be thinking about this management all the time—not just when catastrophic fires are raging across the state. “It should be something that legislators are thinking about every day,” says Miller. “I hope that the findings will help policymakers at these different levels identify the barriers and opportunities to expanding fuel treatment use, particularly prescribed burns.”
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Sir Patrick Stewart asked, and Whoopi Goldberg said yes!
Having a well-defined trapezius is a boon for backless dresses, balanced posture and building strength.
The trapezius spreads across your back, neck and shoulder blades, covering the rhomboids and helping define the V-shape of the latissimus dorsi. Because of its size, various zones perform different functions: The upper traps draw your scapulae upward and allow you to shrug, the lower traps pull your shoulder blades downward, and the middle traps pull your shoulder blades inward toward your spine.
Though these functions all take place on the reg, your upper traps tend to get the most work, either from sitting slumped over at work or because of too much shoulder work where the traps are primary or secondary movers. To maintain a balance of power and achieve optimal symmetry, it’s necessary to intentionally strengthen your middle and lower traps with moves like this.
Form: Cable Wide-Grip Row
- Set a cable pulley to about shoulder height and attach a lat pulldown bar to the end. Hold the bar with your hands outside shoulder-width apart with an overhand or underhand grip — whichever is most comfortable. Your grip does not make a huge difference when it comes to engaging the target muscles.
- Face the machine and hold the bar with your arms and elbows straight and slightly below shoulder height. Above this level, your scapulae start to rotate and slide upward, disengaging the lower and middle traps and allowing the upper traps to take over.
- Keep your elbows high and drive your elbows rearward, drawing your shoulder blades together as tightly as possible as if squeezing a pencil in between them. As you pull the bar toward your upper chest, exhale forcefully. This will remind you to keep your core engaged to support your spine.
- You may not be able to get the bar all the way to your chest — this is normal. Don’t try to increase your range of motion by arching your back and/or flaring your rib cage, which only stresses your lower back. Instead, keep your core braced and your ribs positioned over your hips.
- Also, avoid thrusting your chin forward in an effort to pull the bar back a little farther. This engages the neck extensors and upper traps and trains poor posture, so ensure your chin stays tucked and level with the floor, aligned with your ears and shoulders.
- Slowly extend to the start, resisting the pull of the cable to work the eccentric muscle contraction on the return.
- This move can be done standing or seated: Standing requires more core and gluteal engagement to maintain balance, while sitting allows you to focus more on the mind/muscle link with your back.
Sample Form Trap Workout
Function: Power Shrug
This exercise is less about shaping your traps than it is about developing explosive power, such as is needed in the final phase of a clean or a snatch. These moves require a triple extension of your knees, hips and ankles, with the shrug providing that little extra lift to maintain upward momentum and allow you more time to drop underneath the bar for the catch. Power shrugs help develop upper-body strength and the speed you need to improve your lifting potential and help you push past PR sticking points. And even if powerlifting isn’t your thing, this move is a novel way to train your traps, especially if you’re used to (or bored with!) slow, controlled shrugs.
- Load the bar with a moderate weight, something you might use in a warm-up. You don’t want to go so heavy as to cause fatigue, but you don’t want to go so light that your muscles don’t engage properly.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the barbell in front of you with a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Allow the weight of the bar to gently draw your shoulders down a little, giving you a bit of a stretch and pre-loading your muscles for the pull.
- Dip down by bending your knees slightly while maintaining your erect upper-body position and keeping your heels on the floor. Keep the bar in contact with your thighs as you dip to encourage a vertical bar path, directing your power upward and minimizing the possibility of the bar swinging out and away from you, reducing your power and control and possibly stressing your shoulders or lower back.
- Dip quickly, then explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles and rise up onto your toes as you shrug your shoulders upward. This should generate enough momentum that the bar feels almost weightless at the apex of the pull.
- Instead of dropping underneath the bar and catching it as you would with a clean or a snatch, either release the bar at the top and drop it back to the floor or control its decent back to the starting position to go into the next rep.
Sample Function Trap Workout
Former longtime president of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aimé received lifetime achievement honors at the New York Video Game Critics Circle award ceremony in Manhattan last night. He delivered a classy acceptance speech which followed a couple of moments Nintendo fans may enjoy seeing.
These expert tips are sure to kick stress-induced cravings to the curb.
Are you an emotional eater? Here are six surefire ways to keep your emotions – and your waistline – in check.
Know Your Triggers and Locations
“Many people have hot spots for emotional eating, such as the living room couch or office desk,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eating Mindfully (New Harbinger, 2012). “Make a no-eating rule in those places so you have to eat somewhere else. This will help you stop the habit of overeating mindlessly in those spots.”
Limit the amount of comfort food you have available so you’re forced to address your emotions when they pop up instead of masking them with food.
Stock Up On Pistachios
Pistachios are a low–glycemic index food that help keep your blood sugar stable to avoid the double whammy of feeling moody and hungry.
Drink Water Throughout the Day
Dehydration is stressful on the body and results in the same neurochemical cascade as emotional stress, which can cause you to overeat, says Albers.
See Also: Are You Drinking Enough Water?
Choose activities that you enjoy. Not only do frequent workouts help to keep stress in check, but looking forward to your workouts is another way of coping with stress.
Soothe Your Senses
Stress can be over-stimulating to your senses, so seek out other things that bring you comfort – besides food – such as taking a bath, wrapping yourself up in a blanket and reading a book, or turning off your cell phone.
Good things come in threes. Three moves, three times a week for tighter abs.
While it’s always a good idea to switch up your training from time to time, why not put this simple and effective 3x3x3 abs workout to the test to tighten your midsection and get the sexy abs you've always wanted?
Your 3x3x3 Abs Workout
Stability Ball Roll-Up with Twist
Target Muscles: obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis
Set Up: Start with your hands on the floor, your calves resting on a ball. Angle your hips to the right.
Action: Draw your knees toward your right elbow, then extend. Repeat, drawing your knees to the left. Alternate sides with each rep.
Top Tip: Try to ensure that your lower back doesn’t sag as you extend.
Target Muscles: internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis
Set Up: Lie faceup with your knees bent, calves parallel to the floor and fingertips placed lightly behind your head.
Action: Lift your upper back from the floor, directing your left elbow to your right knee as you extend your left leg. Repeat on the opposite side for one rep.
Top Tip: Move in a controlled manner and strive to keep both shoulder blades off the ground throughout the entire exercise.
Stability Ball Leg Lift
Target Muscles: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis
Set Up: Start by lying faceup on the floor with a stability ball between your ankles, legs straight and on the ground. Press your palms into the floor a few inches away from your hips for greater stability. Squeeze the ball and lift it, bringing it perpendicular to the floor.
Action: Still squeezing the ball, slowly lower your legs toward the ground, keeping your legs straight as you move. Be sure not to touch the ball to the floor at the bottom of your rep. Lift it slowly to return to the start.
Top Tip: If you feel any strain on your back as you lower the ball, place your hands under your bottom instead of out to the sides.
Stretch It Out
After your routine, stretch your abs for two to three minutes by lying faceup over the stability ball. Reach your arms overhead and extend your legs, keeping your feet on the floor.
Breathe, stretch and congratulate yourself. You're that much closer to beautiful, sexy abdominals!
For less than the price of a Porsche 911 GT3, you can buy a stock car just like the ones that hammer around Nascar ovals—and then take it to the track yourself. That’s the promise of the Hendrick Track Attack Camaro and Chevrolet SS track day cars, which promise to put you into a driver’s seat that is very much like the one Jimmie Johnson slides into weekly.
Prestigious sports car manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari have made a tidy side business selling their trademark sports cars with upgrades to make them more suitable for race tracks than for commuting. In fact, vehicles like the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Ferrari Pista proved to be thrillingly fast and fabulously capable when we track-tested them last year. But they are not only expensive to buy, they can be eye-wateringly costly to repair.
This was the observation of Bill Snider, director of the Track Attack program for Hendrick Motorsports, the team that has won a raft of Nascar championships with drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. For less than those souped-up sports cars cost, wannabe racers could buy a stock car from Hendrick’s racing stable, he figured.
And when they crash it, drivers will be better protected inside the stock car’s steel safety cage and the car will be far less expensive to repair than one of those automotive gems from Stuttgart or Maranello. “It is more inexpensive to buy one of our cars, it is safer, and if it is tuned right, it is faster,” Snider says.
The Hendrick team has some design innovations in its version of Chevrolet stock cars that it’s understandably wanted to keep secret from competitors. But now that teams have had to lock in their designs for the 2020 season, and new rules for 2021 require all-new cars with more shared standardized parts, there is no reason for Hendrick to keep its car technology to itself.
The Hendrick Track Attack cars are not watered-down stock cars with generic designs and components, according to Lance McGrew, who oversees construction of the cars at Hendrick. Indeed, the first Track Attack car for a customer was originally meant to be a backup road racing car for one of the team’s race drivers.
“We were super careful about letting some of our technology get out, but now this car is how we would have brought it to the race track,” McGrew says.
Teams like Hendrick Motorsports build specific cars for Nascar’s races on curvy road courses such as Watkins Glen rather than the banked, left-turning ovals. Track-day customers normally also drive on their local road courses, so the suspension in Track Attack cars is optimized for that duty.
Hendrick’s secrets lay mostly in the front suspension, McGrew says, in details of geometry, the camber and caster settings, lower control arm lengths, and height of the front spindles/steering knuckles. “Our cars turn really well on the road courses,” McGrew says proudly. “We’ve worked on that for years and years, so that’s proprietary information as far as we’re concerned. But now it’s not something you’ve got to keep a lid on.”
The result? Anyone with $125,000 now has access to the deepest secrets of Hendrick’s chassis technology in a Camaro or SS-bodied stock car that looks, sounds, and drives just like the ones the team races.
That means a full 1.75-inch diameter steel tube chassis with adjustable front double-wishbone suspension and rear trailing arm suspension for the solid axle. Shocks are Penske racing dampers with no external adjustments, and brakes are AP Racing one-piece aluminum units, six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears.
There’s an ATL explosion-suppressing fuel cell to hold the gasoline, same as in the race cars, and the car rolls on the same steel racing wheels from Aero Race Wheels. The driver sits in Hendrick’s own carbon fiber Nascar-compliant racing seat and looks at an AIM Technologies MXG 1.2 Strada data display. Traditionalists who don’t want the LCD screen spoiling their Nascar fantasy can specify Nascar Cup-style analog instruments instead, McGrew said.
For that base car, customers will get an off-the-shelf 627-horsepower, 586 pound-foot, 454 cubic-inch General Motors small block LSX V8 with a dry sump oil system and forged rotating parts. It connects to a standard Andrews A431 four-speed manual transmission with short-throw H-pattern shifter. The engine is a production-based powerplant, but the gearbox is the very same one used in Nascar Cup racing, complete with multiple gear ratios that can be installed.
If the idea of a street car engine powering your race replica doesn’t sit right with you, Hendrick will go ahead and sell you the whole-hog 725-hp, 490 pound-foot, 358-cubic-inch Hendrick Motorsports R07 V8.
There’s a change coming down the pike with the way drivers will shift their Nascar vehicles, and the Hendrick vehicles will match that. In 2021, Nascar will switch from today’s traditional four-speed H-pattern manual transmissions to six-speed sequential shift gearboxes. The new ones are like motorcycle transmissions, where you click up and down through each gear to get to the next one rather than sliding the shifter to a neutral position, from which any gear can be selected.
Sequential gearboxes allow faster shifts and they make it less likely that drivers will miss a shift and over-rev the engine, so they are popular with racers. With Nascar moving to that technology after this season, Hendrick will build your car with a Race Tech 6XD sequential six-speed with optional automatic rev matching. Calibrating the software for that rev matching was a chore the team finished just in time for the car’s announcement, McGrew says.
Add all the options and the Track Attack car’s price tag could reach $175,000, but most of the cars are expected to sell in the $125,000 to $150,000 range, Snider predicts.
However, some customers are reportedly interested in spending even more money. Nascar will be switching to independent rear suspension from the traditional solid rear axle design in 2021, and some prospective customers are asking for this on the Track Attack car, Snider says.
Hendrick is considering an independent rear suspension option for the car, though the solid axle design is so well engineered that “if your springs are tight enough, you might not be able to tell the difference,” he says.
Mix and match your perfect matrix of engine, transmission and rear suspension, then pick the Camaro or SS body to adorn your new toy and head out for a track day. It will cost less to buy than an exotic European sports car, and you’ll be able to drive it all-out. Plus, you can remain comfortable in the knowledge that crunching it into a tire barrier will almost certainly be a reasonable repair bill rather than a potential write-off from a fragile unibody production-car chassis.
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