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Men’s Health

What Is Fascia – How to Target Your Training to Prevent Injury

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Your hip flexors and quads ache, a dull ache that you’ve likely felt before, especially after exercising. You think you know how to deal with it. You foam roller, you do some stretches, but that only fixes the pain. That’s because the problem isn’t just affecting your muscles.

The real culprit: You have neglected your fascia, the fibrous tissue that was once considered just a shell for your muscles. More recently, it has been shown to play a key role in how your body moves – and why it occasionally hurts. The sooner you learn to take care of this often-overlooked tissue, the faster you’ll recover from those painful hip flexors and other types of sore muscles – and the more bouncy you’ll be with any activity, be it running, lifting, exercising or running errands with Fooling around with your kids.

For years, fascia was considered something that had to be kneaded and leveled (hence this roller), mainly to prevent injuries and to warm up. But that’s only part of the story, says Bill Parisi, CSCS, author of the book Fascia Training: A Whole-System Approach and founder of the Parisi Speed ​​School.

Your fasciae are a whole-body network, much like your muscular and cardiovascular systems. You train these systems in the gym with weights and cardio. You should also train your fascia system with targeted movements. By stimulating your fasciae, you can prevent a lot of injuries and add extra strength to your muscles (and yes, you will also improve the feel and function of your hip flexors). “Training the fascia system is the new science of speed, strength and resistance to injury,” says Parisi, who has been training athletes for 30 years.

Fascia does not appear on X-rays and MRIs, the traditional methods of examining soft tissues, but recent advances in ultrasound imaging technology have enabled researchers to examine fascia and how it can contribute to improved athletic performance and human movement. You learned that the fascia system is a single, interconnected web, made up primarily of collagen and fluid, that surrounds everything in your body – muscles, bones, blood vessels, and so on.

This web has several functions. Your fascia can tighten to give you stability in awkward positions. (Imagine contorting yourself to reach into the back seat of your car.) Or, like a spring, it can store energy when you crouch for a jump and then help provide extra thrust when you get off Lift off the floor. “For this reason, athletes wear compression sleeves or tights to get the feeling of warmth, spring force and recoil, of free energy and stability around muscles and joints,” says Parisi. “The training of your fascia network creates this feeling itself.”

Skip the workout that stimulates the fascia (or worse, barely move for hours) and it revolts. It’s programmed to respond quickly: right now, microscopic fibroblast cells crawl through your body like spiders, secreting collagen networks that make up your fascia network. If you don’t move often, the mesh will stiffen your muscles, which can eventually lead to posture and movement imbalances. This can lead to your typical hip flexion and general body pain. “Collagen breaks down based on how stressful your body is,” says Parisi. Load your fascia network properly and it will get better at stabilizing your body and delivering more bounce.

Your favorite movement, this foam roller, can alleviate fascia stiffness, but it does not develop fascia force or spring force. The solution: Challenge your fasciae by incorporating multiplanar movements and other exercises into your workout. Take the time to do this and you will soon feel greater power by channeling your own armor.

Imagine your fascia

The movements that work your fasciae aren’t new, says Parisi. But the way you do it can be. Focus on using light weights to be quick and agile. Your goal is to challenge your fasciae in multiple directions, forcing the tissue to respond quickly to landings and contractions. Do at least one exercise from each group every week.

Attack levels

Unless you’re a Cobra Kai perk, there’s a good chance that you spend very little time twisting your torso or moving sideways each day. The result: your fascia tissues may not be programmed to stabilize your body when you turn. “If you pull a muscle,” says Parisi, “the cause of the injury is the lack of training of the fascia.” The solution: exercises in which you turn your body in different directions and angles and do it at different speeds.

Exercise 1: scoop squat

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand against your chest with a dumbbell. Squat down, then lower the bell. Stand, twist your left foot inward and swing the barbell over your right shoulder. Repeat on the other side. This is 1 rep; Do 3 sets of 4 to 5.

Exercise 2: Reverse Lunge to Wood Chop

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell vertically with one hand on each end. Step back with your left foot and lower yourself into a reverse lunge, swinging the weight first toward your right shoulder and then down diagonally to your left hip. Back to top. This is 1 rep; Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 per side.

Check your pulse

Tiny pulses at the end of your range of motion stimulate fibroblasts to shed the collagen fibers that can make you more explosive. “Pulsing is the expression and release of strength,” says Parisi. Use light weights (like half your typical training weight) and experiment with different angles.

Exercise 1: push-up impulses stay low

Remain low push-up impulses

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Get into the push-up position with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, your core and buttocks tensed, then lower your chest to within an inch of the floor. This is the beginning. Now make tiny up and down impulses for 30 seconds. Only lift your chest an inch or two on each repetition. Shift your weight slightly between your hands. Push back up. Do 3 sets.

Exercise 2: Romanian deadlift with pulse

Pulse Romanian Deadlift

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Hold dumbbells or kettlebells by your sides. Holding the weights close to your shins, slide your buttocks back and lower your torso. Stop before your back begins to curve. Break. This is the beginning. Make up and down pulses for 30 seconds. Shift your weight from your left foot to your right foot every few repetitions. Stand. Do 3 sets.

Ricochet

Exercise your fasciae to be responsive, and it will plump up your muscles and joints when your body hits the floor – after a jump, for example. It also acts like a spring, delivering additional explosive energy in any direction. Your focus: small, quick jumps in several directions.

Exercise 1: jumping rope

Jump rope

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Grab a rope (or if you don’t have one, just do repetitive jumps). Focus on keeping the jumps small and staying on the balls of your feet instead of jumping high. Do three 30-second sets.

Exercise 2: skater jumps

Skater jumps

Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Stand in an athletic posture. Jump right with your right foot; Land gently and jump back to the left with your left foot. Work on making every jump explosive; don’t rest on the ground. Do three 30-second sets.

A version of this story originally appeared in Men’s Health’s May 2021 issue, entitled “THE FASCIA TRACK”.

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Men’s Health

Staring at yourself on Zoom impacts mental health, especially for women

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In the past few years, people across the world have spent more time on video chat programs like Zoom and FaceTime than ever before. These applications mimic in-person encounters by allowing users to see the people they are communicating with. But unlike in-person communications, these programs often also show users a video of themselves. Instead of catching the occasional glimpse of themselves in a mirror, now people are often looking at themselves for hours a day.

We are psychologists who study society’s focus on women’s appearance and the consequences of this constant scrutiny. We were immediately fascinated by the new dynamic created by the Zoom world. While critical for public safety during the pandemic, we believe that virtual classes, meetings and the like lead to a continuous focus on one’s own appearance – something research suggests is harmful to mental health, especially for women.

Objectification is a bit of a buzzword, but the meaning is rather literal: being seen or treated as an object. This often comes in the form of sexual objectification, where bodies and body parts are seen as separate from the person to which they are attached. Advertisements are rife with examples of this, where close-ups of certain body parts are often shown to help market a product, such as a bottle of cologne graphically nestled between a woman’s breasts.

Not surprisingly, women’s bodies are treated as objects way more often than men’s. Because women and girls are socialized in a culture that prioritizes their appearance, they internalize the idea that they are objects. Consequently, women self-objectify, treating themselves as objects to be looked at.

Researchers investigate self-objectification in experimental studies by having study participants focus on their appearance and then measure cognitive, emotional, behavioral or physiological outcomes. Research has shown that being near a mirror, taking a picture of oneself and feeling that one’s appearance is being evaluated by others all increase self-objectification. When you log in to a virtual meeting, you are essentially doing all of these things at once.

What does self-objectification do?

Thinking of yourself as an object can lead to changes in a person’s behavior and physical awareness, and has also been shown to negatively affect mental health in a number of ways. While these experiences with self-objectification lead both women and men to focus on their appearance, women tend to face many more negative consequences.

Research suggests that experiencing self-objectification is cognitively taxing for women. In a seminal study done in 1998, researchers showed that when women put on a new swimsuit and viewed themselves in a mirror, the self-objectification this produced caused women to perform poorly on math problems. Men’s math performance was not affected by this objectifying experience.

Further, experiencing objectification has behavioral and physiological consequences. In the aforementioned study, trying on a swimsuit produced feelings of shame among women, which in turn led to restrained eating. Other research has shown that when women think of themselves as objects, they speak less in mixed gender groups.

Self-objectification also leads women to, in a sense, distance themselves from their own bodies. This can cause worse engine performance as well as difficulty recognizing one’s own emotional and bodily states. One study showed that girls who were prone to self-objectification were less physically coordinated than girls who showed less self-objectification.

In a paper we published in 2021, our team showed that women who think of themselves as objects have difficulty recognizing their own body temperature. To test this, we asked women how cold they felt while standing outside nightclubs and bars on chilly nights. We found that the more a woman was focused on her appearance, the less connection there was between the amount of clothing she was wearing and how cold she felt.

In some women, self-objectification can become the default way of thinking of themselves and navigating the world. High levels of this self-objectification can be associated with mental health consequences, including disordered eating, increased anxiety over one’s appearance and depression.

Evidence of harm

While we are not aware of any research directly exploring the connection between video meetings and self-objectification, some recent studies suggest that our concerns are well founded.

One study found that the more time women who are focused on their looks spent on video calls, the less satisfied they were with their appearance. Facial dissatisfaction also seems to play a role in Zoom fatigue, with women across all races reporting higher levels of Zoom fatigue than their male counterparts.

For better or worse, the virtualization of daily life is here to stay. One way to reduce the negative effects of endless video meetings is to use the “hide self-view” function during online interactions. This hides your image from yourself but not others.

Turning off self-view is easy to do and may help some people, but many others – including us – feel that this puts them at a disadvantage. This may be because being aware of your appearance has benefits, despite the risk of self-objectification and the harms it brings. A huge body of research shows that looking attractive has tangible social and economic benefits, for women more so than for men. By monitoring your appearance, it is possible to anticipate how you will be evaluated and adjust accordingly. Therefore, we expect that people, especially women, will continue to keep the camera on for the duration of their Zoom calls.

A huge amount of previous research suggests that Zoom calls are a perfect storm for self-objectification and that the harms disproportionately affect women. It seems that the already uneven playing field for women is exacerbated in online social interactions. Any small reprieve from staring at a literal projection of yourself will be a net gain for your well-being, especially for women.

This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts, under a Creative Commons license.

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Men’s Health

Ebenezer Samuel Shares 3 Factors Every Workout Program Needs

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You might have a hard time determining exactly what you need for your workout plan. That’s okay! There are some specific exercises that you know you should probably include in your training in some form, and your goals (and time and energy constraints) will dictate much of the rest.

Still, there are a few factors that every training plan should include if you want to build muscle, improve your strength, and move better. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS is here to help explain.

“This is a good way to make sure that you’re filling in gaps in your program,” he says of these guidelines. “It’s gonna help you stay nice and strong and help you build the muscle you want.”

The 3 Things Your Workout Program Needs

  • Workout Must 1: Move Fast

    1 to 3 times per week

    Samuel wants you to move almost at least once a week as part of your training plan. That doesn’t just mean that you should pencil in a long jogging session every weekend, however; he wants this fast movement to be with a definite purpose.

    “What I want you to do is think about moving weight with urgency,” he says. “One of the first things you’re gonna lose is the ability to be explosive, so we’ve got to work extra hard to maintain that.”

    Crucially, you won’t be able to go as hard as Samuel wants for every single rep. You’ll be much more limited in your explosive movements than other exercises. For this, he suggests that you start your workout session one to three times a week with an explosive movement, like a kettlebell swing, broad jump, or even sprints.

    For strength based programs, you can introduce explosion by working with lower increments and focusing on powering the weight up.

      1 to 4 times per week

      Samuel cautions you from taking on any program that only challenges you to work with light weights and lots of reps. You won’t be able to build strength and muscle as well without going heavy, so it’s essential to breaking through plateaus and accomplishing your goals. “We have to challenge ourselves with new loads that we are not always prepared to lift—that’s one of the key things in strength training,” he says. “And that’s missing if you’re only picking up a 25-pound dumbbell, if you’re only working with bodyweight, and if you never load past what you think you’re capable of.”

      There are limits to this rule; you won’t be able to load up on every type of movement, particularly isolation exercises like biceps curls. But you can (and should) go heavy with some of the core exercises, like deadlifts, squats, rows, and more (mostly compound exercises). Just make sure that you’re smart when you go heavy, and cut the reps (down to 4 to 6, and sometimes even lower).

      • Workout Must 3: Control Your Body Weight

        Every day

        This might seem counterintuitive to the tip that came just before—but the key here is balance, not doing the exact same thing for every training session. Working with only your bodyweight focuses you to home in on the way you’re moving, according to Samuel. “We need to understand how things change when you’re moving only your bodyweight.”

        Samuel lists several examples of bodyweight-only moves, including pushups, pullups, and chinups. All of these exercises depend on multiple muscle groups working together to create total-body tension, particularly the core. Once you take those principles to alternatives that use gear, like the lat pulldown for the pullup, there’s less need for full body coordination.

        This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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London’s most ‘dangerous’ prisons and the serial killers, murderers and rapists who are locked up there

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There are currently 117 prisons in England and Wales, each of them locking away some of the country’s most terrifying and depraved criminals. With a population of nine million, London is home to several prisons which are based across the capital.

Each prison is placed into a different category, depending on the criminals it houses and the offenses they have committed. Beginning with Category A prisons, they house the city’s worst male prisoners who are often contained in high-security cells due to the danger they pose to the public or national security. Within London, only one prison has this status, and it is most commonly associated with the Old Bailey, as criminals are sent there following conviction.

Notorious killers such as Ian Brady, Dennis Nilsen, Michael Adebolajo and Wayne Couzens have been housed in high security cells in London. Levi Bellfield, a murderer responsible for the deaths of three women, was reportedly left begging prison guards to place him in solitary confinement at HMP Belmarsh, after receiving threats from his fellow inmates.

MyLondon have taken a look at London’s prisons and the criminals they keep locked away from our streets.

READ MORE: London criminals are now hiding drugs and weapons under kids’ slides and in loose bricks

HMP Belmarsh

Belmarsh Prison houses many of London’s most high-profile criminals
(Image: Getty Images)

Few prisons in Britain have such a notorious reputation as HMP Belmarsh, where criminals who are convicted at the Old Bailey are often sent. The Category A male prison is often used in high-profile cases, particularly those concerning national security.

Within the prison, there is a unique unit called the High Security Unit which can house 48 of Britain’s most dangerous convicts, and the prison is one of only three high security jails in England and Wales.

Despite this, around a third of prisoners stated they felt unsafe, with levels of violence having increased since an inspection in 2015. According to the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report in 2018, the prison had a small number of inmates who required “specific management ” to their high-profile status with the public and the media.

His current inmates include Michael Adebolajo, a convicted Islamic extremist who murdered British Army soldier Lee Rigby. Alongside Michael Adebowale, he attacked the 27-year-old outside Woolwich Barracks with knives and a meat cleaver, and attempted to behead him in front of horrified onlookers.

The killer of Conservative MP David Amess, who was repeatedly stabbed during a constituency surgery, which also recently handed a whole life order and sent to HMP Belmarsh. Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Islamic State sympathiser, had researched over 250 MPs before deciding to carry out his attacks, and told the Old Bailey that he had “no regrets”.

Danyal Hussein, the 19-year-old Satanist who murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry in a park at Wembley is also incarcerated within the high-security prison. He murdered the two women in a random attack that he believed would act as a “sacrifice” to a demon named “the mighty king Lucifuge Rofocale” to enable him to win the lottery.

One of his most terrifying former inmates include serial killer Levi Bellfield, who was housed there during his Old Bailey trial in 2011 for the murder of 13-year-old schoolgirl Milly Dowler. According to The Mirror, he begged prison bosses to move him into solitary confinement after he received multiple death threats from other prisoners. The dad-of-11 is a rapist, sex offender and kidnapper, and is currently serving a whole life term for the murders of Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange, as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Wayne Couzens was also kept at Belmarsh ahead of his sentencing, after he pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of marketing executive Sarah Everard. The 33-year-old had been walking back from Clapham Common when she was approached by the former Met Police officer, who tricked her into his car under the pretence of arresting her for breaching Covid-19 restrictions. He drove her two hours out of London before brutally murdering her and setting her body on fire to destroy the evidence.

Other current inmates include Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, neo-Nazi David Copeland who bombed a gay pub, and Stephen Port, referred to as the ‘Grindr Killer’ for murdering four men that he had contacted via dating apps.

HMP Wormwood Scrubs

Wormwood Scrubs has been plagued with gangland activity
(Image: (TMS))

Nicknamed ‘The Scrubs’, HMP Wormwood Scrubs is a Category B men’s prison in Hammersmith. Around 1,200 inmates reside across the five main wings, with one third of prisoners previously reporting that they had felt unsafe or had witnessed violence during their incarceration.

The prison today contains a separate wing for high-risk prisoners and another for those requiring intensive drug treatment. It has been reported that illicit drug activity was taking place within the prison, and the gangland activity was an ongoing threat to inmates. The prison recently made headlines after a refugee committed suicide in his cell after refusing food and talking about killing himself.

It has housed serial killers such as Dennis Nielsen and Ian Brady as well as ‘Britain’s most notorious prisoner’ Charles Bronson. Nilsen, a Scottish murderer and necrophile, killed at least twelve young men and boys between 1978 and 1983, before dissecting their bodies and disposing of them down the toilet. Meanwhile Brady, a psychopath responsible for the Moors Murders, also spent time at the prison before he died 2017. He and his girlfriend Myra Hindley had kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered five children before burying their bodies on the Yorkshire Moors.

Named as one of the most high-profile criminals in British history, Charles Bronson first started as a petty criminal during the 1970s, but his prison sentences were extended due to his violent assaults on prison staff. He has also previously spent time in HMP Belmarsh, and is currently locked up in HMP Woodhill.

British rapper Nines was jailed in October for importing 28kg of cannabis into the UK and is currently serving his sentence at HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

HMP Pentonville

Pentonville Prison in Islington, North London
(Image: Ian Waldie)

Based in Islington, HMP Pentonville is one of Britain’s oldest prisons, after it was first opened in 1842. The Category B institution is home to around 1,300 inmates, and is often used for criminals on remand.

In the 20th century, following the closure of the infamous Newgate Prison, Pentonville became the primary execution site in London. Between 1902 and 1961 a total of 120 were executed, including serial killer John Christie and Dr Crippen.

In recent years, it has drawn media attention after a number of high-profile convicts were able to escape. In 2006, a convicted arsonist escaped by clinging on to the underside of the prison van, whilst in 2012 a convicted murder made his getaway from within the confines of Pentonville.

A huge manhunt was launched in 2016 after two prisoners used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break out of their cells to scale the walls. Prison staff only realized when they found pillows imitating bodies in their beds, and they were recaptured a few days later. Former justice secretary Michael Gove described it in 2015 as “the most dramatic example of failure” within the prison’s estate.

In 2019, it was described as “squalid and inhumane”, with a concern raised about the frequency of assaults on staff, averaging about 10 per month. It has remained largely unchanged in the 180 years it has been operational.

His famous former inmates included Oscar Wilde, Pete Doherty, Boy George and George Michael, who all spent a period of time in the prison for various charges.

HMP Wandsworth

HMP Wandsworth is one of the largest in the UK
(Image: Derek Harper)

The Category B prison in south west London is one of the largest in the UK and has been operating for 171 years. Often housing vulnerable convicts with mental health problems or drug addictions, it has a number of specialist units.

Spread across eight wings, there are over 1,428 men at the prison, and they are offered education and rehabilitation courses during their incarceration. However, a BBC investigation found that cannabis was openly smoked inside the prison and that there was a large-scale drug abuse problem. It also revealed that despite six suicides since 2015, not all staff carrying anti-ligature knives.

In recent years, inmates have included pop star Gary Glitter on pedophile offenses, after he was convicted of downloading child pornography. After a number of sexual assault convictions, he was most recently sentenced in 2015 for having sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13 years old.

Ronnie Kray, one half of the Kray Twins, was also held at the prison before being committed to Broadmoor Hospital. He and his brother had been organized crime leaders of London’s underworld, and had multiple convictions for murder, armed robbery, protection rackets and assaults.

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker was recently sent to HMP Wandsworth after being found guilty of fraud at Southwark Crown Court.

HMP Feltham

Feltham Young Offenders Institute houses hundreds of teenagers
(Image: PA)

HMP Feltham is a young offenders institution for male juveniles, based in the borough of Hounslow. Separated into two parts, it houses 180 teenagers aged 15 to 18, and another section houses 360 adults aged 18 to 21.

Inmates are able to attend full-time or part-time education, workshops, vocational training and undertake apprenticeships. Reports however have stated that Feltham endures “enormous problems” with gang rivalries and postcode-related violence that has continued from the outside world.

In 2019, 20 prison officers were injured after a weekend of violence in the prison, with 13 needing hospital treatment. In the past, it has housed rapper J Hus and well-known grime artist Ghetts, whilst the grim MC Crazy Titch is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? Email holly.evans@reachplc.com

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