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Scott Huntington

The Strongest NFL Players

By | Football, Major Sports | No Comments

The common NFL player not only needs to possess the intelligence to learn a playbook and read the rival’s scheme on the fly, but they must retain the perfect balance of strength and athleticism to out hit, out block and out jump the opponent across from them. They treat their bodies like temples.

However, there is rare breed within the NFL that takes this to a whole new level. From employing personal chefs and acupuncture therapists to spending the wee hours of the morning in the weight room, some players don’t know when to quit. You may think there’s no way they find a way to fit these extra workouts and therapy sessions into their schedule during the actual football season, but they do.

Now, not all players on this list are visually ripped, but the strength remains. They realize their bodies provide for their family and it shows. Not to keep you on your toes for any longer, here are some of the strongest players in the NFL today.

James Harrison

Although the 40-year-old, James Harrison, retired from the NFL earlier this year, you can’t make an NFL’s strongest players list without including him. Harrison owes a lot of his success to the dedication he has to his body and the weight room — his intense workouts speak for themselves. The former undrafted linebacker out of Kent State turned two-time Super Bowl Champion and NFL Defensive Player of the Year played the same amount of snaps for the Steelers at age 28 as he did at age 38. His standards for in-season weight training resemble the lengths other players strive for to keep their bodies in peak shape all season long.

Myles Garrett

On the opposite side of the age spectrum, the 22-year-old Cleveland Browns outside linebacker is an absolute beast. At the NFL combine, two years ago, Garrett galloped his 6’4” – 272 lb. frame 40 yards in a mere 4.64 seconds while also possessing enough explosiveness to obtain a 41” vertical. To put that into perspective, Randy Moss’ vertical jump measured at 39” before being drafted. In regard to the strongest NFL players, Garrett also put up 33 reps during the 225 lb. bench press at the combine. His body outshines what most can do and will terrorize NFL offensive tackles for years to come.

Saquon Barkley

The former Penn State legend, now New York Giant savior, is cut from the same cloth as Myles Garrett. His body can accomplish what most cannot. It’s easy to get lost in the fact he can run a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and jump 41” at 222 pounds, but that would completely look past him breaking seemingly every school weightlifting record in existence while enrolled at PSU. While in Happy Valley reports state he benched 390 pounds, squatted 495 pounds for reps, and power cleaned 405 pounds. There isn’t much more left to be said.

JJ Watt

When looking at JJ Watt it’s sometimes hard to believe he actually plays football and not a star of the World’s Strongest Man Competition on ESPN Classic. When Watt’s not winning NFL Defensive Player of Year awards or helping raise $41.6M for Houston’s Hurricane Relief Fund, he’s in the weight room. While his athleticism doesn’t match up to that of Barkley or Garrett, he certainly outshines them in pure strength.

Watt put up big numbers at the NFL combine with 34 reps on the bench press. While that number is impressive, it’s important to know Watt never skips a leg day. JJ’s warm-up squat is a measly 600 pounds before squatting 700 pounds. That’s what many would call big boy weight, folks.

Strong Is an Understatement

Think you’re up for trying one of their workouts? From breaking records to ridiculous workouts, each of these NFL players pushes their bodies to the max granting them a spot on this list.

photos by USA today

Here’s All the Cussing in Drew Magary’s “Why Your Team Sucks” for the Top/Bottom 4 Teams

By | Football | No Comments

Drew Magary has a “popular” series on Deadspin that lists all the ways that every NFL team sucks. Similar to the past-gone Puck Daddy eulogies, some of these are amazing and some are just ok. But they have one thing in common: @%*(&#@.

I read these from time to time, and often wondered if the teams that are actually good get more cussing than the teams that are actually bad. I figured that the good teams would get more hate, both from people that hate them being good, and fans that hate them for being good but not good enough.

I was mostly right.

I thought about doing this for all 32 teams, but that is a LOT of Drew to read though, and lot of time spent for some pretty useless content. So here are the top and bottom 4.

Eagles Patriots Vikings Jags Browns Giants Colts Texans
Fuck 20 29 46 29 19 29 22 14
Shit 10 27 15 9 12 12 13 9
Ass 11 9 7 3 2 5 4 4
Damn 3 1 6 4 0 1 4 2
Dick 7 3 5 0 1 3 1 0

 

I included all variations of these, so fucking, fucks, shitface, asshole, goddamn, dickhole, and so forth were all counted. Oddly enough, the spiritual-damn was the only version used. Ass was the most difficult to track, since it appeared in words like pass, assistant, and assault. Assault was used so many times I considered looking into which team had more players who liked to commit crimes with their fists.

I started tracking “Sucks” as well but since “sucks” was in most of the titles (What’s new that sucks, what’s always sucked, etc) it wasn’t super relevant. The Browns had the most though, probably because they actually do suck the most.

Here’s the date in a line graph, because why not:

There we go.

 

 

Which MLB Teams Are Having the Most Surprising and Disappointing Seasons?

By | Baseball | No Comments

Every baseball season, some teams surprise their fans — whether that’s in a positive way or not. Some teams unexpectedly become viable contenders for a World Series title, while others with lofty preseason aspirations are disappointing.

Pleasant Surprises

In the 2018 MLB season so far, several teams are doing surprisingly well — here are three of them.

1.      Oakland Athletics

The top three teams in the AL West are all viable postseason contenders. The Houston Astros are unsurprisingly leading and likely locks to win the division, though the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have already won 60 or more games. They are competing for the second Wild Card spot, right behind the Yankees.

The degree of success that Oakland and Seattle are having is surprising. Oakland’s offense wasn’t striking on paper before the year, though Jed Lowrie is having the best season of his career, while Matt Chapman and Matt Olson continue to provide power and contact. Blake Treinen has also emerged as one of the league’s best closers. They have done great so far, though questions remain as to whether their rotation is strong enough to hang around.

2.      Seattle Mariners

The other AL West surprise, the Seattle Mariners, was thrown into disarray upon the March news that star 2B Robinson Cano is suspended for 80 games. The Mariners, though, are one of the AL’s best teams, despite Cano’s absence and SP Felix Hernandez not contributing much.

Strong seasons by Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura are helping lead the offense, while SP James Paxton has emerged as one of the league’s most lights-out starters. Closer Edwin Diaz is also very effective, with a chance at the season record for saves. Like the Athletics, there are questions as to whether the Mariners can stick around — though they have certainly shown they are a viable Wild Card contender.

3.     Atlanta Braves

The Braves have the league’s best farm system, so while it’s not exactly surprising that their roster has talent, it is a bit shocking that their star prospects have arrived so soon. Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies are already contributing All Star-caliber numbers — so much for getting acclimated to the big leagues.

The success of their younger players is combining with an MVP candidate season from Freddie Freeman, an All-Star campaign from veteran Nick Markakis and a stellar catching duo of Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers.

The Phillies, another relatively surprising success, will be competing with the Braves for a playoff spot deep into the season.

Disappointing Surprises

On the other end of the spectrum, a few teams have been disappointing fans — like these three.

1.      Washington Nationals

The Nationals have some of the best players in the world, like Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer, so their painfully mediocre start is a surprise.

Harper continues to hit for power, though his batting average is very low. Adam Eaton is hurt again, Anthony Rendon has often been injured and Strasburg is on and off the DL. Scherzer remains dominant and Harper will likely do better in the second half, though the Nationals seem to lack depth in general. It wasn’t expected that Harper would struggle so much and no other Nationals player would emerge.

2.      New York Mets

Although no one anticipated an extraordinarily great season from the Mets, a red-hot 11-1 start suggested the Mets may at least compete for a Wild Card. The team’s best start in franchise history, followed by a significantly forgettable season, is disappointing.

For a team that has two bonafide aces in Noah Syndergaard and Noah DeGrom, a capable closer in Jeurys Familia — before his trade to Oakland — and a core of young hitters like Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Nimmo that impress, it’s a disappointing surprise that the Mets are definitely among the worst teams this season. Mediocrity was the expectation, though failure is the rest so far.

3.      Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have a winning record, though there were expectations they would lead their division — or at least come close to it. Offensive stars like Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, in addition to a friendly home park and consistent rotation, make their start a fairly unexciting one. The team still has ample time to impress extensively, though so far, the results have been lower than expected.

Baseball fans look forward to seeing whether these disappointing teams will turn it around, as well as whether the pleasant surprises will continue their success.

What All Do You Need to Go Skiing?

By | Skiing | No Comments

There’s no greater feeling than spending a day on the slopes and a night with some hot drinks, bad taxidermy and good conversations.

Skiing is an exhilarating sport that is enjoyable all day long — unless you don’t have the right equipment. As you plan and pack for your trip, reference this list to remember the six pieces of gear that will keep you warm, dry and happy.

1. Base Layer

Also known as thermals, a strong foundation for staying warm is a solid base layer. These are the clothes that are closest to your body, so the material needs to be moisture-wicking.

Cotton has no home here — wool or synthetic materials are your friends. This also applies for socks to keep your feet dry. Nothing is worse than foot slushies.

2. Pants

As probably the most essential piece of equipment as far as clothing goes, your pants need to be as waterproof as possible.

Everybody falls, whether it’s a victory slide at the end of your run or a wipeout that no one was expecting. It’s important to make sure your show pants resist wind and water, so you can spend your day on the slopes — not in the lodge.

3. Jacket

Your jacket is the armor outside of the rest of your layers, so it’s important to get something weather-resistant and waterproof. When you try one on, keep in mind that you may have a couple of layers underneath it on cold days — be sure to size it accordingly.

Jackets can also offer things such as pit zips, goggle zippers and phone pockets to make it easy to carry your gear and electronics around on the slopes while also preventing overheating.

4. Helmet

A helmet is a non-negotiable piece of gear, no matter what your skill level is. You can layer a hat underneath if needed, and you can usually rent one if yours breaks or if you don’t want to buy one.

You can’t ski if you’re in the hospital, so protect your noggin.

5. Goggles

Nothing magnifies the intensity of the sun’s brightness quite like snow. If you prefer to be able to see what’s in front of you, goggles will be a huge help.

When you’re going down the hill, goggles will also prevent you from having freezing wind in your eyes to the point of tearing up and ugly sobbing during the entire ride.

6. Boots and Gloves

A good pair of boots is useful in pretty much every situation in life, but even more so for the snow lovers. If there’s one piece of equipment you should buy instead of rent, it’s boots.

Make sure you buy a pair of boots that are comfortable and waterproof. They’re going to be in contact with snow all day, so don’t be afraid to get yourself something nice.

Gloves or mittens are also a necessity to keep your fingers warm and avoid things like frostbite. It’s worth investing in a good pair — you can’t hold poles if your fingers can’t bend.

Ski With Snow Worries

Once you pick out the gear that fits your style and will keep you dry, you’ll be ready to spend hours shredding rather than shivering. Enjoy your time outside by staying warm!

How to Train for a Half-Marathon

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Want to take your running program to the next level? Training for a half-marathon allows you to truly test the limits of your running ability. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and your motivations throughout the training process. Distance running not only tests your physical endurance but your ability to remain focused and on task mentally for an extended period as well. You’ll gain a ton of confidence all while learning to overcome adversity and setbacks.

But what if you’re new to training to compete at this distance or even new to running in general? Not to worry. These tips will get you on your way to achieving your half-marathon goals.

Get the Right Shoes And Socks

Nothing will derail your running program more quickly than foot, knee or even back injury caused by wearing improper footwear. During training, your feet will be pounding the pavement for sometimes an hour or more at a time. This can quickly lead to overuse injuries.

Before starting your training regimen, pay a visit to a specialty running shoe store where the associates are trained to measure you for shoes that are the right fit. There is much more to selecting a shoe than merely getting the right the size. For example, runners with high arches may find they need additional arch support, while flat-footed runners may need more padding to absorb impact. Add in some moisture-whisking socks to keep your feet dry during long run days.

Give Yourself Ample Training Time

Training for a race the length of a half-marathon isn’t something you can jump into overnight. It takes time to build up distance and speed, so make sure you give yourself adequate time to train before race day.

If you are a novice runner, select a race that is at least two months out from when you plan to begin training. If you are an advanced runner who already puts in miles daily, you may be able to get away with a slightly shorter time frame. However, don’t underestimate the work it takes to really get ready to run 13.1 miles.

Draw Up A Training Schedule

To meet your goal, you’ll want to outline a manageable training plan that works with your life and your schedule. You’re going to need to commit a good deal of time to your training, so make sure you have a plan for success.

While it’s okay to run on a treadmill when the weather is particularly inclement, for better results, train outside under conditions that are as close to those you’ll encounter on race day. If you live in the race area, drive the race course to get a feel for how hilly it may be. Pay attention to the weather, too. Train in high winds, cold temperatures, high humidity and other conditions you might encounter during the race to ensure that you’re prepared for them.

Fuel Your Body Right

What you eat is just as important as how you train when it comes to half-marathon success. This counts double if you undertook training for a half-marathon to jump-start your weight loss regimen. It can be tempting to restrict calories and rewarding to watch the pounds melt off. But your performance will suffer if you are malnourished when you train.

Consider adding a high-quality protein and vitamin-mineral supplement to your diet. This will help to replace electrolytes lost through heavy duty training as well as provide your body with the building blocks it needs to heal. Adding a protein supplement is particularly vital if you are vegetarian or vegan. Our muscles need the right balance of amino acids to recover after a long run.

Plan Your Celebration Ahead of Time

Finishing a first half-marathon is a huge accomplishment, and it isn’t one that many people have bragging rights for. So plan a nice celebration for yourself after your big race! This could mean a romantic dinner out with your significant other, planning a weekend getaway or just taking a nice, long relaxing bubble bath post-race. Whatever it is you choose to do, be sure to celebrate you! You did it!

How to Stay Safe Running in the Summer Heat

By | Fitness, Running | No Comments

Summer is the best time for outside activities. It stays light later, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be rained on. For runners, these are the best conditions to bump off a couple of miles. However, the summer comes with its danger as well: heat. Exerting yourself during the hottest season of the year can be uncomfortable, unhealthy and dangerous, and a few precautions can go a long way. Here are a few tips for keeping safe during the worst of the summer heat:

1. Run at Night/In the Morning

Wake up early or stay out until the sun is going down. Both times of day will have lower temperatures and, therefore, less chance of heat exhaustion or other dangerous health conditions. Plus, waking up early will give you an awesome energy boost to get through your day.

2. Drink Lots of Water

This one should go without saying. If you don’t like carrying a water bottle while you are running, make sure you run at a location with water available in drinking fountains or otherwise. Dehydration, which is easily preventable, causes many heat-related illnesses.

3. Run in the Shade

If you usually run in an open area — a field or street, for instance — instead look for a route with trees or buildings that provide shade. More shade means a cooler run, and a cooler run means less chance of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Of course, wearing a light-colored hat or visor can keep the worst of the sun off your head and provide your face with a little personal patch of shade.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Sunburns are bad to begin with, and they’re downright agonizing while you are running, and there is nothing to distract you from them. Wearing sunscreen will help protect you from burning, and putting aloe on any previous burns before running will also keep the pain at bay.

5. Wear Light Colors

Dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat much more than light-colored clothing. The difference is the most noticeable during the summer. Wearing light colors will keep you cooler and running longer than darker, heavier clothing.

6. Slow Down

Take a little longer running when it’s hot out. You won’t push your body as hard under already-stressful conditions, and you’ll avoid exhausting yourself partway through the run.

We all love running, but avoiding the heat — and finding better ways to deal with it when unavoidable — is a necessity during the hot summer days. Using these precautions will help you run happier and healthier through the summer.

How to Increase Strength Without Weights

By | Fitness | No Comments

It’s possible to gain strength without going to the gym. It might seem hard to believe at first, but you don’t even need weights to improve your strength. In fact, bodyweight exercises like the pull-up are some of the most effective strength-building exercises.

Learning how to use your own body weight to improve strength is a journey that’s different from any other fitness quest. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

The Benefits

With bodyweight exercises, you can work out anywhere, anytime. You don’t need any special equipment, which is great if you travel a lot, want to save money on a gym membership or live somewhere without easy access to a gym.

Another benefit is the fact that bodyweight strength exercises do more than just build strength. They can also increase your flexibility, help you lose weight, improve your coordination and engage your brain, too.

Bodyweight workouts are typically more about using the whole body than weighted exercises are. To execute the more advanced movements, you have to learn how to use various muscle groups together. Rarely in situations outside the gym do you only use one muscle at a time.

Because of these facts, bodyweight training may be more applicable to real-life situations. Plus, if you stick with it, you might one day be able to perform impressive feats like the human flag.

Tips

Many bodyweight exercises look easier than they are, and those experienced with weight training often think they’ll be able to pull off advanced bodyweight exercises without much practice.

When getting started with bodyweight training, however, it’s important to respect your limitations and start where you are. Just like with other training programs, you need to build up to the advanced workouts. The strength you’ve acquired through other types of training will help you, but you’re also learning an entirely new skill.

Bodyweight training tends to force even experienced athletes to put their egos aside. Not heeding this call can lead to injury.

To help you build up your strength, you also need to use the progressive overload principle. As with other types of strength training, you need to gradually put more and more demand on your muscles so they get stronger over time. You might do this by decreasing the time it takes you to do repetitive exercises like pushups or pull-ups or increasing the amount of time for static exercises like the plank. Eventually, you can progress from standard pull-ups to one-arm pull-ups.

Another critical point that’s worth reiterating is to think about your whole body as you complete your exercises. Pay attention to all the muscles you’re engaging and you’ll be much more successful.

Best Exercises

So what are some bodyweight exercises should you use to build your strength? Here are some to get started with:

  • Pull-ups and chin-ups: Pull-ups and chin-ups are excellent exercises for working the upper body. Pull-ups work the lats harder, while chin-ups put more focus on the biceps. Once you’ve mastered the standard pull-up, you can move on to the around-the-world pull-up or try burpee pull-ups. For an even more advanced version, check out the muscle-up.
  • Pushups: Pushups are another exceptional upper body exercise. The primary muscle they work is the chest. There are plenty of advanced variations for you to try, including decline pushups, diamond pushups and one-arm pushups.
  • Squats: For working the lower body, try bodyweight squats. Also, try the wall squat and jump squat to take things to the next level.
  • Planks: There are many different bodyweight exercises made for working the abs, and the plank is one of the best. You can add a twist or a pushup for an extra challenge.

You don’t necessarily need any equipment to do a great strength-building workout. If you know how to use it, all you really need is your bodyweight. These tips can help you get started, but where you take your bodyweight exercise journey from there is up to you.

7 Ways to Improve Your Golf Game

By | Golf | No Comments

Golfers can improve their game with a variety of tips and practices, enhancing their chipping, putting, form and general mental preparation. Golf is a game where intricacies matter, with every professional golfer on a constant quest to improve.

Take a look at these seven ways to improve your golf game:

1. Work on Your Weaknesses

Every golfer’s weaknesses are unique. As such, it’s crucial to identify yours by keeping simple statistics of your playing. Track your greens in regulation, fairway hits, total putts and other counting stats. There are even sites that help you electronically track golf data while providing a handicap for each part of your game. It’s easier to improve your golf game when you know which areas are of pressing importance.

2. Clubface Control

Clubface control often separates players regarding skill. You can work on this control by practicing form. Assume a standard grip, twist your bottom hand, so it’s facing away from you and then act as if you’re wiping your palm across a table. This form of practice will help you face toward the ball more quickly in the downswing.

3. Torso Rotation

Your torso is like an engine for your swing. Torso rotation plays a huge role in generating speed and power for the swing. A correct backswing requires establishing your spine angle by turning your torso away from the target. Position your left shoulder close to being over your right leg, maintaining this same posture throughout the backswing. When starting the downswing, rotate the torso toward your target, up until your right shoulder is closer to your left leg than the right. Keep these tips in mind to establish your torso as a major factor in generating speed and power.

4. Don’t Neglect the Short Game

As fun as it is to hit the driving range, some golfers neglect to refine their short game. As a practice of habit, start rolling a few putts before teeing. Before working on longer shots, dedicate yourself to picking up a putting drill and practicing the short game before or after every round. Even mini-golfing with the kids can help you practice your short game.

5. Enlist the Help of a Private Instructor

It’s possible to improve your golf game on your own, though it’s almost always better with a private instructor. Private golf instruction often can include single or multiple session options, with a PGA professional helping to guide golfers of all experience levels in a comfortable learning atmosphere. Private instructors are especially helpful if there’s a part of your golf game that isn’t getting better with personal practice.

6. Upgrade Your Equipment

Old equipment may be preventing you from getting the most out of your practice. For example, if golf grips are disintegrating into your hands, you will lack grip. In this case, it’s time to upgrade your equipment. Similarly, if the grooves on your wedges are worn down to the point of being invisible, it’s time for new equipment. If you can, it’s also a good idea to get fitted for clubs, so you can ensure your equipment fits your body and swing.

7. Study the Best Golfers

Watching golf, both in person and on television, is a great way to gain enthusiasm for the game of golf, as well as teaching you some things about form. Some professional golfers even have tutorial videos on YouTube that showcase form tips. Watch golf tournaments and seek out tutorials from experts to constantly improve your game.

 

Whether it’s on your own or with an instructor, improving your golf game is a rewarding endeavor, no matter your skill level or aspirations.

A Preview of the 2018/2019 NFL Season

By | Football, Major Sports, News | No Comments

The upcoming NFL season is ripe with exciting stories and players to watch. Last year’s NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, September 6th to kick off the 2018 NFL season.

The Favorites

With Tom Brady returning for yet another season alongside coach Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots remain the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

Although the Patriots lack wide receiver depth after trading Brandin Cooks and losing Julian Edelman to suspension for the first four games, a healthy Rob Gronkowski is still here. Chris Hogan has also proven to be an adept option for Brady, with new signing Kenny Britt and first-round draft pick Sony Michel looking to bolster the offense. Veteran Rex Burkhead remains a solid option for short downs. As for their defense, Bill Belichick remains a genius at coaching the defensive game, specifically.

While the Patriots are the favorite to win, other up-and-coming teams are not far behind. The Los Angeles Rams saw the ample growth of QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley last year, with young head coach Sean McVay showing a knack for brilliant game planning. The Green Bay Packers, with Aaron Rodgers still at the helm, are another hyped team. The signing of TE Jimmy Graham looks to supplement an offensive attack that is now missing Jordy Nelson.

Of course, the Philadelphia Eagles will look to defend their championship and remain capable of doing so. Coach Doug Pederson shows great decision-making, putting his playmakers in the position to win. With QB Carson Wentz expected to be healthy, the Eagles are very comparable in strength and depth to last year, apart from losing TE Trey Burton to free agency.

A Year for Young QBs

If you enjoy watching young QBs with high upside, the upcoming NFL season will be a treat for you. The rookie QB class alone includes a bunch of high-upside, talented rookie QBs with avenues to playing time. Jets QB Sam Darnold and Bills QB Josh Allen will very likely start by mid-season, if not by week one. They are both talented, young QBs on teams starving for a franchise QB.

Although Baker Mayfield may not start in 2018 for the Cleveland Browns, with Tyrod Taylor showing more command of the offense presently, he remains an exciting player to watch. If Taylor suffers an injury or underperforms, it will be fun to watch Mayfield throw to the likes of Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. There are also rumblings of the Browns considering signing WR Dez Bryant.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was taken in the late first round, though could very well impress more immediately than any other rookie QB. Joe Flacco remains the starter in Baltimore, though Jackson has drawn praise from the coaching staff for his talent and readiness. Jackson’s multi-dimensional game, with his running and throwing, present a threat to opposing defenses. He and these other young QBs will be worth watching in the preseason and throughout the entire NFL season.

Season Predictions

The NFL proves year in and year out that outcomes are unpredictable. Although some teams like the Patriots dominate their division every year and are likely to do so again this year, the rest of the league is open for competition.

The NFC West is likely to be a showdown between the Rams and 49ers. If 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo continues to excel, the 49ers’ young core can prevail. The Rams’ additions of Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks and Marcus Peters in the offseason makes them a clear favorite, though.

The Packers and Vikings will compete in the NFC North, as Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins work with talented squads. The Packers’ additions of corners Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson should shore up their pass defense, a weak point last season.

The NFC South is likely to be competitive. The Saints, Panthers and Falcons all have teams with potential. The Eagles will likely lead the NFC East, though it will be interesting to watch the impact that Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley has on his team. The AFC North will also be fun to watch, as the Steelers, Browns, Ravens and Bengals compete with fairly even-matched squads.

The upcoming NFL season looks to be a fun and competitive one.

10 Best Exercises for People Who Aren’t Flexible 

By | Fitness | No Comments

It’s no secret exercise is essential for a healthier lifestyle. Weightlifting is loaded with health benefits, ranging from osteoporosis treatment to getting beach-body-ready. Jogging can help lower blood pressure, and fitness classes can help build relationships and grow your social circle!

But what about flexibility?

Health experts believe your genetic makeup mostly determines your level of flexibility. However, if you exercise, you can improve your flexibility by roughly 20 to 25 percent.

These simple exercises are a reliable way to help you reach your flexibility goals.

1. Downward-Facing Dog

Stand with your feet even with your hips — the wider the stance, the easier the stretch will be if you’re just starting out. Bend at the waist and put your hands flat on the ground at about shoulder-width apart. Be sure your spine is straight, and if you feel uncomfortable, shift your weight from one foot to the other to help alleviate the slow burn, or bend at the knees.

2. Child’s Pose

This pose is a rest position you can use during any yoga circuit. Kneel on the floor, with your feet underneath your buttocks. Put your arms in front of your head, so your back is in a straight line and your head is resting on the ground. Child’s pose makes an excellent recovery position.

3. C-Curve

Most people who have desk jobs carry tension in their lower back. Here is a stretch that will target this tight area. Sit on the floor and bend at the knees, with your feet about 12 inches in front of your glutes. Hug your thighs by wrapping your arms around your hamstrings, and allow your elbows to point out. Let your back curve in the shape of a “C” and inhale. During your inhale, lengthen your spine, and on the exhale, tuck your chin toward your chest.

4. Planks

Do you have a hard time keeping your balance in all these stretches? Strengthen your core with planks. Lie facing down on your forearms with your toes touching the ground. Push up and off the ground, and hold the position as long as you can while keeping your spine and legs straight. The longer you can go, the stronger your core.

5. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand with your feet even with your hips. Bend at the waist and wrap your arms around the backs of your legs, or try to touch your toes. Hold this position anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes.

6. Cobra

Lie face-down on the ground and place your hands flat at shoulder-width. Press your hands into the floor, and with straight legs, push your chest and stomach off the floor and hold. Flex your glute muscles and be sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears.

7. Lunges

Many sports teams use these as warm-up stretches. Take a long step forward, and bend both your front and back legs at 90-degree angles. Try to touch your back knee to the ground, while maintaining a straight back. Putting your weight into your front leg, take your next step and switch knees.

8. Triceps Stretch

You can do this exercise standing or sitting, whichever works best. Lifting one arm above your head, bend it at the elbow so the palm of your hand faces your back. With the other hand, gently push down on the bent elbow. Switch arms and repeat on the other side.

9. Butterfly

Sitting on the ground, open your bent knees outward while letting the bottoms of your feet touch. Slowly bend your body forward while activating your core and try to get your knees to touch the floor while holding your feet.

10. Tree Pose

This exercise is an excellent test of core muscles and balance. Stand on one leg while placing your other foot on the ankle, calf or thigh on the leg that is “rooted” into the ground. You can put your palms together at your center, or branch them out by reaching to either side. The stronger the core, the stronger the tree.

Feel Good From Head to Toe-Touches

Gaining flexibility is a process, and it won’t happen overnight. However, with a little practice and determination, you’ll be able to see improvements over time, and you’ll feel better overall as well!