Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weightlifting Grips: Which one should you use when?

As someone who lifts weights, it is almost instinctive to hold a barbell or dumbbell a certain way depending on your exercise.  For example, when you want to do a deadlift, most people grab the barbell with palms facing down or away from you (overhand grip); considered the classic grip.  During this grip, you tend to be working the muscles in your forearm, your shoulders and your back muscles.

The underhand grip is mostly used when working the biceps, since that area will have to work the most to lift the weight.  Your palms are facing up/towards you in this type of grip.

These two grips are the most common.  Often times, I would see people holding a barbell with a mixed grip, one hand with an overhand grip and the other with an underhand grip.  I would mainly see Crossfitters with this grip.  That made me think; was I doing something wrong?!  So I looked into it.

The mixed grip is used for a deadlift.  When typically using an overhand grip, as the weight gets heavier, the barbell would be known to slip from a weightlifters hands.  Some use a weightlifting strap, which is wrapped around your wrist and around the barbell to help it from slipping away from you, prior to targeting the muscles/areas that you want to work.  But, they should not always be used.  Using straps is a whole other debate in and of itself.   To avoid the slipping and using straps, a lot of weightlifters use the mixed grip.  Again, this is to help the bar from slipping away from you.  Basically, if it starts to slip, it slips into the other hand.  This grips allows for you to lift heavier weights.  It is important to add that every time you perform a deadlift, you should NOT to use the mixed grip.  Use only when it is necessary.  Another type of grip that is known to help the bar from slipping from your hands is called the hook grip.  Typically with an overhand grip, you wrap your fingers around the bar and place your thumb over your fingers.  In a hook grip, it is actually the opposite.  The thumbs grip the bar first and the first couple of fingers lay over the thumb.

I hope this information helped you.  Different grips work different areas of your body.  The mixed and hook grip with help you lift heavier weights without having the bar slip away from you as easily. If after using this grip, and you can't perform the exercise for the area that you want to target then something is wrong.  It could be your posture or simply that the weights are too heavy for you.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

No Elf on the Shelf??

These days, it's not surprising that as teachers we can't celebrate just one hoilday this winter.  
Probably, like many of you, I work in a district that includes a variety of backgrounds. That being said, we can't just focus on one holiday, but we would have to focus on many!  In my classroom, my co-teacher and I try to incorporate different kinds of these holidays to be politically correct.  Everything now is labeled "holiday."  My school has a Holiday Show, Holiday Parties, Holiday Concerts, etc.... 

For our holiday party, we incorporate different holidays through stations.  We have Pin the Nose on Rudolph, the Dreidel Game, and an informational text Kwanzaa coloring book.  
Those of you that are elementary teachers know how crazy December can be.  The best way to describe it, is that it's like a month of full moons.  Often times, we need ideas to allow us teachers to survive through it all!

During this time of year, Elf on the Shelf for Christmas has been very popular, as well as Mensch on a Bench for Hanukkah with parents.  To play off of those successes on the home front, why not incorporate something similar into our classroom?!  Enter, Snowman is the PLAN!

Another one of my co-workers also loved the idea, so she went out on a search to find us a wintery character that we could use in our classrooms.  What she found were cute little snowmen; perfect for our winter holiday theme.  This worked so well in the classroom in terms of keeping the students on track with our daily routine.  Our third graders love it so much, that in past years they write letters to our snowman, have made him a home, have made him accessories; just to name a few!   

I have created a (colored/B&W) letter for the students that is generic, that students can read or have read to them.  The gist is that Old Man Winter has sent this snowman down to be on the lookout for good and some not so good behavior.  Our snowman will report back to the Arctic on a daily basis and the weather depends on on how well they behave.  Just like the other figures; if you touch him, he will melt and lose his magic.  Students must also name their Snowman to be unique to our classroom.  I'm rooting for Lee from Room 23.   I also created a goodbye letter to present to the students prior to the holiday break to let them know that the snowman must go back.  The best part is that the product if FREE!

Check it out here:

Some of our hiding spots have been between the books.  One of my favorites is the snowman that  created an array for the students to solve.  Multiplication is a huge math topic for our third graders, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that.  We also wonder how many inches it will snow this winter (based on our behavior)?!  My co-teacher and I try to relate his activities to things we are doing in the classroom currently, or even earlier in the school year as a review.  

There is also a generic letter having the snowman saying goodbye to the class!  This is the perfect way to get your students stay behaved during all of the holiday madness!  I hope this can give you a bit of sanity to get through the month.