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For World Mental Health Day, Try These Steps for Creating a Fitter Mind

World Mental Health Day takes place Oct. 10, so now is a great time to re-evaluate your mental fitness. If you want to get the best results from your day job, your interactions with others, and those countless hours of sweating it out in the gym, it’s essential to recognize that a fit mind can have positive physical outcomes.

Muscle & Fitness spoke with Jasmine “Coach Jaz” Graham, an ACE-certified personal trainer and integrative nutrition health coach, to find out ways in which those who are starting their fitness journey, through to elite athletes, can also take better care of their mental health.

Everything You Need to Know About Stress and Relieving It

All About Stress and How to Relieve It

You can’t be fit and healthy when you’re feeling the weight of the world.

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Try These 5 Upper Back Exercises for Improving Your ‘Big 3’ Lifts

Most lifters know the importance upper-back strength plays when it comes to the “Big 3” lifts — bench press, squat, and deadlift — and for keeping the shoulders healthy. But those who just train chest and biceps don’t fully grasp the importance of the upper back until their shoulders hurt. It’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.

A well-developed and strong upper back gives you a broad set of shoulders, helps with your squat, bench, and deadlift, and will help keep your shoulders healthy. Here we’ll go into the muscles that make up the region, their importance in the big 3, five upper back exercises, and a workout to build it.

Upper-back muscles and functions

Rhomboids: They originate from the cervical (neck) vertebra and run diagonally down and attach to the inside of the scapula. They’re functions include scapula adduction (coming together), scapula inward rotation (when you’re bringing your arm down from a lateral raise) and scapula elevation (shrugs).

Trapezius: This is a large, flat, triangular, superficial muscle on each side of the upper back. It originates from the cervical spine and all 12 of the thoracic vertebrae. Its main functions are Scapula adduction, elevation, depression (lower fibers) and Scapula outward rotation (overhead pressing).

The Upper-Back Muscles and The Big 3

Although the upper back isn’t directly trained with the Big 3 like with rows but they still play a huge role in the set up and performance of these lifts.

The contraction of the upper-back muscles plays an important role in keeping a neutral spine while doing the squat and deadlift. Tightness of the muscles keeps the bar close to you when pulling from the floor, which is essential for lower-back health and a stronger deadlift.

During the squat, upper-back muscle provides a place for the bar to sit without the need for a pad. Plus, keeping the muscles tight prevents you from leaning too far forward in the squat and turning it into more of a good morning.

For bench pressing, the upper-back muscle provides a solid foundation to press from. By keeping the region engaged, it supports and controls the bar path, allowing for good technique.

5 upper-back exercises for size and strength

With iFIT, Athletes Can Run 4 Elite Marathons Virtually Anywhere

iFIT, the company behind the NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion fitness brands, have announced an exclusive multiyear partnership with the groups behind four of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, to act as their official connected treadmill and digital content provider.

The deal will expand iFIT’s current content offering by providing its community of more than six million members with virtual access to the Boston, Chicago, London and New York City marathons from the fall onward. In October, iFITS team of trainers began running each marathon, from the starting pistol to the finish line, capturing video and all the sounds and excitement of race day, from the runners point of view, so that users can participate from the comfort of their own home.

“We are excited to be a part of this groundbreaking partnership with iFIT, allowing iFIT members to experience the thrill of running New York’s iconic five-borough course,” said Christine Burke, who is the New York Road Runners senior vice president of strategic partnerships and runner products. “Together, we will enhance our runners’ experience by providing them new ways to prepare for our race, and keep them active and engaged during their entire training cycle.”

iFIT’s patented technology will serve interactivity on each marathon course by automatically adjusting the speed, incline, and decline of its NordicTrack, ProForm and Freemotion treadmills in order to fully replicate the terrain and provide a realistic and immersive experience. Runners will see the famed Heartbreak Hill at mile 18 of the Boston Marathon, the iconic Tower Bridge in London just before the halfway point, as well as the historic Central Park finish location of the TCS New York City Marathon. iFIT enables runners of all abilities, from those just starting out, to the world’s most elite athletes. And, don’t worry if you don’t have all the equipment yet —  participation will also be possible via their mobile and TV apps.

“The Boston Athletic Association’s mission for more than a century has been the pursuit of athletic excellence and the promotion of healthy lifestyles through sports, especially running,” said Tom Grilk, President and C.E.O. of the BAA. “Together with iFIT, we look to expand fitness offerings and help participants reach their health and fitness goals.”

Subscribers will be offered the option to run the 26.2-mile marathons in full, or tackle them in individual training segments. The Boston Marathon virtual series is expected to drop on Oct. 21, with the other courses following close behind

A group of marathon runners at the start of the marathon

Run a Smarter (and Faster) Marathon With These Ess…

For those who want to cross the finish line intact, and in great time, try this.

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