Core Strength

Pilates builds strength, flexibility and endurance.
 
Want to flatten your tummy, strengthen those shoulder blades, and build better posture? Pilates might just be the thing for you. Pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates in the mid-1920s, pilates builds strength, flexibility and endurance without adding bulk to muscles or increasing risk of injury. Pilates has outlasted just about every exercise fad and attracts all types of people, from exercise enthusiasts and Hollywood celebrities to rehabilitation patients and reformed couch potatoes.
 
There are a variety of methods that are modifications of the original, among them STOTT PILATES®. The original “classic” pilates program promotes movements on a flat back, while STOTT focuses on the spine’s natural curves and rebalancing body muscles.
 
We are featuring STOTT pilates as part of our Let’s Get Physical series. STOTT offers hundreds of specifically designed exercises that blend body awareness and breathing with fluid, controlled movements to tighten your core, stabilize your spine, and improve the way you move, feel and look. The body’s core is the heart of this exercise program.
 
“The core is like a box, with your abs on your front, side and back, spine on the back, diaphragm on the top and pelvic floor on the bottom,” explains instructor Liz Smythe, who teaches at one of the nation’s top STOTT teacher training studios, Equilibrium, in Bloomfield Hills, MI. “Pilates strengthens all of this and improves everything I do.”
 
It will take at least two pilates sessions (class, private or at home) per week to reap maximum benefits. It’s ideal when combined with cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, swimming) and a great complement to weight training. Smythe demonstrates some of her favorite pilates poses.
 
THE HUNDRED (For abdominals and endurance)
 
To start, lie flat on your mat with your arms by your side and legs in the air with knees bent so that your shins are parallel to the floor.
 
Inhale, slightly nod your chin, exhale and curl up off the floor with your hands reaching toward your toes. Focus eyes toward your knees. Legs can stay where they are, or for more challenge, reach them out on a diagonal.
 
Begin inhaling through your nose for 5 counts and exhaling through a pursed lip for 5 counts until you reach 100 (10 sets). Gently pump your arms up and down, like you are pressing an imaginary nail toward the mat with your hands.
 
SPINE TWIST (Increases upper body range of motion)
 
Sit tall, engage abs and flex your feet. Move arms to the sides, relax shoulders.
 
Rotate from your abs to the right 3 times, going as far as you can the first time and attempting to go slightly further the next two times. Imagine you are getting taller with each rotation.
 
DOUBLE LEG STRETCH (Works the abdominals)
 
Lie flat on the mat with your legs in the air, knees bent, and shins parallel to the floor (tabletop position). Hands are on the outside of the knees and upper body is flexed off the mat, eyes on the knees.
 
Exhale, simultaneously reaching your legs to a diagonal position and your arms up past your ears like you are taking off an imaginary top hat.
 
Simultaneously sweep your arms out to the side and back where they started, touching your knees as you also return your legs to tabletop position.
 
PUSH UP (Works triceps, pectorals and abdominals)
 
Stand straight, keep shoulders down and bring arms straight above your head.
 
Nod head, roll down toward the mat. Pull in abs and curve spine until your hands reach the mat.
 
Arms can go out to the side or straight back. Inhale. Lower your arms for 3 counts. Exhale as you push up, keeping the shoulders stable. Do six reps.
 
SWIMMING PREP MODIFICATION (Great for lower back pain)
 
Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and hips over knees, keeping the knees hip-distance apart. Spine is in neutral position following the back’s natural curve. Engage your abs as you lift your opposite arm and leg in the air.
 
Simultaneously move the arm and leg out to the side and back, keeping the rest of your body still.
 
Lower and repeat on other side. Kneel or sit on heels, extend arms overhead toward ceiling, then alternate arms in a swimming motion.
 
REFORMER: REVERSE EXPANSION (For balance and spine stability)
 
When visiting a pilates studio, you may find yourself utilizing some of the STOTT PILATES® specific equipment. Kneel on the carriage with your feet against the shoulder rests, ankles flexed, in an upright position. Spine is in neutral. Hold the straps with your palms facing forward and arms by the side of your body. Exhale. Reach the arms forward and upward as high as possible up to eye level, flexing the shoulders. Do not move torso, hips or legs. Return arms to starting position without falling.
 
 
 
NOTE: Before starting any exercise program, you should first consult with your doctor. Exercise is a physical activity that has potential physical risk. Dunham’s Sports and all their affiliates are not responsible for an injury that could occur from exercise.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Why Do Golf Balls Have Dimples?

Accidental discovery is why golf balls travel farther than any other ball.
 
Last fall, we asked you, our readers, to submit sport-related questions you wanted answered. Out of the many responses, we chose one from Alex Wheatley of Flushing, Michigan. Alex wanted to know why golf balls have dimples. The simple answer is that they keep a golf ball in the air longer. Because every golfer wants their golf ball to fly farther, dimples are critical design aspects. Let’s take a deeper look at dimples.
 
As the United States Golf Association (USGA) points out, the first golf balls were hard, wooden balls. As one can imagine, they did not go very far. In the 17th century, the “featherie” was created by stuffing a leather pouch with goose feathers and sewing it up. They flew better than wooden balls but were expensive to make and very fragile. The next golf ball revolution took place in 1848, when Robert Adams made golf balls out of gutta-percha, a rubbery sap from tropical trees. They were more solid and more resilient than featheries. They could fly longer, bounce higher and last longer. Toward the end of that century, Coburn Haskell created the first multilayer ball; it had a solid rubber core that was wrapped in rubber bands and covered with a layer of gutta-percha. Today’s golf balls have as few as one and as many as six layers; generally, the more layers, the more expensive and better performing the ball.
 
Aerodynamic Efficiency
 
Getting back to why golf balls have dimples, in the 19th century, golfers discovered that old, dented balls flew farther than new ones. Soon, they were deliberately hammering dents into their golf balls. What they likely didn’t understand, and what an aerodynamic engineer will appreciate, is that the dimples were creating turbulence in the airflow around the moving ball, which makes its wake (the air behind the ball) thinner and reduces drag, enabling the ball to travel farther. The dimples also increase spin.
 
When struck by a club, all golf balls have backspin. It’s what gets a well-struck iron shot to land and stop on the green, and too much of it off the driver reduces distance. Without dimples, golf balls would travel half as far.
 
Choices Abound
 
Today’s golfers have a wide selection of golf balls at their disposal. All are designed for optimal aerodynamic efficiency, durability and consistency. Generally, the less-expensive options tend to be distance balls, but they have little stopping power on the green. Premium balls, because of their multilayer design, can deliver distance and stopping power. Even newer golfers can benefit from playing a better ball. And remember, for optimal performance, clean the ball at each tee box, and replace it as soon as you notice a nick or cut. For additional assistance, please see one of our Dunham’s Sports golf enthusiasts.
 
We wish to thank the USGA for the golf ball historical primer. Visit USGA.com for other interesting golf-related information.
 
-Par Shooter
 
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A Better Game Awaits

New Equipment From Leading Manufacturers Can Help You Improve Your Score.
 
For golfers, there’s nothing like the prospect of spring. After hours in the gym and the indoor range, studying golf magazines and watching instructional videos, we’re ready to take the game to the course. To help you improve both your score and your enjoyment, consider the following equipment from some of the leading golf brands.
 
Callaway
 
The big news from Callaway for 2017 is the introduction of two Great Big Bertha (GBB) drivers: GBB Epic and GBB Sub Zero. Both feature the company’s Jailbreak Technology, which includes two titanium rods behind the club face to ensure the face, crown and sole work more efficiently.
 
“With either club, golfers will see more ball speed across a larger area of the face, resulting in increased average distance,” explained Callaway’s Jason Finley.
 
For golfers who like to work the ball (or are looking to overcome an issue), Finley suggests the Epic driver. Thanks to its perimeter-weighted technology, it can be customized to deliver 21 yards of shot shape.
 
“If, instead, you’re looking to control the ball’s trajectory, the Epic Sub Zero is the way to go because it features two weights in the sole,” Finley added.
 
Consider pairing up either driver with Callaway’s new Chrome Soft X ball. It’s slightly firmer than the company’s Chrome Soft and is designed to deliver more spin from the mid- to short-irons.
 
“Players will note that Chrome Soft X will deliver a more piercing, more workable ball flight,” Finley said.
 
Cobra
 
Golfers are always looking for feedback: how far and how well did I hit that drive? That’s why I’m anxious to get my hands on the new Cobra F7 drivers; they include Arccos sensors in the grip that, when paired with the company’s app, provide a wealth of analytical data.
 
“It’s the future of golf,” said Cobra’s Brian Dameron.
 
That’s not the only innovation found in the F7 drivers. As Dameron explained, the faces are thinner, so the ball launches faster.
 
“We’ve expanded the sweet zone, so golfers will see more forgiveness for off-center hits and a lot more speed,” he added.
 
The King F7 has the larger profile of the two drivers and is available in lofts ranging from 9 to 12 degrees. Better players will likely migrate to the King F7+. It features a smaller profile and lofts that range from 8 to 11 degrees.
 
TaylorMade
 
Visit any golf course and you’ll see most golfers playing TaylorMade clubs. In 2017, expect these golfers and others to add one of the company’s new golf balls – TP5 and TP5x – to their bag.
 
“Both balls feature five-layer technology, versus three or four layers from competitors. We believe that five layers means more performance with zero compromises. That’s why we call them the most complete Tour Balls,” said TaylorMade’s Tim Ulrich.
 
Ulrich explained the five layers in these balls deliver the perfect combination of distance for all shots without sacrificing spin and control around the green.
 
The TP5 has a softer compression core – 83 – and, as with other ball manufacturers, the x model has a higher compression core of 90. This means the TP5x will launch higher and spin less, making it slightly longer than the TP5.
 
“We believe these are among the longest in the competitive set with the driver and, especially, with irons,” Ulrich added.
 
Be sure to also check out TaylorMade’s Project (a) ball. We’ve liked its performance and soft feel with every club in the bag, including the driver and putter. Ulrich described Project (a) as delivering, “Tour performance for amateurs, with tour-like spin around the green.”
 
Titleist
 
Last fall, I was one of 80,000 golfers around the world who were asked to test Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x prototypes. What my fellow testers and I discovered is that both balls are better than the previous versions.
 
“The new Pro V1 is significantly longer than its predecessor, thanks to innovation in core technology. Golfers will experience more ball speed and less spin, resulting in a distance advance. Historically many players have chosen Pro V1x for its longer distance characteristics; that really has changed with the 2017 models. Pro V1 is now every bit as long as Pro V1x and both models continue to deliver exceptional greenside control, so golfers should focus their decision based on flight, feel and spin,” said Michael Mahoney, Titleist vice president of golf ball marketing.
 
If you’re looking for a ball that flies lower and feels softer, go with the Pro V1. If you’re looking for a ball that launches higher, feel slightly firmer and spins more with the mid-irons, give the Pro V1x a try.
 
Both Pro V1 and Pro V1x also feature new dimple patterns which produce even more consistent flight, particularly into the wind.
 
“We believe it’s worth investing in either Pro V1 or Pro V1x because they deliver a total performance to every golfer. The ball performs on every shot,” Mahoney added.
 
Conclusion
 
Golf has been described as a pastime that takes a lifetime to master. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of advancements in technology, be it in clubs or golf balls. Outfit yourself with equipment from these manufacturers to help ensure more pleasant, more rewarding rounds this year.
 
-Par Shooter
 
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