THE PELOTON EFFECT

April 1, 2010Read: Roman 15 "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” --Romans 15:5-6

In the Tour de France, the most grueling bike race in the world, there’s almost always a small handful of riders who will break away from the pack early in the day. On a typical stage of over 120 miles, they may even get more than 15 minutes ahead of the rest of the riders!

That’s why the rest of the riders form a large pack called a peloton. The riders group together for the primary purpose of saving energy so they will be strong to the finish. The reduction in wind resistance, or drag, is dramatic with riders in the middle of the pack saving up to 40% of their energy.

According to studies done by Nike, a bike racer consumes almost 80 percent of his energy cutting through the air and only 20 percent moving his bike.  The peloton effect is similar to what birds experience when they fly in formation. It helps them fly much farther than they could alone.

Conserving energy by sticking together is the only way for a racer to survive the brutal physical strain of a Tour de France – the metabolic equivalent of running 21 marathons in 23 days.

And the same is true for our life as Christians. We are much better together. We are designed to work together as a team, to bear one another’s burdens, and to push each other to do great things.  When we are united by the love of Jesus and our mission to share His truth with others, we accomplish much more than we could on our own.

Sounds like a great way to compete and to live!

Pastor Jimmy Page serves as the Vice President of Field Ministry and National Director of Wellness for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). For nearly 20 years, he has been a leader in the medical fitness industry, operating wellness facilities affiliated with Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins. He currently hosts a daily radio segment and podcast called Fit Life Today, offering a blend of spiritual and physical health principles that promote abundant life. In 2010, Jimmy published Wisdom Walks: 40 Life-Changing Principles to Live and Give. Wisdom Walks is a field manual for mentoring the next generation and can be found soon at www.wisdomwalks.org.

UP IN ARMS So far we've touched on how to hit the long heads of both the biceps and triceps. Today we move to the lateral head of the triceps and the inner head of the biceps.

All this talk of "target" training makes me want to remind everyone of what we said earlier in the week -- that it's virtually impossible to completely isolate any one particular muscle, but you can emphasize parts of your arm depending on the angle of your arm and/or th grip of your hands.

So, on to the triceps lateral head. This is the most visible part of the triceps since it lays on the outside of your arm. Keeping your arms in front of your body, as in triceps pushdowns (arguably the most popular triceps move) will help target that lateral head with the most success. Anytime you keep your arms at your sides or slightly out in front you, that's the muscle that absorbs most of the work. But while we're at the triceps pushdown station, we might as well discuss the medial head of the triceps. The medial head lies underneath the other two muscles, and is responsible for helping balance and manage most all triceps exercises. However, it is most active whenever you flip your grip on the bar, say, during the pushdown, and any other triceps move where you reverse your grip.

The inner head of the biceps -- the one you see when you flex your biceps in the mirror -- is emphasized whenever your arms are high or out in front of the body, as in preacher curls or high cable curls. Surprisingly, it's because the tension on the long head is lessened during those moves, forcing much of the work to the short, inner head. It's not necessarily because the two muscles fight for superiority and the short head wins, but in reality, the biomechanics of the exercises lessen or heighten one over the other.

So if you wanted a blitz of both the lateral and medial triceps heads while also blasting the short head of the biceps, try this workout on for size (or tone).

You'll go back and forth between triceps exercises and biceps moves:

Exercise Triceps pressdown Dumbbell preacher curl Reverse grip pressdown High cable curl Lying triceps extension Wide-grip barbell curl

--Do 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps of each exercise and rest one minute between sets.