March 25, 2011Read: 1 John 1

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." --1 John 1:9

I hate tetherball. I've always hated tetherball. For those of you unfamiliar with this sadistic schoolyard pasttime, let me break it down for you. There's a ball tied to a rope, which is tied to a pole. You stand opposite your opponent and try to hit the ball in one direction, while your opponent does his/her best to hit it in the opposite direction. The one who can get the ball to swing around until it touches the pole wins.

Not surprisingly, this hatred can be sourced to my height-challenged dimensions. I am 5'7", short enough to be dwarfed by most fourth graders today (and by my daughters soon enough). If I was the one serving, that would usually be the only time I'd touch the ball. I'd end up watching helplessly as the ball swung overhead. Out of reach, out of luck -- someone show me the way to the kickball diamond.

Still, the image of tetherball is a powerful one -- the ball straining at the end of a taut rope, with physics doing its best to snap the ball loose. And the game is won once the ball is back in contact with the pole.

We all stray from the Lord. Sometimes, it feels so far that we don't think we deserve to be back with Him. We get pulled so far in the opposite direction, waiting for -- and sometimes expecting -- the line to snap, releasing us into spiritual oblivion. But once you accept Him into your heart, there's no outside force that can shake you loose, no circumstance that can separate you from your salvation. You are tethered to Him by a rope of grace.

>> What is your testimony? Share it with us -- swings and all -- on the PrayFit forums by clicking here.


COMPOUND MOVES If you are looking to build strength, devote your energy to multi-joint moves

The three most popular, widely-used lifts in the gym are the bench press, deadlift and squat. Referred to as "The Big Three," these moves fall into a category of exercises called compound, or multi-joint, lifts. These exercises require movement at more than one joint, which means that more total muscles have to get involved to complete each rep. And the more muscle you work, the more muscle and strength you stand to gain. As a bonus, the more muscle you recruit on a given exercise, the more calories you burn. Finally, any measure of muscle gain will improve your metabolism since muscle is calorie-eating tissue.

Anyone looking to gain strength would be best served by doing compound moves, almost exclusively at first. Isolation, or single-joint, moves like curls, pressdowns, leg extensions or leg curls have their place in physique building, but they are secondary exercises that should only be implemented once you have built an adequate base of strength from which to work.

But The Big Three don't stand alone in the strength-gain column. Here are a few more exercises that make you stronger in a hurry:

Barbell row Pull-up Dip Bodyweight squat Lunge Push-up

>> For exercise descriptions and videos, click here.

>> For more workouts and exercise tips, click here.

ALSO: Pictured below are the official fight night trunks of former (and future) boxing champ Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, who is taking on Michael Katsidis on April 9 on HBO Pay-Per-View. For more info on the fight, visit HBO Boxing!


(Photo courtesy Team Guerrero)