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MIRACLE GROW

June 23, 2011Read: Luke 19

"'I tell you,' he replied, 'If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." --Luke 19:40

I know I'm getting older and much more sentimental, because few things in life nowadays are as great as overhearing my wife talking to her plants. Can you relate? Her voice changes in pitch as she compliments and encourages. She apologizes to those not getting enough sun and to those getting too much. Supplying all that love simply brings her pleasure.

I like to think about how sentimental God must be. He cares for us, talks to us, feeds us and protects us. We're alive simply for His pleasure, and He loves to watch us grow. But the cool thing is, we're the part of His creation designed to thank and praise Him in return. And friends, the way we care for our health is one way to do just that. After all, if we find fulfillment when the things we love respond, just imagine God, seeing us do the same.

--J.P.

TIP OF THE DAY: Visualize to Maximize

Monday, our workout of the week targeted your back. But a few of the moves are easy to get wrong if you don't make one simple adjustment.

Pulling exercises are multijoint moves, meaning that movement occurs at more than one joint. In the case of rows, pulldowns and pull-ups, your elbows and shoulders are both working to execute each rep. But the tendency with many back movements is to let your biceps dominate -- flexion at the elbow takes center stage, giving your back a bit of a break and thereby minimizing the effectiveness of the exercise.

One way you can reduce -- not eliminate -- the assistance provided by your biceps is to use your imagination. On movements such as the lat pulldown, imagine you have strings attached to your elbows that pull them straight down toward the ground. This will help you initiate the pull with your elbows instead of your biceps, which will engage your lats harder. The concept is similar with seated rows, only your elbows should pull straight back to start each rep.

By making this simple mental adjustment, you'll be able to get your brain to "speak" more effectively to the muscles in your back during each workout.

Bonus Tip: To work your back muscles even more thoroughly, allow your shoulder blades to spread fully at the "top" of every movement. This will provide a longer stretch on each rep. Then, be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together for a count at the bottom of each rep. This extends your range of motion on both ends, providing greater stimulus for strength and tone in these hard-to-reach muscles.