Business Today

Two tweaked moves

Dumb-bells can be used to work out your upper and lower bodies and may, in fact, be much better at helping you strengthen and build your muscles.

Print Edition: July 29, 2007


Dumb-bells are more versatile than you think. in the past, Treadmill has mentioned how just a pair of dumb-bells and an ordinary bench can be enough to give you a full-body workout. Even better if you have three pairs in different weight configurations (or even a single adjustable pair). Dumb-bells can be used to work out your upper and lower bodies and may, in fact, be much better at helping you strengthen and build your muscles. For one, because you usually hold a dumb-bell in each hand, your body has to maintain its balance, which in turn could mean a better overall development of muscle. Also, since unlike exercising on a machine or with a barbell, your weaker arm/side is not compensated for by the stronger arm/side when you lift, curl or extend your muscles. Besides, dumb-bells allow for a larger range of movements when you are working out with them.

The trick lies in improvising on standard themes. A few instalments back, I'd talked about tweaked exercises-like the Zottman Curls (BT dated April 8, 2007) and the Arnold Shoulder Presses (BT dated April 22, 2007). Both were innovative ways to use dumb-bells to get more out of what are basically two traditional workouts-the biceps curl and the shoulder press. This time, I'd like to introduce two other tweaked dumb-bell moves.

The 'W' Press is, again, a shoulder exercise but it really works all the shoulder muscles by isolating them during the movement. The shoulder muscles have three components-anterior (front), posterior (rear) and lateral (side) deltoids. Here's how you can do the 'W'. Stand with dumb-bells in your hands and elbows near your sides so that your arms make a 'W' (Pic. 1). Now extend your arms smoothly outward and upward so that your body and arms make a 'Y' (Pic. 2). Gradually, return to the starting position. This is one repetition. You could do 12 for a set and do three sets. Remember, though, that this is a difficult movement so try and use light weights.

The second tweaked dumb-bell workout is meant for the legs. It's actually a modification of an Olympic lift called the Overhead Squat. In the Olympic lift, the athlete holds a bar aloft over his head and squats with a wide stance (that is, feet more than shoulder width apart and pointed outwards). For the tweaked dumb-bell version, I am suggesting you hold two moderately weighted dumb-bells (choose a configuration that you can squat with comfortably) in your hands and lift them above your head-a bit like the final position in the 'W' Press. Now, do a squat, keeping your back straight and shoulders behind. As you will discover, although tough, besides working out your thighs and glutes, this exercise also focusses on the muscles of your upper body.

-Muscles Mani
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Caveat: The physical exercises described in Treadmill are not recommendations. Readers should exercise caution and consult a physician before attempting to follow any of these.

Six diet rules that can work wonders

Spoilt for choice, and don't know what to eat and who to ask? Here are some tips to a healthier diet.

The Golden Egg. Eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals which help release energy from carbohydrates. Says Dr Anoop Misra, Senior Consultant, Fortis Hospital, Delhi: "B12, an essential vitamin found in eggs, helps in the formation of nerve fibres and blood cells. Eat four small eggs per week. However, if you have diabetes or other heart disease risk factors, limit this to one or two."

Get in the Pink. Says Dr Alok Kumar Aggarwal, Senior Consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi: "Pink grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps protect your heart, and they're even sweeter when frozen and pack 25 times more beta-carotene than their paler cousins."

Juice it Up. Says Dr Misra: "Try a different juice each day: pineapple, tangerine, aloe vera, and cranberry contain different antioxidants that can help prevent a range of ailments from coronary heart disease to hypertension to urinary tract infections."

Honey Power. Says Dr P.K. Sharma, Senior Consultant, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Delhi: "A spoon of honey is an instant pick-me-up, giving you the much-needed energy boost." Mix honey and apple cider vinegar in equal proportion and dilute with water. This wonder drink aids digestion and eases joint inflammations.

Meat Choice. Red meat is a good source of iron; however, eating large amounts of it can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Veg Out. You can eat as much of vegetables as you like all the time. Says Dr Aggarwal: "Vegetables make great snack foods eaten raw-carrot, cucumber, tomato-and can provide the mainstay of bigger meals when steamed, grilled or fried."

-Manu Kaushik

Speed Demon

New-generation consoles have taken racing games to the next level.

Ready for a spin? FM2 (above) and Motorstorm. 
This is not a history lesson, but modern car racing video games came into their own only after the first modern console, the PlayStation, was launched in 1995, along with one of three titles that essentially defined car racing-Ridge Racer. The other two iconic titles in this genre are Gran Turismo and Need for Speed.

So, when BT Drive decided to take a couple of games for a drive (no pun intended) on the Sony PlayStation3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360, this columnist also got to relive a bit of his childhood. The games in question are Motorstorm on the ps3 and Forza Motorsport2 (fm2) on the Xbox 360. Both titles are exclusive to their respective consoles, and are completely different in the way they have been conceptualised, but trust us, both games are fascinating.

Let's start with Motorstorm, which was briefly mentioned when this column reviewed the ps3. You have to admire the game designers for throwing logic out of the window when they designed this game-imagine racing on canyon tops and bounding across them. Time a jump badly, and you're staring at a few thousand feet down. But the game is great fun, because you can almost always choose the line you want to take, and in several races you can choose the class of vehicle you want to race.

Motorstorm takes advantage of the ps3's sixaxis controller that allows gamers to control direction by turning their controllers. And the graphics? They're, well, jaw-dropping good. This is a crazy game, but start-up and load times are too long. Change the skin on a vehicle and you wait for 30 seconds before anything happens. And there is no offline multiplayer mode. Irritating.

FM2 is a far more typical racing title; no canyons here. But as far as games with lots of sports cars go, this one blows away any previous title-300 cars from 50 manufacturers, from Volkswagen's Golf to the top-notch Ferrari. There's an incredible array of circuits and once you set up yourself in career mode, you can do almost anything to your fleet of vehicles.

But the reason that fm2 is possibly the best racing title so far on any platform is the amazing level of car physics. This game has a steep learning curve even though the basic controls are pretty much the same. You suddenly realise how incredibly easy it is to lose control while driving off the racing line. Little mistakes can add up, which can be incredibly frustrating, but as you get the hang of it, you understand just how good the game is. Plus, it does have good old split-screen multi-player mode, giving one an excuse to get that big-screen flat-panel TV.

Both titles are impressive and show off the ability of their platforms, but in terms of sheer gameplay, Forza Motorsport2 wins hands down.

-Kushan Mitra

Printed Circuit
A TV? A Computer? It's a Laptop
HP's Dragon is powerful, but it could do with more juice.

They call this the "Dragon" and claim it is a laptop. Yes, technically it is a laptop, featuring all sorts of little laptop paraphernalia. But one wonders if hp used a basketball superstar as the ergonomic model for the device. That said, as far as machines go, this is a particularly good-looking one.

Technically, the Dragon is a desktop replacement with "limited" mobility; even if you wanted to carry this 20-inch screen on-board a plane, not only would you need to fly one of those fancy First-Class suites, you would possibly run out of battery within 90 minutes. The machine is designed for "limited mobility" rather than actually function as a laptop. As far as machines go, this Rs 1.1 lakh behemoth has a spectacular display. And the specifications are top-of-the-line-2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor on a T7700 motherboard, 2 gigabytes of memory, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Altec-Lansing speakers and well, lots, lots more… which means that the Dragon is extremely agile as a computing device. Somehow, while staring at that massive screen, all you want to do is watch movies, and one must admit, video playback is brilliant. And thanks to the little remote control that slots in next to the keyboard, things are even better.

It is expensive yes, but if you want your computers to look and act good, you really couldn't do much worse. And come to think of it, the Dragon costs a lot less than a 17-inch MacBook Pro, which costs Rs 1.5 lakh.

-Kushan Mitra

A Multitude of riches

We have written about Digital Video Broadcast-handheld (DVB-h) before, but to see the system in action around the capital is one hell of a party trick to have up your sleeve. DVB-H picture quality is superb, and watching the India-South Africa match on the device was actually fun.

The n92 is a fairly capable, albeit, very heavy, handset thanks to the high-contrast and fast main screen. However, the n92 isn't the best mid-range N-series device out there and, at Rs 23,700, it isn't cheap. But DVB-H should be coming on a host of handsets, and not just from Nokia, soon. Hopefully, the channel offering will improve beyond DD.

-Kushan Mitra

Mobyko Yourself!

Now, create a free, online back-up for your phone contact list.

Ever lost a phone? Then you know the headache of rebuilding your contact list. Contact management software is pretty good on Symbian-powered devices. Enterprise-level software and thin-client phones have meant that devices like BlackBerries get backed up on your office servers (just don't get fired).

But, at the same time, what if you lose your phone somewhere weird or just want an online back-up. That is where a new dotcom from the UK called has an interesting service that allows you to create a back-up of your contacts, text messages and videos. Best of all, it's free.

Having said that, there are also at least three copycat Indian dotcoms that may well start up within the month. But there are also other dotcoms out there which provide similar services such as

-Kushan Mitra

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