A Look at Scuba Wet Suits

Scuba wet suits were not taken seriously until World War II and the advent of Navy Frogmen (SEALs) who became one of America’s most effective weapons of the war. On any kind of measurable basis, costs of operations versus costs of effectiveness, man-to-man, or overall kill ratios, the SEALs exceeded expectations on any level. Once recognized, the military put a much time and money into improving the effectiveness of its frogmen. That meant improving the design, effectiveness and durability of wet suits.

There is a controversy that developed at the time over whether or not wet suits had to remain dry. Sounds like a set up for a joke but it’s not. All underwater, rubberized protective outfits are called wetsuits. The controversy was over whether heat loss from the diver’s body could be controlled better if the wetsuit kept his skin dry or not. It was Hugh Bradner who is credited with the first wet suit in 1952. Mr. Bradner was actually working as a physicist at UC Berkeley’s radiation laboratory where he was testing the reflections of shock waves on unicellular material and was invited to attend a Swimmer’s Symposium. His concept was that the diver’s skin does not have to stay dry to prevent heat loss if the thermal insulation used in the wet suit was obtained by air entrapped in the material of the suit.

With the French invention of the Aqua-Lung, Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) was used in the war and afterwards spawned investigative teams exploring the ocean’s many mysteries. As soon as this began, the pressing need for wetsuits was made painfully obvious by the divers suffering from hypothermia after only a few dives. The divers tried everything from greased long johns to leftover Air Force survival suits, and the Bradner wet suit. Bradner was the first to use a unicellular material similar to the type he was working with in the radiation laboratory in his wet suit. The material came from a company called Rubatex and was called Neoprene and the original model for today’s high-tech, three-level wet suit was born.

A Guide to Triathlon Wet Suits

Triathlon wet suits are designed with state-of-the-art materials to help athletes get in and out of the water quickly, efficiently and of course, to keep the wearer warm. Triathlon wet suits are much more than the normal wet suit employed by divers simply to slow heat loss underwater and keep warm. Designed specifically for athletic competition, their first priority is to keep a competitive swimmer on top of the water, reducing drag and stalling muscle fatigue, enabling the swimmer to race faster and for longer periods of time.

Furthermore, the rubber used on the outside of the wet suit is of the slickest and most slippery materials possible to emulate the scales of a fish as closely as possible. The manufacturing technology employed in creating these wet suits has been a bone of contention between athletes and committee members because they reduce the difference between weaker swimmers and stronger swimmers, not only in speed, but also in all-around efficiency.

Because the triathlon wet suit enables a competitor to spend less energy on the first leg of the competition, he or she is able to reserve energy for the other two legs of the process. This can be a huge edge over the rest of the field, assuming of course, that you are not all wearing the same suits.

To begin with, the rubber used in most of these wet suits, regardless of the brand name featured, comes from one supplier – the world-famous, Japanese rubber manufacturer, Yamamoto. There is an important difference in the thickness of the rubber used in each and every different brand name of wet suit produced. Some manufacturers opt for the 2mm thickness, going towards producing a suit that weighs less and subsequently feels lighter to the user and is more flexible.

Other manufacturers go with the thicker rubber, up to 5mm thick, following the rule of thumb that shows that the thicker the rubber used, the more buoyant the suit will be and ultimately, even though it weighs more, will save the user more energy. In the end, it’s the swimmer himself who must decide which option best suits his style.

A Guide to Surfing Wet Suits

Surfing wetsuits are a breed unto themselves. To begin with, there are cool, surfer-dude designations used to describe the different styles of surfing wet suits.

The first is the spring suit which has short legs and short arms and is used to keep the upper body warm and has a thickness of materials of about 2mm. Short Johns are like spring suits but without the sleeves and are also usually 2mm thick. Long Johns have full-length legs and are mostly about 2mm thick. Full Suits are self-explanatory, the most commonly used — especially in colder waters — whose thickness is determined by the temperature of the water the surfer usually finds himself in.

Another difference in surfing wet suits is that many have two layers of material and the area under the arms is thinner than the rest allowing for easier arm movements critical to performing well while surfing. Furthermore, it is common for surfers to add an additional spandex suit underneath their wetsuits if they venture into cooler waters.

Surfing wet suits need to be more flexible in the upper torso and shoulder areas than diving wet suits to make the balancing and control contortions of the surfer easier. Especially sensitive are the knee areas as the surfer is constantly shifting his weight to maintain his balance.

Unless the knee areas move easily and don’t stretch during this movement they will inhibit the surfer and cause the suit to crack with wear at the knees over time. Because of the extreme physicality involved with the sport of surfing, the entire suit has to be manufactured with ease of movement and durability at its core.

Unlike other wetsuits, surfing wet suits don’t really care about thermal heat loss as much as diving suits. And because of the movement capability in the suit, gender specific manufacture is mandatory.

A Guide to Infant Wet Suits

In this category, the bulk of available choices in infant wet suits is all about buoyancy in the water. Since the occurrence of infant scuba divers or infant competitive swimmers is extremely rare, almost all designs center around the single most important factor for infant swimmers — keeping them afloat in the water. In the rare instance where you happen to have an infant who is also a scuba diver or a competitive swimmer you’ll probably have to purchase the smallest wet suit you can possibly find in the marketplace and then have it custom-tailored to fit your special infant.

There are individuals around, although they are few and far between, who have the tools and the skills necessary to custom design a wet suit without altering its heat-loss properties or its buoyancy which can result in a beautiful, colorful and still effective infant wet suit should someone need it. But no company is going to manufacture them, with the same input and features as an adult wet suit, for such a tiny market.

There are, however, a vast array of choices for infant wet suits depending on the cartoon character your child likes or the color patterns he might look best in. In addition, there are infant wet suits with varying degrees of buoyancy built in, depending on the swimming ability of your child.

Obviously, the Barbie Princess wet suits are for that sweet little girl in your life and those Superman ones are for the little guy who thinks he’s a superhero. The most important feature to look for when purchasing an infant wet suit is maximum swimming help. Many have built-in flotation devices while some are made out of the same materials as triathlon swim suits, only more so. Since competition is not a factor, the suits can be a bit thick and clumsy, but as long as they’re keeping that little one safely afloat, that’s all they have to do.

A Guide to Home Gyms

Although the jogging fad of the 1970s has long subsided, many people exercise to stay in shape. Many people work out in public gyms, but an increasing number exercise at home, and the home fitness gym market is growing exponentially. With so many options now available, from universal gyms, to free weights, to Weider Crossbow machines, choosing the right home gym can be a challenging process.

It is important to keep in mind several factors when decided which home fitness gym is right for you. Your fitness goals, the amount of money you are willing to spend, the amount of space you have, and the complexity of the equipment are all factors that will need to be considered. Luckily, the answers to these problems often fit together in a way that simplifies the process of choosing the right home gym for you.

First, you need to figure out what your particular goals are. Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking to build strength or increase your endurance? Will more than one person use the home fitness gym? The answer is vital to deciding which type of home gym is best for you. Some home gyms are made specifically for one type of exercise, while others work on all areas of fitness.

The next item to consider is how much money you are willing to spend. Prices range from around $15 for a small set of free weights to over $2000 for a total home fitness center that can be used by two people at once. To an extent, the price reflects the quality of the system, but you also have to factor in what you will use your home fitness gym for. There is no sense in buying a top of the line total fitness home gym if you just want to lose a few pounds.

The amount of available space is also an area of concern. Some home fitness gyms can be compacted and fit in a closet, while others will take up the majority of a room. Once again, the price and primary purpose of the home gym will influence how much room it will need. For example, a pull-up bar can fit in a doorway and is relatively cheap, but it can only be used for one type of exercise.

Finally, some people have said that some of the more expensive and versatile home fitness gyms are too complicated to use and that they prefer something simpler, such as a set of free weights and a weight bench or a stationary bike.

One thing that becomes clear when taking all of these different factors into account is that they affect each other. To meet very simple and specific fitness goals, an inexpensive, simple, small home gym is the best buy. For more complex goals, or for the goals of an entire household, a larger, expensive, complex machine may be needed.

A Guide to Earning Pilates Certification

Whether you want to work in a Pilates studio, a fitness club, a therapeutic clinic, or as a personal trainer, the first thing you need to do is to get certified from a reputable Pilates training institution.

There are accredited training institutions that run certification courses in Pilates. One needs to attend hundreds of hours of lectures, hands-on training, observation, and apprentice work before one is qualified to appear for a rigorous written and practical examination.

Each student must have already studied anatomy and be a certified fitness professional or licensed rehabilitation practitioner to be able to receive a Pilates certification.

In addition, a qualified Pilates instructor needs to attend continuing education classes to maintain certification status throughout his or her career.

Some of the more recognized Pilates training institutions are the Physical Mind Institute, The Pilates Studio, Polestar Education and Stott Pilates. Most offer courses around the world through their network of affiliated clubs or studios.

The Pilates Studio, with 11 course locations throughout the world, teaches what they call Authentic Pilates, true to the original forms, techniques and sequences devised by Joseph Pilates. It is affiliated to the Pilates Guild, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Joseph Pilates’ original work.

Phase I of the curriculum includes a series of seminars on beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises on the mat and equipment. Phase II is a 600-hour Apprenticeship program working with a Pilates Guild certified instructor. Exams are required after each phase and must be completed within one year. The program costs about $4000, awarding successful students with a Certificate in Authentic Pilates.

A Guide to Buying a Trampoline

Trampolines come in three basic shapes – square, rectangular and round — and many different sizes. While choosing a trampoline, you should consider its durability and safety as well as its guarantee. Pay close attention to the frame pads, jumping mats, springs and frames.

The frame pad is the most important part of the trampoline. Good frame pads provide better protection. Look at the thickness, width and the quality of material used in making the frame pad while choosing a trampoline.

The next component to closely inspect is the jumping mat. Make sure it is properly stitched and capable of withstanding an adult’s weight. There are several grades of jumping mats sold on the market today. The better the mat, the longer it will last.

Look at the quality of the springs as the longer the spring, the better the bounce. See if they are likely to weaken or stretch out of shape after use.

The frame should also be sturdy enough to withstand weight of more than one person, because often more than one child uses the trampoline simultaneously. A good trampoline frame should never bend or bow when set up, nor flex when in use.

Best way to find an authentic manufacturer and supplier of a trampoline that meets international safety standards is to visit the International Trampoline Industry Association (ITIA), a non-profit trade association of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors of trampolines, trampoline parts and related equipment.

Here are some of the leading trampoline manufacturers and suppliers listed by the ITIA: Eurotramp, Trampoline Authority, 1800Trampoline.com, Hedstrom – Ball, Bounce and Sport Inc., Soft-Bounce Needak Rebounders, JumpSport, and Super-Fun Trampolines.

A Guide to Batting Cages

Batting cages are enclosed or partially enclosed pieces of sporting equipment that act as a “catcher,” in effect, for batters practicing hitting baseballs or softballs. Batting cages help to keep balls in a contained space so that the batter can continue hitting without having to continually retrieve them. Different types of batting cages can be located outdoors or in a gym or activity center.

Batting cages are both in professional, school-sponsored, and recreational baseball and softball. They can be used to help improve a batter’s speed or to improve his or her accuracy in hitting a ball. A batter’s agility and stance, as well as his overall performance, can be enhanced by using a batting cage. While aiding a batter in improving his or her skill, batting cages also keep the ball in an enclosed area to prevent the injury of bystanders and onlookers.

Batting cages consist of a configuration of netting over a frame. They can differ in material, size, and cost, as well as structure and workmanship. Whether batting cages are used indoors or outdoors can be a deciding factor in what the best choice of material should be. Cages that are used outside will need to be tougher than those used indoors.

The netting in batting cages can be constructed of various materials and degrees of sturdiness. Framing in a batting cage should be constructed with a pipe that will withstand temperatures and weather in the area in which it is used. For that reason, a batting cage used by the Boston Red Sox will probably be made differently than one used by the Los Angeles Angels.

With less time spent retrieving baseballs, batters can spend more time advancing their technique. For decades, batting cages have played a central role in improving the swings of professional and amateur batters.