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Our Fitness Editor Shares the 5 Best Alternative Chest Exercises for Building Bigger Pecs



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In England at least, gyms are back open, so some of you can stop relying on press-ups and floor presses to build your chest. Hurrah. But now you’re back in the gym, don’t just replace your tired old chest exercises with more tired old chest exercises, or, at the very least, learn a couple of new moves to keep your workouts fresh.

To help you out, our fitness editor, Andrew Tracey, has selected five alternative chest exercises to add to your chest-day arsenal and get your pecs seriously pumped. You’ll find the moves below. As with all workouts, technique is key, so check out the video above to see Tracey performing the moves as they were intended.

Before you hurry off to watch, just one word of warning. When it comes to your chest, smashing out fast reps is unlikely to deliver the muscle-building stimulus your chest requires. A study published in The Journal of Physiology found that slow, controlled lifts performed to fatigue resulted in greater rates of muscle growth than the same movement performed rapidly. So go slow, go steady, and go for huge pecs.



a man holding a sign: Add these to your chest day arsenal and watch your gains multiply


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Add these to your chest day arsenal and watch your gains multiply

5 of the Best (Alternative) Exercises for a Bigger Chest

We’re not advising you to ditch the bench press, and if you want an extensive guide to building your chest, we’ve put that together for you too, but here are five alternative exercises to add to your chest-day routine.

  • Dumbbell Squeeze Press
  • Incline Press to Fly
  • Banded Crossovers
  • Guillotine Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Press

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Want to understand Trump’s die-hard fans? Look to alternative medicine.

How is this possible, asks the weary majority of Americans who accept Joe Biden’s win? Despite disavowals of fraud from one conservative election official after another? Despite a complete lack of evidence?

To understand them, it’s helpful to turn to an unlikely parallel: the world of wellness, natural health and alternative medicine. It’s a world of unsolved medical conditions, chronic illness, suffering for which the establishment has no answers. Often that suffering is looked down upon or dismissed, leaving patients alienated and ripe for exploitation. Uncertain and angry, they need a new system to make sense of their situation and give them hope.

Where Trump’s favored enemy is mainstream media, alternative-health gurus rail against mainstream medicine. Both paint their opponents as deeply evil propagandists who quash truth by censoring it. All standard sources of evidence become suspect. Strangely, this widespread evil is a source of clarity and hope. Your suffering has an easy resolution, if only “they” would allow it.

The parallels are unmistakable. Consider these lines from a 2020 Trump speech:

“The radical left demands absolute conformity from every professor, researcher, reporter. … Anyone who dissents from their orthodoxy must be punished, canceled, or banished.”

“Modern-day ‘science’ demands absolute obedience and conformity to industry claims; all dissenters must be silenced and punished.”

In both, basic consensus on facts is evidence of sinister conformity. According to this logic, losing one’s credibility or position for insisting on falsehoods is evidence of heterodox heroism.

With authorities discredited, Trump and the gurus encourage their followers to feel as if they have figured things out for themselves instead of submitting to the decrees of mainstream experts. This allows them to provide the same existential prescription: empowerment and freedom. Those who take mainstream medicine are “sheeple,” and so are those who believe in mainstream media. “The sheeple have got to be led,” explains one Trump supporter. “If you go out and look for alternative media sources, you get the truth.” (All cults exploit the empowering thrill of discovering occult knowledge: “Do your own research” is a mantra in the fringes of alternative health and within the QAnon conspiracy theory — a shared foundation that demystifies the seemingly bizarre overlap between the two communities.)

Like Trump, alternative-medicine gurus are frequently inconsistent. They will decry mainstream institutions and elites as hopelessly corrupt, and then they triumphantly cite a study from Harvard University or an article from this newspaper as their evidence. But supporters do not care about consistency. What matters instead is the rush of empowerment that makes the passive patient a powerful actor. “Take control of your health,” promises Joseph Mercola, the owner of an influential natural-medicine website. (Each article on the site comes with its own “Fact Checked” certification.) “Own Your Body, Free Your Mind” says Kelly Brogan, a popular “holistic psychiatrist.”

The ideological overlap of alternative medicine and Trump’s philosophy explains why the following lyrics, rapped by two Trump supporters at the “Million MAGA March,” include a reference to vaccines alongside standard political conspiracism:

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Untested alternative medicine dangerous | Inquirer Opinion

This is my reaction to Kay Rivera’s article “An uphill battle (2)” (Opinion, 10/26/20). I agree that alternative medicine, which includes natural remedies and traditional cures, should not be outrightly dismissed.

This is so because they can be effective. However, they should also not be outrightly accepted because they haven’t been tested. Promoters may claim that they have been proven effective and safe, but they haven’t undergone clinical trials. In contrast, mainstream practices and medicines have been thoroughly studied for efficacy, dosage, precautions, limitations, risks, contraindications, and safety. This cannot be said of alternative medicine.

Testimonials seem to show that alternative medicine works. However medical testimonials are unacceptable in scientific journals, and court and Food and Drug Administration approval, for three reasons. First, since some conditions are self-limiting, the improved condition may not be due to the intervention. For example, common colds disappear in about one week. Some cancers simply disappear without intervention.

Second, the symptoms of some diseases vary. Thus, the cessation of a symptom may not be due to the intervention. Third, the cure may be due to the placebo effect, placebos being around only 20 to 30 percent effective.

Accepting an untested medical cure has three dangers. First, if the cure does not work, you will have wasted money. Second, if you don’t avail yourself of or discontinue a mainstream cure, you might deteriorate. Third, if the unconventional approach is dangerous, your life will be at risk. For example, some leaves used as herbal medicine may contain toxic alkaloids.

Rivera wishes to integrate mainstream and alternative medicine, but I think the latter must be thoroughly studied first. If not, such integration will simply blend effective and safe medicine with a possibly ineffective and dangerous one. The good news is that there has been research on traditional medicinal plants as Rivera mentioned.

Some people do not trust Western medicine. Would they rather trust untested medicine based on unreliable testimonials? If mainstream medicine is risky, untested alternative medicine is far riskier.

Jori Gervasio R. Benzon,Zamora, Pandacan, Manila, [email protected]


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‘Dangerous to rely on alternative medicine’, warn health experts

Alternative treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic has become a matter of concern for mainstream health care experts, as many with comorbid conditions are taking alternative medication without supervision and that can be life threatening, warn health experts.

Dr Wiqar Shaikh, senior allergy and asthma expert, said, “The Union Health Minister on October 6, released an AYUSH standard protocol for the clinical management of COVID-19. This protocol lists dietary measures, Yoga and ayurvedic formulations. The protocol includes Ashwagandha, both for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection, as well as to prevent complications of COVID-19 such as fatigue, lung fibrosis and mental health issues. It was claimed that the protocol was based on research studies conducted by AYUSH.”

Extensive research lacking

“It must be clarified at the outset, that I do not wish to denigrate or derogate alternative medicines. However, it is important to understand that claims of efficacy of any treatment should be based on extensive double blind, placebo-controlled trials that should be published in peer-reviewed medical journals. An extensive search did not show any published studies in medical journals supporting the use of alternative medicines in COVID-19 treatment.”

Dr Shaikh said nine clinical studies were registered with the Central Trial Registry of India for the use of Ashwagandha in the treatment of COVID-19. While five of them are yet to begin, four have not been published. There are 6 studies on Ashwagandha for prevention of COVID-19, but none have been completed or published. Besides, three studies on the effect of Ashwagandha on COVID-19 are ongoing, but again, none of these have been published yet.

No published evidence

“Alternative medicines, such as Ayurveda, and the use of Ashwagandha are being promoted for COVID-19 without published data or infallible evidence. The same could be said of other Ayurvedic medicines such as Guduchi and Yashtamadhu,” Dr Shaikh said.

Dr Ketan Vagholkar, professor of surgery at D Y Patil Medical College, said, “The pandemic has challenged the medical fraternity and the entire healthcare system of the entire world. Doctors are still identifying the right drug. Even in recovered patients, meticulous follow up is essential to detect late complications that may affect multiple organs. In such a scenario, relying on medication, which is devoid of scientific evidence, could prove to be very dangerous. None of the traditional medicines have undergone rigorous clinical trials to prove their efficacy and safety in treatment of COVID-19.”

Follow-ups are important

Dr Vagholkar continued, “It has also been observed that patients, instead of following up with their regular physicians, prefer opting for self-medication with different types of traditional medicines. As a result, a variety of health complications may arise. Kidney, liver and lungs are specifically impacted by traditional medicines due to heavy metal contents.”

Dr Subhash Hira, professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, said, “AYUSH Ministry has recommended existing medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 using the same principle of ‘repurposed formulations’ on similar lines of modern medicines i.e. remdesivir, tocilizumab, and favipiravir, etc. The AYUSH formulations

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fitness

Can’t find a leg extension machine? Rakul Preet Singh shows an alternative in her 4 am fitness video – fitness

Making us enter the week with rejuvenated enthusiasm for fitness is Bollywood diva Rakul Preet Singh’s latest workout video. Currently in Hyderabad, the actor was seen up and sweating at 4:57 am to burn calories sans excuses.

Taking to her Instagram handle, Rakul gave health freaks a sneak peek into her intense exercise session where she showed a perfect alternative if one can’t find a leg extension machine. Nailing the exercise routine, Rakul was seen using a bench for leg extension workout in the absence of a machine.

The video featured Rakul donning a blue printed tank top teamed with a pair of black tights having sheer detailing. Pulling back her hair in a high ponytail hairstyle to that they do not mess with her exercise routine, Rakul completed the athleisure dressing with a pair of black gloves to create resistance and a pair of black lace-up trainers.

Placing her hands firmly on the floor with her legs high up on the bench, Rakul worked on her quadriceps which is the large muscles of the front of the thigh. She captioned the video, “Excuses don’t burn calories (sic)” and we cannot agree more.

 

The quads are the biggest muscle in the human body and strong quads are important for a good posture, walking and squatting. The leg extension strengthens the quadriceps while also engaging the muscles in the core, butt, hips and lower legs.

It strengthens the patellar ligament and quadriceps attachment for the knee even as they are notoriously difficult to develop or tone. Bending and straightening the leg from the knee are the two basic movements of this exercise.

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Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital offers MitraClip, an alternative treatment to open heart valve surgery

In patients with mitral regurgitation, the mitral valve does not close completely, allowing blood to flow backward or “leak” into the upper chamber of the heart, causing shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness. The debilitating condition can lead to congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, pulmonary hypertension, stroke or death.

Historically, patients with severe mitral regurgitation required open heart surgery. The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital is now offering Mitraclip, a minimally invasive procedure for patients who may not be able to tolerate surgery.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

“As a national leader in transcatheter mitral valve treatment options, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has one of the highest-volume MitraClip programs in Illinois,” said Patrick McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “By training our team at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, we are bringing advanced care to patients closer to where they live.”

During MitraClip implantation, a catheter is inserted through the femoral vein in the leg, up into the heart until it reaches the diseased mitral valve. The MitraClip implant is compressed and advanced along the guide wire so that it can be properly positioned to join or “clip” together a portion of the mitral valve, reducing or eliminating the backward flow of blood.

“Patients experience a noticeable difference in their symptoms and improved quality of life very quickly,” said Imran N. Ahmad, MD, interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. “With the less invasive procedure, patients spend only 24 to 48 hours in the hospital, compared to about five days for an open heart procedure.”

William Lenschow, of Sycamore, was the first patient to undergo the MitraClip procedure at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. The 84 year-old farmer was so weak from his leaking mitral valve that he found it difficult to walk. Within two weeks of the procedure, Lenschow was back at work on his farm harvesting the soybean crop.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

 

“Before the procedure I was so tired I slept more than I ever have in my life. I could only sit around and do nothing. I’ve never lived my life that way,” said Lenschow. “After the procedure, I felt better almost immediately. It feels good to be active and working again.”

Northwestern Memorial Hospital participated in the COAPT clinical trial, which found treatment with MitraClip leads to a reduction in hospitalizations for heart failure and death compared to medical therapy alone. As a result of these findings, the FDA approved MitraClip for patients with functional or secondary mitral regurgitation caused by diminished heart function

“Mitral valve disease is one of the most common valve disorder in the United States and one of the more difficult to treat,” said Jonathan Tomasko, MD, cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. “MitraClip arms us with another tool in

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fitness

A top-quality alternative to a standard exercise bike

Exercise bikes are a hugely popular home gym option, especially when you have limited space. But if you want to work your arms and torso as well you’ll also need weights or maybe a rowing machine, all of which take up extra space.

That’s where a machine like the JTX Mission AirBike comes in. Not only does it let you get your cycling fix, whatever the weather, but moving handlebars linked to the pedals also mean you can get a full-body workout at the same time.

Buy now from JTX Fitness

JTX Fitness Mission AirBike review: What do you get for your money?

The benchmark machine in this sector is the Assault AirBike Classic, which you’ve probably seen lurking in the corner at your local gym. If you buy one for your own home gym you know you’re getting a certain level of quality but they’re expensive, typically costing £749.

The JTX Mission AirBike matches the Assault AirBike pretty much feature for feature and comes out on top in some areas, too, yet it costs £50 less.

Just like the Assault bike, build quality is excellent with a heavy-gauge steel frame and large, steel-bladed fan providing robust longevity.

Wheels at the front help you move it around (although its 65kg heft means you’ll need someone to help you carry it anywhere) and the saddle has 300mm of height adjustment and 80mm of fore-aft adjustment to help you find a comfortable position.

However, the JTX machine edges in front with a few key advantages. It uses a quiet, maintenance-free belt drive instead of a chain, its handlebars offer multiple positions instead of the one on the Assault Bike, and it has the option to connect a heart rate monitor as well. You have to step up to the £1,249 Assault Bike Elite to get that feature.

Add in a two-year in-home repair warranty (which we doubt you’ll need given how well-made the bike feels), and you have a very good value all-round package.

Buy now from JTX Fitness

JTX Fitness Mission AirBike review: How easy is it to use?

Like all air bikes, the key to how this bike works is the large fan at the front, which is used to generate resistance instead of the flywheels and brakes that regular exercise bikes employ.

This generates resistance that’s directly related directly to the effort you put in, so there’s no need to fumble around with buttons to set the resistance level as you exercise – just push the pedal/handlebars harder for a more intense workout.

Another neat side benefit to using air-resistance exercise bikes is they’re mostly self-powered; only a couple of AA batteries are required to power the computer and display. You don’t need to plug it into the mains or turn it on and wait for it to fire up. Just jump on and start working out. It’s simplicity itself.

If

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medicine

Does Your Health Insurance Cover Alternative Medicine?

It’s still known as alternative medicine, but services like chiropractic care, acupuncture and therapeutic massage are not that alternative anymore. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, almost 40% of adults and 12% of children use complementary or alternative medicine, or CAM, to stay healthy and treat chronic or severe conditions.

Many more would likely use some kind of complementary or alternative treatment if it were covered by their insurance company. While many carriers cover a few services under certain circumstances, most CAM treatments are not covered, forcing patients to pay for it out of their own pocket.

Data from a 2016 study led by the NCCIH suggest that Americans are more and more willing to pay those out-of-pocket charges. Between 2002 and 2012, those who saw a chiropractor rose from 7.5% to 8.3%. The numbers were 1.1% to 1.5% for acupuncture and 5% to 6.9% for massage. Interestingly, usage rates stayed the same for those who had at least some insurance covering the care, but they went up among those who lacked coverage.

For those looking to have complementary or alternative treatments covered, here is what you should know.

[Read: 5 Places to Get Health Care That Aren’t a Clinic.]

CAM Coverage Varies

The NCCIH says that Americans spend about $30.2 billion each year out-of-pocket on complementary health products and practices beyond what their insurance covers. This includes:

— $14.7 billion for visits to such practitioners as chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists.

— $12.8 billion on natural products.

— About $2.7 billion on self-care approaches, including homeopathic medicines and self-help materials, such as books or CDs, related to complementary health topics.

The 2016 study found that 60% of the respondents who had chiropractic care had at least some insurance coverage for it in 2012, but those rates were much lower for acupuncture (25%) and massage (15%). Partial insurance coverage was more common than complete coverage. For chiropractic, nearly 40% of respondents had no coverage, 41.4% had partial and 18.7% had complete coverage. For acupuncture, the breakdown was 75%, 16.5% and 8.55%, and for massage, it was 84.7%, 8.35% and 7%.

The NCCIH says the following complementary or alternative treatments are most often covered to some degree:

Chiropractic: 91% of big insurance companies cover prescribed chiropractic care, most limited to between 15 to 25 prescribed visits with a $20 to $30 copay.

Acupuncture: 32% of big insurance firms cover acupuncture, usually limited to about 20 visits annually.

Massage: Roughly 17% of large insurance firms cover massage therapy, typically if physical therapy and medication hasn’t helped.

Homeopathy: Only 11% of major insurers cover homeopathic remedies.

Hypnosis: Insurers that cover hypnosis require physician authorization, and they typically cover only 50% to 70% of costs.

Biofeedback: Only a few insurers cover the mind-body technique biofeedback, and when they do it’s only for a documented condition like migraines or fibromyalgia.

Naturopathy: Insurers are more likely to cover a licensed naturopath, but only 19

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medicine

Alternative Medicine: Is It Covered?

It’s still known as alternative medicine, but services like chiropractic care, acupuncture and therapeutic massage are not that alternative anymore. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, almost 40% of adults and 12% of children use complementary or alternative medicine, or CAM, to stay healthy and treat chronic or severe conditions.

(Getty Images)

Many more would likely use some kind of complementary or alternative treatment if it were covered by their insurance company. While many carriers cover a few services under certain circumstances, most CAM treatments are not covered, forcing patients to pay for it out of their own pocket.

Data from a 2016 study led by the NCCIH suggest that Americans are more and more willing to pay those out-of-pocket charges. Between 2002 and 2012, those who saw a chiropractor rose from 7.5% to 8.3%. The numbers were 1.1% to 1.5% for acupuncture and 5% to 6.9% for massage. Interestingly, usage rates stayed the same for those who had at least some insurance covering the care, but they went up among those who lacked coverage.

For those looking to have complementary or alternative treatments covered, here is what you should know.

CAM Coverage Varies

The NCCIH says that Americans spend about $30.2 billion each year out-of-pocket on complementary health products and practices beyond what their insurance covers. This includes:

  • $14.7 billion for visits to such practitioners as chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists.
  • $12.8 billion on natural products.
  • About $2.7 billion on self-care approaches, including homeopathic medicines and self-help materials, such as books or CDs, related to complementary health topics.

The 2016 study found that 60% of the respondents who had chiropractic care had at least some insurance coverage for it in 2012, but those rates were much lower for acupuncture (25%) and massage (15%). Partial insurance coverage was more common than complete coverage. For chiropractic, nearly 40% of respondents had no coverage, 41.4% had partial and 18.7% had complete coverage. For acupuncture, the breakdown was 75%, 16.5% and 8.55%, and for massage, it was 84.7%, 8.35% and 7%.

The NCCIH says the following complementary or alternative treatments are most often covered to some degree:

  • Chiropractic: 91% of big insurance companies cover prescribed chiropractic care, most limited to between 15 to 25 prescribed visits with a $20 to $30 copay.
  • Acupuncture: 32% of big insurance firms cover acupuncture, usually limited to about 20 visits annually.
  • Massage: Roughly 17% of large insurance firms cover massage therapy, typically if physical therapy and medication hasn’t helped.
  • Homeopathy: Only 11% of major insurers cover homeopathic remedies.
  • Hypnosis: Insurers that cover hypnosis require physician authorization, and they typically cover only 50% to 70% of costs.
  • Biofeedback: Only a few insurers cover the mind-body technique biofeedback, and when they do it’s only for a documented condition like migraines or fibromyalgia.
  • Naturopathy: Insurers are more likely to cover a licensed naturopath, but only 19 states have such licensure.

Those are averages, of course, and some plans cover a lot more than others. The Capital

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