Should You Arch Your Back ?

exercise arching back

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Audio file:

For people who don’t have vertebral pathology, arching their back during an exercise isn’t a problem. Arching a little bit the back for exercises such deadlift or squat is necessary because the spine is rounded so arching a little bit the back helps avoid injuries.

But for some people, arching the back during an exercise can be very dangerous :

  • This concerns people suffering from congenital spondylolysis (absence of welding of the vertebral arch). The lumbar spine’s extension may cause the vertebrae to slide (spondyloystesis), which can seriously compress the nervous elements and cause sciatica.

    spondyloystesis

  • This concerns people who have demineralization due to age (osteoporosis) or people who haven’t yet completed their growth. The lumbar spine’s extension may cause spondylolysis by fracture of the vertebral arch. This fracture which has broken the posterior attachement system of a vertebrae can slide and seriously compress the nervous elements and cause sciatica.

    osteoporosis

spondyloystesis

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-Steph

How To Do Trap Bar Deadlift

 trap bar deadlift

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

 

Audio file :

Standing in the center of the trap bar (be careful, if you’re badly centered in the trap bar, there will be a lateral instability). Your legs are slightly spread with your back rigid and a little bit arched :

Bend your legs to have your thighs a little closer to the horizontal. This position may be different from one person to another depending on the morphology and ankles flexibility. For example, a person who has long femurs and long arms will have thighs a little higher than the horizontal. A person with short femurs and short arms will have thighs horizontally

With your arms outstretched, take the handle, being careful to center the grip of your hands. Be careful with a heavy weight because a non-centered grip will rock the trap bar forward or backward.

Inhale and block your breathing. Squeeze your abs and your lumbar region. Lift the trap bar by straightening your legs being careful to not round your back during movement. Exhale at the end of the effort.

trap bar deadlift

Maintain the extension of your body (your body is straight) for 2 seconds and go down with the trap bar keeping your abs and your lumbar region squeezed

The trap bar deadlift works all your muscles body as the classic deadlift . The difference is that the central position of the bar makes it possible to limit the tilt of your torso which reduces the intensity of the work of the glutes and the lumbar region and transfer a part of the effort towards the quadriceps.

It’s for this reason that the trap bar deadlift can be included in a specific program to work the thighs and can replace squat in some cases.

The upper part of the trapezius work deeply with heavier weights.

Note

For people who suffer from lower back, this exercise is safer than the classic deadlift.

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-Steph

How To Do T-Bar Rows

t bar rows

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast:

Lying on the belly on the inclined bench and take the handles with a pronated grip :

  • Inhale and brings the bar to your chest

  • Exhale at the end of movement

This exercise is similar to the barbell bent rows but it allows a better work of the back muscles because there is less need to focus on the body’s positioning.

This exercise works latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid, arm’s flexor (biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis), rhomboids and trapezius.

The machines with a belly support allow to focus less on the positioning, abs and spinal erectors don’t work. When there are very heavy weights, the rib cage can be compressed on the ventral support and this hinders breathing. When it’s difficult to breathe, doing the exercise is unpleasant.

Note

With a supinated grip, this exercise especially works the brachialis and the upper part of the trapezius at the end to the pull.

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-Steph

How To Do Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

stiff legged deadlifts

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast :

Standing with your feet slightly apart. The barbell is on the floor in front of you :

  • Inhale, bend your torso forward with your back arched. If you can keep your legs straight or slightly bent.

  • Take the barbell with a pronated grip and straighten your body with your back rigid (your back is not more arched than the starting position). It’s at the hips level that the tilt occurs. Exhale at the end of the movement.

  • Returns to the starting position without the barbell touch the floor and do it again.

To avoid to have injuries, keep your back straight, it’s important.

This exercise works all the spinal erectors, it’s the muscles that run along each side of your spine. These are the muscles that allow you to straighten your spine.

When you straighten your torso, during the tilt forward of your hips, this exercise works the gluteus maximus and hamstrings (except the thigh biceps short head).

This exercise stretches the back of your thighs when you return to the starting position.

It’s possible to raise your feet compared to to the barbell (with a plate weight or a step) so that the exercise is more effective.

Note

This exercise can be used as a stretching movement for hamstring with light weights.

The heavier the weight and the greater the gluteus will work compared to the hamstrings to straighten your hips.

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-Steph

How To Do Deadlift

deadlift anatomy

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast:

Standing in front of the barbell that is on the floor with your legs slightly apart. Your back is motionless and slightly arched :

  • Bend your legs so that your thighs are about horizontal. This position may be slightly different depending on the morphology and the flexibility of your ankles. For example, a person who has short arms and short femurs will have the thighs to the horizontal. A person who has long arms and long femurs will have the thighs a little higher than the horizontal.

  • Take the barbell with your arms outstretched and with a pronated grip. Your hands are spread to a little bit more than your shoulder’s width. You can also have a hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip to prevent the barbell from rolling and lifting extremely heavy weights.

  • Inhale, block your breath and squeeze your abs and your lumbar region. Lift the barbell by straightening your legs and lift the barbell in front of your shins.

  • When the barbell comes to your knees level, you straighten your torso completely to finish your legs extended. Exhale at the end of the effort.

  • Keep your body’s extension (all your body is straight) for 2 seconds. Then go down with the barbell while you squeezing your abs and lumbar region to control the movement.

deadlift anatomy

It’s very important not to round your back during the movement to avoid injury.

deadlift anatomy

This exercise works all the body’s muscles, especially the glutes and quadriceps. This exercise builds solid hip, lower back, and trapezius.

deadlift anatomy

Deadlift is part of the exercises carried out during powerlifting’s competitions with squat and bench press.

Note

When you’re doing an exercise with a very heavy weight, it’s important that you do a « blocking » :

  1. You fill your lungs like a balloon by taking a deep breath and blocking your breathing. This allows you to avoid your torso leaning forward and this stiffens your rib cage.

  2. You squeeze your abs to stiffen your stomach and increase your intra-abdominal pressure. This prevents your torso from sagging forward.

  3. You arch your lower back with a squeeze of your lumbar muscles and extend the bottom of the spine.

« Blocking » is these 3 actions. When you do these 3 actions simultaneously, this allows you to avoid rounding your back. Lift heavy weights with a rounded back cause the famous injury called slipped disk.

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-Steph

How To Do T-Bar Rows On Feet

t bar rows feet

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast

Knees slightly bent with the bar between your legs. Your take the handles with a pronated grip. Your back is straight and you incline your torso at about 45° :

  • Inspires and brings the bar to your chest

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercise is similar to the barbell bent rows but it allows a better work of the back muscles because there is less need to focus on the body’s positioning.

This exercise works latissimus dorsi, teres major, infraspinatus, rhomboids, the middle part of trapezius and arm’s flexors (biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis).

Incline your torso works your abs and spinal erectors isometrically.

With a supinated grip, this exercise especially works the brachialis and the upper part of trapezius at the end of the pull.

There are some machines that allow you to have a semi-pronation grip. With a semi-pronation grip, you intensely work the forearms muscles, especially the brachioradialis.

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-Steph

How To Do Barbell Bent Rows

barbell bent rows

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Podcast :

Standing with your knees slightly bent. Your have your back straight and incline your torso around at 45°. You take the barbell with a pronated grip and your hands are wider than your shoulder’s width. Your arms relaxed :

  • Inhale, block your breath and squeeze your abs. Pull the barbell to your torso.

  • Returns to the starting position and exhale.

This exercise work latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid, arm’s flexor (biceps, brachialis, and brachioradialis).

When your shoulder blades get closer, your rhomboids and trapezius also work.

Incline your torso works your spinal erectors isometrically.

This exercise has several variants like the hand width, pronated or supinated grip or torso inclination allow you to work your back in different angles.

Attention

It’s important to keep your back straight because if you rounded your back during the movement, you risk having injuries.

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-Steph