Spinal Disc Herniation

disc herniation

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

First we can say : « disc herniation » or « herniated disc » but I prefer use « disc herniation » in my article.

Disc herniation is a common pathology in bodybuilding. This often occurs because of poor back placement during exercises such as squat, deadlift and rows (barbell bent row, seated row, etc).

During the execution of theses exercises, the main defect observed is the rounding of the back or a flexion of the spine. Because of that discs are pinched forward and loosened backward.

disc herniation

If an intervertebral disc cracked or aged, the gelatinous fluid of the nucleus pulposus moves backwards and can compress the spinal cord or roots of the spinal nerves. The symptoms of a disc herniation depends on the nature of the lesion, the amount of nucleus displaced and the surface that nucleus compresses.

The disc may have a bump or even worse, the nucleus may explode through the surrounding annulus fibrosus. It’s also possible that the posterior ligament that joins the vertebrae to each other is broken. The compressions caused by the rupture of the annulus fibrosus are always painful and incapacitating.

In bodybuilding, disc herniation are mainly at the lumbar level. Often between the 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebrae or between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae. The pain is dull and deep and sometimes with numbness and tingling. Often the pain is in the middle of the back or on one side. The pain extends onto the glutes, pelvis and pubis. Sometimes pain can be felt throughout the leg following the path of the sciatic nerve because the sciatic nerve is compressed at the root (hence the name of sciatic to define this type of pain).

disc herniation sciatic nerve

Usually disc herniation resolve spontaneously and the pain gradually disappears. But in some cases the bump on a vertebral disc doesn’t disappear and can continue to painfully pres on the nerves or it’s a loose piece of intervertebral cartilage that compresses the nervous elements.

In these 2 cases, the doctor will think of doing a surgical operation to remove the part that compresses the nerves.

To avoid having a disc herniation, it’s essential to do squat, deadlift, « good morning » and rows (rows, barbell bent row, seated row) with excellent positioning technique.

Attention

For all exercises done with very heavy weight, it’s necessary to perform a « blocking » :

  1. Take a deep breath and block the breathing to fill the lungs like a balloon. This stiffens the ribcage and prevents the top of the torso form tilting forward.

  2. Squeeze abs stiffens the belly, This increases the intra-abdominal pressure and prevents the torso from sagging forward.

  3. By slightly arching the lower back with lumbar squeeze, this allows to have the spine’s bottom in extension.

These 3 simultaneous actions is what we call « blocking ». This « blocking » has the function of avoiding the rounding or bending of the spine because with very heavy weights, it can create disc herniations .

Note

After a training session with very heavy weights, it’s advisable to do stretching for the spine. There is an excellent exercise to relax the back muscles and rebalance the pressure inside the intervertebral discs. Click here .

Bad position

disc herniation bad positon squat deadlift

For exercises such as deadlift or squat, it’s important not to round your back to avoid lower back injuries.

Disc herniation

disc herniation

Flexion of the spine with heavy weights can create disc herniations at the level of the lumbar vertebrae.

These disc herniations are common at squat and deadlift. This is caused by a bad back position during exercise. That’s why it’s important to work the technique for these exercises.

Disc herniation according to the age

disc herniation intervertebral

From the age of 30 years old, intervertebral discs degenerate and don’t worry, it’s normal, The annulus can crack and the nucleus pulposus dries progressively.

Vertebral discs of people over 30 years old are more rigid, less elastic and the mobility of the spine is more limited. But as the viscous gel of the nucleus pulposus deacreases due to drying, the risk of the vertebral discs moving and compressing the nerves diminished.

Vertebral discs of people under 30 years old are more flexible, more elastic and there is more mobility with the spine. There is a greater amount of viscous gel in the nucleus pulposus which increases the risk that vertebral discs will move and compress the nerves. Disc herniation is very common among young athletes.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Human Strength (Part 1)

source

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

When I’m in gym, people tell me why they started to train. There are several reasons, lose weight, gain muscles or to be in shape for a special event. There is a golden rule to have result in strength training, it’s eat clean and lift heavy.

Everybody says it, eat clean and lift heavy but what does that means ? I think it’s time to go back to the source.

Why

why

The life is easier when we’re stronger, did you notice it ? By exemple, to carry bags from supermarket, to carry a piece of furniture, to run to be in time, etc. Everything is easier.

Strength training is extremely efficient to build muscle and burn fat. Whether to lose 6kg (15lbs) or 45kg (100lbs), it’s the same thing.

Strength training help to build muscle and lose fat but it also help to stop or even reverse sarcopenia (it’s skeletal muscle reduction with aging). Train our skeletal muscle allow us to be independant (therefore avoid nursing homes) and live longer.

The profits list isn’t finished yet.

A nice athletic body

Strength training help you keep your muscles while you’re in calories deficience and losing weight.

Strength training allows you to have a better oxygen consumption than aerobic exercices. After training your body needs to make a lot of efforts to recover and return to the normal state so the state you had before the training. Scientific studies have shown that your metabolism‘s level increase for 38 hours after your training.

Strength training increase your metabolism, increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) because your body needs more calories to keep your muscls than to keep your fat. It’s estimated that for each 4.45kg (1lbs) of muscle, your RMR increase of 30-35 calories.

Improve your health

Strength training help you to improve your balance and coordination, improve cholesterol’s rate, help to control blood sugar, stop muscle loss, improve blood flow, reduces your resting blood pressure, build a stronger heart and increase bone density.

Feel better

It’s clear with strength training you have more self-confidence, your have more energy, a better mood, less anxiety and less stress . It also improves the quality of your thoughts, a scientific study has shown that this increases the cognitive function .

It’s not advisable to do a strength training 1 hour before sleeping. On the other hand to train early in the day helps to prevent sleep apnea  and insomnia.

Prevents diseases and degenerative diseases

You notices that many men and women die because of cardiac disease. Stength training helps to solve problems that are factors of heart disease such as inactivity, diabets, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Cardiologists begin to advise strength training to people who have heart attack.

Strength training helps to manage and improve the lifestyle of people with clinical depression , cancer survivors , have had a spinal cord injury ,who have recently had a stroke , fibromyalgia , Lymphedema , Down Syndrome , Parkinson’s Disease , Osteoporosis  and Arthritis.

It’s fun

Strenght training helps to reach your goals whether an effective training of 20 minutes to have a good naked body or to do a sports competition. It’s fun to see our progress because it’s like increase level in a video game. If you want to be better in a sport like badminton or rock climbing, strength training is a good choice.

People who shouldn’t train

The only people I’ve found who shouldn’t train are people who have an injury and it’s a break that doesn’t last long. We’re human being and it’s natural to carry things and move. Strength training is recommended for pregnant women , children and teenagers  and even paraplegics .

Obviously, it recommanded to see his/her doctor before beginning a strength training program to adjust the training program.

Basic objections

objection

But I’m too old, it’s not reasonable

When people between 30 and 60 years old tell me that they’re too old, I laugh because it’s a lie. It’s like say : « I don’t have time » and later I see a messsage on Facebook like : « Yestersay, Game of the thrones was epic ! ». Scientific studies have shown that people between 70 and 90 years old had impressive results in 10 weeks .

Other scientific studies have shown that this helps to avoid dementia  and to delay Alzheimer’s .

People who think they’re too old to train are exactly people who should train.

But I just want to be better for a sport and I want to stay fit

Strength training improve your muscle’s endurance, scientific studies have shown it. Resistance exercices help to increases overall muscles endurance , fix nervous system problems and increase activation of motor units within your muscles.

I don’t want to bulk too much

It’s a great strength training’s myth, it’s not in 1 year than you’ll have the bodybuilder’s body no matter wheteher you’re a man or a woman.

For women, here 2 exemples of moms who have become strong and fit without having a bodybuilder body. This is the story of Veronica  and Bronwyn .

Have a the body of a famous bodybuilder doesn’t happen in one night. Naturally we don’t have the amount of homones to have the body of a famous bodybuilder. We need to eat a huge amount of food (8 000 – 10 000 calories per day) and a huge amont of drugs (no, no, it’s another type of pharmacy, it’s true).

I’m fat, I want only lose weight

I’m fat, I want only lose weight

It’s a good reason to start strenght training. By losing weight, you surely want to keep your muscles. I mean, yout want to keep your muscles while you lose fat. With strength training you lose quickly centimeters (inches) in different body’s parts. It’s true that the overall weight loss may seem slow, that’s why is important to track your measurements. With strenght training when you eat with a caloric deficit, it’s increase your metabolism so you lose fat.

It’s boring

What I like with strength training, it’s we can see our progress quickly. It’s like increase level in a video game. I think people get bored when they expect nothing to do between 2 sets. This is why I advise people to have headphones to listen to their own music selection or an audio book to increase motivation.

Muscles and strength training

muscle fiber

Don’t be fancy, it’s interesting to understand how our muscles work to avoid failling into the Matrix’s trap. What I mean is that the only person you gave to impress is yourself and not the others.

It’s our muscle fibers that are small muscle cells that build up our muscles. Our muscle fibers are long, cylindrical and have the size of a strand of hair. Our muscle fibers are composed of myofibrils surrounded by sarcoplasm. I really summarized that but if you want to see it in detail, click here .

We have around 642 skeletal muscles that work together to make move our body. Imagine, when you bend your arm, your biceps contracts and your triceps does the opposite (elongates) to let the elbow bend. Every muscle of your body work as a team to make you move.

We have different type of muscle fibers :

Slow twitch (Type 1 fibers)

Slow twitch fibers are used to convert oxygen into energy for a long period of time. They don’t move quickly to be resistant to fatigue. These are the fibers we use most for marathons.

Fast twitch (Type 2 fibers)

Fast twitch move quickly so they’re not resistant to fatigue. Our body has 2 categories of fast fibers. The type 2A fiber has an endurence characterisitc used for long sprints. The type 2X fiber has « super fast » characterisitc used to short sprints or lift weights. I really summarized that but if you want to see it in detail, click here .

Each individual has a different percentage of slow and fast fibers. It’s for this reason that people are naturally better to run long distances or sprints. It’s funny because we can see it in strength training with people who are better to do sets with high or low repetitions.

It’s the end of the first part and the second part is event more interessting.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. To read Part 2, click here.