Tear Of Hamstring Muscle

hamstring muscle anatomy tear

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

In bodybuilding, tears of hamstring muscles are common. This often happens during squat when the torso is too much inclined. All hamstrings muscles (except biceps femoris short head) are extremely stretched and squeeze strongly to straighten the pelvis. Precisely at this point, there may be a muscle tear in the upper or middle part of this muscle group.

It’s possible that the tear of hamstring muscle occur with machine (leg curl). There may be a muscle tear with a heavy weight at the beggining of the movement when legs stretched and muscles stretched.

Usually, tears of the muscular fibers of hamstrings are small and not serious (it’s rare to see a major muscle tear or tendon disinsertion) but these tears are always painful and causes complications.

Indeed, often after a tear on this muscle group, there is a fibrous scar that causes a painful and disabling rubbing for sport practices. And it’s important to note that this scar isn’t elastic and can tear again during an intense effort.

Tip to avoid hamstring tears

To avoid theses muscle tears during squat or deadlift, it’s important to make specific stretching movements for hamstrings, before or between sets.

There are also other exercise like « Good-morning », stiff-legged deadlift or Romanian deadlift which helps because of their combined actions of muscle building and stretching.

After a tear of hamstrings

To avoid having a fibrous scar, it’s necessary to do a re-education a week after the tear. It’s important to do stretching exercises for the back of the thigh slowly. This allows you to stretch the injured muscles and to soften the scar so that it doesn’t tear when you start again the training.

feedback of hamstrings muscles

hamstring muscle anatomy tear pelvis

In modern societies, we sit for several hours. This can create in some people a feedback of hamstrings muscles. This muscles retraction of the back of the thigh puts the pelvis in retroversion and this creates a bad position of the spine.

This poor position of the spine causes the natural curvature of the spine to be lost over time. This results in poor posture, flat buttocks and round back that can trigger spinal pathologies.

To limit this feedback of hamstrings muscles, it’s recommended to do exercises that have a combined action of muscle strengthening and stretching at the back of the thigh as the « Good-morning », stiff-legged deadllift and Romanian deadlift. Then after this exercise session, it’s advisable to do some sets of stretching for hamstrings.

Action of hamstrings at squat

hamstring muscle anatomy tear squat

During squat, hamstring muscles squeeze to straighten the pelvis. This prevents the torso (in this phase the torso is bound to the pelvis by the contraction of the abs and lumbar) from bending too much forward.

hamstring muscle anatomy tear

Note

Fibrous scars can also be treated in parallel by a physiotherapist with manual or mechanical massages to soften the lesion.

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

-Steph

Standing Leg Curls

standing leg curl

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

Stand with your torso on the support with your knees on the pads and your leg extended. Your ankle is placed under the pads  :

  • Inhale and flex your knee

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

stanting leg curl
With ankle in extension

This exercise works all hamstrings muscle (semi-tendinous, semi-membranous, biceps femoris short and long head) and a little bit gastrocnemius. To work more intensly your gastrocemius, during the flexion of your knee, you need to have your ankle in flexion. If you don’t want work more intensly your gastrocemius, keep your ankle in extension during the movement.

hamstrings femur patella articular disk tibia gastrocnemius fibula anatomy knee

By contracting simultaneously, hamstrings and the 2 gastrocnemius muscles of the triceps surae flex the knee joint.

Biceps femoris short head

anatomy biceps femoris short head monoarticular

For all flexor muscles, the biceps femoris short head is the only one to be monoarticular.

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

-Steph

Techniques To Learn Quickly And Efficiently Based On Science (Part 2)

learn

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1, click here .

Ok, this software used in the scientific study is not accessible for more than 80 % of the population but there are several software that can allow you to improve your intelligence like that used in the scientific study.

There is IQ Mindware. There is another one that is open source so free called Brain Workshop. These software are for people who really want to improve their intelligence because they are based on the principle of Dual n-back . It’s very difficult and it’s the only way to improve your intelligence.

The results of this scientific study showed that the maximum gains obtained with 20 minutes of training per day for 19 consecutive days. This is 10 % improvement with the 8 consecutive days of training and 44 % with 19 consecutive days of training.

Train your brain with IQ Mindware or Brain Workshop (I use this one) will allow you to improve your concentration and motivation. Everything you need to improve your ability to have successful projects.

Meditation

meditation

Meditation is excellent for improving your concentration. Before, I was often lost in my thoughts when I was doing a task and in the end, this task was done badly. Have you ever been lost in your thoughts when you were doing a task ?

Meditation is cool because you can do this in 5 minutes a day and you don’t need any equipment. You just need a little time and a quiet place. You see meditation is accessible to everyone and can be done by people of all religions or these who have no religion.

The goal of meditation is to train your concentration. That means to focus your attention on something specific. For example in bodybuilding, when you do the dumbbell curls, you fix your attention on your biceps. Meditation is a simple and effective way to become aware of your « parasitic thoughts ». These « parasitic thoughts » that make you no longer focused on your task and lost in your thoughts. When you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts, you can redirect your thoughts to be focus again on your task.

Scientific studies have discovered and are still discovering meditation’s benefits like an enormous reduction of stress, anxiety, anger, depression, immune system improvement, positive emotional improvement and a better attention. For people with hypertension, there is a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in longevity of 23 %. Scientists always find new benefits in meditation.

And

and

Meditation improves health AND also intelligence as ability to manage emotion, increase concentration, reduce attention problems, increase memory and visual processing capacity, improve learning ability and reduce your risk to multi-task. Doing multi-task ruin your productivity.

If you want to enjoy meditation’s benefits, you can start with a simple exercise without equipment today :

  • You sit comfortably in a quiet place. If you want you can sit in the lotus position but it’s not obligatory. You close your eyes and take 3 deep deep breaths to relax. Once you relaxed, you focus on your breathing. You focus on your inhalation and your exhalation and the goal is to concentrate as long as possible on your breathing

While you are going to think about your breathing, full of thoughts will come constantly and it’s normal. It’s destabilizing but there is a technique for your mind to be less distracted. The technique is to count the number of your inhalation and exhalation.

  • When you inhale, you count « 1 » in your head (don’t speak) and when you exhale, you count « 1 » then when you inhale, you count « 2 » and when you exhale, you count « 2 ». You do it from 1 to 10. When you’re 10, you count upside down from 10 to 0. When you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts and you’ve lost count of the number of breathing, you start again at « 0 ». You don’t give up until you’ve been able to count from 0 to 10 and 10 to 0 without interruption at least once.

You’ll see that many thoughts will come because it’s absolutely impossible to think of nothing. Don’t worry, it’s normal. As soon as you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts, come back to focus on your breathing without feeling any particular guilt.

Do this simple meditation 5 minutes a day will give you many benefits that I quoted in this article.

Scientific studies

scientific study

Here is a list of scientific studies concerning benefits meditation.

« A Randomized Controlled Trial Of Compassion Cultivation Training: Effects On Mindfulness, Affect, And Emotion Regulation », Hooria Jazaieri, 2013. Click here

« Initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance », David M. Levy, 2011. Click here.

« Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on neurophysiological correlates of performance monitoring in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder », Poppy L.A. Schoenberg, 2013. Click here.

« Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training », Fadel Zeidan, 2010. Click here.

« Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation », Richard J. Davidson, 2010. Click here

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

-Steph

The Reasons For An Asymmetric Body (Part 2)

asymmetical body

I watched a Jamcore DZ’s video  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1, click here .

When it’s a real weak point, the only thing you can do is to be persistent and patient. For this, it’s important that you learn to isolate and feel the muscle’s sensation.

Learning to isolate muscle involves 2 things :

brain muscle connection

  1. Intermuscular competition. Sincerely, 95 % of people do exercises don’t isolate and don’t feel their muscles. It’s not their fault, there are people who learn it intuitively. When you learn to use it with the « magic touch » technique, you’ll evolve much better and discover the real bodybuilding (the fake bodybuilding is to have the biggest muscles in the world).

    Intermuscular competition is to work a muscle but in fact, it’s the dominant muscle that works more than the muscle targeted by the exercise. For example, bench press targets chest but it’s shoulders and arms that work more than chest. Biceps curls target biceps but it’s forearms work more than biceps. Squat target quadriceps/hamstrings but it’s glutes work more than quadriceps/hamstrings. Intermuscular competition is the inability to isolate and work (feel) the muscle you should be working on.

    2. Engine program. The engine program is to connect your brain to your muscle. When you do an exercise, you leave a piece of memory in your brain, a piece of memory in your muscle and a piece of memory in your nervous system (the nerves in your muscle). When these 3 pieces of memory connect, this is the engine program. This is the brain-muscle connection. But beware, when you do an exercise with a poor execution, you do this exercise in « intermuscular » mode and repeating this exercise with a poor execution, you’ll create and improve a defective engine program. If you do an exercise with a good execution, you will create and improve a correct engine program.

Solution

solution

  1. Be more aware of intermuscular competition. That means you learn to isolate and feel the muscle you want to work. You need to be patient because it’s a skill that comes with time. Changing work angles for an exercise allows you to feel your muscle differently.

  2. Learn to isolate your muscle to improve your engine program. As you know now, during an exercise you create a piece of memory in your brain, muscle and nervous system.

  3. Discovers muscle contraction. You need to use an middle weight to discover the muscle contraction. It’s impossible to discover this with a heavy weight because, in this situation, you’re only focused on doing as many reps as possible. With a middle weight, you can focus on feeling your muscle because it’s a weight you can manage

  4. Learn how to transfer sensations. When you feel that your muscle doesn’t really work, corrects the movement’s execution to have the sensation on the muscle you want to work.

Execution, execution, execution. You need to practice as much as possible to improve your brain-muscle connection. This is the best way to evolve but I warn you, you need to be patient because it takes time. This is not something you learn in 12 weeks.

It’s also important that you organize your training program intelligently in the week. For exemple, don’t work your biceps 2 days in the row because your biceps need to rest. Organize the training of your muscle groups so that it doesn’t interfere in the recovery. For example, one day you train your legs and the next day you run. In this situation, you don’t help your legs to recover.

All former professional bodybuilders (who talk about this) say that steroids don’s help as much as the media make believe. Steroids only help to recover. Watch this Rich Piana’s video.

Personally, I don’s like steroids and I don’t advise you to use this. That is my position and I will repeat it again.

Now, it’s your turn. Start to learn to feel your muscles to improve your body. And the most important, be patient because it take time.

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

-Steph

Know How Much Weight To Lift (Part 1)

how much

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

When we’re beginners and we have studied the theory well, the first time we train in a gym, we have this kind of questions :

  • What weight should lift to begin with ?

  • If my program tells me to do 5 sets of 5 reps at 80 % of my 1 rep max, how do I get to know my 1 rep max ?

  • In my program, there isn’t this notion of percentage and 1 rep max, how do I know the weight I have to lift ?

Here are some tips to start your program with the right amount of weight.

Bodyweight

bodyweight exercice

The fist step of your workout is to do bodyweight exercices to learn how to do well the bench press.

This may sound odd but I really advise you to take your time to learn to perform well without weights or with a very light weight. Imagine that you can’t climb stairs normally, What happens when you have to climb stairs with bags of supermarket ? Yes, you’re going to hurt yourself.

Here is how you can learn a movement without barbell, dumbbells and weights :

  • To learn barbell’s movement without barbell, you can take a broom stick or a PVC pipe.

  • To learn dumbbells movement without dumbbells, you can take 2 sections of PVC pipe or 2 bottes of water.

It’s true that it’s not the same sensations that with weights but it allows you to learn a movement without risk to hurting you.

With this method, you can train at home alone. No one looks at you like in a gym so you’re less nervous. What’s cool is that yo can film yourself with your smartphone to compare your videos with tutorial videos that you can find on Youtube of elsewhere.

To learn in depth how to move, I recommend the book Starting Strength .

Once you feel confortable with movements, you go to the next level.

Barbell

barbell

For your first training with the barbell for the bench press, you’ll use the barbell without weights to be comfortable with. As you read in my articles Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2 , the barbell i’m talking about is the Olympic barbell 20 kg (45 lbs).

If you have difficulty with the Olympic barbell, here are some alternative.

A lighter barbell

Look in your gym if there are lighter barbell like the « women’s bar » 13.6-15.87 kg (30-35 lbs) or the « training bar » 6.8 kg(15 lbs). EZ curl bar isn’t designed for the bench press.

Dumbbells

You can use dumbbells. It’s true that isn’t really the same movement but it will help you to build your strength to be comfortable with the Olympic barbell.

Bodyweight exercices

Continue to do bodyweight exercice as squat, lunges, pull ups, push ups. This will help you to build your strength to be comfortable with the Olympic barbell.

That may be the opposite. For you to use the Olympic barbell without weight is easy. I still advise you to continue your first training with the Olympic barbell without weight. In this way, you can concentrate for each repetition to have the best technique possible. Wait the next session to add weights.

There isn’t ego in a gym. Unfortunately in gyms we often see people lifting very heavy weights with a poor technique and this happens more and more often. I have 2 friends who have dislocated their shoulders with the bench press and now they can no longer develop their chest and their shoulders.

One of these 2 friends showed in front of me who his shoulder dislocates when he do bench press and he regrets a lot of having lift too heavy with a bad technique. Since I’ve seen this, I prefer to lift lighter with a good technique and I advise you to do the same.

If after your first training with the Olympic barbell, you’re still not comfortable with. I recommend you to continue to train with the Olympic barbell without weights until you’re comfortable with. If you need to do this for 10 sessions, do it, there is not problem.

I’ll tell you something, Listen carefully. If you get hurt, it’s not because you body isn’t ready. It’s because you don’t trust in you under the Olympic barbell. Self-confidence is the most important element to lift heavyweights and heavier. It means knowing when you can lift and when you can’t lift. An athlete train his/her body and mind.

If you have planned to use dumbbells as your main lift (like me) and don’t use Olympic barbell, stat with 2.2-4.5 kg (5-10 lbs) dumbbells to work your technique.

Add weights

weight plate

Most beginners workout programs are 5 sets of 5 reps, 3 sets of 8 reps or 3 sets of 10 reps. For this example, we’ll use 5 sets of 5 reps.

Your workout should always begin with a warm-up routine. Then you take the barbell without weights and you do the repetitions number of your program (for our example, it’s 5).

Yeah, yeah, I know. You thought that after the warm-up routine, you could lift heavy but you have not quite prepared your body yet. For each exercice, you need to warm your body with lightweights. It’s very important to do this because it allows your body to warm your nervous system and the muscles needed to make the movement.

For beginners, it’s really important to learn the good technique right away.

Increase gradually

Once your nervous system and your muscles are ready, add between 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) and 4.5 kg (10 lbs) on each side. Do a set of 5 reps with this weight.

Note : If your strength training is based on dumbbells like me, starts with 2.2 kg (5 lbs) dumbbells, then 4.5 kg (10 lbs) dumbbells for example.

If you can do 5 reps without degrading your technique and without slowing the speed of the barbell, you can add weight. If it’s really light adds 4.5 kg (10 lbs) on each side or less like 2.2 kg (5 lbs).

Continue to do this process until the speed of the barbell or you technique begins to deteriorate. The weight you lifted before your technique deteriorates is the starting weight on which you will base all your future exercises.

The basic weight for your workout

If you thought you could lift more, don’t panic, that’s the right number. You’re not in a gym to impress someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your 1000th workouts. It’s better to start too light than too heavy. The goal is to do quick reps with a good technique. When your technique deteriorates, you have reached a limit with your body, too much will create an injury.

In this process, you’re trying to lift the heaviest weight you can so use collars for your safety. When it becomes difficult, ask someone to be your spotter to avoid an injury.

This is the end of the Part 1. In the Part 2, I’ll talk about what to do after several workouts, find your 1 rep max and what amount of weight is respectable to lift.

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

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Equipment (Part 1)

source water rhone

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

When I began, I went is a small gym at Sous-Moulin . It was a gym in sport center for volleyball, basketball, soccer players. There were only machines (because people stole dumbbells) and when we were 10 people, the gym was full.

2 years later, I went in a real gym. I’ll not lie to you the first time I was alone and I was afraid to the free weight section because I was afraid of hurting myself. But I had so much desire to have the 50 Cent’s body that I watched several times exercice’s video on Youtube and I did it.

On internet, there is a lot of excellent video that explain how to do squat, deadlift, etc. I downloaded videos of my workout program on my smartphone to heard instructions in the gym to do it right. It’s funny, I still have these videos on my smartphone and on my Cloud.

Now I feel good in a gym, I share with you gym’s basic principles and equipment that you’ll see most often. You’ll not have a loser’s head like me the first time.

Gyms filled to the maximum of equipment but you don’t need to use all of them to do an effective strength training. I’ll talk to you about basic equipment.

First time

first time

It’s easy to lose your mind the first time when you go in a gym. There is a lot of things and everyone seems to know what to do.

The most of gyms have :

  • Cardio zone (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, etc)

  • Free weight zone

  • Group fitness room

  • Locker rooms

There are gyms that have pool, sauna, jacuzzi but it depends.

The fist time you go in a gym, it’s normal to ask for a visit. It’s important to do it because even if you’re used to gyms, you don’t know where are equipements you want to use. It would be a shame if you miss something. I don’t really remember but it was 6 months that I was in a gym and I discovered by chance, hidden in a corner, a machine to work calves.

Free Weight

free wieghts gym

During the visit you’ll see a lot of equipements. Personally I find that the gym’s staff concentrates enormously on machines and cardio during visits. It’s a shame because it’s the least interesting part. Let’s go to the free weight zone.

Barbells can have a size from 1.2m to 2.4m (4’-8 feet) long and a diameter from 25mm – 51mm (0.98’’ – 2’’).

Olympic bar

olympic bar

It’s the standard training barbell (Olympic men’s barbell). This bar is 2.2m (7.2 ft) long and weight 20kg (45lbs). The Olympic bar has bearings that make it spin nicely to help assist the Olympic lift, snatch and the clean and jerk.

There are also gyms that have « woman bar » is 2.1m (6.9 ft) long and weight 15kg (33lbs). There is also smaller bar to lift weight between 4.5kg – 13.6kg (10lbs – 30lbs).

Fixed weight bars

fixed weights bar

This is a small barbell with weights already fixed on it. They’re usually located next to dumbbells.

Dumbbells

dumbbell

There are several dumbbell’s design but it’s just for the style. Weights are from 0.45kg to 90kg (1lbs – 200lbs).

Ez-Curl bars

ez-curls bar

This bar is special because it is short and it has « W » form. This bar is only use for curls. I use this bar to do curls because with a normal bar, I have wrist pain, it’s my morphology (read this article). So if you hurt when you do curls with a normal bar, use that one.

Trap bar

trap bar

You can also name this bar « hex bar ». This bar has a hexagonal shape and allows you to be in the middle to lift weights with a neutral grip. This bar allows you to do deadlift and shrugs but it’s not an indispensable bar. Olympic bar is indispensable.

Safety squat bar, Cambered bars, Apollon’s axe, Strongman logs (and others)

safety squat bar cambered bars strongman logs

Theses bars aren’t necessary but it doesn’t mean that it’s useless to use them from time to time. If the gym specialized for Powerlifting, you’ll find these bars.

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

-Steph

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

Social Media Icons For Your Blog

social media

In my blog (WordPress), I had installed a plugin to share my blog posts with social media. This plugin was Share This . Since I installed a plugin to display my lastest pictures from Instagram on my blog, I was wondering how I could do to have icons so that people could share my content and subscribe on my social networks.

After doing a Google search to know the best rated WordPress plugins, I discovered Ultimate Social Media Icons .

I just installed it and it’s really cool. Here is how it’s on my blog :

 

thestephaneandre screenshot

I installed this plugin with the « zip » file and I just discovered that they had added the function to install the plugin automatically in your blog. Well, I’ll show you how I did. If you installed the plugin automatically, go to the configuration phase.

Note : For the plugin works, it’s necessary that CURL is installed and activated on your server and a PHP version of 5.4 or above. If you don’t know, ask to your hosting provider or server admin.

Installation

  • I downloaded the « zip » file (compressed files) from WordPress website.

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Once I uncompressed the « zip » file, I have the directory « ultimate-social-media-icons »:

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

I use FileZilla  (it’s free) to transfer files to my server.

  • I copy « ultimate-social-media-icons » in the « wp-content/plugins » directory of my server:

 

filezilla screenshot

  • Once it’s installed on your server, active the plugin in your WordPress plugins (extensions in french) page

 

wordpress plugin screenshot

Configuration

  • Now that you have activated the plugin, you should have the menu « Utimate Social Media Icons » in WordPress:

 

wordpress ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • This is how it’s :

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Select icons you want to show on your blog

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • When a user click on a icon, what’s happening

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Select a icons design

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • A little animation with icons

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Show counts with icons

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Customize icons order and others options

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Icons at the end of each post

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Add a pop-up

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

  • Add a subscribe form

 

ultimate social media icons screenshot

Test

  • In WordPress, click on the menu « Appearence => Widgets » :

 

wordpress widget screenshot

  • Place the widget on the sidebar to make it appear on your blog

 

wordpress widget screenshot

Click on icons, adjust and let’s go.

-Steph

P.S. Do you want a free training programs platform ? Click here 

Smartphone apps :

To track my calories, I use MyFitnessPal 

To track my training program, I use Jefit