Hanging Leg Raises

hanging leg raises

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Suspended on a chin-up bar :

  • Inhale and back up your knees as high as possible by approaching your knees to your torso.

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercise works :

  • The iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae when you raise your legs.

  • The rectus abdominis and a little less obliques work when you move your knees to your torso.

To target the work on abs, it’s advisable to make small oscillations of thighs without never having the knees below the horizontal.

Attention

Rotations of the torso to the machine are proscribed for people suffering from low back or having already had a herniated disc.

Variant

hanging leg raises variant

By raising your knees on the side alternately to the right and to the left, obliques work more intensely.

Abdominal lumbar balance

It’s necessary to work in a balanced way the abdominal’s muscles and the back’s muscles (erector spinae). A lack of tone of hypertonicity of one of these two muscle groups can create a bad posture, and over time, create pathologies.

Example

Hypertonicity of the lower part of the erector spinae (sacro lumbar mass) with a hypotonicity of the muscles of the abdomen, will create a hyperlordosis with an abdominal ptosis. This postural defect can sometimes (if it is taken in time) be diminished by exercises of reinforcement of the abdominal muscles.

Conversely, hypertonicity of the abdominal muscles with loosening (hypotonicity) of the erectors spinae, especially in the upper part (multifidus spinae, longissimus, iliocostalis), will create a kyphosis (rounding back ) with loss of lumbar vertebral arch. This postural defect can sometimes (if it taken in time) be diminished by exercises of reinforcement of erectors spinae muscles.

Hypertonicity erector spinae muscles lumbar vertebral arch Hypotonicity abdominal ptosis

Kyphosis Hypotonicity erector spinae muscles lumbar vertebral arch Hypertonicity abdomen

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General Stretching Of The Upper Body

stretching upper body

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Stand with your feet a little wider than your pelvis width and you back is straight :

  • Hold your ams vertically with your hands clasped and your fingers crossed. Your palms directed upwards :

  • Inhale to inflate your lungs to the maximum and stretch your intercostal muscles. Push your palms up keeping your back and head upright.

  • Exhale slowly by relaxing and starts again.

This stretching exercise stretches intercostal, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, teres major, triceps. When you incline your torso laterally, you stretch more your external oblique and internal oblique, quadratus lumborum and the internal and medium part of your erectors spinae.

stretching upper body lateral

Note

This stretch is great for relaxing the body after a training with heavyweights like leg press, squat, deadlift because the ribcage and spine have been compressed.

This movement may occasionally replace or supplement the stretching at the bar  to rebalance the pressure and tensions of the intervertebral joints.

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-Steph

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Stretching Of Glutes

stretching glutes

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

Sitting on the floor with one leg stretched out and the other leg bent with your foot on the floor and moving from the outer side of your leg stretched. Press on the outer side of your knee bent with your opposite elbow. This exercise mainly stretches the muscles of the gluteus maximus and the lateral rotator group (piriformis, gemellus superior, obturator internus, gemellus inferior, quadratus femoris and obturator externus).

Variant

It’s possible to press on your knee with your 2 hands.

lateral rotator group muscles hip

stretching glutes variant

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-Steph

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Adapt Your Training To Your Morphology (Part 2)

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

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

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

Legs

Improve your squat position

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

To reduce the lower back’s effort and limit the hamstrings tension, it’s possible to do like powerlifters by putting the barbell on posterior deltoids.

This technique decreases the cantilever and increases the power of lifting from the back. This allows you to lift heavier weights.

By using powerlifter of weightlifting shoes (solid raised heel) or a wedge under the heels, this reduces the cantilever by having the buttocks not too back by the advancing knees. This allows for greater amplitudes with the thighs flexion.

With that, we feel better the quadriceps work by limiting the torso’s inclinaison and the work of the gluteus maximus and spinal erectors.

The low barbell and raised heel combination allows you to lift heavier weights. This technique is recommended for rangy people and people with stiff ankles to correct their positioning at squat.

Front squat to target quadriceps

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

Front squat limits the torso’s inclinaison. This has the effect of reducing the work of the lower back, decrease the tension of hamstrings muscles and adductor magnus muscle.

On the other hand, front squat increases the cantilever, which forces quadriceps to make more effort to extend the thigh on the leg.

Which means it’s the perfect squat for thighs. But it’s not possible to lift heavyweights like the classic squat and it’s recommended to do it with heels elevated for better stability.

For rangy people, front squat is very hard to do. The torso of rangy people is more inclined, which make it more difficult to hold the barbell which may fall forward during the execution of the movement.

Spread the legs to less incline the torso

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

There is a squat’s technique to limit the torso’s inclination. This involves spreading the legs with the feet outward. Some powerlifters do this technique with the legs almost wide apart. With the legs apart, this limits the legs flexion.

To be able to squat with the legs apart, it’s necessary to have an adequate bone conformation of the hip joint and to be flexible of the thighs adductor muscle. Which means, it’s a technique that can’t be used by everyone.

The advantage of the big belly

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

Having a big belly for squat and deadlift allow to compress it against the thighs. This helps to limit the inclination of the torso and the back’s rounding. This has the effect of protecting the lower back and limiting the risk of herniated disc.

It’s for this reason that we can see a lot of heavyweight champion of powerlifting or weightlifting with a big belly. They take care to keep their belly fat with an excessively rich diet.

Different forms of knees

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

In bodybuilding, it’s important to take into account the different morphologies of the individual and especially for the knees.

Arched legs (genu varum) are not more risky than normal legs. For people with X legs (genu varum) or people who can overly extend the thighs (genu recurvatum), it’s often recommanded to not do leg exercises with very heavy weights.

Cases of genu valgum are often :

  • In people who were overweight during their youth when leg bones weren’t fully developed and still « malleable ». Legs are deformed because of the overload. Now, they have this X shape.

  • In women. The fact that women have wider hips to have children, this influences the femurs direction which are generally more inclined.

For people with genu valgum. If the genu valgum is to excessive, the joint would be overused. The medial collateral ligament would be extremely tense. The lateral meniscus, the articular surfaces coated with cartilage of the external condyle of the femur, and the external lateral tuberosity of the tibia would be subjected to excessive friction, which would cause pathologies of wear.

For people with genu recurvatum. These are people who are essentially very flexible named hyperlaxes or women whose muscular and ligamentous hyperlaxity is related to reproductive function.

Rarely pathological, knees with genu recurvatum can sometimes have some problems like the meniscus pinching. This can happen when the knees are rapidly expanding and the meniscus haven’t had enough time to slip, or during an exercise with a heavy weight that has forced the hyperextension of the thigh.

It’s for this reason that it’s recommended to people suffering from a genu recuvatum pathological never to totally block the knees at the end of extension to the squat or to the leg press.

Note

For 2 people who are the same size, it’s important to consider the torso-leg ratio.

anatomy body squat morphology knee big belly

Type A :

People with proportionally long legs and a short torso will have trouble doing a proper squat without tilting their torso excessively forward.

On the other hand, the short torso (which limits the cantilever) facilitates the execution of the good-morning, classic deadlift and Romanian deadlift.

Type B :

People with proportionally short legs and a long torso will have the facility to squat safety without tilting their torso excessively forward. It’s for this reason that the great champions of powerlifting squat specialist have this type of morphology.

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-Steph

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How To Do Front Squat

front squat

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

Standing with your feet apart at about the shoulder’s width. You take the barbell with a pronated grip and you put the barbell on your upper chest and your anterior deltoid :

  • Inhale deeply to maintain intrathoracic pressure that prevents your torso from sagging forward. Arch slightly your back. Squeeze your abs and bends your thighs to bring them to the horizontal.

  • Return to the starting position and exhale at the end of the movement.

To prevent the barbell from slipping forward, pull out your chest and raise your elbows as high as possible.

As the barbell placed anteriorly, your chest will not bend forward and your back will always be straight. You have the possibility to put a wedge under your heels to ease the movement of execution.

Front squat is an exercise to do with weights less heavy than the classic squat.

This exercise works the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs and erector spinae.

Front squat is an exercise used in weightlifting training because the movement corresponds perfectly to the work performed by thighs during snatch and clean and jerk.

front squat

With a specific machine, you can do the same work on quadriceps as the front squat by wedging your legs and bending your thighs.

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-Steph

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How To Do Squat

squat

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

Squat is the #1 exercise for bodybuilding because it works a lot of the muscular system and is great for the cardiovascular system. Squat allows to have a good thoracic expansion and a good respiratory capacity.

  • Standing in front of the barbell resting on the support. Put yourself under the barbell and place the barbell on your trapezius a little higher that the posterior deltoids. Take the barbell with a pronated grip. The spread of the hands is variable according to the morphology. Pull your elbows backwards.

  • Inhale deeply (to maintain an intrathoracic pressure that will prevent your torso from sagging forward). Arch you back slightly, squeeze your abs, look forward and take off the barbell.

  • Back 1 or 2 steps. Stop with your feet parallel (or slightly outward). Your feet are about your shoulders width. Squat down by tilting your back forward (the flexion axis passing through the hip joint). Control the descent without rounding your back to avoid injury.

  • When your femurs arrive horizontally, do an extension of your legs by straightening your torso to return to the starting position. Exhale at the end of the movement.

Squat works mainly quadriceps, glutes, adducteurs, erector spinae, abs and hamstring.

Note

Squat is one of the best moves to develop the gluteal curve.

2 ways to place the barbell

squat barbell posiiton

  1. On trapezius

  1. On deltoids and trapezius like powerlifters

Variants

  1. People with stiff ankles or long femurs can place a wedge under the heels to avoid too much torso inclinaison. This allows to postpone a part of the effort on quadriceps.

  2. The barbell’s position may be on the back (on the posterior deltoids). This reduce the cantilever by increasing the lifting power of the back which allows to take heavier weights. This is a technique used by powerlifters.

  3. It’s possible to do squat with the Smith machine, which makes it possible to avoid the torso inclinaison and to locate the effort on quadriceps.

How to place the feet

The feet position is important during the execution of the classic squat (feet apart at about the shoulders width). Feet should be in parallel or slightly outward. What is most important is to respect the person’s morphology and to place the feet in the physiological axis of the knees. For example, if you walk with your feet out, squat with your feet out.

Different torso’s inclinaison according to the morphologies

squat morpology

  1. Short legs, long torso : slightly inclined torso, weak cantilever

  1. Long legs, short torso : very inclined torso, important cantilever

Good position

squat good position

During the squat, the back should be as straight as possible throughout the movement. According of the morphologies (long/short legs, stiff/flexible ankles) and the different execution’s technique (feet’s position, use of compensated sole, barbell in up/down position), the torso could be very inclined or slightly inclined because flexion is done at the hip joint.

Bad position

squat bad position

It’s necessary not to round the back while performing the squat because this can create injuries in the lumbar region and spinal disc herniation.

Note

To really feel the work of the glutes, it’s necessary to have the thighs horizontally.

1-2-3 : negatives phase

4: full squat

squat full

 

It’s possible to have thighs lower than horizontal to better feel the glutes work but this technique can be done only by people who have short femurs or flexible ankles. It’s necessary to be very careful with the full squat because it is really easy to round the back.

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 torse form 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 .

 

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-Steph

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How To Do Machine Back Extension

machine back extension

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

Sitting on the machine with your torso bent. The pads placed on your shoulder blades :

  • Inhale and straightens your torso at the maximum

  • Back to the start position by controlling the movement and exhaling.

This exercise works spinal erectors muscle mainly, the sacro-lumbar of the spinal muscle and a little bit longissimus thoracis, iliocostalis lumborum, quadratus lumborum.

This machine is excellent for beginner to gain strength to do back’s exercise more technical later.

machine back extension

What is interesting with this machine, it’s to change the weight and the movement’s amplitude during session.

Example

Do 2 sets of 15 reps with a moderate weight and a complete execution of the amplitude and then do 2 sets of 7 reps with a heavier weight and a reduced amplitude.

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-Steph

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