Good Morning

good morning leg exercise

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

Standing with your feet slightly apart. The barbell put on your trapezius or lower on your posterior deltoids :

  1. Inhale and bend you torso forward to the horizontal with your back straight, the axis of flexion passing through coxofemoral joint.

  2. Back to the start position and exhale.

It’s possible to make the movement easier by bending your knees.

This exercise works glutes (gluteus maximus), all spinal muscles and hamstrings (except the biceps femoris short head). Besides the knees flexion, hamstrings have the function of retroversion of the pelvis, which allows to straighten the torso. This action performed when the torso bound by isometic contraction to abs and sacro-lumbar muscles.

To have better feeling on hamstrings, it’s advisable never to work with heavy weight. In negative phase, « good morning » is excellent for stretching the back of the thighs. Work regularly the negative phase of the « good morining » helps prevent injuries to hamstrings during the squat with heavy weight.

good morning leg exercise method straight bent leg

  1. Legs stretched while your torso leans forward, extends hamstrings. This make is easier to feel sensations of hamstrings when you straighten up your torso.

  2. Legs bent while your torso leans forward, relax hamstrings. This facilitates flexion of hip.

good morning leg exercise method straight bent leg

good morning leg exercise pelvis stabilization

good morning leg exercise glutes gluteux maximus hamstings

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

-Steph

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.

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

-Steph

Adapt Your Training To Your Morphology (Part 1)

morphology

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

In bodybuilding, it’s really important to take into account individual morphological differences. Especially for squat and deadlift.

Squat and deadlift have a different muscular work for a brevilineal person and a rangy person

A brevilineal person has a proportionally long torso and short limbs. An rangy person has a proportionally short torso and long limbs. This has nothing to do with height, muscle development or adiposity. Which means that a person can be a small fat rangy or a tall skinny brevilineal.

A brevilineal person have facility for squat because their short femurs makes that the torso is little inclined. This limits lower back and hamstring tension. As a result, the movement can be done in relative safety and the brevilineal person can almost exclusively focus on quadriceps work. It’s for this reason that almost all squat champions are brevilineal. An impressive example is that usually dwarves monopolize podiums of small categories in powerlifting.

Rangy people have more difficulty to do squat because their long femurs makes that the torso is very inclined forward. This puts hamstrings, adductors and gracilis in a dangerous position. Rangy people must fight constantly to not be out of balance forward.

It’s also important to pay attention to the back’s position to avoid rounding the back. Having the round back causes serious spinal injuries like the famous herniated disc.

Rangy people doing this type of squat leaning forward works much muscles of gluteus maximus which have the function of straightening the pelvis, torso and all erectors spinae muscles that try their best to avoid the rounding of the back.

As a result, the squat for long limbs is excellent for developing powerful glutes and lumbar spine. On the other hand it requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement. It should be noted that more weights are heavy, the more dangerous the movement’s execution.

For rangy people who really want to work quadriceps, it’s advisable to use incline machine like « hack squat ».

Difficulties change side

change side

For brevilineal people who are the kings of squat, there is a reverse medal. They have a lot of trouble to do deadlift.

Brevilineal people with short legs should bend their legs to take the barbell. Sometimes their femurs are almost horizontal and this position requires a lot of energy to start the movement.

On the other hand, rangy people can take the barbell with their legs half bent. With this position, quadriceps can us the maximum energy to start the movement. The morphology of the rangy people allows them to lift heavier weights than brevilineal people despite a tilt of the gluteus and erectors spinae muscles

It’s for this reason that almost all of the deadlift champions are rangy people.

morphology brevilineal rangy

morphology deadlift

Ankles flexibility

ankle morphology

The ankles flexibility has a great influence on the squat’s execution.

Ankles flexibility may be influenced by musculotendinous limitation (such as significant calves retractions) or bone limitation. For example, if the dorsal flexion (the fact of raising forefoot) is limited, the squat technique is completely modified.

The lack of ankles flexibility limits the shifting of the shins forward and the advanced knees. This makes it necessary to squat with the buttocks very back and the back leaning forward, which has the effect of working intensely the gluteus maximus and the spine erectors muscles.

Squat with an excessive inclinaison of the torso put dangerously tension on the back muscles of the thighs, adductors magnus, gracilis and increase the risk of muscle tearing.

It should be added that the positioning of the femurs below the horizontal has the effect of rounding the back, which increases the risk of vertebral damage. This squat requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement because the more the weigh is heavy and more the movement’s execution is dangerous.

Be careful, whether for the squat or the deadlift, having stiff ankles make it difficult to flex our legs even if the femurs are horizontal.

morphology deadlift

Finally, the cantilevered that is more important for deadlift than squat, this is requires quadriceps to provide more strength to extend thighs on the legs.

To read Part 2, click here.

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

-Steph

How To Do Dumbbell Squat

dumbbell squat

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

Standing with your feet apart. A dumbbell in each hand with your arms relaxed :

  • You look straight in front of you. You inhale deeply. You arch a little bit your back and squat down.

  • When your thighs are parallel to the floor, straighten your legs to return to the starting positon.

  • Exhale at the end of the effort.

dumbbell squat

This exercice mainly works quadriceps and glutes.

Note

This exercise is to do with middle weights. Sets of 10-20 reps give excellent results. Doing this exercise with heavy weight is useless.

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

-Steph

Squat Correctly (Part 1)

squat

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

I’m sure that in your gym, everyone says it’s good to do squat ? But who do your see really doing ? There’s not a lot of people, it’s weird, no ?

I do the squat on leg’s day but the truth is that it’s actually a « full body » exercice. « Full body » means that it’s an exercice that work several different muscle group at the the same time.

The squat mimics a lot of natural movement that you use everyday and if your goal is to gain muscle and lose weight, the squat is perfect.

What I see in my gym is that people who have never done squat are very intimidated and they use Smith machine to be reassured. But the Smith machine is very bad to do squat because it prevents you from making a natural move.

With this article, you’ll know everything about the squat and you’ll be able to do it without problem.

Why

how much why

The squat is one of the most fundamental functional movements of our lives.

Look at babies, they bodyweight squat quietly. it’s by growing that we stop doing squat and be on a chair for hours.

When you travel, you see in countries, people do full squat to sit and chat, it’s fun. There are even restroom where you have to do a squat.

It’s modern furniture and technology that make us want to do less squat but fortunately we can get back to basics and squat all life.

Squat is a movement that uses multiple joints, hip and knee joint. This is what we call a compound movement.

Squat is a movement that uses legs muscles, hips muscles, core muscles, back muscle, shoulder muscle and arms muscle. That’s why I told you it was a full body exercice.

What is cool with squat is that it increases your flexibility and it strengthens your bones, your muscles and your knees.

The fact that squat uses several muscle groups in your body, your body must increase your anabolic hormone production  to exercise the movement. This is cool because it helps to lose fat and gain muscle.

Strengthening strength in your knees and in your hips decreases your chances of having injuries in everyday life.

You saw, it’s really good for your body to do squat. Now, look at the different type of squat.

Bodyweight squat

bodyweight squat

It’s the simplest squat version, it’s the squat we used to do when we were babies.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Your toes should point lightly to the outside, about 5 to 20 degrees outside.

Look before you and fix a spot on the wall in front of you. You’re going to look at this point while you’re squatting. You don’t have to look at ceiling or look at the floor. For me, it also helps me to stay focused.

Put your arms straight forward so that they’re parallel to the ground. Keep your spine straight. Your spine shouldn’t be rounded or too arched.

Be concentrated to properly distribute the weight on your feet. The weight must be on your heels and the ball of your feet. You must feel like you glued to the floor. With this technique you’re able to move your toes throughout the squat.

During the squat keeps your whole body contracted. Here we go.

Inhale, swing your hips back and push your butt back. You swing your hips back to bend your knees. It’s important to swing your hips back to begin the movement. If you start by bending your knees to begins the movement, the day you’re going to lift a heavy weight, you’ll quickly feel the pain and difficulty.

Continue to look in front of you by fixing the spot on the wall in front of you. Keep your back straight to have your spine in a neutral position and your chest and your shoulder up.

Get down

As you go down, stay focused so that your knees are aligned with your feet. I remember that when I started squatting, I had to concentrate on not having my knees inside my toes. When this happened, I would push my knees out to be aligned with my feet. Of course, your knees must not exceed the width of your feet.

Imagine you have a Start Wars light saber on your knees. The light saber should be between your second and fourth toes, it’s a little trick to help you have your knees aligned with your feet.

Squat down until your hips joints are lower than your knees, this is the parallel position. It’s necessary to look at the hips position and not the thighs position because the thighs size can be different from one person to another. If your hips joint aren’t lower than your knees, you do a partial squat.

Once you’re down, it’s time to get back on your feet.

Get up

Continue to have your whole body contracted and push on your heels and keep your feet on the ground as well.

Stay focus so that your knees are aligned at your feet like when you get down and contract your butt up to be sure to use your glutes.

The most important thing is that you have to keep your body and your core contracted all along the squat. It’s important to learn to do this right away because the more you lift heavy, the more it will help you to have a good body’s position during the squat.

Note :Every human being has a unique body so none of our squats will look perfect. A person who has a short femur  will have a slightly different squat than a person who has a long femur. And it should be added that many people are working to improve their mobility problems. What I mean is that if your squat looks different from the person next to you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

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

Upright Rows

upright rows

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

Standing with legs slightly apart. Your back straight with your abs contracted. Place a barball on your thinghs with a pronated grip and your hands are a little more apart than the width of your shoulders :

  • Inhale and pull the barbell along your body to your chin bay raising your elbows as high as possible.

  • Back to the starting position without shaking

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercice mainly works all the deltoids, trapezius, biceps and forearms’s muscles and a little bit butt, sacrospinalis and abs.

it’s a complete basics movement to obtain a body like Hercules.

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

-Steph