Understand How Your Workout Works In Your Body (Part 1)

body anatomy

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

I will talk about the training or workout. It’s a simple subject but everyone is lost because of theories and training systems.

A training is a physical activity and we will return to the basic seeing the effects of a training in your body.

Why when we train we like to look at ourselves in the mirror and that makes us happy ? This is what we will see.

Training

training workout

Whenever we do an action, there is a reaction. When we’re training (lifting weights), there is an increase in oxygen consumption then, an increase in blood circulation and then, congestion of the muscle. Congestion depends on 3 important things : nutrition, H2O and muscle isolation.

Nutrition must be the best as possible. Water consumption must be high. Learning to master to isolate the targeted muscle during a exercise allows you to increase the possibility of having a huge muscle.

After the congestion (nutrition, H2O, isolation), there is sweat then, there is the release of hormones called endorphins. Endorphins will make you feel good. It’s happiness and it’s at this moment that you will look at the mirror to appreciate your body.

It’s the process of your body when you do a physical activity (training).

All training programs don’t work for everyone

training workout program

There are training programs that are good for you and some are not. To discover this, there are 2 principle :

  • Execution and mastery of the exercise

  • The experience that comes with time

These 2 principles aim to improve your ability to isolate muscle during exercise. Which means working the targeted muscle without the help of another dominant muscle. I wrote an article about it .

Joints

joints body

To master an exercise, it’s also necessary that you know your joints like oversupination, overpronation or valgus. Choose intelligently your exercises allows you to not break your joints (injury, tendinitis and muscle tears). Don’t do an exercise because someone told you it’s the best exercise in the world, choose an exercise adapted to your morphology.

For example for me, I know that I have the valgus , which means that when I do barbell curls to work my biceps, I have pain wrist. When I do barbell curls with an EZ bar, I have less pain. When I do dumbbell curls, I have no pain, it’s perfect. So for me, the best exercise for my biceps is the dumbbell curls and not the barbell curls because I know my joints.

Another example. When I walk, my feet are outside so when I squat my feet are outside and that’s happiness. If a person tells me that I have to squat with my feet in parallel because it’s the best position in the world, I could say : « Shut up, I know my morphology better than you because I have studied my morphology ».

The elements that influence the exercice’s performance are experience, joint’s flexibility and the respect of the biomecanics laws.

That’s why I’m telling you that you shouldn’t validate a piece of advice without having tested it on yourself. On internet, you can find video like « The 5 worst exercises ». These videos aren’t based on different type of morphologies, so they are not relevant information, it’s just to make buzz. If you want to work on your biceps, try several different exercises and keep the one that suits you best.

Here is another story. I watched a Christian Guzman’s video where he was doing the overhead triceps extension with an EZ bar. I did this exercise for 1-2 months and I noticed that I didn’t have a good feeling even if I had a good execution of the movement. I started looking for another exercise of the same type to work my triceps and I found the lying dumbbell triceps extension and now, it’s perfect.

I needed time to learn the exercise, realize that this exercise didn’t fit my morphology and find another better fit.

You may think I lost time testing this exercise for 1-2 months but I gained experience with this story. It’s by testing yourself the things you can know what is good and what is not good for you. Experience is the knowledge of things voluntarily acquired through pratice in the reality of life.

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

Seated EZ-Bar Triceps Extensions

seated ez bar triceps extensions anatomy arm

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

Sitting or standing, take the EZ-Bar with a pronated grip and your arms upright :

  • Inhale and flex your arms to bring them behind your neck

  • Back to the start position and exhale at the end of extension

seated ez bar triceps extensions anatomy arm

The vertical position of arms stretches your long head of your triceps. This is help to pump your triceps.

In additional, the pronated grip work the lateral head of your triceps.

For safety reasons, don’t arch too much your back.

-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Triceps Extension

triceps extension anatomy version

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

Lying on the bench, you take the barbell with a pronated grip with your arms in vertical :

  • Inhale and flex your arms. Taking care to not spread too much your elbows to go down the barbell at your forehead or behind your head.

  • Back to the start position and exhale at the end of the movement

Variant

triceps extension anatomy version

  1. Barbell at your forehead level: Works mainly your medial head and lateral head of triceps muscle.
  2. Barbell behind your head: Works mainly your long head of triceps muscle.

triceps extension anatomy version

To make this movement easier, you can use an overhead triceps machine. This allows for greater concentration on the triceps long head. 

triceps muscles long head medial lateral

Note : Like we have each different morphology like have shoulders more or less wide, valgus of the elbows more or less pronounced, wrist more or less flexible, hands may be more or less outspread and elbows more or less open during the movement execution.

ez bar

Use the EZ-bar allow you to do this exercise by avoiding excessive tension on your wrist joints.

-Steph

Wrist Pain With Barbell Curls

elbow morphology

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

Biceps training with a EZ-bar allow to limit excessive strain on wrists.

ez bar

A) Elbow angle a little bit marked

elbow angle

B) Elbow angle marked in valgus (more common with women)

elbow angle valgus

For biceps training with a barbell, there is important to take care about individual differences in morphology.

Because the elbow opening angle then the angle between arm and forearm can change from a guy to another. Some people in anatomical position (it means arms along the body, hands in supination then thumbs outwards) will have elbow angle very marked. Forearm in valgus significantly extending outwardly. This particularity during arms flex with a standard barbell requires to excessively break wrists inward, making the exercise painful.

It’s recommended to this type of guys (like me) to relieve wrist joints to train with an EZ-bar.

Note : Elbow valgus is in general higher among women but I got it and I live well with.

-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Preacher Curls

preacher curls anatomy

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

Podcast

Sitting with your arms on the bench :

  • Inhale and flex your arms

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

preacher curls anatomy

This exercise is good to target the biceps, brachialis and brachioradialis.

arm anatomy

Note Because of the bench’s inclination, the tension will be very important during the complete extension of the forearms. It’s necessary to do a warm up with light weights to avoid injury.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here