Angled Leg Press

angled leg press anatomy

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

Warning : Using leg press with heavy weight may cause a displacement in the sacroiliac joint, which can lead to contracture.

sacroiliac joint

angled leg press

Installed in the machine with your back on the back pad and your feet a little apart :

  • Inhale and unlock security. Bend your legs as much as possible to have your thighs on the sides of your ribcage.

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

The feet’s position allows you to target certain muscles :

  • Feet low on the plate work primary quadriceps

  • Feet high on the plate work primary glutes and hamstrings.

  • Feet apart on the plate work primary adductors.

angled leg press feet position

Note

This exercise is good for people with back problems and who can’t do squat. Attention, it’s necessary not to take off the glutes of the back pad.

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-Steph

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How To Do Leg Extension

leg extension anatomy

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

Sitting on the machine with your hands on the handles or the seat to keep your torso montionless. Your knees are bent and your ankles are under pads :

  • Inhale and extend your legs to the horizontal.

  • Exhale at the end of movement.

leg extension anatomy

This exercise is great for working quadriceps. The more the seat’s back is inclined, the more the pelvis is in retroversion. This has the effect of stretching the rectus femoris muscle which intensifies the work of quadriceps during the leg extension.

leg extension quadriceps femoris femur muscle anatomy

leg extension quadriceps femoris muscle anatomy

This exercise is recommended for beginners to gain strength to do exercises more technical later.

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-Steph

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How To Do Box Squat

box squat

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

Box squat is often used by powerlifters to gain strength to do squat.

This exercise involves doing a squat sitting on a bench for 1-2 seconds and returning to the standing position .

In classic squat the tension accumulated in the muscles during the negative phase when you get down (as a stretched elastic ) and this tension restored during the positive phase when you get up. With box squat, sitting on the bench relaxed thighs muscle, there is not tension accumulated when you get down to be used when you get up.

For the same weight, quadriceps should provide more effort for box squat than classic squat. It’s a great exercise to target work on thighs.

This exercise can be included in a training program for people who have long legs and don’t feel their quadriceps work with classic squat.

box squat

Starting squat in sitting position allows push automatisms for the classic squat which has the effect of having the positive phase to get up faster and more powerful.

Attention : It’s necessary to be careful for this exercise in controlling the movement to get down to sit gently on the bench. If get down too fast, the butt crash on the bench and this can create serious trauma due to shock and excessive compression of spinal joints.

Note: There are special benches adaptable for different morphologies with a very padded seat to limit the risk of spinal injuries and the possibility of adjusting the height. To have a good execution of the movement, it’s necessary to have your back slightly incline. If your back is too vertical at start of the bench, the exercise will be impossible to do.

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-Steph

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How To Do Hack Squat

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

Your legs are strained with your back against the backrest. Your shoulders are wedged under the pads with your feet averagely apart :

  • Inhale, unblock security and bend legs.

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

This exercise works quadriceps :

  • More your feet placed forward and more your glutes work.

  • More your feet are spread and more your adductors work.

Attention : To protect your back, it’s necessary to squeeze your abs to avoid lateral movements of the pelvis and spine.

Adaptation to bipedalism

human being chimpanzee bipedalism glutes

Chimpanzee (who is our close relative) has a large torso size and poorly developed glutes. Because of this, chimpanzee has difficulty in straightening the core and difficulty walking in biped mode.

Human being is the only primate to be adapted to a totally bipedal movement.

The human being developed the gluteus maximus muscles to adapt to bipedalism. It’s for this reason that the torso’s size decreased to facilitate to put the core in the upright position. The human being has something more that the gorilla and the chimpanzee can’t do. The human being can block the knee joint in extension to stay upright with less energy.

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-Steph

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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.

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-Steph

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Schools To Be An Entrepreneur

school

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

There are schools with specific courses about entrepreneurship. But several studies show that only 10% of students create their own companies. The vast majority go looking for a job.

It’s possible that these students create their own companies 5 or 10 years later but these are statistics that are hard to get.

It’s possible that these students start their company 5 or 10 years later, but these statistics are hard to have.

Look this podcast about « How should Business Schools prepare students for startup ? ».

What is interesting is to talk to entrepreneurs and to see that the vast majority of them have never studied at a school about entrepreneurship.

Being an entrepreneur is like any other exciting job, we always keep learning. Being an entrepreneur is a mission of life and it’s necessary to become better day after day.

If there is no effective school to learn entrepreneurship, we know that there is a curriculum to be a businessman.

MBA

mba

MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a huge curriculum. It’s often 1-2 years of your life after a professional experience. Which means that for 1-2 years, you don’t earn a salary. And it should be added that a MBA costs between $ 50 000.- and $ 100 000.-. You see, you really need to be motivated to do it.

It’s clear that having a MBA make it possible to have a better salary, it also helps to have knowledge in business but there are interesting critics on the results obtained on the field.

A MBA shows your employers that you’re able to sacrifice your life for your job. During a MBA, you work 70-80 hours a week to get it, which means that you’re able to do the same hours per week for your employer.

A MBA helps to create a network, but now with internet, there is another way to create a network. Interesting people don’t look for people who was in the best schools, they are looking for people who have projects and who shows that they’re capable to realize their projects.

Among the people who have negative reviews on MBA, we can find Seth Godin. Seth Godin is a well-know author and marketing expert in USA. He has a MBA from Standford and quotes : « Having A MBA is learning the best techniques for running a company in the 1990s for 2 years, while the world runs as fast as it can ».

We also have Peter Thiel. Peter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPay and Palantir and he’s the first external investor for Facebook. He has a MBA and he’s not satisfied with the results he obtained on the field.

What is certain is that a MBA is not really about creating entrepreneurs but about creating good employees able to run a company of the 1990s.

At the moment, there is no effective school in the world to learn to be a good entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind and a decision of life. It’s all learned on the field, reading books and talking to more experienced entrepreneurs.

There is an interesting book « The Personal MBA »  that lets you learn the basics of a MBA without spending 1-2 years of your life without pay working 70-80 hours per week and saving between $ 50 000.- and $ 100 000.-. All this only by reading this book.

But I’m open-minded and it’s possible that someone took a course on entrepreneurship in a school. If that’s your case, it would be cool if you shared the experience you had in school and how it helped you to create and grow your company.

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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.

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

-Steph

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