Mature Athlete

mature athlete

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Physical exercises are for everyone, including the mature population. Exercises allow older people to keep a healthy body and maintain their independence. The main health problems of the mature population are arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, depression and hearing and sight loss. With the exception of hearing and sight loss, all these health problems can be serious decrease with an adequate workout program.

All mature athletes should have a complete medical and musculoskeletal assessment before starting any workout program. Having a complete medical examination, medical advice and a workout program helps to avoid serious injuries and health accidents. These 3 things should meet the needs of a mature athlete to avoid disease, increase endurance, strength, body image and competitiveness.

Exercises are beneficial

It’s important that a qualified personal trainer create a specific workout program to improve strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. If the workout program includes sports such as golf or tennis, the technical knowledge of the golf/tennis instructors is helpful to avoid injury and improve performance. For results, workout programs must be consistent for at least 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

If physical conditions require correction, a cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation program or physical therapy may be helpful before starting a workout program. These rehab programs should be taught to mature athletes at a fitness level where they could continue with their own workout program.

Exercise type for the workout program

physical exercise type

An athlete should use types of exercises based on his/her desire, pre-existing conditions and his/her ability to exercise without pain. For an athlete with lower extremity joint problems such as arthritis or instability, it’s recommended to avoid exercises with repetitive impacts like running. For athletes with an unstable shoulder, it’s recommended to avoid overhead exercises such as military press and pull-ups.

Using several types of exercise to improve strength, can allow better recovery of muscle and tendon tissue. If a mature athlete wants to make a sport that can aggravate a pre-existing problem on a muscle, tendon or bone, that athlete should be in a good condition before doing this sport. It’s recommended to decrease this sport’s frequency to reduce the painful symptoms.

What equipment to use

Having shoes that fit with the exercise and/or the sport is beneficial. If the person has a foot with significant deformity such as flat feet (fallen arches), using orthopedic shoes helps to reduce stress on the entire lower extremity. The symptoms of arthritis in the knee may be decrease by the use of specialized braces.

Prevent injury or discomfort during exercise

If there is discomfort during or after physical exercise, this should be analyzed to prevent it from starting again or getting worse. Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory can be used in the short term if there is no interference with other medical conditions. It’s important to know that the use of ice, heat, massage and flexibility programs can decrease several symptoms caused by exercise.

There is more aggressive treatment with narcotic analgesic and/or cortisone injections but this should only be used to treat a specific lesion. This shouldn’t be used to allow an athlete to complete in the short term.

Summary

Creating a customized workout program with a medical professional and/or a qualified personal trainer helps a mature athlete to :

  • Keep independence

  • Increase physical abilities

  • Prevent injuries

  • Improve the quality of life

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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.

Stop To Be Shredded Everytime

black shredded athlete

black shredded athlete

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

Spring is here and I see that everyone wants to be shredded to show off this summer. I think it’s interesting to explain the difference between be shredded or cutting phase and losing weight.

Be shredded or cutting phase comes from the bodybuilding’s field. After taking muscle mass, be shredded allows to show your muscles striated in detail.

People confuse be shredded or cutting phase and a loss of weight. When you do a good weight loss, you lose water and fat without losing muscle mass and bone mass. When you’re shredded or cutting phase, you lower your bodyfat to 5% to see your muscles in detail as a bodybuilder competing.

Please, women and girls, stop saying that you are shredded or cutting phase. Naturally you have more fat than men and that’s normal because it’s to feed the baby when you will be pregnant. Your body programmed for that and that’s normal. For a woman or a girl to be shredded, it’s necessary to take steroids like women who participate in bodybuilding competitions. A clean weight loss is excellent and sufficient for toning and having a beautiful body.

Let’s talk about weight loss. There are plenty of stupid draconian weight loss programs. These programs cause loss of muscle mass, loss of bone mass, slow down metabolism and create health problems. I wrote 2 articles about it, click here  and there for Part 1  and Part 2 .

Wait

body under construction

I agree with this point of view and I think it’s necessary to be patient before be shredded or cutting phase. Wait 5 years before doing your first cutting phase. Make a clean mass gain for 5 years. Jamcore DZ waited 7 years before to participate in his 1st competition. At the 2nd competition, he felt like he was flat net to his competitors. He waited 3 years before participate in his 3rd competition. 10 years to gain muscle clean with a healthy nutrition to have nice muscle mass when he’s shredded.

So wait at least 5 years to have a healty muscle mass gain before to be shredded or cutting phase. Maybe you find that long but see the reasons :

  • 1st reason : Learn and understand how your body works.

  • 2nd reason : Learn the art of patience. You’re going to have trouble but all the best things are hard to get. You will realize each summer with your friends who will show off but your friends are flat. They believe that they have muscle mass but in fact they’re thin and dry and you arrive and BOOOOM !

  • 3rd reason : After 5 years when you’re shredded, it will encourage you for the next cutting phase. You know that you have to rest your body for several years by gaining muscles in a healthy way to have a better body for the next time. I know that there are people who want to be shredded after 2 years but the results are poor : less experience and more muscle loss because there aren’t enough muscles that was built so a small muscle mass visible. Me, the first time I was shredded, I was disgusted, I felt flat because I had a small muscle mass visible.

    It’s depressing and most people when they’re in this situation, they think to take steroids to show off with pictures on social media. This is happening right now on social media.

  • 4th reason : The more you’re shredded, the more you will regress because you lose more and more muscles. When you’re shredded, you lose some of your muscles, this is the process. So if you do this every years or every 6 months, you lose each time a part of the muscles that you have built.

The most common question

ask question

To start, people who tell you that you can do this all your life are liars. When you start training, you do something new to your body several times a week. It’s like a romantic relationship with a girl. It’s beautiful and after 6 months, she starts to piss you off, you start to piss her off and after you breakup. For muscle mass, it’s the same principle. At first you’ll build muscles and you’ll change your composition’s body, it’s normal.

After a while (2-3 years), your body starts to adapt and you stagnate. That’s when you’re looking for a training system that suits you, you focus on muscle isolation during an exercise, you improve your recovery and you evolve slowly. Gaining healthy muscle takes time and you have to accept it.

At the beginning of your training, you’ll lose fat and water and gain muscle at the same time for 2-3 years and then you’ll stagnate. Most of people who gain muscle get fat because they eat too much and don’t do cardio. Cardio all year is important to help control your weight. When I say doing cardio, it means doing cardio at a middle level, not cardio at a high level to be shredded. Doing cardio while you’re gaining muscle helps you progress because you keep a metabolism that works.

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

-Steph

High Calf And Low Calf

high calf low

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

I think you noticed that there are big differences in the shape of the calves. These morphological variations are due to the evolutionary adaptations to the climate that occurred during the first human migrations.

It’s common to see African blacks peoples with proportionally long legs with a sagging plantar arch of the foot (flat foot) and a long calcaneus. This bone conformation of the leg and foot provides excellent leverage in the ankle and minimal triceps surae muscle (calf muscle is short, thin and high with a long tendon) for powerful extension of feet to walk.

It’s common the see Nordic people with short legs with a pronounced plantar arch of the foot and a short calcaneus. This bone conformation of the leg and foot requires a massive and uneconomic triceps surae muscle who get down very low to do an extension of feet to walk.

high calf low anatomy

This type of massive and long calf is actually an adaptation to cold climates to keep body heat. This prevents legs from cooling too much during the freezing cold to prevent amputation of the legs. These massive and long calves are seen as aesthetic (bodybuilding competition) but they’re less suitable for running and more vulnerable to muscle tears.

Massive and long calves requires more and careful warm-up and it’s important to do stretching exercises before and after an intensive workout of calves.

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

-Steph

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

Deadlift Correctly (Part 1)

deadlift

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

I see there are many people who are avoiding deadlift because they are afraid of getting hurt. It’s funny, it’s like squat.

Doing deadlift with good a technique is excellent for health, it allow your to have stronger joints and a stronger posterior chain.

All exercises can be dangerous when they don’t do with the proper technique, which is why it’s important to seriously study each exercise.

Why

why

In workout programs, you can find the deadlift in the day of legs of back. This can be disturbing but the truth is the deadlift is a polyarticular exercise.

The deadlift (polyarticular exercise) works several different muscle’s group :

  • Your hands, your forearms, your arms to keep the barbell in the right position and the barbell is stable during the movement.

  • Your shoulder and trapezius help to hold the weight and keep it stable.

  • Your back and core help to keep your body tight and stable so that your spine is safe.

  • Your posterior chain  and your legs act as lever to lift the weight.

What is interesting is that deadlift is a basic human movement like the squat. It’s a « functional » movement that we do every day to take an object on the ground. Lifting a chair or taking a bag on the floor is deadlift.

Training yourself to do deadlift with a good technique at the gym, will allow you to do these daily tasks by decreasing the risk of injury. I imagine you’ve seen a person hurt his/her back by lifting something off the floor. It happened because the technique was bad.

Let things be clear, everyone needs to do deadlift. Look at that grandmother 

grandmother deadlift

Also, deadlift is the purest way to measure the strength. You lift or you can’t. Sometimes with gym’s members, we do a deadlift party, it’s fun.

Choose

Attention : if you have spinal injuries, go see your doctor before starting

The origin of the word « deadlift » is : you lift dead weight (motionless) of the ground.

In short, you take a barbel with weight and you get up with the barbell in your hands until your shoulders, hips and knees locked. Your arms should be straight during the whole movement and when you’re standing, the barbell is at the level of your hips.

Here are the different type of deadlift most common :

Conventional Deadlift

conventional deadlift

Your hands are at your hips width, outside of your feet.

Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift

You have a wide position with your hands inside of your feet.

Hex or Trap Bar Bar Deadlift

hex trap bar bar deadlift

You need to use a special bar. In this way, you make the movement with another biomechanics.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

snatch grip deadlift

You use a wide grip like to do a Snatch.

Straight Leg Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift

Many people are troubled by these variants. Here is an excellent article by Bret Contreras to see it in detail. Click here .

Deficit Deadlift, Rack Pulls

deficit deadlift rack pulls deadlift

These accessory movements allow you to increase or decrease the range of motion.

Dumbbell Deadlift Variations

dumbbell deadlift

You can do this when you don’t have access to a barbell and weights or as accessory movement.

In this article, I refer mainly to conventional deadlift.

Now, let’s talk about equipment :

Flat shoes

Converse Chuck Taylor Classic  are good (this is what I use). There’s also Vibrams, you can do in socks or with Powerliters shoes.

Chalk

chalk

This is optional but it can help you to not let your hands slip when you lift very heavy weights.

Deadlift can be taught in 1-2 sentences but there are complexities at different steps of the movement that you should know to avoid injury. I will develop this in the next parts.

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

-Steph