Break For Injuries

sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE and today I didn’t train. I will tell you why, because I feel pain to my left shoulder and my 2 knees. 6 day ago, it was my leg day and you know, I hurt my right knee during a martial art session. So I used lightweight to train my leg.

Since around 6 months, I felt pain to my shoulder (shoulder impingement) because of the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press. Since 1 months, I hurt my right knee in a martial art sparring, because I wanted to avoid a punch and my leg (my knee) was in a bad position. I had 2 injuries . I searched an alternative exercise for the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press to decrease the pain and I found out. I wrote 2 articles about it. Click here and there .

Too much injuries

sport injury

As it was a leg day, I decided to do front squat with lightweight to not hurt to much my right knee. After my front squat session, I did leg press with one leg. After my warm-up set, I felt a pain in my left knee, it was like if someone hit my left knee with a knife, I stopped my rep immediately. It was the first time I felt this pain and I didn’t like it. I tried to do an another rep to see the gravity of the pain and I stopped my leg day here.

I did the half of my leg day’s program and I thought it was a good idea to test the new way to do dumbbell bench press without pain. When I was walking with the dumbbell in my hands, I felt the pain in my left knee. I did this dumbbell bench press variant and I validate it.

Usually after my workout, I eat my meal (my post workout is solid food). While I was eating my meal, I thought it was the time to make a break. 3 injuries is too much for me and I decided quickly to make a break of 1 month to really recover, because since 2015 I train regularly 6-7 days per weeks and the longest break I make was 10 days. Yeah, 10 days. When I realized it, I thank God of Light for his gratitude. And you know what ? When I slept, I felt I a little pain in the middle of my back. It means to do my front squat, my body compensated the weakness of my right knee with others parts of my body to be able to execute the movement.

Special recovery

Now, it’s the 6th days and I continue to write article for my blog and I learned what kind of injuries I have and I want to learn deeper about sport injuries because I scare to become like Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie Coleman is the best bodybuilder for me, it’s because of him I started seriously to train like a bodybuilder when I was on the streets. And now, see this living legend who can’t walk without a crutch, it’s too sad.

I want to have the best athletic body I can until I die, I’m more focus about sport injuries. More I know about it and more I can avoid it. Every day I do my stretching session and I do 2 special movements to help my left shoulder to decrease the pain. I will see on 15th July, if my recovery session is effective.

It’s important not to take lightly the pain of your body. I know a lot of people who had pains a few years ago and they had to do some surgery. Now, they can’t use their capacity at 100%.

Subscribe to my newsletter and 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

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.

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

-Steph

Deadlift Correctly (Part 2)

deadlift

I you didn’t read the Part 1, click here

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

Setup

As you know, there are several versions of deadlift that can match your training goals or your body type but the conventional deadlift is great for starting to learn the basics.

Attention : It’s important to do 1-2 sets warm-up with the barbell without weights. As with squat, this warm-up allows you to prepare joints and muscles.

  • Adds weights and uses collars for safety

    If you’re a beginner, only use 2-26-4.6kg (5-10lbs) plates to make easy to adjust the weights on the barbell. When you have better understood the movement and how your body reacts you can use plates of 20kg (45lbs).

  • Stand with your feet at the width of your hips

    The spacing of your feet is about 20-30cm (8-12 inches) and your toes are slightly outside about 5-10 degrees.

  • Look at the ground

    Place your feet under the barbell so that the barbell almost touches your ankles. The barbell must be on the node of your laces

  • Without moving the barbell or your hips

    Lean forward to take the barbell. Your legs are slightly bent. Your hands should be slightly outside your legs without touching them.

  • Hold the barbell

    Move your hips down so your shins touch the barbell. Stop moving your hips when your shins touch the barbell. Squeeze your torso and keep your back straight to have your back in a neutral position.

  • Your back in a neutral position

    Your back shouldn’t be rounded or hyper extends. If you feel like you don’t have your back in a neutral position, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or a gym’s member to make a video of you with a smartphone while you’re doing deadlift. This will allow you to correct your technique.

    In addition to your spine, uses the upper back’s muscles to help to lift your chest up (swagger).

    Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the barbell and your arms should be straight and perpendicular to the ground.

As each person has unique body, the person next to you will have a different starting position than you and this is normal. Think about it : if a person has long arms, will this person have exactly the same position as a person with short arms ? No.

Deadlift

deadlift movement

  • Ready to lift

    Be focus and squeeze all your body’s muscles

  • Deep breathing

    Take a deep breath and keep your chest up with all your body squeezed ant put all the weight on your heels and on the ball of your feet.

    Imagine driving your feet through the ground.

Here are the important points in this part of the movement :

  1. All the weight must be on your heels and on the ball of your feet. During the movement, you should be able to move your toes.

  2. Your whole body moves slowly at the same speed. Your butt shouldn’t get up faster than your torso.

  3. Be focused on directing your torso and putting the weight on your heels.

  4. Your arms should stay straight during the movement. Your arms only serve to hold the barbell, not pull it.

  5. The barbell stay in contact with all your body. The barbell is a few millimeters from your legs while your lift it. Powerlifters put socks on their shins and chalk or baby powder on their thighs to avoid cuts and scratches The barbell’s trajectory during the movement is a vertical straight line.

  6. Squeeze your glutes. When the barbell goes over your knees, squeeze your glutes to move your hips forward.

  7. When you stand, open your chest as if you’re proud (like a king/queen). Keep your spine in a neutral position (straight back) and all your body tight.

To lower the barbell

As with lifting the barbell, all your body needs to move at the same time.

Your body is always contracted, unlocks your hips and knees and lower the barbell by controlling the movement slowly.

If you unlocks your knees first, you’ll do weird movements that will force you to round your lower back.

deadlift low back rounded

Keep your body contracted until the barbell touches the ground. The majority of deadlift injuries appear during the descends of the barbell. People are so pleased to have lifted a heavy weight that they relax their bodies and lower the barbell with poor technique. It’s important to control movement with your contracted body throughout exercise.

Note

In deadlift the most risky moment is the eccentric part (descending the barbell). This is the part that will give you the most DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

That’s why several personal trainers advise their athletes to throw the barbell on the ground, especially for athletes who must be at 100 % for a competition in a few days.

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

-Steph

Squat Correctly (Part 2)

sqaut

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

Click here to read the Part 1 

Barbell Squat

I know 3 types of squat and this is the best known : the high bar back (also named « Olympic Squat » or « Oly Squat »), the low bar back squat and the front squat. Maybe there are others but I’ll talk about the best known.

The difference is how you place the barbell.

Depending on how you place the barbell on your body, this will modify the squat’s mechanism and geometry. Which means that you will use your muscles slightly differently depending on how you place the barbell.

  • The Low Bar Back is a posterior chain dominant squat

    posterior chain muscle

  • The High Bar Back and Front Squat are a quad dominant squat.

Here a diagram form the book « Starting Strength » to better visualize the barbell’s placement.

diagram barbell placement squat strating strenght

Don’t worry, these 3 squat’s type work the same basic muscles. As you know each exercise has its variants. Now, you know the 3 variants of squat.

Go, find in your gym a squat rack,  a power cage or a squat stand  and place the barbell at the height of your clavicle. If you can’t do this and the height is too low or too high, choose the too low. I have never seen anyone lift on toe and with heavyweight, the accident is guaranteed.

power rack squat rack squat stands

As you read in my articles « Know how much weight to lift (Part 1 et Part 2) » [url link], it’s important to do a warm up with the barbell without weight. I don’t want to know how much you want to lift, do some sets with the barbell without weight to prepare your muscles and joints.

Low bar back squat

It’s the most popular squat’s type for beginners, general lifters and powerlifters. It’s also the squat’s type taught in the book « Starting Strength », one of the best book for beginners.

Once you have adjusted the barbell’s height, be in front of the barbell. Take a step to be under the barbell and grab it with your hands. For this squat’s type, you’ll use a thumbless grip so that your wrists aligned with your forearms.

Usually the grip’s width is near of the shoulders to create a meaty shelf to place the barbell on the muscles in our upper back (deltoid posterior). If you aren’t comfortable, you can have a wider grip. And with time, when you have more flexibility, you can have a grip near of your shoulders.

Here is the difference between a « wrapped grip » (left) and « thumbless grip » (right) : 

barbell wrapped grip thumbless grip

Once the barbell is on your back, stand up, contract your core (squeeze butt and abs) and step back. Normally, if you followed instructions well, you can only step backward. If you can take a step forward, you’re in the wrong direction.

This squat’s type is a posterior chain dominant squat and you’ll be able to lift heavier that the 2 others squat’s type.

High bar back squat

For this type of squat, you’ll start the same way but you’ll put your thumble around the barbell. This isn’t a thumbless grip.

The grip’s width is near of the shoulders to create a meaty shelf to place the barbell on the muscles in our upper back (deltoid posterior) like for the low bar back squat.

If you lack of flexibility to have a narrow grip, you can place the barbell 5cm (2inches) higher on your trapezius instead on your posterior deltoid. Which means that the barbell is placed almost on your shoulders.

Look the difference between a high bar back squat (left) and a low bar back squat (right) :

high bar back squat low bar back squat

Attention : the barbell placed almost on your shoulders and not on your spine. If you feel the barbell touching your spine, it’s too high and this can cause serious damage.

Place the barbell on your back and take a step back. Stabilize and tighten your core and squat down.

To do this squat version well, you need to keep your torso more upright. If you had difficulties to keep your torso upright with the bodyweight squat, it will be a little be more difficult here.

You can try, there is no problem but lift lightweight until you do it well to correct yourself. It would be a pity if your torso collapses and the barbell rolls on your neck (avoid this pain, really).

Front squat

For this squat’s type, you need to place the barbell in front of your shoulders. This squat’s type is quad dominant so you have to be able to keep your torso even higher than the high bar back squat.

Instead of stepping under the barbell, you place the barbell in font of you on your shoulder. To grip the barbell, it’s a little bit more complicated because you need to have mobility and flexibility in your wrists.

Front squat is done with a full grip around the barbell like the other 2 squat types but most people let the barbell roll on their fingertips (a three finger grip is enough). If you like’re me, you don’t manage to have 3 finders around the barbell, there are 2 variants :

Keep your hands to hold the barbell (if not the 3 fingertips is enough) and keep your shoulders high so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. And squat down.

It’s important that you keep your shoulder as high as possible during the front squat. When you’re gonna squat down, you’re gonna feel the weight on your arms and it will probably correct your position, drop the weight otherwise you will hurt yourself.

What squat do ?

This is an excellent question. You’ll meet 2 clans that clash in the gyms : high bar back squat VS low bar back squat. Both clans have good arguments but that doesn’t help you make a choice.

The truth, test the 3 types and look with which you feel most comfortable, which you have the best technique and with which you can squat down the lowest (your hips joints lower than your knees). Once you have well studied and tested the 3 types of squat, you’ll find your type of squat.

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

-Steph

How To Do Chin-Ups

chin up anatomy back

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

In suspension at the fixed bar with your hands apart with a pronated grip:

  • Inhale and pulls to bring your chest almost to the level of the bar

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

  • Return to the starting position by controlling the movement

chin up anatomy back

This exercise works latissimus dorsi, teres major and when approaching the shoulder blades at the end of the movement, it’s the rhomboids and trapezius (middle and inferior part). This exercise works a little bit biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis.

This exercise works the back in thickness.

Variants

By pulling out your chest, you can pull to the chin.

If lifting your bodyweight is too easy, you can attach weights to a belt.

From a biomechanical point of view, do this exercise with your elbows along your body work the outer fibers of the latissimus dorsi and develop your back in width.

By pulling out your chest with your elbows back to pull to your chin, work the upper and middle fibers of the latissimus dorsi and those of the teres major.

chin up anatomy back

chin up anatomy back

Note

Pectoralis major works a little bit to be in synergy with the latissimus dorsi and teres major to close the angle between your arm and your core.

Evolution

evolution human being nature tree

Latissimus dorsi and teres major have an important role in the four-legged movement of our distant ancestors. They have the function of pushing the front legs backward.

During arboreal life, these muscles were transformed into muscles specialized in vertical displacement.

During life on the ground, our ancestors bought the biped but retained the possibility of climbing.

That’s why we have powerful back’s muscles to tow our bodies and climb trees.

Note

The difference that human beings have with our close relatives, the monkeys, is the development of lower limbs specializing in bipedalism. Our torso and upper limbs have the same structure and proportions. The truth is that monkeys don’t have long arms, it’s us who have long legs.

Subscribe to my newsletter and share this article you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-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.

Barbell Front Raises

barbell front raises

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 you have arms outstrechted :

  • Inhale and raises the barbell until the level of your eyes

  • Back to the start position slowly by avoiding shaking

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercice mainly works your anterior deltoids, your upper pectorals, infraspinatus and a little bit your trapezius, serratus anterior and your short head of your biceps.

If you raise higher up, your posterior deltoids also work to help raise your arms vertically.

This exercice can also be done at the low pulley. Put your back against the machine with the cable passing between your legs.

Note : Your brachial biceps works a little bit in alll anterior elevation of your arm.

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

-Steph