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

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

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.

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-Steph

Biceps Tendon Rupture

biceps brachiitTendon rupture

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

Rupture or tear of the biceps long head is the serious injury the most frequent in sport

This injury usually appears on a muscle weakened by tendinitis caused by a sudden movement of the arm. Sudden arm movements are usually thrown like baseball, tennis, throwing sports and also Olympic weightlifting during the snatch. At this point, all tension transferred to the biceps long head which breaks most often where the tendon passes into the intertubercular sulcus of the humerus.

In bodybuilding, this injury is a little different, especially with the deadlift.

There is a technique in deadlift which consists of having a hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip to lift heavier weights and to avoid that the barbell rolls in the hands.

This simple technique is at the origin of the rupture or the disinsertion of the lower of the biceps (where the muscle is inserted on the humerus). Fortunately, this injury rarely happens.

During the positive phase of the deadlift, the muscles that work are legs, glutes, back and abs. Arms relaxed but they stretched as cranes cables.

Unfortunately, when a hand is with a supinated grip this shortens the biceps (the biceps is extremely powerful with a supinated grip). The result is that there is tremendous tension due to the heavy weights which cause the tearing or total rupture of the tendon of the radius. The biceps with a supinated grip works more than the biceps with a pronated grip.

In the deadlift, the injury is exclusively on the distal tendon of the muscle. The arms hang along the body, which causes the tension to be distributed at the top of the muscle between the tendons of the short head and the long head. For other exercises when the tension is at the bottom of the muscle, the tension is supported on a single tendon insertion.

biceps brachiitTendon rupture

The rupture of the biceps tendon causes a pain relatively moderate compared to the severity of the injury. If we compare the rupture of the biceps tendon with the major pectoralis or the adductors of the thighs, the pain is different. With a rupture of the major pectoralis tendon or adductors of the thighs, the suffering is so strong that the athlete must stop the effort.

It often happens that during a powerlifting competition, athletes who have a rupture of the biceps tendon during the deadlift, continue until the end of the movement.

When this injury occurs, there is swelling in the forearm because of hemorrhaging. But the most surprising thing is the retraction of the biceps which forms a ball at the top of the arm near to the pectoralis major and deltoid. This biceps retraction causes the brachial muscle in the lower arm to be more exposed.

biceps brachiitTendon rupture

It’s always possible to make a flexion of the arm with the rupture of the muscle, which less powerful than before, thanks to the brachial muscle, brachioradialis, long and short radial extensor of the carpus and the pronator teres muscle. On the other hand to make a movement with a supinated grip is a problem because the end of the movement is only carried out by a single muscle, the supinator muscle.

You have to be careful because this injury should be treated quickly by surgery to restore the brachial biceps tendon to the radius. If this surgical operation is not performed in time, the ball will have a fibrous transformation and retraction will be final. The arm’s mobility will always be possible but the loss of strength in flexion and supination is inevitable.

There is a solution to avoid this type of injury with deadlift with a bicep work to have a tendinous reinforcement. This exercise is to do a flexion only with forearms with a straight barbell. This exercise reinforces the biceps distal tendon but be careful by controlling the movement.

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-Steph

How To Do Deadlift

deadlift anatomy

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

Podcast:

Standing in front of the barbell that is on the floor with your legs slightly apart. Your back is motionless and slightly arched :

  • Bend your legs so that your thighs are about horizontal. This position may be slightly different depending on the morphology and the flexibility of your ankles. For example, a person who has short arms and short femurs will have the thighs to the horizontal. A person who has long arms and long femurs will have the thighs a little higher than the horizontal.

  • Take the barbell with your arms outstretched and with a pronated grip. Your hands are spread to a little bit more than your shoulder’s width. You can also have a hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip to prevent the barbell from rolling and lifting extremely heavy weights.

  • Inhale, block your breath and squeeze your abs and your lumbar region. Lift the barbell by straightening your legs and lift the barbell in front of your shins.

  • When the barbell comes to your knees level, you straighten your torso completely to finish your legs extended. Exhale at the end of the effort.

  • Keep your body’s extension (all your body is straight) for 2 seconds. Then go down with the barbell while you squeezing your abs and lumbar region to control the movement.

deadlift anatomy

It’s very important not to round your back during the movement to avoid injury.

deadlift anatomy

This exercise works all the body’s muscles, especially the glutes and quadriceps. This exercise builds solid hip, lower back, and trapezius.

deadlift anatomy

Deadlift is part of the exercises carried out during powerlifting’s competitions with squat and bench press.

Note

When you’re doing an exercise with a very heavy weight, it’s important that you do a « blocking » :

  1. You fill your lungs like a balloon by taking a deep breath and blocking your breathing. This allows you to avoid your torso leaning forward and this stiffens your rib cage.

  2. You squeeze your abs to stiffen your stomach and increase your intra-abdominal pressure. This prevents your torso from sagging forward.

  3. You arch your lower back with a squeeze of your lumbar muscles and extend the bottom of the spine.

« Blocking » is these 3 actions. When you do these 3 actions simultaneously, this allows you to avoid rounding your back. Lift heavy weights with a rounded back cause the famous injury called slipped disk.

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-Steph

How To Build An Ideal Female Body (Part 2)

 ideal woman body

D) More is less? Or Less Is More? Oh, Go Faster

rest

There are several factors to modify a workout, the most common are workout frequency, sets, reps, volume of work and weight. But there is a variable we don’t hear about.

I mean the training density. The density can be described as the total of work you do in a specific period, do more in less time.

Do more work in less time has many benefits: increase % of lost fat, increase strength and more toned skin.

The easiest way to increase density is to reduce rest periods. If normally you take 45 seconds of rest between your sets, you reduced to 35 or less.

Another way to increase density is based on TIME rather than REPS. If you make lateral raise, you make the most of reps as you can for 30 seconds. And in the next set, you try to beat your record. Increase speed but keeps a good exercice’s form.

You will become firmer, sexier and leaner, faster

E) Focus On Your Assets

squat butt

Oooops, I like when girls have a beautiful butt, well-formed, athletic butt. I’m honest and as I write an article to help women to have a sexy body, well, for me nothing is sexier than a beautiful backside. So let’s talk about the butt or rather train the butt.

You already know the 2 best exercises for your glutes: squat and lunge. Now I’ll tell you how to do them more efficiently.

When you squat, put the position of your feet the widest possible as a sumo. This work more on the glutes.

For lunges, GO BACK, no forward.

Lunges forward putting more pressure, more stress on quadriceps at the base of the knee (the vastus medialus), it’s rather an eccentric pressure. Look, when you do a lunge, your leg “take” the weight of your entire body and stop/absorbs a while. By this way the knee muscles do the majority of the work.

But, when you do lunge backwards, your glutes are working more and the section of quadriceps along the femur (rectus femoris) work better.

With that, you’ll develop strong and powerful legs without being “disturbed” to have too big quadriceps.

F) Being A Venus

be a venus

To have a physique that is attractive to the opposite sex, it’s important to understand certain dimension of the body that are visually important.

Our ancestors unconsciously validated desirable traits such as maternity, productivity and fertility corresponding to physical attributes. Some physical traits are what we call mating qualifiers, which means that from an evolutionary point of view, these traits are attractive to members of the opposite sex because of what they imply.

A man with broad shoulders projects an image of strength in our subconscious, a woman with a narrow waist and shapely hips projects the image of a woman who built her body in a way that implies fertility.

For example, the standard today is Marilyn Monroe and it can be compared to the beauty of the modern female celebrities.

The reason is the Golden Ratio is based on the comparison: hips-shoulders and the comparison: hips-waist. With women, we want athletic shoulders, a small waist and BOOM sexy hips.

Marilyn had a “perfect” ratio : 36-24-36, our current standard are more flexible 34.5-23-34.5. The common point with these figures is the ratio of the waist, hips and shoulders (ratio => 1: 1.5).

This means, focus to build strong and sexy shoulders with push press and lateral raise. Don’t worry to make a smaller butt, do multi-joint movement. It will improve its shape.

Now that you have these 6 tips to be sexy, be sexy !

-Steph