Knee Instability

knee anatomy

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

When the knee extended, external and internal lateral ligaments stretched and prevent rotation of the joint. Standing on one foot, knee wedged in extension, which means that there is no need for muscle action to stabilize the joint.

knee anatomy extension flexion

When the knee flexed, external and internal lateral ligaments relaxed. In this position, the joint only stabilized by the action of the muscles.

knee anatomy meniscus

In flexion-rotation of knee, meniscus moves forward on the side of rotation If the extension of the articulation which follow is poorly controlled, it may happen that meniscus doesn’t back in its place quickly enough. In this case, meniscus pinched between condyles and there may be a meniscal lesion. If during pinching, a small piece of meniscus has been cut, a surgical operation may be necessary to remove it.

knee anatomy meniscus ligament

During asymmetical exercise such as lunges (lunges and dumbbell lunges), it’s important to preserve the knee joint to control movement in speed and straightness to avoid any injuries.

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

-Steph

Standing Calf Raise Machine

standing calf raise machine

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

Stand with your back straight and your shoulders under the pads. The front of your feet on the step with your ankles in passive flexion :

  • Do an extension of your feet with of your knees joints in extension.

This exercise works the triceps surae composed of 2 gastrocnemius and soleus. It’s really important to do each repetition with a full flexion to really stretch the muscles.

muscle triceps surae

insertions muscle triceps surae

In theory, it’s possible to locate the work on gastrocnemius medial (toes outward) or gastrocnemius lateral (toes inward) but, in reality it’s very difficult. However, you can easily shift the emphasis from the gastronemius to the soleus by flexing your knees to relax the gastrocnemius.

gastrocnemius medial lateral

Variant

standing barbell calf raise

It’s possible to do this movement with the Smith machine and a step under your feet.

Note

Triceps surae is a very powerful muscle that is used to lifting your bodyweight all day. It’s for this reason why it’s important to use heavyweights to work it.

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 Trap Bar Deadlift

 trap bar deadlift

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

 

Audio file :

Standing in the center of the trap bar (be careful, if you’re badly centered in the trap bar, there will be a lateral instability). Your legs are slightly spread with your back rigid and a little bit arched :

Bend your legs to have your thighs a little closer to the horizontal. This position may be different from one person to another depending on the morphology and ankles flexibility. For example, a person who has long femurs and long arms will have thighs a little higher than the horizontal. A person with short femurs and short arms will have thighs horizontally

With your arms outstretched, take the handle, being careful to center the grip of your hands. Be careful with a heavy weight because a non-centered grip will rock the trap bar forward or backward.

Inhale and block your breathing. Squeeze your abs and your lumbar region. Lift the trap bar by straightening your legs being careful to not round your back during movement. Exhale at the end of the effort.

trap bar deadlift

Maintain the extension of your body (your body is straight) for 2 seconds and go down with the trap bar keeping your abs and your lumbar region squeezed

The trap bar deadlift works all your muscles body as the classic deadlift . The difference is that the central position of the bar makes it possible to limit the tilt of your torso which reduces the intensity of the work of the glutes and the lumbar region and transfer a part of the effort towards the quadriceps.

It’s for this reason that the trap bar deadlift can be included in a specific program to work the thighs and can replace squat in some cases.

The upper part of the trapezius work deeply with heavier weights.

Note

For people who suffer from lower back, this exercise is safer than the classic deadlift.

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

-Steph

Neck Position

neck

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

In bodybuilding, having a bad neck’s position during an exercise can create neuralgia.

These neuralgias are numbness of the arm with tingling.

These sensations arrive a few days after doing exercise like dips, pec deck rear deltoid lateral, squat and deadlift. The cause is that the exercises were done with the neck extension, head back.

dips bad neck position

The truth is that the head back’s position triggers spasms and contractions of the deep muscles of the neck, which creates compression of the spinal nerves at their exit from the cervical vertebrae.

This compression creates a neuralgia that usually affects the brachia plexus around the vertebrae C4, C5, C6, C7, C8 et T1 (C for cervical and T for thoracic).

plexus brachial

Solution

Do dips or pec deck rear deltoid lateal with head forward by bringing your chin to your chest. This avoids these neuralgias.

neck position

Do deadlift or squat with your head straight (neutral position) looking forward. This avoids these neuralgias.

If the neuralgia installed, it’s important to stop any exercise with the head back (neck extension).

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

-Steph

Shoulder Stretching

shoulder stretching

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

Standing with an arm to the horizontal. You take your elbow with your opposite hand and you pull slowly on your arm to bring your elbow to the opposite shoulder.

Keep this position for 30 seconds to feel the stretch.

This exercise mainly works the deltoid posterior and lateral. It’s important to do this because the teres minor muscles and infraspinatus, which are external rotator muscles of humerus, often have contractures that can create a functional imbalance of the shoulder. This may be, for example, excessive tendon’s friction of the long portion of the biceps in the bicipital groove of the humerus. And the consequences of these contractures can be inflammatory pathologies

This exercise works a little bit the trapezius middle and lower portion and rhomboid major muscle.

Variant : You can pull the elbow with your opposite arm from below.

shoulder stretching

Note : For very muscular persons, the arm’s adduction may be hampered by compression of the brachial biceps on the pectoralis major, which will limit the proper stretching of the shoulder.’s posterior.

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

-Steph

Pec Deck Rear Deltoid Lateral

pec deck rear deltoid lateral

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

Sit on the machine with your torso on the backrest. With your arms outstretched takes the handles :

  • Inspire and spread your arms to straighten your shoulder blades at the end of movement.

  • Exhale

This exercise works your posterior deltoid, infraspinatus and teres minor muscle. And at the end of the movement when you shoulder blades are tightened, it works your shoulder blades, trapezius and rhomboids.

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

-Steph