How To Do Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift

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

Standing with the barbell on the floor in front of you. Your legs spread with your feet outside (always in your knees axis) :

  • Bent your legs to have your thighs in horizontal. Your arms are straight, you take the barbell with a pronated grip. Your hands on the barbell are to your shoulders’ width. You have the possibility to have one hand with a supinated grip and the other with a pronated grip to prevent the barbell from rolling. And with this technique, you can lift an extremely heavy weight.

  • Inhale and block your breath. Arch slightly your back, squeeze your abs and you stretch your legs by straightening your torso to have a vertical position with your shoulder drawn back. Exhale at the end of the movement.

  • Put back the barbell on the floor by blocking your breath.

It’s important to keep your back straight during all the movement to avoid injury.

This exercise works especially quadriceps muscles and adductor muscles.

This exercise works less the back’s muscles than the classic deadlift because the back is less bent at the starting position.

Note

It’s important to lift the barbell in front of your shins at the beginning of the movement.

Do this exercise with light weights and high sets (maximum 10 sets) to strengthen the lumbar’s region by working thighs and gluteus.

If you do this exercise with heavy weight, you need to be careful to not trauma hips joints, adductors muscles, and lumbosacral junction.

The sumo deadlift is one of the 3 powerlifting’s movements.

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-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.

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-Steph

Adapt Your Training To Your Morphology (Part 1)

morphology

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

In bodybuilding, it’s really important to take into account individual morphological differences. Especially for squat and deadlift.

Squat and deadlift have a different muscular work for a brevilineal person and a rangy person

A brevilineal person has a proportionally long torso and short limbs. An rangy person has a proportionally short torso and long limbs. This has nothing to do with height, muscle development or adiposity. Which means that a person can be a small fat rangy or a tall skinny brevilineal.

A brevilineal person have facility for squat because their short femurs makes that the torso is little inclined. This limits lower back and hamstring tension. As a result, the movement can be done in relative safety and the brevilineal person can almost exclusively focus on quadriceps work. It’s for this reason that almost all squat champions are brevilineal. An impressive example is that usually dwarves monopolize podiums of small categories in powerlifting.

Rangy people have more difficulty to do squat because their long femurs makes that the torso is very inclined forward. This puts hamstrings, adductors and gracilis in a dangerous position. Rangy people must fight constantly to not be out of balance forward.

It’s also important to pay attention to the back’s position to avoid rounding the back. Having the round back causes serious spinal injuries like the famous herniated disc.

Rangy people doing this type of squat leaning forward works much muscles of gluteus maximus which have the function of straightening the pelvis, torso and all erectors spinae muscles that try their best to avoid the rounding of the back.

As a result, the squat for long limbs is excellent for developing powerful glutes and lumbar spine. On the other hand it requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement. It should be noted that more weights are heavy, the more dangerous the movement’s execution.

For rangy people who really want to work quadriceps, it’s advisable to use incline machine like « hack squat ».

Difficulties change side

change side

For brevilineal people who are the kings of squat, there is a reverse medal. They have a lot of trouble to do deadlift.

Brevilineal people with short legs should bend their legs to take the barbell. Sometimes their femurs are almost horizontal and this position requires a lot of energy to start the movement.

On the other hand, rangy people can take the barbell with their legs half bent. With this position, quadriceps can us the maximum energy to start the movement. The morphology of the rangy people allows them to lift heavier weights than brevilineal people despite a tilt of the gluteus and erectors spinae muscles

It’s for this reason that almost all of the deadlift champions are rangy people.

morphology brevilineal rangy

morphology deadlift

Ankles flexibility

ankle morphology

The ankles flexibility has a great influence on the squat’s execution.

Ankles flexibility may be influenced by musculotendinous limitation (such as significant calves retractions) or bone limitation. For example, if the dorsal flexion (the fact of raising forefoot) is limited, the squat technique is completely modified.

The lack of ankles flexibility limits the shifting of the shins forward and the advanced knees. This makes it necessary to squat with the buttocks very back and the back leaning forward, which has the effect of working intensely the gluteus maximus and the spine erectors muscles.

Squat with an excessive inclinaison of the torso put dangerously tension on the back muscles of the thighs, adductors magnus, gracilis and increase the risk of muscle tearing.

It should be added that the positioning of the femurs below the horizontal has the effect of rounding the back, which increases the risk of vertebral damage. This squat requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement because the more the weigh is heavy and more the movement’s execution is dangerous.

Be careful, whether for the squat or the deadlift, having stiff ankles make it difficult to flex our legs even if the femurs are horizontal.

morphology deadlift

Finally, the cantilevered that is more important for deadlift than squat, this is requires quadriceps to provide more strength to extend thighs on the legs.

To read Part 2, click here.

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

-Steph

Know How Much Weight To Lift (Part 2)

how much

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

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

Several workouts later

several workout

Now that you know your starting weight, you can do the « progressive overload » method.

« Progressive overload » method involves gradually increasing the stress in your body during training.

For beginners, this means increasing the weight at each workout session. You know after each workout, your body is healed. And if you do things well by having good nutrition and good sleep, your body becomes stronger than before.

When your body gets used to your workout, it’s bad sign. When your body used to do 5 sets of 5 reps, it will become more effective so your body will burn fewer calories and use fewer processes to achieve movement.

To know when you need to add weight, you need to look at the difficulty you had in your last set. That’s why it’s important to track your workout to analyze your performance. You can use a paper notebook, Evernote  or a fitness app like Jefit . Document how much you lift, how many sets you do, how many reps you do, the degradation of your technique arrived at what set and what reps and quality of your latest set.

If you couldn’t do all reps of the last set with a good technique, take the same weight at your next session to improve your technique.

Doing this guarantee you that you don’t stagnate because every rep you do is more solid et better than the last time. To improve, it’s not necessary to increase weights at each workout. You can rest less between your set, improve movement control or do more reps. All these variations mean that you become stronger.

On the other hand if you can do all sets with an excellent technique without the barbell’s speed, it’s time to add weight. It doesn’t matter than you add 9 kg (20 lbs) or 1.1 kg(2.5 lbs), you progress.

All professional athletes will tell you it’s better to add weights slowly and progress constantly rather than to progress quickly and hit a plateau. In this way, you build your strength, your confidence and your momentum.

That’s why I recommend you to start too lightly for you progress constantly.

In life, there are ups and downs so there are days when you can’t add more weight because there is a lot of stress at school/work or you haven’t sleep enough and so on. It’s important to listen to your body rather than absolutely lift the weight you want.

Find your ta 1 rep max

1 rep max

It’s really fun to find the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a rep from time to time.

However for a beginner who has just started, it’s better to make the movement with a proper technique and add weight slowly to try to find. I advise you to follow a workout’s program for at least 6 weeks before to try to find your 1 rep max.

Why

Even if your technique is good for a beginner, you’ll have a better results by learning to make ajustements and corrections as you go. When you start, your body isn’t prepared to do this performance so if after 2 weeks you try to find your 1 rep max, it will not be your true 1 rep max.

In addition, when you train, you train everything in your body. Things like muscles and bones will become stronger while others like the nervous system will become more effective. The more often you do something and the better you do. When you’re a beginner you get better quickly.

And as you are a beginner, you haven’t yet experienced it. It’s not safe to try your 1 rep max when you learn the movement. Even if you have a good technique with a light weight, you’re going to hurt yourself because you don’t have the experience yet.

When your technique begins to deteriorate, you need to have experience to complete or stop the movement safely.

If you look at weightlifting or powerlifting competition, sometimes the way to lift does’t have the best technique you’ve seen. However, the lifters have enough experience to handle this and know how to stop the movement if something goes wrong. When you’re a beginner, you don’t know how to do it.

The respectable quantity to be lift

bench press fail

In fact, I think you already know the answer : it’s the weight that suits you. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your workouts because your’re competing with the « You » of the last week. It’s like racing your ghost in Mario Kart.

You’re like me, you want to have a strength better than average strength but it’s more complex that what you think because it depends on your body’s type, your background as an athlete, your genetics and other factors.

If there was a formula or a calculation, we would all have a superhero’s body but this is not the case.

This is why you have to concentrate on lifting the weight that is right for you today. At your next training, you’ll try to lift heavier and if you can’t do it, you will do more repetitions or decrease you rest time between your sets.

In this adventure to have an athletic body for life, forget people around you. The person who is next to you do squat at 226.7 kg (500 lbs) and you squat at 22.6 kg (50 lbs) ? Forget it ! If you squat at 22.6 kg (50 lbs) and it’s a challenge, it means that it’s the right weight you should lift.

Never modify your workout to impress the personne who is next to you. No one is judged by the weight he lifts and if people do that, they’re not future winner/champion. It’s the losers who seek shortcuts.

Remember :

  • Winners warm up with the empty barbell.

  • Winners focus on their reps and aren’t ashamed to lift less than the person next to them.

  • Winner take the time to do things right, even if it means lifting less than what they know can do.

  • Winners started with a beginner workout program like you

Remains cautious, begins slowly, adds weight slowly.

It’s better to train in safety early rather than hurt yourself and be frustrated before you’ve progressed like my friends hurt in the shoulder. My physique has progressed a lot while their bodies stagnate because of their shoulder injury.

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

-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.

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

-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

Essential (Part 4)

 athlete    

Don’t confuse correlation with causality

correlation causation

You want to look like a marathon runner, slim and sleek? Train yourself as a marathon runner.

Want to look like a sprinter, dry and muscular? Train yourself like a sprinter.

Want to look like a basketball player? Train yourself as a basketball player.

Oh wait. Last doesn’t work, nor for the two examples. This makes perfect sense, once again it looked attractive in its simplicity. Here are 3 questions we can ask ourselves to avoid similar mistakes:

A) Is it possible that the arrow of causality is reversed? Example: people who are naturally dry and muscular are often chosen as sprinter? Yes.

B) Are we a mix of absence and presence? Example: If it has been shown that a diet without meat increased lifetime averaged 5.15%. Is it possible that more presence of vegetables and not the absence of meat, that extends lifespan ? Yes, clearly.

C) Is it possible that you have tested a specific demographic and other variables were responsible for a difference? Example: If we know that Yoga improves heart health, and that the experimental group consisting of people of higher social class, is likely to influence people. Is it possible that the group control can help people eat better? Yes, you bet how much?

The fact isn’t a speculation of a hundred possible explanations.

The fact is to be skeptical, especially for sensational headline. Most “new studies” in the media are observational studies that can, at best, establish the correlation (Y did that while Z did this) but not causality (Y did this suddenly Z must do this ).

If I fall asleep during the world cup, when there is an advertisement , I caused this ? This isn’t a haiku (poem). The summary: correlation doesn’t prove causality. Be skeptical when people say that Y caused Z.

They’re wrong the most of the time at more than 50%.

Use the yo-yo effect for cycles

diet cycle

Yo-yo effect have a bad reputation.

Rather of fighting yourself, go to the shrink or eat an entire cake instead of ruining your diet with only a cookie. Let me tell you one thing: this is normal.

Eat more, then less, then more so on as in a continuous sine wave is an opportunity that we can leverage to achieve our goals more rapidly. Try to prevent this (trying to maintain a reduced calorie diet for a whole year, for example, you will see) to prevent the yo-yo effect becomes pathological and uncontrollable. Schedule a specific time to overeating, solves problems instead of creating them.

The top bodybuilders in the world and even include it in their diet phase before a competition, they have a cycle of calories to avoid down-regulation of hormones. The average daily could be 4000 calories a day but there is a type of cycle: Monday 4000 Tuesday 4500 Wednesday 3500, etc.

Ed Coan, described as the Michael Jordan of powerlifting, over 70 world records in this sport. Among others, he did an incredible deadlift at 901 pounds (408kg) while his bodyweight was at 220 pounds (100kg), it makes it even beat athletes of higher categories, super-heavy weight. His coach at the time, Marty Gallagher said neutrally “maintaining peak condition a whole year is a ticket to the psychiatric hospital”.

You can have your cake and eat as long as time is permits. The best part is these moments of ups and downs planned accelerates rather than reverse the progress.

Forget balance and accept cycles. This is the key ingredient to quickly reshape your body.

Predisposition VS predestination don’t blame your genes

predisposition predestination

Kenyan marathoners are legendary.

Kenyans have won all but one of the last 12 Boston Marathon. In the Olympic Games of 1988, Kenyans have won gold in the 800 meters, 1500 meters and 5000 meters and also the 3000 meters steeplechase. The factor in their population is approximately 30 million, the statistical probability for an international athlete of the Olympic level is about 1 in 1.6 billion.

If you are in the world of exercise science and sports, you can guess the composition of their muscle fibers that is inherited trait: slow twitch. Muscle fibers of type slow-twitch are perfect for endurance sports. Lucky.

But there is a problem: it doesn’t appear to be entirely true. To the surprise of researchers who conducted muscle biopsies of Kenyan runners, there was a high proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers, the type you’d expect to find among sprinters. Why ? Because they are often trained to be used for low mileage and high density.

If you are overweight and your parents are overweight, the inclination is blame genetics, but there is also an alternative explanation.

If the fatness gene or overeating behavior is removed? After all, obese people tend to be obese.

Even if you’re predisposed to being obese, you’re not destined to be obese.

Eric Lander, leader of the “Human Genome Project” highlights several time the folly of learned helplessness through genetic determinism:

People will think that because genes play something they determine all. We see again and again people said, “it’s genetic. I can’t do anything about it.”. It’s absurd. To say that some thing has a genetic component doesn’t mean it’s unchangeable.

Don’t accept predisposition. You don’t have and we can feed you and train you to have a different physical in the future. Almost all the personal experiences of Tim Ferriss implies improving few things that should be fixed genetically, unchangeable.

You can redirect your genetic profile you had at birth. From now on, “bad gene” can’t be no longer your excuse.

-Steph