Back To The Source Of Equipment (Part 2)

source water river

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

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

Racks Et Machines

To do squat, there are differents equipements, we name it « racks ». Let’s go.

Squat stands

squat stands

It’s 2 pieces standing, next to each other to hold the Olympic bar. It’s handy because it’s portable and you can do squat outside. But in a gym, it’s not great because you can’t put heavy weights, it’s too fragile.

Squat rack

squat rack

It’s 2 bars that are standing tied with horizontal bars. With the Squat racks, you can put heavy weights.

Power rack

power rack

It’s my favorite. It looks like a large rectangle with poles in vertical and horizontal. The Power racks have holes for placing J-hooks to adjust the height of Olympic bar. What is cool is that you can do several exercices with like pull-up, bench press, overhead press and dips.

Smith machine

smith machine

Smith machine looks like Squat racks except that the bar is guided.

Gym staff will tell you that it’s a machine to do squat safe. I don’t advise to use this machine because it forces your body to make unnatural movements. This scientific study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19855308 ) shows that you have better results with a squat with free weights.

The difference between Squat racks and Smith machine is that the bar where you put weights is fixed on Smith machine.

Weight machine

plate loaded machine weight pin loaded stack machine weight

Weight machines are in 2 categories : Pin loaded (stack machine) and Plate loaded. Pin machines have a rectangular weight stack with a hole to put the pin. More the pin is low, more the weight is heavy to lift. What is cool with this machines is that you don’t need to look for weights anywhere in the gym.

With Plate loaded, there is no weights attached to the machine. You put weights on the machine yourself. Plate loaded machines have a wider range of motion than Pin loaded.

Cable machine

cable machine

No matter the size or design of the cable machie, it will always be a pin loaded (stack machine). A handle is at the end of the cable and you can pull or push in different directions. Cable machine can be an alternative for some exercices you do with dumbbells or barbells. Cable machine has a wider range of motion.

Pull-up Bar

pull up bar

You know in most gyms, there is no real pullup bar (like in my gym). If you don’t find a freestanding bar, there are several alternatives like power rack, smith machine or the top of the cable machine.

Dips station

dips station

Usually dips station is integrated into the power rack or the cable machine. You can find some that are freestanding.

Assisted Pullup /Dip station

assisted pull up

It’s a Pin loaded (stack machine). You choose a weight and you put yourself on the platform. The weight you choose will help you to do pullups or dips. For pullups, I advise you to do Lat pulldown and the day where you can lift your bodyweight, you do freestanding pullup.

Bench

adjustable bench

Ajustables benches and standard flat benches are types of benches you will see in a gym. To do incline and decline exercices, ajustable bench is perfect. Benches are the equipement the most use in a gym, especially on Monday. I don’t know why but Monday is the international chest’s day and it’s hard to find a bench that day.

Bench press

bench press

Squat stand and Squat rack are use to do bench press in small gyms and Crossfit. In big gyms, there are special bench press with a stand attached.

Equipement items

Now you know the main gym’s equipment, I will show you small equipement items.

Collars/Clips

collar clip

There are several collars/clips designs but they have the same purpose that is to keep weights safe on the bar.


Weight plates

weight plate

There are several type of plates :

  • Standard metal plates/ rubber encased weight plates

    They’re made of metal and they shouldn’t be thrown to the ground. There are circle with the denomination of weight on. Depending on the weight, they have different diameters.

  • Bumper plates

    They’re made of rubber and can be thrown to the ground for above your head (clean and jerk).

Plates can have a denomination in kilograms or pounds :

Kilogramme : 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20 et 25kg

Pound : 2.5, 5, 10, 25 ou 45lbs.

You can also find plates with a combination of metal and rubber that can be thrown to the ground but not from aboe you head.

Kettelbells

kettelbell

This is looks like a cannon balls with handles. Most gym don’t have the same weight repertoire than dumbells but it’s possible to find kettelbells of 24kg (53lbs) and 31.75 (70lbs) and more.

GHR/GHD Machine

ghr ghd machine glute ham raise developer

The translation is « Glute Ham Raise » or « Glute Ham Developer ». With this you can do glute ham raise, back extension or sit ups.

Prowler/Dragging sled

prowler dragging sled

Put weights on a prowler and push or pull while you run.

Strongman equipment

strongman kegs yokes hammers tires atlas stone

If you don’t intend to make a strongman competition, kegs, yokes, hammers, tires and atlas stones are good to do from time to time.

Plyo Boxes

plyo Boxe

These boxes have several size. You jump on and off of.

Bands

band

Those are big rubber bans to work mobility and speed lifts.

Gear

It’s funny because people ask me often : « What do I wear ? ». I noticed in gyms, it’s often a fashion show. It’s for this reason beginners are impressed. Unless you have an injury, clothes don’t matter. When I started, I took some clothes that I rarely used and I always do that. Sometimes I see people with cool clothes and I say to myself : « Wow, I have to buy it » and when I see theirs performances I say to myself : « Pffff, show-off ! ».

Clothing

Gym isn’t a fashion show. You’re not going to win a prize because you’re well dressed. We’re here to sweat so wearing comfortable clothes. You know, my clothes and shoes are torn and the funny thing is that people ask me, if they can train with me because they see my body evolve.

Shoes

squat deadlift shoes classic converse chuck taylor all star

It’s important to have a good pair of shoes to do deadlift and squat. A good pair of shoes allows you to put your weight on your heels to be as stable as possible. Running shoes don’t allow you to do this because their soft soles. If you don’t have the budget for this type of shoes, the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star works well and is what many top powerlifters still wear.

Personally I use my Converse Chuck Taylor All Star for my strenght training and my Puma to run.

Gloves

Gloves are used to protect hands from callouses. At the beginning, I wore gloves and I still had callouses and sometimes my hands slipped inside gloves because of the sweat. I notices that gloves could also mess up your grip and technique. I don’t use gloves and I don’t recommand to have gloves.

Knee/Wrist wraps

knee wrist wraps

Wraps allow you to have support and stability when you lift heavy weights (squat/deadlift).

Straps

straps

Straps allow you to hold the bar longer in your hands. Straps are wrapped around the bar which relives your grip. It’s excellent for intermediate and advanced lifters. Beginners don’t need to use it.

Weightlifting Belt

weightlifting belt leather weightlifting belt velcro

There are 2 type of weightlifting belt : leather or velcro. It’s very usefull for intermediate and advanced lifters. I use my weightlifting belt only for deadlift and squat.

Stop, stop, stop, I see you start to worry about buyiing all this. Don’t panic, the most important thing to have is a good pair of shoes to get started. It’s simple, let’s go my friend.

Whats’s the biggest mistake you made when you started lifting ?

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

-Steph

Shoulder Injury (Part 1)

shoulder

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

Shoulders injuries are frequent in bodybuilding because we want develop all deltoid muscles. To do this, we must perform a signigicant number of repetition and movements thus multiplying the risk of injury.

It’s worth remembering that, in comparison with the solid hip’s articulation where the femur head is deeply embedded in the pelvic cavity of the pelvis, shoulder’s articulation, which must be very mobile to allow arms to move in all direction, is very little embedded.

Shoulders can thus be defined as a joint to muscular fixation, the maintenance of the humerus head on the scapula’s glenoid cavity is mainly ensured by a complex musculo-tendinous ensemble.

Although in bodybuilding most injuries occur during shoulders training, it’s rare to see this muscle directly injured. The wound are generally much deeper and appear most often during a false movement or after a long wear by friction of tendon structure reinforcing the articular capsule.

While in other sports of violent contact (such American football) or rapid arms movements (such as throwers) can result in serious injuries with dislocations and enven tendon pull. The main lesion observed is what we call subacromial bursitis.

Some people when performing elevated arm movements, such as back press or lateral raise, the supra-spinous tendon is rubbed and compressed between humerus head and osteoligamentous vault formed by the underside of the aromion and the coracoacromial ligament.

Consequence

shoulder anatomy

The result is an inflammation which generally begins with the synovial bursa, which normally protects the supra-spinous tendon from excessive friction. And it continue by the supra-spinous tendon itself and ends, if this inflammation isn’t treaed, by touching the adjacent tendons of the infraspinatus at the back and the long portion of the biceps at the front.

Arms elevation becomes extremely painful and there may be an irreversible deterioration of the supraspinatus tendon with calcification and sometimes even rutpure. The latter being observed in general only with people over 40 year old.

The space between the humerus and osteoligamentous vault can vary from one individual to another. Some athletes will not be able to lifte their arms laterally without generating excessive friction. These individuals must therefore avoid all back press, lateral raise to high and also when they train back, pulldown behind the neck.

All exercices with barbell for shoulders should be done in front of, with elbows slightly forward. With dumbbells lateral raise, the correct working angle should be sought, the right movement being the one that is realized painless.

It’s interesting to note that for the same shoulder injury all individuals don’t respond in the same way. Some people can perform all sort of arms raise, compressing and sometimes even deteriorating their tendons without ever triggering a painful inflammatory process. Thus, in the course of an examination, some people have discovered a rupture of the supra-spinous muscle’s tendon without ever having complained of any pain.

Another cause of shoulder pain may be due to an imbalance in the distribution of muscle tension around the joint capsule. Recall that the humerus head is firmly held against the scapula’s glenoid cavity by a muscular system with tendons adhering or passing through the articular capsule. This set is composed at the front by the subscapular, a little more on the outside by the long portion of the biceps, above by the supra-spinous and finally at the back by the infraspinatus and the teres major muscle. Spasm, hypertonicity or, on the contrary, a lack of tonicity of one or more of these muscles, can lead to a bad position of the shoulder joint. This bad position will be the cause, during the movements of the arm, of friction likely to generate inflammatory pathologies.

Exemple : A contracture or a spasm of the teres major muscle and infraspinatus will cause an external rotation of the humerus head which will generate during the movements of the arm, friction in the front of the shoulder joint. And with the time can injure the tendon of the long portion of the brachial biceps.

It will therefore be necessary to ensure to train in a balanced way all the muscles of the shoulder avoiding all the exercices where one will feel a discomfort, a pain or a friction.

Note : Hand massage or better with a vibrator, as well as electostimulation, give very good results to diminish and eliminate spasms and contractures of teres major muscle and infraspinatus.

-Steph

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