Good Position For Abs

Action on lumbar curvature of the psoas muscle

Psoas muscles have other functions than to be powerful flexors of hip. They put the lumbar spine in lordosis, which increases the arch.

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

Abs exercises (especially for rectus abdominis) must work with the round back (round your spine). It’s the opposite of other exercises.

For vertebral coil exercises, the mechanicals stresses on vertebral joints aren’t the same as for exercises such as squat, deadlift and other exercises with weight. For example, for squat, the spine isn’t arched at the lumbar level. The vertical pressure with the spine’s rounding pushes the nucleus pulposus intervertebral disc backwards, which can compress nerve elements and create sciatic herniated disc.

For abs exercises, it’s the opposite. If during the abs execution you forget to round your back with an intense contraction of abs and obliques, the powerful flexors of hips (psoas major) will increase the lumbar arch. This will move the intervertebral discs forward as they aren’t stabilized by the vertical pressure. Then an excess of pressure at the back of the lumbar vertebral joints can create lumbago or more serious, joints damage by compression and shear.

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-Steph

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Individual Variations In Hip Mobility

hip mobility

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

Without taking into account the individual differences in muscle elasticity and ligament laxity, it’s bone shape of the hip joint that determines the main variation in hip mobility.

It’s mainly in the amplitude of hip abduction that bone configuration plays an important role.

Examples

  • An almost horizontal femoral neck (coxo vara) with an upper edge of the important cotyloid cavity and covering, will limit abduction movements.

  • An almost vertical femoral neck (coxa valga) with an upper edge of the less important cotyloid cavity will facilitate abduction movements.

This means that it is useless to raise the leg very high laterally if the morphology doesn’t allow it.

Attention

If someone forces the hip’s abductions, femur’s neck will bump on the cotyloid cavity edge. And this person will compensate the lateral raise of the leg with a pelvic tilt on the femur head of the other leg. It should be added that forcing oneself to make abduction sets may, over time, create microtraumas in some people that will cause excessive development of the cotyloid cavity upper edge. This has the consequence of limiting the hip’s mobility and creating painful inflammations.

hip mobility abduction

hip mobility abduction

hip mobility abduction coxa vara valga bone morphology

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-Steph

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Cable Hip Abductions

Cable Hip Abductions anatomy

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

Cable Hip Abductions

Standing on one leg. Your other leg attached a low pulley to your ankle and your opposite hand placed on the machine to stabilize your body :

  • Raise your leg as high as possible

This exercise works mainly gluteus medius and gluteus minimus placed in more depth. For a better efficiency, it’s advisable to do set with high reps until the sensation of burns.

gluteal msucles insertions anatomy

Abductions anatomy

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-Steph

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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.

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-Steph

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Standing Calf Raises

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

Stand with the front of your feet on a step. Put your hand on a wall or a support to have more stability :

  • Slowly flex your feet to stretch your calves.

  • Extend your feet with your knees extended or slightly bent.

It’s a movement to be done slowly and with high reps until the burning sensation.

This exercise has an action of stretching and muscle contraction. It’s for this reason that this exercice can be used as a warm up before a calf exercise with heavyweights, to avoid injuries, or at the end of the session to feel the pump.

This exercise works triceps surae composed of 2 gastrocnemus and soleus and also flexor hallucis longus, tibialis posterior and flexor digitorum longus.

Note

This movement is excellent for stretching the muscles of the plantar surface of the feet like flexor digitorum brevis and quadratus plantae and soften plantar faschiitis.

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-Steph

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Deadlift Correctly (Part 3)

deadlift

If you didn’t read the first parts, click Part 1 and Part 2 

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

Grip the barbell

deadlift grip

The strength of the grip is an important part of the deadlift. There are 2 types of grip:

  • Overhand grip => The palms of your hands are towards your body (pronated grip).

  • Over-under ou mixed grip => One palm of your hand is toward your body and the other towards the outside (one hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip).

  • Hook grip => Your thumb is under your fingers

For beginners, the double overhand grip is the best to have a safe grip.

Use the mixed grip when you have more experience and you lift heavy because there are disadvantages. Stress on the shoulders is uneven and can create problems or injuries in the biceps whose palm is outside. As the stress on the shoulders is uneven, it’s easier to lift heavy weights.

When you begin deadlift, your grip’s strength is powerful enough to lift the barbell because your back’s strength is correct. The day of your back’s strength is more powerful than your grip’s strength (your hands slips slowly), that’s when you need to think about improving your grip.

If you don’t like the mixed grip, you can use the hook grip.

Wrist straps

Straps can help you lift heavier because your grip is assisted by a strap that is wrapped to the barbell and is hooked to your wrist.

I advise you to use wrist straps only when you lift very very heavy. This is not a thing to use all the time otherwise you’ll lose the natural strength of your grip.

Gloves

The truth is that the gloves don’t improve the grip. Gloves create a space between your hands and the barbell, this increases the diameter of the barbell and make the barbell harder to hold. Gloves prevent you from having a secure grip, I advise you to use them only if you have ripped callus to your hands.

With this video , you’ll learn to take care of your hands to avoid having this type of injury.

Belt

Many people in gyms use the belt in the wrong way, but you’re a smart one. The belt is useful only when you’re lifting very heavy weights and it’s not only for your lumbar. With this article , you’ll learn how to use the belt in an effective way.

Note

Use a mixed grip and a belt isn’t necessary to lift very heavy. Watch this video of Anthony Mychan  who do a deadlift at 249.47kg (550lbs) at a Nerd Fitness Camp with a double overhand with no belt.

Common mistakes

common mistakes

Rounded back

Having the back rounded throughout the movement may cause injuries. It’s necessary to have your spine in a neutral position.

Note => there are some powerlifters that purposefully round theirs upper back to decrease the range of motion, but this is a sport specific move, still a fault, and something you should not consider as a beginner.

Head raised and look up

To have a raised head create a hyperextension to your neck. This can cause injuries. Keep your head in a neutral position like your spine.

Hyperextending at the top

In fitness competitions, exaggerate the top of the deadlift has become popular for quickly show the judges that hip and knees locking is done.

Use the squat position

Deadlift is not squat. Deadlift doesn’t have the same start and end position as the squat. Deadlift is a different movement than squat.

Barbell makes a forward movement

It’s necessary that the barbell stays above your shoe’s laces and the barbell needs to be lifted vertically all along your body.

Barbell’s movements towards the front are to be avoided.

Your torso rises after your butt

We call it the « stripper deadlift ».

It’s important that your torso guides the movement and that your body moves in the same rhythm upwards.

Bend your arms

Often people bend their arms to lift the barbell more quickly. Unfortunately, this is a bad tactic because this can tear biceps muscle. Keep your arms straight during the movement.

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-Steph

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Stretching Of Deltoids Anterior

stretching of deltoids anterior beams

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

Standing legs spreads to shoulers width. Your arms stretched behind your back with your fingers crossed. Push your arms as far back as possible and raise your arms slowly. Pull out your torso and try to touch your torso with your chin.

Keep this position for 10-20 seconds.

This exercice mainly stretches deltoid anterior beams, pectoralis major (chest) and brachii biceps. This exercice stretches a little bit the brachial, brachio-radial and all wrist’s muscles extensor.

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-Steph

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