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

Ego

ego marvel

Today it was Abs – Back – Biceps. After my workout I realized that I had played with my ego during the session. I often see people trying to lift too heavy but insists. It’s clear that it’s the ego but to impress who ? I don’t know. Many people advised me to let my ego to the locker room to avoid unnecessary injuries and I agree with them.

But today it happened something different. There’s a guy in the gym who is taller than me and has more mass. The 1st time I saw him, I was impressed by his physical and then with time we start a little talk. Now I know he will do his 1st Deadlift competition soon.

The next exercice I had to do was standing biceps curl  then I look for the barbell at 99 lbs (45kg). The barbell was behind him, I ask him if I can use. He replied: « Go it’s too heavy ». He did standing bicep curl with a barbell at 44 lbs (20kg). And then in my head I begin to say : « What he can’t lift it, serious ?!?! ». I replied « Don’t worry soon you’ll be able to lift, me too at first I couldn’t ». I take the barbell and I do my 4 sets of 10 repetitions (with difficulty). I know he saw me and his friends also.

deception face

Then I imagine lots of stuff in my head : « Yeah it’s a show-off, I’m stronger than him, etc ». Then I remembered that he was preparing for a Deadlift competition. It’s necessary to have powerful biceps to Deadlift ? NO. And I calmed down because a tennis player doesn’t have the same training as a football player !

standing biceps curl deadlift

In Deadlift, it’s clear he’s better than me then why I should believe I’m stronger than him when we haven’t the same objectives. And yes, it’s my ego was activated when I saw that I lift more than him with standing bicep curl. I train only for me and my opponent is myself, not others. I have to learn more to help others rather than believe I’m superior than them, that’s how I build my solid legacy.

Ah, ego can be really vicious and you ? Did you feel ,one time, superior to someone because you could do something better than this person ?

-Steph

Security At The Barbell

bench press fail

Today it was Chest – Triceps – Calves. A good session, I progress on exercises I still can’t do 4 sets of 10 reps, I’m happy. While I was changing up to another exercice, I see a person make bench press. Suddenly, I see the barbell moving and weights drop down !

The guy gets up and looks panicked and check if no one is injured. A guy made him a remark to use barbell clips. He says him he use to do it like that. He explains that the problem is not what happens to lift weights without barbell clips but hurting someone and bring him to the hospital. He continues to do the exercise with barbell clips.

It’s been many times I see people doing exercises at the barbell without putting barbell clips. I don’t know if no one explained their or they do it to show off, but I think it’s really stupid. Explain to me how you can do the exercise’s movement good when your weights slides from the left to right on the barbell.

bench press fail

No but seriously, this is not the circus here. You lift weights and in addition you have to keep them in balancev? Go there to do when you lift heavy ! In less than 2 seconds weights are down and it’s you who is trying to stay balanced on the bench.

Imagine you do that and that a person get the weight of 20 kg (44 lbs) on the foot. Ah, it’s less laughing, must bring him to the hospital and you can be sure he has broken bones. I think in that moment, you don’t fluff at all, especially when you have to explain how it happened.

What I mean is that by this way you don’t do the exercise correctly because you can hurt yourself and you can seriously injure someone else. But with a barbell clip all can be avoided, use it and you can really use all your potential with a excellent movement execution.

barbell clips

Do you want to do exercises in the best way ? Free fitness program (select a program and click on « Log in as Guest ») or my eBook.

-Steph

Next Level

next level

Here, after 2 months, it’s time to change my routine,go to the next level. I am still at the stage where I have to add 2 reps per exercise. Here I am at 10 reps and today was Abs-Back-Biceps, actually for abs I do 12 repetitions with weights.

I really felt this training, I needed more time to recover between sets and I drank more than usual. My heart really beat faster and I was breathing with the mouth.

I really felt my back with dumbbell at 42kg (92 lbs) for the Row but there 2 exercices where I couldn’t do 10 repetitions in each set. This is the Incline Dumbbell Curls at 18kg (39 lbs) and Overhead Cable Curl at 20kg (44 lbs). I felt the pain my friends, I’m a little disappointed but biceps are one of my weaknesses.

incline dumbbell curl overhead cable curl

It’s funny because during my training a guy congratulated me because my arm was bigger. And I was : « No, I didn’t do 10 reps » kind I’m not satisfied with my arms. He would have told me that last week, I would have been proud but changing my routine, I realize that my adventure is not over.

Do you realize that people you see on videos who lifts more weights than you, have already experienced what you are experiencing now and they have continued despite pain and suffering ? Maybe 2 weeks ago I showed off a bit because I received several compliments by wearing a T-shirt but now I feel like a beginner.

It’s cool for me, I want to do 10 reps as I was doing 8 reps by this way, this summer I would be able to add weights. It’s always good to have new challenges.

challenge accepted

Be persistent, be better than yesterday is the key to success. You’re the only person who knows what is necessary for your hapiness. People criticizes you ? Let people talk, they are jealous, they know they don’t have the same courage as you then they try to humiliate you. You already know that you’re the winner.

Looking for a fitness program ? Free fitness program (select a program and click on « Log as a Guest »).

-Steph

Why impress others ?

 impress gym

Now that I have changed my training program for 1 week, I am aware that the technique is really important if we want progress without serious injury. I must admit that I still had a little afraid to lift heavy because I have two friends who were wounded in the shoulder by lifting heavy really really anyhow.

Show off in the gym trying to lift heavier than its neighbor or scream like pig to say: “I make a sick perf, I’m too strong”, it’s useless. It’s clear, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve done this 2-3 times but when you feel an ongoing shoulder pain for 2-3 days, that makes scare.

Wait wait, man, I must tell you the time I wanted to show off with a friend who is a rugby player (I will not say his name because otherwise he’s going to laugh at me). Well, he invited me in his gym, my friend is strong and his team is 3rd or 4th in the championship, he’s a good player. I following training program and he told me that I’m doing well. He pushes me to my limits, it was crazy, dude, it was crazy, people in the gym looked us like we were barbarians.

After training, we eat, I promise, man, to raise my glass to my mouth, oh damn dude, it was hard, I had sore arms, shoulders, it burned. Each time I raised my arms, I had a crazy pain. And I was like everything is okay, I had to, we had trained at noon, the day wasn’t over. Ouch…ouch….ouch….oooouuuucccchhhh, it was long this day.

injuries

In the evening I go home and I tell myself that it isn’t possible that I became so weak because I have too forced. Let’s go some pushups, then 1…..1…. 1…..1. There, I start freaking, not even 1 pushup, I CAN’T DO 1 PUSHUP. I begin to imagine that I got injured and I couldn’t make sports, in less than two seconds I was already in depressed mode. Before going to bed, I make a prayer to keep training. The next day it was better, little pain but I could lifted as usual.

I have been lucky compared to my 2 friends because them is that their shoulders dislocated. It means that all chest and shoulders are limited to a light weight. I saw with my eyes while I was helping one of my buddies at press bench, it lifts and POP! The shoulder was dislocated and he can’t finish the movement. It’s violent because it can’t develop their chest and shoulders, it is a plateau for life, it sucks.

So from these stories, I often seeks perfect technique, but nothing is perfect, you just do things the best way you can do. When you increase weights, there are new requirements and if you are used to doing bad moves, you feel the pain right away. And heavier, it’s more radical as happened to my friends.

That’s why it’s important to REALLY listen to your body, not your head !

hurt

You train for yourself, to be a better version of yourself, not to impress someone who look cool. Look, you’re impressed someone, it will last how long ? A few minutes. But if you improve yourself, it will last all your life. Imagine that you don’t see this person that you’re impressed for years and you continue to train without hurt. You see again this person and he/she didn’t look cool now, he/she has even become unbearable and ugly. You know what you’re going to tell yourself ? It’ll be something like: “Oh my God, I wanted to impress that person because I thought he/she was cool, now it’s a real shit.”

You really gonna hurt you to impress someone who just looks cool?

Betting happiness in the long term rather than short-term pleasure. You have a choice: train yourself by paying attention and your progress will be slow but steady OR you train like a barbarian and your progress will be fast and get injuries. You can’t train yourself as before, forget your progress as my 2 buddies.

impress yourself

The only person I want to impress is myself. You, you want to impress yourself or others ?

-Steph