How To Do Box Squat

box squat

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

Box squat is often used by powerlifters to gain strength to do squat.

This exercise involves doing a squat sitting on a bench for 1-2 seconds and returning to the standing position .

In classic squat the tension accumulated in the muscles during the negative phase when you get down (as a stretched elastic ) and this tension restored during the positive phase when you get up. With box squat, sitting on the bench relaxed thighs muscle, there is not tension accumulated when you get down to be used when you get up.

For the same weight, quadriceps should provide more effort for box squat than classic squat. It’s a great exercise to target work on thighs.

This exercise can be included in a training program for people who have long legs and don’t feel their quadriceps work with classic squat.

box squat

Starting squat in sitting position allows push automatisms for the classic squat which has the effect of having the positive phase to get up faster and more powerful.

Attention : It’s necessary to be careful for this exercise in controlling the movement to get down to sit gently on the bench. If get down too fast, the butt crash on the bench and this can create serious trauma due to shock and excessive compression of spinal joints.

Note: There are special benches adaptable for different morphologies with a very padded seat to limit the risk of spinal injuries and the possibility of adjusting the height. To have a good execution of the movement, it’s necessary to have your back slightly incline. If your back is too vertical at start of the bench, the exercise will be impossible to do.

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

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

From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 2)

become your own personal trainer

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

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

Mastering the movement

mastering the movement

If you want to have lasting results, there is no shortcut, you need to learn the basic movements. It’s like at school, learning and progressing.

The best way to start a strength training is to do a bodyweight workout at home (I started like that). If you want to do a barbell movement in your workout, you can use a broom stick or a PVC pipe. If you want to do a dumbbell movement, you can use 2 sections of PVC or 2 bottles of water.

The technique is very important for movement like squat, deadlift, pull ups, bench press. That’s why using light weight will allow you to learn to make the right movements. It’s going to be a bit long but you’re going to avoid having injuries and months of frustration.

Use your smartphone to make videos of your exercices to compare them with tutorial videos that you can find on Youtube or others.

It’s possible that you feel uncomfortable with an exercice even if you have videos to improve. In this case, I advise you to see gyms in your area to hire a coach for 1-2 sessions. It’s only to improve your techniques, it’s not to hire a coach for several months. This coach will teach you what you need to know to train at home safely.

It’s not always obvious to understand tutorial videos on Youtube or others. The reason is that the person who explains how to do the technique knows very well how to make the movement but forgot to explain mistakes he/she made when he/she was a beginner.

If you have difficulties with a part of the movement, don’t get upset or be frustrated. It’s just something you can improve and by tracking your workouts, you’ll see that.

What to take

what to take

Clothes

To start, takes comfortable clothes. Don’t buy special fitness clothes. The gym isn’t a fashion show, forget what people think about you. There is no ego in a gym. I like to wear simple clothes, no known brand because I always tear my clothes by dint of using them. Maybe I dress like a tramp but everyone is silent when they see my performances.

Note : If you go to workout after school/work, take your gym outfits with you to go to the gym directly.

Shoes

For shoes, takes shoes minimizes with a flat and hard sole. For example Classic Chuck Taylor , Vibram or Powerlifter shoes .

I use for my strength training Classic Chuck Taylor and for my cardio Puma.

Drink

Take a bottle of water. It’s handy to have a bottle of water next to you to drink between 2 sets rather than go to the toilettes.

Notebook

Takes a notebook to track your workout during your workout. Often after our workout we don’t remember the workout’s details as having done 1 more rep or 1 more set. If you use a smartphone, you can use Evernote  as a notebook or a fitness app like Jetfit .

Shower gel

We sweat during our workout and it’s always nice to take a shower after an effort. If you’re going to train before going to school/work, shower gel is essential.

Your music

Takes an MP3 player or smartphone with a great playlist to « get in the zone » and make you feel like a superhero. Often music in gyms are special. In my gym often we can hear bachata or it’s nightclub ambiance.

My playlist it’s 50 Cent, G-Unit, 2 Eminem’s song and soundtrack of japanese cartoon « Hajime No Ippo » (boxe) and « Hokuto No Ken » (martial art) and soundtrack of « Rocky ».

I’ve been using my smartphone for a few years to listen to my music and keep track of workout (Jefit) and it’s really cool.

The basic rules

basic rules

There are basic rules for gyms. By following these rules, you’ll be comfortable in any gym :

  • Put weights in the right place when you finished using them.

  • If a person is using a equipment you want to use, it’s OK to kindly ask this person how many sets he/sh has left to do.

  • If another person wants to use the same equipment as you, you can offer him/her to work together. You do a set while the other rest and vice versa. You may not be comfortable with that and you can say no. Say something like « no but I still have 2 sets and after it’s for you ».

  • If a person asks you to spot and you have never done that, tell that person you never did that and ask him/her what you’d like you to do. This person will explain everything to you.

  • If a person offer to spot you on an exercice (bench press), don’t worry. Usually it’s always an experienced person who does this to help you. It’s motivating and it’s a good opportunity to exceed your limits.

  • Cleans the sweat that has on the equipment you want to use. In gyms, there is always a station with liquid cleanser and tissues.

  • With benches, leaves a space between you and the others so that everyone can keep their personal space.

  • Even if you see a person making a move that you have never seen, let it happen. You don’t want someone to come and tell you that what you do is wrong. It’s the same for others.

  • Avoid speaking in your smartphone and call the person after your workout. You’re in a gym to train, only to train.

  • Don’t sit on equipment forever. Do your sets and go to the next exercice. Don’t sit on equipment for 2 hours.

Start your strength training as soon as possible. It’s by doing exercices several times that you’ll improve your technique. Don’t be afraid to do wrong because the majority of people in a gym have no idea what they’re doing. I have been practicing for several years and I’m always improving each one of my exercices, I say each of my exercices.

What keeps you from starting a strength training ?

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

-Steph

Crowdfunding and blog

crowdfunding

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

Use a crowdfunding’s platform is interesting to create a product. What is also cool is that by looking at projects we can have an idea of the future products.

Crowdfunding allow you to sell a product before creating it but there is a difference compared do the Lean Startup method  :

  • With the Lean Startup method, a startup must create as soon as possible a prototype (minimum viable product) to test it in the real world (the market).

  • With the crowdfunding, a product must be of sufficient interest to people to invest their money in the project. It’s mainly a relationship based on trust, people believe your promises.

Crowdfunding

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s platforms have their own rules to protect their communities. Imagine you need $300 000.- to create your product. Unfortunately you can reach only $200 000.-. As you have not reached $300 000.- required, the money is refunded to people. Nobody lose money.

The truth is that sell content on crowdfunding’s platform is very difficult. Video games work well, there are video games that reached $1 million. Movies and short films also work well. For exemple, fans of mangas or comics make a movie about their heros. On the other hand, books are really a small percentage.

For an author it can work but you already have a large community, already have an authority or already have credibility in another area.

If you start from scratch and you want to create a blog but nobody know you and you don’t have a community, it will be extremely complicated to have funding with this type of platform.

And the reason is very simple, everybody know that we can create a blog for free.

Self made

self-made

And it’s precisely because it’s free (or not expensive) that makes the blog’s strength.

You can create a blog today from your home and work on it (part-time) next to your school/work.

With a good strategy, you blog is a company. Do you know how it was 30 years ago to start a company ? You needed to have a minimum capital and you had to do a market research by buying files or paying experts. Now with internet, you can do it from your home, it’s cool.

To have a blog that work well, you need to have a strategy and one of the points of the strategy is to reduce your distractions. Decreases distractions that prevent you from evolving your blog. A distraction I’ve decreased is the number of hours watching TV show or Youtube. I spent easily 3 hours a day watching what doesn’t matter, now I decreased to 45 minutes.

With Youtube, I subscribed only 13 channels and it’s channels that learn something or motivate me to develop my blog.

stephane andre youtube subscribe

To have a blog, it’s a little bit utilize the Lean Startup method because your’re quickly in touch with reality to see if what you are doing interest people (number of views), you use feedbacks from your community to improve your content and you build your audience little by little so that your blog become a real company.

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

-Steph

High Pulley Lateral Extensions

high pulley lateral extensions

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

Standing in front of pulleys. Keep your arms stretched forward to take the right handle with your left hand and take the left handle with your right hand :

  • Inhale and spread your arms, keeping your arms outstretched. Expire at the end of the movement.

  • Back to the starting position by controlling the movement.

This exercice works deltoids, mainly posterior beams, infraspinatus and teres minor. At the end of movement (when shoulder blades approach), this exercice works trapezius and rhomboids.

Note : For people who have shoulders forward because of chest muscles, do this exercice and use the machine that works rear shoulders help to rebalance posture.

To straighten shoulders, it’s necessary to use moderate weights to stay focused on the end of movement to tighten shoulder blades properly.

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

-Steph

Semi Pronated Low Pulley Front Raises

semi pronated low pulley front raises

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

Standing with your feet slightly apart. Your arms are along your body with the handle in your hand in semi-pronation :

  • Inhale and raise your arms until your eyes level

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercice works your deltoid (mainly anterior beams) and pectoralis major (upper chest) and a little bit the short head of biceps.

This movement is better when you do high reps.

Variant : You can do this exercice with a dumbbell

Note : This exercice is good for people who have difficulty to develop anterior beams. The hand in semi-pronation carries the humerus in external rotation. It’s good because at the beginning of movement it stretches anterior beams and you really feel the work.

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

-Steph