Improve Without Stress

stress

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE !!! I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned some good stuff.

I think that’s already happened to you. Do you put so much pressure on yourself to reach a goal that you fail ? And that’s very frustrating when we do personal development. When we put too much pressure on ourselves, we have negative effects. The goal of personal development is to become a better version of ourselves by being happier throughout our lives.

There is a very instructive story between Buddha and one of his disciple. This disciple asks to Buddha this question : « When I meditate, sometimes I put to much pressure on myself and it doesn’t work, I’m too stressed. And sometimes when I don’t put this pressure on myself, I’m not focus enough and I’m almost sleeping. What should I do ? ». Here is Buddha’s answer : « To practice meditation, you have to be like a zither rope. So that the rope make the right note, it must be neither too tight nor too relaxed, it must be exactly in the right range. It’s the same for meditation, you have to be neither too tense nor too relaxed to meditate in the most efficient way ».

Middle

balance

It’s funny because it’s the same principle with the guided meditation of Headspace . In several guided meditations, at a certain point, the person leading the meditation says : « From now on, you can let your mind do what it wants ». This allows you to relax yourself , to decompress to better concentrate later. But be careful, as Buddha said, if you don’t put pressure on yourself at all, you fall into the opposite extreme of laziness, lack of attention, and etc.

The answer is balance. It’s not easy to find the balance, but it’s very exciting to explore and experiment with it. Because it’s part of this trip that makes us better people.

It’s up to you experiment between : I’m too relaxed and I’m too stress. Seek the moment you progress to reach your goals and also where you enjoy life. Whenever you find the perfect tension, you’ll produce the perfect note.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here.

Variant To Avoid Dumbbell Bench Press Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I watched an Athlean-x’s video  and I learned some good stuff.

I wrote an article about to avoid pain when you do dumbbell press or overhead shoulder press because I have a pain when I do it. Click here to read the article  . I have the same problem with the dumbbell bench press. I have pain when I do it, so I write this article to continue this exercise without pain.

Bench press is one of the fundamental exercises to build muscles but with this pain, I wondered if I should continue doing this exercise because it hurt.

Problem

The reason for this pain may be a biceps tendonitis, a torn labrum, an inflammation or shoulder impingement (inflammation in rotator cuff). All these problem create instability during this exercise while we know that stability (body’s stability and dumbbell’s stability) is very important to perform the movement properly.

In the case of a torn labrum, labrum is tied to the biceps tendon or rather the biceps tendon is attached to the labrum. During the movement, it’s the tension of the biceps tendon that pulls on the torn labrum.

Solution

The solution is to change the elbows position. To do the classic bench press, the elbows are at between 45° and 90°, dumbbell held horizontally in the hands and you press up. To calm the pain, we’ll change the position. The technique is to tilt the dumbbells so that the dumbbell’s back are facing the ceiling.

Classic dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

Variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

Tilting the dumbbell’s back does 2 things :

  • This brings your arms closer to your body because you use a semi pronated grip. With this position your hands and arms make your shoulders have a neutral position. It’s the equivalent of barbell corner press which helps to reduce the pain caused by dumbbell press .

  • You use your triceps more than your biceps during the movement. With the classic position, you use your biceps to stabilize dumbbells than your triceps. With this position, you flex your elbows so you use more triceps to stabilize dumbbells than your biceps.

 

 

dumbbell bench press
Classic dumbbell bench press

 

variant dumbbell bench press
Variant dumbbell bench press

Using more triceps than your biceps will seriously reduce the pain or make it disappear because there is less tension through the biceps and it will less pull on the torn labrum. If you have biceps tendonitis or inflammation, this will seriously decrease the pain. Try this technique and you’ll see that it will be the first time you’ve been doing pain-free bench press for a long time.

When I had this pain during this exercise, I thought of 2 options :

  • Stop doing bench press because you can’t support the pain anymore

  • Use lightweight

Now that I know this technique :

  • I can continue to do bench press

  • I can keep the same weights and increase them

Subscribe to my newsletter and share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

General Stretching Of The Upper Body

stretching upper body

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Stand with your feet a little wider than your pelvis width and you back is straight :

  • Hold your ams vertically with your hands clasped and your fingers crossed. Your palms directed upwards :

  • Inhale to inflate your lungs to the maximum and stretch your intercostal muscles. Push your palms up keeping your back and head upright.

  • Exhale slowly by relaxing and starts again.

This stretching exercise stretches intercostal, rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, teres major, triceps. When you incline your torso laterally, you stretch more your external oblique and internal oblique, quadratus lumborum and the internal and medium part of your erectors spinae.

stretching upper body lateral

Note

This stretch is great for relaxing the body after a training with heavyweights like leg press, squat, deadlift because the ribcage and spine have been compressed.

This movement may occasionally replace or supplement the stretching at the bar  to rebalance the pressure and tensions of the intervertebral joints.

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

-Steph

Hamstring Stretching

hamstring stretching

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

Standing in support on one leg with your knee slightly bend. Your other leg stretched with your forefoot in flexion :

  • Your hands on your thighs with your back slightly arched. Slowly tilt your torso forward and focus on the feeling of stretching to the back of your thigh. The tilting is done at the level of the pelvis.

  • Hold this position for about 20 seconds and return slowly to the starting position.

This exercise stretches all the hamstrings muscle , adductor magnus, gastrocnemius, soleus and a little bit gluteus maximus.

Variant

hamstring stretching bench

Standing in support on one leg. Your other leg stretched out on a bench :

  • Your hands on your thighs with your back slightly arched. Slowly tilt your torso forward and focus on the feeling of stretching to the back of your thigh. The tilting is done at the level of the pelvis.

  • Hold this position for about 20 seconds and return slowly to the starting position.

To have a better feeling of streching, it’s possible to relax the calf’s muscle of the leg on the bench with the foot in extension.

Attention

In bodybuiding/fitness, stretching movements have the function of equalizing the tensions of the muscles fibers inside the muscle and limiting the risk of injury.

By using heavyweight, if the muscle fiber tension inside a muscle isn’t homogeneous, it’s the most tense fibers that will tear.

It’s for this reason that it’s advisable to do stretching exercise specific to the muscular group worked at the beginning of the session and between the warm-up sets.

Stretching exercises are always done gently and moderately to preserve the joints and avoid excessive ligamentous stretching which could destabilize the joints and create inflammatory pathologies.

Note

To avoid squat and deadlift injuries, it’s necessary to do stretching exercises at the beginning of the session and between warm-up sets.

hamstring stretching

During tilting of the pelvis forward (anteversion), the hamstrings are stretched.

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

-Steph

How To Do Quadriceps Stretchning

quadriceps stretching

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

Stand on one leg :

  • Take your ankle or your foot of your opposite leg.

  • Try to bring your heel closer to your buttocks by pulling upwards

This exercise works deep the iliopsoas and work a little bit the tensor fasciae latae.

To better feel the rectus femoris muscle (biarticular portion quadriceps), the thigh must be pulled as far back as possible. The quadriceps extension is naturally limited by the iliofemoral ligament’s tension.

Note :

To have a better balance, it’s possible to put your other arm on a stable object or a wall.

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

-Steph

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