How To Do Squat

squat

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

Squat is the #1 exercise for bodybuilding because it works a lot of the muscular system and is great for the cardiovascular system. Squat allows to have a good thoracic expansion and a good respiratory capacity.

  • Standing in front of the barbell resting on the support. Put yourself under the barbell and place the barbell on your trapezius a little higher that the posterior deltoids. Take the barbell with a pronated grip. The spread of the hands is variable according to the morphology. Pull your elbows backwards.

  • Inhale deeply (to maintain an intrathoracic pressure that will prevent your torso from sagging forward). Arch you back slightly, squeeze your abs, look forward and take off the barbell.

  • Back 1 or 2 steps. Stop with your feet parallel (or slightly outward). Your feet are about your shoulders width. Squat down by tilting your back forward (the flexion axis passing through the hip joint). Control the descent without rounding your back to avoid injury.

  • When your femurs arrive horizontally, do an extension of your legs by straightening your torso to return to the starting position. Exhale at the end of the movement.

Squat works mainly quadriceps, glutes, adducteurs, erector spinae, abs and hamstring.

Note

Squat is one of the best moves to develop the gluteal curve.

2 ways to place the barbell

squat barbell posiiton

  1. On trapezius

  1. On deltoids and trapezius like powerlifters

Variants

  1. People with stiff ankles or long femurs can place a wedge under the heels to avoid too much torso inclinaison. This allows to postpone a part of the effort on quadriceps.

  2. The barbell’s position may be on the back (on the posterior deltoids). This reduce the cantilever by increasing the lifting power of the back which allows to take heavier weights. This is a technique used by powerlifters.

  3. It’s possible to do squat with the Smith machine, which makes it possible to avoid the torso inclinaison and to locate the effort on quadriceps.

How to place the feet

The feet position is important during the execution of the classic squat (feet apart at about the shoulders width). Feet should be in parallel or slightly outward. What is most important is to respect the person’s morphology and to place the feet in the physiological axis of the knees. For example, if you walk with your feet out, squat with your feet out.

Different torso’s inclinaison according to the morphologies

squat morpology

  1. Short legs, long torso : slightly inclined torso, weak cantilever

  1. Long legs, short torso : very inclined torso, important cantilever

Good position

squat good position

During the squat, the back should be as straight as possible throughout the movement. According of the morphologies (long/short legs, stiff/flexible ankles) and the different execution’s technique (feet’s position, use of compensated sole, barbell in up/down position), the torso could be very inclined or slightly inclined because flexion is done at the hip joint.

Bad position

squat bad position

It’s necessary not to round the back while performing the squat because this can create injuries in the lumbar region and spinal disc herniation.

Note

To really feel the work of the glutes, it’s necessary to have the thighs horizontally.

1-2-3 : negatives phase

4: full squat

squat full

 

It’s possible to have thighs lower than horizontal to better feel the glutes work but this technique can be done only by people who have short femurs or flexible ankles. It’s necessary to be very careful with the full squat because it is really easy to round the back.

Attention

For all exercises done with very heavy weight, it’s necessary to perform a « blocking » :

  1. Take a deep breath and block the breathing to fill the lungs like a balloon. This stiffens the ribcage and prevents the top of the torso form tilting forward.

  2. Squeeze abs stiffens the belly, This increases the intra-abdominal pressure and prevents the torse form sagging forward.

  3. By slightly arching the lower back with lumbar squeeze, this allows to have the spine’s bottom in extension.

These 3 simultaneous actions is what we call « blocking ». This « blocking » has the function of avoiding the rounding or bending of the spine because with very heavy weights, it can create disc herniations .

 

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-Steph

Barbell Pullovers

barbell pullovers

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

Arms stretched with the barbell with a pronated grip. Your arms spread to your shoulders width:

  • Inhale as much as possible and lower the barbell behind your head by slightly bend your elbows.

  • Exhale returning to the starting position

This exercise work pectoralis major, triceps long head, teres major, lats and a little bit serratus anterior, rhomboids and pectoralis minor.

This exercise is to be done with light weights and it’s necessary to pay attention to positioning and breathing. This movement is excellent for thoracic expansion.

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-Steph

Incline Dumbbell Flys

incline dumbbell flys

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

Sitting on a incline bench between 45° and 60° with dumbbells in your hands and your arms slightly stretched vertically :

  • Inhale and spread your arms to horizontal

  • Lift your arms to the vertical while exhaling

This exercise works the upper part of the pectoralis major (upper chest). This exercise is to do with lightweight to avoid injury.

This exercise and the « pull-over » are exercises to develop a good thoracic extension.

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

-Steph

Neck Position

neck

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

In bodybuilding, having a bad neck’s position during an exercise can create neuralgia.

These neuralgias are numbness of the arm with tingling.

These sensations arrive a few days after doing exercise like dips, pec deck rear deltoid lateral, squat and deadlift. The cause is that the exercises were done with the neck extension, head back.

dips bad neck position

The truth is that the head back’s position triggers spasms and contractions of the deep muscles of the neck, which creates compression of the spinal nerves at their exit from the cervical vertebrae.

This compression creates a neuralgia that usually affects the brachia plexus around the vertebrae C4, C5, C6, C7, C8 et T1 (C for cervical and T for thoracic).

plexus brachial

Solution

Do dips or pec deck rear deltoid lateal with head forward by bringing your chin to your chest. This avoids these neuralgias.

neck position

Do deadlift or squat with your head straight (neutral position) looking forward. This avoids these neuralgias.

If the neuralgia installed, it’s important to stop any exercise with the head back (neck extension).

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-Steph

Rupture Of The Pectoralis Major

rupture, tear, pectoralis, major, tendon

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

Pectoralis major begins on the anterior surface of the thoracic cage and its insertion is to the anterior surface of the upper end of the humerus.

Pectoralis major is a muscle which has the function of bringing the arm forward in front of the rib cage which make it possible to make hugs.

Bench press can create small tears at the pectoralis major which can sometimes cause a partial rupturing of its tendon (around upper chest).

This partial rupture of the tendon occurs in powerful athletes who have gained an abnormally rapid strength, which didn’t allow time for tendons to strengthen. This injury can also happen to athletes who make a « dry » diet, so a low-calories diet to better make muscles more visible. These low-calories diets weaken joints, tendons and muscles.

The wound always arrives during a bench press and affects only the clavicular head of pectoralis major.

The rupture of the tendon can be so painful that the athlete may lose consciousness. Often a tumefaction with eccymosis apprears on the anterior surface of the arm and the retraction of the clavicular head create a hollow around the upper chest.

Diagnostic error

how much

A problem that very often happens with this wound is that doctors, after diagnostic, considers it to be gravity-free. This is an understandable mistake because during the diagnostic, the injured person can make all movements related to the pectoralis major’s motor function. It’s for this reason that doctors consider this wound as a simple muscle tear rather than a ruptured tendon or a severe muscle tear.

Indeed, many muscles compensate the functional loss of clavicular head of pectoralis major to continue to move the arm. I spit of the rupture of the clavicular head of pectoralis major, it’s possible to raise the arm forward by the sternal portion (middle chest) and abdominal portion (lower chest) of the pectoralis major which also compensates.

When there is rupture of the pectoralis major, it’s necessary to have it reinserted as quickly as possible on the humerus with a surgery operation.

If not done as quickly as possible, there is retraction and fibrous transformation of the muscle. In this case, surgery is no longer feasible.

It’s true that the injured person can still move his/her arm without the upper portion of the pectoralis major but the injured person can never regain its initial strength and will be seriously handicapped to continue to do heavy bench press.

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-Steph