Broomstick Twists

broomstick twist

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

Standing with your legs apart and the stick placed on your trapezius above your posterior deltoids. Your hands are on the stick but don’t press on it :

Make a torso rotation on one side then the other, keeping your pelvis motionless with an isometric contraction of your glutes.

This exercise works when your right shoulder is forward : the right external oblique, left internal oblique and a little bit rectus abdominis, quadratus lumborum and extensor spinae on the left side.

For more intensity, it’s possible to slightly round your back. A variant is to do this movement sitting on a bench, which will block your pelvis and focus the effort on your abs.

seated broomstick twist

It’s with sets of several minutes that you get the best results.

Attention

Torso rotations are prohibited for people suffering from low back or having had a herniated disc as this may aggravate or resurgence of this lumbar pathology.

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

-Steph

Lunges

lunges barbell

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

Standing with your legs slightly apart with the barbell behind your neck on trapezius muscles :

  • Inhale and take a big step forward by keeping your core as straight as possible. During exercise, the thigh of the leg that is moving forward must stabilize horizontally or slightly below.

  • Back to the starting position and exhale.

This exercise works mainly gluteals. This movement can be done in 2 ways :

  1. With a simple step forward (quadriceps will work a lot)

  2. With a big step forward (hamstrings and gluteals will be work a lot and rectus femoris with iliopsoas of the back leg will be stretched).

lunges barbell

Note

As all the weight transferred to the leg that moves forward and the movement requires balance, it’s advisable to use lightweight to begin with.

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

-Steph

Good Morning

good morning leg exercise

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

Standing with your feet slightly apart. The barbell put on your trapezius or lower on your posterior deltoids :

  1. Inhale and bend you torso forward to the horizontal with your back straight, the axis of flexion passing through coxofemoral joint.

  2. Back to the start position and exhale.

It’s possible to make the movement easier by bending your knees.

This exercise works glutes (gluteus maximus), all spinal muscles and hamstrings (except the biceps femoris short head). Besides the knees flexion, hamstrings have the function of retroversion of the pelvis, which allows to straighten the torso. This action performed when the torso bound by isometic contraction to abs and sacro-lumbar muscles.

To have better feeling on hamstrings, it’s advisable never to work with heavy weight. In negative phase, « good morning » is excellent for stretching the back of the thighs. Work regularly the negative phase of the « good morining » helps prevent injuries to hamstrings during the squat with heavy weight.

good morning leg exercise method straight bent leg

  1. Legs stretched while your torso leans forward, extends hamstrings. This make is easier to feel sensations of hamstrings when you straighten up your torso.

  2. Legs bent while your torso leans forward, relax hamstrings. This facilitates flexion of hip.

good morning leg exercise method straight bent leg

good morning leg exercise pelvis stabilization

good morning leg exercise glutes gluteux maximus hamstings

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-Steph

Deadlift Correctly (Part 1)

deadlift

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

I see there are many people who are avoiding deadlift because they are afraid of getting hurt. It’s funny, it’s like squat.

Doing deadlift with good a technique is excellent for health, it allow your to have stronger joints and a stronger posterior chain.

All exercises can be dangerous when they don’t do with the proper technique, which is why it’s important to seriously study each exercise.

Why

why

In workout programs, you can find the deadlift in the day of legs of back. This can be disturbing but the truth is the deadlift is a polyarticular exercise.

The deadlift (polyarticular exercise) works several different muscle’s group :

  • Your hands, your forearms, your arms to keep the barbell in the right position and the barbell is stable during the movement.

  • Your shoulder and trapezius help to hold the weight and keep it stable.

  • Your back and core help to keep your body tight and stable so that your spine is safe.

  • Your posterior chain  and your legs act as lever to lift the weight.

What is interesting is that deadlift is a basic human movement like the squat. It’s a « functional » movement that we do every day to take an object on the ground. Lifting a chair or taking a bag on the floor is deadlift.

Training yourself to do deadlift with a good technique at the gym, will allow you to do these daily tasks by decreasing the risk of injury. I imagine you’ve seen a person hurt his/her back by lifting something off the floor. It happened because the technique was bad.

Let things be clear, everyone needs to do deadlift. Look at that grandmother 

grandmother deadlift

Also, deadlift is the purest way to measure the strength. You lift or you can’t. Sometimes with gym’s members, we do a deadlift party, it’s fun.

Choose

Attention : if you have spinal injuries, go see your doctor before starting

The origin of the word « deadlift » is : you lift dead weight (motionless) of the ground.

In short, you take a barbel with weight and you get up with the barbell in your hands until your shoulders, hips and knees locked. Your arms should be straight during the whole movement and when you’re standing, the barbell is at the level of your hips.

Here are the different type of deadlift most common :

Conventional Deadlift

conventional deadlift

Your hands are at your hips width, outside of your feet.

Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift

You have a wide position with your hands inside of your feet.

Hex or Trap Bar Bar Deadlift

hex trap bar bar deadlift

You need to use a special bar. In this way, you make the movement with another biomechanics.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

snatch grip deadlift

You use a wide grip like to do a Snatch.

Straight Leg Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift

Many people are troubled by these variants. Here is an excellent article by Bret Contreras to see it in detail. Click here .

Deficit Deadlift, Rack Pulls

deficit deadlift rack pulls deadlift

These accessory movements allow you to increase or decrease the range of motion.

Dumbbell Deadlift Variations

dumbbell deadlift

You can do this when you don’t have access to a barbell and weights or as accessory movement.

In this article, I refer mainly to conventional deadlift.

Now, let’s talk about equipment :

Flat shoes

Converse Chuck Taylor Classic  are good (this is what I use). There’s also Vibrams, you can do in socks or with Powerliters shoes.

Chalk

chalk

This is optional but it can help you to not let your hands slip when you lift very heavy weights.

Deadlift can be taught in 1-2 sentences but there are complexities at different steps of the movement that you should know to avoid injury. I will develop this in the next parts.

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

-Steph

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

Machine Shrugs

machine shrugs

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

Standing in front of the machine with a pronated grip. You hands are a little larger than your shoulder’s width. Some machine allow you to have a semi pronated grip with you palms face to face :

  • Your head and your back are straight. You shrug your shoulders.

machine shrugs

This exercise works the upper part of the trapezius and levator scapulae.

This machine is excellent to do set with high reps.

Note

It’s funny because the clavicles and the shoulder blades are hung by the trapezius like the deck of a bridge suspended by metal cables.

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

-Steph

Stretching Of Trapezius And Neck

stretching trapezius neck

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

A hand on your head, you pull slowly to tilt your head to the side. This exercise stretches the sternocleidomastoid, all (anterior, middle and posterior) scalenes muscles, the upper part of the trapezius, splenius capitis , splenius cervicis , semispinalis and small spine muscles like longus colli, rectus capitis posterior minor, rectus capitis lateralis and rectus capitis posterior major muscle.

Attention

Pull your head slowly with caution. Stretching should be done gradually.

Note

While you pull your head, lower your shoulders to feel the stretch of your trapezius.

Concerning the neck

stretching trapezius neck stretching trapezius neck

Quadrupeds and anthropoids (such as the gorilla) have very powerful neck muscles to prevent the head from tipping forward.

For the human being, it’s different. When the human being is fully biped depleted thus a vertical position with the head at the top of the spine , the muscles neck have become less powerful because the muscle’s neck have solely as a function of balancing the head.

  1. When the human being became biped, the morphology changed. The face‘s size decreased, the brain’s size increased and the occipital hole moved to the center of the skull. As the head is at the top of the spine, the neck’s muscles have the function of stabilizing the head

  2. Gorilla which is partially a quadruped has a larger face, a smaller brain and the occipital hole is towards the back. To prevent that head tits forward, the neck’s muscles are very powerful and developed.

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

-Steph