Hanging Leg Raises

hanging leg raises

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

Suspended on a chin-up bar :

  • Inhale and back up your knees as high as possible by approaching your knees to your torso.

  • Exhale at the end of the movement

This exercise works :

  • The iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fasciae latae when you raise your legs.

  • The rectus abdominis and a little less obliques work when you move your knees to your torso.

To target the work on abs, it’s advisable to make small oscillations of thighs without never having the knees below the horizontal.

Attention

Rotations of the torso to the machine are proscribed for people suffering from low back or having already had a herniated disc.

Variant

hanging leg raises variant

By raising your knees on the side alternately to the right and to the left, obliques work more intensely.

Abdominal lumbar balance

It’s necessary to work in a balanced way the abdominal’s muscles and the back’s muscles (erector spinae). A lack of tone of hypertonicity of one of these two muscle groups can create a bad posture, and over time, create pathologies.

Example

Hypertonicity of the lower part of the erector spinae (sacro lumbar mass) with a hypotonicity of the muscles of the abdomen, will create a hyperlordosis with an abdominal ptosis. This postural defect can sometimes (if it is taken in time) be diminished by exercises of reinforcement of the abdominal muscles.

Conversely, hypertonicity of the abdominal muscles with loosening (hypotonicity) of the erectors spinae, especially in the upper part (multifidus spinae, longissimus, iliocostalis), will create a kyphosis (rounding back ) with loss of lumbar vertebral arch. This postural defect can sometimes (if it taken in time) be diminished by exercises of reinforcement of erectors spinae muscles.

Hypertonicity erector spinae muscles lumbar vertebral arch Hypotonicity abdominal ptosis

Kyphosis Hypotonicity erector spinae muscles lumbar vertebral arch Hypertonicity abdomen

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-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.

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-Steph

Individual Variations In Hip Mobility

hip mobility

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

Without taking into account the individual differences in muscle elasticity and ligament laxity, it’s bone shape of the hip joint that determines the main variation in hip mobility.

It’s mainly in the amplitude of hip abduction that bone configuration plays an important role.

Examples

  • An almost horizontal femoral neck (coxo vara) with an upper edge of the important cotyloid cavity and covering, will limit abduction movements.

  • An almost vertical femoral neck (coxa valga) with an upper edge of the less important cotyloid cavity will facilitate abduction movements.

This means that it is useless to raise the leg very high laterally if the morphology doesn’t allow it.

Attention

If someone forces the hip’s abductions, femur’s neck will bump on the cotyloid cavity edge. And this person will compensate the lateral raise of the leg with a pelvic tilt on the femur head of the other leg. It should be added that forcing oneself to make abduction sets may, over time, create microtraumas in some people that will cause excessive development of the cotyloid cavity upper edge. This has the consequence of limiting the hip’s mobility and creating painful inflammations.

hip mobility abduction

hip mobility abduction

hip mobility abduction coxa vara valga bone morphology

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-Steph

Deadlift Correctly (Part 3)

deadlift

If you didn’t read the first parts, click Part 1 and Part 2 

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

Grip the barbell

deadlift grip

The strength of the grip is an important part of the deadlift. There are 2 types of grip:

  • Overhand grip => The palms of your hands are towards your body (pronated grip).

  • Over-under ou mixed grip => One palm of your hand is toward your body and the other towards the outside (one hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip).

  • Hook grip => Your thumb is under your fingers

For beginners, the double overhand grip is the best to have a safe grip.

Use the mixed grip when you have more experience and you lift heavy because there are disadvantages. Stress on the shoulders is uneven and can create problems or injuries in the biceps whose palm is outside. As the stress on the shoulders is uneven, it’s easier to lift heavy weights.

When you begin deadlift, your grip’s strength is powerful enough to lift the barbell because your back’s strength is correct. The day of your back’s strength is more powerful than your grip’s strength (your hands slips slowly), that’s when you need to think about improving your grip.

If you don’t like the mixed grip, you can use the hook grip.

Wrist straps

Straps can help you lift heavier because your grip is assisted by a strap that is wrapped to the barbell and is hooked to your wrist.

I advise you to use wrist straps only when you lift very very heavy. This is not a thing to use all the time otherwise you’ll lose the natural strength of your grip.

Gloves

The truth is that the gloves don’t improve the grip. Gloves create a space between your hands and the barbell, this increases the diameter of the barbell and make the barbell harder to hold. Gloves prevent you from having a secure grip, I advise you to use them only if you have ripped callus to your hands.

With this video , you’ll learn to take care of your hands to avoid having this type of injury.

Belt

Many people in gyms use the belt in the wrong way, but you’re a smart one. The belt is useful only when you’re lifting very heavy weights and it’s not only for your lumbar. With this article , you’ll learn how to use the belt in an effective way.

Note

Use a mixed grip and a belt isn’t necessary to lift very heavy. Watch this video of Anthony Mychan  who do a deadlift at 249.47kg (550lbs) at a Nerd Fitness Camp with a double overhand with no belt.

Common mistakes

common mistakes

Rounded back

Having the back rounded throughout the movement may cause injuries. It’s necessary to have your spine in a neutral position.

Note => there are some powerlifters that purposefully round theirs upper back to decrease the range of motion, but this is a sport specific move, still a fault, and something you should not consider as a beginner.

Head raised and look up

To have a raised head create a hyperextension to your neck. This can cause injuries. Keep your head in a neutral position like your spine.

Hyperextending at the top

In fitness competitions, exaggerate the top of the deadlift has become popular for quickly show the judges that hip and knees locking is done.

Use the squat position

Deadlift is not squat. Deadlift doesn’t have the same start and end position as the squat. Deadlift is a different movement than squat.

Barbell makes a forward movement

It’s necessary that the barbell stays above your shoe’s laces and the barbell needs to be lifted vertically all along your body.

Barbell’s movements towards the front are to be avoided.

Your torso rises after your butt

We call it the « stripper deadlift ».

It’s important that your torso guides the movement and that your body moves in the same rhythm upwards.

Bend your arms

Often people bend their arms to lift the barbell more quickly. Unfortunately, this is a bad tactic because this can tear biceps muscle. Keep your arms straight during the movement.

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-Steph

How To Do Front Squat

front squat

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

Standing with your feet apart at about the shoulder’s width. You take the barbell with a pronated grip and you put the barbell on your upper chest and your anterior deltoid :

  • Inhale deeply to maintain intrathoracic pressure that prevents your torso from sagging forward. Arch slightly your back. Squeeze your abs and bends your thighs to bring them to the horizontal.

  • Return to the starting position and exhale at the end of the movement.

To prevent the barbell from slipping forward, pull out your chest and raise your elbows as high as possible.

As the barbell placed anteriorly, your chest will not bend forward and your back will always be straight. You have the possibility to put a wedge under your heels to ease the movement of execution.

Front squat is an exercise to do with weights less heavy than the classic squat.

This exercise works the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs and erector spinae.

Front squat is an exercise used in weightlifting training because the movement corresponds perfectly to the work performed by thighs during snatch and clean and jerk.

front squat

With a specific machine, you can do the same work on quadriceps as the front squat by wedging your legs and bending your thighs.

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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.

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-Steph

The Reasons For An Asymmetric Body (Part 1)

asymmetircal body

I watched a Jamcore DZ’s video  and I learned good stuff.

When I look in the mirror, I see that my right biceps is bigger than my left biceps. And I also see that my left calf is bigger than my right calf. I think you too, you have weak points and an asymmetrical body like me.

I tried several technique to clear the weak point of my left biceps by doing more reps or lifting heavier with my left arm. But it didn’t work as I thought and I realized that there were even more factors that caused my asymmetrical body.

You have to know that there are real weak points and false weak points. And yes, there are 2 type of weak points.

Past sports

sports

These are the sports that you have done regularly before you train seriously at the gym. For exemple, I played soccer for 2-3 years so I developed a lot of my legs and calves. I have been doing karate, kung-fu and taekwondo for years (I have more than 15 years of martial art) so I developed a lot my back, my arms, chest and my abs. My past sports allows me to develop all these muscles (calves, legs, back, arms, chest and abs) even more easily.

Now I’m going to tell you about the difference between a real weak points and a false weak points. In my case, I have nice abs, nice, chest. My arms are correct (I have one arm bigger that the other) and my legs are correct (I have one leg bigger than the other).

For example, a soccer player or a cyclist will use his/her legs and calves more often. A boxer will use his/her arms, back and abs more often. This shows that the past sports is important in muscle development because people developed more rapidly the upper body’s muscles rather the lower body muscles or the reverse.

So don’t worry because absolutely everyone has an asymmetric body (if you know a person who has a 100 % symmetrical body, attention, it’s a robot).

Genetic

genetic

It’s the moment to go to the higher level. Now, you understood that there are people who can easily develop the upper body’s muscles rather that the lower body’s muscles or the reverse. In both case, there is the same problem : an asymmetry.

We’re human beings, we are not perfect and that is normal. Professional bodybuilders also have an asymmetric body like you. It’s for everyone like that. When we look at the mirror, we have a more developed part than the other.

Here are the causes.

Bone

bone

Because of your bones, there is one side of you body that can lift easily heavier weights that the other. So the side muscles that can lift easily heavier develop faster.

A) clavicle length

We all have a longer clavicle than the other. Take you time, check the length of your clavicles, you will be surprised. When the clavicle is longer, this affects the leverage when you lift weights. This means that it boost your strength and your muscular growth.

But, there is a solution to avoid that there is a big difference between the 2 sides. It’s learning to isolate and feel your muscle. I use a technique called « magic touch ». Before doing a set, I touch with my fingers the muscle that I have to work. This allows me to be focus and stay focus on muscle sensations. This is to create the connection between my brain and my muscle.

This is why it’s important to take light weights to learn how to perform a movement to learn the muscles sensations. For example, bench press. There are people who use too much shoulders when the arms are straight. Bench press is an exercice to work mainly chest and not shoulders. So pay attention to your muscles sensation when you to an exercise and adjust.

B) Short and long muscles

This is really a genetic case. There are people with short muscles or long muscle. Take as an example a short biceps and a long biceps.

A short biceps responds slowly to training because the muscles is less close to insertion with the joint.

A long biceps respond quickly to the training because the muscle is closer to insertion with the joint.

As you can see, there are some similarities with the clavicle’s length. When the muscle is long, it’s easier to develop the muscle.

This is something you can’t change and doing an operation to lengthen your muscle is useless. It’s your genetics that decides whether your muscles are short or long.

dorian yates

Wait, it’s not over yet, there’s still plenty of other things in the genetics that influence muscle development. In your training, you can use several techniques to stimulate your muscle fibers like « High Intensity Training » . Dorian Yates (6x Mr. Olympia), used this technique during his career as a professional bodybuilder. This technique stimulates muscle fibers even more that hypertrophy .

There is also nerve genetics. It’s the ability to isolate and feel the muscle you’re working on. It’s an ability that improves only with experience and time.

Here is the end of the Part 1. The Part 2 comes soon.

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-Steph