Overuse Injuries

overuse injuries sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

There are 2 types of injuries : Acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are usually caused by a single traumatic event. Here are some examples :

  • Wrist fractures

  • Ankle sprains

  • Shoulder dislocations

Acute injuries are less common in sport than overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are usually subtle and appear over time, making them difficult to diagnose and treat. Here is some example :

  • Tennis elbows

  • Swimmer’s shoulder

  • Pitcher’s elbow

  • Runner’s knee

  • Achilles tendinitis

  • Shin splints

Why

Human body is extraordinary to adapt to physical stress. We’re used of thinking that « stress » is bad for our emotional well-being, but physical stress is simply doing an exercise or activity. This is beneficial for our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. This physical stress causes an internal process called remodeling. Remodeling process involves both the breakdown and the build up of tissue. It’s necessary to have a good balance between 2, if breakdown occurs more rapidly than buildup, an overuse injury occurs.

Causes

overuse injuries sport injury gym fail

Usually, it’s training errors that cause overuse injuries. These errors are too fast acceleration of intensity or duration or activity frequency. These injuries can also happen to people who return to the sport/activity after an injury. They try to make up for lost time as quickly as possible to reach the level they had before the injury. Doing an exercise with a good technique is important to avoid overuse injuries. When the exercise’s technique is bad, it creates overuse injuries. It’s for this reason that coaches, athletic trainers and teachers can play a preventive role so that athletes avoid overuse injures.

There are people who more easily have overuse injuries. An unbalance between strength and flexibility around certain joints predisposes some people to have this type of injury. Body alignment, such as knock-knees, bowlegs, unequal leg lengths and flat or high arched feet, also impact overuse injuries. There are also people who have weak links because of old wounds, incomplete rehabilitation of wounds or others anatomy factors.

Other factors must also be taken into account as equipment such as the type of running shoe or ballet shoe and terrain (hard versus soft surface in aerobic dance or running).

Diagnosis

Generally the diagnosis is based on the athlete’s history and physical examination. It’s recommended to make a diagnosis with a sports medicine specialist with a specific interest and knowledge of your sport. In some situations X-rays, bone scan and MRI may be necessary.

Treatment

overuse injuries sport injury ice

Here are some recommendations for treating an overuse injuries :

  • Cutting back the intensity, duration and frequency of an activity

  • Adopting a hard/easy workout schedule and crosstraining with other activities to maintain fitness levels

  • Learning about proper training and technique from a coach or athletic trainer

  • Performing proper warm-up activities before and cool down after

  • Using ice after an activity for minor aches and pain

  • Using anti-inflammatory medications as necessary

If symptoms persist, a sport medicine specialist may create a more detailed treatment plan for your specific condition. This may involve an exam of your training program and an evaluation of predisposing factors.

Prevention

Majority of overuse injuries can be avoided with a proper training program, common sense and learning to listen your own body. The quote : « No pain, no gain » doesn’t apply here. The 10% rule helps a lot to get things to the next level.

In general, you should increase the training’s intensity to a maximum of 10% per week. This allows your body to have enough time for recovery and response. This rule should be used to increase pace or milestone for walkers or runners. Or for the weights amount to increase for strength training programs. In strength training, add flexibility exercises and core stability exercises help tremendously to minimize overuse injuries.

It’s recommended to seek advice from sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to prevent chronic or recurring problems. Your training program can also be modified to maintain fitness levels safety while you recover from your injuries. You must return to the sport only if an authorization is granted by a health professional.

Remember, it’s very important to warm-up before training and cool down after training.

Stats

3.5 millions of children are treated for overuse injures every year.

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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 .

Break For Injuries

sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE and today I didn’t train. I will tell you why, because I feel pain to my left shoulder and my 2 knees. 6 day ago, it was my leg day and you know, I hurt my right knee during a martial art session. So I used lightweight to train my leg.

Since around 6 months, I felt pain to my shoulder (shoulder impingement) because of the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press. Since 1 months, I hurt my right knee in a martial art sparring, because I wanted to avoid a punch and my leg (my knee) was in a bad position. I had 2 injuries . I searched an alternative exercise for the dumbbell overhead shoulder press and dumbbell bench press to decrease the pain and I found out. I wrote 2 articles about it. Click here and there .

Too much injuries

sport injury

As it was a leg day, I decided to do front squat with lightweight to not hurt to much my right knee. After my front squat session, I did leg press with one leg. After my warm-up set, I felt a pain in my left knee, it was like if someone hit my left knee with a knife, I stopped my rep immediately. It was the first time I felt this pain and I didn’t like it. I tried to do an another rep to see the gravity of the pain and I stopped my leg day here.

I did the half of my leg day’s program and I thought it was a good idea to test the new way to do dumbbell bench press without pain. When I was walking with the dumbbell in my hands, I felt the pain in my left knee. I did this dumbbell bench press variant and I validate it.

Usually after my workout, I eat my meal (my post workout is solid food). While I was eating my meal, I thought it was the time to make a break. 3 injuries is too much for me and I decided quickly to make a break of 1 month to really recover, because since 2015 I train regularly 6-7 days per weeks and the longest break I make was 10 days. Yeah, 10 days. When I realized it, I thank God of Light for his gratitude. And you know what ? When I slept, I felt I a little pain in the middle of my back. It means to do my front squat, my body compensated the weakness of my right knee with others parts of my body to be able to execute the movement.

Special recovery

Now, it’s the 6th days and I continue to write article for my blog and I learned what kind of injuries I have and I want to learn deeper about sport injuries because I scare to become like Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie Coleman is the best bodybuilder for me, it’s because of him I started seriously to train like a bodybuilder when I was on the streets. And now, see this living legend who can’t walk without a crutch, it’s too sad.

I want to have the best athletic body I can until I die, I’m more focus about sport injuries. More I know about it and more I can avoid it. Every day I do my stretching session and I do 2 special movements to help my left shoulder to decrease the pain. I will see on 15th July, if my recovery session is effective.

It’s important not to take lightly the pain of your body. I know a lot of people who had pains a few years ago and they had to do some surgery. Now, they can’t use their capacity at 100%.

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-Steph

High Calf And Low Calf

high calf low

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

I think you noticed that there are big differences in the shape of the calves. These morphological variations are due to the evolutionary adaptations to the climate that occurred during the first human migrations.

It’s common to see African blacks peoples with proportionally long legs with a sagging plantar arch of the foot (flat foot) and a long calcaneus. This bone conformation of the leg and foot provides excellent leverage in the ankle and minimal triceps surae muscle (calf muscle is short, thin and high with a long tendon) for powerful extension of feet to walk.

It’s common the see Nordic people with short legs with a pronounced plantar arch of the foot and a short calcaneus. This bone conformation of the leg and foot requires a massive and uneconomic triceps surae muscle who get down very low to do an extension of feet to walk.

high calf low anatomy

This type of massive and long calf is actually an adaptation to cold climates to keep body heat. This prevents legs from cooling too much during the freezing cold to prevent amputation of the legs. These massive and long calves are seen as aesthetic (bodybuilding competition) but they’re less suitable for running and more vulnerable to muscle tears.

Massive and long calves requires more and careful warm-up and it’s important to do stretching exercises before and after an intensive workout of calves.

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

Squat Correctly (Part 2)

sqaut

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

Click here to read the Part 1 

Barbell Squat

I know 3 types of squat and this is the best known : the high bar back (also named « Olympic Squat » or « Oly Squat »), the low bar back squat and the front squat. Maybe there are others but I’ll talk about the best known.

The difference is how you place the barbell.

Depending on how you place the barbell on your body, this will modify the squat’s mechanism and geometry. Which means that you will use your muscles slightly differently depending on how you place the barbell.

  • The Low Bar Back is a posterior chain dominant squat

    posterior chain muscle

  • The High Bar Back and Front Squat are a quad dominant squat.

Here a diagram form the book « Starting Strength » to better visualize the barbell’s placement.

diagram barbell placement squat strating strenght

Don’t worry, these 3 squat’s type work the same basic muscles. As you know each exercise has its variants. Now, you know the 3 variants of squat.

Go, find in your gym a squat rack,  a power cage or a squat stand  and place the barbell at the height of your clavicle. If you can’t do this and the height is too low or too high, choose the too low. I have never seen anyone lift on toe and with heavyweight, the accident is guaranteed.

power rack squat rack squat stands

As you read in my articles « Know how much weight to lift (Part 1 et Part 2) » [url link], it’s important to do a warm up with the barbell without weight. I don’t want to know how much you want to lift, do some sets with the barbell without weight to prepare your muscles and joints.

Low bar back squat

It’s the most popular squat’s type for beginners, general lifters and powerlifters. It’s also the squat’s type taught in the book « Starting Strength », one of the best book for beginners.

Once you have adjusted the barbell’s height, be in front of the barbell. Take a step to be under the barbell and grab it with your hands. For this squat’s type, you’ll use a thumbless grip so that your wrists aligned with your forearms.

Usually the grip’s width is near of the shoulders to create a meaty shelf to place the barbell on the muscles in our upper back (deltoid posterior). If you aren’t comfortable, you can have a wider grip. And with time, when you have more flexibility, you can have a grip near of your shoulders.

Here is the difference between a « wrapped grip » (left) and « thumbless grip » (right) : 

barbell wrapped grip thumbless grip

Once the barbell is on your back, stand up, contract your core (squeeze butt and abs) and step back. Normally, if you followed instructions well, you can only step backward. If you can take a step forward, you’re in the wrong direction.

This squat’s type is a posterior chain dominant squat and you’ll be able to lift heavier that the 2 others squat’s type.

High bar back squat

For this type of squat, you’ll start the same way but you’ll put your thumble around the barbell. This isn’t a thumbless grip.

The grip’s width is near of the shoulders to create a meaty shelf to place the barbell on the muscles in our upper back (deltoid posterior) like for the low bar back squat.

If you lack of flexibility to have a narrow grip, you can place the barbell 5cm (2inches) higher on your trapezius instead on your posterior deltoid. Which means that the barbell is placed almost on your shoulders.

Look the difference between a high bar back squat (left) and a low bar back squat (right) :

high bar back squat low bar back squat

Attention : the barbell placed almost on your shoulders and not on your spine. If you feel the barbell touching your spine, it’s too high and this can cause serious damage.

Place the barbell on your back and take a step back. Stabilize and tighten your core and squat down.

To do this squat version well, you need to keep your torso more upright. If you had difficulties to keep your torso upright with the bodyweight squat, it will be a little be more difficult here.

You can try, there is no problem but lift lightweight until you do it well to correct yourself. It would be a pity if your torso collapses and the barbell rolls on your neck (avoid this pain, really).

Front squat

For this squat’s type, you need to place the barbell in front of your shoulders. This squat’s type is quad dominant so you have to be able to keep your torso even higher than the high bar back squat.

Instead of stepping under the barbell, you place the barbell in font of you on your shoulder. To grip the barbell, it’s a little bit more complicated because you need to have mobility and flexibility in your wrists.

Front squat is done with a full grip around the barbell like the other 2 squat types but most people let the barbell roll on their fingertips (a three finger grip is enough). If you like’re me, you don’t manage to have 3 finders around the barbell, there are 2 variants :

Keep your hands to hold the barbell (if not the 3 fingertips is enough) and keep your shoulders high so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. And squat down.

It’s important that you keep your shoulder as high as possible during the front squat. When you’re gonna squat down, you’re gonna feel the weight on your arms and it will probably correct your position, drop the weight otherwise you will hurt yourself.

What squat do ?

This is an excellent question. You’ll meet 2 clans that clash in the gyms : high bar back squat VS low bar back squat. Both clans have good arguments but that doesn’t help you make a choice.

The truth, test the 3 types and look with which you feel most comfortable, which you have the best technique and with which you can squat down the lowest (your hips joints lower than your knees). Once you have well studied and tested the 3 types of squat, you’ll find your type of squat.

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

-Steph

Know How Much Weight To Lift (Part 1)

how much

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

When we’re beginners and we have studied the theory well, the first time we train in a gym, we have this kind of questions :

  • What weight should lift to begin with ?

  • If my program tells me to do 5 sets of 5 reps at 80 % of my 1 rep max, how do I get to know my 1 rep max ?

  • In my program, there isn’t this notion of percentage and 1 rep max, how do I know the weight I have to lift ?

Here are some tips to start your program with the right amount of weight.

Bodyweight

bodyweight exercice

The fist step of your workout is to do bodyweight exercices to learn how to do well the bench press.

This may sound odd but I really advise you to take your time to learn to perform well without weights or with a very light weight. Imagine that you can’t climb stairs normally, What happens when you have to climb stairs with bags of supermarket ? Yes, you’re going to hurt yourself.

Here is how you can learn a movement without barbell, dumbbells and weights :

  • To learn barbell’s movement without barbell, you can take a broom stick or a PVC pipe.

  • To learn dumbbells movement without dumbbells, you can take 2 sections of PVC pipe or 2 bottes of water.

It’s true that it’s not the same sensations that with weights but it allows you to learn a movement without risk to hurting you.

With this method, you can train at home alone. No one looks at you like in a gym so you’re less nervous. What’s cool is that yo can film yourself with your smartphone to compare your videos with tutorial videos that you can find on Youtube of elsewhere.

To learn in depth how to move, I recommend the book Starting Strength .

Once you feel confortable with movements, you go to the next level.

Barbell

barbell

For your first training with the barbell for the bench press, you’ll use the barbell without weights to be comfortable with. As you read in my articles Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2 , the barbell i’m talking about is the Olympic barbell 20 kg (45 lbs).

If you have difficulty with the Olympic barbell, here are some alternative.

A lighter barbell

Look in your gym if there are lighter barbell like the « women’s bar » 13.6-15.87 kg (30-35 lbs) or the « training bar » 6.8 kg(15 lbs). EZ curl bar isn’t designed for the bench press.

Dumbbells

You can use dumbbells. It’s true that isn’t really the same movement but it will help you to build your strength to be comfortable with the Olympic barbell.

Bodyweight exercices

Continue to do bodyweight exercice as squat, lunges, pull ups, push ups. This will help you to build your strength to be comfortable with the Olympic barbell.

That may be the opposite. For you to use the Olympic barbell without weight is easy. I still advise you to continue your first training with the Olympic barbell without weight. In this way, you can concentrate for each repetition to have the best technique possible. Wait the next session to add weights.

There isn’t ego in a gym. Unfortunately in gyms we often see people lifting very heavy weights with a poor technique and this happens more and more often. I have 2 friends who have dislocated their shoulders with the bench press and now they can no longer develop their chest and their shoulders.

One of these 2 friends showed in front of me who his shoulder dislocates when he do bench press and he regrets a lot of having lift too heavy with a bad technique. Since I’ve seen this, I prefer to lift lighter with a good technique and I advise you to do the same.

If after your first training with the Olympic barbell, you’re still not comfortable with. I recommend you to continue to train with the Olympic barbell without weights until you’re comfortable with. If you need to do this for 10 sessions, do it, there is not problem.

I’ll tell you something, Listen carefully. If you get hurt, it’s not because you body isn’t ready. It’s because you don’t trust in you under the Olympic barbell. Self-confidence is the most important element to lift heavyweights and heavier. It means knowing when you can lift and when you can’t lift. An athlete train his/her body and mind.

If you have planned to use dumbbells as your main lift (like me) and don’t use Olympic barbell, stat with 2.2-4.5 kg (5-10 lbs) dumbbells to work your technique.

Add weights

weight plate

Most beginners workout programs are 5 sets of 5 reps, 3 sets of 8 reps or 3 sets of 10 reps. For this example, we’ll use 5 sets of 5 reps.

Your workout should always begin with a warm-up routine. Then you take the barbell without weights and you do the repetitions number of your program (for our example, it’s 5).

Yeah, yeah, I know. You thought that after the warm-up routine, you could lift heavy but you have not quite prepared your body yet. For each exercice, you need to warm your body with lightweights. It’s very important to do this because it allows your body to warm your nervous system and the muscles needed to make the movement.

For beginners, it’s really important to learn the good technique right away.

Increase gradually

Once your nervous system and your muscles are ready, add between 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) and 4.5 kg (10 lbs) on each side. Do a set of 5 reps with this weight.

Note : If your strength training is based on dumbbells like me, starts with 2.2 kg (5 lbs) dumbbells, then 4.5 kg (10 lbs) dumbbells for example.

If you can do 5 reps without degrading your technique and without slowing the speed of the barbell, you can add weight. If it’s really light adds 4.5 kg (10 lbs) on each side or less like 2.2 kg (5 lbs).

Continue to do this process until the speed of the barbell or you technique begins to deteriorate. The weight you lifted before your technique deteriorates is the starting weight on which you will base all your future exercises.

The basic weight for your workout

If you thought you could lift more, don’t panic, that’s the right number. You’re not in a gym to impress someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your 1000th workouts. It’s better to start too light than too heavy. The goal is to do quick reps with a good technique. When your technique deteriorates, you have reached a limit with your body, too much will create an injury.

In this process, you’re trying to lift the heaviest weight you can so use collars for your safety. When it becomes difficult, ask someone to be your spotter to avoid an injury.

This is the end of the Part 1. In the Part 2, I’ll talk about what to do after several workouts, find your 1 rep max and what amount of weight is respectable to lift.

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

-Steph

Quickly Build Self-Confidence

self-confidence

I read an Nerd Fitness article  and I want to share this with you.

Self-confidence can be quickly build ? This is one of the traits that everyone want to maximize. It’s a huge impact for the first impression.

To be sure that you and me are on the same frequency about confidence :

James Bond – He’s an incredible ability to stay calm and cool under pressure. He’s able to tell you a subtle « punchline » in incredible situations.

Your best female friend – she can initiate a conversation with anyone and become a good friend in minutes.

Your friend that quickly evolves into a company and you have the impression that he has it from birth.

Can we build our confidence or is out of control ?

What’s self-confidence

self-confidence

I’m not speaking of people working for 6-packs or people who follow seductions courses (yes, I did, I admit). These approaches to build self-confidence aren’t complete, they doesn’t create a real solid foundation. If you read the Neil Strauss book « The Game », I advice you « The Truth, an uncomfortable book about relationships ».

The true self-confidence shows to the world who you really are (and it excites you). Think about your friends that changes behavior when they want to try to impress anyone. I know you’ve seen it several times and it’s weird !

It isn’t necessary to change who you are to impress someone, stay who you are and still progressing. We all work for progress, but we also need to respect ourselves. We work every day to self-improvement.

Could you think of what kind of self-confidence you want to build :

  • The quiet confidence of someone who commands respect ?

  • The boisterous person enters in a room and everyone wants to become best friends with ?

  • The lovable goofball that doesn’t take itself too seriously ?

Once we found the kind of self-confidence we want to build, we can apply this following tips.

Moves with confidence

self-confidence pose

Do you know that sitting in a certain way just a few minutes before an appointment or an interview can boost your chances of success ?

This is crazy, right ? This is really serious ! Just by changing your posture, you can psychologically develop more confidence in few minutes. You don’t believe me ? Ok, now uses a posture where you look to have a great self-confidence.

You feel better ? You feel you can do whatever you want ?

That’s non-verbal communication. This is how we stand, how we walk, how we look. Once you understand these things, you can « hack » your body language to increase your self-confidence unconsciously.

There is an Amy Cuddy’s video about this subject .

By having a self-confidence posture before entering a tense situation you’ll unconsciously adjust your brain to respond to this situation.

Here some examples of « great self-confidence » that you can use before an event where you need to have more self-confidence :

  • Hands raised above your head in a victory pose

  • Hands on hips like Superman or Wonder Woman

  • Legs crossed and hands behind head

  • Sprawled out across a seat

Mark the first impression

self-confidence move

Social interactions can be a challenge for some people. Even the most confidence looking person can be a « zero » in social interactions and expects that other people start the conversation.

There are 2 important tips, scientifically proven, that will make you appear more confidence :

Smile – People will respond to the emotion you project. If you project « I’m happy and cool », they will want to be happy unconsciously. The best thing to do to have your brain happy is to start a smile. These studies A  and B demonstrates that. Smiling makes you happier and improves how you think and how you feel about yourself.

Look in the eye – This is a challenge for most people. Do you look the ground when you walk to avoid looking people in the eye ? Or if a person look you in the eye, you turn your head ? Most people do that automatically and shouts « I don’t feel safe ». As you develop your self-confidence, concentrate yourself to keep your eye contact.

An article about eye contact says that studies  have shown that people who had a good level of eye contact (look in the eye) were perceived a being :

  • Most dominant and powerful

  • Warm and friendly

  • More attractive and friendly

  • Most qualified and competent

  • More trustworthy, honest and sincere

  • More confident and emotionally stable

If you have an appointment or an intense conversation with your teacher or your boss, maintaining eye contact is a demonstration of confidence and self-respect.

Test ! While you walk down in the street, keeping eye contact with a stranger. If the stranger looks at you, keeping the eye contact even if your brain tells you the opposite and made a smile briefly and continue your way.

Tell me how was the test and do you have other tips to build your self-confidence ?

-Steph

PS: Do you want a free training program ? Click here