The first of many clips, Kaizen Virtual Physio with Ruan Fourie. Send me all your fitness related questions via facebook or in the commens on You Tube. These clips will focus on SAFETY, TRAINING TIPS, MUSCLE GAIN, FAT LOSS, HEATH, FITNESS and more! Hear it from one of the best! Ruan has worked with some of the top athletes in the world, and together we have teamed up to bring you the most acurate information possible.
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Stay Awesome! -JV
THE TRAPS TRAP
HOW TO TRAIN AND ISOLATE YOUR DELTOIDS
Why is this important? I have seen guys and girls doing shoulders with ridiculously heavy weights... yet their shoulders were under developed. I hear you say ‘NO WAY... that’s CRAZY TALK!’ But I promise you it’s a true story!
They ate 100% right for their goal, they trained like something from a different planet, yet... they had very little to sometimes almost no shoulder development. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
I have personally seen at least 10 cases like these varying in extremity, and I have heard of many more. And the weird thing is they all had one thing in common, none of them isolated their deltoids (shoulders) correctly while training. To be fair, they tried to... but they all made one common mistake.
They Fell for the TRAPS TRAP! DAM DAM DAMMMM... ;-)
A system is only as strong as its weakest link. When we train shoulders, the weakest link is the stabilizing system [THE ROTATOR CUFF] as discussed in:
'Shoulders PART 1 - The Rotator Cuff Conundrum'
you lower the weights under complete control. The lowering part of all lifts is called the eccentric phase. During the eccentric phase, muscles are lengthening under resistance. (Muscles can never push, only pull (shorten) and lengthen under resistance) This will help you to work the right shoulder muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
Now that you understand how the shoulder and Trap functions, let’s get to the TRAPS TRAP!
As mentioned above, the most effective shoulder exercises attempt to isolate the primary muscles of the shoulder complex rather than use the synergist (helper) muscles.
So in the case of the basic shoulder raises such as the ‘Front Raise, Side Raise’ the aim is to ISOLATE the deltoids as much as possible. However, during the concentric phase (lifting part) the Trapezius is a major player/synergist muscles... and sometimes it basically takes over.
It could happen that your traps lifts more of the weight then the deltoids, in other words... they are getting the workout and not your deltoids! Very common mistake, especially if you are chasing weights. YES... you have to push your self! YES... you have to lift heavy to grow and challenge the muscles!
But never at the expense of form. In other words... focus on isolating the muscle and then pushing the correct muscle rather than going to heavy with bad form and letting your traps do all the work.
Fair enough... the synergist muscles will always be somewhat active during multi-joint exercises, but we have to focus on how to minimize their role so we can maximally isolate the actual muscle you want to work.
Ok... How do you isolate the deltoids? EASY!
In the above picture you can see that in the pick 1, there is an almost shrugging motion happening at the top part of the raise. This ‘shrugging motion’ is what causes the traps to engage more then they should during the raise, and that causes the deltoids to ‘work less’
It’s actually that simple! In the second picture you can see the trapezius is relaxed, theres no shrugging motion... and that causes the deltoids to be isolated more.
Another COOL way to make sure you deltoids are doing the work is to focus during any raise so that your shoulders remain in the same position from the start of the raise to the end of the motion. Make sure they don’t move into a shrugging position.
A general rule of thumb: With all shoulder you should focus on the amount your shoulders move... the higher they shrug... the less your deltoids are working.
let’s take a look at some of the TOP shoulder exercises that best isolate the deltoids
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a bench with back support. Plant your feet firmly on the floor. Bend your elbows and raise your upper arms to shoulder height so the dumbbells are at about ear level. Pull your abdominals in so there is a slight gap between the small of your back and the bench. Push the dumbbells up, directly over your head, and then lower the dumbbells back to ear level.
Modifications: To increase the difficulty, you can perform the dumbbell shoulder press from a standing position,
If you bring the dumbbells all the way together at the top of the motion, the trapezius will take work away from the deltoids. It is best to lower the dumbbells before reaching this position if you are trying to use this as a shoulder isolation exercise.
This has long been considered one of the most effective shoulder exercises, your core stabilization and total-body stabilization will be used for the standing military press.
Military presses don’t isolate the medial deltoids, but they allow you to use a significant load (weight) that works the majority of your shoulder muscles as well as the upper chest.
From a standing position, grab the barbell and unrack it with your palms facing away from your body. Your grip should be wider than shoulder width.
In a split-stance position (one foot in front of the barbell one foot behind your body), position the bar in line with the top of your chest, collarbone, and front of your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down and back.
Do not allow the spine to arch. Brace your torso by contracting your abdominal/core muscles.
Exhale and slowly press the barbell overhead, straightening both elbows at the same time. Maintain your body and head alignment. Do not allow your wrists to bend or your lower back to arch.
In a slow and controlled manner, bend your elbows and lower the bar. Mindfully contract the muscles of your back and arms to bring the bar down to the start position. This will help stabilize the front of your shoulder joint.
Modification: You can also perform the military press from a seated position. The same rules apply. Do not let your back arch which means you lose core stabilization and your lower back is at risk.
Your arms can be fully extended at the top or slightly bent. If you fully extend your arms, you will actually use the trapezius and triceps a little more. If you are trying to isolate your deltoids, it is best to stop the ascent before you fully extend your arms, which will cause you to work the trapezius.
SAFETY FIRST: It is very important that you keep your glutes contracted tightly and your core drawn in during the military press. ENGAGED STRONG CORE. If you do not do these two things, you will not only put your lower back at risk, but you will exercise the wrong muscles, possibly leading to muscle imbalances and posture problems
Begin with half of the weight you would use for the dumbbell shoulder press.
Bring the dumbbells up to a position right in front of your shoulders and close to your body. Your palms should face you.
Rotate your arms out to the side. As you begin the rotation, slowly begin to push the dumbbells toward the ceiling, bringing the dumbbells in at the top of the press. Palms will now be facing forward.
While the dumbbells are directly above your head, rotate your arms around all the way until your palms face you. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the original position.
Dumbbells should always be very close to your body for the duration of the movement.
There are many ways to perform the Arnold press. This version is a great way to safely and dynamically work all the shoulder muscles in multiple planes of motion.
Try this back to basics shoulder workout!
Increase weight from 60% Effort (1st set) to 100% Effort (last set) of each exercise
Have an INCREDABLE shouder workout!
Kick Ass Today!
What does FITNESS have in common with a MISSILE?
A quick TOP TIP: Fail FORWARD!
How does a missile get to it's target? By constantly making minor corrections and adjustments to its course until it reaches its destination. A missile fails forward. It constantly checks it's data and makes sure it's on track.
That’s how we get the body of our dreams. We fail forward. We try our best, keep track of where we are and where we want to be and we make minor adjustments and corrections along the way.
The road to success isn't a straight line... i can promise you that!
That’s why we need to document everything!
How many reps, sets and weight did you use during your strength training? Write down exactly what happens during your cardio sessions. What’s your weight, measurements and body fat percentage?
Keep track of everything... yes, even what you eat. Make sure you follow a stratagy and you track your results.
Over time you’ll be able to read your progress, asses how your body’s responding and make the necessary corrections or adjustments to keep yourself on track.
I hardly ever see guys in the gym with a pen and a note pad, they always tell me they can remember what they did last week. That’s great but what did you do three months ago? Or a year ago?
Did your strength increased? By how much?
How can you see if you’re improving if you don’t keep record of what you’re doing. If you want to reach your goal, make sure you follow a stratagy, track your results, and make addjustments.
Shoulders - Part 1
The Rotator Cuff Conundrum
Shoulders are probably one of the most misunderstood parts of the body when it comes to training correctly and activating the shoulders a 100%... no wonder it’s one of the parts that has the most injuries. For this Part 1, i want us to focus on the Rotator Cuff and the benefits of training it.
Let’s start with a little Anatomy first...
The term "shoulder joint" is often used to refer to the glenohumeral joint, the articulation between the humerus (upper arm) and glenoid fossa (cavity) of the scapula.
Although there are other articulations playing a role in upper body movement, the glenohumeral joint (Shoulder joint) is of foremost importance to this discussion.
The muscles of the rotator cuff are easily remembered by the acronym SITS: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis
The glenohumeral joint (Shoulder Joint) is designed for maximum mobility to allow the broad spectrum of upper body movements, this mobility unfortunately comes at the expense of stability due to it being so shallow - in fact, this joint is often compared to a golf ball resting on a tee…
Considering the shallow depth, instability, laxity in the supporting ligaments and possible weaknesses in the surrounding musculature, it's no wonder the bones and soft tissues of the shoulder region are some of the most often injured parts of the body.
Told you it’s a conundrum
Why Train the Rotator Cuff?
The answer is simple really... Strength!
Weak external rotators are limiting factors to the development of internal rotator size and strength, as the body won't allow progress to continue in the presence of an imbalance which could lead to injury.
We all know the pecs (chest), lats, and deltoids have outstanding growth potential, but few recognize that this potential can't be fully achieved unless the external rotators are up to par.
Strengthening the rotator cuff and the resulting improvements in glenohumeral stability significantly decreases the occurrences of dislocations and nagging overuse shoulder injuries.
In other words... Strengthen your Rotator Cuff, and reach a higher potential in your chest, shoulders, lats with a lot less risk.
And if you want to improve your over head press and lateral raises, this will for sure do the trick!
The rotator cuff is of paramount importance in injury prevention. By giving the muscles of your rotator cuff the attention they deserve, you can eliminate the loss of valuable training time to injuries and increase your training longevity.
In addition to all the indirect ways that direct rotator cuff training can lead to size and strength, let's not forget the four muscles of the rotator cuff themselves (SITS) are capable of hypertrophy!
Growth of the infraspinatus and teres minor will certainly improve one's back development by enhancing that sought after "V-frame”
Improved Range of Motion:
Simply stated, exercises performed through complete ranges of motion yield superior gains in muscle mass; otherwise, doing quarter squats and cheat curls all the time would suffice! If your rotators are tight, your range of motion and potential for mass development will be greatly diminished.
There are many excellent exercises that can be performed to focus on the rotator cuff. These exercises consist of movements that must be performed with perfect form to ensure that the proper muscles are being isolated. It is also important to note that the rotator cuff is an endurance type of muscle group, and therefore requires the use of lighter weights and high repetitions.
It must be stressed that all exercises performed with dumbbells must be performed with light weights (3-5 kg); using heavy weights will strengthen the larger muscle groups more (deltoids, lats) resulting in a possible muscular imbalance.
Listed below is a small sample of exercises that can be performed in addition to your current training program, these can be performed once a week when ever you like, it will not effect the rest of your weigh training regime.
They are focused on isolating and strengthening the Rotator Cuff muscles. Either use a couch, table, or the side of your bed. Perform 3 - 4 sets of 15 repetitions per exercise.
Side-lying External Rotation: Lie on side with arm resting on stomach and a small rolled up towel under the arm. Slowly rotate arm upwards and stop when forearm is in a position just above horizontal. This exercise can be initiated using a 3-5kg dumbbell.
Prone Horizontal Abduction: Lie on stomach with arm hanging over side of table and the thumb facing forward. Slowly raise arm straight out to the side and stop when arm is parallel to the body (going higher can cause excessive strain to the front of the shoulder).
Prone Elevation in the plane of the Scapula: Begin in the same position as in the exercise above, except rotate your hand so the thumb is rotated 45° out to the side. Slowly raise arm in a plane 45° forward and stop arm just below parallel to the body (going higher can cause impingement of the rotator cuff).
Prone Row with External Rotation: Begin in the same position as above, except rotate your hand so the thumb is facing towards the body. Perform a rowing motion with the elbow in the same plane as the shoulder, and stop when the elbow is even with the shoulder. After achieving this position, rotate the arm upwards until the forearm is just below parallel with the body. Next, rotate the forearm back down to the previous position, and then lower the arm back down to the starting position.
Although training the rotator cuff may not be as sexy as hoisting up big weights on the bench, it's certainly a legitimate way to make appreciable physique and strength gains.
Likewise, if you're looking to decrease the risk of injury, improve your posture, increase your range of motion, or simply gain more confidence for heavy training, these four "obscure" muscles may be your weak links. Target them and reap the rewards!
In Part 2 I will address the TRAPS TRAP! What is this? Simple... most people over train traps by not isolating their deltoids correctly when training shoulders... in other words, they use sometimes up to 60% and even 70% of their trap to lift their arms when performing raises and other shoulder movements... What does this mean? Simple... Over developed traps... and under developed deltoids.
This ‘Part 2’ will help you get INCREDIBLE RESULTS when it comes to training shoulders correctly.
But that’s for Part 2. :-)
Happy LIFTING! And keep those shoulders safe!
KICK ASS TODAY!
- Jacque Visagie
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