10 Gym Mistakes that are Limiting Your Gains

 

lais

Fitness Star Lais Deleon

10 Bio-mechanical Gym Mistakes that are Limiting Your Gains

Written by Dr. Beau B Hightower
DAAPM, MS, DC, CSCS, CES, FMS-C, MMACS

 

Social media has helped to promote many ideas, but one of the great ones is the online social

presence of fitness. Many commonly agreed upon ideas at the gym are based on sound science,

but many, including form and bio-mechanics are what we call “broscience”. Much of this persists

to this day as trickle-down from the golden age of bodybuilding in the 70s,

before we had advanced imaging, and computers to track maximal muscle contraction.

Here are 10 mistakes that people are making in the gym.

If you can correct these 10 things on the list, you will see the gains

and changes that you are looking for!

Rule 1

1. Squat below parallel (the top of your thigh)

The common adage in the gym is the “ass to grass” mentality. However when we look at what

muscles are active in specific positions, the hamstring and quadriceps groups are eccentrically

loaded during the negative phase of the squat. The quadriceps group has two functions,

hip flexion and knee extension, so when you move the pelvis below 90 degrees, the knee

extension part of your quadriceps is mechanically turned off. This causes the hip flexor to engage

dramatically to pull us outof the “hole” and then we use momentum to finish the lift. The same

principle applies to “bouncing” at the bottom of the movement. Your hip joint and hip flexors

end up taking the majority of the physical load, which stops your lower quadriceps

and glutes from growing the way that they should. When you stop at 90 degrees (top of the thigh)

your gluteus maximus must engage greatly, because it’s job is to extend the hip and leg.

Neither the glutes nor the lower quads can be engaged when the position of the pelvis is

too low during the lift.

Rule2

2.  Shortening range of motion during tricep push downs

Most folks in the gym attempt to hold their elbows in one position at 90 degrees to work on their

triceps. What we have to remember is that the tricep has 3 heads, the largest of which is

the long head which crosses both the elbow and shoulder. Because of this length, this muscle

group also extends the shoulder, not just the elbow. Because of this principle, to get the most

work done, the elbows must move vertically at the top of the motion, so that we

can get the tricep to not only extend the elbow, but the shoulder as well. The hands should

come up towards the nose and extend just shy of full extension. When you extend all the way,

you take the pressure off of the muscle and put it onto the joint. The long head is the largest of the 3

heads, and if you work this muscle, you will see dramatic increases in total arm size!

Rule3

3 Starting from shoulder height during shoulder presses

The deltoid’s job is to abduct (raise the arm laterally overhead), extend, and flex the arm.

The combination of these three motions is the common military press or overhead press motion.

Starting at the shoulder height allows the shoulders to rest and decreases the amount of stress

that can be placed on the muscle, limiting growth. If you start to perform your shoulders presses,

from the active position as your rest position, you will see big gains in your shoulders!

Rule4

4. Leaning the seat back during leg extensions

Once again, most people are not trying to develop big hip flexors, but instead, are looking

for the lower 3 heads of the quadriceps to grow around the top of the knee. When the seat

is leaned back, the hip flexors are engaged, and this not only makes it more difficult

to  activate the lower part or knee extensor part of the quadricep, it puts excessive force

vertically on the  knee cap and compresses it into the knee. This causes pain and cartilage damage.

If we pull the seat all the way forward, we take the hip flexors ability to contract out of the equation,

and make the lower quads work much harder. This, with the combination of stopping just shy

of full lockout, will protect your knee and allow your quads to grow!

rule5

5. Doing calf raises from a seated position

The calf muscles or gastrocnemius’ main function is to plantar flex (or point the toes down) but

because it crosses both the ankle and knee, it is also a flexor of the knee (brings the foot

towards the glutes). Due to this fact, if you elongate the muscle completely,

 you allow the muscle to generate the most possible power, and this in turn leads to growth.

When the knee is bent during seated calf raises,

the gastrocnemius is “turned off” forcing the soleus muscle and other ankle muscles to perform the work.

This is a problem because the soleus is a slow twitch muscle, meaning that it does not

respond favorably to weight lifting activities, it activates during aerobic type exercises such

as jogging and walking for long duration.

Rule6

6. Allowing you shoulder blades to move apart during upper body lifts

Holding the shoulder blades locked together not only protects the back and shoulders,

but it allows the muscles that move our arms to contract from the longest possible position.

Allowing the shoulder blades to separate puts the lifter at risk of shoulder, neck, and back pain.

 This is particularly  important with chest and shoulder exercises and slightly less

important during upper back workouts.

rule7

7. Losing the Lordosis in your spine during lower body lifts

The curve in your lower back is shaped like a reverse C and is called a lordosis.

This curve is similar to the arcs that are used for stability in architecture and allows a symmetric

transfer of force along the lower back from the spine to the pelvis. This position holds

the discs in a favorable position  allows you to move your pelvis backwards during leg presses,

squats, and dead lifts. When the pelvis moves backwards, it allows the glutes to contract

to bring the pelvis back to the center during the end phase of the exercise. When we lose the lordosis

of the spine we “turn off” the glutes and quads, and force excessive physical strain on the lower back

muscles and discs. This will eventually lead to injury and will also slow your gains with your leg muscles.

rule8

8. Rolling your shoulders during shoulder shrugs

Often times, you will see people in the gym rolling the shoulders either forward or backwards

during shoulder shrugs. This is a simple rule. The trapezius should move the shoulders

up towards the ears during a shrug. The trapezius also retracts the shoulder blade (pull back)

depresses (lowers),  and to some extent rotates the scapula. This is not true  when weights

are being held in the hand at waist level. The only action that can be created from this position

is the pure shrug motion. By rolling the shoulders with weights in your hands, not only does

this cause us to put strain on the shoulder capsule and potentially damage it,

it limits our growth in the trap muscles!

rule9

9. Pulling the bar too far down during lat pulldowns.

The lat pull machine is a great machine for growing your latissimus dorsi.

A common mistake I see is when weightlifters bring their hands below

shoulder height during this exercises.

There is a “Sweet spot” that allows maximal contraction of the lat muscle.

When the hands come below the shoulders, the lat muscles loses it’s ability

to contract, and we begin to use our deltoids and triceps to finish the muscle. To keep maximal

stress on the latissimus dorsi, the arms should stretch to a full stretch

at the top of the muscles but the hands need to stop at roughly

the shoulder height  so as not to take tension of the of the muscle we are aiming

to work. By keeping the hands at shoulder height, you will maximize

gains in the back muscles!

rule10

10. Performing external rotation rotator cuff exercises with free weights

When performing external rotations, we are attempting to strengthen and

activate the rotator cuff (particularly the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles).

Because of the lines of gravity, external rotation with weights in the hand actually activates

the deltoid and trapezius in an attempt to try

to hold the shoulder in a stable position. With a cable machine, or a theraband,

the force is applied at 90 degrees which allows stress to be applied in pure external rotation.

This allows the rotator cuff muscles to reach maximal contraction. The exception to this,

would be if you laid on your side with the top hand holding a weight and performed

external rotations in line with gravity.

Just say  no to standing “rotator cuff” exercises with dumbbells!

Apply these mechanical changes to your exercise routine and you will be well on your way to more gain!

.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, it is prudent that you seek medical evaluation by a properly qualified and licensed practitioner.

hightower-beau 

Dr. Beau Hightower is a former collegiate athlete and avid fight fan. He serves as the President of Elite Ortho-Therapy and Sports Medicine LLC, the premier sports injury resolution center in New Mexico.

He is an instructor of bio-mechanics and kinesiology at Southwest University of Naprapathic Medicine and the team doctor for Jackson/Winklejohn MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Elite-OSM.com

In the Corner with the Ring Doc: The Separated Shoulder, That Bump on Your Shoulder May be Fixable

 

 

 

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Written by Dr. Beau B Hightower
MS, DC, CSCS, CES

Many athletes and weekend warriors have experienced pain in their shoulder after a hard fall. Pain can continue for many years and may begin to impact your day to day activities as well as your athletic performance. There are many causes for shoulder pain, the most common of which include rotator cuff pain, labral tears, fractures of the humeral head, shoulder dislocations, and shoulder separations.

Separated shoulder injuries occur when blunt trauma is applied to the side or top of the shoulder. This can happen with collision sports such as basketball, football, soccer, and mixed martial arts when an athlete runs into another athlete. These injuries also occur during hard falls which are common in cycling, skiing, and even distance running. The separation that is referred to when we discuss separated shoulders is a specific joint along the collar bone that is called the acromio-clavicular joint or more commonly, the AC Joint.

shoulder_impingement_causes01

The AC Joint is the connection between a part of the scapula or shoulder blade and the collar bone. When an impact occurs that is strong enough to damage the ligaments that hold this small joint in place, one end, typically the clavicle or collar bone, separates and is pushed either up or down. This causes immediate pain, and there is nearly always a visible elevation in the affected area of the shoulder.

AC Joint separations are classified into six types with type one, or the least severe being the most common. Types four through six are so severe that surgery is typically required to stabilize the joint and attempt to repair fractures and ligament tears. Type one and two can leave permanent deformity as arthritis and ligament thickening or hypertrophy set in. Type one and two can clinically be improved by shoulder mobilization that can actually improve the visual appearance of the “bump” even years later. By creating motion within this thickened structure, synovial fluid is allowed to re-lubricate the joint which can dramatically improve shoulder pain and appearance. If left untreated, type one and two shoulder dislocations can cause permanent deformity and can contribute to neck pain, shoulder arthritis, and even a painful shoulder restriction condition known as impingement syndrome in which the AC joint can actually damage the rotator cuff that glides underneath it.

If the shoulder trauma is recent, it is important to seek medical evaluation so that they may prescribe diagnostic imaging if needed to rule out fractures or other severe trauma. Treatment of a separated shoulder depends on the severity of the injury. When beginning treatment some of the things one should do first, is control the inflammation, rest the joint, and ice the joint. Take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen to help minimize the pain and inflammation. Rest the joint which will also help minimize painful symptoms and allow the healing to begin. When icing, it should be done every four hours for 15 minutes at a time. You may wear a sling until the pain subsides.

 However, if you have a noticeable bump on the end of your collar bone that bothers you, you owe it to yourself to seek a qualified physical medicine specialist to see if this chronic shoulder separation can be improved. If you have pain from an AC Joint separation, you may not have to “shoulder” the load of  unsightly shoulder bumps and pain anymore!

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, it is prudent that you seek medical evaluation by a properly qualified and licensed practitioner.

hightower-beau 

Dr. Beau Hightower is a former collegiate athlete and avid fight fan. He serves as the President of Elite Ortho-Therapy and Sports Medicine LLC, the premier sports injury resolution center in New Mexico. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Parker University and their Alumni Association and treats many elite level UFC fighters in his home practice.

Elite-OSM.com

FightStar 6 On 8th March

On the 8th of March, Africa’s most exciting Amateur MMA tournament comes to the St Johns Hellenic Hall in Primrose ,Germiston.

fight stars

MMA Fighters from all over South Africa as well as from other parts of Africa will converge at this awesome venue to showcase there skills and do battle against each other. All fights are sanctioned by SASCOC and Martial Arts South Africa.

To continue reading, click on page 2…

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In the Corner with the Ring Doc: Growing Pains, Keeping Your Young Athlete In The Game

            severs-disease

Written by Dr. Beau B Hightower
MS, DC, CSCS, CES

Remember the 80’s sitcom, Growing Pains? Do you remember the family name on the show? That’s right, if you guessed Seavers, you are correct. If you have ever experienced, or known someone to experience “growing pains” during the teenage years, then you may be familiar with the terms Osgood Schlatter’s and Sever’s. These are painful afflictions that affect the knee and heel of teenagers and young children, particularly in the athletic population. Today we are going to discuss the whys, hows, and ways to prevent these painful disorders from knocking your young athlete out of the game.

Growing pains is a common term used to describe a very specific bone abnormality known as apophysitis. Apophysitis literally means inflammation of the apophysis, which is the technical term of a bony tubercle wear tendons attach to bone. For those of you not familiar with muscle and skeletal anatomy, ligaments connect bone to bone, while tendons connect muscles to bone. In order to move, the muscles must contract which pulls on bones to move our bodies into the position that we desire. Because the force is transmitted through the tendon to the bone, any over-activity can cause tendinitis in adults, or for those whose bones haven’t fully hardened yet, apophysitis. Due to repeated trauma associated with sports, mutiple avulsion fractures occur below the tubercle which results in a painful bump. The most common sites for such an injury are on the heel, below the kneecap, and where the hamstring muscles tie into the pelvis, known as the ischial tuberosity.

These can be extremely painful and cause physical and psychological trauma to a young athlete. Because their growth plates are still open, the athlete’s bones are growing longer, and if they don’t keep the muscles and tendons relaxed and elongated, these muscles will struggle to maintain the accelerated pace of the bone and begin to pull at the attachment points on the bones. One key way to prevent and relieve the symptoms associated with growing pains is by being proactive with self myofascial release. For specific tips on foam rolling, lacrosse ball use, and myofascial stick, please see my previous article on muscular hygiene.

http://knuxx.com/nm/2013/02/in-the-corner-with-the-ring-doc-muscular-hygiene-keeps-fighters-in-the-game/

The most common devices used to apply SMR are foam rollers, lacrosse balls, myofascial sticks, and myofascial “canes”. These tools can prevent and repair  injuries such as anterior and posterior shoulder pain, IT band syndrome,  lower back pain, shin splints, plantar fascitis and more.  Research has shown repeatedly that static stretching is not the definitive answer to musculoskeletal problems, and while there are few papers relating to foam rollers and others, there is plenty of clinical evidence in the athletic community. Stretching tends to put stress at the tendon-bone intersection, and the muscle-tendon intersection, while restrictions within the belly of restricted muscles remain unaffected.

Traditional treatment for apophysitis include rest, ice, compression, and the use of NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen. You should always consult with a medical professional, but by making consistent use of your self-myofascial tools, you can keep your young athlete healthy and in the game. If addressed properly, growing will not require the pains associated with adolescent sports.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, it is prudent that you seek medical evaluation by a properly qualified and licensed practitioner.

hightower-beau 

Dr. Beau Hightower is a former collegiate athlete and avid fight fan. He serves as the President of Elite Ortho-Therapy and Sports Medicine LLC, the premier sports injury resolution center in New Mexico. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Parker University and their Alumni Association and treats many elite level UFC fighters in his home practice.

Elite-OSM.com

JP 'Tinkerbell' Kruger #1 EFC Africa MW Contender!

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By Jayson du Toit

Next year JP Kruger will challenge Garreth “Soldier Boy” McLellen for the EFC Africa Middle Weight title. While most of us will be taking a December vacation, JP will be hard at work in Thailand at Tiger Muay Thai training camp. Just before he set off we caught up with him to do a quick interview…

To continue reading, click on page 2…

Pages: 1 2

Up Close and Personal with Gorilla Warfare MMA!

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By Jayson du Toit

We recently got the opportunity to speak to Marc Hebert the head trainer and owner of Gorilla Warfare MMA gym to find out what makes this MMA facility so popular and successful…

To continue reading, click on page 2…

Pages: 1 2

IN THE CORNER WITH THE RING DOC: Gamer's Thumb, When an Arthritis Diagnosis Gets a Thumbs Down

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Written by Dr. Beau B Hightower
MS, DC, CSCS, CES

Our culture continues to move into a digital age which means  more and more use of our hands due to these digital devices which include cell phones, video games, tablets, and more. Due to this reliance on technological devices, particularly with the millenial generation, it is to no surprise that we are seeing a younger and younger patient population with debilitating thumb pain. In the past, most doctors and practitioners would brush thumb pain off as arthritis or simply a part of the aging process, but as we learn more about the pathology of soft tissue injuries, we have come to realize that a simple condition known as De Quervain Tenosynovitis is the main cause for our current epidemic of thumb pain. Symptoms of this particular disease include pain, tenderness, and swelling over the thumb side of the wrist, and difficulty gripping.

Professions such as dental hygienists, office staff, and yes even UFC fighters are at high risk to develop this type of overuse injury.

 While most of the muscles associated with the thumb lie on the palm side, (this is known as the thenar eminance) the most common tendon restrictions lie on the top side of the thumb. Two specific tendons, the abductor pollicus longus and extensor pollicus brevis  are often entrapped either within the tendon sheath (the area that wraps around tendons that protects and allows proper movement) or the retinaculum ( a band of tissue that wraps around the wrist to provide support for tendons, veins, arteries, and nerves) The following image show’s finkelstein’s test, the most accurate orthopedic test to verify gamer’s thumb.

ans7_finkelsteintest

Research shows that 90 percent of patients with gamer’s thumb will recover in one year, but most people simply cannot wait that long for resolution, as the thumb is so vital to our lives, particularly in the digital age.  Most patients can be completely healed within 1-3 treatments by using soft tissue treatment methods  such as Ortho-Therapy or instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization. Due to the frustrating nature of the injury, and the general lack of knowledge of the condition within the medical community, patients are occasionally referred for surgical consults unnecessarily. Operative procedures on the thumb can lead to debilitating bio-mechanical changes down the line. Second line therapies include efficacious treatments such as NSAIDs and Corticosteroid injections of the synovial sheath (doctors often are mistaken and attempt injections into the joint in hopes of alleviating what they perceive to be osteoarthritis)

 If you are experiencing sharp thumb pain, and you believe or have been told that you simply have arthritis, you owe it to yourself to seek out an evidence-based practitioner of physical medicine to evaluate your injury. More than likely, you will be back to texting, typing, and doing the things that you love to do in a very short period of time, simply by getting the right treatment for the right condition. You will be smiling, and will certainly give a “thumb’s up” to the healing hands of your doctor!

 

 

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, it is prudent that you seek medical evaluation by a properly qualified and licensed practitioner.

hightower-beau 

Dr. Beau Hightower is a former collegiate athlete and avid fight fan. He serves as the President of Elite Ortho-Therapy and Sports Medicine LLC, the premier sports injury resolution center in New Mexico. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Parker University and their Alumni Association and treats many elite level UFC fighters in his home practice.

Elite-OSM.com

FightStar 5

by Jayson du Toit

FightStar Amateur Fighting Championship has announced FightStar 5 will be happening on the 16th November!

With massive events in the past that saw huge turn outs and amazing amateur MMA action, FightStar aims to bring yet another epic instalment our way in November.

To continue reading, click on page 2…

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Francois Groenewald: Franaconda

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by Jayson du Toit

KNUXX SA: Who is Francois Groenewald?

To continue reading, click on page 2…

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Anderson Silva Blames Injury for His Loss to Weidman!

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Posted by Guest MMA Blogger Art Smith

So, Anderson Silva says it isn’t an excuse, but he was only 85% healthy going into the Weidman fight due to a rib injury.  The same thing he said after the first Sonnen fight.  In a Bleacher Report article I read about the comments, the reporter asked, “Will Silva prove the first win was a fluke or will “The All-American” showcase that he truly is the best there is to offer at 185 pounds?”

Well, I guess we will see, but one thing that is for sure, if Silva loses again or has a bad showing, it will most likely be due to a rib injury!

If you ask any fighter and they are being honest, they would say it is rare to enter a fight at 100% and most of the time all fighters are dealing with some sort of nagging, ongoing injury, a harder than usual weight cut or something. However, it is very rare for a fighter to let these things keep them from competing because they need to fight in order to make a living. If the injury or issue ensures a lose or has the potential to end a career, then and only then, will a fighter pull out of a fight.

In the case of Anderson Silva, all of this is ridiculous because 85% is probably average for most, he doesn’t need the money and he didn’t lose the fight as a result of Weidman taking him to the mat and pounding him in the ribs. He lost by dancing around like a clown and getting clipped in the jaw! Injury or not, Silva lost because he thought he was invincible and couldn’t be beat.

That is what I think.  What are your thoughts?