Tout dans la vie est une question d'équilibre d'où la nécessité de garder un esprit sain dans un corps sain.


Everything in life is a matter of balance therefore one needs to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body.


E. do REGO

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Best of Quads

"Leg workouts simply have to be brutal to be effective," said Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Normal workouts are hard enough, but if thighs happen to be a weak point in your physique, you have to be prepared to push yourself even more."

"Expect to get quite nauseated," says Charles Poliquin dryly about his own leg specialization programs.

From famous bodybuilders to famous strength coaches, there's one permeating truth when it comes to leg training: it's gonna suck. And perhaps that's why big muscular legs in your gym are as rare as small breasts in Los Angeles.

But if you've got the gonads, we've got the methods to change that. Here are some of the most effective quad-building exercises and routines we've discovered.

#1: The Ultimate Quad Squat

Powerlifters know a whole lot about squatting. And their knowledge has carried over into sports performance training and bodybuilding.

But that's a double-edged sword, because powerlifters are all about maximal efforts, wide stances, a shortened range of motion, and low bar positions. Great for moving a mountain of plates, not so great for targeting quadriceps development.

No, the "quad squat" is a whole different beast compared to the powerlifting squat. We surveyed our stable of coaches and hypertrophy experts and came up with what we call "The Ultimate Quad Squat." Check it out:

In review: Front squat, narrow stance, no lock-out, lighter weight, heals elevated.


#2: The Ultimate Quad Lunge

The lunge is often overlooked by many bodybuilders, and that's too bad. It's great for overall leg and glute development, plus it can be a brutal conditioning exercise. The lunging movement is also classified as a "primal movement pattern" just like the squat. So why neglect it?

To make the lunge into a quad killer, keep these rules in mind:


#3: The Two-Minute Leg Press

Sports performance coaches often poo-poo the leg press because it doesn't transfer well to sport, plus squats are more effective anyway at building overall strength, something that's obviously important to coaches who work mainly with performance athletes. But what about the leg press for bodybuilding?

"The leg press is a great exercise for hypertrophy," says Poliquin, "especially for the quadriceps." So what's the best way to use the leg press for quad size? We'll tell ya: medium to narrow foot position, placed low on the foot plate, and performed with high reps.

High reps? What about "Go heavy or go home!" There's a time and a place for that, but if your quads are only a little bigger than your calves, then it may be time to strip off some plates and go for some nauseating TUT.

Most lifters have a high percentage of slow-twitch fibers in their quadriceps. "With quads, you can go as high as 50 reps per set. There's been some pro-bodybuilders who've grown on 30 reps per set," notes Poliquin.

While not everyone's fiber-make-up is the same — and while varied rep ranges are usually best — we'd say that if you lack quad size, then high reps may be the cure you've been looking for. Here's a routine from Poliquin that puts all this info to work.

Using a much lighter weight than normal, a full range of motion, and the narrow and low foot positions, do leg presses for two straight minutes, no rest. Remember, full-range means you go down until your quadriceps cover your chest.

For each rep, extend your legs to 95% of lockout. Again, the key is to keep the tension on the muscle at all times.

"By the time you finish this exercise, you may want to cough up a lung or two," notes Poliquin. We believe that's his idea of encouragement.

#4: Deadman Quad Raises

"This drill is the equivalent of the natural glute-ham raise for the quadriceps," says Thibaudeau. "While it seems deceptively easy at first glance, it can really burn those quads of yours when performed properly, leaving you limping for quite some time!"

After a ringing endorsement like that, we bet you're just dying to try it, right? (Ya sick bastard.) Here's how to do it:

Start on your knees, with the trunk upright and in line with the upper legs. During the whole movement the trunk and upper thighs must be kept on the same line; this is the key to the effectiveness of this drill.

Lower yourself backward under control — bringing your back toward your feet — while remembering to keep your trunk tight and in line with the upper legs during the whole movement. Lower yourself as low as you can, then come back up to the starting position by tensing your quads hard.

At first you won't need to add any weight to make this exercise hard. As you progress, you can hold a weight plate on your chest to increase the difficulty.

#5: Quadriceps Finishers

A finisher is any movement you add to the end of your regular training session to "finish off" the muscles and further stimulate hypertrophy. It's totally old-school and masochistic... and brutally effective for quad growth.

Just perform your regular heavy compound movements first, then finish off with one of these torture methods:

1. Iso One-leg Squat

"This exercise is a lesson in pain tolerance," says Christian Thibaudeau. "It can leave the bravest gym rat begging for mercy!"

With your front leg forward, place your back leg on a bench. Bend your front leg so that the upper leg is parallel to the floor with the knee in line with the front foot. The trunk should be kept upright with hands on your hips.

Hold that position for 60 seconds per leg. If you can handle that length of time, you can hold dumbbells in your hands or a plate across your chest.

2. Ski Squat

We learned this from strength coach Ian King. The ski squat sneaks up on you like a ninja. You'll think it's easy at first, but you'll think again by the end of it!

Place your feet shoulder-width apart, about two feet out from the wall, and lean your back against the wall. Bend your knees to a partial-squat position. This is position one.

After 10 seconds, lower down to position two, about two inches lower. After 10 more seconds, lower another two inches down to position three. You should be about thigh parallel by now. Use another two lower positions, with position five being about as far as you can bend at the knees.

Most people are quivering lumps of Jell-O by this point. If you're not: Extend each static position to 20 seconds, do it one leg at a time, or come back up after you work your way down the wall.

Can you smell that? That's lactic acid seeping from your pours.

3. Single-Leg Partial Squats

Another killer body weight finisher from Ian King:

Stand on the edge of a low block (1/3 to 1/2 the height of normal bench height). Have the weak leg on the box and the strong leg off the edge of the box. With your hands on your hips, bend at the knee of the weak side, lowering down (two to three seconds) until the sole of your foot almost brushes the floor.

Keep the sole parallel to the ground. Pause for one second and return to full extension in about one to two seconds. At the tenth rep, pause at the bottom position for ten seconds. You must not rest the non-supporting leg on the ground at any stage during the set! Then continue reps until you get to 20. Repeat the ten-second pause.

"Can you go on? If yes, remember that you have to finish what you start!" notes King. "This exercise must be done in multiples of ten, with a ten-second pause in the bottom position at the completion of every ten reps. If you get to 50 reps, look to raise the height of the block."

If possible, don't hold onto anything during the set — the challenge of having to balance yourself will add to the fatigue. However, you may wish to do this near a wall or squat stand, just in case. And be careful when you get off the block at the end of the set!


Arnold also said that leg training "...involves a mental effort almost as much as a physical one. This means forcing yourself to break down any inhibition or barrier."

Knowing the exercises and routines is one thing. Putting them to work, with intense mental focus and eyeball-popping effort, is quite another. Are you ready?

Model: Beau Myrick
Location: Gold's Gym, Abilene, Texas

Ultimate Quad Squat

Best of Quads

Ultimate Quad Lunge

Best of Quads

Two Minute Leg Press

Best of Quads

Deadman Raise

Best of Quads

Iso One Leg Squat

Best of Quads

Ski Squat

Best of Quads

Single Leg Partial Squat

Best of Quads

© 1998 — 2009 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why You Aren't Getting Bigger — And How to Fix It

Imagine that a guy walks into my gym, and he's looking to add 10 pounds of muscle — a simple and straightforward request. The first thing we do is go through a short checklist:

Obviously, if someone wants to gain size and he isn't lifting weights, there's no mystery about the first step. We get him on a training program, introduce him to the magic of progressive resistance, and watch him grow.

Since nobody is confused about the need to lift in order to gain muscle, let's move on to the next two points.

You'd be surprised how many people lift weights but don't eat enough total calories to reach their goals. Same with protein intake: It seems obvious, but some people do need to be told to eat more. So once we figure out what he's eating and when, fixing the problem is relatively straightforward.

"Heavy enough" and "often enough" are subjective, of course, but once we understand what he's been doing, these are easy variables to manipulate. Technique? Well if you've been to any commercial gyms recently, you'll see a lot of underdeveloped guys lifting with really bad form. If our guy's form on the squat and deadlift leaves a lot to be desired, we might be able to add size just by teaching him to use the right muscles on basic lifts.

But what if the problem isn't so easy to detect and fix? What if he's doing everything we expect him to do with his training and nutrition, but he's still not making the gains he wants to make, and that we'd expect him to make, given the effort he's putting in?

Our next step is to release the brakes.

When Pushing Harder Doesn't Help

I got the "release the brakes" idea during a conversation with Dax Moy, a British trainer and gym owner. We were talking about "accelerating" client progress, and came to an interesting conclusion:

All of us in the fitness industry, trainers and trainees alike, have been brainwashed into thinking that the only way to improve results is to push harder. If you aren't making gains, it's because you aren't training hard enough or often enough. Doesn't matter if we're talking about systemic gains in muscle size or body composition, or strength in particular lifts, or the size of individual muscles or muscle groups. The answer to every problem is to punch down harder on the accelerator.

But think of a car with the parking brake on. If you push harder on the gas pedal, you'll only run out of fuel quicker, right? But if you take off the brake, the car will go farther and faster, and probably use less fuel in the process.

This leads to two important conclusions: First, removing the impediments to your progress will probably help more than adding another set of squats, bench presses, or sprints. Second, it's pointless to increase load and volume while those impediments are in place.

So What's Holding You Back?

A friend of mine went to see a chiropractor for a back problem. The problem: misaligned vertebrae in his lumbar spine. The culprit: heavy Romanian deadlifts.

My friend is strong as hell — he was using close to double his body weight in the lift. His glutes and hams could handle the load, but his lower back couldn't. Since my friend's goal is to get even stronger than he was before the injury, what's his best strategy? Keep pushing, despite the fact his injured back has already shown it can't handle bigger loads? Or design a program that releases the brakes by strengthening his weakest link?

We switched to a heavy emphasis on core training that allows direct loading of his lumbar area, along with heavy single-leg RDLs, which maintained the strength of his glutes and hams without the risk of a lower-back injury.

Core strength is often the underlying issue, whether we're talking about something major like misaligned vertebrae or something that's annoying but minor, like a lagging body part. The core muscles need to stabilize and protect the spine, particularly when the extremities are in motion. If those muscles aren't strong or stable enough, the first clue could be a lack of size or strength somewhere else.

Quick experiment:

Stand up and hold a single dumbbell out to your right side, as you would in the finishing position of a lateral raise. What muscles are working? Obviously, it's your right deltoid. If you're a trainer or otherwise knowledgeable about exercise physiology, you can probably name a few other muscles in the shoulder girdle that come into play, but we can all agree that the prime mover here is the deltoid.

But think about how your torso stays upright with that dumbbell hanging out in space. Your center of gravity has been thrown off, so something besides your right deltoid must be working pretty hard to keep you from listing to the starboard side. In this case, it's your left oblique. It's working to stabilize your spine, allowing your right deltoid to lift that weight and hold it out there away from your body.

Now imagine that the oblique on your left side is weak, or recently injured. You wouldn't be able to lift that dumbbell, since the muscles charged with protecting your spine aren't prepared to do their job. Your body cares more about the health and safety of your spine than it does about the size of your shoulders.

Your best strategy, then, is to rehabilitate and strengthen your obliques, thus releasing the brake on your muscle development. Stomping on the accelerator by increasing the volume of your shoulder training wouldn't do any good, and might make things considerably worse.

Let's assign some completely hypothetical numbers to this example, and say your right deltoid can lift 30 pounds for 10 reps. To achieve overload and force growth, we have to train the deltoid to do one of two things: lift 31 pounds for 10 reps, or 30 pounds for 11 or more reps.

But let's say your core muscles, either because of injury or disuse, can only handle 29 pounds for 10 reps.

A bodybuilder might say the solution is to find a way to overload the delts while bypassing the core. Maybe he'd use machines designed for that purpose, or wear a lifting belt for his lateral raises, or do something else that wouldn't occur to me. Ultimately, the strategy is counterproductive; even if it works, it only exacerbates the imbalance, which makes the brakes work harder to slow your body down and keep your spine safe.

I'd take the opposite approach, and do everything I could to release the brakes. Here's an example of how I'd train the core muscles twice a week. I'd use timed sets, rather than prescribing specific rep counts:

Day 1

Exercise Sets Time (sec)
A1) Side plank 3 60*
A2) Barbell, dumbbell, sandbag, or weight plate overhead lunge 3 60
A3) Dumbbell or kettlebell asymmetrical shoulder carry 3 60*

* Each side.

You already know how to do a side plank (although doing it for 60 seconds on each side might be a new experience).

The overhead lunge is just like it sounds: hold something heavy over your head with straight arms, and do lunges for 60 seconds.

The asymmetrical shoulder carry is also straightforward: hold the weight on one shoulder as you walk briskly for 60 seconds. Then switch to the other shoulder for 60 seconds.

That's one circuit, which takes five minutes. Do a total of three circuits, resting as much as you need to in between.

Day 2

Exercise Sets Time (sec)
A1) Cable overhead isometric hold and squat 3 60*
A2) Side plank with legs suspended 3 60*
A3) Dumbbell or kettlebell asymmetrical farmer's walk 3 60*

* Each side.

Cable overhead isometric hold and squat

If you've ever done the Pallof press, then you get the idea here. Attach a handle to the high pulley of a cable machine, and select a very light weight (trust me on this one). Stand sidewise to the machine, holding the attachment with both hands and your arms straight overhead, as shown in the pictures to your right. Squat down and hold for two seconds, then return to the starting position, keeping your torso upright. Repeat for 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Side plank with legs suspended

If you have a TRX, blast straps, rings, or a Jungle Gym, attach it to a chin-up bar, and secure your feet in the loops so they're about 12 to 18 inches off the floor. Now do a side plank for 60 seconds on each side, as shown in the picture.

Dumbbell or kettlebell asymmetrical farmer's walk

Nothing fancy here — just walk while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at hip height. Go for 60 seconds on each side.

How to Find the Brake-Release Switch

Some brakes are easier to find than others. Let's say your bench press is stuck, and you want to figure out if the problem is your chest or your triceps. A simple test would be to compare your one-rep max on the full-range bench press to your max on the five-board press.

If you get 315 pounds on the full-range press vs. 405 with the boards on your chest to shorten the range of motion, you can conclude that your triceps are a lot stronger than your chest. If the reverse is true — you're stronger pushing the bar off your chest than you are locking it out — then the problem is probably with your triceps strength.

But what if the problem has nothing to do with the prime movers? Imagine a guy who comes to me a few weeks before he has to take a fitness test. He needs to be able to do 75 push-ups to pass the test, but can only do 50 right now.

The traditional advice is to do more and more submaximal sets, or use diminishing rest intervals to build capacity. It might work, if the problem is a simple matter of undertraining. But it's also a crapshoot. If he isn't undertrained, and the problem lies elsewhere, we risk wasting a lot of valuable time.

Before going to a volume approach, I'd want to know if the problem is with the strength and endurance of his arm and shoulder muscles, or if there's an issue with his core muscles.

I'd use an exercise called the super plank, or plank walk-up. It works best if you have a training partner to watch your form.

Start in a push-up position, then lower yourself down to your forearms, so you're in a plank position. Then come back up to a push-up position, keeping your core tight throughout the exercise. Do as many reps as possible, and stop when you or your training partner observes that your belly is starting to sag, indicating that you've lost core stability.

If you never get to that point — if your arms and shoulders give out before your core muscles — then you know the problem is a lack of strength and endurance in your prime movers.

But if the core gives out first, you see a different problem. You might have 60 or 65 reps in your arms and shoulders, but only 50 in your core. In that case, we'd pursue a core-training strategy similar to the one I showed earlier.

If, however, the problem is with the prime movers, I'd put together a workout that emphasizes strength training and suspended push-ups. It would look something like this:

Workout 1

Exercise Sets Reps
A) Dumbbell bench press (wave loading)
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
B) Push-up 2 Max (timed)

Dumbbell bench press (wave loading)

Each "wave" consists of three sets using progressively heavier weights. In Week 1, you start with 8 reps. Increase the weight for the second set, which is 6 reps. Then increase it again for the set of 4 reps. For the second wave of 8, 6, and 4 reps, use more weight on each set than you used on the first wave.

So if you used 60, 70, and 80 pounds for the first wave, you might use 65, 75, and 85 for the second wave.

After Week 4, repeat the entire program, but use heavier weights to start out than you used the first time through.


Do as many reps as possible, timing yourself to see how long it takes. Rest for the exact amount of time it took you to do your max reps, and repeat.

Workout 2

Exercise Sets Reps Rest (sec)
A) Suspended push-up
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
10 5

Suspended push-up

As with the suspended side plank described earlier, you'll need blast straps, a TRX, or something else that will support your weight about 12 to 18 inches off the floor. Put your hands in the rings or straps, with your feet on the floor, and do your sets and reps with the rest periods decreasing week by week, as shown in the chart.

After four weeks, repeat the program, making the push-ups harder by raising your feet up off the floor or wearing a weighted vest.

How to Find a Lower-Body Imbalance

A structural imbalance between core strength and muscle strength is a little trickier to detect in the lower body. For example, suppose I'm training a young athlete who's 5-foot-11, 162 pounds, and needs to gain size and strength. When we test his strength on a variety of lower-body exercises, we get this:

Back squat:
Front squat:
Split squat:
Romanian deadlift:

What jumps out at you? It's a little odd that he can front squat as much as he uses in the back squat, but that's not what I see as the big red flag. It's also strange that he's much stronger in the RDL than in the squat, but again it's not the most important data point.

To me, the real anomaly is the fact he can use almost as much weight in the split squat — a static lunge with a barbell on his shoulders — as he can in the traditional squat.

When we further test his form on the squat and lunge, we find he has better range of motion and stability in the lunge pattern than he does with his feet parallel to each other. He gets lower and has better balance.

Now we need to know why. The action of the front leg in the lunge is doing something very close to the action of both legs in the squat, so logically you'd think he should be able to use a lot more weight with two legs than with one. We'd expect him to be able to squat at least 185 pounds for five reps.

We put him through three tests.

The first is a two-part test I described in this article. We'll assess his form in an unloaded overhead squat, particularly looking for forward lean relative to depth. If he can't get to normal squat depth (top of the thighs parallel to the floor, or just below that point) without leaning forward, we'll move to the second part of the test.

To figure out if the problem is with flexibility or core stability, we'll put him on his back on the floor and have him lift his thighs to his chest. If he has a normal range of motion in that drill, then we know his flexibility is fine, and the likely problem is core stability.

Next we'll test his split squat for a left-right imbalance. For this test, he'll hold a 57.5-pound kettlebell (or 60-pound dumbbell) on the same-side shoulder as his forward leg. So if the right leg is forward, he'll hold the weight at his right shoulder. The offset load is much more challenging to his core, and we want to know if that affects one side more than the other.

Finally, we'll test his strength in the good morning. We already know from his RDL numbers that he's strong in the glutes and hamstrings, so the good morning tells us if there's an imbalance farther up the posterior chain. If his good morning is close to his RDL, we'll know his lower and middle back are proportionally strong enough.

In this example, he's passed every test except the first one: His inability to do an unloaded overhead squat without excessive forward lean tells us there's a real problem with his core stability.

Here's how we go about fixing it.

Exercise Sets Reps
A) Plank and side plank 2-3 1*
B) Trap-bar deadlift 5 5,3,1,5,5
C) Asymmetrical lunge 2-3 8-10**

* 60 seconds per side.
** Each side.

Plank and side plank

First we want to get him to the point at which he can do 60-second holds for both exercises. Then we'll add a load, either with a weighted vest or by putting his feet up on a bench or his elbows on a stability ball.

Asymmetrical lunge

As described earlier, we'll have him hold a heavy dumbbell — 75 to 85 pounds — at either his shoulder or hip on the same side as his front leg.

Rx for Biceps and Lats

You've probably heard this bit of old-school wisdom: "You can't shoot a cannon from a canoe." If your biceps are lagging, and the problem isn't lack of training emphasis, the brakes could be in your upper back, especially your traps. Those muscles aren't big and strong enough to support more upper-arm size.

A solid program of heavy shrugs, deadlifts, YTWL raises, face pulls, and inverted rows will develop the upper-back strength necessary to support additional loading in curling exercises, leading to greater size and strength.

Another common strategy to increase arm size is to focus on using the arms in multijoint lifts as part of a movement chain that emphasizes the back or chest. That's why close-grip bench presses and dips are great triceps-building exercises, and why chin-ups are usually effective for biceps.

But what if the chin-up is the problem? That is, what if you're unable to do more than a few chins at a time, and the problem isn't simply a lack of effort in that exercise?

The problem could be in your external rotators. The chest and lats are powerful internal rotators of your upper-arm bones, so your body may resist your efforts to increase strength in those muscles if your external rotators are weaker than they need to be. It puts the brakes on the stronger muscles to prevent injury. Face pulls and YTWL raises, mentioned earlier, will help alleviate that imbalance.

Here's another common weak link in chin-up performance: lat strength in relation to glute strength.

In gym culture, the idea that the lats and glutes work together seems ridiculous. The lats move your arms and the glutes move your legs, and as any reader of Flex could tell you, those are entirely different body parts. But take a look at an anatomy chart. You can draw straight lines from the fibers of the latissimus dorsi on the left side through the gluteus maximus on the right side. Same with your right lat and left glute.

That's why those muscles work together when you walk, run, or climb to stabilize your spine. (On the front of your body, your obliques share the same fiber orientation as the adductor muscles on the inner thigh of the opposite-side leg.)

If one side of this support mechanism is weak, your spine is at risk. So your body will resist your attempts to make one of the muscles disproportionately stronger.

As odd as it seems, you might need to work on your lunge or step-up strength to improve your performance in chin-ups.

You can also work around the problem, if you have it, by holding a Swiss ball between your butt and heels while you do chin-ups, as shown in the pictures at right. You'll need a training partner to set the ball in place on the back of your legs, and then you'll need to squeeze it in place by firing your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. With your glutes contracted, your body perceives that the spine is stable, and it releases the brakes, allowing your lats to work more effectively.

Wrapping It Up: Make or Brake

In business, those who're ambitious are often told that they won't attain a seven-figure income by doing more of what got them to a six-figure income. Chances are it's not even possible — they worked at full capacity to earn the six-figure income in the first place. To reach seven figures, they have to think and act differently.

The strength-training version of that idea has been expressed by Dave Tate: Whatever you did to get from 200 pounds to 300 pounds in the bench press won't work to get from 300 to 400.

My version of this idea is what I hope I've described in this article: Pushing the accelerator by eating more and training more can get you pretty far in the gym. You can build a body that's bigger and stronger than most of the others you see around you.

But if you want to reach another level of development -- adding size and strength systemically; bringing up a lagging muscle group; increasing strength or repetitions in a particular exercise — you need to think and act differently.

The answer isn't always obvious; if it were, anyone willing to work hard could get a lot bigger and stronger than he is now. So once you've attempted the obvious solutions, like eating more or training the targeted muscles harder, you need to start looking for the brakes.

Those brakes could be hiding in a lot of different places: your obliques, your external rotators, your traps, your lats, your glutes. If there's one thing those potential locations have in common, it's this: They tend to be near the center of your body.

Or to make it even simpler, look at it this way: The impediment to growth in your arm muscles probably isn't in your arms. You already know how to push down on the accelerator, and increase the volume and intensity of your arm workouts. But chances are progress will be brutally slow until you figure out how to release the brakes.

Cable overhead squatWhy You Aren't Getting Bigger

Side plank with legs suspended, using a TRX.

Why You Aren't Getting Bigger

Split squat with asymmetrical load.

Why You Aren't Getting Bigger

Chin-up with Swiss ball

About Alwyn Cosgrove

Why You Aren't Getting Bigger

Alwyn Cosgrove is owner, with his wife Rachel, of Results Fitness in Newhall, California, and coauthor of The New Rules of Lifting and The New Rules of Lifting for Women, both of which are now available in paperback.

© 1998 — 2009 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Aging: Eating Fish May Ward Off Dementia

July 21, 2009
Vital Signs

Many studies have suggested that a diet rich in fish is good for the heart. Now there is new evidence that such a diet may ward off dementia as well. One of the largest efforts to document a connection — and the first such study undertaken in the developing world — has found that older adults in Asia and Latin America were less likely to develop dementia if they regularly consumed fish.

And the more fish they ate, the lower their risk, the report found. The findings appear in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study, which included 15,000 people 65 and older in China, India, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic, found that those who ate fish nearly every day were almost 20 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who ate fish just a few days a week. Adults who ate fish a few days a week were almost 20 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who ate no fish at all.

“There is a gradient effect, so the more fish you eat, the less likely you are to get dementia,” said Dr. Emiliano Albanese, a clinical epidemiologist at King’s College London and the senior author of the study. “Exactly the opposite is true for meat,” he added. “The more meat you eat, the more likely you are to have dementia.” Other studies have shown that red meat in particular may be bad for the brain.

Observational studies in the West also have indicated fish may reduce dementia risk, but there is little evidence as yet from randomized, controlled clinical trials.


The Best of Foods, the Worst of Foods

By Jennifer LaRue Huget
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Did the world really need a fourth "Eat This, Not That!" book?

Well, maybe not. Having read the first three in the series of food-choice comparison guides created by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding of Men's Health magazine, I'd have been inclined to say, okay, guys, I get it. Some foods that seem healthful are surprisingly bad for you, and others that you think might kill you aren't as bad as you thought, and it's important to look at the nutrition facts so you'll know the difference.

To be sure, the new book follows its best-selling forebears, delving into the nutrition data for tons of fast-food, casual dining and grocery-store foods and comparing them to one another, urging readers to choose the more healthful items over those most likely to clog your arteries and pad your thighs. The shock value is somewhat diminished by now: A venti 2 percent Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate has 760 calories? What else is new? And to my mind, most of the big revelations about the highest-profile food items were made in the earlier books, leaving portions of this book with a leftovers feeling.

Having said all that, though, I have to confess that I love this book. Flipping through the pages is like snacking on Lay's potato chips (the 110-calorie baked variety being an "Eat This" choice, besting 210-calorie Sun Chips Original in the vending-machine-snack category). The photos are compelling, especially those of the gross "Not That!" choices: Check out those 460-calorie slices of Cici's Macaroni and Cheese Pizza! And the explanatory blurbs are pithy and crammed with detail.

Perhaps anticipating a been-there-done-that response, the authors have squeezed into this expanded volume a lot of basic nutrition information. The four-page list of food sources for 14 key vitamins and minerals (did you know there's zinc in both wheat germ and pastrami?) is as handy a little guide as I've seen. And after reading this edition's lineup of common food additives and their potential effects on your body, you'll never feel the same way again about Tropicana orange juice. Its ingredients include cochineal extract -- a coloring agent made of "about 90 percent insect-body fragments."

As in earlier volumes, Zinczenko and Goulding offer sections enumerating the best and worst foods for specific nutritional goals: For controlling blood sugar and, by extension, possibly warding off diabetes, beware the whopping 110 grams of sugar in Uno Chicago Grill's Baby Back Ribs. To ward off high cholesterol and blood pressure, skip the Grilled Shrimp Caprese at Olive Garden, which delivers 150 percent of the recommended daily maximum of sodium. And they include information about foods that boost your mood, improve your complexion, fuel your workout or lift your libido (oysters don't, but dark chocolate does).

New to this edition is a section called "The Best Foods You've Never Heard Of." My heart sank when I saw the first entry was acai berries, which I've not only heard of but written about. But the aronia berry? That's news to me! (Like acai, aronia, also known as chokeberry, has lots of antioxidants, as signaled by its deep purple color.) Sure, I've cooked celeriac, but what is this fenugreek? (An herb used in many Indian dishes, it may help regulate blood sugar.) Hemp seed nuts, we learn, are packed with protein and alpha-linoleic acid, which is good for your heart. Sweet potato leaves turn out to be full of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds. And alligator meat has more protein than beef or chicken, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. "I eat alligator every day," Zinczenko joshed with me over the phone. "I never tire of it."

The "ETNT" team wins my heart by embracing full-fat cheese over reduced-fat. They say it's a great source of casein protein, good for building strong muscle; they also cite research showing that "even when men ate 10 ounces of full-fat cheese daily for 3 weeks, their LDL ('bad') cholesterol didn't budge."

My very favorite nugget appears in the "Superfoods in Disguise" section. I've been told for years that iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value -- but there it is, with the explanation that "half a head of iceberg lettuce has significantly more alpha-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant, than either romaine lettuce or spinach."

People will find their quibbles, of course. For instance, about that iceberg lettuce: Who eats half a head? And how much spinach did they stack it up against? Many of the book's proclamations, including the one about cheese, appear to be based on findings from single studies, and some of their "best" and "worst" designations may seem a bit obvious. I mean, what do you expect when you order Bob Evans's Stacked and Stuffed Caramel Banana Pecan Hotcakes? Of course they have 1,543 calories! But the thing is, the guys asked people to estimate how many calories were in that dish, and the average guess was just over 1,000.

So the books are interesting and informative, and I even look forward to several more volumes due to appear in the next few months. But will they cause enough of us to change our ways to have a meaningful impact, or is all this comparing of foods merely a parlor game?

I figure comparing the data can only help -- unless just seeing pictures of those pecan pancakes and pasta-topped pizza makes us so hungry we eat them after all.

Check out Tuesday's Checkup blog post, in which Jennifer takes an "Eat This, Not That!" look at salads. Subscribe to the Lean & Fit newsletter by going to and searching for "newsletters."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obesity costs U.S. health system $147 billion: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Obesity-related diseases account for nearly 10 percent of all medical spending in the United States or an estimated $147 billion a year, U.S. researchers said Monday.

They said obese people spend 40 percent more -- or $1,429 more per year -- in healthcare costs than people of normal weight.

"It is critical that we take effective steps to contain and reduce the enormous burden of obesity on our nation," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference at a CDC obesity meeting where the study was presented.

"Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort," Frieden said. "It will be done successfully as a society."

The CDC outlined 24 new recommendations on how communities can combat obesity in their neighborhoods and schools by encouraging healthier eating and more exercise.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Foresty, said the report underscores why prevention and wellness efforts must be part of any plan to reform the U.S. health system.

"Report after report shows that if we fail to take meaningful steps now on prevention of chronic disease like obesity, healthcare costs will continue to spiral out of control," Harkin said in a statement.


More than 26 percent of Americans are obese, which means they have a body mass index of 30 or higher. BMI is equal to weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. A person 5 feet 5 inches tall becomes obese at 180 pounds (82 kg).

For the study, Eric Finkelstein of the non-profit RTI International and researchers at the CDC and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analyzed medical cost data from 1998 and 2006.

They found U.S. obesity rates rose 37 percent between 1998 and 2006, driving an 89 percent increase in spending on treatments for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

Obesity now accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical spending in the United States, up from 6.5 percent in 1998.

"What we found was the total cost of obesity increased from $74 billion to maybe as high as $147 billion today, so roughly double over that time period," said Finkelstein, whose study also was published in the journal Health Affairs.

An obese Medicare beneficiary spends $600 more a year on drug costs than a Medicare patient of healthy weight.

The CDC's new obesity prevention strategies aim to address issues such as a lack of access to healthy food in poor neighborhoods and sedentary lifestyles that contribute to America's obesity epidemic.

Frieden said soda and sugar-sweetened beverages "play a particular role in the obesity epidemic," noting that Americans consume an extra 150 calories more per day in sugar-sweetened beverages than two to three decades ago.

He said adding a tax to soft drinks might curb consumption but that was not a position held by the Obama administration.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Bill Trott)



Nom commun : igname.
Nom scientifique :
Dioscorea Spp.
Famille :


  • C’est un légume exotique facile à apprêter.
  • Elle remplace originalement la pomme de terre ou la patate douce.
  • Elle est étonnante avec du lait de coco et du clou de girofle.

  • L’igname fournit plusieurs vitamines et minéraux essentiels.

Profil santé

L’igname est un légume exotique possédant une grande valeur nutritionnelle. Bien qu’il soit considéré avant tout comme une source de glucides, ce légume contribue à l’apport en plusieurs vitamines et en minéraux importants, en plus de contenir des protéines. D’ailleurs, l’une de ces protéines possède des propriétés pharmacologiques bien documentées. Il existe des centaines de variétés d’ignames, mais seulement quelques-unes d’entre elles sont comestibles1. L’igname entière, telle que consommée, a fait l’objet de peu d’études, malgré les quelques propriétés médicinales qui lui sont attribuées.

Principes actifs et propriétés

Antioxydants. Les antioxydants sont des composés qui réduisent les dommages causés dans l’organisme par les radicaux libres. Ces derniers sont des molécules très réactives qui seraient impliquées dans l’apparition des maladies cardiovasculaires, de certains cancers et de maladies liées au vieillissement. L’igname aurait des propriétés antioxydantes2, 3, mais les mécanismes et les composés bénéfiques restent encore à être clairement identifiés. Parmi ceux-ci, notons entre autres la dioscorine4, une des protéines les plus abondantes de l’igname et aussi la plus étudiée quant à son potentiel antioxydant.

Symptômes de la ménopause. Traditionnellement, l’igname est utilisée pour traiter certains symptômes de la ménopause. La diosgénine, un composé retrouvé dans l’igname, exercerait une action oestrogénique chez l’animal5, 6. Par contre, chez l’humain, la prise de suppléments d’igname n’a pas confirmé cet effet (voir notre fiche Igname sauvage (psn)). Une étude dans laquelle 24 femmes ménopausées consommaient près de 400 g d’igname quotidiennement (ce qui correspond au poids d’environ deux pommes de terre moyennes) n’a pu émettre de conclusion claire quant à l’effet oestrogénique de ce légume7. Des chercheurs et professionnels de la santé affirment que les composés oestrogéniques de l’igname ne sont pas actifs dans l’organisme8 et que seule la consommation de très grandes quantités d’igname crue pourraient amener une activité oestrogénique9. De plus, il semble que l’activité oestrogénique de l’igname varie d’une plante à l’autre et selon la variété9. À la lumière des connaissances scientifiques actuelles, la consommation d’igname ne peut donc pas être recommandée spécifiquement pour diminuer les symptômes de la ménopause.

Lipides sanguins. Une étude réalisée chez la souris a démontré que le remplacement partiel de l’amidon alimentaire par de l’igname crue dans la diète des animaux diminuait le cholestérol total et le cholestérol LDL (« mauvais » cholestérol) sanguins, mais également le cholestérol HDL ou « bon » cholestérol (ce dernier effet étant non souhaitable)10. Ces changements sur les lipides sanguins seraient entre autres associés à une diminution de l’absorption des gras dans l’intestin. Les chercheurs attribuent cet effet soit aux fibres soit aux stérols soit à une action combinée de ces composés contenus dans l’igname. Une étude d’intervention réalisée chez 24 femmes a démontré que la consommation de près de 400 g d’igname quotidiennement, pendant 30 jours, diminuait aussi le cholestérol total sanguin, mais n’avait pas d’effet sur le cholestérol LDL et HDL7. Les mécanismes qui participent à cet effet ne peuvent pas être expliqués et de futures études devront s’ajouter afin de confirmer le rôle hypocholestérolémiant de l’igname.

Tension artérielle. La dioscorine extraite de l’igname a démontré un potentiel hypotenseur in vitro, en inhibant un enzyme qui participe à la régulation de la tension artérielle11. Cet effet hypotenseur était supérieur à celui des protéines bovines (albumine et caséine) connues pour leur effet inhibiteur sur l’enzyme de conversion et utilisées pour la comparaison. Ces résultats prometteurs n’ont pas encore fait l’objet d’étude chez l’humain.

Protection du foie et des reins. Lors d’une étude réalisée chez l’animal, l’ajout d’un extrait d’igname crue à la ration de rongeurs a permis de protéger le foie et les reins des dommages causés par l’administration de fortes doses d’acétaminophène12 ou d’alcool13. La mesure de l’activité d’enzymes hépatiques, l’analyse de paramètres sanguins reliés à la fonction rénale ainsi que l’observation microscopique de tissus provenant du foie et des reins ont permis d’évaluer le degré de protection qu’offrait l’extrait d’igname. Des études devront être réalisées afin de déterminer si l’igname démontre les mêmes propriétés chez l’humain ainsi que les quantités à ingérer et la forme sous laquelle consommer ce légume.

Autres propriétés

L’igname est-elle antioxydante?

Donnée non disponible

L’igname est-elle acidifiante?

Donnée non disponible

L’igname a-t-elle une charge glycémique élevée?

Modérément. La charge glycémique de 150 g d’igname cuite, sans pelure, est de 13.

Nutriments les plus importants

Voir la signification des symboles de classification des sources des nutriments

Source Phosphore. L’igname est une source de phosphore (voir notre fiche Palmarès des nutriments Phosphore). Le phosphore constitue le deuxième minéral le plus abondant de l’organisme après le calcium. Il joue un rôle essentiel dans la formation et le maintien de la santé des os et des dents. De plus, il participe entre autres à la croissance et à la régénérescence des tissus, aide à maintenir à la normale le pH du sang et est l’un des constituants des membranes cellulaires.

Source Potassium. L’igname est une source de potassium. Dans l’organisme, il sert à équilibrer le pH du sang et à stimuler la production d’acide chlorhydrique par l’estomac, favorisant ainsi la digestion. De plus, il facilite la contraction des muscles, incluant le coeur, et participe à la transmission de l’influx nerveux.

Source Manganèse. L’igname est une source de manganèse. Ce dernier agit comme cofacteur de plusieurs enzymes qui facilitent une douzaine de différents processus métaboliques. Il participe également à la prévention des dommages causés par les radicaux libres.

Source Cuivre. L’igname est une source de cuivre. En tant que constituant de plusieurs enzymes, le cuivre est nécessaire à la formation de l’hémoglobine et du collagène (protéine servant à la structure et à la réparation des tissus) dans l’organisme. Plusieurs enzymes contenant du cuivre contribuent également à la défense du corps contre les radicaux libres.

Source Vitamine B1. L’igname est une source de vitamine B1. Aussi appelée thiamine, cette vitamine fait partie d'un coenzyme nécessaire à la production d'énergie, principalement à partir des glucides que nous ingérons. Elle participe aussi à la transmission de l'influx nerveux et favorise une croissance normale.

Source Vitamine B6. L’igname est une source de vitamine B6. La vitamine B6, aussi appelée pyridoxine, fait partie de coenzymes qui participent au métabolisme des protéines et des acides gras ainsi qu’à la synthèse (fabrication) des neurotransmetteurs (messagers dans l’influx nerveux). Elle contribue également à la fabrication des globules rouges et leur permet de transporter davantage d’oxygène. La pyridoxine est aussi nécessaire à la transformation du glycogène en glucose et elle prend part au bon fonctionnement du système immunitaire. Cette vitamine joue enfin un rôle dans la formation de certaines composantes des cellules nerveuses et dans la modulation de récepteurs hormonaux.

Source Vitamine C. L’igname est une source de vitamine C. Le rôle que joue la vitamine C dans l’organisme va au-delà de ses propriétés antioxydantes; elle contribue aussi à la santé des os, des cartilages, des dents et des gencives. De plus, elle protège contre les infections, favorise l’absorption du fer contenu dans les végétaux et accélère la cicatrisation.

Que vaut une « portion » d’igname?


Igname bouillie égouttée ou au four, en cubes, 125 ml / 72 g




1,1 g


19,8 g


0,1 g

Fibres alimentaires

2,8 g

Source : Santé Canada. Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs, 2005.

Section Profil santé
: Iris Gigleux, Dt.P., candidate à la maîtrise, Institut des nutraceutiques et des aliments fonctionnels (INAF), Université Laval.
: Mélisa Deslandes, Dt.P., nutritionniste, Institut des nutraceutiques et des aliments fonctionnels (INAF), Université Laval.
Révision scientifique
: Louise Corneau, Dt.P., M.Sc., Institut des nutraceutiques et des aliments fonctionnels (INAF), Université Laval.
(mars 2006)

L’igname au fil du temps

Le terme « igname » vient soit du portugais inhame, soit de l'espagnol iname, tous deux dérivés d'une langue africaine.

La fête de l'igname
L'importance de l'igname dans le monde africain et mélanésien se traduit par une fête au moment de sa récolte. En Afrique, cette fête remonterait à la pratique des rituels solaires datant de la préhistoire. Elle consiste à présenter au grand chef l'igname nouvelle selon un rituel sacré. Ensuite, on bénit les ignames, on les cuisine et on les partage entre les clans.

Le genre Dioscorea comporte de nombreuses espèces, dont quatre surtout sont cultivées dans les régions tropicales du monde. Deux de ces espèces viennent du Sud-Est de l'Asie, deux autres de l'Afrique. On connaît une cinquième espèce, originaire de l'Amérique du Sud, qui n'y a jamais été économiquement importante, du fait de la concurrence exercée par la patate douce, la pomme de terre et le manioc, tous originaires de ce continent.

Des fouilles archéologiques effectuées dans le sud-est de l'Asie laissent croire que l'igname était déjà consommée dans cette région il y a 12 000 ans. Il s'agissait probablement d'une espèce sauvage. Sa domestication remonterait à au moins 4 500 ans avant notre ère, peut-être même avant. On possède peu d'information sur l'origine des ignames africaines, mais elles pourraient avoir été domestiquées sur ce continent 6 000 ans avant notre ère. Ces espèces seront introduites dans les régions tropicales de l'Amérique du Sud à la fin du XVIe siècle avec les bateaux transportant les esclaves.

Aujourd'hui, l'igname, comme la patate douce, est cultivée dans tous les pays tropicaux, où elle constitue une importante ressource alimentaire. En plusieurs endroits, on en nourrit également les animaux d'élevage.

Usages culinaires

Bien choisir

L'igname est encore assez rarement offerte dans les supermarchés. On la trouve plus facilement dans les épiceries asiatiques, caribéennes ou mexicaines.

Apprêts culinaires

L'igname, comme la patate douce, se prête aux mêmes usages culinaires que la pomme de terre. Nettement plus sucrée que celle de cette dernière, sa chair permet également d'en faire des entremets, des marmelades, des poudings, des biscuits, des gâteaux, des glaces, des crêpes et d'autres desserts.

  • En tranches épaisses grillées au barbecue ou dorées à la poêle. Cuire jusqu'à ce que l'intérieur soit tendre. Assaisonner d'une herbe fraîche.
  • Dans les potages ou les veloutés.
  • Galettes : râper les tubercules et émincer finement un oignon. Presser dans un linge pour en extraire le jus, mélanger avec des oeufs et de la farine et faire frire à la poêle. On peut assaisonner la préparation avec du cumin, des piments forts et du curry.
  • Faire cuire les tubercules coupés en cubes avec de l'oignon et des morceaux de courge dans du lait de coco assaisonné de clou de girofle, de cannelle et de sel.
  • Employer les tubercules dans le couscous.
  • Les cuire à l'eau et les servir avec une bonne saucisse maison et des lentilles.
  • Les préparer en brandade de poisson.
  • En potage, avec du bouillon de poulet, de la crème fraîche, un filet de lime et du gingembre.
  • À Cuba, on assaisonne l'igname avec une marinade composée d'huile d'olive chaude, de jus de citron, d'oignons crus coupés en fines tranches, d'ail, de cumin et d'un peu d'eau.
  • La meilleure façon d'apprêter les petits tubercules aériens de l'igname de Chine (voir section Jardinage biologique) est de les faire dorer à la poêle dans un peu d'huile en les tournant jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient à point.


L’igname se conserve au caveau, dans du sable légèrement humide.

Jardinage biologique

Dans les régions tempérées, l'igname est difficile à cultiver, car elle nécessite une longue saison sans gel. Toutefois, l'igname de Chine (Dioscorea batatas ou D. opposita), qu'il ne faut pas confondre avec l'igname de Chine sauvage (D. villosa) aux propriétés médicinales (voir notre fiche dans la section Solutions), s'adapte relativement bien à nos climats. Vivace en zone 5, cette splendide plante grimpante exige un support, un treillis de bois, par exemple, d'au moins 2 m, 3 m de préférence, et un bon ensoleillement. On pourra aussi la cultiver avec les haricots à rames. Elle se propage par de petits tubercules aériens que l'on récolte à l'automne et que l’on garde au caveau tout l'hiver pour les mettre en terre au printemps.

Pour prendre de l'avance sur la saison, on peut planter les tubercules aériens dans des pots que l'on gardera à l'intérieur, en couche chaude ou en serre jusqu'au dégel.

Bien ameublir le sol pour favoriser la croissance des tubercules qui, sans atteindre le mètre de long, comme c'est le cas dans les pays chauds, seront tout de même de dimensions respectables. Pour faciliter la récolte, les Asiatiques plantent l'igname dans des tubes, méthode que l'on pourra adopter si la plante s'avère vivace dans la région où l'on se trouve.

Le pH est indifférent.

Appliquer un engrais à base de phosphate et de potassium, sans forcer sur l'azote.
Veiller à ce que l'irrigation soit constante, mais éviter que les plants n'aient les pieds dans l'eau.
en septembre les tubercules aériens et en octobre les tubercules terrestres.

Sections L’igname au fil du temps, Usages culinaires, Conservation, Jardinage biologique
Recherche et rédaction :
Paulette Vanier

Coordination du contenu : Josiane Cyr, Dt. P., nutritionniste

Fiche mise à jour : août 2006


Note : les liens hypertextes menant vers d'autres sites ne sont pas mis à jour de façon continue. Il est possible qu'un lien devienne introuvable. Veuillez alors utiliser les outils de recherche pour retrouver l'information désirée.


Agricultural Research Service. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Wild Yam, [Consulté le 20 janvier 2004].
Carper Jean. Les aliments qui guérissent, les Éditions de l’homme, Canada, 1990.
Dauzat Albert, Dubois Jean, Mitterand, Henri. Nouveau dictionnaire étymologique et historique, Librairie Larousse, France, 1971.
Desaulniers Marguerite, Dubost Mireille. Table de composition des aliments, volume 1. Département de Nutrition, Université de Montréal, Canada, 2003.
Encyclopedia Britannica. Yams. [Consulté le 5 mars 2004].
Kiple Denneth F, Ornelas Kriemhild Coneè (Dir.) The Cambridge World History of Food, Cambridge University Press, Grande-Bretagne, 2000.
PasseportSanté.net. Igname sauvage, [Consulté le 20 janvier 2004]
Lund ED. Cholesterol binding capacity of fiber from tropical fruits and vegetables. Lipids. 1984 Feb;19(2):85-90.
Santé Canada. Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs, version 2005. [Consulté le 5 août 2005].
School of Computing, University of Leeds. Alternative Root Crops: Discorea batatas. Plants for a Future. [Consulté le 4 mai 2004].
Tannahill Reay. Food in History, Three Rivers Press, États-Unis, 1988.
Toussaint-Samat Maguelonne. Histoire naturelle et morale de la nourriture, Bordas, France, 1987.


1. Oke OL. Yam-a valuable source of food and drugs. World Rev Nutr Diet 1972;15:156-84.
2. Chang SJ, Lee YC, et al. Chinese yam (Dioscorea alata cv. Tainung No. 2) feeding exhibited antioxidative effects in hyperhomocysteinemia rats. J Agric Food Chem 2004 March 24;52(6):1720-5.
3. Farombi EO, Britton G, Emerole GO. Evaluation of the antioxydant activity and partial characterisation of extracts from browned yam flour diet. Food research international 2000;33:493-9.
4. Hou WC, Lee MH, et al. Antioxidant activities of dioscorin, the storage protein of yam (Dioscorea batatas Decne) tuber. J Agric Food Chem 2001 October;49(10):4956-60.
5. Higdon K, Scott ATM, et al. The use of estrogen, DHEA, and diosgenin in a sustained delivery setting as a novel treatment approach for osteoporosis in the ovariectomized adult rat model. Biomed Sci Instrum 2001;37:281-6.
6. Aradhana, Rao AR, Kale RK. Diosgenin-a growth stimulator of mammary gland of ovariectomized mouse. Indian J Exp Biol 1992;30:365-70.
7. Wu WH, Liu LY, et al. Estrogenic effect of yam ingestion in healthy postmenopausal women. J Am Coll Nutr 2005 August; 24(4):235-43.
8. Russell L, Hicks GS, et al. Phytoestrogens: a viable option?Am J Med Sci 2002 October;324(4):185-8.
9. Mirkin G. Estrogen in yams. JAMA 1991 February 20;265(7):912.
10. Chen H, Wang C, et al. Effects of Taiwanese yam (Dioscorea japonica Thunb var. pseudojaponica Yamamoto) on upper gut function and lipid metabolism in Balb/c mice. Nutrition 2003 July;19(7-8):646-51.
11. Hsu FL, Lin YH, et al. Both dioscorin, the tuber storage protein of yam (Dioscorea alata cv. Tainong No. 1), and its peptic hydrolysates exhibited angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activities.J Agric Food Chem 2002 October 9;50(21):6109-13.
12. Lee SC, Tsai CC, et al. Effects of "Chinese yam" on hepato-nephrotoxicity of acetaminophen in rats.Acta Pharmacol Sin 2002 June;23(6):503-8.
13. Lee SC, Tsai CC, et al. The evaluation of reno and hepatoprotective effects of huai-shan-yao (Rhizome Dioscoreae).Am J Chin Med 2002;30(4):609-16.


Toute une méfiance
Jusqu’au début du XXe siècle, quand les immigrants italiens leur ont fait découvrir toutes les vertus de la tomate, de nombreux Nord-Américains avaient l’habitude de la faire bouillir pendant trois heures pour éliminer ses « éléments toxiques ».

Mamma mia! La tomate est un fruit consommé comme légume, originaire des Andes d’Amérique du Sud. Grâce à la culture sélective, les Mexicains en sont arrivés à créer plusieurs variétés, que les conquérants espagnols ont découvertes au XVIe siècle. Rapportées en Europe, les tomates ont tout de suite fait le bonheur des Italiens : enfin un aliment avec lequel varier les façons d’apprêter les pâtes! Ailleurs en Europe, on a longtemps hésité à manger la tomate, craignant qu’elle soit toxique (l’odeur désagréable de ses feuilles n’aidait pas sa cause).

Une culture industrielle. La tomate fait maintenant partie des légumes les plus commercialisés dans le monde. L’industrie agroalimentaire a donc développé des variétés robustes, capables de supporter le transport, et d’apparence uniforme pour plaire aux consommateurs. Malheureusement, cela s’est traduit par une importante perte de saveur. Mais on trouve encore d’excellentes variétés de tomates dans les marchés publics.

La tomate en quelques chiffres

À venir

Valeur alimentaire globale de la tomate1


Nombre de calories dans une tomate rouge, mûre et crue, de taille moyenne2

1. Source : Système ONQI™ (Overall Nutritional Quality Index).
2. Source : Santé Canada. Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs, 2007.

Conseils pratiques

Pas dans le frigo!
La saveur et la texture des tomates se détériorent quand elles sont exposées à des températures sous les 15 °C.

  • Choisir. Il va sans dire que les meilleures tomates se trouvent en saison, et plus particulièrement dans les marchés publics.
  • Mûre ou pas? Ne pas confondre tomate verte immature et tomate verte mature. Dans le premier cas, il s’agit d’une tomate qui virera au rouge (ou orange, ou jaune) lorsqu’elle arrivera à maturité. Elle convient pour la cuisson ou les marinades. Dans le deuxième cas, il s’agit d’une variété de tomate qui reste verte à maturité et que l’on peut consommer crue.
  • Pour la peler. Déposer dans l’eau bouillante pendant 30 à 60 secondes, retirer et passer dans l’eau froide : il sera alors facile de retirer la peau. Les tomates congelées entières se pèlent facilement sous le robinet.

Idées-recettes express

  • Bruschetta. Couper les tomates en dés - pelées ou non, selon votre préférence - et les laisser égoutter dans une passoire (sinon l’eau des tomates détrempera le pain). Assaisonner ensuite d’ail haché, de basilic coupé finement, de sel et de poivre. Trancher du pain assez épais, badigeonner d’huile d’olive et faire griller légèrement au four. Sortir le pain, couvrir de bruschetta et servir en hors-d’oeuvre.
  • Omelette espagnole. Faire revenir des oignons dans la poêle, ajouter des poivrons verts et rouges ainsi que des tomates coupés en dés, du sel et du poivre. Quand les légumes sont tout juste cuits, verser les oeufs battus et bien mélanger avant de laisser prendre. Au dernier moment, ajouter du persil frais ou de la ciboulette.
  • Tomates vertes grillées. Couper des tranches de tomates vertes immatures, paner et griller à la poêle dans de l’huile.

Atouts santé

  • Les tomates et les produits à base de tomates sont les principales sources de lycopène (un composé antioxydant qui donne la couleur rouge) dans l’alimentation nord-américaine. Le lycopène est reconnu pour faire baisser le taux de cholestérol sanguin, pour réduire l’inflammation et pour empêcher la prolifération de certains types de cellules cancéreuses. La consommation de lycopène est associée à de moindres risques de cancer de la prostate.
  • Les produits dérivés de la tomate (pâte de tomate, sauce tomate, etc.), du fait qu’ils sont plus concentrés que la tomate elle-même, contiennent généralement plus de nutriments et de composés antioxydants, y compris le lycopène.
  • La pelure de la tomate contient davantage d’antioxydants que sa chair et ses graines.


Monday, July 27, 2009

How to Build a Muscular Midsection

Serge Nubret has been a bodybuilder for more than 50 years. He was one of the very best at the exact moment when being a great bodybuilder meant more than it ever had before or ever would again. He finished second at the 1975 Mr. Olympia, the one shown in Pumping Iron, which makes it the only bodybuilding contest ever imprinted in American popular culture. Finishing second means he beat out Lou Ferrigno, the guy the filmmakers presented as the only real roadblock in Arnold's quest for a sixth straight Mr. O.

Nubret had one of the most perfect physiques the world has ever seen. And he built it with one of the craziest workout routines imaginable. He trained six days a week, two hours a day. He did dozens of sets for each muscle group, with double-digit reps and hardly any rest in between.

Abs? He reportedly did 2,000 daily sit-ups, nonstop, when preparing for a contest. According to a recent interview, he was still training his abs for an hour a day, every day, probably right up until he suffered a stroke earlier this year, at age 70.

As you can imagine, this was a guy who never experienced the perineum-numbing indignity of a stationary bike. His logic was, why waste time on a bike when you can burn calories and develop your abs at the same time?

Try doing that kind of routine today, and the cognoscenti of the fitness industry will stage an intervention, complete with readings from the latest studies by Dr. Stuart McGill. For all I know it might be illegal in some states to train abs with that kind of spine-buckling volume.

But at the same time, we all know the desire to have rocking six-pack abs hasn't gone away. So I asked some of our resident TMUSCLE training experts to help us find the middle ground: How do you train abs for aesthetics first and foremost, without risking your spinal health with high-volume sit-up routines?

The coaches were unanimous in their belief that the road to a perfect six-pack should still begin with functionally sound training. "I take a view that training for performance will take care of the cosmetic," says Santa Monica-based personal trainer Chris Bathke. "It's like how when you train for strength improvements, physique improvements usually will follow."

Strength coach Tim Henriques agrees. "Even though the ab routines I design may be thought of as 'functional,' my clients still want aesthetically pleasing results," he says. "I think with the right exercises you can accomplish both feats."

Can you build a hard, ripped midsection without making today's most forward-thinking trainers choke on their foam rollers? Let's discuss.

Rethinking the Anterior Core

"Anterior core" is the current phrase we use to avoid saying "abs." It includes the major midsection muscles, which perform the functions we associate with ab training: trunk flexion, rotation and anti-rotation, lateral flexion, stabilization.

Each is important for aesthetics as well as function. And yet, the function we talk about most is trunk flexion, in which the upper torso is pulled closer to the hips. The controversy starts with the most popular ab exercise in existence, the crunch.

"When does anyone ever do anything in real life that looks like a crunch?" asks veteran strength coach and TMUSCLE author Mike Boyle. "The function of the anterior core is absolutely not flexion. I agree with the functional folks that lying on your back doing abs is not only a waste of time, but probably dangerous."

The "functional folks" tend to be influenced by the aforementioned Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and a prolific researcher. McGill has shown that repeated spinal flexion damages spinal discs, at least in a lab setting.

The influence of McGill's research goes beyond performance specialists like Boyle. Scott Abel, who specializes in training competitive physique athletes, agrees with Boyle's critique of the lowly crunch. "By shortening the range of motion of the traditional sit-up, it takes much of the hip-flexor involvement out of the movement," he says. "But that's all you're doing with the crunch. You aren't burning many calories, and there's hardly any functional benefit to working muscles through such a short range."

So if traditional trunk flexion is potentially dangerous, in the case of the sit-up, or a waste of time, if we're talking about crunches, what the hell can you do for the anterior core?

Short answer: ab rollouts.

McGill's research has shown that they force the rectus abdominis — the "six- pack" muscle — to work like a beast. It's brutally hard for the abdominals to lengthen while providing full support for the lumbar spine.

But therein lies the problem: Rollouts are really hard to do with good form, and this is one of the last exercises you'd want to do with bad form. "Many athletes get exceptionally sore, or are unable to hold a stable lumbar spine," Boyle says. "I actually told my athletes who had any abdominal issues [such as previous strains] to never do them under any circumstances."

If you aren't ready for rollouts, there are plenty of intermediate steps, starting with the plank. As almost every TMUSCLE reader knows, this is a static exercise in which you hold a modified push-up position, with your weight on your toes and forearms and your body forming a straight line from your neck through your ankles. A gym novice should work up to a 60-second hold. Advanced lifters should be able to hold the position for two to three minutes.

For more advanced plank variations, you can raise your feet in the air or wear a weighted vest. To prepare for the rollout, you can start with walkouts from the push-up position, and progress to modified rollouts by resting your forearms on a Swiss ball, and slowly rolling it away from you and then pulling it back in.

Not all our coaches, however, have given up on trunk flexion. Henriques includes high-pulley cable crunches and hanging leg raises for clients who might benefit from abdominal hypertrophy. "Some people argue about the importance of this, but sometimes you need to isolate the muscle and build it up so others can see it," he says.

But Scott Abel advises caution, citing his years of work with competitive bodybuilders. "Many pro bodybuilders have ruined their waistlines by including too many loaded movements," he says. "The abs grow out and bigger." (Yes, Abel acknowledges that "other factors" contribute to the expanded waistlines we see in bodybuilding.)

Let's Twist Again

For years, the concept of trunk rotation was represented by the twist with a broomstick, perhaps the most useless ab exercise ever invented. A close second would be the abdominal-twist machines you still see in some health clubs. Less useless, but still not recommended, are the many variations on twisting crunches and sit-ups.

Today we have so many good trunk-rotation exercises to choose from — everything from cable lifts and chops to Russian twists with a medicine ball to hitting a tire with a sledgehammer — that you hardly ever see the really dumb ones performed anymore.

Trunk rotation is an important movement for function as well as appearance; it's hard to imagine playing a sport without using powerful twists at some point. The prime movers for twists are the external obliques, with contributions from the internal obliques and rectus abdominis.

Equally important is anti-rotation — training those same muscles in your middle body to resist forces trying to pull your torso around to the left or right. One increasingly popular example of an anti-rotation exercise is the Pallof press, in which you stand sideways to a cable machine and press the handle straight out from your midsection. With all the resistance coming from one side, your torso muscles have to work hard to keep your body upright.

While everyone seems to agree on the importance of rotation and anti-rotation exercises for ab training, the consensus dissolves when the subject changes to lateral flexion — bending and straightening sideways against resistance. You see it most often in health clubs in the form of side crunches, with or without an Ab Roller, and with dumbbell side bends. If the goal is to target the obliques, those exercises clearly do the trick.

But should you target the obliques in that movement pattern? As with forward trunk flexion, there's no simple answer. Powerlifters, for example, use heavy side bends to build core strength. But for bodybuilders, lateral flexion carries a perceived risk of thickening the waist in the exact places where they want it to be narrow.

Mike Robertson, a frequent TMUSCLE contributor, thinks those fears are overblown. "I've yet to see an athlete whose obliques and lateral flexors dominate the rest of his physique," he says. "And a well-developed and strong set of obliques can really enhance the development of any athlete."

Still, the functional anatomy of the obliques suggests that you can develop those muscles perfectly well without lateral flexion. They're fully engaged in all the exercises and movements we've mentioned so far. Just because the obliques are active in side bends doesn't mean anyone needs to do them.

Strike a Pose

If there's one aspect of ab training that's often overlooked, it's stabilization. Sure, everyone reading TMUSCLE understands that "core stability" is important for function, but it's also crucial for aesthetics.

"The internal obliques and transverse abdominis, the innermost abdominal layers, help compress the abdomen and provide support to the midsection against the pull of gravity," says Kevin Weiss, a bodybuilder, trainer, and TMUSCLE contributor. "In simple terms, these endurance-oriented muscles help you stand up straight and keep your gut from sticking out."

Or, as Bathke says, "It's hard to show off that six-pack with a swayback."

Of course, any movement in which you have to stabilize your spine against a load will challenge those muscles. They're working hard whenever you do squats, front squats, good mornings, or overhead lifts. Some coaches have suggested that a steady diet of these money lifts is all the stabilization work you really need for function as well as aesthetics.

Scott Abel disagrees: "It's limited, like having a car jack that's only good for the left front tire."

Six-Packs, Lost and Found

Now to the fine print. There's more to a well-developed midsection than smart training.This might be painfully obvious to the average TMUSCLE reader, but it bears repeating: No matter how well-developed your core may be, you'll never be able to show it off until your body fat dips into the single digits.

Diet plays the biggest role here, and it's a deal-breaker. "No one can out-train an inconsistent or improper diet," Abel says. "And if your own metabolic set point is such that having quilted abs is not your genetically natural predisposition, then you'd better have expert help in achieving that look."

Speaking of genetics, even with a great training program, a great diet, and a knowledgeable advisor, you still have to listen to your body. "You can't look at someone with an exceptional body or body part and assume you can achieve the same results by mimicking his workouts," Abel says. "There's far too much individual variation in the way we respond to the workouts we do."

Individual response is especially variable when it comes to energy-systems work. Some guys thrive with tons of cardio, and some do fine with none at all.

Abel says to practice caution here. Hours a day of steady-state aerobics can lead to a suppressed metabolism, burned-out adrenals, and even an unexpected weight gain. "As I always say, force the body and it reacts. Coax the body and it responds."

Abel likes to steal a page from Serge Nubret's playbook, and design core-training sessions to have huge calorie expenditures. Weiss, his protégé, is a big fan of this system and uses it throughout his contest prep. "I don't particularly enjoy training abs, and I hate doing cardio," he says. "So I do my ab training in a circuit fashion, which not only saves time but also creates an oxygen debt, which reduces the amount of cardio I need to do to get into contest shape."

The Workouts

Although our coaches agree on most of the major principles of ab training, they offer three distinctly ways to put them into practice.

Scott Abel's workout can be used three or four times a week not only to train your abs, but to create a fat-burning oxygen debt as well.

Chris Bathke's routine can be used every workout without risk of overtraining the basic movement patterns.

And Tim Henriques' workout is for guys who want to train their midsections hard and heavy a couple times a week.

Scott Abel's Gold-Medal Program

Abel makes a living as a bodybuilding guru, but looks to gymnasts as the best role models for ab training.

"Gymnasts' abs are never large, blocky, or distended," he says. "And they get that quilted look without special diets or hours of cardio."

Abel concedes that elite gymnasts are genetically predisposed to be good at what they do. They also train hours a day from a very young age. "But that doesn't mean we can't learn important lessons from their training systems, particularly when we contrast them with the traditional approach to ab exercise."

Gymnasts perform a lot of exercises in which their core muscles work synergistically not only with each other, but with the rest of their bodies as well. "Trying to isolate muscles of the core is not only fruitless, but damaging," Abel says. "As I said earlier, you only have to look at the bigger stomachs of pro bodybuilders."

Abel uses the following categories for ab exercises:

Do the following exercises as a circuit, with no rest between exercises and as much rest as you need between circuits. Keep constant tension on the abs throughout the exercises, and do each movement deliberately, with as little momentum as possible.

Exercise Sets Reps
A1) Swiss-ball alternating step-off 4-6 10-15 (each leg)
A2) Dumbbell pull-in 4-6 10-12* (each side)
A3) Chopper 4-6 10-15
A4) Seated bicycle abs 4-6 15-30 seconds
A5) Rollout 4-6 8-15

* You can use heavier weights for fewer reps, if you choose

Swiss-ball alternating step-off

Start in a locked-out push-up position with your toes on top of a Swiss ball. Slowly take one leg off the ball and, keeping it straight, lower it as far out to the side as you can. Touch the floor with the toe, then slowly raise it back up to the ball and repeat with your other leg.

This exercise forces your lower core muscles and glutes to function as a unit to control, stabilize, and move your body in a challenging position.

Dumbbell pull-in (aka Renegade row)

Grab a pair of relatively heavy dumbbells and get into the push-up position with the weights on the floor. Pull one dumbbell up to the side of your waist, slowly lower it to the floor, and then repeat with the other arm. You'll feel it in your obliques and glutes.


Stand holding a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Spread your feet about shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, as if you were preparing to jump, and start the movement with the ball or dumbbell between your legs and as far back as you can reach. Now pull it upward as fast as you can until your arms are fully extended overhead and your legs are straight. Immediately lower the weight as you squat down for the next rep.

You can do any number of variations. Change the angles by going from vertical to horizontal or diagonal. With cables or tubing, you can go high to low or low to high.

When you're doing diagonal chops — low to high or high to low — you can pivot on one foot to extend your range of motion and involve more muscles.

Seated bicycle abs

Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, and your arms at your sides or overhead. Now pretend you're riding a bicycle. This one works the rotation/anti-rotation functions of the obliques, with a mild isometric contraction of the rectus abdominis.


How you do this exercise depends on your experience and comfort level with it. For the most basic version, kneel with your forearms resting on a Swiss ball. Roll the ball out as far as you can, then pull it back. The standing version, with both feet on the floor, is more difficult.

To do an ab-wheel rollout, start with your knees on the floor and the wheel directly under your shoulders. Roll out as far as you can while keeping your lower back flat. Pull it back to the starting position. This exercise incorporates your lats and triceps along with your abdominal muscles.

The most difficult version is the barbell rollout. The form is the same as the ab-wheel rollout, but you'll need considerably more core strength to control the bar as you roll it out and pull it back in.

Chris Bathke's Daily Dose

This routine is for guys who like to hit their abs at the end of each workout. You'll do a single exercise each day, addressing a different function of core strength while supporting proper postural alignment. If you train three times a week, you'll do each exercise once a week. If you work out six times a week, you'll do each one twice.

Day 1: L-sit hold

It's easy enough to describe this isometric exercise: Grab a chin-up bar or the handles of a dip station, and hold your legs out straight as long as you can while keeping your shoulder blades pulled down. Start by attempting two 30-second holds, keeping your legs straight and torso tight and motionless. Rest 60 seconds between holds.

When you can get beyond 30 seconds on each hold, you'll know you've developed serious core strength and endurance.

Day 2: Pallof press

This exercise, mentioned earlier in the article, trains the anti-rotation function of your abdominal muscles. Stand sideways to a cable machine with the pulley set at chest height, or use a band attached to a firm support at the same height. Hold the handle or band with both hands at the top of your abdomen. Set your feet shoulder-width part. You want to start the exercise with some tension in the cable or band.

Now press it straight out from your chest, hold briefly, return to the starting position, and repeat.

You want to keep your torso upright and your shoulder blades down. If you see one shoulder hiking up, reduce the weight.

Start with two sets of eight reps, and build up to three sets of 12. Rest 60 seconds between sets. You can make it harder by increasing the weight or moving your feet closer together. You can also try alternating between the cable machine and a band. The band, with its variable tension, offers a different kind of challenge to your core muscles.

Day 3: Medicine-ball rollout

This may be the most difficult of all rollout variations, especially if you've never tried it before. As with the other exercises Bathke recommends, it forces you to use upper-torso muscles in conjunction with your core muscles, which have to work at full capacity to extend your torso while keeping your spine stable.

Kneel with both hands on a medicine ball, with your arms straight and directly under your shoulders. Now walk the ball out with your hands as far as you can. Hold the fully extended position for a second or two, and then walk the ball back to the starting position.

Start with three sets of five reps, and add one rep per set each week. Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Tim Henriques' Fully Loaded Ab Routine

Henriques likes to include loaded trunk-flexion exercises in certain situations. If you lack strength and size in your abs, this is the routine for you. You can do each workout once a week, or train your abs three times a week by rotating the two workouts. Just make sure you give your core at least one full day of rest between training sessions.

Day 1

Exercise Sets Reps Rest (sec)
A1) Kneeling cable crunch 2-4 8-25 0-60
A2) Hanging leg raise 2-4 8-25 0-60

Kneeling cable crunch

As shown in the photos at right, attach a rope to the high cable pulley, grab the ends of the rope, and hold them just above your head as you kneel facing the cable weight stack. Crunch down, hold for a second, return to the starting position, and repeat.

You'll see that there's a wide rep range — it's up to you to decide if you need more volume with a lighter weight or if you need to build your abs with a heavier load.

If you go heavy, you might need to rest before you start your set of hanging leg raises. The goal is to work as quickly as possible, going from one exercise to the other with as little rest as you can manage. As your conditioning improves, you should be able to do three or four rounds with no rest between exercises.

Hanging leg raise

If you can't hang from a chin-up bar and knock out sets of hanging leg raises with perfect form, you need to start with an exercise you can handle, and build up to the more difficult variations.

Here's the progression, from easiest to hardest:

Day 2

Exercise Sets Reps Rest (sec)
A1) Ab-wheel rollout 2-4 6-20 0-60
A2) Standing ab-band hold 2-4 10-20 0-60
A3) Sword swing 2-4 8-20* 0-60

* Each side.

Again, with this compound set, the goal is to rest as little as possible between exercises and rounds.

Standing ab-band hold

If you just look at the video to your right without reading these instructions, you might think that the guy pulling up on the band — it looks like he's doing a ballistic external rotation — is getting the workout. But it's the guy holding the other end of the band who's training his abs.

To do the version shown on the video, you'll need a band and a training partner. Hold the band with your arms down by your sides while your partner pulls up on the other end of the band and you resist. Have your training partner increase the resistance every couple of reps.

No training partner? You can do ab pulses with the band attached to something above your head, like a chin-up bar.

No band? Do a straight-arm lat pulldown, and hold the bar in the bottom position for 20 to 60 seconds.

With this exercise, you're training your abs to resist extension, increasing their strength, stability, and endurance.

Sword swing

You can use anything that's straight and solid, from a broomstick to a Body Bar, which is a weighted bar you might find in your gym's aerobics studio; it comes in sizes ranging from 9 to 24 pounds. You also might find unweighted bars in the aerobics room, to which you can add small weight plates at just one end, as shown in the picture to your right. That gives you a feeling of swinging an ax or sledgehammer.

The main rule is you don't want anything much heavier than 15 pounds, which would slow down the movement and defeat the purpose.

To perform the exercise, which is shown in a video to your right, stand holding the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart or wider and your hands spread, as if you were swinging an ax. Do horizontal swings, stopping when the bar goes past your outside leg. Make sure you drive into the swing, and then forcefully pull the bar back to the starting position. The faster you go, the better it works as a conditioning drill.

Do the same number of reps for each side.


All of the TMUSCLE coaches and contributors we interviewed agree on one major point: There's no disconnect between training abs for aesthetics and training them for function.

As Abel says, when you look at gymnasts, you can conclude that training for function is training for aesthetics. A strong and well-conditioned midsection will look amazing if your body fat is low enough and your overall level of muscularity is high enough.

Just remember these points when training your abs:

None of this, of course, will give you the aesthetic effect you want if your diet and overall conditioning leave you a few cans short of a six-pack. But get those two parts of your program in order, throw in one or more of our coaches' ab workouts, and that photo-worthy six-pack you've always wanted could be yours for the low, low price of some hard work and dietary discipline.

How to Build a Muscular Midsection

Serge Nubret: great abs, crazy-ass program.

How to Build a Muscular Midsection

Desiree Walker, a Fitness competitor and client of Scott Abel, won the USA Jr. Nationals and earned a pro card. She built this body, complete with rockin' abs, without drugs, extreme dieting, or one minute of steady-state cardio.

Swiss-ball alternating step-off

Dumbbell pull-in (aka Renegade row)


Seated bicycle abs


Kneeling Cable Crunch

How to Build a Muscular Midsection

How to Build a Muscular Midsection

For the sword swing, you can add a light weight to a bar to create the effect of swinging an ax or sledgehammer. Note the use of multiple clips to hold the weight in place. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.

Sword Swing

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