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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?

Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?
Which type of deadlift is best?
Trap bar? Conventional? Sumo?
I get this question almost daily. And like most training questions, the best answer typically is, "it depends."
But when that won't suffice, here are my follow-up questions:
Once you start answering those questions, we can start to figure out which type of deadlift is best for you.

The Big Assumption(s)

I'm going to make two big assumptions:
  1. When discussing the trap bar deadlift, we'll focus on how most people perform it: high handles, hips down, more dorsiflexion, and a more upright torso.
  2. When discussing the conventional deadlift, we'll focus on how most people perform it: hips high, minimal dorsiflexion, and a much more bent-over torso.
I've seen people trap bar deadlift with no dorsiflexion, a vertical tibia, and using all glutes and hams, and I've seen people who start their conventional deadlift with their thighs parallel to the ground.
Looking at all the possible variations would be ridiculous, so we have to use a few generalizations to get everyone on the same page.

Mobility Needs

Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?
Experienced powerlifters aside, I want lifters to deadlift with a neutral spine or flat back. One of the biggest issues we see when deadlifting is that many lifters don't have adequate mobility to deadlift safely and effectively because they can't get into an initial neutral spine posture.
For this reason, coupled with the fact that very few people can hip hinge and load their hamstrings effectively, we start most clients off with a Romanian deadlift.
From there, the trap bar deadlift is an ideal progression. The high handles minimize mobility demands while still allowing the lifter to learn the deadlifting pattern within their functional range.
This makes sense – high handled trap bar deadlifts are almost like a rack pull. But what comes next, sumo or conventional?
The sumo deadlift is easier for most lifters to learn. This may not be how they end up handling the most weight, but many will have an easier time getting into position on a sumo deadlift than a conventional one. The major limiting factor here will be .
A big component of this is also . To get into a flat back position on a conventional deadlift, you not only need a tremendous amount of hip mobility, but also hamstring strength. If your hamstrings aren't strong, chances are you'll turtle up and start from a horrible low back position.
Less MobilityMobility Demands
Trap BarSumoConventional

Anterior or Posterior Chain

I hate the question, 
Which is why I typically answer with something like, 
When most people trap bar deadlift, it's like a reverse squat. There's a lot of dorsiflexion at the ankles and the spine is very upright, and as a result they get considerable quad and anterior chain development.
The conventional deadlift is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Most have a tendency to shove their hips way back, incline their torso to a much greater degree, and start with their hips much farther back from the bar.
The end result is a tremendous exercise for building the entire backside of the body (glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors).
The sumo deadlift really is a hybrid between the two. Your hips start closer to the bar (especially if you think about pushing your knees out to get to the bar, versus pushing your hips back), and you're also much more upright.
In the end, the sumo gives you this weird blend of quad, glutes, hamstring, some lower back, and even some adductors.
Anterior ChainPosterior Chain
Trap BarSumoConventional

Stress on the Spine

Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?
Another quote likely disregarded by T Nation readers for years. While we're busy paying our dues and getting bigger, leaner, or stronger, these people are reading trusted fitness resources like MSN and Yahoo to keep them firmly entrenched on the treadmill to mediocrity.
Still, there's definitely a risk/reward trade off when it comes to deadlifting – but if there was no risk and all reward, everyone would be peacocking around with Inflated Lat Syndrome and a 500-pound pull to back it up.
Let's get one thing straight: Your lumbar vertebrae are pretty friggin' huge and are meant to deal with compressive forces. Compression is just like it sounds – when your vertebrae and discs are pushed closer together vertically, that's compression.
And anything you do will result in some compression. Simply tensing your abs and lower back muscles will result in compression, not just loading your spine vertically (as in a squat).
The key distinction here is load. The more load you have, the more compressive forces on your spine.
Let me be clear:  There are positions that are far more worrisome to me than compression.
Shear force is where many get into trouble. Shear forces occur whenever the torso is inclined to a high degree. As we bend over (or hip hinge), our vertebrae have a tendency to drift or slide forward on one another.
Unfortunately, most people don't tolerate shear forces very well. One of the biggest reasons is they simply don't have a good strategy to deal with it – they have no anterior core, no glutes, and no hamstrings, so their only strategy is to arch the low back as hard as possible.
In doing so, they combine compression  shear, thereby grinding their spine into a fine powder. It's about this time that I hand them my business card and tell them to call me when the time is right.
The more upright we are, the less shear we have to deal with. This is why someone predisposed to back pain can often get away with front squats yet back squats causes them pain or discomfort.
Regarding the deadlift, these lifters will probably do better with either a trap bar or sumo style lift, at least in the short-term, to reduce shear forces.
Less Shear ForceMore Shear Force
Trap BarSumoConventional

Deadlifts for Reps?

I hate performing deadlifts for reps.
There's really no two ways around it – anything over three reps of deadlifts feels like torture, or at the very least, cardio.
In fact, I modified  on the deadlift day, switching it to 3-2-1, because I thought I might die on the 5's day – even when using quite a bit below my 1-RM.
Somewhere in Texas, Jim is laughing his ass off and thinking I'm just barely NOV.
If working with a fat loss or physique-focused client, higher-rep sets of deadlifts are something to consider. But I wouldn't be a very good "corrective" or "rehab" guy if I got my clients injured a lot, and I know doing higher-rep sets of deadlifts is like playing with fire.
For that reason alone, I do my best to keep clients out of precarious positions. On sumo and conventional deads, I rarely (if ever) prescribe more than five reps per set.
But on a trap bar deadlift, though, I'll often go as high as 10-15 reps in a set, especially if the end goal is fat loss.
I'm just a lot more comfortable as a coach with the upright posture and less technical nature of the trap bar, which allows for more wiggle room.
Feel free to make your own decisions here, but I firmly believe this is the way to go.
Best ChoiceWorst Choice
Trap BarConventional & Sumo


Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?
We can talk about joint stresses, mobility needs, anterior versus posterior chain and what not, but at the end of the day, what really matters is how awesome you look deadlifting.
For the record, I pull sumo. I do this partly because it's the way I was taught, and partly because it feels the most natural to me.
I also realize that some people call this "cheater style," and it's not as awesome as hoisting a monster deadlift conventional style. I'm okay with that – my best pull is 545 and was done at a bodyweight of 180.6, getting me into that exclusive 3x/body weight club.
However, one of my pet peeves now is people's obsession with the trap bar. Here's my two cents on the matter.
I only use the trap bar if:
  • The client doesn't care how much they deadlift.
  • The client is an athlete and I deem the risk: reward to be too great to use other styles.
  • They don't currently have the mobility to sumo or conventional deadlift with a neutral spine.
  • Their primary goal is fat loss.
If your goal is to be big and strong, learn how to sumo or conventional deadlift with good technique.
Because honestly, anyone who lifts heavy stuff doesn't care how much you trap bar deadlift. (Insert smiley-face.)
LameTotally Awesome
Trap BarSumoConventional
A great question, and I'm pretty sure there's no great answer.
I know a lot of super strong guys that pull conventional in meets but pull sumo in the off-season, claiming it brings up their weak points.
In fact, I just had this discussion a few weeks back with Jeremy Hartmann, a 220-pound lifter who has pulled 788 in competition. He pulls conventional in meets but does a lot of sumo pulling in the gym.
For instance, if you typically pull conventional with the hips starting high, you're used to smoking weights off the floor and struggling at lockout.
In contrast, someone who pulls sumo with a lower hips position is used to struggling with weights off the floor, but anything that breaks the floor is getting locked out.
In this case, it's not so much that they're using an alternate style, .
Mike Tuscherer once told me that you pick your poison when deadlifting. Either you get your ass down, chest up, and struggle off the floor, or you round over to get the bar rolling off the floor and struggle at the top.
If it comes down to specificity, you're going to see a high transfer between trap bar and sumo deadilfts, or between sumo deadlifts and conventional deadlifts.
The differences between the trap bar and conventional deadlift are a little bit too big to see massive carryover, but nobody said it couldn't work for you.

And I'm Out

Deadlifts: Which Type is Best For You?
There's no shortage of deadlifting articles at T Nation, and for good reason – the deadlift is many a strong guy's favorite lift. I think even the most diehard deadlift fan will appreciate this concise breakdown on the similarities and differences between the trap bar, sumo, and conventional deadlifts.
The question is, will they agree? Good or bad, I await your comments in the LiveSpill.

The Dragon Flag

The Dragon Flag Core Exercise
Back in high school I was hung up on getting a six-pack. In fact, other than wanting to "bulk up," achieving a chiseled set of abs was probably my number one "fitness" goal.
Though I probably spent as much time looking in the mirror and fantasizing about my soon-to-be-attained six pack as I did actually training (not to say anything of the foolishness of wanting to bulk up and get abs simultaneously), when I did work on my abs, it was crunches, crunches, and more crunches.
I was doing hundreds every day – and only had two abs at the top of my stomach to show for it. It wasn't until years later when I stopped doing isolation exercises (and cleaned up my eating) that I finally started to make significant progress with my core training.

Hard "Core" Exercises

So what makes for an effective abs exercise? To answer that question, you must first understand the role the abs play in the musculoskeletal system.
The rectus abdominis function primarily as a stabilizer muscle – they keep your torso upright while you're standing, walking, or performing other movements.
For this reason, the best way to work your abs is to use them to stabilize your trunk in difficult positions. The less leverage you have when supporting yourself in these situations, the harder the abs must work to keep the body aligned.
A basic plank is one of the simplest examples of this type of exercise, but that's only the beginning.

Enter The Dragon (Flag)

The Dragon Flag Core Exercise
While best known as a trademark move of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, the dragon flag has become a popular training tool amongst bodyweight training enthusiasts as well as hardcore lifters in the know.
A dragon flag is typically performed lying face-up on a bench or on the ground with your hands grasping a sturdy object behind you for support.
From here, the objective is to lift your entire body up in a straight line, stacking it vertically over your shoulders, then slowly lower back down until parallel to the ground and repeat.
The aim is to keep your body straight, so do your best to avoid bending at the hips. Your abs will have to provide extreme stabilization to do so. In fact, you'll also need to engage your lower back, glutes, and other trunk musculature to maintain your form.
Though the dragon flag emphasizes the abs, it's really a full-body exercise.

Dragon Slayer

Like many great exercises, performing a proper dragon flag takes practice. You might even need to do some remedial work before you're ready for it. I recommend you begin by working on straight leg raises while lying on your back. Go slowly and don't swing your legs or allow your lower back to arch.
When you reach the point where you can do multiple reps without losing form, you're ready to work on the dragon flag. Start by practicing the negative (lowering) phase of the dragon flag first. Kick up into the vertical position, and then try to lower your body down as slowly as possible.
Once you get confident with negatives, try doing a static hold at the bottom with your body hovering an inch or two over the bench. When you can hold this position for 2-3 seconds, you're ready to start working on full dragon flags.
The progression should look something like this:
Lying leg raises –Lying leg raises –Dragon flag negatives –Dragon flag negatives with static hold at the bottom –Full dragon flags –
Week 6: Full dragon flags – 
While some will be ready to jump in at week 5 or 6, others will need to stick with each phase for longer than two weeks. Progress doesn't occur at the same rate for everyone, but if you're patient and persistent, your day will come.

Protect Ya Neck

The Dragon Flag Core Exercise
Instead, use your core strength to roll up onto your shoulders. Otherwise you might find yourself "dragging" the next day from a stiff cervical spine.
Once you get the hang of performing dragon flags for reps, you can continue to find new challenges. Performing a dragon flag with just a vertical pole behind you instead of on the ground or on a bench is one such challenge.
Of course, there's also the dreaded front lever, as well as the lateral chain version of the dragon flag, more commonly known as the human flag. No matter how strong you get, there are always new ways to shock your body into further growth.
Watch the video below for more:
Have fun training the dragon flag and as always, leave your questions and comments in the LiveSpill below!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Return of Aerobic Work

The Return of Aerobic Work
Not long ago, I frequently used the word "conditioning." I thought the best way to condition athletes was through anaerobic workouts that tested the limits of pain and pushed the boundaries of regurgitation. After all, we're taught that sports are anaerobic, and that blasé aerobic work has no place in a serious program.
Today, the word "conditioning" makes me cringe. As you can imagine, I cringe a lot. And, unlike before, vomit-inducing anaerobic work is rarely in the cards for me or my athletes. Thanks to people way smarter than me (Joel Jamieson, James Smith, Buddy Morris) I have an appreciation for different types of "conditioning," much like I have an appreciation for different types of strength.

Conditioning Conundrum

I can't define "conditioning" as the very word is akin to the phrase "lifting weights." You can lift weights in many ways and for many reasons. Most of us do it to get stronger. But others do it for more specific reasons, like training for strength-speed, strength-endurance, and starting strength. For those of you that managed to get past the first ten pages of Supertraining, you know this list continues seemingly ad infinitum.
So if we lift weights to get stronger, do we perform conditioning to become more conditioned? The problem is ambiguity. We have different types of "conditioning" just like we have different types of strength.
Conditioning, in its true sense, refers to training the body's energy systems. We easily distinguish between the anaerobic (without oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen) systems. We even associate different body types to proficiency in each system. Jacked football players and sprinters are anaerobic beasts. Gangly marathoners, however, are aerobic creatures.
But neither stereotype is correct because jacked football players frequently rely on the aerobic system. Yeah, I said it. Football is aerobic. Before I face the stones, let me explain.

Energy Systems

The Return of Aerobic Work
Breaking the energy systems into anaerobic and aerobic isn't enough. The anaerobic system can be further split into the  and the . Each corresponds with the energy deriving metabolic processes.
ImmediateIntermediateLong term
Bottom line is, all anaerobic work is not created equally. Football is a prime example. In an effort to "condition," coaches rely on suicides, Prowler pushes, and Tabata intervals until their athletes' legs are loaded with lactate and loopier than Gumby's.
Anaerobic? Absolutely.
But the right kind of anaerobic? Nope.

Another Dimension

Next, it's important to know that each metabolic pathway has a power component (how fast the system can derive energy) and capacity component (how long the system can be sustained).
So someone with great alactic power can produce a few intensive bursts of energy at a high level. This, for example, includes an Olympic weightlifter, powerlifter, 100m sprinter, javelin thrower, shot-putter, etc. These athletes give a maximal effort, blow their load, and take a long time to recover. Just think of hitting a PR in the gym. It's not easily repeatable.
Someone with great alactic power and capacity, however, can replicate intensive efforts over time – a baseball pitcher, for example. A pitcher with amazing alactic power will hit triple digits on the radar gun. But if their capacity sucks, their speed will diminish with each successive throw. So a pitcher with good capacity and decent power is likely to be a starter. One with a lot of power and shady capacity, however, more likely a closer.

Importance Of Capacity

The Return of Aerobic Work
Many sports require short-term explosiveness – alactic anaerobic power. This is why the NFL Combine gawks at 4.3 speed.
Over the past few years, aerobic work has been vilified for decreasing absolute explosive potential. But most sports require  in addition to power. There are problems if 4.3 speed turns into 4.7 speed during the second quarter, 5.5 speed during the third quarter, and 6.1 speed during the fourth quarter.
Ray Lewis isn't known for playing six downs and calling it quits. He's known for being on the field every play and always performing at a high level.
So what's more important, absolute power, or the capacity to sustain power? Wouldn't it be better to run a consistent 4.5 and sacrifice a little power for a lot of capacity?

The Aerobic System's Role

There are two underappreciated aspects of the aerobic system. First, it's very important in developing alactic anaerobic capacity (think explosive stuff). Second, most sports are aerobic despite the common perception.
Upon exercise, all energy systems turn on. The power clean is rooted in alactic anaerobic power because of its short duration, not because the aerobic system fails to ignite. The duration, not the intensity, determines energy system involvement.
As repeat sprint exercise continues, the energy system contributions become "truer" to their respective time zones.  (1)(2).
But studies emerged about aerobic work diminishing explosive ability. And we all got caught up in absolute power, foregoing capacity.
 Joel Jamieson says, 
Basketball is another example. There are some sprints and jumps here and there, but for the most part you see guys trotting up and down the court. Yeah, they're jogging. Fancy that.
Somehow we're brainwashed into thinking that athletes never jog, but it happens in nearly every sport. In soccer, unless the ball is in their vicinity, athletes lazily move about the field. Football? Jogging to and from the sideline and back to the line after every play.
And what about athletes with their faces in oxygen masks (even though they don't really work)? I don't foresee Boba Fett inspired uniforms with oxygen tank backpacks anytime soon, so these guys better start fixing their shitty aerobic development.
To be fair, the sports mentioned also have a short-term explosive component, which makes respecting the work-to-rest interval important. A 2009 study found that, "More than 70% of the total [soccer] match duration was performed at low "aerobic" intensities, while only 1-3% of the match was performed at high-intensities ("sprinting") (3). The overall work-to-rest ratio of these soccer players averaged out to a 2-4 second sprint every 90 seconds."
In math speak that interval looks like 4:90. Football usually shakes out to 6:40, barring a two-minute drill (in which case it becomes even more aerobic). Olympic weightlifting, at minimum rest, is about 3:120. Truer alactic anaerobic sports like javelin and the 100m have even longer rest periods.
Compare those ratios to Tabata's 20:10. Not even close.

Aerobic Work vs. Lifting Weights

The Return of Aerobic Work
Way back, nearly all athletes performed aerobic work. Bill Starr writes about running in The Strongest Shall Survive. Thomas Kurz in The Science of Sports Training notes that weightlifters jog in the early off-season. Old school fighters were known for doing roadwork. Hell, even Ricky Bruch, the eccentric discus thrower, jogged.
Now, aerobic work is shunned. But the aerobic system not only increases overall health markers but also aids in recovery from heavy weight training sessions.
As discussed in Heart Rate Variability Training, an over active sympathetic nervous system – a pitfall of shitty aerobic development – destroys performance.
It's like this: a developed aerobic system kick starts the recovery process. More time recovering means more recovery.
Also, you're able to save and concentrate "intense" bouts of energy for when they really matter. The opposite of this being in a constantly amped up state and slowly wearing yourself down – this is what I referred to as "idling" in 12 Tips to Tune the Nervous System.

Methods of Aerobic Development

The Return of Aerobic Work
Aerobic doesn't always mean distance running. As long as your heart rate stays around 120-150 BPM (everyone has a different lactate threshold) and lactate doesn't accumulate, you're training the aerobic system. "Fun" things outside of distance running are stringing together a circuit of the following:
  • Rope jumping
  • Calisthenics
  • Mobility exercises
  • Tumbling and locomotor movements (cartwheels, forward rolls, backward rolls to handstands, inch worm walks, and bear crawls).
But if you enjoy running, tempo runs, essentially "low intensity" interval training, are a great choice. Tempo runs involve running a predetermined distance in a time window that's of a low enough intensity to tax the aerobic system and yet fail to go anaerobic (70 yards in 20 seconds, for instance). Once the distance is covered, the runner can rest for thirty-or-so seconds to keep the heart rate in check before doing another heat.
More specific to a lifter, however, is a method used by track coach Dan Pfaff that consists of doing many sets of Olympic lifts over the course of 50+ minutes for 1-2 reps, striving to keep the heart rate around 150 BPM.
 A circuit of push-ups, squats, and pull-ups can train the aerobic system, but it isn't ideal for a soccer player. Lance Armstrong isn't a world class marathon runner. His adaptations are specific to riding a bike.


Aerobic work is making a comeback. All conditioning isn't created equally. What's the work : rest interval? What energy system(s) are utilized? Do you need capacity? Power? Or both?
One thing is for sure: you could stand to do a bit more aerobic work. That is, unless you're holding out for the Boba Fett technology.


1) Parolin, M., et al. (1998). Regulation of skeletal muscle glycogen phosphorylase and pdh during maximal intermittent exercise. American Psychological Society227(5), 890-900.
2) Haseler, L., et al. (1999). Skeletal muscle phosphocreatine recovery in exercise-trained humans is dependent on o2 availability. American Psychological Society86(6), 2013-2018.
3) Osgnach, C., et al. (2010). Energy cost and metabolic power in elite soccer: A new match analysis approach. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise42(1), 170-178.
4) Oetter, E. (2011, October 10). [Web log message]. Retrieved from
5) Jamieson, J. (2012, February 23). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BBC News - Being an optimist 'may protect against heart problems'

Woman's smile

Being cheerful may protect against heart problems, say US experts.
Happy, optimistic people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, a Harvard School of Public Health review of more than 200 studies - reported in Psychological Bulletin - suggests.
While such people may be generally healthier, scientists think a sense of well-being may lower risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Stress and depression have already been linked to heart disease.
The researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health trawled medical trial databases to find studies that had recorded psychological well-being and cardiovascular health.
This revealed that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness appeared to be linked associated with a reduced risk of heart and circulatory diseases, regardless of a person's age, socio-economic status, smoking status or body weight.
Disease risk was 50% lower among the most optimistic individuals.
'Not proof'
Dr Julia Boehm and colleagues stress that their work only suggests a link and is not proof that well-being buffers against heart disease.
And not only is it difficult to objectively measure well-being, other heart risk factors like cholesterol and diabetes are more important when it comes to reducing disease.
The people in the study who were more optimistic also engaged in healthier behaviours such as getting more exercising and eating a balanced diet, which will have some influence.
But even when they controlled for these factors and others, like sleep quality, the link between optimism and better heart health remained.
Although they looked at 200 studies, the researchers say this number is still not enough to draw firm conclusions and recommend more research.
Much of the past work on mood and heart disease has looked at stress and anxiety rather than happiness.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The association between heart disease and mental health is very complex and still not fully understood.
"Although this study didn't look at the effects of stress, it does confirm what we already know which is psychological well-being is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like staying active and eating healthily.
"It also highlights the need for healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care, taking into account the state of someone's mental health and monitoring its effect on their physical health."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sugar warning for 'healthy' soft drinks

Juices and soft drinks

People underestimate the amount of sugar in drinks which are perceived to be "healthy", research suggests.
The Glasgow University study asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks.
While many overestimated the amount in fizzy beverages, they underestimated levels in smoothies and fruit juices.
The research also found soft drinks could be accounting for a large chunk of their recommended calorie intake.
The British Soft Drinks Association says the sugar in soft drinks is not hidden because beverages carry clear labelling of nutritional content, including calorie and sugar content.
Risk factor
The reasearchers asked participants to assess their weekly drinking habits.
Their answers suggested 450 calories a day were being consumed - a quarter of the daily limit for women and a fifth for men.
But it was the lack of awareness about the sugar content of drinks that caused concern.
The participants were asked to guess the number of teaspoons of sugar in a range of popular drinks.
They underestimated it for pure apple juice and orange juice, a caffeinated energy drink and a smoothie by between two and four teaspoons.
And for a pomegranate-based drink, they underestimated the sugar content by nearly 18 teaspoons.
Unsurprisingly, many participants were not taking the calorie content of their soft drinks into account when thinking about their diet.
The team warned that the over-consumption of soft drinks was contributing to obesity and was a major risk factor for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Lead researcher Prof Naveed Sattar said: "What you drink can be as damaging to the body as what you eat.
"There is no question that consuming too many sugar-sweetened drinks can greatly contribute to obesity.
"Some varieties of drinks such as pure fruit juices and smoothies, which are perceived as 'healthy' options, are also very high in sugar.
"For many people struggling with their weight, reducing their intake of such drinks and replacing with water or diet drinks would be a sensible first target to help them lessen their calorie intake."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cardio for Strength Athletes

Strength athletes are a studly bunch. We're consistent, disciplined, structured, and often blessed with a high tolerance for pain. We also tend to sport a bit of an ego, a result of having fellow gym rats stare at us in fear and admiration. That ego, however, can get us into trouble, like when it comes to cardio.
Strength athletes tend to embrace cardio the way a housecat does a cold shower. Some simply choose to avoid it, often resulting in a beastly strong individual that gets winded climbing one flight of stairs and whose gut more resembles a beer keg than a six-pack.
Others embrace cardio. This group studies up, and learns that "conditioning" is better for them than cardio. So they add a variety of HIIT workouts and brutal circuits and complexes.
Their conditioning workouts are often more challenging – from a fatigue point of view – than their strength workouts; a result of them applying that, "I'll make my body do what I tell it to do" attitude that's served them so well with their resistance training to their conditioning workouts.
The end result is usually an in-shape and physically fit individual that finds himself standing on the bronze medal platform instead of the gold. What are they doing wrong?
That aforementioned ego is steering them in the wrong direction. A big ego is great in the weight room – the four-plate bench press gets all the looks, not doing 225 for six sets of eight with 30 seconds rest.
But the cardio/conditioning workouts that get similar nods of respect are not ideal for the strength athlete. And it all comes to down to .

Specificity Rules

Cardio for Strength Athletes
According to the principle of , our body reacts specifically to the stimulus we present to it. Training brutally hard for several minutes or longer with minimal rest is likely the best way to test what the body is capable of – but it's not the best way to keep a strength athlete in shape, as it's challenging a different energy system.
Strength athletes are kings of the . The phosphagen or ATP/CP system is a short duration system, usually lasting for about six seconds at full power before petering out completely by 30 seconds.
It relies on ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate) for fuel rather than oxygen. It takes 30-60 seconds for a moderate recharge of its fuel reserves, and 3-5 minutes for a near-full recharge.
The  is a moderate duration system – it starts kicking in at around the 15-second mark, hits full-speed by 30 seconds, and then starts to fade significantly after about the one-minute point. It uses glucose as a fuel source, which can come directly from the blood and, if the activity is long enough, can be pulled from the stored glycogen in the muscles.
When operating anaerobically, the glycolysis system lasts less than two minutes and produces lactate, which is associated with an intense burning sensation in the muscles that most fitness enthusiasts are familiar with.
However, the glycolysis system can also operate aerobically, which doesn't produce as much lactate, although the power produced by way of this pathway is generally lower and lasts about five minutes.
The phosphagen system is the butt kicker in the gym. This is the system that powers massive squats and benches, powerful shot puts and slam-dunks, killer knockout punches and kicks, and lightning fast 100-meter dashes.
While these things are all badass, they're not really that hard – they don't produce the same level of total body fatigue as something powered by the glycolysis system.
The glycolysis system is the king of conditioning. This powers the 400-800 meter runs, the 500-1000 meter rows, maximal push-ups for time, and five set drop-sets on the leg press.
Too much time spent training the glycolysis system will cause the body to adapt to becoming proficient at that system, which usually causes a shift away from optimum performance with the phosphagen system.
It's no coincidence that the guy who wins the 100-meter dash in the Olympics is rarely the guy that wins the 400-meter. Likely, the most performance-affecting shift is an altering of neuromuscular coordination for that activity accompanied by a shifting of motor unit recruitment and muscle fiber make-up.
So what do we do?
Strength athletes must leave their ego at the door when it comes to conditioning. That isn't a license to get fat and out of shape, but we don't want to be that guy in the middle of both the conditioning and strength world – too weak to be a good strength athlete, and not in good enough shape to kick ass in all the conditioning challenges.
We need to listen to our brain, not our ego. We need to focus on the phosphagen system.
To do so, here are a few very simple guidelines:
  • When conditioning, hard exertion should generally last 5-15 seconds – rarely more than 15 seconds, and never more than 30 seconds. When in doubt use a shorter work period.
  • Each exertion period should be followed by 30-60 seconds of easy activity or passive rest; something one could easily do continuously for 30 minutes or more.
  • Multiple rounds of the above work and rest periods should be performed 5-15 times (or more, if necessary).
  • One should not be doubled over, nauseated, or puking during/after these workouts. Think about how you feel doing sets of three in the gym; it should feel a bit like that.
To sum up, the rules go like this:
  • Work hard for ≈5-15 seconds, shorter is often better
  • Perform easy rest (active or passive) for ≈30-60 seconds
  • Repeat 5-15+ times
  • Avoid feeling like you're going to die

Real World Example

Cardio for Strength Athletes
Prowler. At my gym we have a challenge that's 10 trips (about 35 yards) with the Prowler loaded to 90 lbs, performed for time. The guy who holds the current record is one hell of a hard worker and won't quit, but he can't squat 315 for a single. This is not the challenge strength athletes should be working on.
We have another Prowler challenge that's a max weight pull for 10 meters using a harness. Guess who has that gym record? One of my powerlifting teammates.
Instead of a long and grueling event, it's better to do a Prowler push of 5-20 yards (with longer distance use less weight) with 30-60 seconds rest, multiple times.

Other examples:

Ski Erg. Ski very hard for 10 seconds, then easy (just enough to keep the machine on) for 20 seconds. Repeat for 3 -10 minutes. The 20-second rest is shorter than standard recommendation, but 45-50 seconds of rest is too long for this drill. Note this is the inverse of the Tabata protocol, which can work well for strength athletes in some situations.
Jump rope. Jump for 15 seconds, rest for 30-45 seconds, depending on fitness and skill. Try to jump faster than normal since it's such a short duration. Do for 5-15 minutes total.
Track. A spin on the classic "sprint the straights, walk the curves." Sprint half of the straight, walk the rest, sprint half of the curve, walk the rest, etc., which works out to about 50-meter sprints or four sprints for the quarter mile. Do this for one-half to 1.5 miles.
Jacob's ladder. Climb fast for 15 seconds (30-50 feet), rest for about 30 seconds, and repeat.
Complexes. You can still use barbell complexes, but only perform 1-3 reps per movement. This makes the complex much shorter and you can use a lot more weight. You can also perform more complexes if you desire (rest about a minute after each).
Five-meter sprints. I've always liked these and they can be performed inside an aerobic studio if necessary. Sprint for five meters (should take about 3-4 steps), stop, turn around, walk back to the starting position, and repeat. Repeating 10-30 times works well. Warm-up if you're not used to sprinting, and it's okay to go less than 100% while acclimating to this activity.
Heavy bag. Boxing kicks ass but boxers have to be capable of going three minutes, strength athletes don't. To go for time, hit the heavy bag for 10-15 seconds. I prefer to count punches – 15-20 good punches and then rest. This ratio also works well with a sledgehammer and a tire.
Car push/pull. We've all seen strongmen struggle with a truck or freight train on ESPN for a full minute so we assume that's best for us, but it's not. Pull hard for 10-15 seconds, rest a bit and catch your breath, and repeat. Use a distance it might take you one minute to cover with the car and then break that distance into four sets.
Rowing machine. The rowing machine has a default program of rowing 500-meters with one-minute rest and then repeating. That's a strength athlete's nightmare. Instead, row 50 meters hard, then 100 meters very easy, and repeat that for about 2000 meters total.
Circuits. You can use circuits, but follow two rules: keep each station short (10-15 seconds) and rest about 30-60 seconds between stations. I do a car push/heavy bag/15-yard hill sprint next to my house, which makes for a great circuit. Get creative.
Of course this list is just meant to get you started. Apply the basic principles outlined here and you'll be fine.

Choosing Your Rest

How you rest is up to you and the activity you're performing. Some activities lend themselves to easy active rest like the Ski Erg, the rowing machine, or any piece of cardio equipment.
Generally, active rest should be no more challenging than a brisk walk. You need to be able to recover during the rest period, otherwise it's too hard. At times the best rest will be simply standing still. If you're pushing the Prowler for 15 yards hard with 30 seconds of rest, it makes no sense to do anything but just stand there and recover.

Other Cardio

Steady state cardio. Walking is still a good choice for maintaining or increasing VO2 max and just making you feel healthier. I've long been a fan of walking and it causes little to no motor unit and muscle fiber transition. Most strength athletes can't jog regularly without it affecting their 1RM's.
You can still perform some grueling glycolysis-based conditioning events if you want to, but they should be done rarely (once a month sounds about right) and simply as a test to see where you are mentally and physically. Don't try to master that "test" by practicing it too regularly – you might ace the test but fail the class!

Putting it all Together

Cardio for Strength Athletes
Perform this strength-training friendly conditioning 1-4 times per week, depending on your goals and time available. Those with weight loss or lofty conditioning goals should be on the higher end of the scale. Perform it after your regular strength-training workout or as a separate workout – it would likely have a negative affect on your training if performed before the main workout.
Keep the conditioning workout under 30 minutes total (15 minutes works well) including the rest time, and again, don't feel like you're going to die during the workout. That sensation is the glycolysis system pushing your ego to the limit.
Put the allure of being "pretty good" at everything aside and focus on your specific goals – becoming a stud in the gym, and someone that can lift heavy-ass weight repeatedly with short rest for a long period of time. Your physique, PRs, and your ego will thank you for it!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Groupes sanguins

En bref

Perte de poids
Parfois oui, parfois non.
Choix d'aliments
Variété limitée pour les groupes O, A et B.
En pratique
Besoin de beaucoup de motivation pour être suivi surtout pour les groupes A et O.
Modérément facile à suivre à court terme, difficile à long terme.
Assez difficile à suivre à l’extérieur de chez soi.
Selon les groupes, déficits possibles.
Groupe O : Calcium, vitamine D, fibres céréalières, vitamines B1, B2, B3, B9
Groupe A : Fer, protéines
Groupe B : Fibres céréalières, vitamines B1, B2, B3, B9, magnésium
Groupe AB : en principe, aucune

Les origines

C’est toutefois le fils de James D’Adamo, Peter, également diplômé en naturopathie, qui développa l'hypothèse et la fit connaître à un large public. En 1996, il publia le livre Eat right 4 your type, traduit en 1999 sous le titre 4 groupes sanguins, 4 régimes.On doit ce régime à l'Américain James D’Adamo qui, après ses études en naturopathie à la fin des années 1950, a fait des stages dans des centres de cure thermale en Europe. Il est d'usage dans ces endroits de servir une alimentation végétarienne faible en gras, et M. D'Adamo ne pouvait qu'observer comment les curistes réagissaient différemment à ce régime. Certains semblaient même s'en porter plus mal. Il en déduit qu’il devait exister un moyen de déterminer les différents besoins nutritionnels des patients. Partant du principe que le sang est le principal vecteur des nutriments, il décida de faire analyser le groupe sanguin de ses patients et d’étudier sur eux l’effet de différents protocoles alimentaires. En 1980, il publia un livre intitulé One Man’s Food dans lequel il regroupa ses observations et ses conseils nutritionnels. (Le titre est tiré de l'expression « one man's food is another man's poison », ou « l'aliment de l'un est poison pour l'autre ».)

Les grands principes

Les objectifs

  • Prévenir plusieurs affections virales et bactériennes.
  • Perdre du poids.
  • Lutter contre les maladies cardiovasculaires, le cancer, le diabète, protéger le foie, etc.
  • Ralentir le processus de vieillissement de l'organisme.

Les grandes lignes

  • L'hypothèse de ce régime est basée sur le fait que chaque type de sang possède une composition chimique particulière, dont des antigènes différents. Or, certains composés chimiques propres aux aliments pourraient, selon l'hypothèse d'Adamo, stimuler ces antigènes à produire des anticorps causant alors des dommages à l’organisme. Par conséquent, le régime recommande de manger seulement les aliments qui conviennent à notre groupe sanguin.
  • Les groupes sanguins se sont différenciés au fil des millénaires. Sommairement, selon cette hypothèse, les gens du groupe O - le seul groupe sanguin présent du temps des hommes chasseurs-cueilleurs - tolèrent mal les produits céréaliers et devraient consommer beaucoup de protéines animales. Le groupe sanguin A, qui est apparu au moment de la découverte de l'agriculture, appelle une alimentation végétarienne. Les hommes et les femmes du groupe B– trouvé d’abord chez les peuples nomades - pourraient consommer une plus grande variété d'aliments, de même que ceux du groupe AB.
  • Dans les quatre groupes sanguins, certains aliments sont à proscrire (en fonction de leur composition chimique), même s'ils sont sains. Les personnes des groupes B et AB, par exemple, peuvent consommer de la dinde mais pas de poulet!
  • Pour chaque groupe sanguin, les aliments sont classés de la manière suivante :bénéfiquesneutresà éviter. La recommandation consiste à consommer surtout les aliments très bénéfiques, très peu d’aliments neutres et aucun aliment à éviter.
  • Enfin, tous les groupes sanguins devraient bannir le porc, le saumon fumé, la rhubarbe, le son de blé, la noix de coco, la crème glacée, les huiles de maïs et d'arachides, le poivre noir et le vinaigre.
  • En plus de nous dicter quels aliments consommer et lesquels mettre de côté, Peter D’Adamo décrit le tempérament selon le groupe sanguin, les activités physiques à privilégier, les suppléments alimentaires à prendre et même le style de vie à adopter.

Aliments pouvant ou non être consommés

Groupe O
Groupe A
Groupe B
Groupe AB
Poissons, Crustacés, Mollusques
Fines herbes
Noix, graines
Produits laitiers
N.B. : Ce tableau ne donne pas avec précision les aliments à privilégier et ceux à éviter dans chaque catégorie d’aliments. Pour avoir plus de détails, vous pouvez consulter les livres de Peter D’Adamo.

Les mécanismes d'action

On sait que le sang contient des antigènes. C'est la raison pour laquelle du sang de type B ne peut pas être transfusé à une personne dont le sang est de type A. Or, tous les aliments contiennent des lectines qui stimulent divers antigènes du sang, créant des agglutinations qui, selon le cas, vont s'établir dans ou autour d'un organe, qu'elles attaquent. C'est l'action immunitaire qui s'exerce sans discrimination. Parmi les problèmes de santé que cela entraînerait, il y aurait le cancer et lesmaladies cardiovasculaires, en passant par le gain de poids, le syndrome de l’intestin irritable, lesallergies, les migraines, le diabète et la fatigue. Même si seulement 5 % des lectines alimentaires se rendent au sang (le reste est détruit dans l'estomac), ce serait suffisant, au fil du temps, pour entraîner de telles conséquences.
Les hypothèses de ce régime sont basées sur des études de cas et sur l'association de divers concepts scientifiques. Aucune étude clinique contrôlée n’a été réalisée sur ses effets, et les recherches personnelles de Peter D'Adamo n'ont jamais été publiées ni corroborées par des groupes de recherche indépendants. Quant aux données sur la réaction entre les lectines et les antigènes sanguins, elles découlent de recherches en laboratoire seulement.
Il est vrai que certaines lectines alimentaires sont impliquées dans certaines réactions allergiques. Il existe aussi certaines relations entre le groupe sanguin et certaines affections comme c’est le cas entre le groupe O et le risque d'ulcère et de cancer de l'estomac.
Toutefois, on ne peut conclure que consommer certains aliments peut nuire à notre santé sous prétexte qu’ils ne conviennent pas à notre groupe sanguin. D’après le milieu scientifique, on ne sait donc pas si les lectines ont un effet physiologique sur les êtres humains. Il existe d'ailleurs une hypothèse scientifique selon laquelle les lectines ne peuvent pas se lier aux cellules parce que celles-ci seraient protégées par une substance appelée acide sialique.
D'autre part, le groupes sanguin (A, B, O, AB) n'est qu'une des classifications possibles selon le médecin et auteur, Alan Gaby. Il a déjà fait remarquer que si D'Adamo avait choisi un autre critère de classification, ses recommandations alimentaires auraient été complètement différentes.
Aussi, l’amélioration de l’état de santé des gens, qui suivent le régime selon les groupes sanguins, pourrait s’expliquer autrement que par l’élimination des aliments « incompatibles » avec leur groupe sanguin. En fait, les aliments que l’on écarte de ses menus, dans le cadre de ce régime, sont reconnus pour causer des problèmes chez un grand nombre d’individus. Voilà l’explication la plus plausible. Une personne du groupe O, par exemple, qui souffre du syndrome de l’intestin irritable (SII) devra, selon la théorie de D’Adamo, soustraire le blé entier, le lait et le café de son alimentation. Or, dans les cas de SII, les nutritionnistes recommandent justement de réduire la consommation de blé entier, d’éliminer le café et le lactose pour une période de test parce qu’ils peuvent être irritants pour les parois intestinales lorsque l’on est sous l’effet d’un stress intense.

Menu type d’une journée pour chaque groupe sanguin

Avantages et inconvénients

Groupe O
Groupe A
Groupe B
Groupe AB
Repas du matin
Pain de blé germé
Boisson de riz
Figues et ananas
Boisson de soya
Gruau de quinoa
Boisson d’amande
Jus d’orange
Graines de lin
Rôties de pain d’épeautre
Beurre d’acajou
Thé vert
Repas du midi
Boeuf haché
Riz brun
Jus de carotte
Salade de haricots noirs
Pain de seigle
Filet de flétan
Riz brun
Haricots verts, chou-fleur, carotte
Soupe aux lentilles
Craquelins d’épeautre
Céleri et carotte en crudités
Repas du soir
Salade d’épinards avec huile d’olive et jus de citron
Thé vert
Salade de chou
Bison haché
Pomme de terre
Salade avec laitue , concombre, oignon, luzerne et huile d’olive
Riz sauvage

Rigoureusement suivi, le régime selon les groupes sanguins comprend assez de choix d’aliments sources de protéines pour atteindre la satiété – à condition, bien entendu, d'aimer et de savoir apprêter les aliments permis.Satiété et bien-être
Toutefois, manger selon son groupe sanguin, surtout pour ceux qui font partie des groupes O et A, demande de se priver d'aliments fréquemment consommés et de se familiariser avec plusieurs nouveaux aliments, ce qui peut être difficile.
En pratique
Avec ce régime, on ne peut pas suivre ses propres goûts puisque plusieurs aliments très appréciés sont bannis, ce qui peut expliquer le taux d’abandon élevé que j’ai constaté. Une complication accrue est que les individus d’une même famille peuvent ne pas avoir le même groupe sanguin. Comment alors préparer des repas qui conviennent à tous? Mission quasiment impossible.
Perte de poids
Il y a souvent perte de poids chez les gens qui suivent ce régime. Selon les nutritionnistes, cela s’expliquerait non pas par l’élimination des aliments incompatibles mais par une consommation moindre de calories à cause du choix restreint d'aliments permis.
  • Carences nutritionnelles. Sauf pour les gens du groupe AB, ce régime peut mener à plusieurs carences si on connaît peu la valeur nutritive des aliments. Une personne du groupe O, par exemple, est censée éviter les produits laitiers de la vache, ce qui risque d'entraîner une carence en calcium, à moins qu'elle les remplace par beaucoup de brocoli, de chou chinois, d'amandes et de graines de sésame ainsi que de boisson de riz.
Groupe Sanguin
Carences possibles
Calcium, vitamine D, fibres céréalières, vitamines B1, B2, B3, B9, magnésium
Fer, protéines
Fibres céréalières, vitamines B1, B2, B3, B9, magnésium
En principe, aucune
  • Maladies cardiovasculaires. Le régime pour le groupe O comprend beaucoup de viandes rouges, ce qui pourrait augmenter les risques de maladies cardiovasculaires et de cancer de la prostate.
  • Baisse de performance. Les personnes du groupe O qui pratiquent un entraînement régulier ou des activités d'endurance (ski de fond, randonnée en montagne, etc.) pourraient connaître une baisse de performance en raison d'une faible consommation de glucides.
  • Manque de fibres. Le faible apport en céréales, donc en fibres alimentaires, dans le régime des groupes O et B pourrait entraîner de la constipation et augmenter le risque de développer certains cancers.
  • Diabétiques. Dans le groupe O, l’apport élevé en protéines pourrait, à long terme, s'avérer problématique pour les reins, en particulier chez les personnes diabétiques.
  • Frustration. De nombreux aliments très appréciés (exemple le yogourt, le fromage, les produits de boulangerie) ne peuvent être consommés qu'en petite quantité pour certains groupes sanguins, ce qui peut générer de la frustration et faire basculer dans une crise d’excès difficile à contrôler.

Mon commentaire

Rédaction : Hélène Baribeau, nutritionniste, Dt.P., M.Sc.
Fiche créée :
 décembre 2005
En l’absence d’étude clinique démontrant clairement un impact positif de manger selon son groupe sanguin, je ne peux endosser cette approche.
De plus, ce que je reproche à ce régime, c’est qu’il n’encourage pas la découverte et la connaissance de soi, parce qu'il dicte non seulement quels aliments manger, mais aussi quels exercices faire et même quel mode de vie privilégier!
Les seuls points positifs que je trouve à ce régime sont qu’il :
-incite à consommer des aliments qui ne nous sont pas familiers, ce qui encourage la variété;
-restreint la consommation d’aliments raffinés.


Extenso (Consulté le 4 novembre 2005).
Gaby, Alan MD. Book Review: The Blood Type Diet. Nutrition & Healing Newsletter. Phoenix, AZ: Nutrition & Healing, January 1998, p. 7.
Klaper, Michael MD. “Challenges to the Plant-Based Diet in the 90’s : “The Zone” and “Blood-Type” Diet Fads”.
D’Adamo, Peter J. 4 groupes sanguins 4 régimes. Édition du Roseau. Canada, 1999.
Vago Karen, Degrémont, Lucy. Mangez mieux selon votre groupe sanguin. Les éditions de l’Homme. Canada, 2003.
D’Adamo, Peter J. 4 groupes sanguins, 4 modes de vie. Éditions Michel Lafond, 2002, France. Effiscience, Canada, 2003.