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, August 31, 2015

Complexes Made Simple


Here's what you need to know...

  1. Complexes are a great way to build muscle, boost conditioning, and burn body fat while avoiding the boring cardio section of the gym.
  2. Despite popular belief, the goal of the complex should be to add weight to the bar, not perform it faster. Too much emphasis on speed can lead to shoddy technique.
  3. Complexes are a good way to push your limits in a relatively safe way, provided you do them correctly. There are 10 guidelines you need to follow.
Despite the name, complexes – a series of exercises performed in succession with a single implement – shouldn't be complex. To put together an effective complex that builds muscle and slashes body fat, you just need to follow a few simple guidelines.

Why Should You Use Complexes?

  • They're a great fat loss and conditioning tool, especially for lifters who cringe at the thought of traditional "gerbil" cardio like the bike, elliptical, Stairmaster, or treadmill.
  • Complexes are far less boring to perform as the cardio is "masked" as lifting, which is much more palatable for most meatheads.
  • They're a good option for a quick workout when you're crunched for time. "I only have 20 minutes to work out" is no longer a valid excuse to skip the gym. They also make for a viable option for in-season athletes.
  • They're a good chance to work on technique. Because complexes require using significantly lighter weights than what you'd normally use in your strength work, you get a chance to work on your form without your ego getting in the way.
  • For banged up folks, it's a chance to do exercises you might not otherwise be able to do. If you have exercises you love doing but run into problems when you do them heavy, you often can do lighter versions of them in a complex without issue. Many times it's not the exercise that's problematic but the load. Cut down the load substantially and you can then perform the exercise without pain.
  • It's a great alternative to a deload workout. I loathe deload workouts. I either like to train hard or skip the gym altogether. Complexes allow you to lift hard and get the feeling of pushing yourself without beating up your joints, making it a good option for days where you're ready to get after it mentally, but physically aren't feeling quite up to snuff.
  • They're a good way to test your mettle. Complexes can be downright brutal. While you shouldn't approach every workout with the intent to kick the crap out of yourself, no one has ever gotten better by being a pussy. Sometimes you have to forget what the textbooks say, ditch the script, and just see what the hell you're made of.
That's not free reign to be reckless, and many dudes run into problems by being knuckleheads in the name of being "hardcore." However, complexes are a good way to push your limits in a relatively safe way, provided you do them correctly.

10 Complex Principles

10 Complex Principles
I say "principles" rather than rules because one of the beauties of complexes is that they offer a lot of freedom and leeway to construct them according to your personal preferences and goals.
That said, there are some guidelines to follow:
1.  Form still matters.
I hate seeing people use poor form in the name of trying to be more "metabolic."
No matter what program you're following or what your goal is, good form still matters. Just because the weights are lighter and you're trying to burn fat and improve your conditioning doesn't mean you should lift like a spaz.
Use a full range of motion and always make sure you're in control of the weight and not just flinging it around – quality over quantity.
2.  Time isn't a good way to gauge progress.
With some programs, the workout and the load remain consistent and the goal is to complete the workout faster, with a better time indicating improvement.
To me, that's a misguided way to gauge progress because all it tells me is that you used shittier form and rushed through it. So while you may think you're getting better, you're really just shortchanging yourself and needlessly risking injury.
Instead, aim to increase the load you use for the complex while still maintaining good form. In most cases – not just complexes – adding weight to the bar is the best form of progress.
You could also do things like add more rounds or decrease the rest period between rounds, but don't rush the complexes themselves.
3.  Complexes should either have a full body focus or a lower body focus.
Full body focus
Upper body complexes sound good in theory but don't work very well in practice. The upper body doesn't have the same endurance capacity as the legs, meaning you can't challenge yourself nearly to the same degree without dropping the weights to almost pitiful levels.
You can certainly include upper body exercises in a complex, but make sure to alternate them with lower body exercises for a full-body training effect.
Alternatively, lower body complexes work well as a way to blast the legs while also jacking up the metabolism. The downside to them is that you might also jack up your lunch. Consider yourself warned.
4.  If you're using Olympic lifts, put them first in the complex and do no more than five reps.
Olympic lifts can work well in a complex and are a great way to work on technique with lighter loads. However, doing them in a fatigued state late in a complex or doing them for higher reps is a bad idea due to the technical nature of the exercises.
5.  Put the hardest exercises early in the complex.
"Hardest" refers to technically demanding lifts such as the Olympic lifts, along with exercises that require using lighter loads. Do those while you're still fresh.
6.  For full body complexes, alternate between lower and upper body exercises.
This gives the upper body a chance to rest (at least to some extent) while you do your lower body exercise, and vice versa, which in turn allows you to extend the complex without fizzling out.
7.  Try to order the exercises in a way that flows.
Order the exercises in a way that flows
Nothing kills your complex mojo like an awkward transition between exercises. Instead, try to structure the complex such that one exercise flows seamlessly into the next so you can maintain a good rhythm.
An example of an awkward transition would be a barbell row into a back squat – you have to clean the weight and put it over your head before you can start squatting.
Examples of better transitions might be a push press into a back squat, a front squat into a military press, or a barbell row into a deadlift because they don't require extra steps to get into position.
8.  Avoid choosing exercises that require a significant reduction in weight as compared to the other exercises.
The load you use for a complex is going to be limited by the weakest exercise, so try to avoid picking exercises that require drastic weight drops so you don't shortchange the whole complex.
For example, rather than a military press, you may be better off with a push press. Similarly, you might be better off using a power curl instead of strict biceps curl, or a high pull instead of an upright row.
This point applies more so to upper body exercises as these tend to be the weakest links.
9.  Try to give your grip a break.
Grip often becomes the limiting factor in how much weight you can use in a complex because the weight never leaves your hands. So whenever possible, give your grip a little reprieve by interspersing exercises that allow you to rest the weight on your shoulders – such as squats, front squats, and lunges – in between more grip-intensive exercises.
10.  Combo exercises can be great.
I'm typically not a fan of combo exercises (i.e. squat to press) for strength work, but they tend to work very well in complexes where strength isn't the primary goal.

Sample Complexes

Abiding by these principles, here are four sample complexes for you to try. That is, if you're up for it. Wussies need not apply.

Barbell Complex

Here, Eirinn Dougherty does 5 hang cleans, 10 reverse lunges with a front squat grip (5 per leg), 10 push presses, 10 squats, 10 high pulls, and 10 Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) all in succession without putting the bar down.

Eirinn makes it look easy, but trust me, it's anything but. Get the puke bucket ready.

Landmine Complex

Here Kevin Anderson uses the landmine to crank out 10 squat-to-presses, 10 single-arm presses per arm, 10 single-leg RDLs per leg, 10 single-arm rows per arm, and 10 reverse lunges per leg, all without letting the bar touch the floor.

Holding the thick part of the barbell really challenges your grip strength, but because the complex is composed primarily of unilateral exercises, one arm rests while the other works, allowing you to extend the set.

Trap Bar Complex

Here's a complex I like using the trap bar or Dead-Squat™ Bar that absolutely fries the legs: 10 split squats (5 per leg), 10 RDLs, and 10 low handle trap bar deadlifts.

For the final leg of the trap bar deadlifts, focus on getting your hips low and almost try to squat the weight up to keep the stress on the quads for a total leg blitz when combined with the RDLs.

Barbell Leg Complex

This one's a real doozy so you'll want to wear your big boy panties. Ten reverse lunges with a front squat grip, 10 front squats, and 10 squats, done as one continuous set.
Kevin knocks that sucker out with 225 pounds on the bar, which is no joke:

Put It To Work

Now that you have the guidelines to put together your own complex and even have a few to try, it's all on you now to put in the work.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pour être beau, dormez

Des chercheurs suédois ont établi scientifiquement ce que vous saviez déjà : il existe une relation étroite entre votre sommeil et votre apparence physique. 

Dans une étude publiée le 15 décembre 2010 dans le British Medical Journal, John Axelsson et son équipe du Karolinska Institute de Stockholm arrivent à la conclusion que les personnes qui manquent de sommeil paraissent en plus mauvaise santé, et sont moins attirantes physiquement que celles qui dorment bien, et suffisamment. [1] 

« Le sommeil est le soin de beauté naturel du corps, a déclaré J. Axelsson. C’est sans doute plus efficace qu’aucun traitement que vous puissiez acheter. » [2] 
L’étude a été réalisée en montrant à des personnes choisies au hasard des photos de personnes après une nuit de huit heures de sommeil, et après 31 heures de veille, puis en leur demandant de noter sur une échelle de 1 à 100 leur état de santé, leur beauté physique, ainsi que leur niveau de fatigue. 

D’autres recherches récentes sont arrivées à la conclusion que le manque de sommeil pourrait augmenter le risque de maladie d’Alzheimer [3] de dépression [4] et de surpoids [5]. Mais, en fait, il semble que le risque d’attraper toutes les maladies, ou presque, augmente lorsqu’on dort trop peu, puisque le système immunitaire est fortement affaibli. 

Le manque de sommeil provoque les mêmes effets que le vieillissement
Manquer de sommeil a les mêmes effets que le vieillissement sur le physique et sur le cerveau. 

Si vous vous regardez dans la glace un lendemain de fête, ou après une nuit agitée, votre visage ressemble beaucoup à ce qu’il sera… dans dix ans alors que vous aurez bien dormi.

De la même façon, il est nettement plus difficile de se souvenir de l’endroit où on a mis ses clés lorsqu’on a dormi moins de cinq heures. On risque plus de se cogner, de trébucher sur des objets, de rater une marche, de butter sur les mots, voire de répéter une chose que l’on vient de dire. 

Comme votre grand-mère, vous avez parfois tendance à ne plus savoir si vous avez déjà raconté cette (excellente) histoire à cette personne. 

Tout cela plaide évidemment pour mieux dormir. Oui mais comment ? Si vous faites partie des 40 % de la population qui a du mal à s’endormir et/ou à rester endormi, vous savez que la solution n’est pas évidente. Or, il faut que vous ayez chaque nuit entre six et huit heures de bon sommeil.[6] 

L’anticerne qui fait vieillir
Pour camoufler un sommeil difficile, un peu d’anticerne sous les yeux peut vous faire retrouver un teint frais et juvénile en quelques secondes. 

Mais c’est TOUT le contraire qui se produit dans vos cellules. Les chimiques contenus dans les cosmétiques perturbent et aggravent le vieillissement de la peau.

Surtout pas de somnifères !
Si vous souffrez d’insomnie, il peut être tentant de chercher une solution immédiate en prenant des médicaments. Mais sur le long terme, les somnifères ont de fortes chances d’aggraver vos problèmes de sommeil. 

De plus, que cherchez-vous en dormant mieux ? A vous sentir mieux, le lendemain, moins fatigué, plus alerte intellectuellement. A avoir meilleur moral. 

Or, il se trouve qu’aucun de ces effets ne sera atteint par les somnifères chimiques : tous provoquent l’effet exactement inverse, c’est-à-dire un risque plus grand d’inattention, d’assoupissement, bref, de sentiment général de fatigue. Ces produits vous assomment, mais ne vous reposent pas. Il a même été établi que le sommeil provoqué par les somnifères est en général très agité, traversé de cauchemars, et entrecoupé de réveils fréquents. 

11 conseils pour mieux dormir
En recoupant les conseils donnés par les différents guides pour mieux dormir, j’ai repéré 11 conseils que l’on retrouve dans le discours de la plupart des spécialistes : 

1.  Dormez dans le noir total, ou aussi total que possible. Lorsque la lumière frappe vos paupières, elle interrompt la production de sérotonine et mélatonine (l’hormone du sommeil), en perturbant le rythme circadien de la glande pinéale (qui gère votre horloge biologique). Si vous devez vous lever la nuit pour aller aux toilettes, essayez de ne pas allumer la lumière. Si c’est trop risqué, mettez dans vos toilettes une veilleuse.
2.  Pas de télévision juste avant de vous coucher. Mieux encore, pas de télévision dans votre chambre. Mieux encore, pas de télévision dans votre maison ! La télévision excite trop le cerveau. Elle perturbe aussi la glande pinéale, pour les mêmes raisons que ci-dessus. Surtout, la télévision et Internet vous font très facilement aller au lit une ou deux heures plus tard que vous n’auriez dû.
3.  Portez des chaussettes au lit. Etant la partie la moins bien irriguée du corps, les pieds sont souvent la première partie à se refroidir. Or, dès que vous avez trop froid, votre corps se met à bouger pour se réchauffer. Il y a un risque de se réveiller, et la qualité de votre sommeil décroît. Une étude a montré qu’avoir les pieds au chaud augmente la qualité du sommeil.
4.  Dormez dans une atmosphère fraîche, pas plus chaude que 18°C. Beaucoup de maisons sont trop chauffées, en particulier à l’étage, dans les chambres à coucher. Cependant, en-dessous de 15°C, vous serez sans doute gêné par le froid, à moins de porter un bonnet de nuit.
5.  Eloignez votre réveil et les autres appareils électriques de votre lit. Leurs bruits et les diodes qui clignotent peuvent vous perturber. Et regarder les chiffres sur votre réveil (2 h, 3h15, 4h…) ne peut qu’ajouter à vos angoisses.
6.  Réservez votre lit pour dormir. Si vous êtes habitué à regarder la télévision ou travailler au lit, cela peut augmenter vos difficultés à vous détendre et vous endormir. Donc évitez ces activités dans votre lit.
7.  Envisagez de faire chambre à part. De récentes études [7] (et l’expérience de nombreuses générations !) indiquent que, pour beaucoup de personnes, partager son lit avec quelqu’un peut fortement perturber le sommeil, surtout si l’autre personne a un sommeil agité, se lève la nuit, ou ronfle. Le Dr Neil Stanley, spécialiste du sommeil à l’Université de Surrey (Angleterre), conseille fortement de faire chambre à part. Il rappelle que l’habitude de dormir à deux dans la même chambre ne s’est installée que depuis la révolution industrielle, lorsque les populations se sont installées dans les villes où l’espace coûtait cher. A l’époque romaine, le lit conjugal ne servait pas pour dormir, mais pour… vous avez deviné la fin.
8.  Faites régulièrement de l’exercice physique. Une étude de la Stanford Medical School a constaté que, après un programme de 16 semaines d’exercices physiques modérés, les sujets étudiés s’endormaient en moyenne 15 mn plus tôt et dormaient 45 mn de plus. Cependant, ne faites pas d’exercice juste avant d’aller dormir car cela vous maintiendrait éveillé.
9.  Ne mangez pas de sucrerie juste avant d’aller dormir. Non seulement cela peut provoquer de la nervosité, mais cela peut entraîner aussi une hypoglycémie au bout de quelques heures, qui vous réveillera. En revanche, vous pouvez prendre une nourriture bien protéinée quelques heures avant de dormir. Cela vous aidera à produire de la mélatonine (hormone du sommeil).
10.         Couchez-vous toujours à la même heure.
11.         Enfin, pour aller au-delà des simples conseils de bon sens, et vous proposer une solution nouvelle qui semble vraiment efficace si tous les points ci-dessus ne vous aident pas à mieux dormir, envisagez une thérapie cognitive et comportementale [TCC]. Une étude réalisée par l’Université de Bergen, en Norvège, a conclu que les TCC sont plus efficaces que les somnifères. En six semaines de traitement, les personnes insomniaques qui ont suivi cette thérapie ont augmenté leur temps de sommeil effectif de 81,4 % à 90,1 %. De plus, elles avaient des phases de sommeil profond plus long, et se réveillaient moins souvent que les deux autres groupes témoins (dont un recevait un somnifère de zopiclone, et l’autre un placebo). [8]

Jean-Marc Dupuis,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

9 Tips for Dedicated Lifters


Here's what you need to know...

  1. The best overall mass builder is high-rep squats.
  2. Conditioning should serve a specific purpose in your program. Cut it out if you don't know why you're doing it.
  3. Be able to pull double your bodyweight off the ground, press your bodyweight overhead, and carry your bodyweight for about 100 yards. If you can't, master those first.
  4. To get better you may have to take some time off. Do it before your body forces you.
  5. Every workout should build on the previous session. If you leap from one program to the next, you'll never make progress.

My No-BS Approach

I started lifting in 1965. I've been employed as a strength coach since 1979. I've seen a lot come and go, but I'm fairly confident that the following nine tips will still be around fifty years from now.

1.  Do High-Rep Squats

I see the nonsense all the time. Instead of just lifting the bar, they lift it for two seconds and then stretch it out to four and then slowly bring the weight down using an eight count. If you can do all that, you just aren't lifting enough.
High rep back squats have been the mass-builder's secret before, during and, hopefully, after the anabolic age. They work. Here's a simple tip:
  • If you weigh 135 pounds or below, use 135 when squatting.
  • 135-185 - use 185.
  • 185-205 - use 205.
  • Everybody over 205 pounds - use 225.
When you squat deep for fifty reps, you'll understand the value of high-rep squats. After you do that, come back in two or three days and repeat it.

2.  Carry Really Heavy Loads

Loaded Carry Woman
This generation of lifters is lucky. They've seen the strongman and Highland games competitions and most of them know about the farmer's walk and the family of loaded carries, but the main issue hasn't changed in a decade: load.
I wrote an article years ago about farmer's carries and the magazine showed a fitness model (male) carrying twin 25-pound dumbbells. Those weren't farmer's walks. Those were "salesman at Nordstrom's carrying out boxes of high-heeled shoes" walks. You need a bit more.

Related:  The Secret of Loaded Carries

Try using a trap bar with the same loads listed in tip number one. Strive for 100 yards or the equivalent.
And if your grip gives out, don't turn and say, "My grip gave out." I have this idea that the body protects you by letting the weight drop. Over time the grip won't give out so soon.

3.  Don't Get Fat

Fat loss sucks. It always has and it always will. I've lost fat through extreme diets and a liver parasite. Honestly, I don't know which one was worse.
Someone asked Art Devany something years ago at a workshop that upset a lot of people in the audience. The question was, "What's the best thing for fat loss?" Devany's answer was, "Don't get fat in the first place."

Related:  No More Strong Fat Guys

This advice still holds. There's a period in many people's lives where they just put things to the side for a few years and eat pizza and drink beer. If it took a decade to add all that blubber, try not to think that you can burn it off in a week. It will include diet. It will include exercise.
It will be harder than you think. So don't get fat in the first place.

4.  Stop What You're Doing, For a While

If you've "tried everything" to reach a goal, try this: stop. For fat loss, I strongly suggest you go on a full week vacation at one of those inclusion resorts. Eat. Drink. Play. Sleep.
When you come back, step on the scale. Often, people lose weight on these vacations. Why? I don't know. I think it has to do with the whole "play and sleep" formula, but I could be wrong.
Once, while training to throw the discus, I got hit in the head by one. Yes, I took one across the skull. It would have killed a human. As a result of having a metal dinner plate crease my skull, my next year in the discus was the best I ever had.
After seven years of never missing a day, a workout or a competition, I had to stop. I stopped lifting. I stopped training. Six months later, in October, I began training again. I had the best season of my life. I crushed all of my personal records and was amazed to see the progress on a program that was literally half of what I used to do.
Sometimes, the path to your goals is a short retirement.

5.  Don't Do Junk Conditioning

Treadmill Running
The longer I coach, the less I believe in conditioning. Look, when I was in high school, the Army came out with a series of booklets called Conditioning for a Purpose, but I think we sometimes forget the purpose.
In the discus, after my right foot comes up, I release the discus in 1.6 seconds. Two seconds then would be the high end of my range for conditioning. Making a thrower jog might be a good idea, but it might get us away from the goal of throwing farther.
Oh, I get it, alright. We're in the age of YouTube where people will load videos of themselves doing burpees so the world can see them.
Look, at the elite levels, people still get tired playing basketball and soccer. It's normal. Playing two downs in a row for a defensive lineman in the NFL is exhausting. You can get that guy down to 220 pounds, but being in "better shape" isn't necessarily going to enable him to get to the quarterback.

Related:  4 Anabolic Metcon Workouts

Whenever you add some conditioning to your training, ask yourself if you're just spinning your wheels, or pulling on the rower, as the case may be. Conditioning has value, no question about it, but if you're doing a bunch of junk for no rhyme or reason, cut it back or cut it out.
It's okay to be tired in victory.

6.  See the Whole Picture

Meal Plan
Stop fiddling with nonsense minutia.
And make sure you know the whole story. Following a movie star's training program is almost always suspect. If you don't have a chef, a full-time assistant, an on-site personal trainer, and the ability to get some of the "supplements" which can land ordinary people in jail, you might have to change a few things.
Whenever I see a program with eight meals a day and three or more hours a day of training, I tend to just move along. Nothin' to see here, folks.

Related:  The Simple Diet for Athletes

I generally make the most of my meals and I can't imagine the workload in preparing eight. I think that's why I really enjoyed moving into the direction of a kind of intermittent fasting - I'm just too lazy to prepare meals.
I've come to two conclusions about the best and brightest in sports: genes and geography. When standing around NBA guys, you get a sense of the need for height.
If you were born and raised in Canada with an instinct for aggression, you might be a great hockey player. That same set of genes transferred to Iowa produces a wrestler, while similar traits produce an Olympic lifter in Bulgaria. It takes both genes and geography to be the best.
When you see extraordinary things, take a moment to see the whole picture. Then, get your ass in gear and get back to work.

7.  Shut Up About Inconsequential Stuff

Lifting weights is the following:
  1. Picking weights off the ground.
  2. Lifting weights overhead.
  3. Carrying weights for time or distance.
We can argue about the fundamental human movements and I can once again answer questions about why I don't have "rotation" work in my weight room, but if you won't do the three things listed above, shut up.
Yes, deadlifts, overhead presses, and farmer's walks are really that important. And yes, squats and pull-ups are good, but if you can't pull double bodyweight off the ground, press bodyweight overhead, and carry bodyweight for about 100 yards, let's see if we can take care of that first, shall we?

8.  Stop Wasting Time in the Gym

Foam Roller
Time in training is like a sandbag with a hole in it. Once you walk in the gym, your sandbag begins losing sand. Twenty minutes of foam rolling probably has value, but time spent rolling around is leaving you with an emptier bag. I don't care if static stretching is good or bad; every minute you do of it is leaving sand on the floor.
You see it all the time: the extended warm-up on a piece of cardio equipment followed by foam rolling, lacrosse ball rolling for "hot spots," fancy shoulder movements and the whole lot of stretches, twists, and turns. By the time you're ready to actually pull some weights it's time to go.
The moment you enter the gym the clock is ticking. That's why I like to have people squat first. If you have to leave at least you got something done. The tradition in the O-lifts is to do the big moves first, then do the "accessories."
Stop wasting time in the gym. Do all that rolling when you watch TV. Keep it out of the weight room.

9.  Stick With the Program

The best pre-workout supplement? Easy. It's the workout you did before today.
Every workout should build, in some way, upon the previous session. If you keep leaping from idiotic program to idiotic program, you might never learn this lesson.