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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Posture Cure

Stand Taller, Train Like a Bodybuilder


Here's what you need to know...

  1. Everyone Needs Posture Work. When it comes to posture, lifters and athletes are no better than sedentary desk jockeys.
  2. Use the Right Pulling Exercises. Vertical pulling exercises,
    like pull-ups and lat pulldowns, can exacerbate the problem. Rows and
    other forms of horizontal pulling can help it.
  3. Directly Work the Upper Back and Rear Delts. Train the upper
    back and rear delts directly, using bodybuilding style, with high volume
    and increased time under tension – to improve your posture.
  4. Use a Variety of Lifting Strategies. When training these areas, use constant tension, isometric pauses, and slow eccentrics.

Straighten Up!

Posture is the biggest equalizer when it comes to orthopedic health
and function. The trends we're seeing in shoulder and spine injury and
other dysfunction can be largely attributed to the sedentary nature of
our society.

But even if you're not sedentary, you need to take a closer
look at your posture. I've evaluated the posture of world-class athletes
and will go on the record saying that high-performing physical outliers
have just as dysfunctional – if not more dysfunctional – posture and
positional awareness as the average desk jockey.

And people hate to hear (and see) that their posture sucks. But you
know what they hate even more? Hearing that bodybuilding-style training
is the best cure for cranky shoulders, achy necks, and posture that
halts gains and leaves you hurting on a daily basis.

The Cause of Poor Posture

Sitting exacerbates pre-existing dysfunctions that often lay dormant
in even the most active of populations. Fit or not, the cell phone,
tablet, laptop, etc. have all taken a toll on our posture.

Weakness, stiffness, and general immobile muscles in the posterior
shoulder girdle secondary to sitting can be a recipe for disaster when
athletes do not account for these postural disturbances in their daily
maintenance and more importantly their training programming.

Think of the many muscles of the upper back as postural stabilizers
for the most part. The larger muscles of this group, most notably the
posterior deltoid, teres major, mid and lower trapezius, and rhomboid
complex are often neglected in the average lifter's program. And those
who do make it a point to train the upper back often do so incorrectly.

Upper Back Muscles
Many programs revolve around mirror muscles like the pecs and biceps,
but using bro-science logic, many turn to targeting the latissimus
dorsi directly to rein in that push-to-pull focus into more generally
acceptable ratios.

While the lats are located on the posterior aspect of the torso and
connect into the humerus proximally, one big detail is often overlooked.
The humeral insertion point of the lats is located on the medial aspect
of the upper third of this upper arm bone, thus making it a shoulder
internal rotator when actively contracted.

So when training the vertical (lat pulldown machine, chin-ups,
pull-ups, or any other variation) you're digging the postural hole
deeper and deeper, and actually adding to dysfunction and poor

Sure, having a spread that resembles a stingray is awesome, but
cranking your shoulders and reinforcing the malposition won't give you
the long term physical or functional benefits you're seeking.

If your shoulders are losing more mobility than the strength you're
gaining, place a stronger emphasis on the row and its many variations.
Keying in on the horizontal pull while maintaining a neutral or slightly
externally rotated shoulder position will allow you to rearrange your
posture while also going heavy.

Model Back

A Functional (and Good Looking) Upper Back

Targeting the rear delts, rhomboids, mid to lower traps, and teres
minor are the best ways to improve your posture. Adding size to each
muscle in this region also makes you look like a boss.

By training the area directly, even the deeper, more acute
contractile tissues of the region will be positively affected from a
strength, stability, and functional standpoint.

The external rotator cuff comprised of the infraspinatus and teres
minor can create more effective joint positions and centration of the
shoulder complex, leading to smoother, more coordinated movement and

The smoother the movement of a joint, the better the gross action
will be. This is why it's important to achieve and maintain proper
shoulder spiraling and torque setups before going dynamic with your

Traditional strength set and rep schemes won't cut it for upper
back-emphasized training. Matching a muscle's primary action and
function with the type of training it will respond more favorably to is
the next step in achieving a posture that resembles more of a Greek god
than Quasimodo.

More Volume = Better Posture

When designing a program for any region of the body, match your
volume and scheme according to the actions and functions of the muscles

The upper back responds well to increased volume, high reps and time
under tension. This should be no shock, as many of these muscles
function to keep your shoulders in the sockets, and keeping your
thoracic spine and neck somewhat erect when you're interacting with your
social environment.

Targeting these muscles with power or strength schemes is
inappropriate for a majority of athletes and lifters. Putting a larger
emphasis on metabolic stress and the pump will produce greater aesthetic
results, in addition to more functional and transferable strength

Use The Pump

Tapping into the mind-muscle connection and using proper workloads
and volumes can do amazing things for enhancing posture and unlocking
the emergency brake you may have had on your lifting performance for

Here are two of the best upper-back specific movements and how to
program them throughout a number of variations for a thicker backside,
stronger pulls and presses, and overall less pitiful posture.

1 – The Face Pull

Dynamic Warm-Up

Sets:  3-5

Reps:  8-12

Rest:  10-25 seconds

Tempo:  10X1
  • Take 1 second to lower the weight.
  • Spend 0 seconds at the bottom of the movement.
  • Explode up to the top of the movement.
  • Pause for one second at the top (peak contraction) of the movement before lowering again.
Notes: Using the
accommodating resistance out of the band, explode back, maintaining the
elbows slightly higher than the shoulders. At peak contraction, your
shoulders should be slightly externally rotated with loads of torque and
tension through the upper back. Hold that position for a second and
control your arms back straight and jump right into the next rep.

Strength Movement

Sets:  5-9

Reps:  12-20

Rest:  30-45 seconds

Tempo:  21X1
Notes: Time to
load up with the rope and cable rack setup. Drive your elbows back,
squeezing your shoulder blades together and hold for a second at peak
contraction. As you load heavier, the slight external rotation of the
shoulders on the backside along with the relative position of your
elbows above the shoulders will both decrease. This is fine, just be
sure to control the eccentric portion of the movement and pause with
elbows extended to minimize the use of momentum.

Metabolic Shoulder Finisher

Sets:  2-4

Reps:  30-50

Rest:  30-45 seconds

Tempo:  Constant tension – no holds just smooth coordinated eccentric/concentric movements.
Notes: Using
constant tension with no holds on the front or backside of the movement,
crank out 50 controlled reps and fight the urge to quit. As the pain
ensues, don't let your form suffer. Keep those elbows above shoulders at
all times.

2 – Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Dynamic Warm-Up

Sets:  3-5

Reps:  10-15

Rest:  10-25 seconds

Tempo:  10X1
Notes: Get a
light band under your feet and grab onto the ends with your hands in a
palms-down position. Slump over with your chest approximating your knees
while keeping your neck in a neutral position. Drive your arms up and
hold for a second at the top of the range before controlling your hands
back down towards the ground. You'll really feel these top isometric
holds with the accommodating band resistance that will drive blood into
the upper back quickly and efficiently.

Strength Movement

Sets:  5-7

Reps:  15-20

Rest:  20-30 seconds

Tempo:  20X1
Notes: Get a
pair of dumbbells in your hands and don't let your ego drive your
working weights. From the same position as the dynamic warm-up
variation, drive up the dumbbells with your palms down, hold for a
second and accentuate the eccentric portion of the movement with a two
second descent. A set of 20 will be excruciating towards the end, that's
why it's imperative to choose working weights that you can maintain
your range of motion into the top position for all prescribed reps.

Metabolic Shoulder Finisher

Sets:  2-4

Reps:  30-50 with partial reps

Rest:  30-45 seconds

Tempo:  Constant tension – no holds just smooth coordinated eccentric/concentric movements.
Notes: If you
thought you had to go light in the strength variation of this movement,
you'll be humbled even more when programming for metabolic stress and
finishing off a training day. Use constant tension, working smoothly up
and down with great scapular retraction on every rep. Even at the
lightest weights, 50 reps will catch up with you quickly. Instead of
cheating the movement and losing tension, continue to knock back reps
with constant tension with partial range reps. Focus on keeping the
weights moving until you get to 50, then enjoy that 30 second rest
period because you'll have a few more rounds to go.

Final Tips

You're not limited to these exercises. They simply show how you can manipulate any
movement that targets the upper back with three different training
mechanisms: iso-holds, constant tension, and straight loaded strength

Bodybuilding-style execution and the mind-muscle connection are keys
to reaching your postural and performance goals. As a movement becomes
more compound, the need for clean and crisp movement with intention
becomes that much more important.

Start slow with more isolated movements and work your way up to big
rowing variations and other more metabolically demanding movements.

The options are endless, but don't be the guy super-setting bench
with lat pulldown three times per week and bitching when your shoulders
hurt and your upper back is about to explode. You've been warned.

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