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Ask Angus?

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The following are Questions that have been asked of me lately inregards to Clients who have suffered injuries or just need friendly advice. You might be able to relate and take on board some of the Answers.


If there is an issue at hand please feel free to make a Booking for a Consultation or Alternatively please consult your Health Care Professional.




Angus does not work on other Massage Professionals as Others in the PAST have decided to try and  get a FREE Education when it has COST him, time and money. Legal action will proceed if you are found out to be a Massage Professional.


Q : 1


My Shoulders and Knees click and pop when I lift Weights. Should I be Worried ?? Also, is it Bad to crack your Knuckles ?


A : 1


Cracking your Knuckles is not as bad as most people think. It does not lead to Arthritis but  Chronic cracking can stretch Ligaments and decrease grip strength. The cracking sound is produced when bubbles burst in the Synovial Fluid within the Joint.


Clicking and popping Joints is a common phenomenon in almost everyone who trains or works out at a Gym, because their Joints are continunally subjected to the Trauma of lifting. In the Shoulder, popping is usually caused by the Rotator Cuff Tendons gliding over the Bones. You can minimise Shoulder popping by warming up adequately and by keeping your Rotator Cuff strong. The grinding noise in your Knees is caused by softening of the Cartilage under the Kneecap. You can help reduce Knee noise by sticking with short arc movements and by not bending your Knees beyond 90 degrees. during exercises like Squats and Leg Press.


Generally speaking, clicking or popping in a Joint is not a cause of concern unless you feel pain or find that your range of movement is limited. I’d recommend you go see a Medical Doctor if your Joints are painful or stiff. You may require a X-Ray or MRI scan to investigate a more serious underlying problem such as Joint damage, Tendon injury or Arthritis.


Q : 2


I’ve noticed a small Lump in my Groin. My Doctor says I have a Small Hernia that might require Surgery if it gets bigger. Will I cause more damage by continuing to Train or Work Out ?? Is there any way I can prevent the Hernia from getting bigger ??


A : 2


A Hernia bulges through a weak part of the Abdominal Wall and is typically provoked by Coughing, Straining or Light Weights. The Lump usually arises in the Groin ( Inguinal Hernia ) or near the Navel ( Umbilical Hernia ). At the Gym, a Hernia is more likely to occur during Power Exercises like Squats, Bench Press or Dead lifts. Because these Heavy lifts involve a lot of Straining, the increased pressure in the Abdomen literally forces the gut to burst through any weak spots in the Abdominal Wall.


There are several things you can do to Minimise your risk of developing a Hernia. First, do your Exercises in a sitting position. The Weak Spot in your Groin is protected when the Hip is bent forward at a 90 degree angle to the Body. Second, you should pay close attention to your Breathing Technique. Breathe in and out slowly and try to avoid holding your Breath when you lift. Finally, probably the most effective way to keep a Hernia away is to maintain strong Abdominal Muscles. Make sure to Exercise the lower Abdominal area. The Oblique Muscles also give the Groin Strength. For the best results, combine a variety of Exercises such as Leg Raises, Twisting Sit ups and Crunches.


Q : 3


My Goal is to become a Body Builder. How many Reps ( Repetitions ) should I do on each Exercise ??


A : 3


Muscle adapts in Response to Exercise so it will do the Exercise better next time. It’s a Scientific fact that Muscle undergoes a “Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand”, and the Muscle may adapt any or all of these Three ways:


  • SIZE

An increase in Muscle size is caused by Hypertrophic adaption which induces a Structural change, making the Muscles Fibres get bigger.



An improvement in Muscle Endurance is caused by a Metabolic adaptation which induces a Chemical change to improve Oxygen and Energy utilisation.



An increase in Muscle Strength is mainly caused by Neural adaptation that improves the Muscle’s electrical  supply. The Nerve impulse’s fire more quickly and recruit more Muscles Fibres resulting in a more powerful Muscular contraction.


So in Theory there exists a Strength – Endurance – Size continuum. At one extreme, Low Rep Strength Training induces electrical adaptations while at the other end, High Rep Endurance Training causes chemical changes.. Muscle building structural adaptations are induced by Training methods that exist somewhere between the two extremes. If you want to gain Muscle mass, you need to stimulate a Hypertrophic adaptation. Do 6 to 12 repetitions with the Maximum Weight possible using correct execution.


Q : 4


I recently dislocated my Shoulder during a Kickboxing Bout. Can you recommend some Exercises that will protect my weak Shoulder when I return to the Gym ??


A : 4


When a Shoulder pops out of its Joint, the structures that normally hold the Bone in place are Stretched or Torn. This makes the Joint unstable which is why the area feels weak and vulnerable, Your Goal should be to Strengthen your Shoulder but you also need to protect it from further damage. In other words,  you need an upper Body routine that will safely repair the damage and restore your Strength. Start by Strengthening the Muscles in your Rotator Cuff using external and internal rotations. Secondly, focus on restoring Strength to all Three heads of the Deltoid Muscle. Finally, remember to protect your unstable Shoulder at all times. The key is to avoid overhead movements that place your Arm  in the vulnerable “ High Five “, position. Risky Exercises include behind the Neck Shoulder presses, behind the Neck Lat pull downs, incline bench presses, overhead Triceps presses and dumbbell pullovers. During your Back workout, avoid full Stretches for pull downs and rows, as they can easily pull a loose shoulder out of  the Joint. Finally, you might consider using machines instead of free weights until your Shoulder regains its full Strength.


Please follow the following list that outlines some Exercises to avoid as well as some safer alternatives while on the mend:


  • Behind the Neck Pull Downs

  • Incline Bench Press

  • Free Weights

  • Behind the Neck Presses

  • Overhead Tricep Presses


  • Machines

  • Dips or Pushdowns

  • Decline Bench Press

  • Pulldowns to the Front

  • Front Shoulder Presses



Q : 5


About Ten Years ago, I tore the Long Tendon of my Right Biceps head which attach at the Shoulder. Can it be repaired to restore Arm Symmetry ??


A : 5


Let’s first review some Anatomy. The Biceps Muscle has Two Heads that attach to the Scapula Bone. The Long Head originates above the Scapula and the Short Head originates below the Shoulder Joint. These Two Heads which extend down the Arm, merge into a single Tendon that attaches in front of the Elbow. Being relatively thin, the Long Head Tendon ( At the Shoulder ), is the most susceptible to injury. When torn, the Tendon slides down the Arm so it cannot reconnect to its original Bony attachment. The Biceps Muscle still works, however, because the Short Head remains intact. Functionally, the result is a minimal 10 percent decrease in Muscle Strength. If you could Curl a 25 Kilo Dumbbell before the injury, you’ll have to downsize to a 20 Kilo Dumbbell afterward, which is no big deal.


Cosmetically, the result is a shortened, retracted Muscle belly that makes your Biceps look smaller and asymmetrical. Surgical repair of the Long Head is primarily a cosmetic procedure since the Strength loss is barely noticeable. In order, to be successful, surgery should ideally be performed within a few months of injury. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to re-attach the displaced Tendon.


Q : 6


How can I improve my Vascularity so I can get some Veins popping out ??


A : 6


In the world of Body Building the term  Vascularity refers to the visibility of surface Veins under the Skin. Physiologically speaking, these so called Subcutaneous Veins serve two main purposes: The Veins help the flow of Blood back to the Heart and they assist with the regulation of Body Temperature. The visibility of these surface Veins is affected by a number of factors such as Body fat, Body Temperature and Blood Pressure.


When your Body Fat percentage is more than 12 to 15 percent, you won’t see many Veins because they are covered by Fat. If you want those Veins to pop out you have to be Lean, keeping your Body Fat  level at 10 percent or less.


When your Body is hot during Exercise or warm weather your Veins dilate or bulge to help you cool down. When you are cold on the other hand, the Veins constrict or narrow to conserve Body heat.


When your Blood Pressure increases, for example, during Exercise, the increased Blow flow expands your Veins, thereby enhancing their Visibilty. This effect is the so called Exercise induced Hyperemia or pump effect.


The following is a list of possible ways  to improve Vascularity:

  • Drink a Glass of Red Wine

  • Reduce your Body fat level to 10 percent or less

  • Try a Nitric Oxide Stimulator to enhance Blood flow and expand Veins

  • Use a lotion containing Methyl Salicylate to cause Veins to dilate for a few hours


Q : 7


Can you explain the Muscles of the Thigh ?? In a well Muscled Leg, there seems to be a lot more going on than simply the Quads in Front ( Anterior ) and the Hamstrings behind ( Posterior ) ??


A : 7

There are some 15 separate Muscles in the upper Leg. So, let’s take a detailed Anatomical tour of the Thigh.


The Front of the Thigh consists of the Quadriceps Femoris, which is made up of Four separate Muscle heads. The outer Thigh sweep is the Vastus Lateralis and the teardrop above the Knee is the Vastus Medialis. Running down the centre and front of the Quads is the Rectus Femoris. The fourth  Quad known as the Vastus Intermedius, lied underneath the outer three Muscle heads. The four heads converge and attach onto the Patella ( Knee Cap ) and insert via a single ( Patellar ) Tendon onto the Tibia just below the Knee Joint. The Quadriceps functions to extend the Knee and thereby straighten the Leg. Since the Rectus Femoris attaches onto the Pelvic Bone, it also acts in Hip Flexion.


The inner Thigh consists of Three Adductor Muscles ( Longus, Brevis and Magnus ), the Gracilis Muscle and the Sartorius ( A.K.A Thigh Rod ). These Muscles squeeze the Thighs together ( Hip Adduction ).


The back of the Thigh consists of Three Hamstring Muscles. The outer Hamstring is the Biceps Femoris. The Semi Membranous and Semi Tendinosus Muscles make up the inner Hamstring. All three Hamstrings span both the Knee and Hip Joints. Therefore they serve dual functions, causing both Knee Flexion and Hip Extension.


Above the Hamstrings is the Gluteus Maximus, a powerful Muscle that causes Hip Extension, for example: During the Squat and Dead Lift. Also in this region are the Tensor Fascia Lata, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus Muscles that move the Leg out sideways ( Hip Abduction ). This now concludes your Tour of the Thigh.


Q : 8


I have a Bulging Disc in my Back and I can no longer do Overhead Presses, Squats or Deadlifts. I don’t want to damage my Back any further but I still want to get a good workout. Can you please suggest a Shoulder Workout that will help my Shoulders grow without the Overhead Presses ??


A : 8


When you squeeze a Tennis Ball between the palms of your Hands, it flattens and Bulges out, right ? Well, that’s exactly what happens to the Discs between the Bones of your Spinal Column when your Back supports a Weight. Over time, repeated heavy loads can cause the soft cushion Discs to Bulge permanently. However, the Bulging Discs can subside if you quit loading your Spine. So you would be wise to avoid Squats, Overhead Presses and Deadlifts. As the old saying goes, an Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.


Now, can you get a Good Shoulder Workout without Overhead Pressing ? Absolutely ! The key is to select a series of Shoulder Exercises that are Back friendly. By this, I mean Exercises that either : Provide support for your Lower Back or Minimise the Load transmitted through your Spine. Seated variations of most Exercises meet both these criteria. Unilateral Exercises using Dumbbells or Cables allow you to support your Torso using your free hand.

Here’s my Back friendly Shoulder Routine that targets all three heads of the Deltoid without the need for Overhead Presses. Do 3 sets of each Exercises. Pyramid your Weight so your Reps look like this : 12/10/8


Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises

* Use a Bench with Back Support


Cable Lateral Raises

* Support your Torso with Your Free Hand


Seated Dumbbell Front Raises

  • Use a Bench with Back Support


Machine Rear Deltoid Flyes

* The Chest pad supports your Torso

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