Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mobility Madness

Prior to having 2 kids, I was very diligent with my mobility work, doing it before every workout and having minimal problems. Since having kids, my mobility work has been pushed to the side. My workouts are sporadic and sometimes cut short, so I find myself skipping the mobility part. Bad on my end.

A good friend of mine, Mike Roberston, has a series of awesome products that feature mobility and how the lack of mobility is a serious problem to athletes, powerlifters and recreational lifters alike.

I've just recently made it a point to get back into the swing of doing it on a regular basis and I can honestly already start to feel a difference. I'm nowhere near where I was before, but it's getting better. My routine includes many of the exercises featured here in Mike and Eric Cressey's DVD Magnificent Mobility.

If you haven't seen it before, I highly suggest you check it out. If you aren't sure what kind of warm-ups you should be doing prior to or post workout, then, yes, you need to check it out. If you are sitting there saying, Ehh, I don't need that, then yes, you too, need to check it out. You won't regret it. Mobility, especially for athletes, is such an overlooked part of training, but it's so important and can really reduce the amount of injuries they have. It really is important. Do not leave this portion of your athletes' training out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Training log

Here are my last two workouts. It is tim eot buckle down and start prepping for a meet in October.


Pin one deadlift - conventional stance 135, 245, 335, 385, 425, 475, 515, 565, 605, 635x1, 675xmiss

seated goodmornings with ssb 185 2x8, 225x8

pull thrus 110 2x10, 120x10, 130x10 140x10

ghr with plate against chest 3x10

abs against ghr

ankle dragging 24kg 5x200 ft


Speed bench with El gordo 185 5x5
tricep death (with elgordo) 2, 3, 4 boards

set 1 - 225 5 reps each board with 3 second hold at lockout
set 2 - same as set 1
set 3 - 255 1 rep on each board with 10 second hold between each rep

chest supported rows 90# 4x10

prowler suicides 1 plate each handle 3 trips total each one getting longer than the last.

I would like to die now. Thanks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Catching up on training

Wow the last few weeks have been very busy. We had to cut the last deload week short as we are planning around peoples vacations and one training partners new job duties out of town.

So here is what we did the last few weeks.

For speed squats we used a straight bar and blue bands. You can see what I did on weeks two and three in the videos below. Week one (no video) I used 315 for a couple sets and 365 for a couple sets.

Speed bench
We used monster minis for 5x5 and then did dumbell overhead pressing.

Max effort squats

The first two weeks were ssb to the hassock (12 inch soft box) and arch back goodmornings. The third week I was out of town and did some stiff leg deadlifts but nothing crazy.

Max effort bench

We hit fat bar three board press and floor press with chain.

Cutting the deload short by 2 days really made things much harder. It left me very un-motivated and I did not update any of my training logs.

I will be back on track starting next week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coaching Cues: Chest Up/Out

Many exercises that we use on a daily basis involve some type of position where your chest should be out and shoulders should be somewhat retracted. Over the years, I've heard people use various cues when squatting, saying things like "head up", "head back" or "drive your head back in the bar". While those are great cues for more advanced lifters who might have a good sense of body awareness, I find those cues can be very vague to some athletes or newbies to lifting. Especially if they are visual learners, which I find many athletes are. Putting them in the right position can really make a big difference in how they fix their technique.

Let me explain.

Most of the athletes we come across are new to lifting. And even if they have some lifting experience, they just think about "moving the weight" rather than being in the right position. I've found that certain cues can really help an athlete understand their position and learn to feel when it's wrong and when it's right.

Here are a few exercises that I use the words "Chest Up" or "Stick your chest out" for, and why I think it's helped.

When squatting, if you just say "head up", the athlete may look up towards the ceiling. And while that may naturally stick their chest out too, it doesn't necessarily put their upper back in the right position. If you say "chest out" or "chest up", the athlete can feel and see their chest sticking out, which also locks in their upper back, keeping them from hunching forward while squatting.

This is another exercise that can be tricky to learn. Many athletes lack the body awareness to pivot at the hips in this exercise. They either want to bend at the waist (causing a rounded back) or bend at the knees (resulting in a squat). And as they weight increases, it can easily pull an athlete's shoulders forward. That's why I use the cue "stick your chest out" or "chest out". Again, the athlete can see and feel their shoulders being locked into place. And while it doesn't automatically lock in their lumbar spine, it will make a big difference. If I see an athlete started to round out their lower back, I can usually use this cue and it will correct that.

Bench Press
Yes, even the bench press can benefit from this coaching cue. When an athlete lies on the bench very flat-backed, they have lost the ability to use their lats. When you coach them to have a big chest or "stick their chest out", that helps them retact the shoulder blades and automatically lifts their chest up, resulting in a shorter distance to move the bar. (A big benefit that can add major pounds to one's bench press!)

This is especially good for sumo deadlifters, but conventional pullers can use this as well. When pulling sumo, many times the hips rise too soon, resulting in a stiff-legged deadlift. If you cue the athlete to have their "chest up/out", this can help lock in their upper and lower back and in turn, keep their hips closer to the bar. Keeping your hips close to the bar is crucial for sumo deadlifting.

So, there you have it. Sometimes you have to change a few words or try new cues to get an athlete to really understand what the correct position is. For me, this cue is one that is repeated often in my weight room.