Time to Balance

As Christmas day draws nearer and the new year is literally around the corner I feel it’s a good time to start looking at some potential goals for next year, especially those surrounding balanced strength in certain lifts and even across the board if possible.
The lifts I want to draw your attention to are the following:
– Front Squat
– Behind Neck Press (It’s not dangerous if done correctly)
Exercises that when strengthened to their ideal ratio to their counterparts provide excellent strength/hypertrophy progress.
When people speak about squats it’s often the back variety in a high bar position (across the traps) typically, unless said person is a power lifter in which case they will opt for low bar (across the rear debts). When looking at your typical squat you should find your front squat hitting around 85% of that number. Yep, 85%. If you do 3×100 on back squat then you’d want to be hitting 85×3 on front squat.
A strong front squat will not only make your back squat feel easier, it will give you tremendous strength through the quads, core and upper back because of having to hold the front rack position. You will also find that the front squat has more athletic crossover as well.
If you haven’t really done much in the way of front squat then fear not, I will put up a simple progression method/workout below to help you improve these two lifts.
Time to discuss the much fear Behind Neck Press. There are a lot of people who claim this will destroy your shoulders and if the movement is done incorrectly and you have poor posture then they’re right, however if you take some time to iron out some kinks and improve your mobility/flexibility/form so you can perform this pain free with full ROM you will find your shoulders thank you in the end.
The lift we will be basing your BNP off of is your close grip bench press. You should look to be pressing 66% of your CGB in the BNP, so to put some numbers to that, if you CGBx6x100 you should be able to handle 66kg for 6 in the BNP. If you can this shows a healthy balance in your shoulders and chances are you will be injury free for the most part.
*If you are looking for where I go this info you will find it in the writings of a great strength coach by the name of Charles Poliquin, you might have heard of him.
Here’s a small excerpt from ‘The Poliquin Principles’ it’s well worth purchasing – https://www.scribd.com/doc/57908561/Charles-Poliquin-The-Poliquin-Principles
Now I said I would give you a simple method/workout to help you progress these, here it is (it’s a modified Hepburn method, check out Doug Hepburn’s writings, they hold a lot of great tips).
^^ A starting point for info on Doug.
First things first, the parameters of the workout:
– Establish 3RM for Squat and CGB then take the required % of those numbers for your FS & BNP (85%, 66% – You can go for 65% or 70% if you hate funny numbers).
– Take 10-20% off the weights you should be using for FS & BNP, starting out lighter will benefit you in the long run and allow you more room to progress and groove the movements/from. Leave your ego at the door.
– Train 3xP/W (2x FS/BNP sessions, the other session can have deadlift, dips, filler lifts etc, there will be an example of this)
– Start each compound lift at 1×3 & 7×2, add a rep every session until you hit 8×3 (should last around 4 weeks), once you hit this go back to 1×3,7×2 but increase the weight on said lift. Repeat to make all the gains (Y).
– Accessory Lifts: Have a pulling movement – say chin up) in-between each set of FS/BNP in a jump set fashion, it will look like this: A1 FS – Rest 60 seconds, A2 Chin Rest 60 seconds, A1 FS, and so on.
Here is how the workout high look:
Monday: Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.
A1 – FSQ 1×3,7×3
A2 – Chin x6-8
B1 – Bnp 1×3,7×2
B2 – Chest Supported Row x6-8
C1 – Optional Isolation lift on weak body part (calves, rear delts etc)
Wednesday: Rest 60-90seconds betweens sets.
A1 – Deadlift Ramp to 2RM, back off for 5x2x85-90% daily max.
B1 – Dumbbell Incline Press 3-6×6-8
B2 – Face Pull x8-12
C1 – Dips 6×6-8
Friday: Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.
A1 – FSQ 2×3,7×3
A2 – Pull Up Peg Grip x6-8
B1 – Bnp 2×3,7×2
B2 – Pendlay Row x6-8
C1 – Optional Isolation lift on weak body part (calves, rear delts etc)
^^ Notice the 1 rep progression on the main compound lifts (FS/BNP).
You will find this is quite a nice little change from your standard training and helps you bridge those strength imbalances.
Any questions simply leave a comment down below.

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