Tag Archives: Technique

You Run Like Shit.

How well do you run?

Morning All,

After being in the industry for a fair while it’s become apparent that for some reason everyone assumes they can run correctly.

A foolish notion as many can’t.

Why do you think a lot of people who run have a bad knee, ankle, hip, lower back and so on. Poor movement equals poor overall body health, remember that.

It is a logical thought because we’re never really taught how to run, we just do it and have done since childhood, however just because we’ve always done something one way it doesn’t mean we are doing it the correct way.

Now before you worry and think I’m telling you to give up running, calm down, I’m not.

If running is something you enjoy then you must do it because it’s your right to, however you’d do well to actually learn how to run correctly, not only because it’s best practice, it will help reduce the risk of injury and improve longevity.

To run effectively you not only need good patterns, you also need a solid base of strength. Yep, lifting weights can help make you a faster and more effective runner, counter to many popular beliefs.

Personally I’m by no means an avid runner, it’s just too boring for me. As such here is a nice little resource to get you started –

https://www.runnersworld.com/…/a2081…/proper-running-form-0/

If you want my best advice though it is this; hire a running coach (ideally one with a solid reputation).

Enjoy pounding the pavements,
Ross

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A different take on Eccentrics.

Morning All,
 
Chances are you’ve heard about lowering a weight slowly and under control when lifting.
 
Have you heard about ‘pulling’ the weight back to the starting position or in to the hole though?
 
Probably not.
 
It may seem like a strange idea however it will help build a lot of strength and serve to increase total body tension in your movements.
 
Here is an example:
 
Press a kettlebell overhead to lock out, stay tense and gripping it tight.
 
From the top you now want to engage your lat hard and star tot PULL the weight down, as opposed to slowly lowering it – think along the lines that you’re trying to do a one arm chin up.
 
At first it will feel weird, however the more you do it the better you’ll get and suddenly you will find yourself becoming a lot stronger.
 
This tactic works well on all movements, especially unilateral ones such as Pistols and Single Arm Press Ups.
 
Here are some books to delve in to to learn more about this (mainly because I can’t remember exactly which book I got it from).
 
All by Pavel Tsatsouline:
 
– Enter the Kettlebell
– Power to the People
– The Naked Warrior
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Front Squats FTW!

Struggle with squats?
 
You’re not alone.
 
Morning All,
 
When it comes to squats there are many ways to learn how to do them, my favourite two are as follows:
 
– Goblet Squats
– Front Squats
 
They keep you honest and will teach a natural movement patterns that perhaps the standard squat won’t (barbell back squat).
 
Especially front squats.
 
The most common issue is usually depth, people do some form of hybrid good morning/half squat – please note this is not and never will be a squat – if this sounds like you Id advise you stop doing them immediately.
 
Funnily enough the cause for the poor squatting form mentioned above is often circuit classes, body pump and things of a similar ilk.
 
Don’t get me wrong, classes are great for getting people motivated, however for learning good form and making progress they’re far from ideal.
 
Just saying.
 
You might be thinking that front squats hurt your wrists when you do them, if this is the case then I suggest that you’re holding the bar incorrectly because you probably are.
 
Yep, the fault is on you.
 
There is the option of a crossover grip, however I wouldn’t personally advise this as it’s not optimal for performance or safety.
 
If you jump on google and type in ‘Improve Front Rack Position’ you’ll find endless articles that tell you essentially the same things.
 
– Higher elbows
– The bar rests on your front deltoids
– Improve mobility in lats/upper thoracic spine
 
Do some digging, it’s worth it.
 
The front squat also keeps you humble because you can’t really cheat it, you either lift with solid/safe form or you don’t make the lift – most of the time.
 
Here is a great little resource –
 
 
Now go, start working on that squat.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Improve your deadlift in 5min

Give this post a read, it should take 5min and you will improve your deadlift.

Considering you’re all intelligent people I’m sure you’ve heard to the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) and the role it plays in movement.

*A nice link for those who want some more science on it: http://www.scienceforsport.com/stretch-shortening-cycle/

*Here is the lay version: think pulling back and elastic band to store potential energy and then releasing it (kinetic energy is the result). “to shorten muscle you must first lengthen it”. Where you are right now do vertical jumps… Good, now do it without first bending your legs in to the starting position (preventing and pre-stretching of the muscles used for the jump)… Doesn’t really work, does it.

I want to talk about its relevance in lifting weights and how you can use it to improve your deadlift (all will become clear, trust me).

If we look at the squat and the bench press, they both have one thing in common that is missing in the deadlift.

Do you know what it is?

…..

A loaded eccentric start to the lift (bar on your back/in your hands), this helps you create tension and the potential energy to overcome the required force on the concentric portion of the lift from being in the hole, where are the deadlift starts on the floor and you’ve got no real help. It’s you VS the bar and unless you’re a well trained lifter who understands how to use the SSC or at least prime your body by creating tension (pre-loading) in the required muscles yo’ll find you can’t even shift the bar from the floor.

I’m sure you’ve seen many great dedadlifters such as Eddie HallEd Coan, Richard ‘The Ant’ Hawthorne, Andy Bolton to name a few, have a certain something about their set up. You know, when they pull against the bar taking the slack out (getting tight), followed by a brief pull down (or 3 in Andy’s case) and then effortlessly hoist it off the floor to victory. This pre-lift routine is their way of firing up the muscles required, creating tension and utilising the SSC to help them generate the force required to overcome the inertia and lift the weight. (This is harder to write down than I anticipated).

Here are some videos, watch for the points mentioned above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRO51Qqt-I8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9Y4o_BqC0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNvONtw-94g

The reason for this post is a simple one. I see a lot of people fail to do the following in the deadlift:

– Take the slack out of the bar
– Get tight (create massive amounts of tension/pre-load muscles)
– Not utilise the SSC
*Obviously a correct individual set up is required, if you don;t have those hire a coach and get the foundations, then refer back to this.

In Dynamite Deadlift (written by Pavel Tsatsouline & Andy Bolton) they cover a lot of great info and give lot’s of tips. One that Pavel has given throughout the years is to set up to the brain the deadlift and from standing PULL yourself in to your starting position from standing to create more tension (remember tension = force).

Enjoy,

Ross

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Technique Talk.

Morning Guys,

I would like you to share three tips for improving two lifts that you often see being done incorrectly.

The lifts are as follows:

– Curls (Dumbbell, Barbell etc)
– Pull Ups

Interesting choices of exercises, right. I have given advice and critique on squats, deadlifts and various other large compound movements over they years but there are plenty more that catch my attention and the two above are almost always done poorly.

*Record all your form and you will see what you’re doing wrong, you can also feel free to post it in here for feedback. Don’t be afraid of critique, your ego might get bruised but at least you won’t end up on a GymFails video on youtube.

Here are my tips for these lifts.

Corrections for Curling:

1 – Utilise 80 degree seated curls to help reduce unwanted momentum on dumbbell curls. Keep your body tight and focus on smooth controlled reps with no swinging, tempting as it might be. You can stand against the edge of a wall for barbell curls to help reduce momentum, just make sure your back stays against the wall and your hips don’t creep forwards.

2 – TEMPO TEMPO TEMPO! A decent PT I know used to say “Go slow to grow” to his clients so that they would have a focus on increasing TUT (time under tension) and for isolation movements such as curls I couldn’t agree more. Try using a 6-0-3-0 tempo and just watch how your form improves.

3 – Lighten the load and CONTRACT the target muscle with everything you have, too many people go far heavier than they should on this particular exercise and as a result use momentum and forget to contract the target muscle. Don’t be one of them.

Bonus – Use fat grips or thick bars to get some extra arm gains.
Pull Up Priorities:

1 – Full ROM every rep. This means you start from a dead hang (arms straight) then you pull your chin up and over the bar (ideally try and get your chest to the bar if possible), that’s one rep. A lot of people do half reps and cut short their ROM and the top or bottom end of the exercise, don’t be one of them. If you can only do 2 strict reps in a row that’s okay, just do multiple sets of two.

2 – Stop kipping/flailing, you’re not a salmon. This style of pull up has become popular over the years but unless you’re competing in an activity that allows them then they’re best left out of your training. Avoid this by pausing at both the top and bottom of the pull/chin up (1-2 seconds at each point). It’s also worth keeping your abs braced (as if you’re about to be punched) and pinching your glutes hard, this will also help reduce momentum.

3 – Avoid too much protraction at the top. Yep, it can happen, usually because the person doing the movement hasn’t activated their back correctly and retracted their scapula at the start of the movement, you see it in seated rows as well, the person impressively/unfortunately is rounding forwards in a pulling movement. Rectify this by practicing dead hangs and pulling your scapula back and down – https://www.exercise.com/exerci…/hanging-scapular-retraction – incase you’re not sure what I mean.

Bonus – Improve your pull ups by following Pavel’s GTG – https://docs.google.com/…/1oIB-V4m26GwYkbyw_tSKsQlbxs…/edit…

I know there are plenty more teaching points that can be said for Pull Ups/Curls but those three are the most common I give.

Enjoy,
Ross

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3 Tips to better technique.

Having solid technique is not only essential for safety but also if you want to shift big weights.
 
Solid form will mean you achieve more lifts and break more PR’s. This not only improves confidence but gains as well.
 
Here are three tips to help you improve your form:
 
1 – Sets of Singles
 
Let’s say you have a rep goal of 25 which you usually break in to 5×5, 6×4, 8×3 or any other rep scheme. Instead of doing your normal sets/reps you will simply perform 25 singles, meaning you have to put the bar back in the rack (or to the floor) and set up each and every rep. This will help you get used to nailing that first rep every time and greatly improve your form.
 
2 – 6-6-6
 
The devils scheme as some call it. You pick a weight that is RPE 6 and do 6 sets of 6 reps with a 6-0-6-0 tempo. This reduced tempo will force you to control your form each rep and improve your ability to maintain total body tension throughout your lifts.
 
3 – Video Records
 
An obvious one but something people still don’t do enough of. WE all have phones that can record short videos and this will give you the perfect opportunity to take a look at your form, after all, the camera doesn’t lie. You can use the feedback to tweak your technique as needed if you see any.
 
Use those three tips and you’ll find suddenly you start breaking plateaus and having less injuries.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Straight Lines

When it comes to using barbells the is one factor that they all have in common when it comes to correct execution of the various movements, do you know what it is though?

Pretty much all of the movements should move in essentially a straight line (there may be some deviance from this in the bench press/bent over row but that’s a topic of another day).
Lets brake down the most common movements and take a look at where the bar should be and ideally what path it should stay on.
Squat:
The bar needs to stay over your mid foot, any deviation from this can result in you tipping forwards or falling backwards. So long as the bar stays over your mid foot it will travel in a straight line on both the decent and ascent, depending on where you position the bar (front, high bar or low bar) the angle of your torso will differ to accommodate this and allow the bar to stay over mid foot.
I would suggest filming this from the side so you can gauge this, if you see the bar doing anything other than staying over your mid foot and traveling in a straight line then you have a problem and will be sacrificing how much weight you can lift. It is important to brace your abs as this will help keep the body in a better overall position, remember that the body is working as one in this lift.
Press:
I am referring to the overhead press, as I said above the bench press is a slightly different topic altogether.
The press starts at the shoulder/clavicle – over the center line of your body, you will be required to move your head back and out of the way to allow you to press the bar upward in a straight line so that it stays over the center line of your body. You will need to keep the elbows and forearms directly under the bar as you push straight up, often times people will try and push the bar away from them which causes a strange bar path and also excessive backwards lean and puts extra unneeded pressure on the lower back.
You will brace your abs by taking a deep breath in to your belly, this will help you avoid losing position and once again connecting the body from head to toe. As with the squat film this lift from the side.
Deadlift:
As with the other two lifts you will want the bar traveling in a straight line once again starting over mid foot, similar to the squat the bar ideally wants to stay there, if it does it will make your body work as one unit just like in the other two lifts. You will often see that when people set up the inadvertently nudge the bar forwards and out of this position when they set up (this is due to excessive forwards knee travel), as a result they will end up having to pull the bar in to them and afire their hips up first, thus turning this in to a craning motion that only uses the lower back as opposed to a full body movement.
Once again you will do well to fil this lift from the side, that way you will also be able to see how your overall position (upper back tightness, spinal position) looks.
The main take home from this short post guys is to be aware of where the bar is in relation to your body as you’re lifting it to ensure a correct bar path. DO NOT try to do this by the use of mirrors as you will end up watching yourself and losing concentration which lacks to the skill of ‘feeling’ how the lift is. Setting up a simple camera will allow you to concentrate 100% on the lift so it’s worth doing it. After a bit of practice you will find that you’re numbers start to increase because you’re more technically proficient.
Now go and get practicing.
Enjoy,
Ross
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Hot Off The Press

In the days of old the test of manliness was what we know it to be today. People didn’t run around asking one another his common question:

“How much ya Bench?”

Instead they would ask this one:

“Good Morning Good Sir, would you mind sharing with me what numbers which you press?”

Okay, it might not have been asked in that exact way but you get the idea.

It was back in the days when the Clean & Press were highly regarded as the true test of ones strength, this also used to be an Olympic event (along with some other lifts too), but it was seen as too dangerous for people to press heavy weight overhead in the ways they did, thus it was removed (with the other odd lifts as well) and the Clean & Jerk/Snatch were all that was left. This left the world without an ego movements so the modern times now favour the bench press because of powerlifting over the press (some call it Military Press others Overhead Press etc,) because it was the only pressing movement left they recognised.

Another reason people tend to favour this is because it’s easier and you can lift more weight that way. The Press, Bench Press, Incline Press, The Behind Neck Press are all part of the pressing family, it’s just that some are not as favoured as others due to their difficulty and effect on the amount of weight that can be lifted (hurting ones ego).

We have covered tips to improve both the Squat and the Deadlift, today’s will be revolved around the pressing movements, we shall start with the Press (Overhead Press) and then move in to the Bench.

On a side note, you will find if your press goes up your bench will too.

When Performing the Press there are 3 main things you want to remember:

– Assume the Position (Elbow, Wrist & Hand)

– Total Body Tension

– Press in a Straight Line

Only 3 tips while the others had 5, why only 3?

Keep reading and all will be revealed.

Assume the Position (Elbow & Wrist) –

Firstly you will now to adopt the correct pressing position. To achieve this you will want your elbows to be directly under the bar before your being your press, this means that your elbows, forearms and wrists will be in one STRAIGHT line. You want to avoid your wrists being bent backwards and in a poor position (people who moan it hurts their wrists don’t have the correct alignment and need to re-rack and start again).

If you’re sat now reading this I want you to make a fist and point your thumbs as your shoulder while having your elbow in front of your body pointing straight down to the floor. Notice what a straight elbow/forearm/wrist position looks like, now have your thumbs face each other by turning your from your forearms (like you’re holding a bar) you will find your hands are about shoulder width apart and level with your clavicle (roughly) , this is where your hands will need to be once you grip the bar. Straighten your arms out and take hold of the bar and move in until it rests on your clavicle with your elbow/forearm/wrist all lined up correctly.

Next we learn about a forgotten part of the press Total Body Tension. this can be the difference between a good press and a spinal injury.

Total Body Tension –

I’m sure you’ve seen it, you know, the reverse banana shape people take on while pressing a weight overhead (well they are actually pressing it away from them which leads to this, but that will be covered later) that send shivers down your spine as you think they’re going to snap in half. I know you’ve seen this and chances are you probably do it too, I know how easily it can happen because I used to do it too.

What was missing? Yep, total body tension.

When you set up/unrack and wall out the bar you want to grip it hard and firm, not you literally want to squeeze the bar as hard as you possible can, like white knuckle tight so that you create and irradiation effect that travels through the entire body recruiting multiple muscles and motor units ready for the press to begin (much like gripping the bar as described for the deadlift). You will also do well to secure your lower body by screwing your feet in to the floor (as with the squat) contracting your quads, glutes, core and upper back as hard as possible, you want your body to be TIGHT so that you have no power leakage at all.

Don’t forget your Power Breathing too, this will help increase inter-abdominal pressure meaning more stability and strength. Once you’ve got your body connected (as one whole unit) it’s time to get your pressing alignment right.

Press in a Straight Line –

This might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how often people try and press away from their body rather than directly over it, possibly due to too much bench and poor posture.

When you press a weight overhead you want to press in a straight line so that the bar stays over the centre line of your body, which will obviously be filled with tension and resistant to buckling in to the fabled banana shape.

There’s only one problem though isn’t there.… Your head gets in the way.

How do you solve the problem of your head being in the way? You simply draw your chin back allowing the bar to pass nicely by. Once the bar is past your head you don’t have to keep it drawn back and I would encourage you allow it to return to a neutral position so that you can finish the press with the correct alignment.

The finished press should find your biceps by or slightly behind your ears but never in front of them. This final position means your body and arms will be in once straight line (relatively speaking).

With those little tips you will find yourself hitting new numbers in your overhead work with ease, along with the added benefit of much stronger and more stable shoulders which will actually improve your bench numbers which leads us nicely on to the next set of tips which are to help you improve your bench.

The bench tips are as follows (some will look familiar):

– Assume the Position (Elbow, Wrist, Hand, back & Feet)

– Total Body Tension

– Pull the Bar Down (Between Nipples & Sternum)

– Press in a Straight Line

The tips are similar but not identical so be sure to read them carefully.

Assume the Position (Elbow, Wrist, Hand, back & Feet) & Total  Body Tension –

For a good starting grip width I would advice using the same hand spacing as you would for your press, perhaps 1-2 inches wider if it’s more comfortable but that’s down to personal choice. Your elbow, wrist and hand position will need to be in a straight line just as with the press but you also now have to think about your back and foot position as you’re led down for this press variation.

Once you’re led under the bar (eyes should be under the bar before unracking) and have taken a firm grip you want to start to grip it tight and create the irradiation effect. Your shoulder blades should be drawn down and back (towards your butt) to create lots of upper back tension as this will become important for creating a stable base. When it comes to your foot position I encourage you to have both feet flat on the floor and directly under your knees (or slightly further back), for now keep your feet flat on the floor and drive your heels in to the ground and create tension throughout your entire lower body, linking this with a tight back means you’re giving yourself the best possible (and most stable) base to hit some big bench numbers.

Don’t forget your Power Breathing here too.

Your entire body should be tight, almost to the point of shaking, if it is then you’re ready and should have someone help you unrack the bar and hold it steady over your chest ready with your elbows turned slightly in, try to bend the bar in your hands as you hold it, that will help put your elbows in the right position for you to descend in to the press.

Now it’s time for the descent…

Pull the Bar Down (Between Nipples & Sternum) –

 

Yep. PULL THE BAR DOWN.

Once you’ve unracked the bar, take one more deep breath and get in as much extra air as possible you will want to pull the bar down to your chest while pull your chest up to the bar if that makes sense, it will touch somewhere between your nipples and the top of your sternum. As you pull the bar down you want to keep the mental image of trying to bend the bar (mentioned above) your elbows will be slightly tucked meaning you can get your lats in to the movement to help you press the weight back up. Pulling the bar down also creates even more tension and can help activate the stretch reflex and help you begin the press.

Press in a Straight Line –

As this tip says press in a straight line from where you came down, it’s pretty simple really. As you press begin to exhale and grind out that lift as fast as possible. As the press makes it’s way up keep a tight grip on the bar and keep the press moving, you will find your elbows mighty slightly flare on the way up once they get past the half way sticking point, this isn’t really problem but try to avoid deliberately flaring them unless you know exactly why you’re doing it, otherwise let it happen naturally and concentrate on pressing that bar in a nice straight line all the way to a new PB.

With the Presses covered that now bring us to the end of the this bout of lifting tips, it’s time to go out and practice what you’ve learnt. Don’t be afraid to remove some weight to improve your technique, trust me you will thank me in the long run.

Now of you go and practice.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Story Time With Deadlift

Last week I felt like sharing some of the lessons I had learnt regarding the squat and some teaching points to help it improve. Today I will be doing the same but for the Deadlift, also known as the King of exercises.

Over the years I have picked up 5 tips that helped improve my deadlift and help me break through those milestone targets.

– Bar Position (Foot Position)

– Shin Position (The Hinge Set Up)

– Getting Tight (Hand & Body Position)

– Pushing the Floor Away (Begin the Grind)

– Moving as One (United We Stand, Divided We Fall)

If you’re ready let us begin.

Bar Position (Foot Position) –

Unfortunately for a lot of people they are at a disadvantage before they’ve even attempted to break the weight from the floor.

What do I mean by this?

When I see people set up the most common mistake is the bar position. Many will have it too far forwards in relation to their foot, often over the ball of the foot or the toes, this leads to them often shifting their weight (knees) forwards in an attempt to get down to the bar already making the lift inefficient.

*If you’re wondering how far apart your feet should be my advice for that would be to prepare to take a standing long jump, you will notice they are often close (around hip width apart at max, possibly closer) and facing forwards, this is how far apart your feet should be.

The bar need to be placed over the MIDDLE of your foot. If you look at your foot you will see the middle is actually very close the the bottom of your shin/ankle, people forget that their foot runs from their heel to their big toe and often measure the middle from their instep to their big toe, this is a grave mistake. If the bar starts out a little too far away then you have little to no hope of pulling the bar in with your lats and keeping it close when you’re performing the deadlift, this can lead to missed lifts and even potential injury, not to mention a dysfunctional and horrid looking technique.

More on technique later…

The next time you set up to the bar be sure to look down and make sure the bar is int he middle of your foot, it might seem like a silly tip but it’s one that most people would  benefit from knowing. I myself used to set up incorrectly and literally added 10kg to my lift when I adjusted my bar position.

Shin Position (The Hinge Set Up) –

Once you’ve got the correct bar position in relation to your foot you will need to aim to keep your shins as vertical as possible. This is an interesting topic because everyone has slightly different proportions but the overall lesson applies to everyone.

Imagine your calves are touching a box, you can even place a box behind you if you wish so that you don’t have to imagine it, you can feel it!

Keep the whole calves to box imagine in your mind (or calves touching a box of you’re lucky enough to have one) reach down for the bar.

What happened?

Did you find your knees drifting forwards and as a results your shins ended up making the bar roll forwards slightly?

It’s only move the bar slightly, that won’t be too much of a problem, right?

WRONG! Stand up, reset and start again.

The problem of the knees drifting forwards is common and often a result of years of incorrect bar placement in relation to the foot. What’s that you say? Some elite level lifters knees go slightly over the bar. They’re the elite, they can do what they like. We are not he elite so we need to get the basics solid before we can start to bend the rules slightly, though you will actually find that the elites still end up breaking the weight from the floor with their shins in a vertical (or as close as their structure will allow).

*Have your hands about shoulder width apart, so they can hand straight down naturally. use a double overhand grip for as long as possible.

Now you’ve reset and are planning to take hold of the bar again I want you to think about hinging from your hips. Stick you ass back as far as possible so that you begin to build tension in those hamstrings and start getting tight (more on this soon), keep sitting back while descending to grab the bar and you will notice your shins stay in a good position and the bar does not move.

If you struggle to achieve this them put the bar or perhaps a 4 inch block and practice taking hold of it with good shin position and lower the block by 1/2-1inch each time until you can get in to the correct position from the floor.

Once you’re able to firmly grasp the bar from this hinging movement, with vertical shins it’s time to get tight and get in to the final position read for the main lift.

Getting Tight (Hip, Back & Body Position) –

I’ve spoken about Bracing* before. I suggest you take in a good deep breath before descending/hinging to the bar, this will help you start to create inter-abdominal pressure and tension throughout the body (it also helps keep your back safe).

As you take hold of the bar with your first hand pull against the bar hard while trying to pull your shoulder blade back and down (towards your pockets), then push/screw your foot in to the floor on the same side creating all over tension on that side. Now take hold with the other hand and do the same.

Always keep pulling against the bar hard so that you’re creating an irradiation effect (this means the harder you grip the more muscle/motor units you will recruit), from here start pulling yourself slightly backwards, this will start to lower your hips in to the correct pulling position, your shins might even touch the bar as it is pull backwards towards to slightly. You know when you’re int he right position because you will feel tight and I mean REALLY TIGHT, your shins will be vertical (or as close as possible) with your entire back tight, your hamstrings loaded with tension and your shoulders inline or fractionally behind the bar (more directly over is optimal). This puts in in the correct position ready to grind out the lift. Yes GRIND out the lift, this will make sense soon.

If you’re thinking about head position I suggest keeping it in a neutral alignment, not ‘looking up’ because when people look up the crank their head back with actually dampened their neural output  capabilities. Think long spine and slightly tucked chin (not head down!). Pick a spot to look at around 3-5 feet in front of you, that’s usually the place to be.

Doing all of this takes the slack out of the bar meaning that when you begin your grind you don’t get that initial weightless pull and then hit a block, it’s just the weight moving it’s way to a new PB.

Time to start the lift….

*Adopt a plank position and completely contract every muscle possible (especially your core musculature) now try to pack out any loose areas with air by controlling your breathing – try 10 second inhalations followed by 5 seconds holding all the air in. There is a term known as ‘Power Breathing’ which is worth researching that will help you learn more ways to practice bracing correctly.

Pushing the Floor Away (Begin the Grind) –

Wait… Push the floor away. The deadlift is a pulling movement isn’t it?

Yes and No.

From the floor your upper body (back, lats, etc) are static and holding you in position, considering your legs are primarily a pushing muscle you will be pushing the floor away you get the weight moving.

You want to think that you’re pulling the bar in/towards you and perhaps even slightly back as the weight gets past the knees but in the initial part of the lift where you break the weight from the floor you want to be keeping a nice tight position (described above) and push the floor away with your feet. Now what I am about to say will sound very controversial but hear me out…

DO NOT try to explode the weight off the floor.

When it comes to explosive power that has very little use for lift a ‘dead’ weight, you’re literally trying to create something from nothing when you try to explode in the deadlift and this will lead you you shooting your hips and ass in to the air and craning the lift up with your back and snapping yourself up good. Instead push the floor away while staying tight and grind against the weight, it will move and then you can keep grinding and maybe even pick up speed as the lift ascends.

When you use this style of technique the weight might feel like it’s not ever going to move but it will, trust me. You need to stick with it and it will come up, be patient and stay tight!

If you struggle from the floor then using a 1/2-1 inch deficit will help you overcome this problem, just apply/follow the tips above.

Moving as One (United We Stand, Divided We Fall) –

This links in with people who try to explode the weight off the floor. They lose all connection through their body and this results in an ugly lift that may or may not get 3 white lights.

Ideally you want to keep your body constantly tight throughout the entire lift, this will help keep everything moving together, as one.

The deadlift is a whole body movement. It works literally every muscle you have which is why it is the King of exercises (the squat being the Queen and the Overhead Press being the Prince), but you need to keep everything moving together to get the most out of the lift. If your hips outrun your upper body you will struggle to lockout or even get the lift past your knees, you want to lock everything out at the same time so you are stood up completely straight. None of this excessively leaning back rubbish, that says to me you’re not lifting as one unit and you’re leaking power, precious power you could be using to get more lbs on the bar.

While I’m not a fan of bands or accommodated resistance for anyone who doesn’t lift in gear I find using bands from he floor can actually hep you move the body as one unit, just don’t use them all the time otherwise you will be strong at lockout but unable to move the bar from the floor.

The above tips have been learnt through years of trial and error along with hours spent attending seminars with some of the best pullers in the world and all of them run o er these basics. One problem is many will see someone like Andy Bolton, Dan Green, Eddie Hall, Ed Coan and other such greats and try to copy their technique, but there is one problem… You’re not them and no where near their level. They practiced the basics for countless  hours and you can see that their positions at certain points are almost identical, even if they start in different ways.

What are the main points to take away from this?

  • Have a Solid Set Up& Get Tight
  • Don’t Rush
  • Move as One

Now go, practice and start hitting the numbers I know you can.

Enjoy, Ross

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