The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing (For Your Shoulders) Part 2

In our last post on the Armbar Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Physical Therapy took me (Coach Joe of Fit EDU) through the set up of the unloaded Armbar. Now it’s time to take the next step, but first a follow up to “my shoulder story”. I am still working my way back to 100%  and regularly perform the Armbar months after completing PT. Here’s why I mention my progress… I feel much more stable/packed in all loaded upperbody push/pull work because I am “in touch” with my shoulder stabilizers… particularly immediately after performing the Armbar in my prep work.  I am better able to get and keep the stabilizers active and know this will improve performance and prevent injury long term.

Now back to why you clicked…

Now that you have a basic understanding of what the Armbar is, when/why to implement this exercise, appropriate body position, and how to get into position it’s time to introduce load (from part 1 of this series). Please note it is critical to be conservative with the weight load and to follow each step in this process. Additionally, a kettlebell (not a dumbbell) is our preferred method of loading for a variety of reasons.

When making the transition from unloaded to loaded with the Armbar (assuming correct position) you will immediately feel the stabilizers (posterior cuff and serratus anterior just to name a few) turn on. When watching the video below you will notice quite a bit of shaking when Kathy loads me with just a 12kg kettlebell (55 seconds in). This isn’t a bad thing and is a great opportunity to help your students/patients/clients feel their shoulder stabilizers turn. This has become my “go to” exercise to teach shoulder packing even before loaded carries.

Here Kathy coaches and explains how to perform and coach the loaded Kettlebell Armbar with Shoulder Internal/External Rotation.

Important coaching points to remember:

  1. Ensure proper alignment of the spine, scapula, and arm before introducing load… position is everything
  2. Watch and palpate the scapula, pecs, traps, and lats to minimize compensation
  3. Develop cues that work for you as it relates to describing ideal shoulder blade position (I like “slide your shoulder blade into your back pocket”) and muscle activation
  4. Master the static loaded hold in this position before introducing internal/external rotation

Here’s a recap of the step by step process of the Loaded Kettlebell Armbar:

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  1. Assume a supine position (pic 1)
  2. Grasp a kettlebell with the hand on the “working side” and bend the “working side’s” knee
  3. Placed the other hand behind the head and keep the other leg straight (pic 2)
  4. DSC_0008DSC_0009 Establishing posterior cuff activation {be sure the ribs are down (not splayed) and the spine is neutral} and then press the kettlebell up to the position in pic 2-notice how I closed the gap between the scapula and the ground in the above pics
  5. Ensure proper alignment of the arm and shoulder blade on the working side and centrate the joint (pic 2)
  6. From this position roll the body as one unit onto the “non-working” side while maintaining shoulder joint centration and scapular position (pic 3)
  7. Connect the working side’s knee to the ground (pic 3)
  8. Now that you’re finally in position ensure proper alignment of the spine  and working arm (fist is directly above the shoulder joint) (pic 3)
  9. Activate the posterior cuff and Serratus Anterior in order maintain a depressed and retracted scapula
  10. Slowly perform internal/external rotation of the shoulder joint with an increased emphasis on maximal external rotation (pics 4 and 5)

If it’s already obvious to you, this is an exercise you must practice on your own before implementing into your performance or rehab programs. If you are working alone we recommend videoing from a posterior view and reviewing positioning. However, your best bet is to perform with a colleague present so you can practice performance and coaching. Once again thank you Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Specialized Physical Therapy for great information.

Want to learn more about this or other fitness related topics? Then visit us at www.fit-edu.com for tips on kettlebell and barbell exercises, breathing and postural control, and metabolic conditioning just to name a few topics. We also just so happen to offer 5 (soon to be 6)  live, full-day seminars on a variety of fitness topics.

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing For Your Shoulders Pt 1

The longer you work in the field of exercise science (really most fields for that matter) the more you realize how much you DON”T know. I am certainly no exception to this rule. Many years ago and after 3 Labral repairs and many rounds of physical therapy from football and basketball injuries I was convinced I had the shoulder all figured out. I knew the anatomy and physiology, understood the movements at the Glenohumeral Joint and Scapula, common injuries, best practices for “rehabbing”, and thought I understood the interplay between the movement at the scapula and the Glenohumeral Joint. Well… as it turns out I was wrong. After all the surgeries and physical therapy I still had atrocious motor control and poor posture which led to re-injury.

Now let’s skip ahead… I was back in physical therapy… this time at Action Potential UnknownSpecialized Physical Therapy in Glen Mills, PA. In one of my first appointments the therapists reintroduced me to the Arm Bar. I knew of this exercise, but rarely performed it, never prescribed it to clients, and never considered it’s potential benefits when “rehabbing the shoulder” . As it turns out, this exercise was absolutely critical to my lateral viewrecovery.  Specifically, performing The Arm Bar under the watch of Kathy and the team of Physical Therapists at Action Potential helped improved my motor control by  teaching me to quiet my Pecs,  Upper Traps and Lats while activating my  Serratus Anterior and “Posterior Cuff”. I tended to default to Lat activation in lieu of Serratus activation which led to a host of motor control problems.

Given my success with the Arm Bar, I thought writing a piece on it made sense. Particularly because most people are scared of this exercise since it looks high risk when holding a kettlebell and many of those who do perform it don’t adhere to some of the most important principles.  Let’s get starting on the Kettlebell Arm Bar…

What exactly is the Arm Bar?

If you don’t normally watch the videos in our blog reconsider on this topic as this is much easier understand by watching. Here Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Physical Therapy explains what the Arm Bar is.

kettlebell-arm-barThe demands the Arm Bar place on the body are unique. The Arm Bar is a mix of rotary stability and active hip extension to get into the position and becomes a combination of rotary stability and thoracic spine rotation while maintaining a packed and centrated shoulder joint. Got all that? Now on top of all those things we need to ensure the correct musculature is active and prime movers don’t jump in to act as stabilizers. When I first began performing this exercise in PT I recruited Lat or a mix of Pec and Anterior Delt which is way wrong.

How to set up the Arm Bar…

As we said earlier, watching while Kathy talks makes learning the set up and mechanics much easier.

The basic steps in setting up/getting into position for the Arm Bar are:

  1. Establishing a supine position with a bent knee on the kettlebell side and the opposite side’s arm placed behind the head
  2. Press the active side up while establishing Serratus Anterior, Lower Trap, and Rhomboid activation
  3. Be sure the ribs are down (not splayed) and the spine is neutral
  4. Ensure proper alignment of the arm on the working side relative to the shoulder and joint centration
  5. From this position roll the body as one unit onto the “non-working” side while maintaining shoulder joint contraption and the same scapular positionkettlebell-arm-bar
  6. Now assume the position in the picture to the right (notice the knee is connected to
    the ground)
  7. Now that you’re finally in position once again ensure proper alignment of the spine, shoulder blade, and working arm.
  8. Finally, activate the posterior cuff and Serratus Anterior (told you this is easier to watch!)

When is it appropriate to prescribe the Arm Bar and what are the benefits?

While the Arm Bar appears to be high risk, it is safe when executed properly and can produce significant benefits including improved shoulder packing, motor control, and when loaded strength.  I now use the Arm Bar to help students and clients understand how to pack/centrate the shoulder and as a prerequisite to the Turkish Get-Up. I even like to use this before getting into heavy carries because it’s great at putting clients/students in touch with their shoulder/scapular stabilizers.

We will leave it there for now, but we’ll be back soon with a second installment on the Arm Bar. After all, we need to add in internal/external rotation while maintaining a stable scapula! Before we let you go we should probably clear up this whole joint centration thing since it is a term regularly used by physical therapists, but not so much in fitness. Joint centration is a fancy was of saying centering the ball in the socket. Yup… it’s pretty much the same as “packing” your shoulder, but this term can be applied to any ball and socket joint (shoulder/hip).

A very big thanks to Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Specialized Physical Therapy for such great information on this topic. If you are local to the Glen Mills, PA Area and you or a client need physical therapy I highly recommend using Action Potential! They are one of the very, very few one to one Physical Therapy Clinics in our area.

Want to learn more about this or other fitness related topics? Then visit us at www.fit-edu.com for greats tips on kettlebell and barbell exercises, breathing and postural control, and metabolic conditioning just to name a few topics.

 

Transference of Exercises — When the Unexpected Helps the Unintended

Did you ever start training an exercise or using a new training program, and after a few weeks tried something completely different and experienced success?  Most likely the exercise or program transferred to this other aspect of your life.  If you are a bit fuzzy about what I’m getting at, let me give you a real life example.  A  few years ago a woman was doing a general strength and fitness program with me over the winter months.  When the weather got better, she went back to one of her favorite spring/summertime activities–hiking.  2012-08-18-Lions-Binkert-Hike-9867-MKHWhen she came in the next Monday after her first weekend hike of the season, she was raving about how fit she felt and how she left her husband in the dust as they went up steep hills.  She experienced little to no breathlessness and zero soreness the following days.  Obviously her general training program of Deadlifts, Turkish Get-Ups, Goblet Squats, Ring Rows, and other basic exercises, transferred nicely to being successful during a tough hike in the woods.  She was pleasantly surprised about this outcome.  This is the hallmark of a properly designed training program.

Heavy-Deadlift-LockoutRecently, a peer of mine in the lifting world, Dane Miller, wrote a piece about how front squatting and pull-ups allowed him to set an all time personal record in the deadlift of 600 pounds without training the movement at all.  You can see this idea of transference among all sports and disciplines.  My track coach in college was adamant about our 400m runners sometimes racing in the 200m.  Same goes for the 800m runners racing in the 400m.  He knew that the foot speed needed for the shorter distance would help improve the time in the longer race.  Shot putters and discus throwers have always known that performing the snatch and clean & jerk in the weight room will help them throw their chosen implement farther because of the power it helps to develop.


Many times, like the example of the effortless hike through the woods, transference of h=300training will come as a surprise.  It was a surprise to a former rotational shot putter of mine when he realized, that all of a sudden, he had a lightning quick turn around pivot move to the hoop on the basketball court.  Another reason kids should be playing multiple sports as they grow up is because there is, what should be, obvious transference from one sport to others.  It’s also a reason why programs like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are popular and successful in schools.  The subjects are so interrelated that it makes sense to combine them together instead of breaking them apart.  

The older and more experienced you become as a coach or teacher in your chosen field, you will notice transference between two drills more clearly.  From experience, I now know you can increase a power clean by deadlifting 10 set of 2 reps, with moderate weight and doubled up mini jump stretch bands attached to the bar, once a week for 6 weeks.  When my Strength and Conditioning class finished their 6 week block of banded deadlifts, and we switched back to cleans, they were all able to do 10 sets of 2 with their old max!  

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Even though it gets easier to notice transference as you grow as a coach, you still can be surprised at what relates.  In our last article on the front squat we spoke about variations of the front squat for people that have trouble with the front squat.  One of the variations was to use lifting straps on the bar that give the lifter more “breathing room” in regard to elbow and wrist flexion.  This allows you to still train the movement and work around poor flexibility.  Personally, I have never had to use this variation until recently.  I’ve been dealing with shoulder pain that makes the rack position impossible.  So instead of ignoring front squats, I started to use straps.  After a few weeks of practice, more attention to what was starting to happen allowed a transference effect to be noticed.  I noticed that I had to shrug harder into the bar when using the straps which lifted the bar off my collar bones.  It allowed the bar to sit a bit deeper on my neck and allowed me to stay more upright than ever before on the front squat.  One day after front squatting with straps, I decided to try some cleans and what happened with my body surprised me.  When I received the bar I also shrugged my shoulders high and it landed securely deep into my shoulders and neck.  I had never felt the receiving position feel like that before.

Lightbulb!
If you have ever taught someone to clean, they most likely have had the bar crash onto their collar bones or low on the shoulders.  Front squatting with straps helps to groove the proper receiving position by forcing the shoulders to elevate and be active into the bar.  This variation of the front squat, that I once thought was garbage, will become one of my go to drills to reinforce proper receiving position.  Like some of the best inventions ever created, it happened by accident and was totally unexpected.  Keep those eyes open coaches! Like front squatting with straps, sometimes you have to give things a chance.  You never know where an answer to an unasked question is going to surface.

Interested in learning more about the front squat? Check out Certified Barbell Coach Seminar here.

Zumba For Powerlifters, Swings For Athletes

The kettlebell swing and sports performance. These two topics are rarely talked about in the same breath by most in the fitness industry, but should they be?

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Is this like suggesting powerlifter should do Zumba to improve performance? To some the answer is probably a resounding yes. With that said, is there a place for the kettlebell swing in a sports performance setting or is it just for general fitness clients?  

We would argue the kettlebell swing is a fundamental building block for both populations. We would further argue the kettlebell swing should be in sports performance training and if it’s not, a disservice is being done to the client. Read on… we’ll explain why.

Before moving forward, we need to start out with a few definitions from the world of exercise physiology… (Please bare with us for a few paragraphs)

Potential Energy– the energy of a body or system as a result of its position in an electric, magnetic, or gravitational field

Kinetic Energy– energy the body possesses by the virtue of being in motion

SSC- is an active stretch (eccentric contraction) of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening (concentric contraction) of that same muscle.

As stated above, the SSC is activated and utilized when there is an eccentric contraction (lengthening of muscle fibers) promptly followed by a concentric contraction of the same muscle fibers. When the SSC is excited, a concentric contraction has the potential to be more powerful and produce greater force when compared to a concentric contraction not preceded by an eccentric contraction. This is because during a rapid eccentric contraction, potential energy is created and the SSC is excited. If a concentric is then performed immediately following the eccentric contraction, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, resulting in increased force production. An example would be a traditional vertical jump where the student performs a countermovement (eccentric contraction of the prime movers) and then rapidly transitions to a concentric contraction resulting in a jump.  Slide1

Now to the SSC and kettlebell swings…

The kettlebell swing is a ballistic movement in which a kettlebell is actively pulled back and behind the student as a result of a hip hinge (rapid/forceful hip flexion) and then immediately followed by rapid/forceful hip extension. Please note this should all be done while maintaining a neutral head and spine (see the video below for more). In the kettlebell swing the “down portion” is a rapid and forceful eccentric contraction and there is then a quick transition to the “up portion” which is a concentric contraction. Sounds a lot like plyometrics, huh…???  

 

From the perspective of the exercise physiologist, an ideal kettlebell swing sequence under significant load maximizes the potential energy produced via the eccentric contraction which is then converted to kinetic energy for an explosive hip drive.   This occurs because when the bell “pulls/assists” the student into the bottom position of the swing the posterior chain is loaded with significant force (rapid and forceful eccentric contraction in the prime movers) which produces a greater amount of potential energy. This is the plyometric equivalent of a depth jump. Assuming good mechanics, this potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and results in a more forceful concentric contraction.

The end result of regularly performing kettlebell swings include, improved power in the hip extensors, improved control and coordination of key “core” musculature, an “overspeed” eccentric training effect on the posterior chain, and improved efficiency in the utilization of the SSC (of the involved musculature).   

Improved power/explosiveness without the impact of plyometics

For Strength and Conditioning coaches, the KB swing can be an extremely useful tool when training large groups of athletes, especially those at the high school level.  It is generally easier to teach than other exercises that require rapid extension of the hips, e.g. clean and snatch.  The kettlebell takes up much less room than bars and plates and it is easy to cycle athletes through multiple sets of swings using a, you go, I go pattern and a clock.

I’ve done this with many sports teams that want to train in-season and it works very well.  Kettlebell swings are a great way to go to for in-season athletes, most notably for sports that inherently require a lot of running and jumping to play the game, because it is impact free.  The last thing a track and field athlete needs is more jumping and impact in the training room after a practice of jumping and impact!  They need to get generally stronger in the positions that will benefit them the most.  It just so happens that explosive hip hinging benefits pretty much everyone.  

Sticking with track and field, it is really easy to take a whole team, which includes distance runners, sprinters, throwers and jumpers and put them through a kettlebell workout as a group.  The first thing I have them do is find a kettlebell that fits their strength and a partner of equal strength.  Distance runners and younger guys would grab the lighter kettlebells, sprinters and jumpers the medium kettlebells and throwers would grab the heaviest bells.  Next you would line them up so no one is swinging at each other and tell partner one to grab the kettlebell and get ready.  Setting the clock for 10 minutes, you tell partner one they will do swings for 20 seconds, they will have 10 seconds to switch, and then partner two swings for 20 seconds, then switch again.  In the end, everyone gets 10 sets of 20 seconds.  Lots of volume and lots of practice for the whole group in 10 minutes.  

This method also gives the Strength and Conditioning coach a chance to clean up technique and generally give the group feedback.  For example, if after two minutes of swings you notice a large majority of the group is doing a poor job of keeping the kettlebell above their knees as it passes through their legs, you can stop the clock and teach.  A great way to give feedback and praise to someone who is doing it well, is to ask the student who is keeping the kettlebell in the right path to come in front and demonstrate for the entire group.  As they swing, the coach can point out what they are doing well, give some coaching cues, and ask the partners to watch for this and to coach each other when the clock starts up again.  

In this short span you’ve identified general movement flaws, provided an example of proper technique for the visual learners (while using a student model), gave verbal cues for the auditory learners, and taught the team what to look for so they can coach each other up instead of just you coaching everyone!  To read more about different kinds of learns read one of our old posts here.

If during the course of a season you spend one training day a week swinging kettlebells and using a coaching model where everyone is involved, you can improve strength, fitness, sport specific movement patterns, and team building.  As you can see, the benefits of using the swing for large groups in the Strength and Conditioning setting is valuable, and not just for improving physical qualities.  
In closing, the kettlebell swing is an excellent accessory exercising reaping a wide range of benefits for athletes when appropriately performed. Of all the low-impact options available to improve hip extensor strength and power the kettlebell swing should be at the top of everyone’s list. To be clear, the kettlebell swing should NOT replace plyometrics in a strength and conditioning setting, but instead be treated as an alternative option when in-season and as a way to decrease foot contacts/high impact exercise year-round without losing hip extensor power.

For more information about swings or other kettlebell exercises either visit the others posts on our blog OR consider attending one our of Certified Kettlebell Coach Seminars.

The most fundamental functional exercise

You know breathing is important when it comes to movement and training. We have all been taught exhale on the exertion and inhale on the return (this is a general statement… there are nuances). Ok great… easy enough, but is there more to it? If so, is this out of our scope as fitness professionals? 
To answer the above questions:
YES there is much, much more we should / need to do with our clients and NO it isn’t beyond our scope with a little education and practical experience on the most current science related to breathing assessment and corrective strategies. 

Human-LungBreathing is our first motor program. It’s also the most essential and foundational motor program we have. Unfortunately, we begin to lose optimal function of this pattern early in life. We’ll get into why later. When our breathing is compromised, so is our posture. When this occurs, our deep core muscles (specifically the diaphragm) don’t function properly and our breathing gets even worse.  This can have detrimental implications on movement quality because the diaphragm is the center point of our body. If the diaphragm is faulty, there is a lack of stability that no amount of abdominal or gluteal bracing can compensate for.  

Have you ever tried to improve a movement pattern OR increase ROM in a joint OR improve flexibility OR try to move up in weight in a “big lift” where all the “normal” strategies fail?  Believe it or not, if you’re not assessing and correcting breathing you might find that you get stuck more often than you’d like to admit. 
 Correcting breathing will:
DSC_01121. Improve deep core muscle function
2. Improve length in muscles being forced to assist in breathing because the deep core muscles are under-active
3. Allow joints to return to their optimal position (if they’re being pulled in bad position by overactive “compensatory muscles”)
4.     Improve bracing
5.     Decrease stress and anxiety
6.     Improve endurance
7.     Decrease neck tension
8.     Improve posture 


Whether you are a “function first” fitness professional, strength and conditioning coach, or specialize in fat loss you NEED to better educate yourself in this area and here’s why:
Function First Fitness Professionals:
6752PS2If your client is being pulled into flexion as a result of bad posture there are often significant posterior chain limitations. For my “FMS People”, I’m talking about a poor score on the Active Straight Leg Raise and/or Shoulder Mobility. Additionally, if you’re goal is to train the “core”, but you ignore deep core muscles you’re not training the core in an ideal manner. 
The bottom line is if you can’t breath correctly you aren’t really training the core. At least not the deep core.
Strength and Conditioning Coaches:

DL Rounded spineThis is an easy one. If you want your athletes to lift significant weight you need them to learn how to brace and maintain that brace while moving and applying significant force.  You also need to teach them power breathing. If your athletes lack the ability to perform basic diaphragmatic breathing they can’t correctly perform power breathing. Therefore, you will see bad posture in the head, shoulders, C-Spine, T-or Spine. I think we all know deadlifting heavy weight with bad posture can result in bad things…

 

Here’s how screening for and correcting dysfunctional breathing patterns will help in strength and power training:
Battling Ropes Metabolic ConditioningProfessionals Specializing In Weight Loss:
Your success (in the weight room) is all about getting the metabolism up and keeping it there for hours and days after the session. The better your client breathes, the more work they can perform in a session. If you’re programming the right way this will help your client in the quest for weight loss. 
So… Why do we lose our breathing patterns?

1.     Sitting too much (especially in bad posture)

2.     Too much screen time

3.     Poor posture / postural awareness

4.     Movement dysfunction (increased compensatory strategies)

5.     Early specialization in sports

6.     Improper training methods (Training muscles not movements)

Notice the trend above? The bottom line is spending too much time in flexion (sitting in some form) and poor movement are the primary culprits.
Where and how do breathing assessment and corrective strategies fit into your programming?
There are simple assessment and corrective techniques that can be included in your initial fitness screening and in their training programs. Just like any other exercise, it can be progressed and regressed accordingly. Most importantly, you are teaching them strategies they can integrate into their daily life to not only improve their fitness, but their overall well-being.


If you would like to learn specific strategies to screen for and correct dysfunction breathing patterns attend Breathing and Postural Control by Dr. Missimer on 4/2/16 in Malvern PA! www.fit-edu.com

The FMS and Screening for Dysfunctional Breathing Patterns

If you’re an FMS Practitioner and value the system (as you should) it’s used every day. Having a tool in your belt that exposes movement quality issues in the most fundamental of patterns is so important when it comes time to program corrective and traditional exercises. Knowing what movements are safe and which should be avoided (until the client is ready) was really a game changer for me in my career and maybe yours…?

Unknown-1Now that I’m done putting the FMS on a pedestal let’s talk about what it’s not… IT’S NOT THE WHOLE ANSWER.  Most of “us” also use additional break out test to determine if the issue in a pattern is motor control or a “hardware issue”. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, even when we add breakout testing (measuring dorsiflexion, glute max activation, hip hinge mechanics, etc.) to the process we don’t always come up with a corrective solution that works. 
 

What’s missing? 

BREATHING! 

We NEED to screen for dysfunctional breathing patterns so we have all the information we need to improve movement.
maxresdefaultWhen a client has dysfunctional breathing patterns all the leg raises, rolling drills, and foam rolling in the world won’t fix movement dysfunction. That is… until the breathing pattern is reset. 
DSC_0112Dysfunctional breathing patterns have the potential to wreak havoc on our bodies. Inhibition of respiratory stabilizers such as the diaphragm, TVA, multifidus, and obliques (just to name a few) force the respiratory system to default to the recruitment of muscles not designed to be involved in respiration. While the recruitment of these muscles is inefficient, the body will recruit whatever it needs to keep you alive and breathing. 
 

So what…???

Well… most often, dysfunctional breathing patterns will drive compensation upward and downward into the surrounding musculature of the shoulders and hips. To be more specific, pain and/or stiffness often presents in the Neck/Shoulder Musculature (Pec Minor, Scalenes, SCM)SI Joint/Lumbar Spine, and Anterior Hip Musculature. If significant enough compensations will likely result in mobility, stability, postural, and motor control issues.
Human-Lung
It’s finally time to bring this all together… If we don’t screen for dysfunctional breathing patterns we end up trying to prescribe correctives to address The Active Straight Leg Raise and Shoulder Mobility Screens. The likelihood of correcting movement dysfunction without addressing breathing is VERY UNLIKELY. Therefore, using a systematic method to screen for and correct dysfunctional breathing patterns is critical if we want to get our clients/patients the results they want. 
Now… to develop a systematic way of screening for and correcting dysfunctional breathing patterns. There’s lots of great breathing research out there now, but few systems that can easily be learned and implemented into your practice with ease. 
 

Until now…

Fit EDU and Dr. Arianne Missimer have collaborated to bring you Breathing and Postural Control. 
This course is designed to help you: 
1. Recognize the importance of breathing and postural control for optimal performance in life and sport
2. Develop a better understanding of functional anatomy including the fascial system
 
3. Identify screening methods for postural control and breathing dysfunction
 
4. Learn strategies to correct these deficits
 
5. Integrate screening and corrective strategies into your current fitness and/or corrective program
Seminar Details
SIGN UP & SAVE $100


Save $100 on Breathing and Postural Control when registering by 3/18/16
Use coupon code BREATHE at checkout. 
Limited to the first 5 registrations.

Offer Expires 3/18/16.

 

The Barbell Coaching Series: The Deadlift Part 3… Hip Position

Perform the ‪deadlift‬ ? Great! Are you sure you know what to do with your hips before “lift off”? Should they be high… or low… or somewhere in the middle? What if you’re tall or short? Much like Ricky Bobby being interviewed after winning his first race… you’re just not quite sure what to do with those hips before lift off. Well we got you… read on…

DSC_0303 (1)

In our previous posts about the deadlift we discussed how to set your feet, grip the bar, breathe, and explained the movement. However, we weren’t specific enough with how/where to set your hips. Since this is something many fitness professionals think they know, but often will admit to grey areas in how they explain hip position, we felt it necessary to dedicate a posts to the hips.

 

Common hip and body position set up flaws
DL Hips lowHips too low
– In this position, you’re not deadlifting… You’re squatting. The bar will inevitably scrape this shins… Bad… And you will have less than ideal leverage given your shin and torso angle. Oh yeah… And you’re not actually deadlifting.

If the hips are too low the shoulder blades will be behind the bar and will prevent the bar from leaving the ground. If it is light enough, the bar will leave the ground but be in front of the mid-foot, putting the student at a significant mechanical disadvantage. The vertical spine angle will likely lead to scraped shins from pulling the bar “through” the shins.. Remember the deadlift is more of a back exercise and less of a leg exercise.

DL hips highHips too high – In this position, you have poor leverage (quads cannot make a significant contribution) and you will have no choice but to pull with your “low back” putting significant stress on your lumbar spine.

If the hips are too high, the legs will be too straight. This will put all of the stress on the low back and hamstrings and the quadriceps won’t be in a position to contribute. The bar will also swing away from the shins creating a mechanical disadvantage making the bar feel heavier and more difficult to control.

DL Rounded spine

 

Spine in Flexion (upper back, lower back, or both) – While this technically isn’t a hip position issue, it’s still important to address. With the spine in flexion, shear forces will dominate the spinal column, leaking energy and increasing the chance of injury. If a neutral spine can not be obtained, put the bar up on blocks and pull from a height that allows the spine to be in a neutral position.

 

 

We discussed how different anthropometrics impact set up in one our previous posts. For more information how how shin and femur length differences results in differences in set up click here.

Much, much more to come on coaching barbell exercises in the future. Until then…

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