Failing to plan is planning to fail.
I know it is a cheesy quote often told from someone older to someone younger. Truth be told, if you don’t prepare yourself for a deadlift training session, then you are EITHER NOT maximizing your full potential to lift as much weight as humanly possible OR placing yourself at an increased risk for injury. Here are 3 of my favorite drills to prepare you to maximize your deadlifts.
1. Adductor Rockback w/ Thoracic Spine Rotation
Adductor mobility when deadlifting, especially Sumo style, is very important so the body doesn’t compensate through the knees or lumbar spine for more mobility. Thoracic spine mobility is a common area that people can be limited in and will directly affect the deadlift as the lumbar spine will compensate as well.
-Maintain a neutral spine during the rockback portion.\
-Make sure you are not sidebending through your spine during the thoracic rotation portion.
2. 3-D ½ Kneeling Hip Flexor Mobilization
The 3-D ½ kneeling Hip Flexor Mobilization is a great movement to help improve mobility in the anterior, anteromedial, and anterolateral soft tissue structures at the hip. Poor hip extension mobility can cause compensations through the lumbar spine and knee. It can also cause a decreased ability for the gluteal muscles to attain full hip extension due to an anterior pelvic position.
-Make sure to maintain a neutral spine during this entire movement.
-Perform for 8 reps with a 2-3 sec hold at end range going anterior, anterolateral, and anteromedial.
-Use a wall or box for balance.
3. Bretzel 2.0 Modified
This drill works on both hip external and internal rotation. Now, when performing a conventional deadlift, you do not need as much hip internal or external rotation mobility as you would during a squat. Sumo style deadlifts need more. But, if the body is limited in an area that needs mobility, the body will compensate through one of the areas mentioned previously.
-Make knees are in line with their respective hips.
-No pain should be felt in the knees or pinching in the hips. If so, adjust your position slightly.
-Rock forward and hold for a breath, then rock backwards and hold for a breath.
-Perform 6-8 reps each direction then switch.
There you have it! 3 Quick and Easy mobility drills to help prepare you for your next deadlifting session.
photo credit: roguefitness.com
The kettlebell has been around for many years. Recently, it has gained popularity in the rehab, exercise, and performance realms. Kettlebells range from a few pounds all the way up to the mammoth 206lb kettlebell.
photo credit: roguefitness.com
They can be used for everything from lower body to core to upper body movements. They can be used for carrying variations or during conditioning drills. The versatility is endless.
Here are 3 Unorthodox Ways to Use a Kettlebell:
1. Bottoms Up!
Kettlebells are typically held by the handle and are similar to dumbbells in that they are a weighted implement. But one thing dumbbells can’t do that kettlebells can is create a factor of instability.
By placing the kettlebell into a “bottoms up” position, this forces the person using them to stabilize the kettlebell that much more because it is in an unstable position.
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Carries
-Keep Kettlebell (KB) upright towards the ceiling throughout the exercise.
-Too difficult, bring the KB down lower. Too easy, bring it higher.
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Sidelying Arm Bar
-Maintain KB vertical throughout the entire movement.
-Don't let your "ear eat your shoulder." Maintain space between ear and shoulder.
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Baby Getup
-Can also be performed for a complete Turkish Get-Up.
-Keep KB vertical to the ceiling through the entire movement.
The weight will need to be less than what you may use for a typical carry or Turkish Get-Up because of the fact that the kettlebell will be more unstable in a bottoms up position.
2. Kettlebells with Perturbations
Pertur- what? Perturbations are a disturbance of motion. Kettlebells with perturbations create another factor of instability. Using a super band, you can attach another kettlebell via the band to your hand while performing various carrying exercises.
Bottoms Up Waiter Carry w/ KB Perturbations
Bottoms Up Carries w/ KB Perturbations
Suitcase Carries with KB Perturbations
½ Kneeling KB Press w/ KB Perturbations
Note: when using a KB to provide perturbations: the kettlebell should be light enough where you can still perform the exercise, but it is making the exercise challenging. If it is too heavy and you are compensating, lighten it up!
3. Drag It!
Try placing a super band around the handle of a kettlebell and drag it! Try performing reverse drags or lateral drags to work on rotator cuff and scapular stability, core stability and grip strength. By using a kettlebell, it will also add a facet of instability to the movement causing you to have to stabilize against any jarring movements when it is hitting the ground.
Lateral KB Drags
-Stay tall as you move laterally.
-Squeeze band as hard as you can. This will create good tension in your rotator cuff.
-Maintain the arm in a static position as you move. Don’t let the KB jar it in all different directions.
Unilateral Reverse KB Drags
-Stay tall as you move backwards.
-Squeeze band as hard as you can.
-Maintain arm in a static position.
Shoulder Unilateral Reverse KB Drags
-Maintain shoulder in a static position as you drag KB.
-KB will try to jar your arm out of position, don’t let it.
-May need to use 2 bands vs 1.
Give those 3 Unorthodox Kettlebell Variations a try!
Overhead pressing is a great movement for developing strength and power in the vertical pushing direction. Often times, overhead pressing can beat up the shoulders and/or neck and can wreak havoc on those areas.
Photo credit: http://www.sfexaminer.com/shoulder-pain-it-may-be-an-easy-fix/
Whether it be painful and/or difficult in the actual pressing movement or pain/pinching in the shoulder joint at the top of the movement, either are abnormal sensations. Best advice, do not try to “press” through these movements. Anytime there is pain with the overhead pressing movement, it is not something to work through.
If you do have pain with overhead pressing, check out my article on Tony Gentilcore’s blog how to help fix any mobility limitations. The use of a bottoms-up kettlebell forces the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers to control the bell while being pressed overhead. Caution: You will not be able to use the same weight bottoms-up pressing as you would with a dumbbell or bottoms-down kettlebell. The bottoms up variation is much more unstable and more challenging.
Once you get the pain and any movement impairments ironed out, here are 5 go-to movements to implement into a training program in order to get back to pain-free overhead pressing.
1. Bottoms Up Kettlebell(KB) Sidelying Arm Bar
The Bottoms Up KB Sidelying Arm Bar is a movement that requires shoulder stability to maintain an upright position. It works on the rotator cuff to maintain a centrated humerus in the glenoid fossa as well as the scapular stabilizers to maintain a stable scapula.
-Arm should remain vertical towards the sky throughout the movement.
-Don’t let your “ear eat your shoulder” OR maintain a constant distance between your ear and shoulder throughout the movement.
-Don’t “pack” the shoulder. Just maintain the shoulder and scapula in a stable position.
2. Bottoms Up KB Sidelying Arm Bar with Press
This next movement is a progression from the arm bar. It progresses the movement by adding a press with the kettlebell.
-Same points as with the Sidelying Arm Bar.
-As you allow the arm to descend towards the ground, allow scapula to retract. Do not let elbow go behind body/allow for anterior humeral glide.
-Don’t keep scapula “packed” or retracted during the entire movement. Allow it to move.
3. Incline Bottoms Up KB Press
This movement is a progression from the original Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press. By adding the incline of the bench into this movement, it is progressing it more towards an overhead pressing movement.
-Maintain the arm and kettlebell vertical to the ceiling throughout the movement.
-Don’t let your “ear eat your shoulder.”
-Don’t “pack” your scapula.
4. ½ Kneeling Kettlebell Bottoms Up Press
The ½ kneeling KB Bottoms Up Press is another progression that is transitioning the client or athlete back into an overhead press. The ½ kneeling position allows for the athlete to maintain a neutral spine as well as eliminates leg drive to focus the movement on the upper extremities.
-Maintain a neutral spine.
-Don’t “pack” the shoulder. Allow the scapula to move as you press overhead.
5. Standing Kettlebell Bottoms Up Overhead Press
Last, but not least is the Standing KB Bottoms Up Overhead Press. There is a little bit more freedom with this movement because it doesn’t lock the person into using a barbell. The bottoms-up variation forces the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers to work hard to maintain the proper position when pressing.
-Maintain a neutral spine.
-Allow the scapula to move as you press overhead.
-Don’t “pack the shoulder.”
So, if you are dealing with shoulder pain with overhead pressing and want to get back to pain-free pressing, check out my guest post on Tony Gentilcore’s blog and give these 5 variations a try!
You need to be able to hip hinge in order to deadlift effectively or even perform simple life tasks. If you cannot hip hinge effectively, either:
The hip hinge or any deadlift variation are normal movements that the majority of people should be able to perform. Whether your goal is to deadlift 1000lbs,
photo credit: t-nation.com
Or be able to pick up your kids, then being able to properly hip hinge is imperative!
When teaching the hip hinge, the majority of people either:
A proper hip hinge consists of a:
There are various ways to teach a proper hip hinge to people. Here are 3 quick ways to clean up someone’s sub-par hip hinge.
Problem #1 Flexion at the Lumbar Spine
If someone is flexing through their lumbar spine, we need to stop that. Now, before I receive hate mail for saying lumbar spine flexion is ok, let me explain. Lumbar spine flexion IS NORMAL. It is a normal movement in the human body. One of the times we don’t want lumbar spine flexion is either under high repetition, under load, or BOTH!
If someone is flexing through their lumbar spine when attempting to hip hinge, try placing a dowel on their back.
Hip Hinge with Dowel
-Dowel should be in contact with head, thoracic spine, and sacrum.
-Push hips posteriorly without losing contact between those 3 points.
-Movement through the spine occurs if any of the dowel loses contact with the spine.
Problem #2 Squatting a Hip Hinge
If someone is consistently squatting their hip hinge, this needs to change. Now, I am all for proper lifting mechanics if someone is picking up their child and they prefer to squat down, but when it comes to hip hinging variations, they need to performed correctly.
Here are a few drills to help if someone is squatting their hinge:
Hip Hinge with Dowel Against Bench
-Place knees .5-1 inch away from bench.
-Same cues as Hip Hinge w/ Dowel.
-Make sure not to allow knees to contact bench.
Hip Hinge with Foam Roller
-Place knees .5-1 inch away from bench.
-Place foam roller far enough on other side of bench so that arms are extended to start, but body is upright.
-Maintain arms on foam roller as you push your hips posteriorly.
-A dowel or PVC pipe can be used in place of a foam roller.
There you have it! If you or your client’s hip hinge needs to be cleaned up, give these tips a try!
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