Monday, August 13, 2012

Assistance Lifts and Technique Perfection

Stop me if you've heard this before, but US basketball owns the world again. Am I the only one that thinks that it's no longer that competitive of a sport in the Olympics? The US absolutely man handled the field this year and have done so for quite a time. Under their current coach Mike Krzyzewski, god I hope I spelled that right, they have lost one game...ONE! I know Spain had a lead on them on Sunday, but it seemed like when the US players decided to stop messing around and put their foot on the gas Spain didn't have a shot. They've done it with other sports, see Womens Ice Hockey and Baseball, why can't we sack this or at least put an age limit like they do with the Mens Soccer.

Alright I'm done you can come out of the corner now. I've been using a term around here lately that people have left people wondering 'what in the heck are you talking about?' Assistance lifts help with your main lifts such as squats, cleans and deadlifts and give you an easy workout you can do on an off day without completely smoking your body 7 days a week, thus overtraining yourself and then things start to snow ball and yeah you get the point, they help. Mike Boyle writes about training movements not muscles in his book Functional Training for Sports. Great read by the way for those looking for a good functional training book apart from the Gray Cook FM book. I absolutely agree with him to a degree, after all he's got a mega-frickin-ton more experience than me and been around longer. Some assistance lifts can be useful to more than one movement.

Since they are two of my favorite things in the world I'm going back to them and using one of my stars as the demonstrator. Any guesses as to which exercises I'm talking about? That's right dead lifts and hip bridges or hip sleds. I know I've gotten into the both of these before so I won't spend too much time here babbling about it. Simply put, to finish a dead lift you need to push your hips forward by squeezing your glutes aka your bum. A hip sled or hip bridge is one single movement doing one thing primarily, squeezing your glutes to extend your hips and get the weight off the ground. I really like the hip sled because when you get into the low rep, high weight area you can really start to move some big weight and gets clients excited about moving that much weight, and you feel it so you know it's working the right muscles.

The nice girl above is my client Jenn. Jenn was my very first client here in Hudson in January. She has made so much progress it's  out of this world. Needless to say in January I wouldn't have even attempted some of these exercises with Jenn. Had I told her in January that she would be doing this stuff she'd think I was absolutely bat-s!$# crazy. Jenn started moving some good weight around with the hip bridge, in this case a modified hip sled, a couple months ago. She has now gotten to the point where I'm comfortable having her dead lift, started with the trap bar and currently doing some straight bar dead lifts. (See below)


The video looks a little funny because I held the camera the wrong way and yes it loops, call me stupid, I'll fix it in the mean time this will suffice. Hopefully some of you pick up on the face she made at the end which absolutely made my day because I laughed so hard. Now some of you are probably looking at it and saying 'Isn't she rounding her back and why are you letting her continue?' Yes she does have a slight round and this is where I will get into my second topic a bit. When it comes to exercise technique and how much of a perfectionist you are going to be with it there are a few factors you have to consider. In this case consider that Jenn has no history of back pain, she is not finishing with her back to compound it and she is making every effort she possibly can to keep those shoulders back and her chest forward. That may not be acceptable to some people, but she's just simply got to work on it so sorry Jenn but this will be your weight for dead lift for a bit.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being super ultra perfect with technique and 1 being Jillian Michaels, oops did I say that? I meant to say having no technique, I'm probably close to a 7 or 8. With all exercises there are standards that absolutely have to be met in order for the exercise to be safe, so if you're on the 1 to 3 range, time to get back to the basics. As you can see I am not perfect when it comes to teaching or maintaining technique throughout, but if you are a Nazi about it then you will just simply never get to that upper tier of training because you will be far too focused on the technique. Hope that someone out there took something positive away from this. Per usual any questions or comments please shoot me a message. More fun and some news coming later on in the month, until next time everyone, keep getting after it.

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