The Importance of Technique in Physical Movement

(Short read) Why Technique is crucial for high performance in any movement.

Technique is everything. If you want to maximize the power output of any movement, you’ll need to have excellent technique. This applies to anything from a punch to a deadlift. Technique equaling power also applies to things like dancing, and skateboarding. In those cases power is quality of movement.

Mastering technique is one of the fundamental principles of martial arts. This can be applied to any form of fitness. As I mentioned in an old post, the most effective way to master technique is through quality repetition. Olympic weightlifters understand this which is why they train their movements so frequently, sometimes multiple times a day. There’s no way they could generate the type of force they do if they didn’t spend so much time working on technique.

Another example is sprinters. One of the reasons sprinters are able to move so fast is because they spent time working on their running technique. You can be strong, fast, and genetically blessed but if you have lousy running technique you will limit your potential.

In addition to unleashing power, great technique will reduce your risk of injury. This explains why most injuries happen when a person is fatigued. If you’ve ever seen a fatigued athlete perform, you’ll see that their technique isn’t as good as when they were fresh.

If you want to maximize the power output of your movements and reduce your risk of injury make the effort to hone your technique.

Assault on The Squat!

This article is about strategies I’m using to strengthen my back squat

I’m obsessed with the back squat exercise.There’s something about this movement that makes me want more. Maybe it’s because the back squat was one of the first movements I’ve done in the weight room. I squatted before I ever benched or deadlifted. The joy I feel for an improved back squat surpasses that of any other lift.

The back squats is an awesome movement that hits nearly every muscle in your body and has a positive effect on testosterone and HGH production. It’s also an empowering movement because you’re overcoming the force of gravity to move something that’s meant to keep you down.

My current one rep max is 355 lbs but I’m determined to increase it. I’m using the high bar method for my back squat which means putting the bar on top of my traps. I’ve been told switching to the low bar stance will help me move more weight but I’m determined to see how far I can get with the high bar method.

Even though there’s many exercises that will help you boost your squat, the best way to improve your squat is to squat. Depending on your fitness needs, you can modify lifts in your favor.

Plan of Attack:

One of the best ways to get better at something is to attack your weaknesses and see how it can become a strength. With the back squat, two things I have to work on is bar speed and just getting out of the hole ( the bottom position of the squat). I’m using two squatting methods to attack these weak points.

Bar Speed: To improve my speed in the squat movement, I’ve been using Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) squats. This method involves setting up the barbell at 55-60% of your one rep max. In this method, the lowering portion of the squat is done in a controlled manner. The concentric/ rising part of the squat is done as explosively as possible. Imagine yourself as a rocket being launched when rising in the squat.By trying to move as explosively as possible, you’re teaching your body to contract/ activate your muscle fibers quickly. The faster your muscle fibers activate, the more explosive your movement will be. Increasing my squat speed means I feel less strain in the movement.

Getting out of The Hole: The hardest part of the squat is the bottom position. If you can increase improve your ability to get past the bottom of your squat, the easier the lift will be. In order to get more comfortable at the bottom of the squat, I’ll be doing a lot of pause squats. Pause squats also teach you how to brace your core through out the lift. It also forces you to rely on pure strength rather than momentum. Paused squats have helped me in the past so I’m confident it’ll help me again.

To Be Continued….

CNS Primers To Lift Big Weights!

Strength is a function of the nervous system. The better your nervous system is firing, the better you’ll perform in big lifts. In between my warm-ups and main lifts I enjoy doing plyometrics to get my nervous system firing. I have various plyometric moves depending on which lift I do.

Sometimes you’re feeling sluggish and unmotivated before heading into a workout. Performing some plyometric movements will quickly ignite the inner fire necessary to dominate those weights and feel like an animal.

In case you don’t know what they are, plyometrics are exercises in which your body exerts force with the goal of increasing power. Another reason I like plyometrics before doing my big lifts is due to the muscular power activation. The faster you can move the weight in safe manner, the less likely you’ll get stuck mid lift. Power is a combination of strength and speed. Plyometrics are often associated with jump training but they can be used various ways. Sprints are an example of plyometric exercises. Most commercial gyms don’t have enough space for you to perform sprints, especially during the busy hours. I’m not a big fan of treadmill sprints but I do have selective movements for various compound lifts.

Deadlifts and Bounding: Bounding is my favorite way to prime myself for deadlifts. As a plyometric movement bounding awakens your nervous system to prepare for big lifts. Bounding and deadlifts complement each other since they both involve horizontal movement of your hips. When bounding, begin in an athletic stance. Then jump forward as far you can. Once you get good at this movement, you can increase the plyometric element of the bounds by immediately jumping forward after landing from a bound. I typically do two sets of bounds for 30 yards per set.

Squats and Squat Jumps: The squat jump is as simple as it sounds. Begin at the bottom position of a squat and jump as high as you can. Once you land, jump immediately. This teaches your body to exert vertical force with your legs like you would do when squatting. I do three sets of five jumps.

Bench press and Plyo Push-ups: Plyo push-ups help with your pushing power. I like to place my hands on a gym mat and begin in push-up position. As you lower your body like you’d do with doing push-ups, push your body up forcefully and get your hands off the ground. This is like a clap push-up without the clapping. I usually do this on a gym mat to reduce the force on my wrists.

Bonus for Squats and Deadlifts: The ultimate nervous system primer is the depth jump. Depth jumps are perfect for squats and deadlifts because they utilize all your lower body muscles. They also awaken your nervous system like nothing else. First stand on a box or a bench. Step off the bench and the moment you land, jump as high as you can. As you become more proficient with the movement, you can increase  The move looks simple but it’s very strenuous on your body. To prevent injury, make sure you’re able to squat at least 1.5 times your body weight. Also, practice proper landing by doing depth drops. Depth drops are when you step off a box and just land. You should also do them on soft floors like those of a studio room.Like all plyometric movements, keep volume low. I usually do three sets of three or four. Before doing depth jumps, I usually do one set of squat jumps or broad jumps, depending if I’m doing squats or deadlifts that day.

Bonus: Adding Plyometrics to your workout routine will make you a better athlete.

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Deadlift Are Good For The Soul

If I had to pick one exercise that’ll make you feel awesome, it’d be some heavy deadlifts. I say heavy because deadlifts are meant to be done in low rep ranges (3-6) reps. I’m not including Olympic lifts because they’re more difficult to teach and learn. I don’t know about you but I feel so powerful when picking up heavy weight from the ground with such explosive ferocity.The deadlift is the best exercise for total body strength. It engages every muscle from head to toe, with emphasis on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. I’ve heard people say that deadlifts are bad for your back. The truth is using bad form on deadlifts or any other exercise is bad for you. From my personal experience, proper deadlifting has helped me fix back issues caused by weight lifting with bad form.

The dealift is an exercise with real world application. Not only does it make you strong from head to toe, it also helps with sports performance. Due to the emphasis on powerful hip movement, the deadlift can help an athlete improve their sprint speed and vertical jump. The deadlift also teaches you how to properly lift things from the ground, assuming you’re using correct form. This will come in handy when you’re helping a friend move their furniture.

Like any other exercise, it’s important to have good form when deadlifting. Deadlifting is a hinging movement. When deadlifting, it’s important to have the barbell touching your shins on the bottom position. Slightly arch your back and keep a neutral spine. Before you lift the weight, remove some slack from the barbell by slightly pulling it. Also, squeeze the barbell as hard as you can and brace your abs. Focus on pulling the weight with as much force as possible. It’s important to commit to the lift, meaning you have top pull the weight once you get to the bottom position.

Photo credit: ResoluteSupportMedia via Visualhunt / CC BY

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/6940701913/”>ResoluteSupportMedia</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/b22a01″>Visualhunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>

 

Sprints, Sprints, and more Sprints

Faster than a speeding bullet! Was that Superman? No that’s you in the middle of a sprint workout. Weightlifting is the only form of exercise that can compare to sprints in terms of body transformation. The way it makes me feel is phenomenal. There are many benefits like increase in testosterone, better nutrient partitioning, and an endorphin boost.The freedom you feel when you’re running at full speed in open space is almost unrivaled. Sprinting can transform your body.

Have you ever seen a fat sprinter? Sprinting is arguably the best fat loss exercise on the planet. You’re burning fat while sprinting and hours after you’re done. Sprinting will develop your leg muscles as well.Sprinting is also great for sports performance. Speed kills in sports and there’s various sprinting drills depending on your sport.

Here’s a list of the Sprinting protocols I’ve used:

Hill Repeats for fat-loss: Find a steep hill and do 3 sets of 7 hill sprints with 1 minute rest in between. Depending on your conditioning levels you can start at 5 repetitions or go all the way up to 10 repetitions per set.

35 Yard Sprints for power development:One set of twelve repetitions of a 35 meter sprint. After each repetition you’ll rest for 10 seconds. It’s a good workout when you’re in a time crunch. I’ve noticed an improvement in my deadlift power when I’ve incorporated this protocol in my routine.

100 meter sprint for total body transfromation: Do a 100 meter sprint and walk back to the starting spot. Once you get back, repeat the sprint. Keep repeating til you do ten sprints.

400-300-200-100 : This protocol involves doing a sequence of sprints for different distances. First, you’ll do a 400 meter sprint followed by 4 minutes of rest. Then it’ll be a 300 meter sprint with 3 minutes of rest. Followed by a 200 minute sprint with 2 minutes of rest. You’ll finally finish with a 100 meter sprint. This protocol will have you gasping for air like nothing else.

Like any form of exercise make sure you’re physically ready before doing sprints. If you’re not used to sprinting, I’d reccomend doing hill repeats first as they’re the safest form of sprints because you’re not moving at high speed. This will help you work on your sprinting form and develop sprinting muscles like the hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Go Sprint and reap the benefits!

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