Coaching Cues to Make Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective – Installment 7
Written on September 28, 2013 at 5:48 am, by Eric Cressey
It's been a while since we covered some strength training coaching cues that you'll want to have in your back pocket, so here's installment 7.
1. Follow your hand with your eyes.
It goes without saying the improving thoracic (upper back) mobility needs to be a big priority for many athletes. However, individuals can lose out on the benefit of thoracic mobility drills can be performed incorrectly if one only moves through the shoulder and not the upper back. Greg Robins covers that problem in this video, in fact:
To help ensure optimal technique, I encourage athletes, "Follow you hands with your eyes." It always seems to "right the ship" with respect to movement of the humerus.
2. Ease the bar out.
One of the biggest mistakes I see both lifters and spotters make is just picking UP the bar and handing it out from the pins on the bench press. This causes a lifter to lose his upper back tightness and start the lift from an unstable platform. Plus, the bar is more likely to drift excessively toward the hips, as opposed to staying right in the path the lifter prefers.
With that in mind, another Greg Robins video complements this tip well; check it out:
3. Get the chest to the floor before the chin.
Push-up variations are an incredibly valuable inclusion in just about any strength training program, but unfortunately, the technique goes downhill quite frequently, particularly under conditions of fatigue. Everyone knows that we need to monitor core positioning so as to avoid excessive lumbar hyperextension (lower back arching). However, what a lot of people may not realize is that this "sag" is only one potential extension-bias fault.
You see, people who are in extension will find all the ways they can to shift away from a neutral posture and toward a more extended posture. Take, for example, this shoulder flexion video. The individual doesn't just go into lumbar extension and a heavy rib flare to get his arms up overhead; rather, he also goes into a forward head posture.
I liken this to patching up a hole in a leaky roof – only to find a leak starting up somewhere else. It's important that we patch them all! With that said, with push-up variations, you can either cue "make a double chin" or tell folks that the chest should make it to the floor before the chin. As long as you've already controlled for excessive arching of the lower back, the cue will be spot-on.
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