Home Blog Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 40

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 40

Written on April 19, 2013 at 10:54 am, by Eric Cressey

Today, Greg Robins has five more tips to help you get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs on track.

1. Clean up your unilateral deadlift technique.

If there is one exercise that I see butchered on a daily basis, it’s the 1-arm, 1-leg RDL. Furthermore, it makes coaches look like they are speaking French when they try to get people to do it right. It’s a great exercise, but here are the issues:

• It’s used right away in the majority of popular programs as the staple of unilateral hip hinging.
• It’s there because it’s difficult to hurt yourself doing, mainly due to the lack of weight in an effort to maintain some semblance of balance. Therefore, people just assume that over time people will figure it out and get better.

Just because doing it incorrectly with 5lbs is “safe” doesn’t mean it’s that productive; especially if you still can’t get the form right. It’s a hard exercise that I feel has somehow got the reputation of something easy.

Instead of getting frustrated, try doing the exercise to a dead stop every rep. You can use a KB, or elevate a DB on some mats. Allow yourself to reset every rep, just like a normal deadlift. Having two points of contact, albeit for just a moment, is enough to keep you in check.

2. If you’re stuck, evaluate your approach.

“Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum.” -Bruce Lee

There are three types of people in the gym. The first is a group of people who don’t know a thing about training philosophy. The second is a group who know enough to understand what’s important and what’s not. The third is a group who knows just enough to completely twist up their training.

The majority of you are in the third group. The other two groups are the minority. The majority is making little progress. The minority is continually improving. If this was graph here’s what it would look like:

Progress

 

If you are making good progress, keep going. If you are stalling, you may be somewhere in the middle of my chart. In this case, really evaluate your training approach. Somewhere along the way you may have begun to acquire just the right amount of exercise variations, percentage schemes, and who knows what else to halt your progress.

At this point, do two things:

One, ask “why?” Why does jumping help, why does speed work help, why this and why that? You can’t go back to group one, so you have to try and get to group 2. This means you take something you read, and you look at where that person gets their information. When you do that, you might find that jumps aren’t doing what you thought they did, either is speed work, or that new exercise with all the bells and whistles.

Second, get back the secret of group 1. When you are in the gym, shut down your analytical side. Work hard, have fun, and trust your gut.

3. Utilize benches for better push-up regression/progression.

4. Do more complexes.

Maybe it’s me, but complexes are not talked about or used nearly enough. They had a stint three years ago or so where they were all the rage, but are slowly becoming worthy of a spotlight on VH1’s “Where Are They Now.”

I can assure you they are not hung over, face down in a pillow like 70% of the other people on that show. Instead, they are alive and well and deserve a spot in your training.

A complex is any series of exercises, done in sequence, with the same weight, preferably without putting the weight down.

Why I like them:

• Limited equipment
• Time efficient
• Helps groove form on major lifts
• Time Under Tension
• Doesn’t involve running
• Sucks in just the right way
• Tension, again

Things to remember:

• They are taxing. I prefer to see them used at the end of a training session.
• If used on off days, I prefer to see them done at a conservative intensity OR done all out if you are not lifting the next day. For example, if you take the weekend off lifting, Saturday would be a good spot to hit complexes.

Here are two of my favorites:

Barbell:

Barbell RDL x 6-10
Barbell Row x 6-10
Barbell Squat and Press x 6-10
Barbell Reverse Lunge w/ Front Squat Grip x 6-10/leg

Kettlebell:

Double KB Swing x 5–8
Double KB Clean x 5–8
Double KB Press x 5–8
Double KB Front Squat x 5-8

5. Consider another variation of the “plyo push-up.”

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  • Mario

    Greg,

    Great Tips. Keep cranking them out. I learn so much from you guys. Keep up the great work.

  • Shane

    like both those push up variations and have not done a complex in a while. ill try those. Very nice work as always.

  • Gronkowski

    What is the point of elevating the body to deload the push up, and then adding a band to reload it?

    Not to mention monopolizing two standalone benches to do…a push up? This ranks right up there with curling in the power rack. It will go over really well at your local Globo-gym.

    Awesome!

  • Gronk:

    It’s still de-loaded, and then re-loaded further into the movement. This is different that pushing against the same load the entire time. Additionally sometimes people need to be somewhere in between the floor and the incline. The band can get you there.

    Have some feel. If you train somewhere where you can pull it off, it’s a great option. If not, there are other ways to skin that cat.

  • I think the two standalone bench user mentioned used them in the first video as an alternative to using pins on the power rack for someone who is running a boot camp. And I usually work out in groups at my Globo gym so we could occupy multiple benches anyway, but we work fast and invite other people in for sets so it goes over great. Thanks for the continued advice EC!

  • Awesome tips, Greg.

    The single leg RDL pattern is definitely something that’s butchered a lot, and I’m guilty of slacking on my technique in favor of add weight as well.

    Keep up the great work.

    Jake Johnson

  • Robert

    Hey mr.cressey,
    Back with another question.

    When pitchers already achieve say a squat with 1.5x their bodyweight or a dead lift with 2x their body weight, should they shjft their focus to more explosive(strength/speed), unilateral exercises?

    This would be while maintaining these lifts.

    Im just guessing that the returns you get from increasing weight on these exercises isn’t worth the spinal loading…

    Thanks a lot
    Robert

  • Great stuff, Greg.

    In regards to tip 1: I like to sometimes have clients lightly reach out and touch a window sill or other stabilizing surface with their non-weight holding hand to provide a “touch” of stability the first few reps to groove the movement pattern. Then I have them let go.

    Or I’ll have them do single leg hip airplanes during warmups (or right before loading them). Anything to build that proprioception.

  • Robert,

    Yes, although I’d say the numbers are a bit higher on both exercises, particularly in a younger population. Those numbers really aren’t that impressive and can be easily eclipsed.

  • Robert,

    I’ll offer another suggestion as well. Always program elements of everything. Absolute strength, speed strength, strength speed and absolute speed should continually be present in some capacity. You will have to prioritize which areas gets what amount of attention depending on both the athlete, and the time frame in relation to the competitive season.

  • I enjoyed reading this, especially your 2nd point.

    It’s another illustration of the idea that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  • Brian

    In the barbell complex example, is the squat done as a front squat? Or is it a back squat followed by a behind the neck press?


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