Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 47
Written on July 5, 2013 at 6:28 am, by Eric Cressey
Thanks for CP coach Greg Robins, here are this week's list of tips to fine-tune your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs.
1. Use old wrist wraps to rig up chains.
While there are some very solid products out there to rig up chains for deadlifts, sometimes you just don’t want to spend the cash. In my case it is especially true when you only need them once every four months or so. Some people may get by just fine draping the chains over a bar, but I find they tend to move around and fall off too often when using them for reps.
There is one very simple solution. You can use an old set of wrist wraps (or new ones, if you prefer), to hold the chains in place. It works out great, and is as easy as just tying the wrap around the top of the chains. If you find yourself having a similar issue getting the chains to stay in place, give this a try next time you pull against chains!
2. Avoid elbow hyperextension on pressing exercises.
Many people, especially females, have significant joint laxity. When a joint has the ability to reach undesired ranges of motion, you will often find that folks use this end range as the preferred method of getting “stable.” Instead of actively holding positions, they will continue to move until they run out of room, and rely on a les than ideal positioning. As an example, check out this picture of one of our boot camp clients on her first day doing push ups.
Without assessing for this, or keeping an eye out for it, you will find many clients performing push-ups and other pressing exercises like this. Now that you are aware of it, fix it! If you notice them hyperextending the elbows, coach them to stop at neutral!
3. Consider these tips to make Turkish get-ups less tedious.
I like the Turkish get-up. It’s a great exercise, and it makes its way, in some form or another, into most of my programs. The only issue I have with it is that it can be very tedious. While the mind numbing length of doing multiple reps per side is one turn off, there is also another issue. Due to its drawn-out nature, many of our athletes will hit one rep with great technique and then rush through the next 2 or 3. While keeping an eye on every rep and ensuring proper technique is one solution, it isn’t always feasible, especially in a semi-private setting. Instead, consider these alternatives:
a. Program a single repetition per side: I like working the get up with only one rep at a time. It allows you to go heavier, which has the benefit of forcing you to be strict with your positioning. If you go heavy enough a single rep can easily last over 30-45sec. That length has a similar time under tension to other, more common, rep schemes. When you consider there are fourteen steps to a complete get up, doing one rep is actually a lot more involved than it may seem.
b. Litter the get-up within other exercises: One thing I love to do is start and end other exercises with a Turkish get up. Some examples include doing the first half of the exercise and continuing into an overhead carry. When you reach your desired carry length you can perform the other half. Another option is to perform a certain amount of overhead presses in the standing position, half kneeling position, or floor presses in the supine position.
4. Eat more raisins.
Raisins are chalked up to be a “kid snack.” However, they are a pretty darn good option for the active population as well, especially athletes who may be looking to bulk up with a convenient, calorically dense option. Raisins provide a great source of readily usable energy for intense training sessions. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of anti-oxidants. Furthermore, they are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Not to mention they provide a decent amount of fiber as well.
As noted in Jonny Bowden’s book The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth, the grapes raisins originate as are often highly saturated in pesticides. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to look for organic varieties. Next time you are looking for a good source of fast acting carbohydrates, consider eating a handful or two of raisins!
5. Stay basic and specific when you’re unsure how long you have an athlete.
With all the information available today, it’s easy for us to jump ahead to more complex training protocols. There is no shortage of excellent programming out there, formulated by some of the brightest minds in strength and conditioning. However, many of these programs are not the right choice for the majority of the population.
While these methods have evidence to support their effectiveness, they are often used with highly trained individuals, and carried out over an extended/known period of time. In the private sector of S&C you aren’t always sure how long you’ll have an athlete.
Before you hop into contrast training, tempo training, or any other complex method, consider tapping out your potential with a more basic approach first. In many cases your end goal will be most greatly improved with a more basic approach that is specific to your desired outcome.
Take this recent study, for example. The School of Health Sciences, at The University of Ballarat in Australia studied “The Acute Effects of Conventional, Complex and Contrast Protocols on Lower Body Power.” The study looked at three different approaches to improving peak power output. The traditional approach included only counter-movement jumping. The other two included a mix of jumping and resistance training. The result favored the traditional approach for an acute improvement of peak power. This isn’t to say the other approaches wouldn’t be superior long term, but as I stated before, often times you will not have an athlete long enough to make changes with a more complex approach.
The take away is that you need to identify what you want to give an athlete by training with you. When he or she is only under your guidance for a short period of time, make that item a priority, do it often and do it well. That item may not be very specific to their sport, but the training needs to be specific to that item. In order to get an acute change in a certain quality your best bet is to give that quality the most attention.
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