Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 57
Written on April 18, 2014 at 6:09 am, by Eric Cressey
It's been a while since I chimed in with some random tips to help out your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, so here are five suggestions to kick off your healthy weekend on the right foot.
1. Use a simple chain for added weight to chin-ups or dips.
A lot of people think that you can't load these exercises without a specialized chin-up/dip belt, but believe it or not, we don't actually have one of these at Cressey Performance - nor have we in the seven years we've been in business.
Why not? Well, it's just as easy to just take a regular chain and use your butt to hold it in place. Check it out:
2. Don't use "but it's paleo" as an excuse to overeat.
My wife and I cook out of paleo cookbooks all the time, and the food tastes great - and obviously includes unprocessed ingredients. However, one thing that I often see with folks who go this route is overeating. They assume that since they're replacing regular flour with almond flour, that they can eat a lot more. This is just one example, but I think it's important for people to realize is that just because it's minimally processed doesn't mean that it's automatically lower in calories. If you look at some of the paleo pizza recipes, as examples, they can be incredibly calorically dense. "Clean"ingredients are great, but don't overdo it.
3. Try this exercise to train around shoulder pain.
One of the biggest complaints of folks with shoulder pain is that they struggle to find drills to train the pecs that don't make the shoulder discomfort worse. Here's a basic drill that allows for a solid training effect with minimal equipment - and rarely any discomfort: the Pec Horizontal Adductor Iso Hold.
With this exercise, you aren't raising the arms, so impingement isn't exacerbated. You also aren't slipping into a bad posture that would exacerbate that impingement, either. In short, you're applying force in joint positions that are pretty close to "neutral." Isometric exercises don't get much love, but this is a good one; you're basically trying to crush whatever is between your hands (a power rack or doorway are the best bets, in my experience). I'll usually prescribe one 15-20-second iso hold per set.
It won't take your bench press to 500 pounds, but it should help you avoid wasting away while you're on the mend.
4. Avoid bad upper extremity positioning with sled drags.
I'm a big fan of sled work, but when it comes to forward dragging, the upper extremity can be put in a compromising position. You want to avoid a posture where the shoulder blades are anteriorly tilted, and the head of the humerus is allowed to glide forward; this positioning is really rough on the AC joint, biceps tendon, anterior capsule, and even many of the nerves and vascular structures of the upper extremity:
Instead, make sure to get the shoulder blades posteriorly tilted (tipped back) slightly, and don't allow the arms to drag behind the body.
5. Remember that the barbell isn’t always best.
The barbell is an unbelievable training tool - but it's far from the only effective training implement at your fingertips. I was reminded of this when reading through Bret Contreras' new resource, 2x4: Maximum_Strength. In the text, Bret observes that you actually get better glute activation on kettlebell deadlifts and goblet squats than you do on barbell variations - in spite of the fact that the load utilized is substantially lighter. Bret remarked that it likely has to do with the fact that the external loading can be kept closer to the center of mass (and, in these cases, the hips).
As a friendly reminder, this awesome new program is available at the introductory price through the end of the day today (Friday). I highly recommend that you check it out: 2x4: Maximum_Strength.
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