We're lucky to have Cressey Performance coach Andrew Zomberg filling in for this week's collection of quick tips for your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs. Here we go!
1. Own the weight/movement during execution.
Far too often, I see trainees fail to take control during the execution of a lift. For example, many people completely disregard the tempo, which inevitably leads to a faulty lift. If I see something like this, I tell the individual to "own the weight/movement or count to three” as they go through the eccentric portion." By employing this cue and focusing on the tempo, you will not only mitigate the risk of injury, but you will become more proficient with the given lift.
So, the next time during the execution of a lift, try to become more mindful with how fast you’re completing each rep. Make an attempt to utilize a countdown or envision the “owning” cue in order to control the lift.
2. Limit yourself to three steps when you set-up for a squat.
Squatting (whether a traditional back squat, front squat, or one that utilizes specialty bars) is generally a staple in most training programs. But too often, a lifter will take too many steps to set up once they unrack the bar from the J-hooks. This bad habit not only causes the lifter to lose his/her pre-settings (air and tension), but it also expends far too much energy during the foot-placement.
So, once you are under the bar and your air is set, take only three steps for your set-up. On the first step, allow yourself to clear the hooks. Then, use the second and third step to position yourself in the appropriate squat stance. From there, reset your air and go to town!
3. Assume a quadruped position while loading for a push-up.
Once you have mastered a conventional push-up (unloaded without elevation or additional stability points), the next step for progression is loading it (using a weighted-vest, chains or bands). However, this weight should not be added while in the push-up position because you will fight the anti-extension component and waste a lot of energy you need for the lift.
Instead, assume the quadruped position (on all fours) as weight or added resistance is being loaded. If you opt for a vest or bands, still assume the quadruped position (rather than hanging out in a starting push-up position). By doing this, you allow your base of support to be closer to your center of gravity, making the set-up less strenuous. Remember, even though you want to work hard, be smart. You need to know when to preserve your energy in order to optimize the exercise.
4. Get out of your footwear as much as you can.
The shoes we wear often restrict our range of motion and provide external stability that our feet need to develop on our own. This is why many lifters perform some of their training exercises barefooted. Eliminating footwear allows for improvements in ankle and foot mobility and stability, reduction in hypertonic calves, greater activation of the posterior chain, and increased proprioception of the foot.
However, there are unfortunate situations where gyms do not allow members to take off their footwear. So in these cases, you should purchase minimalist sneakers (we like the New Balance MX20v3) that will aid in providing just enough stability to prevent lateral sprains, all while helping you increase ankle mobility and stability in the foot. Also, get out of your footwear (running sneakers, dress shoes, or heels) whenever you can, and while shoeless, implement foot and ankle drills in order to maintain adequate function.
5. Create a shake matrix to streamline the smoothie making process.
A busy lifestyle forces many of us to eat on-the-go, which is why shakes are all the craze lately. Unfortunately, a lot of people make the same smoothie day after day, week after week, without any changes or new add-ons. Incorporating different nutrient-dense ingredients is very important, though. The variety provides a blend of essential macronutrients, vitamins and minerals you need for optimal bodily functioning.
So, I refer you to the “shake matrix” (see below), created by Dr. Mike Roussell. This table presents different, tasty ways to eliminate boredom and ensure that you provide plenty of nutrients to your body. Use it as inspiration and change up your recipes!
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