Home Posts tagged "Glute Ham Raise"

Exercise of the Week: Glute-Ham Raise with Banded Reach

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I'm a big fan of training the posterior chain and also working on getting serratus anterior firing to improve scapular upward rotation. So, you can imagine how excited I am to present to you an exercise of the week video that hits both. Thanks to Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard for the demo: 

I like this exercise as a first or second assistance exercise on a lower body day, or as part of a full body day. I love it when the late offseason rolls around and athletes have built up a solid foundation of strength, and are ready for more advanced arm care progressions. It's a game changer if you have an athlete who is heavily lordotic (arched back) with downwardly rotated/depressed shoulder blades and a flat thoracic spine (upper back). Enjoy!

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4 Glute-Ham Raise Technique Tips

Glute-ham raise technique can give lifters a lot of trouble. To that end, I thought I'd film a video to demonstrate some of the common mistakes folks make with this drill.

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Strength Strategies – Installment 2

Today's guest post comes from Greg Robins, my co-author on The Specialization Success Guide.

SSG

As with our first installment, I'll break my recommendations down into four categories: mindset, programming/planning, nutrition/recovery, and technique. Here we go!

1. Mindset: Study, practice, experiment, evaluate.

The best lifters I have come across are very cerebral in their approach to something as physically driven as moving heavy loads on a barbell. This is even true of the ones you may categorize as anything but “cerebral.”

In order to master anything, you must study, practice, experiment, and evaluate.

If you want to be a high-level lifter, you will only get so far with brute physical effort, even if it is a must-have in the recipe for success. You need to treat strength as a skill, and lifting is something you can dissect and study.

Make it a point to dissect your own technique; garner a rudimentary understanding for physics, physiology, and anatomy; and study the approaches of those who have been successful in what you aim to do. With that said, when studying lifters, try to focus on those who have similar builds and lifestyles as you do. Imitating the approaches of people who are dramatically different physically (leverages) and socially (recovery capacity, training frequency) will not be nearly as productive.

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2. Planning/Programming: Instruction is the main objective of supplemental exercise selection.

Ben Franklin said, “That which hurts, instructs.” It’s one of my favorite sayings and can obviously be applied, if not more appropriately, to more than simply choosing supplemental exercises in strength training planning. However, it is quite fitting as a rule of thumb for a key piece in developing high levels of strength in the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Getting outside of the “comfort zone” is a necessary step in achieving something outside of what one is already capable. In choosing supplementary exercises in your training, think about ways to slightly alter the classic three lifts that will do three things.

1. Teach you about the proper execution of the main lift.
2. Target weak muscles, which may otherwise “take a play off” via your ability to compensate in the main lift.
3. Get you to challenge yourself physically by executing them in such a way that is not advantageous for your usual approach.

You want to choose an exercise that essentially works as coach for your shortcomings in the main lift. For example, here are two pictures of one of my distance-based clients. The most important shortcoming in his squat was the inability to understand upper back extension, elbow placement, and head position in his set up. This resulted in forward weight shifting throughout the movement. While he did respond to some video analysis and cueing, he responded instantly to using the high bar squat as his supplementary squat exercise.

The high bar position forced him to work on all the points above and we turned his low bar numbers into high bar numbers. This quickly helped his low bar numbers have new heights, and no ceiling restricted by poor positioning.

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Furthermore, we used the high bar squat to help him build strength in the upper back, and quads, which were no doubt less of a player in his original approach as the torso position placed greater demands on the hamstrings and low/mid back.

To top it off, we made his intensity-based work high-bar focused, and his volume-based work low-bar focused. This gave him a better chance of learning better low-bar position by not challenging him with the weight on the bar, and by giving him more time under load in the proper low set up.

While not all your supplementary work needs to hit each of the three aforementioned points, it must always hit the first one. In many cases, if you take the time to think out your approach, you will find ways where you can hit all three, and this will lead to great progress.

3. Nutrition/Recovery: Appreciate (and modify) food texture.

Nutrition is something that has always fascinated me. It’s not so much the science of the food itself, though, but rather the mental game of proper nutrition. I firmly believe the majority of somewhat health conscious people understand enough about food quality, and portion size, to achieve a physique they can be happy about, not to mention one that is healthy and capable of performing on a high level.

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The fitness industry, popular media, and major food companies have unfortunately sent us so many mixed messages, exaggerated headlines, embellished research findings, and utterly misdirected crap that many people are left more than a bit confused. Moreover, food itself serves as a readily available and affordable option for people to turn to in emotional situations ranging from despair to celebration.

One of the keys to making nutrition productive is to be able to enjoy items that are actually conducive to your efforts.

With that in mind, I challenge you to pay attention to textures when it comes to meal preparation. Acknowledging the textures you prefer and dislike is a great way to help everyone from the person looking to bring down total consumption to the person who needs to consume more.

In general, we prefer a variety of texture to our food, and yet many of us see very little of it when we consistently turn to the same foods.

Here are two quick ideas, and I am sure you can think of more.

1. Add some crunch to your chicken by tossing the chicken in some egg whites and rolling it through so panko bread crumbs.
2. Make your smoothie a little ahead of time, pour it in a bowl, toss it in the freezer a few hours. Enjoy it as a frozen treat with a spoon, instead of a lukewarm viscous liquid from a plastic shaker bottle.

Going the extra step to toast your bread, make sweet potato fries instead of the usual bake, or even tossing something with a little chewiness or crunch to a salad can make a world of difference in your compliance.

4. Technique/Exercise Instruction: Perfect the glute-ham raise.

The glute-ham raise is a phenomenal exercise for developing the posterior chain. While some find the barrier to entry too high for beginner lifters, I find the problem rests mostly with a misunderstanding of how to properly set up and execute the movement. This video should shed some light on the subject.

5. Bonus Interview!

As a bonus, I recently sat down with CSP coach Miguel Aragoncillo to talk about my "Optimizing the Big 3" seminars, and lifting in general. Here's the entire conversation:

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 5

Here are this week's list of tips to help you lose fat, gain muscle, get strong, and be just a little more awesome, compliments of Cressey Performance coach, Greg Robins.

1. Cook with coconut oil.

Many people know that cooking with oils such as extra virgin olive oil is an easy way to add healthy fats into their diet. However, coconut oil is a less utilized source of good fatty acids.

Coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are named as such due the medium chain length of their molecular structure. What does this mean for your health? First, MCTs are more easily utilized by the muscles in your body, which means they are transported quickly to your mitochondria for energy, and therefore less likely to be stored as adipose tissue. MCTs also have a thermogenic effect that is nearly double that of other dietary fat.

Secondly, MCTs’ shorter chain length makes them easily digestible, which is a plus for populations with nutrient absorption issues.

Third, MCTs are ketogenic, producing two ketone bodies when metabolized. Ketones are used by the body as a source of energy, and in a lower carbohydrate diets can be beneficial as a source of energy.

2. Use the GHR.

The Glute Ham Raise (GHR) is a fantastic posterior chain builder. The GHR offers a closed kinetic chain option that trains the hamstrings in knee flexion, and thus provides incredible transfer to other hip dominant strength exercises like the squat and deadlift. Seek out a gym that has this piece of equipment, or pony up and add it to the equipment in your gym. Below is a video on how to set up the GHR properly and perform the exercise:


 

3. Figure out exactly how much caffeine you really need pre-training.

In a recent study featured in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers concluded that 3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight was needed to significantly increase squat and bench press maximal power. To put things in perspective, that is roughly 273mg of caffeine for a 200lb person. Upon a short google search of popular energy drinks, the average caffeine content looks to be about 150mg / 16oz can. An 8oz cup of brewed coffee yields roughly 90-100mg of caffeine. It is also worth noting that "Booty Sweat" energy drink does not deliver enough caffeine to be effective over a bodyweight of 190lbs, giving us yet another reason not to drink it.

The take home message? Caffeine has been utilized as a performance aid for many years. It is safe for most populations, and the amount does not need to be anything crazy to receive the benefits. With all the junk found in most energy supplements, consider black coffee as your new “go-to” when you need a pick-me-up before hitting the gym.

Note: to learn more about coffee, check out our previous feature here at EricCressey.com: Coffee Consumption and Health: Part 1 and Part 2.

4. Get a grip.

A strong grip is synonymous with strong person. It makes perfect sense: you can't lift what you aren't able to hold.

Furthermore, almost every lift involves your hands on the weight, whether or not they seem to have direct transfer into that exercise's success. Why is that important? When your hands are strong, that means your forearms are strong, and if you make the effort to squeeze the bar, DB, or other implement during every lift you will apply tension that transfers from your lower arm, through the elbow, and into the shoulder girdle. This is called "radiant tension."

Paying attention to training your grip will also help with lower arm pain, and keep your elbows and wrists healthy. Make sure to include a well rounded approach, with exercises that take the wrists through various ranges of motion. As well as exercises for the hands to include pinching and squeezing. Some easy options are: Farmer's Carries, Plate Pinches, Towel Rows and Pull Ups, thick handles, and wrist curl variations.

5. Surround yourself with different people.

In order to be successful, you must constantly challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone. If you become complacent, you will eventually be passed by. With that in mind, make sure that you are constantly surrounding yourself with different people. In doing so, you will expose yourself to varying beliefs and ideas. Everyone has taken a slightly,or dramatically different path to get to where they are; even if they operate in the same sphere as you. There is something to be learned from just about anyone, if you are open to it.

Surround yourself with people who are as committed to being great as you are, but not people who are the same as you. In doing so you will find that your strengths have once again become a weakness, and your weakness may actually be a strength. The reality is that your constant exposure to varying ideologies is making you better.

With that said, here’s an action item to kick off your weekend. Schedule a time right now to go observe another coach, train with a different training partner, or just hit up a training session at a different gym than you normally attend so that you can experience new equipment and observe what other exercisers and trainers are doing.

Co-Author Greg Robins is strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. Check out his website, www.GregTrainer.com, for more great content.

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