Archive for October, 2016

The Clean | Learn, Load & Explode

Friday, October 28th, 2016

We use the reverse chain method for teaching the clean to beginners. Essentially, once an athlete has demonstrated they are competent on the deadlift and front squat movement we get them cleaning from the high hang position.  This allows the athlete to benefit from the loaded jump element of a clean (the second pull) without worrying about perfecting bar path from the floor and is arguably the most important part of the clean for non-weightlifting athletes as it’s the section of the movement where most peak force is expressed. Typically, we’ll progressively load this during a mesocycle while working on our core strength lifts before progressing to low hang cleans in the next block of training.

As great as this movement is for teaching the clean to beginners, it’s also incredibly useful as a variation for an intermediate or advanced athlete. Simply load it up or use as part of a ‘clean complex’.

 

DISCLAIMER

Individualisation | Scapular Wall Slide Variation

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

We use ‘Scap Wall Slides’ as a filler exercise between sets on our core lifts or as part of a warm up sequence. The purpose of which is to teach scapular control and activate the muscles of the upper back. Like any exercise, if ‘Scap Wall Slides’ are done incorrectly they are useless and simply reinforce bad posture and poor movement mechanics. That said, when performed correctly they are a useful prehab/activation exercise.

It’s not uncommon to see athletes compensate during movements and it’s important to establish the best variation of a drill for the individual, keeping the objective of the exercise in mind. A good trainer isn’t going to let an athlete set up for a deadlift like Quasimodo; a good trainer would stop their athlete and coach him/her into the right position and vary the drill if necessary to achieve the optimal position (raise the barbell for a period of time while working on mobility to eventually hit the desired set-up position). This level of coaching detail must be done on every exercise, including activation/ prehab based exercises if necessary.

In this video we have feet and hips away from the wall, with the upper back in contact, which is contrast to our standard wall slides where heels, hips, lumbar to cervical spine are all in contact with the wall while the elbows and wrists remain in contact and slide up and down (Y shape to W shape).

This variation is specific to the individual and we’ve coached him to inwardly rotate at the bottom to push away from the wall to allow for scapular retraction and activation of upper back muscles. Though he achieves the goal for this movement (scapular retraction, minimal lumbar movement when reaching upwards) he needs coached (and foot position modified slightly) to allow contact of wrist/ elbow against the wall while reaching overhead. He simply struggles with external rotation of the shoulder and super-tight lats at the moment, so we have a list of exercises that have been incorporated to enhance his mobility and strength in the shoulder area.

It’s important to be as progressive with mobility exercises as you would be with any core lifts. With this exercise we will gradually have the athlete walk his feet back towards the wall (as his external rotation ROM improves) and have his back flat against the wall.
Of course, there are other movements we’re using to ‘open up’ this athlete; however, this provides an example of choosing the right variation of a drill to reinforce good movement mechanics without subtracting from core lifts and the pursuit of strength.

DISCLAIMER