I had some time between clients this evening, so rather than read another article discussing the oncoming doom of the American economy I figured it would be much more fulfilling and productive to handout a few tips on how anyone can improve their deadlift performance.
1. Deadlift with picture perfect form.
-Your feet should be slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart, and the bar should be against your shins.
-Keep your chest tall, brace yourself using your abdominals (like preparing to take a punch), and sit back into position, arch the lower back as forcefully as possible while keeping your shoulder blades smashed together (like your pinching a pencil between them). From here I cue everyone to push their hips backwards until they can grab the bar, avoid any motion that resembles squatting down.
-Once you have gripped the bar, squeeze it like your mean to crush the metal while simultaneously squeezing your shoulders backwards and down. This allows you to engage the lats as well as activate the fascia which connects between the thoracic and lumbar spine increasing the spines stability. If done correctly one should feel quite a bit of tension in the hamstrings and up into the glutes.
-Be sure to keep your chin tucked in and look at a spot about 8 feet ahead of you on the floor, fixating on it for the remainder of the exercise.
-Begin by keeping your elbows firmly locked and driving your weight into your heels and your heels into the floor. As you begin to pull the bar and ascend be sure that the hips and shoulders move in sync. Hips moving before the shoulders can have disastrous consequences.
-Once the bar has ascended past the knees all that is left to do is extend the hips and lock out the top position for the finish. This is done by firing your glutes and pushing your hips through to the wall in front of you.
-For most this is the portion of the lift that seems to be the most difficult. Do not break your knees rather begin the descent by breaking at the hips. Begin by sitting back allowing the height to reside in the heel of the foot, while allowing the bar to slid down the front of your thighs.
-Do not lose the tight arch you have created in your lower back and don't allow the shoulders to pitch forward and round.
2. Pull Frequently and Heavy
Please do not take this tip out of context and begin lifting heavy every day of the freaking week. I simply mean that if you want to master the deadlift and become a much stronger deadlifter you need to maybe deadlift some.
In my opinion you should try and pull at least once per week. I also believe you must begin with a low-rep protocol somewhere between 1 and 6 reps. Strength in the beginning is associated with increase in the Central Nervous System's ability to recruit muscle fibers. Hence the reason why people see improvements very quickly in strength before body composition begins to change at all.
I hardly ever deadlift for more than five reps because anything more than that often results in terrible, unrecognizable form.
3. Take off your shoes
This recommendation comes on the heels of finishing the awesome book Born to Run which shines a great light on to the shoe industry and the sham that has been created regarding our footwear.
Without shoes you are about 3inches closer to the ground, which means thats 3inches less the bar must travel. By taking off your shoes it also allows you to pull more effectively through your heels and increase glute and hamstring recruitment.
Run. But these three tips should go a long way in helping your deadlift. I have a few more tips regarding the deadlift and for anyone who would like to have them please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to pass the rest of the list along.
I can not say enough about the issues worrying causes people. Worry is by far the number one self-imposed stressor that is dealt with on a daily basis, but the irony of this stressor is that it is self-inflicted unnecessarily. Worrying is a cognitive behavior meaning one can alter and manipulate it. Most accept worry as just another part of their daily routine, without realizing that it does not have to be. This worry can be motivated by all kinds of situation in all areas of someone’s life be they health, children, or work, but for the majority the worry has nothing to do with the current status of any of these areas. The worry is caused by the individual’s constant “what if” thoughts. “What if” thoughts are the prime cause of all worries. They are our constant anxious feelings regarding how we will handle unpredictable future events. These thoughts are the poisonous cognitive behaviors which manifest themselves as worry. But as mentioned before we can alter this behavior, which means (and this goes for everyone) STOP WORRYING!
To spend your time constantly thinking of “what if” is a waste of your time and this is primarily because majority of the factors that will influence this future unknown “what if” are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL! One should spend no time thinking or worrying about things which escape one’s control. One should focus only on what one can directly affect. Why worry about crap such as, “what if my business fails”, “what if my new approach yields me nothing”, “what if I don’t have the talent to do this”, “what if my program isn’t structured correctly”. I mean screw it! Do not waste precious energy on such worrisome, uncontrollable, and pointless negative thoughts. Instead direct all possible efforts and thoughts toward continuing success moving past failures on to greener pasture. Before narrowing focus on to how this affects fitness get let me leave you this question to ponder. Do you think people such as, Michael Jordan, sit and think about “what if”? There is what has been and what is, the rest (what is to be) is always in a state of flux.
Now to narrow the scope on to how worrying causes issues with fitness. Most probably don’t think to consider their thoughts as the primary issue, most look and evaluate actions first, but ultimately attitude and thoughts are much more important. I see this manifest itself everyday in both my clients and members. It seems that just about everyone who is exercising is constantly worrying about exercise selection, set and rep schemes, weight, or some other relative program variable. The worry often stems from lack of observable results or progress. But what is truly amazing is the time a person gives to an effort the individual usually begins “what if”ing after two days of committing to an approach. Here is a great example of this phenomenon in a conversation I had with a client:
Client: “Do you think I am losing any bodyfat with my new commitment to strength training because I am just not sure it’s working”
Me: “Yes I am extremely confident that this WILL result in increased body alteration”
Client: “Are you sure? You don’t think I need to start doing extra cardio because I haven’t seen any difference”
Me: “How long have you been trying your new routine for?”
Client: “About 5 days.”
Me: “um . . . . well . . .”
Client: “I think I am going to start doing more cardio instead of strength training”
Do i need to state what is wrong with this individuals processing. Here is the issue worrying causes for fitness. People try something new in an effort to improve, yet wind up abandoning if before it has enough time to have an effect. This is why so many never reach their goals. Here we need to go back to advice from the beginning “only focus on what you can control”. You can’t control your biological processes or the rate of your metabolism, but you can control what you eat, when you eat it, and how you train. If these all align wish your goal don’t worry about the results they will come just focus on doing what your suppose to and the rest will take care of itself.
So in closing, put away your useless “what if”’s take back control of your thoughts and training and focus only on what you can directly affect.
-Plank x (20s FP)(10s SP) x 2set
-Glute Bridge x 3 8s holds x 1set
-Hip Mobility x 10reps x 1set
-All-In-One x 20yds x 1set
-Clean & Jerk 4sets x 5reps @ 165lbs
-A1 - One-Arm STD Cable Row x 8reps
-A2 - Crab Crawl x 30yds
-A3 - Dips x 6+
*3 rounds with no rest
-B1 - Good Morning x 12reps @ 95lbs
-B2 - Lying Leg Curl x 10reps @ 150lbs
-Get-Up Sit-Up x 12reps x 2sets
-Static Stretching x 20sec apiece
-Foam Roller x 8 rolls apiece
Being a personal trainer is an awesome job and I love everyday I am allowed to keep sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas about health, but there is one situation that being a personal trainer absolutely sucks, being introduced to someone you have never met before because more often than not I am introduced in some sort of fashion that resembles the following: “This is my good friend Stevan, he is a personal trainer”. Once this phrase has been uttered I can kiss my next 30 to 45 minutes goodbye because they will be spent answering this individuals every questions on how to achieve every want and desire regarding their physique. I also have to say that I experience this with women a lot more than men and most commonly the number one question I get is “I workout 5 days a week, but I still can’t get the bubble butt I want”. This is the point in the conversation where it often takes a turn for the worse because I have to make the decision to break it to this women that everything she has ever done is wrong and a waste of time, fracturing the individual’s psyche or allow this individual to keep living her delusion about how her workout is not the problem but her genetic make-up. For the majority of people I just don’t have the heart to break the news to them in person. So I figured I could break the news to all those out there at once about why they aren’t not obtaining the butt they desire.
FIrst because this issue is primarily a feminine issue let me direct you to stop reading all women fitness and health magazines immediately. No matter how much you believe you need the information they are peddling out you don’t I promise. The road to the butt you want begins with a very important realization there only exist a few things you can do to change the way you look. The word “tone” doesn’t exist in the world of fitness. I don’t know who coined this term but it is a load of bullshit! Stop using it and stop expecting it! You can do two things to a muscle and its cellular components make them bigger or smaller. The same goes as well for a fat cell you can make it bigger or smaller. You cannot alter the shape, elongate, or tone a muscle or anything close to it. This meaning that any woman wanting to improve their physical appearance and get a booty like Jessica Biel needs to have one focus build muscle and torch fat. It is that simple! I know this must be crazy talk because the last magazine article you read said you need to do three sets of ten on the glute blaster and hip abductor machines. C’mon get that crap out of your mind it is useless babble by an unqualified individual prescribing exercise. But I realize also some woman out there might be reading this scared to death because I used the phrase “building muscle”. Let me put your fears to bed for the final time regarding the issue of becoming a overly manly-looking female. I hate to break it to you guys but women do not possess the hormonal profile to produce mass gains the way a man does unless you are somehow being injected with testosterone without your knowledge.
Now that we have established what one’s focus needs to be in order to get the butt they always desired let’s discuss some of the things you are doing that go against this focus and what you should be doing instead. First, most women are miss using strength training. Women do not need to be isolated away to the corners of the gym using three pound dumbbells and water bottles for weight. Strength training is called strength training for a reason the primary goal is to get stronger! Personally I have not ever understood why a woman wouldn’t want to get stronger (I guess it has something to do with the fear of turning into the hulk, but now we know that won’t happen so strength here we come). So throw this kind of strength training out of the windows ladies start lifting heavy for reps between 8 and 15. By doing this you challenge yourself and give your body a reason to make changes. I hate to say it but those curls done with three pound dumbbells aren’t going to make these necessary changes happen. Please do also forget the statement, no matter who told you, that high reps burn more fat or calories, heavy weight training burns far more calories than low weight high rep training could ever hope too. Remember also it is not about how many calories you burn during exercise it is about the amount of calories you burn in the 24 to 48 hours following exercise. Another reason why training heavier is superior because it boost your metabolic rate for a much longer period. Second you need to start focusing on the basic movements avoid selectorized machines. Learn the most fundamental compound movements, such as the military press, squat, or deadlift.
Lastly follow the rules of progressive overload in all your training. This goes back to the issue of getting stronger when a weight feels lighter bump the weight up. Progressively overload the muscle causing the muscle to respond with growth and strength increases.
If you make these changes to your workout regimen and incorporate a diet that is nutritionally sound full of fresh whole foods you will achieve those round firm glutes every girl wishes to have.
1. Whenever performing any type or variation of a pulling movement think about pulling through the elbows and driving them to the wall behind.
2. While performing a rotational core-emphasized exercise avoid rotating only through the lumbar spine be sure to engage the rectus abdominis and pull through the oliques.
3. When performing deadlift variations cue yourself to pull backwards as well as up.
4. For overall shoulder health perform a push-up variation on a regular basis
5. Select a compound movement and stick with it until you have absolute mastery of the lift and it’s technique.