Tag Archives: tutorial

How to Fix “Good Morning” Squat

omar-squats

If your back squat turns into a good morning movement because you’re unable to keep your upper body upright, weak quads may be to blame and training your posterior chain excessively because  you think it’s too weak might make the problem worse! The following video from Omar Isuf with Jeremy Hamilton explains why.

BRB going to do front squats RIGHT NAO!

How to Breathe | Breathing 101

breathing

A proper breathing pattern can help improve your core strength, safeguard your spine when lifting weights and help better your posture. It can also improve your mobility. Below is a helpful video on the topic.

Diaphragmatic Breathing 101

Notes:

– Minor tweaks with regards to breathing technique can improve your posture, mobility and performance.

– You breathe approximately 20,000 times per day.

– A poor breathing pattern can put you in bad positions (i.e. forward head posture or internal rotation at the shoulders) for 20k reps per day.

– Laying down to learn the new breathing pattern makes things easier.

– Bad: Chest breathing can cause lower back hyperextension and tightness of the pec minor, front of the shoulders, neck, etc. (which can help lead to a forward head posture).

– Bad: Belly breathing is partially correct, but you need to finish the correction. Most people do not. They simply belly breathe instead of chest breathe. Belly breathing alone pushes the hips into anterior tilt and can help cause problems like a lack of upper back tightness during various lifts, and also a reduction in overall shoulder mobility.

– Bad: Not fully exhaling. Without a full exhale between breaths, the hip may get stuck in an anterior pelvic tilt (ATP). This causes a ton of problems.

– Lay down with your lower back flat against the table or ground. Your hips should be in a neutral position. The back of your neck should be long with your chin tucked.

– Utilize your diaphragm to breathe into your belly through your nose. Then tighten your abs, continue to breathe in, and push the air up into your lungs until you’re completely filled with air.

– You should feel your belly fill with air, then your lower back (when you’re laying down this will be more easier to notice because your lower back will push against the ground), then your chest and finally your upper back. You’re now filled with air!

– Exhale fully. Use your abs to push the air out of your body through your mouth.

– To make practicing your breathing less difficult than laying flat, you can lay on the floor with your legs at a 90° angle at the knees and hips. Your feet will be against the wall. Your feet should be straight with your knees over the second toe. The tripod of your foot (big toe, little toe and heel) should be in contact with the wall and pressure should be equally distributed. The back of your neck should be long with your chin tucked. Externally rotate your shoulders (palms facing up).

– Once you’re comfortable breathing with your feet against the wall, move to breathing properly laying flat on the ground, then half kneeling followed by full kneeling and standing.

– Also shown is how to breathe your way into a deeper squat stretch.

 

I hope this video taught you something about breathing properly. I know it has personally helped me a lot, so I wanted to share it with you.

Deadlift Basics

Other basics write-ups: Squat | Bench Press | OHP | Barbell Row

 

Today was deadlift day for my training program, which is now a hybrid of 5/3/1 and The Cube Method (simply for reference), so I decided to do a write up on the movement. Whether you’re new or have deadlifted before, you might learn some things. This is knowledge I’ve acquired over the last three years that I have been deadlifting regularly. The combination of this knowledge and my efforts in the gym has helped me pull 215kg/474lbs (as of 6/11/13) at a body weight of 85kg/187lbs. My goal for 2013 is to deadlift 230kg/507lbs by the end of the year. We’ll see if I get there. 🙂

(Tip: Read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe for an in depth description of the deadlift.)

In this article, I’m just going to give you some videos to watch for the barbell deadlift movement. Typing up everything would be far too tedious for my aching hands.

 

The Deadlift Setup

From Mark Rippetoe himself: The Deadlift Setup

An interesting tweak  to engage your lats more and keep your arms straight, courtesy of Jonnie Candito: How to Engage Your Lats When You Grab the Bar

 

The Pull

Candito goes through the entire deadlift process in the following video:

Deadlift 101 by Brandon Lilly is another awesome one.

From Mark Rippetoe: Deadlift Back Angles (especially valuable information to keep in mind for sets with multiple reps)

Also a great playlist about the deadlift: Deadlift Playlist on YouTube

Elliott Hulse teaching Omar Isuf how to deadlift: How to Rebuild Your Deadlift

How to Deadlift (another good video)

 

How to Grip the Bar

Your best bet is the double overhand grip. Use this until weights get too heavy for you to handle with the overhand grip. Make sure you’re gripping the bar properly during the deadlift. This also applies to other pulling movements. Video on that: Rip on Grip (Bonus: Gripping the bar in this manner will reduce callus formation during pull movements like the deadlift.)

Once your overhand grip gives out, improve your grip by using lifting chalk. If your gym does not allow the use of lifting chalk, try an alternative like Liquid Grip or an eco ball.

When your chalked overhand grip no longer does the trick, you have three valid options: Use a mixed grip, use straps and/or use a hook grip. I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the positives/negatives of each option.

Mixed Grip: This is where one hand is in an overhand/pronated grip and the other hand is in an underhand/supinated grip. The positive is that you can pull more weight like this than with a double overhand grip. The negative is that it increases your chance of tearing a bicep.

Using Straps: This is where you’d use lifting straps to help you hang onto the barbell when weight gets too heavy for a double overhand grip (with chalk or a chalk alternative). The positive is that you can use more weight without grip being a limiting factor. You’re also much less likely to tear a bicep than you are with a mixed grip. The negative is that you’ll have to do extra grip training and that you can’t use straps in a powerlifting competition obviously.

Hook Grip: The hook grip is a very good option. The only negative aspect is that it will be painful to get used to the hook grip and it’s not too feasible for most people to use this grip on high repetition deadlift sets. I would say that it’s a valid option for pulling lower rep sets and possibly can be used in competition as well.

Below is a video from Jonnie Candito on why he thinks you should avoid the mixed grip. I say make your own decision, but make it an educated one!

 

Sumo Deadlift

I don’t pull this way, but many people do. Here are some videos relating to the sumo deadlift.

Sumo vs Conventional Deadlift from strengthcamp

How to Sumo Deadlift with Mark Bell

How to Perform Sumo Deadlifts by Bret Contreras

 

Trap Bar Deadlift

Again, not something I do… but it’s an option. Video: Trap Bar Deadlift from Testosterone Nation

 

Stiff Legged Deadlift (SLDL)

This one’s from Candito!

 

Other variations you might want to look into would be block pulls, rack pulls, deficit deadlift, and Romanian Deadlift.

 

As always, this is just my take on things. Now go rip heavy shit off the ground!