Random Training Thoughts (Yes, I Stole This Blog Title from Mike Robertson)
Normally I save these type of posts for Miscellaneous Miscellany Mondays, but I’ve got a few things rocking around in my brain at the moment that I needed to just throw out there.
Deadlifts are King
Everyone knows that I have an affinity for two things: Alicia Keys and deadlifts. But that goes without saying.
The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that deadlifts truly are the most versatile exercise in existence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: what makes the deadlift so unique is the fact that you can fit (or tweak) the movement to the lifter and not vice versa. Meaning, if someone walks into my facility on day one and has the hip mobility of a crow bar (read: they’re tight), I’m certainly not going to have him or her attempt to pull straight from the floor. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
Instead, I may opt to use an elevated trap bar setting; or maybe even have them perform rack pulls. Who knows? Either way, they’re STILL receiving all the benefits of deadlifting – engraining the proper hip hinge pattern, strengthening the posterior chain, increasing core stability, etc – without all the drawbacks that would otherwise arise if had them pull directly from the floor.
Of course, as they become more proficient, we can start to experiment with other variations – but ONLY after they have proven they’re capable of doing so! It may take one session, one week, or one month, it’s hard to tell. But as I noted previously, having the ability to progress AND regress our clients is a skill that’s often overlooked.
So, in short, I don’t have to “mold” the lifter to the exercise. Rather, I can “mold” the exercise to the lifter depending on their postural deficits, current mobility restrictions, injury history, so on and so forth. And, while we can say the same for just about any exercise, I feel the deadlift is easily the most adaptable of the bunch.
And, speaking of deadlifts – here’s a quick programming tip. Whether you’re following a 3x-per-week, full body split, or a 4x-per-week, upper/lower split, on the days you deadlift, make sure your single leg movement for that day is more quad-dominant in nature.
As an example, if your main movement for that day is SUMO deadlifts (more hip dominant in nature), a good single leg movement to implement would be something like a dumbbell split squat, or maybe some Bulgarian split squats – both of which are more quad-dominant.
Conversely, on the days that you squat (which are more quad dominant, excluding box squats, obviously), it would be a good idea to include single leg work that’s more hip (hamstring/glute) dominant – like dumbbell (or barbell) reverse lunges, or 1-legged RDLs.
This isn’t something that’s necessarily set in stone, but one “rule” that I have found works pretty well when discussing program design with younger or less experienced trainers and coaches.
Really? No, Seriously, Really?
I’m definitely going to expound on this in more of a rant style post sometime next week, but suffice it to say I saw an article on Yahoo’s homepage the other day titled “Top FOUR Exercises to Tone Up Your Arms,” written by some celebrity trainer (not who you think) who used all the cute, warm, and fuzzy buzz words you would expect to see in such an article. The same words used time and time again that play into women’s fears of lifting “real” weight.
Words like tone, sleek, shape, and anything similar that is just as likely to make me want to set my face on fire.
What’s more, the exercises shown – shadow punches, tricep extension, rear delt flies, and bicep curls – all done for 15-20 reps no less, are about as likely to get your arms “toned” as brushing your hair.
It’s bullshit when you think about it. Oh man, I’m getting fired up just thinking about it.
1-Arm Farmer Carries
Are definitely growing on my list of exercise that everyone needs to be doing. Think about it:
- You have to brace the contralateral side as not to tip over – great for overall core stability.
- Depending on which side you’re holding the DB, kettlebell, barbell, whatever, there’s a pretty significant hip external rotation component as well. So, if you’re holding a DB in your right hand, the right posterior hip musculature must fire in order to prevent internal rotation, which in turn stabilizes the hip.
- They’re fantastic for improving grip strength, as well as overall conditioning
- And, this goes without saying, they’re just badass
On that note, for those who celebrate it, have an awesome Easter weekend. For those that don’t, you can still eat lots of dead animal flesh for the hell of it.
Oh, By the Way
Mark Young’s How to Read Fitness Research is still on sale until MIDNIGHT tonight (4/22) for the low price of $37. After that, it jumps up to $77, so make sure to take advantage of the discount while you can. As an added aside, Mark has informed me that there’s NO RISK. You can try the product for eight weeks and if you don’t like it, you can get every penny back with no questions asked.