An overview of the squat from Powerlifting Coach Sean Henry
With us starting a new squat strength cycle in the CrossFit classes, now is a great time to review proper squatting technique.
Technique Tip – Should Strongman Athletes Bench Press?
From Strongman Coach Daniel Evans
Looking at the history of strongman – the overhead press is the most important movement to be good at. It’s not uncommon to see two individual pressing events in a five event competition or a medley where you are doing multiple overhead presses with different implements for time or reps. So it’s safe to say strong shoulders and triceps are a pre-requisite for success in strongman, so overhead pressing multiple times a week is a must.
But what about the bench press? We know the bench press is the “King of Gym Bro Lifts” and entire fitness brands have been built upon the “how much do you bench” questions (please don’t sue us Mark Bell). The bench press and it’s variations allow you to use more weight and work your triceps and shoulders on top of the pec involvement. Plus, who doesn’t want to be able to tell your gym bros or sisters how awesome your bench is?
It’s my belief that while the bench press is not a movement that hits the specifity rule of training, it and it’s variations are great for general physical preparedness and increasing pressing strenth. That’s why I include the bench press as a main supplemental movement on our second press day of the week, use dumbbell variations for assistance movements, and include the bench press in our testing weeks.
So if you want to compete in strongman, keep working your overhead press but don’t forget to include your bench presses as well. The results may just surprise you.
Want to learn more about the sport of strongman? Visit http://www.832crossfit.com/programs/strongman/ or http://genesisstrength.com/strongman/ to sign up for your free workout! Join us
Powerlifting Tech Tip: Deficit Deadlifts
From Coach Sean Henry
Deficit deadlifts are a favorite variation of mine. Here are a few reasons why you should be crazy enough to make your deadlift even harder.
Increased range of motion – by standing on a deficit you can increase the range of motion by varying degrees. This makes the bottom portion of the deadlift quite a bit harder. You must generate more force and spend more time in this position making you stronger. Most importantly, the increased range of motion will teach a lifter how to grind out a tough deadlift.
Time under tension – another “benefit” of deficit deadlifts is the increased time under tension. Increasing time under tension is an excellent way to pack on more muscle. Therefore, if you have a lifter who is a little lacking in strength this movement is a wise choice for their individualized program.
Increased strength with less risk – assuming you safely know how to perform a deadlift, and you have the correct amount of deficit, you can make great strength gains with less risk. More weight on the bar tends to equate to an increased risk of injury. Performing deadlifts from a deficit allows you to strain and put in quite a bit of effort with less load on the bar. This will translate into keeping you healthy, strong, and ready for a new PR soon!
From a technical standpoint, there many areas in which any part of the lifts may go wrong. Whether it be due to positional error, or simply by failure to execute technique, there are multiple ways to correct a problem an athlete may be having that is causing less than ideal or missed lifts. One of the ways that is the most successful is implementing a corrective exercise to address the issue. This entails properly identifying the problem and coming up with a fix that is both helpful and performable by the athlete (i.e. prescribing press from snatch for someone who has an issue with catching the barbell with the chest tall) may not pay dividends. More often than not the best drill is what that can be implemented during the athlete’s empty bar warm up this way they are forced to perform the correction day after day. Through the repetitive and daily use of new drill the athlete slowly incorporates this new addition into their lifting technique. If the athlete fails to bring the bar into the hips during final extension a lat pull or power position drill can be included. If the bar is getting away from the lifter after extension muscle snatch variations can be added. In this way the coach can use trial and error as to which drills best suit the athlete’s capabilities and provides the intended result.
Strongman Technique Tip by Strongman Coach Daniel Evans
The log is one of the most recognizable press movements in strongman. From the Arnold Classic, to World’s Strongest Man, to Nationals, to your local show, odds are if there is a press in your competition it’s going to be the log. In today’s technique tip, we are going to focus on the clean portion of the log clean and press.
The first thing we need to get out of our head is that the log clean is like a weightlifting clean. It’s not. It’s a lap and roll.
You’ll start your log “clean” by angling the log down at a 45 degree angle and put you hands in the middle of the handles. From there you’ll set you shins as close to the log, pull your shoulders back like a deadlift, and deadlift the log. Make sure your glutes are squeezed and the log is as high on your hips as you can get it.
With the log in your hips and your glutes squeezed, you are going to squat down and put the log on your thighs and your chest. This is the lap position, and you’ll need to get familiar with this position to do well in strongman. Make sure your shoulders are pulled back, your elbows are up high, and the log is touching as high on your chest as you can get it.
From the lap, you are going to throw your hips forward and roll the log up your chest. You’ll finish the “clean” with your glutes squeezed, your upper back arched back (like you’re doing an incline bench), your head leaned back, and your elbows parallel to the ground (if not a little higher). And that’s your clean. Be sure to check back for our next technique tip, where we focus on the press portion of the log clean and press.
Interested in getting in person strongman training? Give us a call or shoot us an email to set up your free strongman trial session and see what it’s all about.
Powerlifting Technique Tip: Seal Row
From Coach Sean Henry
The seal row is a great and under utilized tool for powerlifters, weightlifters, and crossfitters alike. Training at high frequency, as many barbell sports do, often leads to several issues. One of these issues is low back fatigue. Anyone who has squatted, deadlifted, pulled, or snatched multiple times a week knows the feeling when it’s time to do some upper back training and your low back is locked up and tight. It’s easy to say “ehhh I think I’ll just skip it”. I’ve never meet anyone who had a back that was too strong. Therefore, instead of skipping the taxing bent over rows, sub them out for the seal row. Doing so will allow you to save your lower back for your primary training and zoom in on your target area. Setup is simple, as seen in the video. Don’t be afraid to train these like a bodybuilder, use tempo, squeeze, utilize drop sets etc. Now you know how and why! Get after it!
Weightlifting Technique Tip from Coach Doug Ligon
Technical inconsistencies are the primary reasons for missing lifts. Here I used tempo snatch deadlift(mid-shin) and snatch(mid-shin) to reinforced proper tension in the legs during the the 1st and 2nd pull as well as pressure being consistently mid-foot through the entire snatch(flat feet). No early toe or heel drive. Hope this helps.
P.S. I didn’t use straps simply to reinforced grip strength but typically I would use them here.
Tech Tip from Powerlifting Coach Sean Henry
Belt squats have been popularized quite a bit as of late with good reason. When preformed correctly they are a great tool to utilize in your or your athletes’ training.
The loading pin strapped around the waist automatically places the weight over the mid foot and greatly reduces the need for forward lean. This allows more of the weight to shift on to the quads. In addition, this set up also does not load the spine; a great benefit to the injured or over taxed athlete. When enough weight is used a belt squat can create a traction effect on the spine for which I can attest that I personally have received quite a bit of benefit from(think inversion table feeling).
It’s important to maintain a good position while doing belt squats. Do not allow the weight to pull you into the bottom causing your lower back to tuck under your pelvis. The whole point of belt squats is to keep your back healthy. Stay up right, keep decent tempo on your decent, and watch your quads blow up.
Weightlifting Tech Tip: Concrete and Jell-O (how and where to catch the lifts)
A common misconception among new to intermediate level lifters is where the bar should be caught in the snatch and clean and jerk. Some athletes are naturally stronger or faster than others and may use either of these traits to make sub-maximal lifts incorrectly. The stronger athletes will rip the bar off the floor and most often catch the bar in a near standing position and have trouble maneuvering under the bar with heavier loads. The naturally quicker athletes will have the tendency to cut the pull short and dive-bomb under the bar to the bottom of the squat. Neither of these will fully develop the movement needed to execute the lifts at maximal loads. Even when working with lifts that are well below a lifter’s max there should not be an abrupt stop of upward acceleration in order to pull under. The bar should be lifted to the appropriate height and be received somewhere just above parallel. In the lighter lifts this should appear to be a power snatch or clean where the athlete smoothly rides the bar down to the bottom of the squat and recovers. Receiving the bar higher gives the athlete more time to organize the overhead position in the snatch or the front rack in the clean. This in turn allows more time to make small adjustments and facilitates the stretch/shortening cycle to provide a better rebound in the clean. As the weight on the bar increases, the vertical displacement lessens and the athlete will be required to match the height of the bar lower in the squat. Having less distance to decelarate the bar forces a greater amount of pressure from the legs resisting the downward force from gravity. When we jump and move the feet (land) in the power variations of the lift we want maximal leg pressure as to stop the bar instantaneously. Think about landing in wet concrete. With the full lifts, think about landing in jell-o. There is enough structure to gradually slow the downward travel, but not so much as to expend any undue energy. Landing without enough pressure and tension results in getting buried in the bottom of the squat, often in poor position to recover. Practice this using squat drops as a drill with only bodyweight. Set the feet in the pulling position and jump them into a squatting stance. Work on both abrupt stops and on finding the right amount of tension in order to quickly sink under control.
photo cred: Catalyst Athletics