Considering some workout adjustments
Just read this EliteFTS Classic article: The Eight Keys, A Complete Guide to Maximal Strength Development.
Tons of great stuff in there, but a few take-homes for myself.
1. hanging leg raises
I hate doing this exercise, but I love what it works and how compound a movement it is. It doesn’t just work my abs, but works my whole body. I hate doing it, but I love the results. I also love that while I’m still only going knees to shoulders, I’ve gotten so much stronger at this. I’m still waiting for when I can do 3×10 across, but I’m working on it and getting there.
But as you may have read, I keep having this ugly problem with my right shoulder/deltoid area.
So… I might try something else: pulldown abs. Here’s a video:
There’s lots of other “how to” videos out there, but I’ll do it like the powerlifters do it.
And I figure why not try this. I haven’t done it, I don’t know what it will bring, but I know that the hanging leg raises bring “bad pain” so hey… what’s the harm in trying this and seeing what comes of it, y’know?
2. squat weak points
The article has a section about squat weak points. It talks about falling forward:
You may also have allowed your head to drop down. Your body will always follow your head so you must keep your head back. Notice I didn’t say up, but back. Watch the eyes of any great squatter as he rises out of the bottom. Through the blood clots you’ll see his eyes are focused up and he’s driving his neck back into the bar. Even the guys you think are looking down are still driving their head into their traps.
This is something I hit upon some time ago, trying to feel “chin in”… pulling my head “in”. They have a better way of putting it, driving his neck back into the bar.
One technical reason is not rising with your chest first out of the bottom. You’re rising with your hips first. When your hips flex first your chest will always go forward. You have to think of rising with your chest first and squatting the bar back, not up. If you have the bar driving back it’ll travel in a straight line instead of going forward. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line and this is how the bar must travel.
The gym owner notes that I’m falling forward. Could it be weak abs? It is possible, but as I’m examining my body through my heaviest squat sets, it seems more a technique problem. I’m driving my hips up first, like Rippetoe teaches. BUT Rip also maintains you have to keep your chest up. I think I’m not doing this. THAT could be a weak lower back, or just that I’ve got shitty technique. Right now, I’m thinking shitty technique because I’m not feeling the torso musculature being activated or working and saying “oh shit, I’m too weak to move this”. So it COULD be weak, but I think it’s technique.
I think a key here is “squatting the bar back, not up”. And I notice when I engage my arms and press up with my arms out of the hole, that helps too, not just because it takes some weight off, but it’s keeping that vertical groove. I also realized that I need to have my arms in a closer grip on the bar so my upward press is a press… that strains my elbows some, but it’s alright.
So it’s a bunch of things here, and I need to really keep these cues in mind and see what difference they make. I’m about to start the next cycle, so squat weights will be “light” — a perfect time to hone form.
You know what it is?