3 Tips to Dominate This Programming Cycle

pull ups

Excuse me… I’d like to interrupt of everyone’s game of Pokemon Go.  Friday marks the midway point for our summer training cycle and I’d like to drop a few tips here to help maximize the next 3 weeks of training. If you’re new and unfamiliar with the structure of our programming cycles take a look at this article for a basic lay of the land.. We have and will continue to focus on improving everyone’s strict pull-ups, back squat, and clean.  So today I will include a tip for each of the three movements.

Tip 1 “Back Squat”:
Stretch your groin.  This  will not only help open of the bottom of your squat position, but also improve your ability to access the gluteus medius which abducts, internally, and externally rotates you femur in the hip. Why is this important?  Because a fully engaged hip gives us a stronger more stable position in our deep squat, which allows us to protect our lower back and knees from common ailments associated with poor squat form. It also help us lift more weight (duh).  If you need some examples of good groin stretches check out this article I wrote back in March with some quick hip and groin openers.

Tip 2 “Clean”:
Improve your rack. One of the most common problems I see with the clean is a poor rack positions. Countless lifts have been missed due to poor rack positions.  Here’s a quick test – Can you squat clean your 3 RM Front Squat? If you can’t, it is most likely a positional issue in the rack or a poor squat depth in your front squats. Lets assume its a shitty rack position. First, go read Coach Tim’s in-depth article discussing the finer points of improving the rack position with dual mobility and stability work.  Secondly, I have a challenge for you… Don’t front squat a weight that you can’t put a full grip on bar with. That’s right, no weight goes on your bar that you can’t keep all four fingers, your thumb, and at least part of your palm wrapped around.  This is will you develop a rack position that is advantageous for the clean and will also probably help improve your squat depth.


Tip 3 “Strict Pull-ups”:  
Last, but certainly not least let’s talk strict pull-ups.  Let’s look outside the box a bit here. Besides upper body pulling strength and body weight, the biggest challenge in the strict pull-up is full body control. Most of us naturally relax everything as we try to struggle our chin over to the bar. So the challenge here is to find as many ways to hang from the bar in a hollow position as possible. Full hand, active hang, 90 degree bent arm hang, chin over bar hang, or chest to bar hang.  The goal is to maintain a great hollow position, if at any point you feel your legs, butt, or belly relax jump off the bar.  This is will help you develop proper body positions in different ranges of motion of the pull-up, and ingrain proper positioning in nervous system. Don’t spend more than 2:00 total minutes hanging from the bar however.

That’s it folks lets dominate this second half of the programming like you have a rare pikachu in your sights. Full disclosure, I know nothing about the new Pokemon fad, but it sure is popular with the kids these days!

-Coach Wes