We'll continue on with the basic premise set by Paul in his original piece, and I'll simply provide some simple structured points in each article that you can either read, discard or move onto the next one. I hope you find something useful in each edition, and when I'm running out of relevant material, you can be sure we'll have either a great guest post by a forum member or another person of high calibre who'll have an opinion worth listening to.
Let's get stuck into it.
Tuck your shoulder blades into your pockets when bench pressing
This is an elegant tip that I've learnt from many great powerlifters. When pressing, simply try to envision your shoulder blades retracted into your back pockets - almost as though you're "tucking them in".
Why do this? There are many reasons:
- It will keep you extremely tight and stable during the press
- It will allow you to utilise your rear delts more effectively in the lift
- It will also actually help your arch by providing a 'bridge' to support your neck as well - allowing you to press more powerfully, almost as though you're digging your traps into the bench as you press off. This itself is a valuable tip many top powerlifters have emphasised for the bench press.
Because most individuals have horrible postural distortions, a weak posterior chain, and prevalent shoulder problems that are exacerbated by pressing heavy far too frequently and horribly neglecting the power of the pull.
If you're late to the party on this one folks, then I'd advise you to rectify the problem immediately. While it's plausible to investigate this area a lot further and cover it more in depth (yes, pressing far too much may be the reason some of our readers' shoulders are screwed), you can make an immediate start to correct this imbalance by simply being a bit more diligent about the work you do in the gym. This means dropping some of your pressing exercises (trust me, it's not necessary to military press, flat bench, incline bench, decline press, hammer strength press, etc), and putting a ton more emphasis on rows and pulling exercises. You have to compromise for longevity in this game.
In fact, most renowned and prestigious experts recommend a ratio of 1:2 of pressing to pulling, such as Eric Cressey and Bret Contreras. Yet you're possibly unknowingly giving yourself a ton of problems. It's time to leave our ego's at the door ladies and gents - you can start by analysing your current regime and making sure you're performing pulling movements a third more than you push. Results will be very fast.
Cardio can take a lot of time to build up, but a little to maintain
We'll round out this weeks edition with a simple observation that many of the best strength and condioning coaches are continually amazed at, and hopefully will keep those of you embarked on this quest focused in your efforts to achieve this goal.
Cardio IS difficult to build up: for many it's tedious, monotonous work, and for others, it's sheer pain. But just remember, once you hit a high level of it, you can maintain excellent cardio relatively easily in comparison to the monumental effort it can to reach high standards, with as little as 1-2 sessions per week.
Until next time...
That's all for this week. You can check back next week and towards the latter end of this week when we'll be revisiting my original post on the Training Triangle series, before I got interupted and went to Malaysia. We have many exciting pieces in the pipeline so stay tuned!