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We've had a little bit of a delay getting this one out as my computer blew up but here's a bit of an introduction for what I'll aim to put out over the next few weeks.

In this video I focus on the choice of movements that we'll use as the basis for a strength program. In the series I'll aim to emphasise the development of quality movement patterns because its been my experience that that's the most helpful thing that I can offer as coach in this kind of format...

Assuming that someone is already motivated to show up and work hard - this may be a huge assumption but I'm not sure that its a problem I'm ready to fix with a youtube video - then they can also easily learn how to gradually add reps and/or resistance over time. The more pressing aspect that I often see neglected, particularly by beginners, is how to do the movements in the first place, along with how to refine movements over time and organise them in the context of a balanced and sustainable program...

So that will be our focus


 

Alrighty, starting with the basics, I talk through some squat mechanics here, consider some common faults that can pop up with any squat style and cover the main styles of squats that I have found to be useful for my clients.

Looking back on this I was a little tight when shooting and could have used some more weight to help me demonstrate ideal positions, I also flew through some stuff that could merit a longer exploration. I'm happy to get into some of those finer points in the future if the interest is there.

If people are interested I might get some other demo models in the future so that you can see how much 'good form' may vary between individuals based on things like different limb lengths. Let me know...

00:00 Intro

00:37 Unweighted Squat- (including the potato sack to prayer stretch to o'head reach drill). Key points include spreading the weight throughout the foot without collapsing through the arches or lifting the heels off the ground (cues=heels, arches), opening up aka abducting through the hips (cued 'knees out'), avoiding rounding through the spine (cued 'flat back'), and getting the hips below knees at the bottom ('hitting depth').

1:50 Goblet Squat- The same points apply but now we've added weight. Its worth developing a lot of competence with the goblet squat before moving on to the barbell as it teaches some good movement habits that will serve you well later when the load that you require gets too heavy for a goblet squat to be feasible. The Goblet Squat can also a good option for stretching and drilling technique during warmups or on light days/active rest days once you are advanced/committed enough to benefit from that sort of thing.

2:50 Front Squat- Initially, the flexibility and strength through the upper body in 'the rack position' can make supporting the weight through the shoulders, abs and upper back harder than actually pushing the load up with the legs in the front squat. Its worth working through these challenges however as they are great for promoting good posture. If you can maintain external rotation through the shoulders and extension through the thoracic region with a heavy load trying to crush you... resisting the urge to slouch when seated gets a lot easier. Also you'll eventually build super strong legs.

3:40 Back Squat (High Bar)- This one is a bit easier to hold through the upper back and shoulders, making it easier to perform for higher reps without collapsing through your chest. Also the bar placement requires you to bend forward a little more so that your hips end up contributing more and you are able to lift more weight. I generally teach front squats first these days (particularly in large groups) because they help to guard against the common tendency to get bent over during back squats.

4:11 Back Squats (low bar)- I'd think of this version as having three potential uses for people I'd train: The first two are because this bar placement will allow more involvement from the hips and therefor more total weight. 1. The trainee is going to compete in powerlifting. 2. The trainee wants to do 'Starting Strength' which can be a great progression to quickly build a general strength base in novices. The 3rd reason that I might use this squat is that I want to emphasise the involvement of the hips a bit more for someone who has come to me with a squat that is 'all knees and no bum'.

4:48 Overhead Squat- A good posture/mobility check. A foundational progression toward the Snatch. A good teacher of how to be rigid and how to transfer force from your feet to your hands.

5:15 Common Faults- Some common mistakes including poor depth, knees/back collapsing, turning the squat into a good morning and arse shooting up out of the bottom while leaving the bar behind (aka bum shuffle or stripper squat).

6:03 Box Squat- A movement from powerlifting that I sometimes use to teach beginners how to use their hips in the squat. For this drill I'll exaggerate the involvement of the hips by keeping the shins vertical and not allowing the knees to track forward. This is getting closer to the hinge pattern which I'll cover in our third instalment for this series.

6:29 ZigZagging Divebomber squat- this is an (exaggerated) example of a common fault whereby the lifter fails to get much out of their hips at all, instead relying disproportionately on a dynamic rebound from the connective tissues in the knee rather than spreading the work through the ankles, hips and knees and allowing all of the muscles of the lower body to contribute to the lift. ****This didn't hurt with an unloaded bar, but its definitely a pattern that we'd strive to avoid with a heavy load.****


 

00:00 Intro

01:13 The unweighted hinge: I’ll often teach this one standing with the back to the wall. You aim not to bend forward any more than you need to in order to keep your balance, while pushing your hips back towards the wall. This is a really important base and its often something that people need to come back to even if they already have some experience and have gotten strong enough to lift some heavy weights with poor form i.e without bracing through the abdomen or with an over-extended (over-arched) or over-flexed (rounded) spine.

01:43 Loaded hinge aka ‘Bulgarian Goat Belly Swings’: Hip extension is one of the strongest movements that we are capable of (think sprinting/throwing/punching/climbing a mountain) so we really do need to load it up to train it optimally. Adding a little bit of weight in front of the body begins to teach the important skill of not letting external loads pull you off balance and squeezing that weight into the abs helps remind you to brace through the abdominal cavity. Proper bracing ensures that your back/torso can transfer the force generated (in this case by your glutes and hammies) into your upper body and into the external weight, rather than the force ‘leaking out’ into a floppy/passive torso/back and potentially causing injuries like facet strains and bulged discs.

02:28 Hip-Thrust into glute-bridge. This one teaches an important piece that is often missed at the top end of the hinge. Its often the case that people will finish the hinge, not by extending the hips (which would see them complete the hinge with a neutral pelvis or even a very slight posterior tilt) but by pushing the pelvis forward with an anterior tilt and over-extending through the spine. Note: I like hip thrusts for teaching the hip extension pattern but I’m more of a fan of Deadlift and Olympic lift variations once the skill is established and we are ready to load it up heavy or integrate the hip extension into a more complicated pattern.

02:57 The shoulder extension component of the deadlift: Here demonstrated with a partner, this can also be practiced with a stick and a resistance band or a cable pully machine providing resistance to help give people an idea of how the shoulder generally and the lat in particular contribute to picking something heavy up off the ground (which is generally the most effective way to train the hinging pattern with load).

03:21 Kettlebell sumo deadlift.

03:58 Double kettlebell sumo deadlift: These are a gentle/light way to introduce the deadlifting pattern. Its easier to keep the weight back with a kettlebell than a barbell because you can literally pull it back between your legs.

04:21 Conventional Deadlift: This used to be called the health lift and it’s a shame that the name has changed. It’s one of the best movements for strengthening the whole body. Also, if you can be bothered learning the skill of deadlifting well, then this one movement can give you all of the postural benefit that you might get from a bundle of “core strength” exercises, glute-activation movements and postural drills for your scapulars... While also making you really strong. Strong.

05:30 Sumo Deadilft: The shorter range of motion makes this one a popular choice for powerlifters, since their goal is to lift more weight in competition and its usually easier to move heavy weights a shorter distance. Sumo deadlifts can have other benefits too, the more upright torso position makes them a little easier on the back and the wider stance helps challenge the glutes/adductors moreso than in a conventional deadlift.

06:45 Snatch Grip Deadlift: Widening the grip adds to the range of motion, making the lift harder without adding to the tonnage that you need to recover from, the extra time under tension is also handy if you want to gain muscle. The other advantage of a snatch grip is the awkwardness for the shoulders and upper back (thoracic area). A great way to cultivate good posture is teaching the body to maintain good posture when a position/load makes that really challenging. Sitting or standing up straight without load becomes remarkably less challenging when you can do heavy snatch pulls.

07:45 Kettlebell Swings- These are a handy tool for practicing more dynamic hip extension without all of the complexity of the Olympic lifts and without some of the eccentric loading through the joints that you’d end up with from landing if you were training this pattern with bounding or standing broad jumps. For longer sets/higher reps kettlebells can also be a good tool for promoting cardiovascular conditioning, and grip endurance.


 

00:00 Intro

01:10 1 arm dumbbell press

01:54 Kettlebell press

04:04 Kneeling Press

04:20 double kettlebell press

05:04 Barbell press

06:09 Push Press

07:03 Pushups- beginning with some shoulder movement vocabulary so that you understand what we are trying to do. At 08:11 I demonstrate scap pushups on a bench. At 08:40 I demonstrate pushups on the ground.

09:05 Suedo- planche pushup.

09:15 Dip

9:57 Ring Dips- I like 8 of these with good form as a prerequisite to bench press. See video for what i mean by good form.

10:44 Incline Dumbell (bench) press-

11:18 The bench press-

12:07 Psuedo-Planche pull into tuck planche. 12:30 Tuck planche on parallets

12:42 wall walk to HS

13:15 How to fail when tired.


 

00:00 Intro

01:00 Mimed demo of some chinup variations that you can build toward longer term- Parallel V-grip chins. Archer Pullups, Typewriter Pullups, 1 arm chinup. These are cool, its good to know that they are out there and there’s nothing wrong with getting creative longer term. Make sure that you get the basics right first though, its way to often I see people adding weight or complexity in a novel/cool way when they haven’t really earned it yet and would be better served by honing technique.

01:13 Chinup- I demonstrate some technical aspects here. This is a nice basic one to start with that can provide a good foundation before you move on to pullups and other variations. If you are not strong enough to do these ones right out of the gate then you might get some help from a partner, use an assisted chinup machine, or substitute a lat pulldown while you get going. Isometrics (simply holding at a hard point like at the top) and eccentric-only chinups (jumping up then lowering under control) can also be helpful.

01:47 Pullups- These are a little bit tougher than chinups because your hands are facing away (pronated) putting some of your elbow flexors (chiefly the biceps) at a mechanical disadvantage which forces the remaining elbow flexors and your upper back muscles to do more of the work.

01:57 Wide grip pullup- The wider grip helps you focus more on adduction at the shoulder (think the opposite of a dumbbell lateral raise if you know what that is) and less on shoulder extension like in the chinup and row. Performed properly this takes even more emphasis off of the elbow flexors and puts it on the upper back (mainly the lats). This one can also be a nice stretch.

02:01 Behind the head wide grip pullup- I’m cheating a little with momentum here but hopefully you still get the gist. As with behind the head presses, behind the head pullups and pulldowns often get a bad rap for causing shoulder problems. In my opinion its not the exercise’s fault if you are performing it badly… Doing these variations properly requires a lot of strength and mobility which many people lack but that’s not to way that it’s not worth-while eventually building that strength/mobility.

02:14 Parallel grip pullup- This one is much less demanding from a mobility perspective. It’s probably the easiest pullup/chinup variation because the elbow flexors are in a position to contribute and the ‘neutral’ grip doesn’t require as much range. This has positives (it’s more accessable) and negatives (you are not going to develop competence in harder range if you never use it).

02:18 Wide grip pullups on the assisted chin/dip machine.

02:42 Assisted parallel grip pullups.

02:49 a bit of a joke- The assisted chinup machine can be helpful if you need to get more reps in and you are overweight or understrong. Unfortunately the pad removes most of the stabilisation requirements as well as some of the load so in order to develop the skill/pattern I would avoid relying on this machine in isolation.

03:07 Lat Pulldown- wide grip in front of the head and behind the head 03:23. Underhand Lat Pulldown 03:43. The lat pulldown doesn’t get much love because its less ‘functional’ than a pullup and bodybuilding is not en vogue at the moment but it can be helpful for unloading the pullup pattern and refining it, as well as getting more reps in if you want to build muscle.

04:00 Seated row (also 04:21 1 arm cable row)- This is another machine that doesn’t get as much love as free-weights and bodyweight movement but I find it very useful for building strength and control in the muscles responsible for scapular retraction without overloading the lower back/hamstrings as one might with a barbell row. Its also got some advantages over some bodyweight variations since you can go lighter than full bodyweight while keeping the loading constant throughout the full range of motion. These could also be disadvantages i.e. tipping on a TRX row might actually match the load to the force curve and being forces to use your bodyweight might require you to be stronger or less fat. That’s why I don’t have a strict hierarchy/progression for row variations and encourage that people train the pattern in a variety of ways.

06:00 1 Arm Dumbbell row leaning on a bench, 6:32 1 arm dumbbell row leaning on a box, 06:42 1 arm dumbbell row, leaning on a leg. These have similar benefits to the 1 arm cable row, you also get the benefit of stabilizing through the shoulder of the supporting arm.

06:49 Bent-over Barbell rows- Strict with back parallel to the ground (06:53), “cheating” with hip generated momentum (06:57), more upright torso with elbows more tucked (07:00).

07:14 bodyweight rows including ‘inverted’ row on a bar, TRX row 07:32, while we are on the TRX, its not strictly a row but “T, W, Y” 07:43 is still a horizontal pull. Ring rows 08:03 with all rows you can flare the elbows to the side more to emphasize the rear delts and rhomboids or tuck them more to emphasize the lats, either way keep your scaps depressed and don’t let your body flop.

08:14 Shrug variations + upright rows- I wouldn’t emphasize these too early on since most people are overdeveloped through the upper traps. In the long run, if you want to develop the traps then heavy deadlifts and the Olympic lifts do a great job of that. Snatch grip pulls and upright rows can also be good for developing the deltoids and internal rotation range though the glenohumeral joint but be careful; If you end up protracting to compensate for poor internal rotation or you are winging through the scaps then these can be counter-productive (hence why I generally don’t introduce shrugging/Olympic lifts right out of the gate).

09:08 Barbell Bicep Curl- This is an isolation exercise for the elbow flexors (hence the name) that I don’t use myself and I seldom use with clients but I’ve included it here for two reasons. 1stly most young guys want big guns and they’ll want to do bicep curls whether I tell them to or not so they might as well do them right. 2ndly, if they are done correctly these can be handy to teach beginners how to brace/transfer force through the wrists, shoulders and torso which are useful skills when you’ve gotta pick up real world objects like furniture and fridges (which is an inevitable consequence of engaging in strength training and having friends/family who are apt to move house).

09:48 Hanging leg raises, toes to bar, 10:00 hanging leg raise to 90degrees (L-sit), hanging leg raise to tuck aka hanging knee raise. These are ‘ab exercises’ since the actual movement is hip flexion and stabilisation/flexion through the spine, but the ‘ab work’ is equally valuable as a distraction from the work through the grip muscles and the pulling muscles of the shoulders that helps one to hang.

10:47 Just plain hanging, with a nod to a few variants. I’ve had a few major influences encouraging me to hang in various ways, here’s a good resource on the topic for anyone interested in going deeper: http://www.idoportal.com/blog/hanging

11:28 Back lever and 11:43 Poor attempt at front lever- These were pretty pathetic as I was a bit cooked from new-years celebrations and a long day of demonstrating here but the point remains that there is a whole world of cool ‘straight arm’ pulling/hanging stuff from gymnastics that you can look forward to playing with after building a base with things like chinups and rows.


 

00:00 Intro

00:38 Prowler Pushes revisited- The main point is to put all of the force into moving the sled forward, not letting it ‘leak out’ resulting in a bunch of up and down or side to side movement. As I mentioned we want to work the knees, hips and ankles through a full range of motion so I’d recommend long strides with full hip extension, knee extension and plantar flexion at the ankle to help develop strength through those ranges. The same kind of guidelines will apply when dragging a sled or pushing with lower handles.

01:03 Suitcase Carries and Farmers Walks- As mentioned, when we are doing these lifts we want to practice maintaining ‘neutral’ posture and not let the weight dictate our position. This isn’t strictly possible once the weights get really heavy, but striving for good alignment under an awkward load will help us to develop the ability to stabilize a load and transfer it through the spine, hips and shoulders. This is a handy skill, especially when we are moving oddly shaped heavy objects.

01:46 Farmers walk with the trap bar- This variation allows you to load up the carry a little more as heavy dumbbells eventually get too awkward and tend to just bash into your legs. If you have farmers bars then even better, you can pretend that you’re at the worlds strongest man competition and load them right up, otherwise the trap bar is usually more ubiquitous and effective for a regular persons needs. I’d tend to place these (and other carries) at the end of a workout for two reasons. Firstly, your grip will be shot afterwards and secondly, carries tend to be a fairly safe(r) pattern to load when tired or to push close to failure since people are built to carry heavy loads and the loaded carry ‘pattern’ tends to require less concentration to perform safely than something like a squat or Olympic lift variation.

01:58 Sandbag carry variations- These tend to be very accessible, they can replicate and even exaggerate the awkwardness of carrying real world objects in a way that a beautifully balanced, purpose-built barbell with rotating collars doesn’t. Sandbags can thus ‘bridge the gap’ taking strength that you build with tools like barbells, which take some of the balance and awkwardness out of the equation and allow you to focus on load, and apply it to other tasks. On the other end, if people have joint issues or range of motion issues that prevent them from being able to get into position to handle a barbell, they can usually still manage to hold a sandbag and effectively load their hinges and squats as well as carries.

2:30 “Person Carries”- for when sandbags aren’t heavy enough or you don’t have enough of them, ‘person carries’ are a super fun alternative for both strength and team bonding. ***BE CAREFUL!!! Obviously you can’t scale down the weight so don’t attempt these with someone that you cant lift safely*** My favorite is the ‘ball carry’ (02:30) because it’s so awkward that it makes everything else easy by comparison. Having someone squished into your guts requires what Dan John calls ‘Anaconda Strength’ through your torso, you have to stay rigid through the abs and still remember to breath which is a handy combo. Alternatively, fireman’s carries (02:45) present a different balance challenge and piggy backs (02:59) can be a good option if you want to get some of the load off of the spine and more directly through the hips.

03:13 Overhead carries- These are great for teaching you how to stabilize a load overhead which can eventually translate well for Olympic lifting or acrobatics/handstands if you want to play with those things. Starts light as its an awkward position and you wouldn’t want to pop anything out of place. The one arm version of these ones is called a waiters carry 03:22. Notice that I’ve walked forwards and backwards as well as in a figure 8 to practice stabilizing in different directions. You might even try sideways, just be careful, make sure that you have the mobility down first and build these up slowly.

03:55 Locomotion, crawling, rolling, tumbling, groundwork… the ‘6th movement’ or ‘everything else’ category for Dan John (if you don’t know what I’m talking about rewatch my intro video and buy Dan’s book ‘Intervention’). I’ll probably do more on this category in the future, but for now I thought that I’d just flag its existence since squat, hinge, push, pull and loaded carry aren’t the sum total of human movement, but rather a useful blueprint to organize/prioritize your training and develop a good baseline of strength/flexibility. Recently I’ve been working with a dude who has helped with the ‘everything else’ part of my training, maybe I'll interview him one day if I can think of some decent questions.

 

This video centers on some of the isolated accessory movements that one might include for the upper body as a compliment to the 'meat and potatoes' that will come from our big compound movements (explored in previous installments 'upper body push' and 'upper body pull').

00:00 Intro

00:40 Cuban Rotations- My demo is actually a tiny bit sloppy here as the elbows are shifting slightly up and down, notwithstanding that you can see the goal here is to isolate external rotation of the shoulder during the concentric (here lifting) and the internal rotation during the eccentric (lowering), without allowing the scapulars (shoulder blades) to protract or elevate.

01:02 Here I'm demonstrating a light muscle snatch from the hang. This is a good example of how the best way to 'target' a particular area is not necessarily to 'isolate' a particular area. By using my hips back and upper body to help get the bar overhead while externally rotating I help train the muscles of the rotator cuff in their role as 'synergists' and stabilizers rather than prime movers while also working on my snatch technique.

01:23 Wrist curls and wrist extensions. Usually I like to work the muscles of the wrist and forearm as part of a compound movement but isolation has its place, particularly in the context of facilitating more targeted stress and blood flow when recovering from an injury or learning how to activate a particular muscle. The same goes for movements like Bicep curls 01:35 and tricep extensions

01:38, the internet is full of a thousand variations of bending and straightening your elbows against a resistance if you need them, just remember that you only have so much training time and you have many other joints.

01:44 Some bodyweight-based movements for the wrists, hands and fingers. This is just a small sample, there's a whole world of this stuff available if you hang out with people who are into rock climbing or hand balancing.

02:13 Dumbbell lateral raises.

02:20 Bent over dumbbell lateral raises.

02:40 Dumbell flies, these can be handy for learning how to switch on the pecs and also to give them a good stretch. Remember to depress and retract and try to focus the load on the pecs rather than the front deltoids or biceps.

02:52 Straight arm pulldown. I also use a variation of this a little like a straight arm row to help people understand the shoulder extension part of the deadlift 03:22.

03:41 Ring muscleup transitions. Once you've gotten a good base in the basic pushing and pulling movements we can start to get more interesting/creative. The transition part is a little awkward if you've just been doing chins and dips so this drill can help bridge the gap.

04:11 Dumbbell Pullover- As with the straight arm pulldown we are training shoulder extension. Given that the pecs, lats and triceps all play a role in extending the shoulder against resistance at this angle this exercise can potentially be varied slightly to target any of the above. Pullovers can be a good stretch but be cautious with the weight as you'll be weak in the end range.

04:39 I demonstrate some 'isolation' movements with sloppy form and cheating with momentum. Sometimes this sort of thing has its place, for instance I might cheat to get the weight up and lower it with control in order to overload the eccentric, but often the use of extra momentum on what is supposed to be an isolation exercise will be caused by too much weight and a stubborn ego. At best this will result in strengthening the wrong areas, at worst it can reinforce shoddy patterns and lead to injuries.

04:48 I comment on the allure of novelty. Sometimes different/novel movements can help us to identify or address weaknesses in our strength/conditioning/mobility, they can also be engaging/fun/challenging. Just make sure that these movements complement and build on a solid foundation in the basics rather than detracting from your long term development by distracting you from training that might be less sexy but more productive/rewarding over time.

 

In this episode I cover some potential garnish for the big movements that constitute the bulk of our lower body training effort. I also reflect briefly on the uses of complimentary practices like 'accessories', 'movement prep', 'correctives' and 'prehab'.

00.00 Intro

00:23 Hip thrusts- these were mentioned when we covered hinges generally, but they are worth reiterating. Apart from teaching you how to extend the hips using the glutes like one would in a deadlift or clean these can be performed as an exercise in their own right to test/encourage hip extension and the ability to ‘recruit’ the glutes which is often compromised in those with a sedentary lifestyle. Because my clients tend to address loading and stabilizing with the hips in our other movements, I am not a giant fan of performing these with a heavy load (the glutes will tend to get worked by squats hinges and carries if you’re doing them properly) or one leg at a time (I usually address this with other unilateral work like lunges and loaded carries) but those are still options. At 00:39 a demonstrate a variation of hip thrust into table top, this changes the angle that the hips are working at and provides an opportunity to train shoulder extension at the same time.

01:02 Sissy Squat- this is a way to isolate knee extension. Start gently with these as you will be deliberately loading the front of the knee joint (and the surrounding muscles) using some awkward leverage. I didn’t go terribly deep in this variation but the range can be extended as long as participants are smart and do so gradually.

01:19 Hindu Squats- with a different arm swing variation starting at 1:27. These are traditionally done with no load and for very high reps. They’ll work the lungs as much as the knees and quads. Be careful if your knees and ankles aren’t used to squatting with your heals lifted. It would be worth getting used to the position at the bottom static and unloaded first, and then maybe getting accustomed to moving slowly through that range of motion before you add speed, a bouncing motion and high reps.

01:34 Hamstring Curls- I start with a rather awkward version using the cable machine, mostly to prove a point that you can improvise in the gym if you need to, this variation can also be performed well with an elastic band. Hamstring curls are not exactly a mainstay in most of my programming, but I have found them useful at different points. Specifically I used hamstring curls to help address an asymmetry in my hamstring development that was messing with my lifting after spending a long time on crutches (in conjunction with nearly every other lower body lift and stretch shown in these videos). I have used them to address weak or undersized hamstrings in clients, on the rare occasions that that was been as issue that wasn’t addressed by the compound lifts, usually after some kind of injury. At 01:52 I demonstrate hamstring curls on the TRX, you could do the same thing using rings or another suspension device like ‘Redcord’, I’ve also gone a similar variation with a swiss ball 02:07. Although the different pieces of equipment may have a slightly different feel, its the pattern is really more important than your choice of apparatus.

02:23 Squat Jumping… Here we jump forward by 6 months and teleport to the Eastern Suburbs where I demonstrate 'squat jumps' and 'split squat jumps'. Before you attempt these I would recommend developing a solid squat and lunge along with some calf raises and maybe some skipping. Even then start gently and build up slowly. Warnings aside, these can be a good option for working the lower body explosively if you have no equipment available. I’ll also use these when I have to work with large number of students at once since its hard to get across the finer technical points necessary to perform explosive lifts safely. These simple, brutal basics can build impressive legs and lungs and can be the foundation for a high volume ‘base’ of conditioning that will translate well into heavy lifting later.

02:55 Back Extensions- these should really be called hip extensions, they are a more isolated form of the hinge pattern that removes the knee involvement in order to target the ‘posterior chain’ the most emphasized muscles in that group here will be the hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors, particularly in the lumbar region. I find these useful as a light, high rep accessory or ‘finisher’ for that area. 'Reverse hypers' and 'glute ham raises' could also be useful in similar circumstances, I might discuss these variations in the future.

 

03:12 ‘stiff legged deadlift’ and at 03:30 the ‘good morning’ these are both options for practicing/emphasizing the hinge pattern, but the variation in where the weight is held shifts the emphasis slightly. The awkward leverage of the good morning makes it better suited for lighter weights and the use of a strict technique (minimal knee bend) in order to target the hamstrings, the back muscles will generally be forced to work fairly hard even without much load. The stiff legged deadlift can handle some heavier loads but one should still remain strict with the quality of the movement. These is an accessory movement that should complement our big lifts and help us get stronger, sometimes this means less weight. If we just wanted to lift as much weight as possible then we would do so using the regular (more upright) deadlift where our hamstrings aren’t as stretched, quads are in a better position to contribute and our skeleton (rather than the strength of our erectors) is able to support more of the load.

03:41 Donkey calf Raises, 03:56 1 legged standing calf raises. The ankle joint often gets neglected in the gym, its worth including some so I’ve added a little extra in here.

04:08 I’m demonstrating some gentle ankle circles (emphasizing inversion) which I’m using to get a stiff ankle moving again after I sprained it. There are some ranges of motion which we won’t address with traditional gym exercises and while a small movement like ankle inversion is hardly going to replace key patterns like squats and deadlifts at the centre of our training, developing strength and control through a full range of motion using these ‘weird’ movements can help to address/prevent injuries and identify weak links that might be holding back our lifts or our performance outside of the gym. I’ve found some of Ido’s stuff from ‘the Corset’ very useful in this regard along with my training as a yoga teacher. If you’re especially interested in developing your knowledge in this area, I’d recommend living with your sister for 6 years while she studies sports science and then physiotherapy, and then finding a yoga instructor girlfriend and living with her for 5 years while she studies osteopathy. For best results try this while furiously training yourself in various disciplines, having grown up on a diet of dance and martial arts.

04:42 I make some comments about the possibility of being distracted by novelty and neglecting the basics in the process. It’s a hard balance to strike between being close-minded and dogmatic and having exercise ADHD. Again I find Dan John helpful here with his idea of ‘the 6th movement’ (being whatever else you decide to do) after squat, push, pull, hinge and loaded carry. It’s a handy heuristic to help you prioritize where to direct your strength training efforts. Apart from isolated accessory movements, some good options for this category may include getups, brachiating, tumbling, rolling/groundwork and crawling, all great practices to include in your training but they are beyond the scope of this little introductory series.