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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 51 (Set-Up Edition)

Posted Sep 09 2013 12:49pm

Today's guest post comes from CP Coach, Greg Robins .

Since this website first launched, Eric has gone to great lengths to focus on coaching cues you can use to fine-tune your technique on a number of strength exercises.  If you check out his YouTube page, you’ll be greeted with hundreds of videos, many with thorough instructions on now only the “how,” but also the why.

With that said, when I’m working with lifters in person, I always find myself stressing the “little” things to them. In reality, these “little” tips are a really BIG deal. They’re not something taught in the typical exercise science curriculum, nor are they something that crosses the mind of someone who hasn’t taught hundreds of people how to do an exercise. In fact, even people who have spent decades in the gym tend to pass over these sorts of things because they have just become second nature to them.

Taking the time to teach someone these things will set them up for continued success, as well as keep them from having to learn many small lessons the “hard way.”

The number one thing I stress to lifters is to not overlook the set-up. It’s imperative that lifters know how to get in place for an exercise before actually demonstrating the movement. I will usually reference the following phrase:

“Hard start, easy finish”

I’m not sure where I heard this phrase originally, but it has stuck with me for many years. It is obviously applicable to more than lifting weights, and a solid reminder that the harder we work at the start, the smoother the sailing thereafter.

In terms of exercise technique, the more stock you put into your set-up, the better your form and performance will be thereafter.

If you are a coach, MAKE IT A POINT to teach people where to set the pins on the squat rack, how to position the body, their feet, the bar, the weights, etc.  These small tips will make an enormous difference in shortening the learning curve and making exercises more effective as well as safer.

Below, I’ll discuss and demonstrate five set-up points for different lifts. These tips should help out with your own efforts in the gym, as well as with those you may be instructing.

1. Watch your foot position on Bulgarian split squats.

2. Make sure the pins are set correctly to allow you to “get tight” on back squats.

3. Teach the hip thrust from the finish position.

4. Don’t butcher the feet-elevated inverted row set-up.

5. Avoid these common rotary stability set-up mistakes.

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