resistance training

What is functional training? Answer: The most overused term in the fitness industry

We've all heard it before.

“I’m into more ‘functional’ training”

Often said by that guy wearing those weird Vibram finger shoes while doing band assisted single leg squats on a stack of 4 foam pads.

hunter bennett performance. Functional training, stability ball, balance, strength, resistance training, athlete

 

But what does the term 'functional' actually mean? Heck, does it even really exist?

In my opinion, there isn’t really a specific type of training that is ‘functional’, but rather an exercise becomes functional if it improves the ability of a particular function. Now obviously this could mean anything, but it’s true.

It’s all in the context.

Now some people will suggest that squatting on a bosu ball is functional. My most common response is ‘why?’

Funnily enough, the answer I often get goes something like this – “uhhhhh ummmm…. Glutes…….. ummm balance….. stability”. In other words – “I don’t know”.

Now if the goal is rehabilitation of an ankle injury, then squatting on a bosu ball may be considered perfectly functional, as it has a direct impact on the outcome goal, which is returning stability to the ankle joint.

In similar light, the bench press normally gets torn to shreds by ‘function fitness gurus’ for being useless, as it is not ‘functional’.

But what if my goal is to get a stronger bench press?

Suddenly it becomes pretty functional, right?

Similar to the leg press. I would argue that majority of people in the fitness industry would say it’s not functional. But what if you’re a rower? A sport that requires you to be in the seated position, pressing through both legs simultaneously, requiring minimal lower body stability component? Suddenly it’s functional.

If a body builder wants an additional assistance exercise to promote hypertrophy of the quads? Leg press probably has a function. But as a sprinter, or a field athlete, it becomes less functional as it becomes less specific to their performance goals.

So what I’m actually getting at is that we should always consider our exercise selection carefully. Any exercise could be considered ‘functional’ if it provides an appropriate way to achieve a particular goal.

We shouldn’t do exercises just because they look cool or exciting, but because they will directly impact the goal that we want to achieve.

If you want to improve your performance but are not sure where to start, click here to apply for personal training or online coaching.

The Stability Ball Conundrum - Are They Actually Benefiting Us At All?

The definition of stupidity

The definition of stupidity

At some point over the last few years, unstable surface training received a significant increase in popularity.  Suddenly you cant walk two steps into a gym without stumbling into an inflatable exercise ball, BOSU ball, or weird squishy disc.

They are often considered a ‘functional exercise’ tool, whatever that means. But what a lot of people may not realise is that they started out as a rehabilitation based training tool, mainly to rehab various degrees of ankle sprains (which has shown to work, I might add).

Their gradual movement into the commercial gym setting was likely a result of the success they saw in this rehabilitation setting, and are now spouted as a sure fire way to increase balance and stability.

Now, I’m not denying that they may have the capacity to improve upper body stability (scapular stability in particular), and trunk stability in appropriate situations, but in my personal opinion that is where their benefits as a training tool for the general population stop. 

There are a couple of reasons i say this.

They have zero (and I mean ZERO) specificity to the real world.

Specificity implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must actually perform that exercise or skill. In the same light, if you practice a skill, you will get better at that skill.

So if you practice training on an unstable surface you will get better at training on an unstable surface.

The issue with this?

We don’t live on an unstable surface. We spend 99.9% of our time on stable ground, whether talking a sporting situation or just in day-to-day life.

The improvements in strength we see if training on an unstable surface don’t actually carry over to stable surface movements. Therefore we do not see the associated improvements in speed and power that come with improved strength.

In fact, they won’t even improve our ability to maintain stability on the ground, as the neural coordination required for even the same movement on the alternate (stable and unstable) surfaces differ too much!

In fact, stable surface training has shown to produce superior improvements in athletic performance measures in comparison to unstable surface training (1).

This is likely the same for day to day activities such as walking up stairs and standing from sitting.

We cannot train to our full capacity when on an unstable surface.

So the main reason we lift weights is to increase our strength and power, and develop muscle mass, right?

Well when we train on an unstable surface, our force production capacity is limited, as we spend so much neuromuscular effort to maintain stability. If we cannot produce maximal force, we are limiting our ability to both increase strength and power, and also build muscle, as the muscle is not placed under enough stress to elicit an adaptation response (2).

 

So to summarise

Unstable surfaces limit our ability to increase athletic performance and improve our capacity to undertake activities of daily living.

They also inhibit our ability to recruit muscle and produce force, therefore limiting strength and hypertrophy gainzzzzz.

But how do we improve stability?

 

Single leg work my friends, which is a topic for a future post.

 

 

Do you want to improve strength, stability and power but are not sure where to start? Click here to see if you qualify for my online coaching program.

 

 

References

1.     Willardson, Jeffrey M. "The Effectiveness of Resistance Exercises Performed on Unstable Equipment." Strength & Conditioning Journal 26.5 (2004): 70-74.

2.     Anderson, Kenneth G., and David G. Behm. "Maintenance of EMG activity and loss of force output with instability." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 18.3 (2004): 637-640.

 

Are you hamstrings actually tight? Or is it a symptom of a greater problem?

One of the most common complaints that I hear is ‘I have tight hamstrings’.

And the most common cure I see?

People stretching their hamstrings.

But even with all this chronic stretching, people often still feel as if their strings are tight? Which leads us to the question, are your hamstrings actually tight?

And the answer, like with so many things health and fitness related, isn’t a particularly good one.

Probably, maybe, sort of ..... But that’s not actually the issue.

Muscle tightness vs Misalignment

If someone constantly complains of tight hamstrings you should have a look at their pelvic alignment. I would put my money on them having some excessive anterior pelvic tilt (APT).

APT describes the forward ‘tilt’ of the pelvis when looked at from the side. Whilst slight APT is actually the norm in majority of the population, it is often worsened by excessive time spent in the seated position, and can have an impact on the hamstrings. Excessive APT results in someone kind of looking like Donald duck, with the pelvis tilted very far forward.

Hunter Bennett Performance. Tight hamstrings, anterior pelvic tilt, APT, posture, rehab, lordosis

 

If you have a look at a pelvis with significant anterior tilt, you can begin to see why the hamstrings may feel tight. As they attach to the pelvis, when it is anteriorly tilted, they are placed in a lengthened position, hence the feeling of tightness. Now as they are already lengthened, is stretching them (trying to make them longer) going to improve the problem?

No. In fact, it may even do the opposite, potentially worsening the already apparent APT. 

So rather than tight, we should think long. Long and weak, as they do not have the strength to maintain normal pelvic positioning.

Whilst weak hamstrings are a potential contributor, we also need to look at the other muscles that act on the pelvis.

On the front of the body we have quite a few muscles that act on the pelvis, with the hip flexors and knee extensors the two most likely to be pulling the pelvis into anterior tilt. Now these muscles here are most likely tight in the way people think of tight muscles. As in they are short and stiff. What I mean by short and stiff, is that they are in a shortened position due to sedentary activity, and stiff as they rarely get used in a lengthened position, causing them to become tight and immobile.

It is these muscles that are going to require stretching and myofascial release to restore length and mobility, and hopefully help return the pelvis to a more neutral position.

With this it comes back to proper assessment and ensuring that we treat problems and not symptoms. In this case we can see that tight feeling hamstrings are the symptom, and by stretching them, they may feel better acutely but we are not actually treating the problem that is causing the sensation of tightness, being the pelvic position. Always look into a symptom in depth to try and establish its cause, rather than trying to treat it as a problem.

 

If you feel like you this article applies to you, and are unsure of how to deal with it I can help you here!

Improve acceleration and improve athletic performance.

In my last blog post I gave my opinion (Which was somewhat negative...) on agility ladders. This was based upon their inability to actually improve speed and acceleration. If you haven’t read it yet you can have a look here.

Hunter Bennett Performance. Acceleration, performance, speed, agility, strength, power, athletic development.

Whilst this is all well and good, I didn’t really provide any in depth recommendations on how to improve change of direction speed and agility, and considering that these are directly related to acceleration speed, I thought a post addressing how to improve acceleration would be appropriate.

Sooooo. Acceleration. The reason I have chosen acceleration rather than ‘speed’ is I feel it is much more indicative of athletic performance.

Field based sports are characterised by short, repeat efforts, rarely longer than 20 metres (and most often less than that). So it can be argued that the ability to accelerate rapidly is much more important than top end speed.

*The exception here would be sprinters, as they need a good max speed and they need to maintain it for as long as possible.

So someone’s ability to accelerate can be broken down into two components. The amount of force they can put into the ground, and how quickly they can apply that force into the ground.

So, if a person is not particularly strong (can’t apply much force), they are going to be limited, no matter how quickly they can apply the force they do have.

This leads us into the first recommendation to improve acceleration.

Strength Training

By improving strength we improve the maximal amount of force we can produce. By increasing the amount of force we can apply into the ground we improve our capacity to accelerate.

My recommendations would be compound lower body strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts and split squats (and variations of), working within a basic strength sets and reps scheme (5x5, 6x4 etc) 2-3 times per week. This ensures we are not only training the muscles involved in accelerating and sprinting, but also using exercises that have immediate carryover to performance as they somewhat replicate the joint actions that occur during these movements.

Now, what if someone is strong (can apply lots of force), but not very powerful (slow applying that force)?

That leads us into the second component.

Power Training

So, now that we have built a solid foundation of lower body strength (force production capacity), we need to learn how to apply that force rapidly (improve our ‘rate of force development’, or RFD).

This can be done by adding explosive lower body movements into our lower body program. These would be jump variations (such as box jumps, broad jumps etc.), plyometric exercises (lateral bounds, tuck jumps etc.) and Olympic lifting variations (clean, hang snatch etc.). These exercises use either bodyweight or lower relative loads to train explosive movements, whilst the plyometric activities also improve our capacity to use the stretch shortening cycle (SSC).

The inclusion of short sprints are also recommended, as we are trying to get faster/better at accelerating.

These exercises should not be performed to failure as the intent is to move as FAST and as EXPLOSIVE as possible. As fatigue inhibits our ability to produce force rapidly, it would inhibit the training effect we are looking for. So these exercises should be performed before the strength component of the session, and not until failure.


I understand that this is by no means a comprehensive guide on improving acceleration, but i hope i have provided a brief explanation on some of the ways we can improve acceleration. These recommendations are fairly broad and provide more of a brief overview, for more detailed information feel free to contact me.


Do agility ladders really make you faster and more agile?

Hunter Bennett Performance. Agility, agility ladders, reaction time, speed, acceleration, power

Not really.

Now I will be upfront here. I am not a big fan of agility ladders. I feel they are over utilised, and don't deliver what they promise.

'But they make your feet faster right?'.... well maybe. But what does that even mean? So if my feet move quicker I will be faster? If we think about it, It’s not particularly shocking that that’s not really how it works.

Defining agility

Agility can be broken down into two components:

Change of direction (COD) speed. The speed at which we alter the direction of travel in a PRE-PLANNED manner. Note the emphasis on pre-planned. COD speed is completely physical, and simply the rate at which we can alter direction of movement.

And

Reaction Time. The time taken to react to an unknown or unpredictable stimulus. This is effectively the time taken to assess a situation or stimulus, and then react to it. This is a mental process.

So Agility is therefore both the process of making a decision and moving in accordance to that decision, in response to an un-controlled stimulus.

An example of Agility would be a rugby player making a tackle on another player who is coming towards them with the ball. The player with the ball is likely to move in one direction in an attempt to evade the tackler. The tackler must cognitively react to the unknown stimulus (the direction of the side-step), and then change direction in accordance, as means to make the tackle.

Soooooo? What about agility ladders?

So agility ladders don’t have a cognitive component, so they don’t directly train agility. But they do kind of train COD speed right? And that may transfer to agility?

Again, not really.

Speed, whether it be COD speed or straight line speed is function of power ((force x distance)/time). If you apply a greater amount of force into the ground in the same or less amount of time, you move faster. It makes sense. The more force that goes into the ground, the further you travel per step in the same amount of time.

To improve speed you therefore have to train at maximum speed, and produce enough force to increase maximal power production.

Now do you see the issue?

When using an agility ladder, you are not producing enough force to elicit a training response. Also worthy of note, is that when you use an agility ladder, you move inefficiently, in a way that does not replicate sprinting or changing direction. You’re just moving your feet quickly, while they stay within your base of support. Changing direction quickly involves the foot producing high levels of force rapidly whilst outside the base of support, producing lateral movement. If the foot is not outside the base of support the ability to move laterally is limited.

So now you can see the issue I have with agility ladders?

Again, this is a bit of an opinion piece, and one could argue that they may have some usefulness as an effective warmup tool, or potentially in a rehab setting. But  just don’t try and sell them as something that will significantly improve speed or agility, when in reality, they will not.

So what should we do instead?

Improving strength and power through resistance training exercises would be an important step. This will improve our ability to produce force, which is integral to speed. This could be followed by some speed/agility specific training, such as straight line sprinting, or lateral movement work. This specific training will allow us to develop the ability to use our increased strength in a speed/agility specific way.

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Strength Training and Endurance Performance

Endurance athletes love training long distances. Often described as time in the saddle, it often consists of large amounts of time dedicated to moving slowly over large distances.

While this has been a staple of many endurance athletes training for many years, it may not be the most logical option. With traditional endurance training there is a heavy focus on long distance, steady state exercise. Often the main form of progression utilised with this training is an increase in distance, which is somewhat illogical if we think about it. By running a greater distance at the same speed (or possibly slower) that is always used, are we really going to get faster?

Hint: It does depend on current fitness level, but probably not.

 

So what should we do?

Well, when it comes to strength and endurance training, they are often viewed at opposite ends of the training continuum, with improvements in one causing subsequent reductions in the other. In reality, it’s not that simple.

When we look at endurance performance, it is effectively the ability to maintain or repeat a given force output (think each step during running). Now each individual step we take has the same, consistent amount of force being applied to the ground. Now if we think about it logically for a second, if someone increases their relative strength, each step will require less relative force to maintain the same pace they did prior to getting stronger. This means any step done at any given workload requires less energy, as it is now a lower percentage of their maximal force production. This then results in them moving faster, and further each step, despite using the same amount of energy.

BOOM! Mind blown.

And this isn’t just for running. The same principles apply for cycling and swimming.

Now lets get a little (only a little) sciency for a moment.

Strength training has shown to significantly improve endurance performance in both recreational, and highly trained endurance athletes. These studies have suggested that the inclusion of strength training into an endurance training program will enhance endurance performance greater than endurance training alone. These improvements have been measured by improvements in movement economy (energy efficiency), velocity at VO2max and maximal anaerobic running test velocity.

Often seen is a significant improvement in strength, with minimal improvement in lean mass, suggesting that strength increases are predominantly neural, and result in significant improvements in relative force production.

Associated with strength training is a shift in muscle fibre type from type IIx (Super explosive muscle fibre type) to type IIa (less explosive, slightly greater endurance capacity) fibre types, slightly improving endurance capacity.

Maximal voluntary muscle contraction is improved, reducing the amount of motor units recruited to produce force at any given workload, and therefore requiring less energy at any given workload.

Strength training also causes an increase in musculotendinous unit stiffness. This results in an improved ability to store elastic energy during eccentric muscle actions (eg. landing each step), which in turn increases concentric muscle force (eg. Pushing off the ground). This results in less energy used per step, and an increase in movement economy.

 

So what are the practical implications?

So we now know that strength training can contribute to improved endurance performance, but how should we use this information.

I would suggest that the inclusion of just two full-body strength sessions per week would be sufficient to stimulate a strength adaptation. The focus should be on large compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and lunges to improve lower body strength, working within strength based rep ranges (6x3, 5x4, 4x6 etc.), trying to elicit neural adaptations whilst minimising potential hypertrophy to maximise increases in strength relative to body weight.

The inclusion of loaded carries, pulling movements, and some direct trunk stability work would be worth including as accessory exercises if time permits.

 

 

 

If you want to improve your endurance performance through strength training but don't know where to start, click here!

Exercise Regressions and Progressions. Why regressing can be progressing.

The other day I was at the gym training and got caught watching an individual perform TRX push ups with god awful (I mean GOD AWFUL) form. We’re talking severe hyperextension of the lower back, scaps winging all over the place and approximately zero stability anywhere.

Not that TRX push ups are a bad exercise, it’s just they were obviously far to advanced for this particular individual. It got me thinking though. I wonder how many people see an exercise on youtube, at a seminar, or on a site lie t-nation, and go and try it out the next day, and see no improvements in themselves because the exercise is far to advanced for them to complete properly.

Hunter Bennett Performance. Exercise regression, exercise progression, strength, fat loss, athletic performance, rehab

I know that advancing exercises is nice. It’s a measurable way of seeing progress, and allows us to keep clients interested by introducing 'new' exercises that train similar movements and muscle groups. But what if they are not ready to progress? It would be silly to move onto a more difficult exercise for the sake of variation alone, because they are not going to see any improvement if they can’t perform it properly.

It is OK to regress. In fact, in some scenarios a regression is progression.

Say you have someone who can’t goblet squat to depth without significant pelvic tilt and lumbar flexion. Regressing them to a goblet squat to box would be appropriate, allowing you to manage depth safely. As their capacity to perform the exercise improves (through simply performing the exercise, with additional mobility and stability exercises) you could gradually lower the box until they can perform a deep box squat without compromising spinal position. Once they are at this stage you can progress to a goblet squat, which they should be able to perform deeply and safely.

This is a fairly simple example but it shows how by regressing an exercise that someone can’t perform properly, we can progress safely and effectively.

Now I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t progress exercises, but should do so only when we are ready. And it’s a pretty simple concept. If an exercise looks like trash despite your best efforts to coach the movement, regress it. If the regression looks acceptable start there and slowly and safely build up.

You wouldn’t start doing cleans with someone who couldn’t perform an acceptable Romanian deadlift? It would be dangerous and unnecessary. And I have a feeling that those cleans would probably look like trash.

Regress to Progress.

What the research tells us about Foam Rolling

Most people have a bit of a love hate relationship with their foam roller. They seem to make you feel and move better, but tend to also cause a fair bit of discomfort. In the following little post i hope to take a brief look at foam rolling, and what the recent research tells about it

Foam rolling is a type of self-myofascial release therapy (self-massage) that has been suggested to break up adhesions between layers of fascia (the connective tissue sheath that surrounds our muscle tissue). It has also been thought to reduce the neural tone of hyperactive neural receptors within the muscle tissue, and also rehydrate muscle tissue at the cellular level through the equal redistribution of fluid. And what does that mean exactly?

Pretty much all of that is thought to lead to an acute, and over time, chronic return in Range of Motion (ROM). This ROM has often been reduced by the muscle stiffness caused by heavy exercise and repeat sedentary activity in altered postural positions (AKA sitting).

Now I need to mention that this is merely a brief overview of the POTENTIAL mechanisms that have been suggested in regards to what foam rolling MAY actually do,  and this is by no means a definite description on how foam rolling works.

Hunter Bennett Performance. Foam Rolling, Foam roller, Self myofascial release, athletic performance, rehab, strength, fat loss

 

For starters, does foam rolling actually work? What the science says.

Research on foam rolling is fairly minimal, as an intervention protocol it is difficult to regulate. How could you ensure each individual undertaking the foam rolling is actually rolling the exact same spot as everyone else, applying the same amount of pressure as everyone else, and applying that pressure for exactly the same amount of time as everyone else? Exactly, you couldn't.  Despite that a couple of studies have been published looking at the effects of foam rolling on flexibility.

Foam rolling has shown to improve flexibility acutely in a number of papers (Macdonald, 2013; Button, 2014; Halperin, 2014; Jay, 2014: Grieve, 2015), in a variety of situations, suggesting that foam rolling does have the capacity to improve passive range of motion in the short term. Interestingly, one of these studies (Jay, 2014) showed increased range of motion only lasted ~10 minutes, which means you might have to use the new found ROM or you will lose it pretty quickly.

It has also shown to improve measures of ROM chronically (Ebrahim, 2013; Mohr, 2013), with as little as two weeks of consistent foam rolling required to improve chronic flexibility.

As for the practical implications of this, we could foam roll tight, restricted tissue and expect to see immediate improvements in ROM, and if which we continue to perform consistently over time, chronic improvements in ROM.

Building on this, if we incorporate foam rolling into our warmup, and then begin to move in a way that uses this ‘new found’ ROM, we create a need to maintain these seen improvements. This is  more likely to create long term changes in ROM.

An example of this would be stiff adductors limiting squat depth. By rolling our adductors we would see an increase in ROM and therefore an increase in squat depth. By proceeding to train, using this new found depth, we would begin to build stability and strength at the ‘new’ end ROM, creating a demand to maintain it. By now improving our capacity to squat deeply whilst maintaining stability through training, we become more comfortable in this position, and are able to achieve it more comfortably over time, resulting in a reduction of chronic stiffness. If we continue to foam roll consistently during this period, we are likely to further contribute to improving ROM and reduce tissue stiffness, making more permanent changes.

Anecdotally, whilst the improvements in ROM are apparent and beneficial, it is the way that people tend to feel immediately after foam rolling stiff and adhesed tissue that I think has significant benefit. Releasing restricted tissue feels good, and performing movement unrestricted feels really good. This sense of improved and unrestricted movement starts the session on a positive, and makes movement in general more enjoyable. Don’t discount the way someone feels when performing exercise, if they feel like they are moving well and enjoy it, it can go a long way to improving adherence and performance in the gym.

 

 

 

 

References.

Ebrahim, A. W., & Elghany, A. W. A. (2013). The effect of foam roller exercise and Nanoparticle in speeding of healing of sport injuries. Journal of American Science, 6, 9.

Halperin, I., Aboodarda, S. J., Button, D. C., Andersen, L. L., & Behm, D. G. (2014). Roller massager improves range of motion of plantar flexor muscles without subsequent decreases in force parameters. International journal of sports physical therapy, 9(1), 92.

Jay, K., Sundstrup, E., Søndergaard, S. D., Behm, D., Brandt, M., Særvoll, C. A., & Andersen, L. L. (2014). Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: randomized controlled trial. International journal of sports physical therapy, 9(1), 82-91.

MacDonald, G. Z., Button, D. C., Drinkwater, E. J., & Behm, D. G. (2014). Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(1), 131-142.

Mohr, A.R., Long, B.C., & Goad, C.L. (2014) Effect of foam rolling and static stretching on passive hip-flexion range of motion. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

Grieve, R., Gooodwin, F., Alfaki, M., Bourton, A. J., Jeffries, C., & Scott, H. (2014). The immediate effect of bilateral self myofascial release on the plantar surface of the feet on hamstring and lumbar spine flexibility: A pilot randomised controlled trial. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

Button, D. C., Bradbury-Squired, D., Noftall, J., Sullivan, K., Behm, D. G., & Power, K. (2014). Roller-Massager Application to the Quadriceps and Knee-Joint Range of Motion and Neuromuscular Efficiency During a Lunge. Journal of athletic training.

 

4 Delicious Reasons for Deadlifting

Deadlifts – 4 reasons Why you should be doing them

I’m not shy about the love I have for the deadlift. If I’d have to pick a favourite exercise it would be right up the top of the list (bit hard to choose one favourite, right?). Not because I’m particularly good at them, but because as an individual exercise they provide a huge amount of benefit. Seriously, in terms of bang-for-your-buck exercises, deadlifts are king.

You can’t cheat a deadlift. Either that bar is coming off the floor or not. Sure you can quarter squat a ton of weight, but a quarter deadlift doesn’t count.

So in this little post I am going to outline a few of the reasons why I think deadlifts are hands down the most beneficial exercises you can implement into your program.

Hunter Bennett Performance. Adelaide. Deadlift Strength Fat loss


They reinforce the hip hinge

The hip hinge one of our fundamental movement patterns. It allows us to lift considerable loads through the loading of the posterior chain. This loading (if done with a neutral spine) spares our lower backs from any undue stress.

Learning to hinge at the hips is important in relation to both pulling huge ass weights off the floor, and lifting things in day to day life. By learning to stabilise the trunk in a neutral position, while applying a concentric load through the hips, we can limit stress placed on the lumbar spine, and avoid any issues associated.

Good deadlift on the right, not so good on the left. Notice the nice, neutral spine on the right.

Good deadlift on the right, not so good on the left. Notice the nice, neutral spine on the right.



Dat Posterior Chain

The posterior chain refers to the back of the body (AKA spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, calves). You know, all those muscles that tend to get missed during the third (or fourth? I can’t remember) chest and bicep workout for the week.

And the deadlift crushes it. Every muscle on the backside of your body is working overtime to stabilise the spine against flexion forces, extend the hips, and maintain retracted scapula. Both hitting muscles that often, and undeservedly, get neglected By training these muscles we can also reverse the negative postural deviations caused by the excessive sitting (something that a lot of us do too much of).

Not to mention the important role that the posterior chain plays in the explosive hip extension seen during sprinting and jumping. Increased strength of the posterior chain could significantly improve athletic performance by making an individual faster and more powerful.


Grip Strength

Believe it or not, hanging on to a really heavy barbell increases your ability to grip stuff. Hard. Important when doing heavy rows, chins and presses, if your grip strength is not up to scratch it can limit your improvement in heap of other exercises by giving out before the target muscles do.

Not to mention the importance a firm grip can have in day-to-day life, from unscrewing the lid off a jam jar to shaking someone’s hand.  Heck, deadlifting may actually improve first impressions by both improving your handshake quality and making you looked jacked.


They can be regressed and progressed to suit any scenario

The deadlift is extremely versatile. Want to teach someone to hip hinge but they lack the necessary mobility to deadlift from the floor? Deadlift from blocks or do rack pulls.

Have a solid deadlift but lacking single leg hip stability? Single leg deadlift variations can help.

Solid hinge but a weak upper back? Snatch grip deadlifts could be your answer.

Anywho, you get the point. Very versatile, with a heap of variations that can be implemented to target a heap of different goals.


*Bonus Point*

You look like a boss ripping a loaded barbell from the floor.

Truth.

This Weeks Health and Fitness Articles - October 6

Staying Married to Training Dogma is Killing your Gains

A fantastic article by Lee Boyce who discusses the potential downfalls associated with extremist approaches to training .

The Dangers of Today's Female Fitness Industry

An interesting post by Meghan Callaway that looks into some of the less respectful means of fitness marketing

5 Reasons Your Not Building Muscle

Title is fairly self explanatory hear, although some of the reasons are ones i see pretty often in the intermediate lifters, and are definitely applicable to a lot of people who have plateaued in the gym.

 

I hope you have enjoyed some good reads from this week!