Join the fun and post your training PR’s and updates to the comments. I PR’d by driving 2,000 miles across the country (4 days of driving) — I do not recommend this. If there was ever a time to learn a lesson from Justin doing something stupid, it is now. Pay someone else to move yo’ shit. It continued to destroy my lifting (travelling and GoRuck Challenge started that), reduced my food intake, ruined my sleeping ability, and annihilated my mobility. Pay someone else to move your stuff, trust me.
Last week’s challenge called you to help a stranger by lifting something heavy and declining compensation. Did you get a chance to do so? That’s nice, Leroy.
Next Week’s Challenge:
Week In Review
Last weekend the site theme was updated. This was long over due and something I have been working off-and-on. Thanks to Nick and Lucas (readers of the site) at Nytrix Media. If you have web design needs, then hit these fellas up. There will be a few more modifications, but the main updates are a better menu system and threaded comments. The threaded comments will allow for more seamless conversations.
Monday was a quick post on Beverly Crawford’s big squatting ability, but she also pulls some heavy weight. Tuesday was a quick post I wrote at 3AM (was travelling) about some of the concepts I teach at the seminars about belts, and it turned out to be a hot little number. Wednesday was the 4th of July, and I posted the Declaration of Independence (mandatory reading). Thursday was a blast from the past; I put up a story Jacob Cloud wrote in 2009 to which he responded, “Aww shucks. Thanks, Justin. Nice to look back a couple years and see that, though older, I’m hairier, leaner, stronger, and oh yeah, I have more hair. Heck, Floyd even has a new engine, but is still tickin’. Unfortunately, the jorts ripped in half long ago.”
I started training a female friend of mine recently with a program formatted similar to SS, and she’s progressing nicely, but I can’t seem to fix one problem with her high bar squat form. I rewatched your hypermobility and toe angle videos, as well as the post on Navicular Drop, but I still can’t find the answer I’m looking for. When she squats, her knees go equal to or outside her toes, but at the same time she gets navicular drop. This happens with a toe angle of 10-15 degrees, no matter the stance width. I can’t figure out how to cue her to put the weight on the outside of her feet to keep her arch from collapsing inwards, and she doesn’t seem to have the mind-muscle connection to find out on her own. I checked how she walks, and she doesn’t walk duck footed, nor does she have flat arches. She just can’t seem to put weight on the outside of her feet, even with just the bar on her back. While locked out it is still there slightly. But because she is so flexible, simply pushing her knees out with a more forward toe angle doesn’t fix the navicular drop like it has in some of my male friends I train.
So how the hell do I help this? I’d hate to have her roll her ankle inwards mid-squat because of not being able to keep the weight on the middle/outside of her foot. Any advice/cues is appreciated. Or if you have other reading/videos for me to watch. If needed I can provide more info and/or take a video of her on friday and send it to you, as I didn’t think of that until now. She’s finished 105 3×5 today, at a weight of 115 if that matters.
Standard preface: I’d have to see it. Usually I can fix any for issues within seconds, but it gets weird when doing it over the internet, especially without video.
Regardless of the “amount of mobility” in a lifter, they can still have their knees shoved out while having a collapsed arch and ankle. The concept to try is to squat on the outer part of the foot. If the lifter focuses their weight on the outer third of their foot while properly externally rotating (but not doing so too far), then it can help distribute the force across the lateral thigh musculature (front and back). She may even feel more action in her lateral glutes and quads when doing this. Standard coaching procedure teaches the concept, then whittles it down to a cue. The cue can be “outside of foot”.
Note that this may require a drop in weight, because if she has progressed with a technique that allows inefficiency, her musculature may not be able to apply the force to use proper technique. Use the cue throughout the warm-ups and see how she fares while approaching work-set weight. If it gets sloppy, pull it back. It’s better for her to get the accumulated work with the correct technique than push the weight superfluously.
Justin, I have a question you might find interesting. I am in Physical Therapy school, and because of the stress and long hours I have lost some muscle and weight. I want to keep doing Olympic lifting, but I need to gain back some muscle, too. I only have time for three or four ~1 hour workouts per week. I am 33 years old, squat two or three times a week, don’t stretch or do mobility, and have a little better than typical student diet. In terms of programming, what do you recommend?
Good to hear from you again. You are in a unique situation, but at least you have some time from training. I think that you need to make it mandatory to do some mobility. If you plan it out before you get to the gym, you should be able to complete several good mobs in ten minutes of time every session. Given the fact that you are in a rigorous school that probably has a lot of time sitting down, I would always always always open up your anterior hip and external rotators. That leaves three other main categories that can have an effect on your Oly lifting: thoracic spine, ankles, and shoulders. We’ll come back to mobility in a second.
You have lost some muscle, and that’s a bummer. What I’m about to say will sound crazy to an Oly lifter, but I think you should have some pressing and rowing thrown back into your program. The strength movements will allow the eccentric/concentric with optimal loads to help you grow some muscle back compared to a Oly-focused approach. Not to whore myself out, but I would suggest this Oly template I made a few years ago. It’s more so geared to novice and weak trainees who want to work on their Oly lifting but still get stronger. I’d clear you to do whatever weights you wanted on the snatch and CJ days. The first “strength day” I would have you do barbell rows, the second I would have you do RDL’s (instead of deadlifts). I would still have you bench, even though you’ll get angry, but all I can say is that Klokov benches and he has rippling striations that make the womenz swoon. If you do this, you’ll still get to do your favorite stuff (the Oly lifting), but you’ll get good work in to build back some lean body mass.
As for the sessions, I’d have you do 10 to 15 minutes of mobility (this is mandatory) and then complete the workout. If you don’t really “care” about the presses, they could always be completed kind of quick if your squats took too long, and even heavy rows or RDL’s at 3 sets of 5 can be completed in about five minutes if necessary. 45 minutes is plenty of time to get that strength work in, and you should be good on your Oly lifts if you keep the tempo high. I wouldn’t even worry about hitting maximum loads on the Oly lifts for a few weeks. Let yourself adjust to the schedule and program, lift on a clock if necessary and get crisp reps above 80 to 85% if you can.
Do your best to eat plenty of quality meat, fats, and potatoes. Try and sleep as much as you can and consider the standard paleo supplements (vitamin D, fish oil, maybe magnesium and zinc). This will fuel your training, but it’ll make you sharp for school. Knock this shit out of the park, man. When you’re tired or not wanting to train or study, focus your mind. What do you want to be? A piece of shit PT who covers his ass and does the minimum? Or a PT who goes the extra mile for his clients and not only gets them functioning, but helps them perform better than before their first visit? Do you want to be skinny, weak, and strung out at your graduating ceremony? Or do you want to be confident, jacked, and naked underneath your robe? The choice is yours, now go kick some fucking ass.
Chris B. asks,
1) Should there be any shrugging up to hold the rack position for front squats?
2) How much elbow flare is too much on overhead press?
1. Negative. Thinking about shrugging is just going to complicate it for you. Think “elbows up and in”. By bringing the elbows in, it will externally rotate the shoulder which promotes thoracic extension (the opposite, internal rotation, will promote thoracic flexion). If you have long forearms, you may need a bit of a wider grip. This position is extremely dependent on mobility, so work on overall shoulder and thoracic mobility if you have issues.
2. Not sure if troll? Without a dynamometer, I can’t really quantify the degree of internal or external rotation on a press. “Flaring the elbows” is “internal rotation”. Keeping the elbows in is “external rotation”. An easy visual cue, if you lift in a rack or with squat stands, is to aim your elbows at the posts throughout the movement. Of course you need to have a good pressing position to start with, but that’ll take too long to explain here. “Elbows under wrists” often helps the external rotation in the press or bench because it makes sure the full belly of the triceps is involved (the triceps involvement is significantly reduced while in internal rotation on the presses).
Dan C. asks,
How good is “Anatomy without a scalpel” for kinesiology purposes? I’m struggling understanding stuff like anterior/posterior shear forces, moment of intertia and general shit like that.
“Anatomy Without A Scalpel” is a very good book, as is anything that Dr. Lon Kilgore puts out (and I mean that objectively, not just because he’s a friend). The book’s sole purpose is to teach fitness professionals about anatomy and how it functions with mechanics. I’m actually going to read it again after I finish a few other books for a refresher.
Kilgore is an excellent artist and draws all of the pictures. I’m actually a subject in some of the pictures, so if you want to see a skinnier version of me with my shirt off, then jump on that. I also squat my dog Leda. Aside from the detailed images, things are explained very well and it will compound on whatever other anatomy knowledge you’re involved in.