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Friday, May 24, 2013


The recent posts “Get Off My Back” and “Put It In Forward & Reverse” discussed exercises which are included in the workout for one muscle group, when the primary muscle activation is really for another muscle group. And today, with the rising popularity of Boot camp classes and exercise programs focusing on functional training, many combinations of exercises in 1 movement are used.

But when you are doing these exercises, whether in Bootcamp or in the gym with a trainer or by yourself is it really right for you? Is the execution of the exercise being done properly? Do you know if the exercise is appropriate to your goals or is it just a filler for your program? Do you really feel the workout doing two or more exercises in one?

There are many exercises that can fit into this category, but one of the most popular being used is the Olympic weightlift. The final movement is composed of three separate exercises, which two have already been discussed, and according to many one of them, the upright row (“The Banished 1”) should not be included in any exercise programs.

“The Banished 3” talks about the initial movement of the Deadlift. Looking at the barbell deadlift more closely, the muscles activated are the hip extensors (glutes, hamstrings, hip adductors), the quads and the spinal extensors. The initial position is placing your feet shoulder width apart. Just like the squat (“Chicken Squat”), bend your knees to 90ยบ and leaning upper body slightly forward so that it seems you are sitting on air. Place your hands on the bar in a pronated grip (palms down) with your elbows positioned next to your knees. Push off the balls of your feet or your knuckles. And slowly stand up keeping the bar close to your legs. Remember to maintain posture with shoulders back. 

The second movement of the Olympic Lift, was discussed in The Banished 1, the upright row. And the third and last movement is the barbell frontal shoulder press. “Im-pressing Arnold” explained the correct movement that should be done and what muscles are activated. The difference in the dumbbell shoulder press and the frontal barbell shoulder press is that the latter has a smaller ROM. So the execution and form is exactly the same.

Now putting it all together… thinking that they are three separate exercises the only details that should be noted are that when standing up after the deadlift, make sure your knees are slightly bent to take the weight off the knees and to distribute some of it to your lumbar. And after the upright row, don’t throw the weight up so that your hands can be in the supinated (palms up) position. The correct technique is slowly lower your elbows so that they are below the bar, and your hands change to the supinated position. From there raise the bar above your head to finish off with the shoulder frontal barbell press. To get it right without any risk of injury treat it as doing one exercise after another with the possibility of stopping in between each. Since practice makes perfect, with time you will be able to increase the speed in which it is done and keep the correct form of execution.

Because there is a need for core and abdominal strength to maintain the correct posture and attention to keep the correct form of execution, it should be considered only for advanced resistance training programs. But in gyms there are so many unprepared people and professionals including this in programs that it is amazing that you don’t see people injuring themselves right then and there, or at least you just don’t hear of the chronic cases.

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