High Octane Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement | www.RobertsonTrainingSystems.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Make your own Cryocup

Cryocups are a great way to reduce inflammation and kick-start the healing process in the event of an injury. While most places will try to sell you “their” cups with a considerable mark-up, try this homemade version for a cheaper and equally effective alternative.

Take a few small Dixie cups, fill them with water, and put them in your freezer overnight. Once frozen, tear the top of the cup off to expose the ice. Now, holding the opposite end of the cup you can give yourself a deep penetrating ice massage. These little suckers are a lot more potent than traditional icing methods, so enjoy!

Mike Robertson

Monday, July 30, 2007

"75% of my clients..."

would stay fat without Magnificent Mobility, Inside-Out, and Building the Efficient Athlete. I work with fat-loss clients, and it seems that the vast majority of them come to me teetering on the edge of injury. Without having a system (that I stole from Mike & Eric) to get them doing the basic movements safely and properly, they wouldn't be able to train long enough to achieve their goals.

Josef Brandneburg
www.thebodyyouwant.com

Friday, July 27, 2007

Squats and Your IT Band

I've been having some ITB pain. From what I read squatting makes this worse
- is there something I could subsititute for squats that wouldn't irritate
it? How do I prevent this problem in the future?


It's a little bit more complicated than just "not squatting" - there's
probably some underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Firstly, I'm not sure what you're doing for "core" training, but check out
my "Core Training for Smart Folks" article on T-Nation. If you are going to
do core exercises, start with those.

Next, since you're running you need to focus on stretching/foam rolling your
hip flexors, quads, TFL and ITB as often as possible. These are the areas
that get short/stiff due to running and most weight training programs; this
will pull your pelvis into anterior tilt, and, well, it gets messy from
there. Just trust me when I say it leads to a cascade of events and
eventually you're screwed up in all three planes of movement! ;)

Beyond that, focus on a lot of gluteal work - glute bridges, long-stride
lunges, single-leg RDL's, pull-throughs, etc. Generally when people have
ITB issues there's an imbalance in strength between the TFL and the glute
max; balance what's going on at the hip and the ITB issues will typically
follow suit.

Mike Robertson

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Posterior Pelvic Tilt

You mentioned the importance of posterior pelvic tilt when doing the dead bug series, leg lowering, etc.

Should I also keep posterior pelvic tilt when doing front planks?


The goal isn’t so much posterior pelvic tilt for the sake of posterior pelvic tilt. Most people need this in these particular exercises because they have such a large degree of anterior pelvic tilt.

Perform all these exercises with the end-goal in mind: A neutral pelvic tilt. Once you’ve achieved this statically, the goal is to have the core stability to maintain this optimal alignment when lifting (e.g. squatting, deadlifting, etc.). This will allow you to engage the glutes in the bottom of these exercises. Better glute activation/control/strength will lead to more balanced and efficient lifting, as well as improved performance.

Mike Robertson

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Push-Up Plus: Scapular Winging

Hi Mike,

I purchased Inside-Out and have been working on the push-up plus exercise, among others. I have noticed when I straighten my arm directly in front of me (as though I’m throwing a punch) the winging of the scapula goes away. Would this mean that my serratus anterior works properly and is not the source of my scapular winging OR that my serratus anterior is not correctly activated and that is why I have scapular winging?


If you have significant scapular winging, chances are you have deficiencies in either strength and/or motor control of the serratus anterior. What you describe is normal; many people have appropriate function into protraction, but they have poor eccentric control of the serratus as the scapula moves back into a retracted position. Quite often when you perform push-ups people have no issue with the concentric movement, but struggle considerably and/or get pain when lowering into the bottom.

Focus on “pulling” the shoulder blades together on the eccentric portion of push-ups, along with keeping your shoulder blades tight to the rib cage. If you can’t perform traditional push-ups properly, you may have to perform them on your knees or even in a power rack until you can achieve proper scapular control.

Good luck!

MR

Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper Body Warm-Up

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lift Strong Friday #3 - Alan Aragon

In this week’s edition of Lift Strong Friday we’ll be reviewing Alan Aragon’s work, “Nutrition for General Health Is Only As Complicated As You Make It.”

While I’m not as familiar with Alan as I am with other authors for this project, I’ll say this – I like how Alan thinks. While many seem to enjoy making the science of nutrition hard to understand, Alan does the exact opposite and works to simplify things. He even throws out some really sciency words at the beginning to show you that he’s smart, and then brings it down to a more reasonable level at the end!

One other thing I took away from Alan’s article is the fact that whether we’re talking about training, nutrition, or something in between, the basic principles are there for the taking. Alwyn Cosgrove has commented numerous times that most experts would agree on 90% of the training knowledge out there, and nutrition is no different. Sure, it’s the 10% that creates controversy and heated internet debates, but if you work to get better at applying the basics, the rest should fall into place.

If you’re interested in learning more about Alan, be sure to check out his website at www.AlanAragon.com.

That’s it for this edition – if you’re still procrastinating, pick up your copy of Lift Strong) TODAY! All proceeds go the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

Stay strong and have a great weekend!

MR

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Extensor Reflex

The Extensor Reflex

I’ve had numerous e-mails coming in over recent weeks with regards to the extensor reflex, so I figured I better take an entire blog post to help better explain it.

The extensor reflex is a very natural thing. Try this first while sitting down.

Sit up tall and tuck the chin down so the neck is in a neutral alignment. From this position, slowly extend the head/neck further and further back. You’ll begin to feel tension in your upper thoracics, and as you continue to extend the head/neck, it will move all the way down into your lower erectors. This, in effect, is the extensor reflex – when you extend the head/neck, much of the posterior chain will follow.

Now, let’s take this a step further and examine a squat.

When you squat, the goal is to keep the chest up throughout the movement. Generally, lifters will do this by not only “puffing” the chest out, but extending the head and neck. In some regards this is great – it will help you maintain an arch in your back and typically keeps you from getting caved over in the hole. But what’s the downside here?

If you’re like the majority of the population, you probably suffer from some degree of anterior pelvic tilt. As you go down into the hole, if you continuously extend your head and neck, you increase your lordosis and assume a position of even greater anterior pelvic tilt. This situation has a tendency to take your glutes out of the lift, and make it a much more quad/low back dominant lift. You’ll see this quite often in powerlifters (myself included!).

Contrast this with the neutral head/neck alignment of Olympic lifters. By maintaining a more neutral neck position, the hips do the same – they stay more neutral as well. This position allows for more freedom into the hole, as well as more strength out of it via increased glute/hip drive.

One of the common questions I get is this: If your glutes are a hip extensor, aren’t they engaged via the extensor reflex?

The simple answer here is no.

Think of it like this; when you extend the head/neck and engage the extensor reflex, your dominant extensors will tend to do the work. In other words, your hamstrings, low back and possibly even your adductor magnus will take on the brunt of the workload. It’s not just the extensor reflex, but what’s going on at the pelvis as well. The greater the degree of anterior pelvic tilt, the harder it will be to engage the gluteals.

Here’s a small section from the text Starting Strength – if you haven’t read it yet, it’s quite possibly the premier text on lifting technique and a must buy. Purchase it at Elite Fitness Systems.

“If we realize that hip drive is critical to power out of the bottom of the squat, the rest is easy. Try this: Assume a good deep bottom position as described earlier, with the knees out, toes out, and heels down. Put the chin down slightly and look at a point on the floor five or six feet in front of you. Now drive your hips up out of the bottom, and make note of how this feels. Now do the same thing while attempting to look at the ceiling. You will discover an amazing thing – that chin-down (looking down keeps the chin down) with the neck in a normal anatomical position facilitates hip drive. It facilitates chest-up, the normal anatomical position for the thoracic spine under load, and this is also a good thing.

And correct chest position is an important factor in placing the lumbar spine in the correctly extended, slightly arched position. Correct lumbar position is essential for full utilization of the hamstrings and glutes out of the bottom, because when they are stretched more completely they can contract more completely and generate more power over a longer range (more on this later). So bad neck position sets up a series of bad positions that greatly diminishes the safety and effectiveness of the squat.”

I hope that gives you a greater understanding of the extensor reflex and how it works. Work on maintaining a more neutral neck alignment in all your lower body lifts and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some major progress in the weights you’re lifting!

Stay strong
MR

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ed Coan - Quads Gym Squat Workout

And for the powerlifters out there, a small dose of the master Ed Coan getting diesel. Ed is so efficient it's sick!

Stay strong
MR

BTW, stay tuned for a new article by myself and Geoff Neupert on squatting in the very near future!

In case you are getting complacent....

No heavy content today; instead, I thought I'd throw a little extra motivation your way.

Just in case you've gotten complacement with your front or back squatting, check this out!

Friday, July 13, 2007

LiftStrong Friday #2 – Spotting an Expert by Adam Campbell

In this edition of LiftStrong Friday, I’m going to review Adam Campbell’s article entitled “Spotting an Expert.” If you don’t know who Adam is, he’s the health/fitness editor of Men’s Health magazine, and by all accounts a great guy.

The premise of Adam’s article is explaining how he spots an expert for his magazine. He outlines an instance when he met Alwyn and before he sat down, Alwyn had already spotted a previously injured area and explained how his body was compensating!

In lieu of all the recent blowback surrounding the term “experts,” it was quite refreshing to read this piece. Adam does a great job of defining what he considers an expert, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. While many are quick to label me as an “expert” because I lift a certain amount of weight, write for a certain magazine, etc., you may be interested to know I don’t consider myself an expert on any topic. Here are just a few examples:

- I think I know a lot about the topic of mobility – then I met Dr. Eric Cobb, who has developed an entire mobility system and teaches about it on a weekly basis.

- I think I know a lot about knees and keeping them healthy – then I met Dr. Shelbourne who has been operating on knees for approximately 25 years, and he was the Colts team doc for 15 years! I may know a thing or two about knees, but I think it’s safe to say that he knows a lot more than I do!

I think I know a fair amount, but I also know I still have a lot to learn. So do you – get cracking!

One thing that I really liked about Adam’s article was the fact that just because he doesn’t consider someone an “expert” yet, doesn’t mean they don’t have the skills or abilities necessary to become one. Generally it’s more a matter of their age than their knowledge base or talent level. In other words I may know a lot for a 28 year old, but my age precludes me from being on the same level as a 38 year old who knew the same things I did at 28. 10 years is a big difference, especially if you keep learning!

But, I digress. This article is a solid contribution to the Lift Strong project, and don’t forget that all the proceeds from Lift Strong go the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Do your part and purchase a copy today!

Stay strong
MR

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bands for Beginners

After chatting with my good buddy Craig Rasmussen the other day, it reminded me of another discussion I had quite a while ago with Dave Tate. The topic was simple:

Should beginners use bands?

At first glance, the answer is a flat-out and obvious “NO!” But maybe if we delve a little deeper we can see where this seemingly wrong concept could be used effectively.

We’ve all been beginners at one time or another on the bench press. But, what changes between that time and 5 or 10 years later? Sure we get stronger, work on weaknesses, etc., but one thing that must also be learned over that course of time is the concept of total body tension.

Bench pressing (and especially competitive benching) turns you on to this idea really quick. You can be loosey-goosey and move your 10RM without too much issue; but start moving heavy singles, doubles or triples, and you’d better get tight or risk cracking your sternum! So what do bands have to do with all this?

Let’s take our beginner and assume he has no idea how to bench – he (or she) thinks it’s purely an exercise for the beach muscles. Now, instead of handing him an empty bar hand him one with bands and what happens? If he’s loose, even holding it at the top position will be difficult until he learns to bear down and get tight. Beyond that, he’ll very quickly learn the concept of total body tension. When benching maximal weights, there’s more to it than just moving the bar up and down – you’re driving your legs into the floor, flexing your quads, glutes and hams, arching the upper and lower back, pulling the bar apart, etc.

In the case of our beginner, he doesn’t even need to move the bar; he just needs to understand the concept of tension and “setting” his body before initiating the lift.

If you are having some issues with your set-up on the bench, or simply think you’re not tight enough, try throwing some bands on the bar and learning how to get super tight before you lift. Hopefully it will make a big difference and help you smash some new PR’s!

Stay strong
Mike Robertson

BTW, if you want to read up on a perfect set-up for benching, check out my “Yo How Much Ya Bench?” article featured previously at T-Nation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Online Coaching Controversy

There’s been a lot of blowback on the web lately regarding online coaching. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s essentially where someone from a remote location wants more specific help with their training, so they enlist a qualified coach to write their programming for them. As I write this, I have several online clients from Europe, one from Japan, and one from China. Needless to say, without the Internet, this wouldn’t be possible.

In my case, I tend to get a lot of injured or beat-up people who need proper programming to get them healthy. At first, I didn’t really like the idea. I mean, how can you really help someone when you can’t see them? How do you know what days they should crank it up, or what days to reel them back in?

Quite simply, you don’t. It’s not THE most efficient way to train people. But, in that same vein, it’s truly helpful for those who either don’t know how to program for themselves, or simply have no desire to. There are always going to be special cases or people with more major problems than you can solve via the Internet, but these people are generally few and far between. Even in person, they’re still going to be your tougher cases.

Now, some people on the Internet will say that it’s an online coach’s job to teach that person how to program for themselves. Really? Last time I checked this person wants a program, not an education. Now I’m more than willing to explain exactly why I chose a certain exercise, set/rep scheme, etc., but quite often the people I work with don’t give a shit about what they’re doing, as long as it works. Along these same lines, you can give someone the basic tools in a few months, but it’s just not possible to give them all your knowledge in that time frame, especially when the bulk of your interaction is via e-mail.

I have had one or two clients who want me to coach them on the “art” of program design, but they are few and far between. The people that I work with view this as outsourcing on their part. I outsource my financial planning because that person is an expert/professional in their field, and even if I know a lot about the topic, I’ll probably never know as much as someone who dedicates their life to it. In all honesty I don’t care what my financial planner does with my money, as long as I get the returns that I want. The same can be said of online coaches.

So there’s my piece – hopefully it gives you an idea as to how and why an online coaching service may help you.

Stay strong
Mike Robertson

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Source of Scapular Winging

Hi Mike,

I purchased Inside-Out and have been working on the push-up plus exercise, among others. I have noticed when I straighten my arm directly in front of me (as though I’m throwing a punch) the winging of the scapula goes away. Would this mean that my serratus anterior works properly and is not the source of my scapular winging OR that my serratus anterior is not correctly activated and that is why I have scapular winging?


If you have significant scapular winging, chances are you have deficiencies in either strength and/or motor control of the serratus anterior. What you describe is normal; many people have appropriate function into protraction, but they have poor eccentric control of the serratus as the scapula moves back into a retracted position. Quite often when you perform push-ups people have no issue with the concentric movement, but struggle considerably and/or get pain when lowering into the bottom.

Focus on “pulling” the shoulder blades together on the eccentric portion of push-ups, along with keeping your shoulder blades tight to the rib cage. If you can’t perform traditional push-ups properly, you may have to perform them on your knees or even in a power rack until you can achieve proper scapular control.

Good luck!

Mike Robertson


Key #1: Improve and Maintain Thoracic Spine Mobility

The mobility of the upper back, or thoracic spine, especially in regard to achieving sufficient upright posture directly affects the ability to properly position the scapulae (the shoulder blades) during upper body training. Poor scapular positioning can actually weaken the rotator cuff muscles and limit how much weight you can lift, limit arm speed, and limit striking power. Rounded back or slouched posture of the upper back prevents the normal movement and positioning, increasing the likelihood of impingement of the rotator cuff. Repetitive “pinching” of the rotator cuff in this case will result in inflammatory or degenerative conditions or even rotator cuff tears.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Front Squat Weak-Point: The Wrists

I'm trying to incorporate some front squats into my
routine. The good news is they seem to be a godsend for the knees. The bad news is my wrists are starting to bark at the position I've got them in to
support the bar on my shoulders.

Any hints? Maybe/probably I'm doing it wrong? Any specialty bar out there
I should consider?


The biggest issue with the clean-grip front squat is the wrist positioning.
If you have Inside-Out, be sure to focus on the front squat wrist mobility
drill as often as possible to improve specific mobility in that area.

Static stretching of the forearms can help as well, so try this stretch out.
Extend your arm in front of you with your fingers/wrist extended and
pointing straight up. Use the fingers of the off hand to pull your fingers
back towards your face. This should stretch your wrist flexors.

Finally, most people try to start off doing a ton of reps with the front
squat and that's not a great idea. In other words, 3x10 is murder on your
wrist if you aren't ready for it! Keep the same load, but invert the
sets/reps to take the stress off the wrists. I don't like doing much more
than 3-5 reps in the front squat (or most exercises, for that matter) ;)

Hope that helps!

Mike Robertson

What are the six things you MUST do and the one thing you should NEVER do before you get under the bar or take the field to achieve a personal record performance?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Zero Progress to Returning to Training

Some time ago I purchased Magnificent Mobility. At that time I was in the
process of self-rehabbing an SI joint injury that had occured due to
imbalances generated by a previous right side QL strain. I had seen a number
of physiotherapists over a 2 year period to fix these imbalances and all I
received was stretching exercises and advice to do nothing strenuous until
it healed. Unfortunately the body is a complex machine that will adapt to
whatever is thrown at it.

Their advice and incorrect programming resulted in
six months of zero progress, I would wake every morning being unable to tie
my shoelaces, I had difficulty getting out of bed, everything was a
struggle. After doing some research of my own, I came across Magnificent
Mobility
. The production levels within the video are as good as any
instructional I have seen, the instruction is clear and precise, without
being clinical. Most importantly, the exercises contained within MM really
helped with the healing process. After a month of practice, combined with
some very easy bodyweight only squats on a regular basis, my range of motion
returned to pre-injury levels. I no longer had problems getting out of bed
in the morning and I could finally return to pre-injury life.

Since returning to training I have found that regular use of the exercises during
warmups has helped me quickly move beyond my previous strength and
conditioning levels. I was amazed at how quickly I responded what seemed to
be very simple drills.

The biggest kick out of this was not being able to train again, or return to
the martial arts that I had missed for so long, it was the simple things -
bringing the shopping in from the car, being able to pick my daughter up
without massive back/hip pain and being able to easily get down on the floor
to play. It is impossible to place a value on mobility: MM is a genuine
bargain. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Craig Dollin

LiftStrong Friday #1 - The AC Cancer Diaries

Each week, I’m going to write-up a brief review of an article from the Lift Strong CD ROM. I’ll go in order, and I’ll do my best to throw up a blurb about every single article. There are 58, so it could take a while!

Let me preface these write-ups by saying this – my goal is not to write critical, un-biased reviews of these articles. In fact, I shouldn’t have to write anything! The fact that the Lift Strong CD-ROM has over 800 pages of material, costs a measly 25 bucks, and every cent of that goes to cancer research should be enough for you to want to purchase it. But I’m going to use these write-ups as a constant reminder for you to pick up a copy and help out a great cause in the process.

My first write-up will be on the first article, Alwyn Cosgrove’s cancer diaries.

I’ve only known Alwyn for about 2 years now, so I actually did not know him the first time he battled cancer. That’s right, if you didn’t know, Alwyn has fought and defeated cancer TWICE now! Regardless, the fact that Alwyn is still with us today is a testament to good science and a warrior’s mentality. Alwyn is one of the friendlist and most dedicated fitness professionals I’ve ever met. He’s always been there for the young guys in the industry, and truly understands the concept of “paying it forward.”

These diaries are a peek into his thoughts, feelings and emotions as he got the news, went through chemo, and all the ups and downs associated with it. If you’ve ever had a friend or loved one go through chemo, this diary is a very vivid picture of just how mentally and physically taxing this process is.

Even though you know the “ending” of this story (e.g. Alwyn lives happily ever after, cancer-free), it’s the story that unfolds that wraps you up and pulls you in. This section alone was almost 50 pages and I read the entire thing in about an hour’s time last night. It’s truly powerful stuff, and gives a lot of great insight into the mindset of someone who has stared death in the face and survived.

Here’s my suggestion for the week: Maybe you’ve already purchased a copy of Lift Strong and don’t know who else would want one for training purposes. Instead, if you know a friend or loved-one who is dealing with cancer, why not purchase the CD-ROM for them and let them read AC’s diary? I feel reading about someone else who has been through this and survived would be a very uplifting experience.

Until next week, purchase a copy of Lift Strong and have a great weekend!

Mike Robertson

Help Your Clients Achieve Long Term Knee Health

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Incorporating Z-Health Principles

Many people have asked how I’m incorporating the Z-Health principles into my programming, so I thought I’d write-up a blog post to layout how it currently looks.

My goal is to get through the R-phase protocol between 3 and 4 times per week. This can be time-consuming, so I think I’ve figured out a way to break it up and still get maximum benefit.

After approximately 6-8 weeks of total body, fat loss based training, I’ve switched back to my more conventional upper-lower split. Here’s how my warm-ups look on a lower body day:

Activation/Static Stretching

Rectus Femoris Stretch, 30 sec. each
Glute Bridge, 10 reps
Piriformis stretch, 30 sec. each
Side-Lying Clams, 10 reps each

Nothing Earth shattering here; just trying to loosen up my chronically tighter muscles and get the right ones firing.

Z-Health

Talar Mobs
Lateral Ankle Tilts
Ankle Circles
CKC Knee Circles
OKC Knee Circles
Rehab Hip Circles

I throw the Z-Health R-Phase drills in here so I can get some isolated joint mobility and to make sure everything is moving the way I’d like. I liken the R-Phase drills to “micro mobility” while the M2 stuff is more “macro mobility.” This isolated√†integrated approach seems to work well for me.

Finally, I may throw some Z in after everything else, especially if I feel something is off in the T-spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist, etc. This is done totally by feel.

Magnificent Mobility Drills

Knee Hugs
Pull-Back Butt Kicks
Single Leg RDL
Back Lunge w/Twist
Walking Spidermen
Lateral Lunges
Squat-to-Stands

From that point I’m thoroughly warmed up and ready to rock. It takes 12-15 minutes, depending on how focused I am at the outset.

Stay tuned for Part II where I’ll describe my upper-body warm-up.



Mike Robertson

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Schools of Thought

Hello Mike,

I have your DVD's and I read on your site, then click links and read into t-nation articles by you and Eric Cressey.

I emphasize kettlebell lifting according to Valery Federenko, and use barbells for myself and high school football players.

I bought the Sahrmann text. At least I can index into it for trouble-shooting. I recognize that you and Eric Cressey are translating functional movement, the next gen functional anatomy, into specific exercises related to the profiling found in Sahrmann and the growing body of tests. I appreciate your efforts to open our eyes to use exercises and lifts as profiling.

In the past few weeks I've been able to make my humeral-acromion gap wider and alleviate impingement in myself, a process I believe to have been greatly accelerated by using beside the face pulls and scaption shrug according to your article with Hartman. At first I used a towel to lift the arm of a chest-supported rower, and then I have begun to make a goalpost with arms, bend over until arms parallel the ground, and then use 1kg and 2kg to do the beside the face pulls and hold for two seconds. That is a fairly unglamorous exercise with cable or chest-supported rower, but to think of a grown man working out with 1kg and getting sore doing it, might sideline it into obscurity as a mere cult ritual. But RESULTS highlight the wisdom of going there.

My 91 years old, and has very little if any cartilage in one hip. I started her doing some of the hip work from your dvd, and step ups on a telephone book or two. Her lunges will start ridiculously shallow, but lunges are next, probably quad lunges not to focus on quad but simply because she can't use a longer stride like the glute/ham lunge variations.

Shoulder and hip mobility and efficiency. Power lift form and efficiency. Learning as much profiling as I can. The benefits of warming up dynamically.

There are two schools of American kettlebell lifting. "Russian kettlebells are all the same size", "kettlebells are not heavy(implications: no powerlifting belt, no deadlift grip, no inhale and hold ab tension, no rectal puckering)". The other school, the one that takes people to less reps by far than kettlebell sport does, has people doing windmills and turkish get-ups for their shoulders. I have recently realized that pushing the scapula down with weight only encourages the muscles to come back stronger with more impingement. If those lifts, windmill and tkg, are not our primary overheads, they add, and perhaps ONLY add, to the deficit. If am trying to help somebody out of impingement, your beside the face pulls, scaption shrug, overhead shrug, added to rowing, would be first, not merely weighing down the scapula for a few seconds like smoking a cigarette to relieve nicotine-based anxiety. Federenko's pulls are swings, cleans, snatches, and pull-ups. I add a few renegade rows, bent-over beside-the-face pulls starting with 1kg plates, scaption shrugs starting with five or ten pounds.

Jerks are a big part of kettlebell sport. We don't do presses except for entertainment. Presses weight the scapula down, reducing impingement, while jerks make the load weightless just when we are threading soft flesh between two bones, so the scapula is not depressed by the load when impingement happens. Jerk takes a healthy, balanced scapular muscle relationship. We are also doing lots of reps and sets of jerks, so as we progress, impingement would block our progress with too much inflammation, sounding the alarm. I could also go into detail about good or bad form relating to impingement and scrubbing shoulder cartilage, but I only wanted to describe in detail how your scapular balancing exercises are so important.

-Bob Dodds