This is an issue I've had with both coaching athletes on teams and also coaching athletes/clients for training, injured and hurt (or some may call it banged up) are two different things as I'll explain what the difference is to me.
We all do it, everyone that's reading this and everyone that's not too. We find ways to get out of our workouts, feigning injury is the route many take. To put it in simple terms of my own, an injury is something that would most likely land you on the 60-day disabled list in the Major Leagues or something similar aka torn muscle, broken bone, big gaping flesh wound in your chest, arrow in your ass, you get the point.
Hurt, or nicked up, on the other hand is something you likely can go about life through while only noticing only now and again. Something like a sore foot, a cranky shoulder, tightness in your upper back, someone insulted your mom, it's not really debilitating, but you think it is because you're looking for an excuse.
From a strength coach's perspective the difference is all about can you train and how? Injured you either simply cannot train or you would have to make significant adjustments to your training program. Hurt you can probably train through, maybe you need a few extra drills to be sure you've got the right muscles firing and your technique doesn't slip due to compensation, but you're good to train.
I get it, there are certain points, at all experience levels of training, where you know that couch or bed is SOO much easier and is just calling you like a beautiful siren. I personally know there will be someone looking at me with 8 heads, or someone on the other end of a text saying what the hell are you doing if I don't get my training in. As much as you hate it it helps. Don't get me wrong there are days when suck it up buttercup isn't the answer, but that's usually reserved for those that train super intensely for 5-6 days a week at an elite level. Those, for the most part are the elite athletes of the world.
Sorry I got off track there. When you're dinged up and not 100% sitting around like a lump on a log is the exact wrong thing to do. All you're going to do is get tighter and feel worse, then you'll fall into that hole and all of a sudden 2 weeks go by and you're like "Oh shit what have I been doing?" Just get up and go, even if you don't go full bore and maybe leave a part out, you will feel closer to a million bucks than to a puddle of mud.
Perfect example I experienced the other week with a client of mine. The client is a high school athlete, they had a competition during the weekend and didn't feel up to coming in because they felt like they had hurt themselves during said competition. After some conversation and a bit of inquiry I managed to convince them they should come in and at least get some movement in of some sort. I watched them go through their warm up and movement prep, really saw nothing that told me that they couldn't do their program.
The truth is we did their program as it was scheduled that day with the exception of eliminating their conditioning/finisher at the end. Other than that they moved just fine, felt fine the entire workout and left feeling better than before. Just like magic, they came back next week and had not signs of the previous ouchie from before, BOO YA! As we can see here, and as is often the case, movement quite often will cure what ails you.
In short here's what you need to get from this post:
Yes we are back with another installment of the things that I've found that are awesome! Everyone just sit back and relax because I have found your path away from that Friday boredom today.
Attention Men! How You Can Support Girls Gone Strong- Many of you probably wonder why I'm always mentioning women lifting or why women should lift. One because there's nothing wrong with that, I'm marrying a lady that can lift more than I weigh and am not ashamed of it. There are those out there that like to shoot down this notion because they've either been brain washed by the likes of Jillian Michaels or need to bring others down to their level. Erin Brown on Girls Gone Strong provides examples of exactly what not to do when it comes to females and fitness, GUYS!
4 Ways to Upgrade Your Programming and Coaching- Mike Robertson at IFAST in Indianapolis does it again. The points he makes in this post are always worth revisiting every month. Moral of his message is to keep it basic and don't get too crazy.
Regular Cardio Will Make You Fat- I'm not in love with the title here, but the message is pretty much the one I try to pedal. I'm not just putting this on here today because cardio and I aren't friends. The point is there is still some bafoons out there that are pedaling cardio as the end all be all and it needs to stop. Thank you John Meadows for this great T-Nation post supporting my point.
Drills for Engaging the LatsRead Now
I wouldn't go out and call lats the most neglected group of muscles in the human body, there's plenty of legitimate claim for that by other muscles. At the same time I absolutely feel they don't get the love they need. Especially when it comes to 2 of the more popular exercises (and 2 of my favorites), the deadlift and KB swing.
Today's post I have a couple of videos to show 2 drills I use in my programming to help clients feel those suckers. I certainly am not claiming to be the inventor of these drills, but as much as I want to give credit to who I stole them from, I can't remember who it was. Either way let's get into these guys and what I find them useful for.
For those that don't know, deadlifts are probably the biggest bang for your buck exercise (at least one of if not) out there. Among other things that can be catastrophic on this lift, if the bar on your deadlift starts to separate from your body, it'll be bad news. Even after cues such as, "Keep the bar tight to you" and "Squeeze the oranges in your arm pits" (you laugh but it works). Some clients still look at me like I've just grown a third eye and an extra nose.
Other than the option of just repeatedly yelling at them and getting no where with it I found this little gem and will have them do a set of 10-12 reps with it. Sometimes I'll even program it in their warm up or as a part of a super set with the deadlifts. The items needed are a super band (start fairly light) and either a dowel or pvc pipe.
-Back and Arms straight
-Pull the dowel down under control
-When you reach your body try to snap the dowel accross your lap with your wrists
Usually after integrating this into a clients program for a month or so they start to scrape their shins. There isn't a solution to that, it's suppose to happen, you're doing it right so keep going.
The KB swing has grown in popularity, with good reason. It's an amazing exercise that hits a lot of points most coaches are begging for. It's a hinge, teaches you to use your glutes, core needs to be engaged and it's great for both power and metabolic purposes.
There are 2 things that I almost always have to fix when I see someone doing a swing, they use a squat instead of a hinge pattern, and they let the bell go far too high (anything at head level is too high for me). For the latter reason I will have clients do the above drill. It teaches them what the top position of a swing should feel like. Lats tight, along with glutes and core engaged. Dan John had said that your lats should be so tight that you have to "play chicken with your zipper", I'll let the rest of you elaborate on that for yourselves. The tools you need for this guy are a super band, medium to heavy bands will work best, and something heavy to anchor said band to.
-Arms straight at about chest level
-Keep tension on the band the entire time
-Drive your heels into the ground and squeeze your glutes hard!
The result of this after having it programmed for a month or so is learning how to do as Dan John says and avoid smashing yourself in the descent of a swing.
To review, give the lats some love, make sure the bar is not walking away from you on your deadlifts and make a game of chicken out of your kb swings. That's all I got today guys, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS