Goblet Squat: 10-10-10-10
Strict Chin-up Lynne:
5 Rounds of –
Max BW Bench Press, rest 1 min
Max Strict Chin-ups, rest 3-5 min
Weld your pelvis to your spine. It is that simple, really. There should be no hinging at the lower back aka the lumbar spine. The main hinge we are focusing on in most of our movements in the gym is that of the hip. Hip flexion and hip extension are two movements we train every single day. Rarely are we training any type of lumbar spinal flexion (round forward) or extension (leaning and hinging backward). There are places for that type of training, but they require the utmost in care and controlled environments.
You would do well to learn how to move your torso and pelvis together as one. Before you squat, think about locking your pelvis and lower torso in to one straight line. Do not stand the bar up out of the rack for a back squat with your pelvis anteriorly rotated. What do I mean by that? Imagine your belt buckle being aimed down towards the floor – that is an anteriorly rotated pelvis. To make sure you are tightly welded together before a squat, think about contracting those muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals, AND THEN your glutes all before weighting yourself with the barbell.
The general population hurts themselves by rounding their back when moving from the couch or picking something up. An athletic population gets injured by trying to reach hip extension (think the top of your pull on the snatch and clean), but instead of using their glutes to fully open/extend those hips they arch back at that lumbar spine. If your hip flexors are as tight as a banjo string, you make up your missing range of hip extension by doing just that. This is wrong for many reasons, but let’s discuss the two most significant.
First and foremost, it is a great way to create a spinal disc issue whether that be inflammatory or degenerative. The problem is you can get away with that kind of crappy movement for a long time. It could be 100 repetitions, or you could be fine for 10,000 reps. But sooner or later there will be some type of traumatic injury to the tissues.
Second, it just isn’t a good way to perform better. It is no coincidence that the safest position and the strongest position go hand in hand in so much we do in the gym. If in order to move more weight in a given lift I have to put myself in a compromised position, that movements has no place in our gym. But if the safest position for my shoulder or back is also the position giving me the most mechanical advantage, and therefore the most potential performance, you can be guaranteed we will be utilizing that movement.
So it is silly to try to extend a weight up by way of my spinal erectors and other small muscles of the lower back. Not only do those muscles typically want to behave in an isometric contraction, but by the nature of their insertion to your bones they were not meant to displace loads. They have very little mechanical advantage. Let them behave like they were meant to: isometrically holding the back in a straight, neutrally extended spinal position.
So when moving maximal loads, let’s get our spines in a neutral position from sacrum up to cervical spine. And let us also learn to control that pelvis so it does not go off tilting on its own accord.