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Lower back and pelvis and stuff…

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Lower back and pelvis and stuff…

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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.

Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:27+00:00 November 21st, 2012|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville, Uncategorized|6 Comments


  1. L Shizzle November 21, 2012 at 4:38 am

    So besides clearly working on some strengthening of the glutes, core, and lower back area or until I can get stronger in said areas, does belting up help with being able to hold that stronger position? I’ve noticed I come off tension at the bottom of almost all of my lifts, one of my many failures in form.

  2. T-Pain November 21, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Explained this principle to a gentleman in Chicago about 3 weeks ago. He pr’d his back squat by 30lbs yesterday. Fact.

  3. Brosno November 21, 2012 at 10:27 am


    You’ve used golf swing-lifting parallels pretty regularly….funny thing is that the belt buckle trigger you introduced here is used in golf too. The belt buckle analogy of how not to lift in this post was great.

    My question is though… would the belt buckle analogy of how to correctly squat be to imagine aiming it straight ahead of you through the entire liftt?

  4. Coach CBo November 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    L Shiz,

    Belting up will help increase strength , if you are able to lift heavier weights while keeping form on lock-down, because the load is heavier, thus enabling you to adapt to a greater stress. However, I do think (and this is my opinion, to which others might argue otherwise) you shouldn’t throw the belt on in warm-up. Lift heavy with the belt off, solely depending on what the good Lord gave ya, and when it’s time to put the belt on to help lift the heaviest possible weights – throw it on. This will provide those weaker muscles with an appropriate amount of stress to strengthen, all the while getting the strongest muscles the loading they need in the same lifting session.

  5. Callie November 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I definitely tend to short the hip extension and feel it in my lower back later, this is very helpful. Thanks G. Also another good picture! ;-)

  6. L Shizzle November 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks Cbo. Thats kinda what I’v started doing lately is using the belt at heavy weights. Now to add hollow rocks to my daily routine to get that core strength.

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