One of the most neglected areas in an athlete’s regime is their warm-up. I’ve fallen victim to this myself, but once I got on top of my preparation the game changed dramatically. Not warming-up is like wiping before you poop. It just doesn’t make any sense!
The body needs to be primed for it to perform at its best. Taking 10-15 minutes to diligently warm-up can mean 10-15 pounds on a lift or more. Mobility, band work, and small intentional jumps on your main movement for the training day is of utmost importance. The goal is to maximize your time spent in the gym. A proper warm-up will keep you efficient, more than likely injury free and help you pull out your inner badass come competition day!
I don’t know a single serious athlete who hasn’t had to deal with an injury. From strains to sprains to broken bones and slipped discs and the list goes on. The two most important things to focus on are a) Recovery and b) Prevention.
Some athletes make the mistake of viewing recovery as simply getting back to normal training. While returning to normal is a good goal, many athletes (myself included at different points in my athletic career) will rush to get back to regular training and in doing so will overlook proper rehab.
The second often overlooked aspect of coming back from an injury is prevention of the same, or a similar, injury occurring in the future. Some things just can’t be prevented, but so many athletes get injured doing what they love and often times the injury could have been prevented, or at least minimized. Warming up adequately, using proper form, and being aware of surroundings are all things that an athlete has in his/her control.
So, when recovering from or working around an injury, be sure not to rush to get back to “normal.” Put in the time to make sure that you are not only getting back to being capable of doing what you used to, but capable of doing so safely.
RDLs (Roman Deadlift) are for everyone and if you are a serious lifter and athlete you need to add them in to your routine! This is a great way to develop explosive hips, glutes and low back strength. This is a closed chain movement that helps you assist your main lifts like squats. I personally prefer to pair them with front squat days, but they can go in anywhere as an assistance exercise. This next part is straight from my coach and head of East Coast Gold Leo Totten:
“Power position” or “jump position”
Lightly touching thighs
Knees slightly bent
Back flat or “arched”
Regular grip (or hook grip or straps)
Focal point straight ahead
Clean grip (although snatch grip is OK too)
Bend at hips only
Knee angle stays the same throughout
Bar descends slowly and under control
Flat footed throughout with no pressure on toes at all
Back stays flat or arched throughout
Lower the bar as far as good technique and flexibility allows (below the knees to mid-shin)
Should feel it in the hamstrings throughout (coaching hint: if the athlete can’t feel it in the hams, they ain’t doing it right!)
Arms stay straight throughout
Focal point straight ahead throughout
Same as descent but in reverse
Finish at same position as start (keeps lower back holding a static position)
A variation of this is to have the athlete finish the RDL with a shrug at the top of the pull. That is fine too. My preference, though, is to view the exercise as a strength exercise more than a power exercise, trying to keep the body under constant tension throughout.
How heavy should you go? Only as heavy as good technique dictates.”
When we load the posterior, we need to make sure we don’t neglect the anterior. This didn’t use to happen, most of us are ab obsessed or were at some point. But, being with in the CrossFit community I have found that most people neglect proper abdominal work or skip to the glute-ham developer sit up before they are really ready. So, more often than not I encounter people who are weak in their trunk and abs or avoid trunk and abs all together. Yes, you use your abs when you squat, dead, press, and every other movement. But, having proper strength flexion and strength to stabilize your midline is extremely important! We talk about it all the time and I think everyone should hit a set of 100 for some type of ab work daily. A little abdominal soreness helps cue the body to stay tight and ridged. Ab work also helps us stay away from using belts all the time (I personally think you should only use a belt on shitty lifting days or when we are attempting maximal lifts) which builds our core stability. There are TOO many abdominal exercises to list, so I am going to list my personal favorites (I will do a video explaining these very soon): ab wheel (evil wheel), suitcases, hollow rock, halos, sit ups, Russian twist, sit ups and v-ups. These are my personal favorites to work on abs easily, you may have something you like more and if so do that. Just make sure you still hit ab work, especially if you’re not equating over double your body weight!