CONVENTIONAL VS SUMO

CONVENTIONAL VS SUMO

Differences in stance width between the conventional deadlift (CD) and sumo deadlift (SD) result in altered body position, which ultimately allows for differences in muscle activation and pulling mechanics.

Both McGuigan/Wilson and Escamilla et al have extensively analyzed the differences in the CD vs SD. The narrow stance of a CD requires increased ankle dorsiflexion (creating a less vertical shin) while the wide stance of a SD allows for a more vertical shin angle.

Additionally, the narrow stance of the CD creates a position with slightly more knee extension and a more horizontal torso (more hip flexion) when compared to the more vertical torso of the SD.

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These differences in position are important for a few reasons:

1) Based on EMG data the two lifts maximally recruit difference muscles. CD shows much higher erector spinae activity and likely higher gluteus activity (some studies show higher glute activity in CD and some show no statistical difference), while the SD shows significantly more quadriceps activation. Interestingly, no significant differences were noted in hamstring activity.

2) With a more vertical shin and torso classically found in the SD, it has the potential to be a biomechanically advantageous position to lift a barbell from the ground due to the ability to keep the bar closer to the body, reduce hindering lever arms, decrease range of motion, and produce a more vertical bar path.

However, this DOES NOT mean that “sumo is cheating” or that the SD is universally easier for all lifters. On the contrary, due anatomical differences (ex: femur/torso/arm length and ratios), limitations in flexibility, and differences in muscular strengths, the CD can certainly still be the strongest variation for many lifters.

Additionally, McGuigan/Wilson found no difference in Schartz Scores (tool for assessing relative strength) between SD and CD in a national powerlifting competition.

Practical Application: Since the CD and SD activate different, large muscle groups to a significant extent, trainees seeking to improve general strength and athleticism should incorporate both lifts into a well-planned training program.

 

By: Bongju Kim Bro M.D. (@bros_md)

5 KEYS TO IMPROVING YOUR BENCH


5 KEYS TO IMPROVING YOUR BENCH


 

Here are some cues that can help you improve your benchpress!

1) Wrists are in a neutral position stacked on top of the forearms. – common error = wrists back. Wrists back is a weaker position, it can also slow down the bar speed off of your chest because the position of the wrist can change to neutral when the weight isn’t entirely on the wrists in your bottom position.
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(2) Shoulders are pulled back and down. This position is the safest position for your shoulders when benching.
- common error = refusing a lift off. Some people get into the perfect position but refuse a lift off from someone else. When you lift the bar off yourself you are forced to remove your shoulders from that locked, back and down position.
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(3) Arch allows you to get into the safest shoulder position. It also creates an optimal position for leg drive. – Common errors = (a) thinking arching is cheating… don’t be that person, it’s a matter of safety, longevity in the sport and lifting the most weight. (b) Overarching – this is something only you can decide, there is no standard rule but if its comfortable to you, you’re not overarching, only arch less if you’re experiencing discomfort.
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(4) Bar Path is UP and BACK. We want a slow, controlled descent where the bar lands on your nipple line. When you drive up the movement should be diagonal, up and back so your top position is wrists over elbows over shoulders.
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(5) Leg drive starts the upward movement. IT ALL STARTS FROM THE FLOOR, remember that. Drive diagonally up and back with your legs and body. Use the momentum you create to drive that bar off of your chest as aggressively as possible. Bench is a whole body movement and that’s why it’s included in the sport of powerlifting.

 

Written by Coach Hayden Bowe

SHOULD YOU BE SQUATTING WITH LIFTING SHOES?

SHOULD YOU BE SQUATTING WITH LIFTING SHOES?

 

Here’s an easy test to find out. The goal is to determine (1) if you have mobility limitations and (2) where those limitations are coming from.

Part A – do a squat in bare feet. Stand so the side of your body is facing a mirror. Put your hands either out in front of you or cross your arms so your hands are touching opposite shoulders.

Perform a squat where hip-crease reaches just below parallel. If you can only reach below parallel by flexing your lower back i.e. a butt wink OR you can’t reach depth at all consider “Part A” = Failed.

Part B – Now perform the same test with a 3 inch platform under your heels. Again, buttwink or inability to reach depth = a failed test.

HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR RESULTS:

Fail + Fail = limited hip mobility. A lifting shoe will not provide immediate help.
Fail + Pass = limited ankle mobility. Weightlifting shoes will provide immediate help with your form. It doesn’t mean, neglect ankle mobility and just get lifting shoes, but it is a good indicator that an elevated heel will help.
Pass + Pass = do whatever feels best for you, you’re not limited by lower body mobility while trying to achieve depth.
Pass + Fail = should not occur.
Written by Coach @hayden.bowe

MY 5 TIPS ON OVERCOMING ANY INJURY


MY 5 TIPS ON OVERCOMING ANY INJURY


 

 

Trust me when I say, I’ve been there. I understand the frustration that comes with being injured and not being able to train to your full potential. Being a high level athlete and a physical therapist gives me a unique view, and has allowed me to come up with strategies to overcome injuries in a way that won’t only get you back in the game, but will get you there stronger than ever. So here are my five cents:

1. STOP DOING WHAT HURTS, NO PAIN= MORE GAINS: If you have pain when you squat/deadlift/snatch/press- don’t do that! Just as important as what you DO is what you DON’T DO. We hear this from healthcare professionals all the time, yet we almost always chose to ignore this simple advice. It doesn’t mean don’t do it forever, it just means avoid it for now.
2. TISSUE ADAPTATION TAKES TIME: Injury occurs when LOAD> TISSUE TOLERANCE. Between load and tolerance there’s a margin of safety. If you’re coming back from an injury, that margin of safety is smaller. You need to give your tissues time to adapt by progressively loading them so they are strong enough to withstand the load.
3. HABITUATION: Turn off the pain alarm. Whatever movement is causing you pain, expose yourself progressively to it. For example, if you have back pain when you bend forward, begin with OTHER movements that involve spine flexion like cat/cows, segmental flexion, sitting down in a chair with your head down. The second portion of this point is to begin loading under your CURRENT pain threshold, never above and increase volume and intensity slowly.
4. ISOMETRICS and high rep, low load: There is a big body of evidence that suggests that isometric contractions have an analgesic effect. Stuff like bird dogs, dead bugs, side planks, wall squats, etc. These exercises also increase muscular endurance, which improve stability. I’m talking about 8-10 reps 30-60second hold multiple times per day.
5. MOVEMENT CORRECTION: Sometimes it isn’t as clear cut as simply avoiding a movement. We can do that for a short period of time, but if that doesn’t take care of the issue we need to identify the biomechanical fault and target it with corrective exercises.

-By Dr. Stefanie Cohen, DPT

SQUAT STANCE IS SUBJECTIVE!

Body proportions can affect torso positioning in the squat, stance width and angling of the toes, this is why there is no “one size fits all squat”. Textbooks are great at teaching us proper technique, but what they don’t take into account is the role our anatomy can take in the way we move. Hopefully the images above and this explanation will help further clarify these points. Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix (@themovementfix) wrote a great article discussing how hip anatomy changes squat mechanics and inspired me to make this follow up post.
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Besides mobility, anatomy differences can explain why some people can easily squat deeper than others, why some point their toes out and some don’t, why some have a harder time keeping their chest up, why some squat wide and some squat narrow. Anatomical differences will dictate form and comfort of the athlete. Pic 1- the orientation of the acetabulum (hip socket) varies greatly
Pic 2- the angle between the shaft and the ball is greater in one femur than the other
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Trying to force a movement pattern upon someone who’s anatomy isn’t conductive for it will lead to less than optimal movements . If the athlete is uncomfortable in their stance despite how much mobility work they do, take a step back and look at their anatomy. As long as their technique follows basic rules and they aren’t putting themselves in a compromised position, their form should be dictated by comfort rather than the textbook. Here we see the perfect example of two very different- yet very effective squatting techniques by @hulksmassh and @phdeadlift; depth is good, movements is coordinated and controlled, no major knee caving and spine remains neutral.

-By Dr. Stefanie Cohen, DPT

STRONG GLUTES, STRONG LOCKOUT

STRONG GLUTES, STRONG LOCKOUT

The lockout in the deadlift can become problematic to a lot of lifters. In this post I’ll explore some faults that may lead to issues in the lockout and recommend a few exercises that might help you with it. Struggling with lockout makes people think that what they need is to isolate this particular portion of the lift by practicing supra maximal rack pulls. While this is not a bad idea, it’s important to identify some other areas that may be contributing to this.

EARLY KNEE LOCKOUT puts the bar too far away from your center of gravity, in order to counter act the weight of a heavy deadlift you need to keep the bar as close to you as possible. Ideally you want to lock out the knees when the bar is at the mid thigh to ensure your leverage is optimal. STANCE WIDTH too narrow or too wide will result in suboptimal length tension relationship of the hip extensor muscles. Avoid RUSHING when the bar is at the hip because you’re desperate to lock out. If the bar made it all the way to the top of the thigh, squeeze your glutes, lean back and relax. Don’t rush.


Finally, weak hip extension or over-reliance on the back to complete the movement. As you know after the bar passes the knees its up to the glutes to complete the job. Above are my favorite exercises to build explosive hip extension strength that will undoubtedly lead to a strong lockout in the deadlift.

By: Dr. Stefanie Cohen, DPT

TRAINING TIP: BANDS and BAMBOO BARS- do they improve stability?

TRAINING TIP: BANDS and BAMBOO BARS- do they improve stability?

Our friends over at @evidencebasedmvmt did an amazing job at searching the literature to find out whether or not unstable loads alter bar path and muscle activation during the bench press. The belief that bands and unstable loads increase recruitment of stabilizer muscles is under scrutiny.

They found that studies conflict when pointing out exactly which muscles are increasingly activated, or if there is even an increase in EMG activity of smaller stabilizer muscles during this type of training. Ostrowsksi et al found that there is increased activation of the biceps and middle deltoid during unstable benchpress. Lawrence et al found there is increased activation of the rectus abdominis and external oblique during unstable load bar squat. However a study by Dunnick et al found NO difference in muscle activity between unstable and stable training. So, what are some other benefits if any?

In the context of iron sports, training with bands and bamboo bars may be a helpful way to teach athletes to improve body awareness and control in situations involving unstable loads, for example if the bar is misloaded, a plate falls, or you encounter a similar unpredictable event.

They point out that “it is also a fantastic exercise to train specifically for the demands of contact sports, since the athlete is having to control their body in the context of changing and unstable external forces (think of a lineman blocking, or a basketball player scoring through contact). This may lead to a decrease risk of injury!”