Category Archives: Uncategorized

To track or not track…

When it comes to changes in body shape and composition it ultimately comes down to calories in versus calories out. Sure, there are a whole host of factors that tie into this equation and will all affect where your baseline calorie number sits, but ultimately the number calories in  (and their ratios) versus calories out is the deciding factor.

I believe that tracking your food intake is vital to your success in fatloss, muscle gain, performance and health. It doesn’t have to be done forever, but you have to do it. For a while anyway…

Let’s get this out of the way first, it’s boring, can be time consuming at first, and just a little bit dull. That said it gives a lot back:

  • better calorie awareness. You can see where your calories are coming from and you might be surprised at some the extra cals sneaking in
  • better macronutrient awareness. You see where your calories are coming from, protein, fat or carbs.
  • improved nutrient awareness. You can see what foods are giving you a good range of essential nutrients such as  vitamins and minerals
  • greater ability to maximise your calories allowances and potentially eat more food!

In my experience, the first 2 points are the big ones, calorie and macro awareness are huge, and a lot of folks are surprised at just how off track (pardon the pun) they are. Thinking you are eating well and tracking to see if you actually are are often miles apart in terms of your accuracy.

Here are a few guidelines to help you out and get oyu on your way and help maximise the trackers ability to help you. I use MyFitnessPal as I’ve found it to be the most reliable and consistent.

  1. find your start point
  2. be consistent,
  3. be accurate
  4. assess and adjust as needed

1 – Starting point – ladies, multiply your weight in pounds (kg x 2.2) by 11 to 14 to get a calorie range, pick a starting point in the range. Gents, multiply by 15-18 and pick somewhere in the middle.

Start there. For your macros, this is a good guide to finding your starting macros.

2 – Consistency. You need to consistently track in order to see how close to your target you are. Now, don’t expect to be perfect straight off the bat, it takes time to get into the habit and you will slip up now and again. Don’t worry and get back to it asap.  One bad meal doesn’t ruin your efforts.

one bad meal

3 – This is important, you need to weigh your foods, at least initially to get an idea of just how much you are eating, its really easy to over/ under estimate your intake here.

4 – once you have consistently tracked for around 2 weeks, there will be one of 3 possible outcomes:

– You stay the same. Drop 200 kcals off your target cals and continue at the lower level. Assess and      adjust in another 2 weeks.

– You gain weight. This suggests your target cals are too high, don’t worry, you can adjust down by        2-300kcals and continue. (I’m assuming here that your metabolism is good and there are no issues      there.)

– You lose a little weight. This is ideal, you’re in a small calorie deficit and assuming you are hitting     your protein and fat numbers, and strength training, you are losing fat and not precious muscle.           Continue with these numbers until things slow and adjust down as needed.

You don’t need to track forever, just until you get a handle on how much you need and have a reasonably good awareness of the calorie and macronutrient content of your foods is. It can be a little tedious, it can be a little time consuming, but once it’s done you are on track to you success!

Any questions on this or any other topic, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer!

 

Stay healthy

Dave

Pull up progressions

Catchy title huh? I really need to work on some better titles for these things…

 

Anyways, when I get a new client in, I have a challenge for them – to get a good pull up done. It’s a great marker of strength to weight ratio and it looks pretty bad ass too 🙂

Now let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the kipping pullup or the flail around and try to kick your way up option you often see. I mean a full bodyweight, deadhang, chin over the bar pull up that everyone can recognise as awesome.

Not this…

My own thoughts on progressions were to use the assisted pull up station to provide a way to gain the strength to lift more and more of your bodyweight until you got close enough to be able to work on some eccentric (lowering only ) variations and BOOM!! pull ups were just around the corner.

Alas, I was sadly mistaken.

I came to realise that the help that the assisted pull ups gave was too uniform i.e. it gave the same help at all the way through the movement, where in fact more help is needed towards the top of the movement. Bands don’t help as they give all the help at the bottom, precisely where you don’t need it. So, what to do…?

Trx progressions are the missing link between assisted and full pull ups. They allow you to get the assistance you need (at the top, remember?) and start to “feel” what a pull up really feel like.

The set up on this is straightforward, shorten the TRX straps as much as needed to allow you to sit or kneel below the anchor point holding the handles with your arms fully extended above you.  Now, pull. That’s it, all the way till your chin passes your hands and your elbows are neatly tucked in at your sides. Then control the lowering phase till you reach full extension again. Repeat.

Simple right?

The great thing about this option is it gives you the ability to use your feet to help as they are still on the ground and you can push as much as needed with them to get you to the top, as you get stronger, you need the assistance less and less and the transition to full pull ups is not far away.

Tips:

  • Start with TRX rows, aiming to get to inverted rows. Once you hit a really good 2 or 3 reps, you can transition to TRX pull ups
  • Option 1 is in a seated position with your feet out in front. Pushing your heels into the floor helps and you can lean back into it a little.
  • Option 2 is seated with your feet up on a box. Makes the pull harder, and the assistance is less.
  • Option 3 is on your knees, this keeps you from leaning back and makes the pull up vertical.
  • Think about pulling your elbows down to your sides and not about pulling you up. This helps get the lats doing the work as they should be and not trying to focus on the biceps.

From here full weight eccentric (lowering only) holds come round. Jump up to the bar and hold the top position for 2-3 seconds before lowering yourself slowly to the bottom. Repeat for 4-5 reps.

From here, with a bit of practice, a full range pull up and lower is right around the corner.

Once you have 1 good rep, this simple finisher will help build the volume without the need for high reps.

Push up x8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,

Pull up x 1-3

KB swing x 10

Rest as needed.

It would look like this, 8 push up, 1-3 pull ups (as you are able), 10 KB swings, 7 push ups, 1-3 pull ups, 10 swings, etc etc etc

 

Have fun, stay strong.

Dave

 

Which should I choose?

How do you know which are the best exercise for you? Last time I checked there were approximately 540,832* different exercise options out there, so which do you go for? Lets see if I can help guide your choice a little…

1. Is it relevant to your goals?

2. Do you sufficient strength/ mobility/ stability to perform the exercise option well?

3. Do you have the equipment needed?

4. Does it challenge you enough?

* this number mayor may not be made up…

beauty in simplicity

Let’s not over complicate matters, keep it simple and add in some variety as needed, but let’s look at the points above.

1. Is it relevant. If your goal is fat loss, then may I suggest that loads of isolation work is unnecessary at first. Sure, everyone likes blasting a body part everynow and again, but your goal dictates that you should use big movements that involve lots of muscle groups and work movements not individual muscles. Think deadlift and squat variations.

With the squat for example, I would usually go with goblet squats until you can handle a 24 or 26kg for comfortable sets of 10, then progress to the front squat and finally, if appropriate, the back squat.

And in all honesty, regardless of your goal, you really need to be squatting!

2. This is the big one, can you move well enough, stabilise well enough and are you strong enough for the exercise you want to do? Take the Rear foot elevated split squat (a.k.a. the bulgarian split squat) as an example. Great exercise for the legs, hips and core but if you can’t get into position or aren’t stable enough once you get there to work through a decent range of movement, then you need to regress until you find a suitable option. Keeping your back foot on the floor in a static lunge, or holding on to a support will help assuming no bigger issues are present.

Once you gain confidence at one option on an exercise then you can challenge yourself with higher loads or a less stable position as progressions.

3. This really should be an obvious one, but sometimes I wonder…

If you pick a training plan that calls for a range of equipment that you don’t have, then you aren’t going to be sticking with the plan all that long. Sure, there are alternatives to most exercises but guess what? If you swap out an exercise, not talking regressing to find your level, I’m talking full swap, then you aren’t doing the training plan anymore! When picking exercises, think not only of the equipment you have, but also where in the gym the equipment is situated. Don’t superset 2 exercises that are diagonally opposite each other in far flung corners of the gym, you’ll piss off the rest of us in the gym and take up time crisscrossing the gym between sets!

4. Push ups are great. I really like them as an exercise but there are limitations. If you do them well.

Once the push up is mastered, then you have to challenge yourself, add a weight vest for an external load, raise your feet off the floor, destabilise your support to challenge yourself and continue to make progress. eventually though, if you want to continue to progress you have to move on to a dumbbell press or bench press option. Not that you would give up on the push up entirely, everyone , regardless of ability level, can benefit from pushups in there program, but as a primary exercise you will eventually move on.

 

With those thoughts in mind, hopefully your exercise choices have become a little clearer!

Stay strong,

Dave

5×5 4ever!

I really like the 5×5 scheme for strength, quite simply, it straight up works. Progress always happens and when used well I’d defy anyone to not succeed with it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a million and one ways to gain strength and they all work to a greater or lesser degree but for me, 5×5 is one of the best! At its most basic you do 5 sets of 5 reps and a load of around 80-90% of your 1 rep max and gradually push that weight higher. But as we all know, nothing is ever as straightforward as that!

 

Depending on your energy levels, recovery from your last session and a variety of other factors, your training session quality can be awesome, awful or anywhere in between the 2, and as such a little leeway in your training loads can help a lot.

Lets look at some of the ways to manipulate 5×5 and get you great results…

Feeling strong 5×5 – Great when you start on 5×5 and are conservative in your initial loading, generally I’ll use this when clients go onto 5×5 for the first time. Each set is a little heavier than the last and the next week, the starting load is the load for set 3 in the previous week. Depending on the starting point, this may last up to 4 weeks. Good for building strength and confidence under load.

For example:

Bench press

Week 1

Set 1 – 60kg

Set 2 – 62.5kg

Set 3 – 65kg

Set 4  – 67.5kg

Set 5 – 70kg

Week 2

Set 1 – 65kg

Set 2 – 67.5kg

Set 3 – 70kg

Set 4  – 72.5kg

Set 5 – 75kg

Slow loading increases but good progress quite quickly.

Straight 5×5 – Load up the bar with around 85% of your max and crunch out 5 sets of 5 good reps. Increase the load a little next time, Repeat each session until you cant…

Testing your limits 5×5 – Increase the load if you feel good in the first couple of sets. For example, your training plan says deadlift at 150kg for 5×5,  so your working sets might look like:

150 x5 – felt good,quick off the floor,

150×5 – Still quick off the floor, no issues

155×5 – felt good,

160×4 – slower off the floor, struggled on rep 4

150×5 – Back down and finished strong.

Overall a good increase on your planned 5×5 at 150 (overall volume up) Next time start at 155 and see what happens.

Build up to 5×5 – This is great for really going after bigger numbers, start with a set of 5, increase the load a little for a set of 4, then again for a set of 3, 2 and finally 1. Might look like this:

Week 1

Set 1 – 100kg for 5 reps

Set 2 – 105 x 4

Set 3 – 110 x 3

Set 4  – 115 x 2

Set 5 – 120 x 1

Week 2

Set 1 – 100kg for 5 reps

Set 2 – 105 x 5

Set 3 – 110 x 4

Set 4  – 115 x 3

Set 5 – 120 x 2

This at first doesn’t look like a big increase but when you look at the volume (reps x load) you see a big improvement – 1600 kgs moved in week 1 against 2050 kgs moved in week 2. I would be happy with a 25% increase each week if i could get it!

You continue until you hit 5 reps at each load and then bump the loading up a bit and repeat. It take some time and stalls may happen but you get stronger.

So 4 possible options on 5×5 but remember ,there are a lot more options in how you manipulate the loading to match your training strength on the day. Play around with it, be patient and consistent and watch your strength levels skyrocket!

Stay strong

Dave

5 awesome challenges…

I like a good challenge, something to make me push a little harder and push my limits a little further back. I love training, gradual but consistent increases in load and volume to get stronger every week, but sometimes you just want to see what you are capable of with this stronger body that you’ve made!

I’ve picked 5 challenges that I have tested myself with and that you can use to mix up training or test yourself with…

 

1. Dan Johns 310 lb deadlift challenge. Really, brutally simple. Load the bar with 310 lbs (140kg), set a timer to 30 mins and see how many reps you can do.

My advice is pace yourself, it’s easy early on to get lulled into a false sense of security at how easy it feels and try to crunch out big sets, but trust me, that will come back to bite you in the ass! Last time I did this one I did 3-6 reps every minute then rested for the remainder of the minute. My total was 110 reps.

If you can’t comfortably lift 140kg for 10-12 reps, pick a weight that is around 65-70% of your 1 rep max.

 

2. Never ending pushups… for bodyweight exercises you can’t go wrong with push ups. This challenge is simple. Start off standing up, then drop down and do a single pushup. Stand back up, then back down for 2 pushups, back up to standing and down again for 3 reps. Keep going, increasing the reps each set until you can’t get a full set out. My record is 14.

Short and sweet.

 

3. Front squat tabatas.  Shorter and sweeter than the pushup challenge, Tabata in this case refers to the 8 rounds of  20 seconds of work/ 10 secs of rest that you will use on this finisher, not the high intensity protocol by Professor Izumi Tabata although the intensity is definitely there!

Like the rest of these challenges, this is brutally simple. Load the bar, front squat for 20 secs, rack it and then 10 secs later, do another 20 secs. Repeat for 8 rounds.

Rules: aim for a minimum of 8 reps per 20 secs of work. And 10 secs rest means you unrack the bar after 10 seconds, not you start your elaborate setup after 10 secs and squat for maybe 15 secs! Be accurate with the timings or you aren’t really doing the challenge!

Oh, and go light, 40 kg is enough! If that is too much this works great with the goblet squat too.

 

4. Bodyweight for reps. 5 exercises, bodyweight load, as many reps as you can!

Load a bar with your bodyweight, then perform as many of the following as you can in 1 set of each in any order you want:

Romanian deadlift

Hip thrust

Back squat

Bench press

Pull up

Loading: Guys body weight for all exercises, ladies half bodyweight for the bench, full pull ups or 2/3 bodyweight, full bodyweight for everything else.

 

5. Farmers carry for distance. 5 mins, 40kg in each hand, walk as far as you can! Not much else to say about this one. Pick em up and walk!

Have fun and let me know how you get on!

 

Stay strong!

Dave

Tagged ,

4 of my favourite things…

By things I mean exercises, 4 of my all time favourite exercises for both myself and for my clients, and hopefully 4 that you will incorporate into your programs to get great results!

The list of exercises that are great is long and full of options for all your fitness and strength needs. I’ve picked 4 that I think give the best bang for your buck in the least time and the least fuss. That said, if you ask me this time in a couple of weeks, I’ll probably add another exercise or switch out one for another, but as of right now, this is the list.

 

1. Deadlift.

The King of lifts. You versus the bar. It comes off the floor or it doesn’t. Simple.

Done well it looks freaking awesome and works pretty much every part of you, done badly and your back will let you know about it. Technique is key, hips back and a below your shoulders. weight towards your heels, grip the bar like you want to crush it, and rip it off the floor.

Check out this fantastic deadlift set up video from Tony Gentilcore at Cressey Performance.

2. Pullups

You versus gravity. Pull yourself up and lower yourself under control, repeat.

Grip, lats, biceps, core all get a workout from these and doing them well gives you major strength gains.

Easier said than done though! My usual progression for clients is:

  • assisted pull up machine, not ideal but helps to build the initial strength and movement pattern needed.
  • Trx pullups from your knees. This allows you to get some assistance from your legs as needed and gain more strength.
  • Eccentric pullups, jump to the top position and slowly lower yourself back down over 5-10 secs.
  • Full pullups

 

3. Pushups.

Very underrated, underused and mistakenly so. Doing pushups well regardless of your self decided level of ability, is impressive. Unfortunately you are more likely to see this…

Than this…

If you struggle with maintaining good form, start with holding a pushup plank for time, hold the top of the pushup, tighten your lats, push the ground away, tight glutes and abs and your head in a neutral position. Then start on a high incline, and do 3 sets of 8-12 good reps, lowering the incline over time until you reach the floor.

4. Farmers carries.

Pick up a weight, walk with it, put it down. grip, core, hip stability and even a cardio hit. What more could you ask for?!

Stuart McGill, Canadian spinal research legend, has called farmers carries as walking planks as an indication of their ability to improve core strength and stability.

The trick to doing these well is to gradually increase loading over time while maintaining great posture and controlled walking style. At least as much as you can!

Try to stay in a neutral position with your spine in a neutral position and tight midsection, challenge yourself with loads but don’t lose quality of movement. If you can build the load up to betwen 50 and 100% of bodyweight per hand and carry it well for a decent time or distance and I can guarantee you will reap the benefits.

 

Try this short, intense workout if you are pushed for time:

A. Deadlifts – 4 sets of 5-7 reps and around 85% of your 1RM,

B1. Pullups 3 sets of as many pullups as you can, supersetted with,

B2. Pushups 3 sets of 10-20

C. Farmers carry – 3 to 6 sets of 20-40m with as heavy a load as you can with good technique.

Enjoy

 

Dave

Train smarter not longer

The title should really be – Train smarter and harder, not longer, but the shorter version sounded better 🙂

There is a tendency for gym goers, particularly beginners, to go into the gym for way longer than needed, doing endless sets of various exercises with weights that are too light and not leaving until exhausted, bored or the gym shuts. Need less to say, their desired results don’t come flooding in…

 

The problem, as I see it, has a number of factors:

1. No plan to follow.

How many folks do you see in the gym wandering aimlessly from machine to machine, or doing randomly combined exercises and looking lost at the end of a set? My guess is the vast majority. These folks get no results, because they literally have no idea of where they want to get to, never mind how to get there.

 

Find a plan, (the internet has approximately a gazillion), or get a trainer and follow his or her plan for you. All the way through. Don’t stop after a week and switch to something different. See the plan through and then, and only then,  move on to the next stage of training.

 

2. Not pushing hard enough.

cute at the end

Training sessions don’t need to have you lying on the floor at the end feeling burst and feeling like you are gonna puke your pre workout all over the floor. However, you should feel like you have done some actual, good, hard work and achieved something during your sessions. If you leave the gym having not broken a sweat or struggled at least a little to get to the end of a set, then you’re not doing yourself any favours.

Challenge your limits. Sweat a little, it won’t kill you to get out of breath and sweat.

 

3. Not recovering well enough.

Training is awesome, you get stronger, leaner and fitter, it can boost your confidence and mood, and improve you mental strength, whats not to love!? However the stresses you put on your body to enable all these wonderful things needs to be dealt with to allow the adaptations and improvements to be made to allow you to be better able to handle the next round of stresses. This is where good food, good sleep, staying hydrated and foam rolling/ massage etc come in.

Take some time off and your progress will be a lot faster than if you don’t. Trust me when I say that if you don’t, your body will force you to eventually. I usually suggest no more than 2 days training followed by a recovery or active rest day.

 

Hope this helps you start to make the necessary changes to your training to get the best out of it. Any questions, please just ask!

 

Stay healthy

 

Dave

Calories in, but how many…?

Last post was on fatloss, and the 6 factors I feel are important when you are looking for fat loss as one of your training goals, you can read it here.

 

I thought I would break down each of those factors to give more details and info to help you get the most out of it all.

The first factor is diet. This is the most important factor in my opinion, you can train as hard as you want, but if you are eating poorly or eating too much, even of the right foods, you’re fat loss efforts will be thwarted.

 

out train a bad diet

So, when it comes to your nutrition there are a few factors to consider:

1. Body type.

Body-Types

Most of us are a mix of 2 types, rarely is anyone 100% one type or another, you just need to know what your main type is. Your carb and fat intake will be affected by this factor.

Ectomorphs tend to tolerate carbs pretty well and may find that the carb % is up as high as 50% while fat % may be as low as 20%.

Mesomorphs tend to convert excess cals into lean muscle mass pretty easily and carbs may be around 40% with a little higher fat intake.

Endomorphs tend to have a slower metabolic rate and will store excess cals as body fat and therefore need lower carb intake and slighty higher fat.

You will notice that protein levels don’t change much at all.

 

2. Metabolic health.

If you have a healthy metabolism then your body will have an ability to use whatever fuel you give it more efficiently and your reaction to excess carbs or fat will be less dramatic. If your metabolic health isn’t so good, you will react more strongly to excess cals and you will hit an excess calorie intake much quicker than normal.

If your base calorie intake is ideally 2000kcals a day and you consistently take in 1300, then over time your body will adapt and slow to expect and use just what it gets. Jumping straight back to 2000kcals would create an excess of cal leading to fat gain.

A slow increase of 1-200kcals per day, allowing approx 2 weeks to allow your body to adapt and have your metabolism gradually return to health.

3.  Working out your numbers.

A simple way to figure out what your intake should be is this:

Weight (or if you have more then around 15kgs to lose, your target weight) in lbs x 11 -13

Take your weight in pounds and multiply by 1.5 to get your protein intake in grams per day

Take 20 – 40 percent of your cals as fat, dividing by 9 to get grams of fat per day

The rest should be made up of carbs.

For example:

A 65kg ectomorph would have the following calculation:

65 x 2.2 = 143lbs

143 x 13 = 1859 kcals

Protein – 143×1.5 = 214g per day (856 cals from protein)

Fat – for an ectomorph, 20% of cals = 372cals from fat, divide by 9cals/ g = 41g per day

Carbs – 1859 – (856+372) = 631 cals from carbs or 157g carbs per day.

4. Eat as much of your food from whole sources, lean proteins, vegetables, some fruit, plenty of water. The less processed food you eat, the better.

Any questions, just ask here or on facebook and I’ll answer as quick as I can!

 

Stay strong

Dave

 

6 basic rules for fatloss

So you’ll notice I said fat loss, not weight loss. What’s the difference you ask??
Simply put, fat loss is reduction in weight through a loss of fat stores around the body and weight loss is a loss of weight from a mix of muscle and fat. Or, put another way, fat loss comes from good nutrition and training, weight loss comes from crash diets and long bouts of cardio.

Weight-Loss-vs-Fat-Loss

I’ve put together what I think are the 6 rules to great fat loss results, giving you directions towards the results you are looking for and a way to maintain the body you earn.

1. Diet is key: At its most basic, fat is stored when your body receives more calories (from protein fat or carbs) than it needs. Losing fat, therefore, needs a calorie deficit. It doesn’t need to be massive but there has to be a consistent deficit there. Metabolic health plays a major part but I’ll cover that topic in more depth later. (Edit: you can read more here!)
Your deficit should be moderate to give enough energy to train and recover. You can calculate your calorie needs using this rough guide:
Calories: Target weight in pounds (kg x2.2) multiplied by 11 to 13
Protein: 1 gram of protein per weight in pounds
Fat: 20-30% of cals
Carbs: The remaining cals.

For example: 70kg target weight x 2.2 = 154lbs
Calories = 154 x13 = 2002kcals
Protein = 154g (616kcals)
Fat = 30% of total cals = 600kcals = 66g fat per day
Carbs = 786g carbs (196g per day)
This is your starting point. If it works for consistent fatloss then stick to it until results slow down, and they will. Then you cut a little more (around 10%) and continue.

2. Train smarter, not longer:  If your goal is fatloss you need to focus on big, full body movements such as deadlifts, squats, pull ups and farmer carries. These types of exercises challenge your whole body, multiple muscle groups are put under pressure and you are forced to work hard and burn cals. Isolation work is gonna burn time not fat.

3. Recover well: Training 7 times a week is not going to help you. Less is definitely more in this situation. Sleep, good food, supplements as needed and plenty of water. You need to train hard but the magic happens during recovery.

4. Lift heavy: More muscle burns more calories. Fat is metabolically inactive. It burns no calories, it just takes up space. Muscle on the other hand is metabolically active, it needs energy all the time, more muscle = more energy consumed. Lifting more weight means more muscle, it also takes more energy to do and creates a higher demand for energy during recovery. This video from Mike Nelson explains it brilliantly. Go watch…

Watch here —->   E.P.O.C.

5. Raise your intensity levels: You’re gonna need to work your ever shrinking ass off a bit, sweat and get your heart rate up a bit. Well, a lot. Get out of breath, push yourself, don’t leave the gym looking like you could go another hour.

6. Have fun! This is fun. It doesn’t always feel that way but it is. You are able to get in the gym, move, lift and challenge yourself. Enjoy it. Find exercise styles that you like. You like deadlifts and squats? great, get good at them, learn about them and push your limits. Like Kettlebells, learn from someone who knows kettlebells and get good at them. Like Zumba? oh well, no-ones perfect…

Stay strong

Dave

Fixing a broken hinge

Your hips are your powerhouse and the hip hinge is a vital weapon in your movement arsenal, but there are a great many of you that don’t use them too well. Whether it’s a straight leg bend at the waist or staying too upright through a hip movement, you are asking your body to move in a way that can result in damage in the long run.

hiphinge

Good hinge position on the left, not so good on the right. awesome artwork right? Right?!

While repeated poor hip hinge movements may not cause any kind of catastrophic injury, repeated stresses on your back will eventually lead to low back issues limiting you in the future. Lets fix it now and turn you all into badasses!

To illustrate how powerful your glutes and hip movements can be, try this:

Standing long jump test:
First do the the jump by squatting half way down and just using your thighs, straighten your knees explosively and jump as far as you can.
Then, go back to the same start point and this time, dont bend your knees so much but push your hips right back and bend over at the waist, now, throw your hips forward and see how far you can go.

A lot further right? That’s the power of your hip hinge when done right.

A little anatomy first…

The glute max muscle attaches on the ilium along the line of the meeting of the ilium and sacrum, it wraps around and down inserting on the femur. It is responsible for extending the hip and externally rotating the leg. It also acts as a knee stabiliser by acting on the IT band.
glute max

 

The extension part is primarily what we think about when we look at the hip hinge movement, that is, straightening your hip from a flexed position where the knee is closer to your chest than normal. From an exercise standpoint think deadlift, RDL, hip thrust or KB swing.

Learning the hinge

The way I usually teach the hinge is to use the wall drill. Stand 3 or 4 inches away from a wall with your back to it. Chest up, head forward. Now, push your ass back towards the wall until it touches. Don’t fall back onto it, don’t rest your cheeks on it, just touch it and straighten right back up. Your back should be straight, your knees will bend a little. Now, move forward another 2 inches or so. repeat the movement, hips back, not down, till you bump the wall.

Remember, it’s a hip movement, most of the movement comes from your hips, your knees stay in the same place, they just bend enough to allow you to move your hips the necessary amount. Keep moving further away until you reach a point where you can’t reach the wall any longer and your hands are around knee level.

Well done, that’s the hip hinge. Now go practice.

Tips:

Your weight should subtly transfer to your heels. Don’t rock back onto them, just shift your weight.

Think brace, not arch for your low back. Maintain a neutral spine.

When you have a load in your hands, work hard to keep your shoulders “back.” Don’t let them get pulled forwards by the weight when you hinge forward.

Keep the bar as close to your shins as you can. Don’t let it float away, tight lats and shoulders down.

Any questions or comments would be welcome, get me here or over on the Facebook page!

Stay strong

Dave