I love me some Technical Tuesday! The devil is always hiding in those details, so grab your weights, pull out that band, have a seat on that rower, its all about the PULL today!
Pulling is an important functional exercise to explore as one of the 7 human/primal movements. At Gumsaba, we use modalities such as TRX and Resistance Tubing to allow a resistance that will give a greater challenge than your weights, while allowing maintenance of proper form. In pulling movements, the goal is to fire the lats first so that the shoulder blades lay flat on the back to support the shoulder (GH) joint. Many people have trouble feeling their lats fire, in many cases due to rounded shouldered posture which makes them sleepy and hard to awaken. One way to feel your lats fire is to stand with your back against the wall, extending your arms by your hips with palms on the wall. Make sure the base of your skull, tail bone and heels are against the wall, and your neck is neutral. Flatten your shoulder blades on the wall and then push your arms and hands into the wall. NOTE: If you find that your head will not touch the wall without lifting your chin you should incorporate recovery posture into your daily routine which will help your neck neutralize.
- With weights in hands, create a hip hinge. Flatten your shoulder blades on your back and engage your lats. Acting as though you have a pencil under each arm pit and you aren’t going to drop it, extend your arms straight down toward the ground.
- Rotate from the shoulder so that the pinky sides of your hands tilt downward and create 45º angles. (Your thumbs will be the more closed side of the triangle that your hands make) This will put the head of the arm bone in an optimal position for pulling.
- Did you drop those pencils? If so, re-engage your lats!
- Pull your elbows back so that your upper arms finish the pull without extending past your torso. This will keep the bigger muscles doing the work, and relieve stress on the shoulder capsule. If you are using 5lb weights at class, this motion will feel very easy. To make it more difficult, you can hold the pulled position of each rep for 3-5 breaths and really focus on engaging your lats.
Though a the TRX Row is highlighted here, the concept is still the same with exception of the hip hinge because with suspension training we are using gravity rather than weights to create resistance.