Everyone wants to have a ridiculously strong squat and a deadlift which makes people think that if you were around they probably wouldn’t need a car jack to change a tyre.
But how many of you can say that that’s you?
It’s so common it actually makes me kind of upset that people get all stoked and fired up about hitting a bodyweight pull or squat.
It’s awesome that you have hit that marker and I’m sure it was hard work and you deserve praise for that BUT that isn’t a reason to back off.
Not at all.
You should use that achievement as a spring board to hit bigger and better things (mostly lifting up heavier things but striving to be better is always an achievement).
What’s your goal? 100kg squat? 150kg? 200? 250?
Whatever your goal is you want to be able to get there faster right? Being stuck on a plateau is one of the most frustrating things about lifting and when it happens you want a way to bust through it and do it fast!
So here’s the 5 quickest ways:
1. GET YOUR CORE STRONG
Core work has had some bad rap in the last few years and I’ve been told that people “don’t say core” anymore and that you should not train it separately.
We can all agree that big lifts are effective builders of total body strength.
This includes you core, so much so that olympic lifters often have excessively, hypertrophied core musculature – like a belly of muscl. That’s not just the muscles that show but does deep down to the muscles that really provide support and stability.
So if we can see that these lifts work and strengthen the core musculature then it stands to reason that working and strengthening the core directly will improve your lifts.
2. NAIL YOUR TECHNIQUE
This is a really obvious one. Correct and safe ways to lift are usually the same.
For example to safely deadlift you need to hinge at the hips, maintain a strict neutral arch in your spine with a solid braced core with tons of internal pressure and keep the bar as close to your centre line as possible the minimise the shear force on you spine.
Funnily enough this ties in exactly with how to pull correctly (granted on max lifts perfect form can’t be maintained).
How does this tie in with making the lift easier? It all about moving where you’re meant to and staying solid when you’re meant to.
A lift with great technique maximises efficiency and minuses any energy leaks. This means you won’t be wasting energy keeping the bar on track and can put all your energy into moving more weight.
3. IMPROVE YOUR WEAK POINTS
This comes from Louie Simmons and the crew over at Westside Barbell. Those of you familiar with these strong-as-fuck men probably recognise where this is going.
I’ll do this extra quick.
Everyone will have different points in their lifts that hold them back.
Where you’re weakest is where you’re failing. If you have want a 200kg bench but only have 150kg triceps you’re never going to bench 200kg.
Makes sense again yeah!
What this needs is an experienced lifter or coach to show you your weak points then your can focus on turning them into your strengths.
4. GREASE THE GROOVE
This is a phrase I picked up from the writing of Paval Tsatsouline. It plays on the fact that movement is a skill. The more you do a movement the better your body becomes at that movement and the more ingrained it becomes in the central nervous system.
Is that really a big deal?
In short yes.
Many of the strongest men in the world do this, just as you would practice passing or kicking every day, also consider practicing squatting or hingeing (deadlifting) every day. This doesn’t have to be heavy enough to make you tired – simply keep practicing the movement.
This is how I’ve done much of my work on improving my snatch technique, I would use a brook handle every day and just practice the technique of staying on my heels under the bar.
If you’re doing your squats as part of your warm up for rugby, really practice the technique of keeping your heels down and sitting with your ass, use the time to improve.
ROUNDING UP AND MOVING ON
You have all the information now you need to break into brand new lifting territory. Here’s my suggestion to you on how to actually use it.
- Start doing some kind of core work every day:
- Ab roll outs
- hanging leg raises
- Glute Ham Raises
- Back extensions
- Standing Crunches
- Do every rep with great technique. Every rep from your warm ups has to be spot on. Get someone to watch you (or video yourself) and be as critical as you can. Teach your body that less that perfect is not good enough
- Find a good coach or an experienced lifter and asked them nicely (if you’re a good person you could reimburse them for their time in the form of a beer) to check out you lifts and tell you where you’re failing and weak.
- Take a trick from of guys like Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline squat and hinge every day. It doesn’t have to be heavy it just has to be good and reinforce the correct movement patterns. Personally I goblet squat as part of my warm up then deadlift (really light, never heavier than 160kg) at the end of every session.
That’s all for now lads. Put this stuff into practice today and watch your numbers start going up.