Neanderthal No More Part I The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture!

by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson Disclaimer: What you're about to read is some very technical, very geeky stuff, but don't panic if you don't have your kinesiology degree just yet. In the future articles in this series, Eric and Mike will break it all down for you and show you how to fix your posture and improve your physique. For now, take off that poseur trucker hat and put on your thinking cap!

Do the Evolution, Baby Evolution is defined as "a process in which something passes by degrees to a more advanced or mature stage." Think back to prehistoric times and try to envision your ancestors. You probably have an image conjured up of a Neanderthal wearing a loincloth, grunting at females, killing his own food, and hunching over a fire to stay warm. His DNA endured century after century, guaranteeing that you're equally hardcore, right? Then again, you wear boxer briefs, utter cheesy pickup lines at every woman you see, hunt for your food at the local Stop 'N Shop, and hunch over a computer all day. In other words, the only trait you share with this prehistoric badass is your pathetic S-shaped posture: rounded shoulders, forward head posture, exaggerated kyphosis, anterior pelvic tilt, excessive lordosis, internally rotated femurs, and externally rotated, flat feet. Well, it's time to once and for all dissociate yourself from the Neanderthals by correcting these structural problems. We're here to help you do just that. This four-part series will outline the most common postural distortions and provide a comprehensive program to correct them.

The Length-Tension Relationship First, let's talk about muscular contraction. You've heard of the sliding filament theory, right? No? You’re not a total kinesiology geek like us, huh? Well, here's a brief synopsis: Actin and myosin filaments are found within the sarcomere (a contractile unit of skeletal muscle). The myosin cross bridges attach to the actin filaments, pulling them inward and leading to an overall shortening of the muscle fiber. When a bunch of fibers do this at once, we get a concentric muscle action (contraction or shortening). With the sliding filament theory in mind, you can imagine that changes in the length of a muscle fiber can affect the ability of the muscle to contract optimally. For example, when a sarcomere is too short, it can't generate peak force because of the preexisting overlap of actin filaments. This overlap takes up valuable space that could otherwise be used for the myosin cross bridges to attach. Conversely, when the sarcomere is excessively lengthened, the actin filaments are too spread out for all of the myosin cross bridges to reach them for attachment. So, we know that a muscle fiber (and, in turn, the entire muscle) is strongest when the sarcomeres are at their ideal resting length (usually resting position or slightly more lengthened). In all other positions, the sarcomere is outside of this ideal length zone and can't

generate maximal force. Just consider how your strength varies in certain portions of the barbell curl and you'll understand what we mean.

Posture and the Length-Tension Relationship The length-tension relationship isn't only important at the cellular level; training — or lack thereof — can alter a muscle's normal resting length. Simply put, the more you train a muscle, the shorter it wants to get. Meanwhile, the response of the antagonist is to lengthen more and more over time to allow the agonist to shorten. If you need a visual, wrap an elastic band around your wrist. Pull on one side to loosen it (the antagonist) and note that the other side tightens (the agonist). This is how concentric muscle actions normally occur; the antagonist must relax to permit the agonist to shorten. The problem herein lies when the agonists become chronically shortened due to poor training and/or lifestyle behaviors. Summarily, we get shortened (hypertonic or overactive) muscles and lengthened (hypotonic or inhibited) muscles opposing each another. Now, toss the lengthtension considerations into the mix; do you think muscles (and their individual fibers) that are always outside of the optimal length zone will be able to generate maximal force? Is the Pope Hindu? When discussing length and tension, you must also be aware that they're not one and the same. A muscle can have excellent length but still be excessively tight and vice versa (although it’s not as common). It's generally accepted that with length, more is better unless you have the flexibility of a circus sideshow freak. Muscle length is usually improved via stretching (static, dynamic, PNF, etc.) On the flip side, tension is more of a bell-shaped curve. On one hand, excessive tension is problematic as stated above, but excessive laxity isn’t beneficial either. Tension is a true tight rope and something that should be evaluated frequently. Tension is best improved using modalities like massage, heat, muscle stim, or myofascial release.

The Caveman Look It's time to apply the aforementioned principles to your caveman posture. Essentially, with the classic S-shaped posture, you have overactive and inhibited muscles from head to toe. The origin of such distortion is unique to each case. In some cases, these problems result from developmental or congenital structural abnormalities such as rearfoot or forefoot varus, Scheuermann's disease, or spondylolisthesis (just to name a few). However, these cases aren't the norms when it comes to screwy posture; rather, the Neanderthal look is usually a function of poor postural habits and improperly balanced training focus at multiple joints. Therefore, in weight-training populations without actual structural irregularities (read: you!), the most beneficial corrective programs will work to resolve the problem at each affected joint. Beginning with the core (a common source of postural problems), here's a depiction of how several joints interact in this common postural distortion:

• The core and glutes are inhibited; the hip flexors, hamstrings and erector spinae are overactive. This results in anterior pelvic tilt and exaggerated lordosis (swayback).

 (Image from Medline Plus) • There's a natural kyphosis to the thoracic spine. If the spine continued in the lordosis direction, our chests would be facing the ceiling all the time. Kyphosis is a means of keeping us upright in spite of the lordosis occurring below. In other words, there's a direct relationship between lordosis and kyphosis: when one increases, so does the other (in order to maintain upright posture). Remember that while lordosis and kyphosis are natural, it’s only when they come to excess that things get ugly. • Also worthy of note is the fact that the latissimus dorsi origin is on the lowest six thoracic vertebrae, lumbar vertebrae, sacrum, and ilium (the last three via the thoraco-lumbar fascia), providing a direct muscular link between the upper (humerus) and lower body. Likewise, the erector spinae group has broad attachments on the pelvis, ribs, vertebrae, and skull, allowing it to exert profound effects on both upper and lower body posture, and the link between the two. • Weakness of the core is also implicated in that it essentially allows the torso to descend and its mass to move anteriorly (or forward). As this occurs, the scapula moves up and outward (wing) around the rib cage, the clavicle is pressed to the first rib, the humerus internally rotates, and the head comes forward so that the body can continue to function in this modified position. • Just as a continuation of excessive lordosis is impractical, continuation of kyphosis direction to the cervical vertebrae would have you looking at the floor all the time! As such, when kyphosis is excessive, the posterior neck muscles must be constantly active in order to pull the back of the head posteriorly (thus bringing the chin up) to compensate for the neck moving forward. Just think of someone hunched over a computer (like you're doing right now!) and you'll see what we mean. • Moving on to the lower body, there are definite anterior pelvic tilt implications on the femur. Specifically, anterior tilt of the pelvis forces the femur into internal rotation. This places stress

on the lateral part of the thigh, most notably the vastus lateralis muscle and the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and iliotibial band (ITB). These areas become shortened, tight, and are usually implicated in cases of lateral knee pain. • While the inward rotation of the femurs carry on to the tibiae, it's important to note that a condition known as genu valgum (knock knees) often develops. With this condition, the tibia abducts (moves away from the midline of the body) relative to the femur. This can place a great deal of stress on the medial aspect of the knee. The tibia internally rotates on the talus in the closed-chain position. This internal tibia rotation is associated with pronation of the subtalar joint (involves the talus and calcaneus). In plain English, this means your feet flatten. • Human movement — especially squatting — requires a certain amount of dorsiflexion. The pronated foot scenario is related to tightness of the plantarflexors (calves); the individual pronates the foot to overcome/avoid a compromised range of motion in dorsiflexion. • Trainees can also compensate for this lack of dorsiflexion by externally rotating the feet. As a result, there's usually shortening of the lateral leg musculature and lengthening/inhibition of the anterior leg musculature in the lower extremity. The proximal and distal tibiae positions give the image of a valgus or knock-knee appearance of the entire leg complex. Now, this only refers to static posture. Just imagine what happens when someone with these postural afflictions actually tries to move around! Several injuries and/or conditions may result from each postural flaw: Potential kyphosis/rounded shoulders manifestations: bicipital tendonitis, injuries to the glenoid labrum, subacromial impingement and resulting rotator cuff tears, injuries to teres major, scapular winging, decreased thoracic outlet space, degeneration of vertebral facets/acromioclavicular joints/sternoclavicular joints, and various elbow pathologies (due to compensatory overload). Potential head forward posture manifestations: headaches, excessive dry mouth (over-reliance on breathing through the mouth), difficulty swallowing, anterior and posterior neck tightness, and irritation along the medial scapular border. Potential lower body manifestations: low back pain, disc injuries, sciatica/radiating pain from the low back into the legs/feet, decreased low body power and strength production, lateral knee pain, medial collateral ligament tears/sprains, anterior cruciate ligament tears/sprains, excessive pronation of the foot (flat feet), ankle sprains, hamstring/lower back strains, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, pain in the forefoot (metatarsalgia), bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Oh yeah, let's not forget the ever-popular incontinence. Numerous muscles cross these joints and all of the actions of each muscle will be affected by alterations to optimal resting length. To give you an idea of how dramatic an effect these subtle distortions can have on every exercise you perform, consider the following muscles that may be affected and their functions:

Upper Body: Hypertonic/Shortened/Overactive

as they must constantly contract in order to keep the mouth closed from this position (tension in the hyoid muscles of the neck forces the mandible posteriorly and inferiorly). Subscapularis: glenohumeral internal rotation. 4. adduction (sternal only. Obliquus capitis inferior. 2. The Suboccipitals (Rectus Capitis Posterior Major. depression. Infraspinatus and Teres Minor: glenohumeral external rotation. and horizontal abduction. and Obliquus capitis superior): head/neck extension and ipsilateral flexion and/or rotation. 2. and stabilization. after 90° abduction or more). downward rotation. Posterior Deltoid: glenohumeral horizontal abduction. internal rotation. 5. and retraction (in certain positions). extension. downward rotation. Rhomboid Major and Minor: scapular retraction. 6. retraction. Note: The temporalis and masseter (facial muscles) also become overactive with forward head posture. 5. upward rotation. and elevation (barely noticeable. Longus Capitus): cervical flexion. Anterior Deltoid: glenohumeral abduction. horizontal adduction. upward rotation. abduction. when below 90° of abduction). Middle Trapezius: scapular elevation. and external rotation. 3. and upward rotation. ipsilateral flexion and rotation. flexion. 8. 9. adduction. and abduction (clavicular only. Upper Trapezius: scapular elevation. ipsilateral flexion. 7. contralateral rotation. Serratus Anterior: scapular protraction. and posterior tilt. extension. Sternocleidomastoid: head/neck flexion. upward rotation. 3. Lower Trapezius: scapular depression. this movement occurs during retraction). downward rotation. 7. flexion (clavicular fibers only). Neck Flexors (Longus Coli. and posterior tilt. horizontal abduction. and adduction. Pectoralis Major: glenohumeral extension (sternal fibers only). Latissimus Dorsi: glenohumeral extension. internal rotation. 4.1. adduction. Pectoralis Minor: scapular protraction. head/neck extension. downward rotation. Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor. and internal rotation. Teres Major: glenohumeral extension. retraction. and anterior tilt. retraction. Upper Body: Hypotonic/Lengthened/Inhibited 1. and anterior tilt. and posterior tilt. . retraction. extension. horizontal adduction. 6. scapular depression. 10. and stabilization. Levator Scapulae: scapular elevation (duh). internal rotation.

biceps femoris): hip extension. Lower Body: Hypotonic/Lengthened/Inhibited 1. 8. Cervical and Thoracic erectors (Semispinalis. 7. and Pectineus): hip adduction. 5. . Longissimus. Adductors (Adductor Longus. and knee flexion (gracilis only). 3. Obturator Internus. 9. Hamstrings (semitendinosus. internal rotation (semitendinosus and semimembranosus). Gluteus medius and minimus: hip abduction. Lower Body: Hypertonic/Shortened/Overactive 1. Rectus Abdominus: lumbar flexion and ipsilateral flexion. Piriformis. knee flexion. and tertius): eversion. Psoas Major and Minor. and adduction (lower fibers only). and Iliocostalis: Lumborum fibers): hip extension and lateral flexion of spine. Iliacus. when active bilaterally. and external rotation (medius only as the hip abducts). and Magnus. and external rotation (biceps femoris only). flexion. 11. which can be accentuated with anterior pelvic tilt. and Iliocostalis: Cervicis and Thoracis fibers): cervical and thoracic extension. Rectus Femoris: hip flexion and external rotation. 6. external rotation. Rectus Femoris: hip flexion and knee extension. knee flexion. and external rotation (biceps femoris only). Brevis. Lumbar Erector Spinae (Spinalis. brevis. Gracilis. 2. TFL/ITB (ITB is fascia): hip abduction. 2. Spinalis. internal rotation (semitendinosus and semimembranosus). Gastrocnemius (especially lateral head): plantarflexion. Quadratus Lumborum: ipsilateral flexion and stabilization of pelvis and lumbar spine. and external or internal rotation (depending on position). Gluteus maximus: hip extension. semimembranosus. Obturator Externus. Gemellus superior. and internal rotation. internal rotation (both).8. Soleus: plantarflexion 12. However. Peroneals (Peroneus longus. 3. ipsilateral flexion and rotation. plantarflexion (tertius contributes to dorsiflexion). flexion or extension (depending on position). 4. Longissimus. Gemellus Inferior. Vastus lateralis: knee extension 10. the QL contributes to lumbar extension. and Quadratus Femoris: hip external rotation.

To contact Mike. your homework assignment for the next week is to have someone take full body (head to toe) pictures of your normal standing posture from both sides and the front and back (preferably in just your underwear).S.. Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. U. 5. Indiana. Transverse Abdominus (TVA): stabilization of lower back (function is integrated with multifidus and pelvic floor muscles). He can be contacted at ericcressey@hotmail. Eric has experience in athletic performance. CSCS is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Connecticut. and contralateral rotation.S. External Oblique: lumbar flexion. M. In the meantime. . Don't chicken out! You absolutely have to take pictures of yourself to get an idea of how you stand (pun intended). we'll highlight several postural assessments and functional tests you can perform to give yourself a better idea of your structural flaws. is the Director of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) in Fort Wayne. it’s damn hard to take photos of your own back! He graduated from the University of New England with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports and Fitness Management. but it’s usually less effective because you'll want to fix your posture or subconsciously try to improve it. rehabilitation.. and personal training services to its clients. and ipsilateral rotation. C. Mike has been a competitive powerlifter for the last three years and is currently the USA Powerlifting State Chair in Indiana. ipsilateral Vastus medialis: knee extension 8. Tibialis anterior: inversion and dorsiflexion 9. injury rehabilitation. BS. ipsilateral flexion.. lumbar extension. Internal Oblique: lumbar flexion. 6. be sure to get those photos taken so that we can hit the ground running next week! About the Authors Eric Cressey. Moreover. 5. Mike Robertson. and rotation (both contralateral and ipsilateral).S.C. You can also do this in front of a mirror. Tibialis posterior: inversion and plantarflexion Your Homework Assignment And you thought poor posture wouldn’t affect your training! In Part II.A.S. 7. please send an email to mikerob022@yahoo. Multifidus (lumbar): segmental spinal stabilization (synergist of TVA). and general conditioning settings.4. The APC offers sport performance training.W.

. 1996. S. Manual of Structural Kinesiology.J.. McGraw Hill. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.  2. . & Thompson. C. Brunnstrom's Clinical Kinesiology: 5th Edition. Weiss. Hall. & Martin.L. R. E.A.T. 1988 Dec. F. M. Davis Company. D. Tiberio.W.68:1840-49.  4.K.K. L. Floyd.. Sports Injury Management: 2nd Edition. J Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2001. M.. Smith.  3. Anderson. L.D. & Lehmkuhl.References  1.. 2000. Pathomechanics of structural foot deformities.

whereas Figure #2 shows a posture with the same ideal spinal curves but excessive anterior weight-bearing (i. and mastoid process (the nub just behind your ear). ideally. Let’s start with your side photos. Below are the four most common side postures seen. Now before you go on. coupled with the compensations that manifest themselves throughout the rest of the body (excessive lordosis. Part II The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture! by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson The Postural Analysis: Side Posture After reading Part I you're probably thinking to yourself. The columns will be labeled as follows: • Excessive lordosis (includes anterior pelvic tilt) • Excessive kyphosis . you should have been waiting for this week's update with a bunch of photos in hand.e. Figure #4 is the "Caveman Look" to which we've been referring. if you completed your homework assignment from last week. the anterior tilt has a seminormal lumbar curve. we're looking for straight lines and 90-degree angles. It's highly prevalent in today's society. Figure #1 depicts an anatomically ideal posture. Time to put them to good use! Essentially. can't you just picture a computer screen right in front of that poor stickman with the club? In this fourth figure. this line is also perpendicular to the ground. You should be able to draw a straight line between the middle of your foot and take it up through the knee. "Maybe my posture isn’t so great after all. but compensatory exaggerated kyphosis in the upper back. hip. you'll notice the exaggeration of the spinal curves. excessive kyphosis and a head forward posture). acromion process (the "bump" where your superior scapula meets the clavicle). the weight is on the toes).Neanderthal No More. but how do I know?" Well. In Figure #3. take out a blank sheet of paper and make six columns at the top.

put a check in the forward head posture column. Is the waistband parallel to the ground or is the front pointed towards the floor? If it points down. that really is the plural of "humerus") • Forward head posture • Internally rotated femurs • Externally rotated feet Here’s a checklist of things to examine on your side-posture analysis. 2) Examine your knees. knees. give yourself a check in the internally rotated humeri column. Can you draw a line straight up from the acromion process of your scapula to the mastoid process (anterior portion)? Or. If your knuckles are dragging the ground. is there a noticeable angle? If you answered "no" to the first question and "yes" to the second.• Internally rotated humeri (yes. 6) Examine your upper back. acromion process. give yourself a check in the lordosis column." give yourself a check in the kyphosis column. Front Posture . change your shorts. but chances are if you have an anterior pelvic tilt you also have an exaggerated lumbar curve). give yourself a check in the lordosis column. and mastoid process? If so. is this line perpendicular to the ground? If you answered "yes" to both questions here. sometimes one side is tighter than the other). give yourself a check in the internally rotated femurs and externally rotated feet columns. you're doing far better than most! You should still check to see if there's any exaggerated kyphosis or lordosis. starting from the ground up: 1) Can you make a straight line between your feet." however. give yourself a check in the "needs a full body wax" column. 5) Examine your arms. Are your shoulders rounded forward? If "yes. Is there a minimal curve or is it exaggerated? (This one is more subjective. If they're in front. however. hips." give yourself a check in the internally rotated humeri column. Are they carried alongside or in front of the body? (Be sure to look at each side independently. 8) Finally. If you see "skid marks. If it's exaggerated. 3) Check out your skivvies. Do they have a slight bend or are they locked? If they're flexed. 4) Examine your lower back. 7) Can you see any of your upper back? If "yes. examine your head position.

Figure #2 is an example of scapular winging." put a check in the internally rotated femurs column. The most important thing we're looking at is the position of your scapulae. . knees. awesome! Go through the last couple of steps just to make sure everything else is okay. 4) From your hips to your knees. 2) Do your feet have arches or are they flat (excessively pronated)? If they're flat. examine the backs of your hands in the photo. where the scapulae are "pulled" up and to the outside. starting from the ground up: 1) Can you make straight lines between your feet. Below we have the two most common lower body postures: #1 represents our ideal and #2 the more common knock-knee or valgus position (imagine the kneecaps practically facing one another). do your legs turn in and the kneecaps point inward? If "yes. let’s move on to our front photos. Back Posture Finally. This is usually the quickest test to perform because you’ve already examined the majority of the body. 3) From your knees down. but of the arms and hands as well. and hips? If you answered "yes" here. give yourself a check in the externally rotated feet column. 5) Finally. We'll be examining not only the position of the legs.Now." put a checkmark in the externally rotated feet column. Figure #3 shows us a classic example of someone with overactive/hypertonic upper traps coupled with weak and inhibited middle/lower traps. put a check in the internally rotated humeri and kyphosis columns. let’s take a look at the photos of your back. Are they turned out to the sides or are they internally rotated and facing the camera? If they’re facing the camera. the medial. inferior borders are both retracted and depressed. and possibly one in the internally rotated femur column (correlate with #4). Here’s a checklist of things to examine on your front posture analysis. Figure #1 shows us the ideal posture for our scapulae. Finally. do your lower legs and feet turn out? If "yes.

we have a few more tests that can help to answer any remaining questions you might have. If the yardstick makes contact with your humeral heads first. Some of these tests require a partner. check it out and see how your core . For example. If you haven’t tried this before. As a note. or do they "wing out?" If "yes" on the second question. Now that you’ve completed the postural analysis. and Don Alessi described it in detail (including performance norms) in a previous Iron Dog. as well as each side independently. add up how many checkmarks you have in each column. so be sure to look for imbalances side-to-side as well. This is pretty simple stuff. you're dealing with forward head posture.Here’s our back posture view and what we need to examine. Supine Leg Lowering Test This test is widely utilized. many people only have scapular winging or elevation on one side (typically their dominant one). you're dealing with internally rotated humeri and probably kyphosis. put a check in the kyphosis column. make sure to examine both sides in unison. the more checks you have under each column. put checkmarks in the internally rotated humeri and kyphosis columns. 2) Do the superior scapular borders point upward or do they seem to "disappear" and point forward (anterior tilt)? If "yes" on the second question. Doorway Test When you enter a room. 1) Do the medial. inferior borders of the scapulae remain down and back (somewhat close together). which passes through the door first: the chest or head? If it's the head. Yardstick Test You should be able to rest a yardstick across the clavicular portion of your pectoralis major without it touching the head of your humerus on either side. the more signs you have of that specific postural condition! Additional Tests If the results of the postural analysis haven’t already given you a pretty good idea of which postural afflictions you're battling.

Start with the feet at shoulder-width. it's indicative of overactive hip flexors. From this position and keeping the leg straight. Lay prone on a table or bed with the ankles hanging just off the end. your glutes are inhibited and/or weak. you have externally rotated feet and/or internally rotated femurs. lift the leg up several inches. This is usually coupled with the next question… • Do the glutes fire immediately or is there a delay from the onset of movement? If they're delayed. • Does the leg stay straight or does it bend at the knee? Flexion at the knee (especially in the first 10-20 degrees of movement) indicates overactive hamstrings. but here are a few things they should be looking for: • Is there a deepening of your lumbar curve when you initiate the movement? This deepening indicates tightness of the lumbar erectors and hip flexors. perform a full squat (and yes. you have poor glute medius recruitment/strength. From here. • Do the arches in your feet completely collapse at any point during the movement? If so. your thighs have to be at least parallel to the ground!) Look in the mirror if necessary. and your arms held in front of the body. chances are you have anterior pelvic tilt and exaggerated lordosis. along with other muscle groups that may be trying to substitute for the prime movers. and this is probably coupled with tightness and overactivity of the TFL/ITB and adductor complex. you have tight plantar flexors and/or poor posterior chain strength (especially glutes). This test will give you an idea of how your lower extremity is functioning. If you perform poorly. Hip Extension Test Another test that's quite revealing is the hip extension test. • Is there excessive arching of the low back? If so. Squat Test This is an easy test that assesses the functional capacity of the lower body. Lay on a table or the ground in a supine position with a slight bend in . • Do your knees come closer together at any point during the movement? If so.strength stacks up. but the results will give you an idea of how your trunk flexors and hip flexors are working. toes pointing straight forward. Trunk Curl Test This is just a basic sit-up test. You’ll probably need someone to monitor you. do any of the following occur? • Do your heels lift? If yes.

is the Director of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) in Fort Wayne.C. please send an email to Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University.. Eric has experience in athletic performance. . and personal training services to its clients. Have your partner notify you if he or she sees any of the following: • Are you unable to get your shoulder blades off the ground? This indicates weakness in the trunk flexors. and general conditioning settings. Conclusion If you took a close look at your photos and used the above tests.the knees.g. do the heels rise or come up off the ground? Once again. M. C. Mike has been a competitive powerlifter for the last three years and is currently the USA Powerlifting State Chair in Indiana. we'll show you how us anatomy enthusiasts (read: dorks!) apply these analyses to real-world situations. To contact Mike. He can be contacted at Indiana. Mike Robertson. • Finally. • Is there a deepening of the lordosis throughout the course of movement? If so. He graduated from the University of New England with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports and Fitness Management. this indicates overactive hip flexors. • Do you have to "rock" to get your body going (e. do you use body English to initiate the movement?) Again. rehabilitation. BS.A. you're guaranteed to have some insight into how good (or bad) your posture really is. this is indicative of weakness of the trunk flexors. About the Authors Eric Cressey. CSCS is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Connecticut.. U. you have overactive/hypertonic lumbar erectors and/or hip flexors.S.W. The APC offers sport performance training. Place the arms out in front of the body and then curl-up slowly.S. injury rehabilitation. Next week.S.S..

such as muscular tightness) or structural (a fixed curve resulting from a congenital birth defect. a brief discussion of the planes of movement is in order. Frontal plane problems implicated in the typical Neanderthal posture include accentuated internal rotation of the femurs and tibiae. Before we get into the case studies. With all that out of the way. Since kyphosis and lordosis occur in a "front to back" scheme. divides the body into top and bottom sections. too. they're termed sagittal plane problems. we can experience postural problems in the transverse plane. use the results of those tests in conjunction with the cases studies featured in this article to really get an idea of how significant your problems are and how to correct them. Many people have difficulty visualizing transverse plane movements. over-pronation at the subtalar joint. Those self-assessments are certainly valuable tools. Lastly. your best bet is to think about the way the humerus and femur "swivel" at the shoulder and hip. we focused on some self-assessment tools in Part II. This plane. Pronation and supination of the forearms are good examples. Postural abnormalities may also occur in the frontal plane. this plane divides the body into right and left sides. but they can sometimes be too subjective if you aren't accustomed to assessing these problems. We'll use the term pseudo-scoliosis instead of functional scoliosis during this article simply because most gym-goers with some degree of lateral spinal curvature have slight problems at best. let’s get to the real world case studies! Case Study #1 Background . Up until now. or tumor). and excessive internal rotation of the humeri.Neanderthal No More III The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture! by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson After covering all the "what's" and "how's" of the most common postural problems in Part I. Abduction and adduction occur in this plane. disease. which may be functional (a structurally normal spine that seems to be curved due to another factor. which divides the body into anterior and posterior halves. The most notable frontal plane postural affliction is scoliosis. Flexion and extension occur in this plane. With that in mind. infection. in which internal and external rotation occur. we've dealt almost exclusively with sagittal plane postural problems.

the primary focus has been training for aesthetics with a secondary emphasis on strength (but. I don't ever seem to be able to progress and gain any measurable strength in them.Most recently. . but it seems like no matter how much I stretch them. During this four-year period. ." Bench Press: "I've struggled with the bench until recently. So. which sucks. And it tends to be a really low weight. it's most kinds of rows. it never seems to improve.Chronic headaches (frequency has diminished greatly since initiation of an upper trap/levator scapulae stretching program). all of which were geared inevitably toward looking better. With all the extra work I've been doing for the scapula retractors. but present on the left as well. I think I have some serious tightness or weaknesses in other places like the serratus anterior." Military Press: "The lift I've had the most problems with is the military press. On most other types of rows I can slowly gain strength. . they go right back to being tight. but it always seems too slow and even drops off soon after. Pain has been severe enough to cut three consecutive squatting sessions short. and I've been using a roller a bit for self myofascial release. Pain is worse on the right. my bench is finally moving up. The only other thing I thought I should mention was that I've been doing my best to stretch my pecs and lats." Postural Analysis . but the bent-over just seems to stay.Acute "elbow tendonitis" (only once. and can't be helping me in my goal of fixing all my problems. I'm really slow on this lift.Nineteen year-old male with a training age of four years. unfortunately." Bent-over row: "Well. which I always assumed was wrong. No matter what I try. but bent-over rows especially. Injury History . no diagnosis was made). It's like that with a lot of my shoulder lifts. bilateral pain in hip flexor/groin regions during quad dominant movements.Chronic on-and-off diffuse shoulder pain and joint soreness during and after all chest exercises. none on structural balance!) The client has experimented with a variety of traditional bodybuilding training methods along with the occasional powerlifting and Olympic lifting programs. Performance Problems The client has had difficulty making progress on the following lifts (client comments follow): Squat: "I can make a lot of progress for a couple weeks.

moderate kyphosis. A "kneecaps out" appearance (to compensate for internally rotated femurs) is also apparent. anterior weight bearing. and laterally rotated feet are noticed with apparent pronation. and internally rotated humeri. . rounded shoulders.Front View: Client exhibits slight internal rotation of the humeri. Side Views: Client exhibits prominent anterior pelvic tilt.

If one link in this kinetic chain isn't doing its job. hamstrings. and internally rotated humeri.Back View: Client exhibits anteriorly tilted scapulae. this overuse could also have resulted from imposed overload on the musculature of the arms to compensate for weakness of the muscles acting at the injured shoulder. . teres minor. The forward head position and. Conversely. No unilateral deficits (asymmetries) are apparent. each of which can contribute to decreased space between the acromion process and humeral head (primary subacromial impingement of the supraspinatus. ipsilateral and contralateral core musculature. rhomboids and middle and lower trapezius. and quadriceps are just a few of the numerous important decelerators of the throwing arm. and contralateral glutes. headache frequency. The chronic headaches were definitely related to the forward head posture (compensation for the kyphosis). in turn. In other words. biceps. he's dealt with rotator cuff tendonitis. As an example. The acute "elbow tendonitis" may or may not be related to postural abnormalities. and possibly the infraspinatus tendons). but no scapular winging. moderate kyphosis. consider the pitching motion. as the client related that it occurred during rugby season when lifting volume wasn't scaled down as it should've been. the others must pick up the slack. The wrist extensors. and posterior deltoid. infraspinatus. Impressions The history of shoulder pain is consistent with anteriorly tilted scapulae. Internal rotation of the humeri and lateral rotation and pronation of the feet are confirmed. have diminished since the introduction of stretching for the levator scapulae and upper trapezius.

. He's a prime candidate for doing the programs that’ll be outlined in Parts 4 and 5. he's on the fast track to a strain. Unless he does something about this tightness.Constant popping and cracking of the shoulders. sore ankles and lateral lower legs following "ass-to-grass" squats. Long-term goal is to get involved in powerlifting. Case Study #2 Background Twenty year-old male with a training age of 2. Performance Problems None Postural Analysis . and upper body. lower body.More recently. Recommendations The client is definitely in need of a complete kinetic chain overhaul! In other words. . both of which contribute to the anterior weight bearing and anterior pelvic tilt. Injury History .The pain in the hip flexor and groin can be attributed to tight hip flexors and adductors.5 years. but never any diagnosed condition. but no pain. most of which was spent bodybuilding with programs that only trained what could be seen in the mirror. or lower back or knee injury. the corrections must address the core.Chronic knee pain (since childhood).

Forward head posture and chin protraction are evident. the right iliac crest is raised when compared with the left. Side View: Client exhibits classic exaggeration of the double S-curve posture. Significant anterior pelvic tilt with a concomitant increase in lumbar lordosis is also evident in the lumbo-pelvic region. Anterior weight bearing is difficult to determine due to the cropping of the photo. . Bilateral tibial internal rotation is also present. but still seems to be an issue of concern.Front View: Client exhibits slight internal rotation of the humeri. and a "kneecaps out" appearance (indicative of tightness laterally and compensation for internally rotated femurs) is also apparent. Moreover. Rounded shoulders combined with an exaggerated kyphosis are apparent in the upper thoracic region. A knock-knee appearance is noted.

and the lumbar spine is pulled laterally. which serve to evert the feet (a component of pronation) as compensation for internal rotation of the tibias. and is evidenced by the elevation of the right iliac crest and depression of the right shoulder girdle. there are also implications for the vastus medialis. as the glutes are inhibited.Back View: The client's left shoulder girdle appears raised when compared to the right. The pain in the ankles and lateral shins can most likely be attributed to tightness in the peroneals. the pelvis is pulled up. Some of the problems may also result from the pseudo-scoliosis condition. Tightness of the ITB/TFL is highly likely if this is the case. • The QL has points of attachment on the last rib. A right lateral listing of the thoracic region is also noted. The elevated right iliac crest noted in the front view is confirmed in the back view. Nonetheless. His anterior pelvic tilt and excessive lordosis shift the center of gravity forward and put a lot of pressure on the quadriceps and patellar tendon during weightbearing activities. . it's a valuable point to make: an overactive quadratus lumborum (QL) is the primary cause of a functional scoliosis that originates with lateral flexion of the lumbar spine. too. creating a curve that initiates a chain reaction in two directions. and L1-L4 vertebrae. Given his internally rotated femurs. If the knee pain occurs laterally. it certainly isn't functioning optimally as a knee stabilizer. If it's tight. Impressions The client's chronic knee pain may or may not be related to the excessive anterior weightbearing that's readily apparent. pelvis. although it's impossible to make such an inference from one photo alone. the rib cage is pulled down.

their true antagonist). • In order to counteract this lateral "lean" further up the spine. a lateral curve of the thoracic spine emerges in the opposite direction of the lumbar flexion. • The scapula on the side opposite the overactive QL also appears elevated and anteriorly tilted (recall that the rib cage is still depressed on the opposite side. calves. and gluteus medius and minimus are functionally associated through hip abduction and lateral flexion (depending on whether the trunk is moving and the leg is fixed. If the pelvis is elevated on the side of the overactive QL. QL. and erector spinae as well. Specific strengthening of the scapular retractors and depressors is needed. As a result. the leg on the same side as the irksome QL is functionally shorter. Even though there's currently no pain in the shoulders. minimus. so the TFL and QL become overactive through a process known as synergistic dominance. Obviously. coupled with stretching and myofascial release of the ITB/TFL. by contracting to keep the head upright. . excessive pronation isn't something with which you want to deal. The shorter leg always takes on the greater burden from both the force and speed of loading standpoints. these problems occur because the glutes are weak (also related to reciprocal inhibition from tight adductors. just as one can experience problems in the upper body from the unilateral pelvic elevation occurring with a tight QL. as the pelvis sits further up from the ground. and feet. the contralateral erector spinae are constantly in action to realign the torso. Suffice it to say. latissimus dorsi. Often. Recommendations By strengthening the gluteus medius. and peroneals are highly recommended as well. The end result? A double S-curve in the frontal planes to match the Neanderthal look that occurs in the sagittal plane! Furthermore. this may not be the case down the road. the end result is over-pronation on this side. it's a potential cause of chronic knee pain. too). • The cervical erector spinae on the same side as the tight QL then compensate for this thoracic curve. or vice versa) and stabilization of the pelvis and femur in the frontal plane. in turn. given his excessive anterior pelvic tilt. alleviating some – if not all – of his pain. not to mention problems at the hips. this tightness of the QL is seen along with over-activity of the tensor fascia latae (TFL). teres major. lower back. he could likely shift some of the burden off of his quadriceps and patellar tendon. coupled with concomitant lengthening of the internal rotators (pectoralis major. As we mentioned in Part I. hamstrings. a lot of work needs to be done on strengthening the core and loosening up the hip flexors. The TFL. and maximus. problems can occur in the lower body as well. ankles.• Usually. Some extra work for the vastus medialis and dorsiflexors.

the client was involved in teaching aerobics and competing as a triathlete and distance runner for fifteen years. the client's pseudo-scoliosis-like unilateral deficits merit special considerations that focus on unilateral training. The client has experimented with everything from Heavy Duty to high volume to Olympic lifting. side bridges and side hip thrusts). Injury History . it's best to assess these functional decrements individually with tests of range of motion and strength. Even though the left clavicle and scapula are elevated.g. B) an actual structural leg-length discrepancy (possibly requiring an orthotic) is present (they're not as common as people think). vertebral shape or positioning). That said. as noted earlier). coupled with stretching of the suboccipitals and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) (and the levator scapulae. Like our first client. Numerous other compensations occur. he needs the whole package. Prior to devoting himself completely to weight training. As such. and the last four have been exclusively devoted to bodybuilding for vanity. The first 17 years were geared toward athletic performance in a variety of sports and the Marines. standing or seated side bend stretches).e. with QL activation work on the left hip side (e. C) the curvature is structurally-based at the spinal level (i. resulting in tightness and weakness through the kinetic chain from head-to-toe.anterior deltoid and subscapularis) and scapular elevators (upper trapezius and levator scapulae). If conservative measures fail (and there is in fact a pseudo-scoliosis). Specific focus in stretching should also be emphasized with respect to the left thoracic and right cervical erector spinae. The forward head posture should be addressed using activation work for the deep neck flexors. the client would be wise to visit a qualified orthopedist to determine if: A) an overactive QL is indeed the cause of the problems. This indicates the problem is farther down in the kinetic chain. they appear otherwise symmetrical in shape/tonus to the right side. Case Study #3 Background Thirty-five year old male with a training age of 21 years.g. as it's impossible to isolate within a kinetic chain with so many glaring dysfunctions. these modifications should include right QL stretching (e. In addition to the aforementioned focus on glute-strengthening/activation.

For instance." Comments .Arthritic left knee (chronic). my left pec and left upper trap are really tight."Personally." Postural Analysis . I think it has altered my benching technique."My shoulder turns to junk almost every time my bench weight gets close to 250 pounds!" .Left biceps tendonitis (elbow."The biceps tendonitis is generally brought on by anything heavy with a pronated grip (e. . not shoulder)." . but in different places. the right knee does that all the time."I also feel my pelvis rotate laterally when I deadlift. and it's been on-and-off pain ever since. Performance Problems ."I initially hurt the shoulder arm-wrestling a few years ago. yet my right lat is.Primary subacromial impingement in left shoulder. regardless of whether or not I'm squatting!" . I attribute the knee to having been a long jumper in my youth and having had to run miles and miles carrying heavy loads when I was in the Marines. Previous -Torn left vastus lateralis. It first came on when I was big into rock climbing and has come and gone over the last five years.Current . my right knee falls inward at the same time.g. too."I've noticed I have tightness more on one side than the other. In fact." . ." . ."My main concern is my weight shift onto the left leg when squatting. especially painful with impact.Chronically tight hamstrings and calves. weighted chins).

. lordosis. and. but not overly significant. indicating that it's more internally rotated. and are likely pronated. and forward head posture are slightly accentuated.Front View: The left shoulder girdle is clearly elevated in comparison to the right. The feet are slightly externally rotated. The left humerus is held further in front of the body than that right. as evidenced by the hands pointing backward with resting posture. Side Views: Kyphosis. both humeri are internally rotated. although it's tough to clearly determine degree of pronation from this distance.

and the other is weak because it received too much attention and is just beaten up! We're going to go out on a limb here and assume that this might alter one's benching mechanics to some extent! The client is also likely dealing with a pseudo-scoliosis. and leads to the following compensations and problems: . one role of the biceps is to decelerate elbow extension (as occurs with a bench press). as weakness in one area will usually lead to overuse at another joint. and we still need to decelerate the same load. a tight left QL is the culprit. reduction of inflammation through therapeutic modalities and avoidance of overhead activities is the first step. Likewise.Back View: The left hip is slightly elevated. at the glenohumeral joint. the external rotators serve to decelerate the internal rotation of the humerus during movements such as overhand throwing and – you guessed it – bench pressing! So. Impressions As with Cases #2 and #3. The elbow is likely a compensation for the shoulder injury. Obviously. Lateral rotation of the feet is also confirmed. frontal. one is weak because it never received any attention in the first place. The end result is two halfass sets of decelerators. Obviously. there appear to be both sagittal. The impingement problems will likely resolve with the implementation of a program to lengthen the internal rotators and scapular elevators while strengthening the external rotators and scapular retractors and depressors. if our external rotators are weak. and the elevated left shoulder girdle is confirmed. Based on the photographs provided. biceps tendonitis is a function of overuse of the biceps. especially in light of the fact that the right hand is closer to the ground. and transverse plane components to this client's problems. the biceps (along with a few other muscles) are going to be working overtime.

Most notably. Important measures to undertake include: • Stretching the levator scapulae. • Tight left cervical erector spinae. That's not to say. IT band. All of these modalities should be used in addition to intelligent training protocols designed to correct existing imbalances. it’s necessary to address not only the length of the muscle through flexibility training. • Stretching the internal rotators of the humerus. and dorsiflexors. with a particular emphasis on the left side pectoralis major and right side latissimus dorsi. promoting healing. in strength training. In many cases. • Stretching the left QL and right thoracic erector spinae. myofascial release and massage may be suitable implements in the correction of your problems. • Possibly a functional leg length discrepancy (left is shorter). reducing pain. but also to address and adjust the tonus of the muscle through modalities such as ART. Plus. • In the case of muscles that are unilaterally tight. • Tight right lats. and myofascial release. upper trapezius. calves.• Tight right thoracic erector spinae. and cervical erector spinae with particular emphasis on the left side. the same muscles – only on the contralateral side – should be given slightly more volume to take care of the imbalance. adductors. it's . Recommendations The client would be wise to approach these problems from both a sagittal and frontal double-S posture perspective. massage. and pectoralis major. relating to the depression of the right shoulder girdle. a single session can make a world of difference. however. scapular depressors and retractors. glutes. Likewise. humeral external rotators. Final Notes We've outlined the corrective modalities that directly apply to our disciplines and educational backgrounds. that other disciplines wouldn't be excellent complements to our recommended initiatives. upper traps. and getting you back on the road to proper movement patterns. Remember. • Strength training should focus on the neck flexors. • Stretching the hip flexors. Active Release Techniques (ART) are incredibly effective in breaking down soft tissue adhesions. and peroneals. core (comprehensively).

C. O'Toole GC. taking a look at these folks gave you a great appreciation for how you stack up. Lunn J. CSCS is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Connecticut. and general conditioning settings.S. The effect of leg length discrepancy on foot loading patterns and contact times. Brunnstrom's Clinical Kinesiology: 5th Edition. that's a miniscule amount of time in comparison to the time you spend sitting at your desk and car..68:1840-49. Makwana NK. BS. L. 1996.important you learn how to effectively balance a wide variety of movement patterns in future programs. Very simply.A. Lastly. if you're one of those people whose posture closely resembles that of a knuckle-dragger. the training recommendations we've made in this article must be accompanied by a constant focus on proper postural habits all the time.K. our next two parts will give you specific training programs that'll help you kick your postural afflictions and return to the world of the upright! We'd like to extend a special thanks to those T-forum [link] members who were gracious enough to pose for the photos in this article..S. U.L. M.. Smith. 1988 Dec.W. Mike Robertson. Foot Ankle Int 2003 Mar . References 1.D. & Lehmkuhl. Eric has experience in athletic performance. though. . He graduated from the University of New England with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports and Fitness Management. Davis Company. Mike has been a competitive powerlifter for the last 3. you might spend three to ten hours per week training. To contact Mike. Pathomechanics of structural foot deformities. is the Director of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) in Fort Wayne. Tiberio. Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. we really appreciate your help! About the Authors Eric Cressey. and personal training services to its clients. E.S. Don’t think we’re going to leave you hanging. rehabilitation. Weiss. Indiana. or just walking around in your daily life.S.C. L. Harty J. D. He can be contacted at J Am Phys Ther Assoc.. injury rehabilitation. F. so sit up straight! Hopefully. 24(3): 256-9 2. please send an email to mikerob022@yahoo. The APC offers sport performance training. Stephens MM.5 years and is currently the USA Powerlifting State Chair in 3..

Clin Orthop.1(421):287-292 . Gilchrist LA. Asymmetric Limb Loading with True or Simulated LegLength Differences. 2004 Apr. White SC. Wilk BE.4.

Part IV The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture! by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson After reading Part 1. eventually your posture is going to go down the drain. it isn't meant to be a corrective protocol for someone after they've suffered the consequences of chronic poor posture. We have two primary goals: 1) Hit the global muscles hard and heavy with a four-day per week program. As a general rule. that's just a given. The primary roles of the deep muscular system are motor control. immediate gains in your strength or physique (although some of you will!). it's important we emphasize that this is a PRE-habilitation program. when you have significant postural issues. your global or superficial system is overactive and the deeper system is inhibited or weak. In other words. However. Beyond that. What are "global" and "local" muscles? Local muscles (also known as the deep muscular system) are extremely important when we're discussing posture improvements. however. lots of these exercises are contraindicated for you (you'd be better off with a true physical therapy program). You'll notice that the actual number of exercises is fairly low. your body is also going to halt any further progress with regards to your chest training until you bring up the muscle imbalance. and fine-tuning of movements. segmental stabilization. and torque. Now. On the flip side. and Part 3. but rather to balance out your body and relearn proper recruitment patterns in preparation for more optimal training efficiency in the next training phase. before we do. power. for example. Part 2. Hitting the Iron We'll give you the fun stuff first. if you have primary subacromial impingement or a herniated L5-S1 disk. you have the global (or superficial) muscle system. you've probably come to grips with the fact that you have a greater resemblance to Cro-Magnon man than you previously thought. . low-intensity training. Always keep in mind that your body is smarter than you are! Think about it like this: if you're always training chest and you never work your back. what are you going to do about it? The program outlined below is designed to keep your current strength levels intact while correcting the muscle imbalances holding back your strength and physique. 2) Hit the local muscles daily (or at the very least on off days) to take advantage of the motor learning effects produced by frequent. The purpose of these workouts isn't for you to see huge. The primary role of the superficial muscle system is to produce movement.Neanderthal No More.

The Plan One of our main goals is to make these workouts time effective. but our goals are slightly different here. Now. and have a fairly low total volume. too. You can. If you follow Ian King's work for preventing injury and developing balance within the body. and IT band. We want to try and correct our muscle imbalances on the fly. Now we're all for developing strength in the major muscles groups. erectors spinae. perform side-steps with them around your ankles to activate the hip abductors. promoting muscle imbalances and increasing the risk of injury by not giving priority to their antagonist muscle groups/exercises. we encourage it. but that still leaves roughly 23 hours per day for you to screw up with your posture! No matter how diligently you follow this protocol. In fact. Charles Poliquin talked about how an elite hockey player put 51 pounds on his bench press in six weeks simply by adding in training for the external rotators! What makes this fact even more amazing is that Coach Poliquin didn't even have this guy bench pressing for that entire time! (1) Now we're not saying just by correcting your posture you'll put 60 pounds on your bench. hamstrings. however. continue to scratch yourself and grill dead animal flesh at your cubicle. unless you want to remain a caveman. A1) Supine Bridges Sets: 3 . but it'll also save time in the process! Note: After we lay out the program. So. he'd bury the most-often trained exercises at the end of the week and at the end of the workout. we'll provide descriptions and pics of the exercises at the end of the article. Not only will this allow for a stronger contraction by inhibiting the antagonist. we're giving you a program geared to meet your needs in the gym. If you have access to mini bands. you're improving the future level at which you can train. You'll also notice the sequence of the exercises in this program is probably very different from what you're currently doing.In Achieving Structural Balance. but the fact of the matter is that by attempting to correct the imbalances in your body. it's such an office faux pas. but we also want to derive the most benefit from the exercises. Many of the exercises in the program will be coupled with stretches for the antagonist muscle groups. you won't get optimal results unless you keep a close eye on your posture throughout the day. Squats and benches are put at the end of the training week. but all too often these exercises are always at the beginning of the training week. Monday Precede this session with a dynamic warm-up emphasizing ballistic stretches for the hip flexors. without losing much (if any) of our hard-earned strength in the process. sit up straight! And put down the club.

Reps: 15 Tempo: 1011 (squeeze at the top for a count of one) Rest: 45 seconds. go immediately to D2 D2) Side Hip Thrusts Sets: 3 Reps: 15 per side . during which time you should perform A2 A2) Warrior Lunge Stretch: 15 seconds per side B1) Snatch Grip Deadlifts Sets: 6 Reps: 6-8 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 2 minutes. during which time you should perform B2 B2) IT Band Stretch: 15 seconds per side C) Barbell Step-Ups Sets: 4 per leg Reps: 10-12 Tempo: 20X1 (squeeze the glutes at the top) Rest: 60 seconds between legs D1) Dead Bug Twists Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Tempo: 1010 Rest: None.

chest. Medium Grip Row Sets: 6 Reps: 10 Tempo: 30X1 (retract the scapulae for a count of one) Rest: 2 minutes. and anterior delts. during which time you should perform A2 A2) Pec Stretch: 15 seconds B1) Face Pulls Sets: 3 Reps: 10-12 Tempo: 3010 Rest: 60 seconds before B2 B2) Decline Barbell Extensions Sets: 3 Reps: 10-12 Tempo: 30X0 Rest: 60 seconds before repeating superset C1) Rear Delt Fly Sets: 3 Reps: 10 . return immediately to E1 to repeat superset Tuesday Precede this session with a dynamic warm-up emphasizing ballistic stretches for the lats.Tempo: 1010 Rest: None. A1) Pronated.

Again. Rock Bottom Front Squats . A1) Heels Elevated. Be strict and don't shrug the weight up! C2) Low Pulley External Rotations Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Tempo: 1010 Rest: None. erectors spinae. if you have access to mini bands. and IT band. If you don't have access to such a machine.Tempo: 1010 Rest: None. perform bent-over lateral raises with the head supported. go immediately to C3 C3) Dip Shrugs Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Tempo: 1010 Rest: 60 seconds before repeating triset D) High-to-Low Cable Woodchops Sets: 3 per side Reps: 10 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 15 seconds between sides Thursday Precede this session with a dynamic warm-up emphasizing ballistic stretches for the hip flexors. perform sidesteps with them around your ankles to activate the hip abductors. go immediately to C2 Ideally. this will be performed on a rear delt machine to prevent cheating with the upper traps. hamstrings.

2.Sets: 6 Reps: 3. 60 seconds before D1 D1) Pull-throughs Sets: 4 Reps: 12 Tempo: 30X1 Rest: None. proceed immediately to D2 D2) Pulldown Abs Sets: 4 Reps: 12 .1 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 3 minutes.3. during which time you should perform A2 A2) Warrior Lunge Stretch: 5 seconds per side B1) Walking Lunges Sets: 3 Reps: 8-10 steps per leg (16-20 total steps per set) Tempo: Just worry about controlling the descent Rest: 2 minutes. during which time you should perform B2 B2) IT Band Stretch: 15 seconds per side C) DB Split Squat Isometric Holds Sets: 1 per leg Reps: 1?lasting 60 seconds! Rest: 30 seconds between legs.1.2.

2.1 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 90 seconds.2.Tempo: 30X1 Rest: None. during which time you should perform E2 E2) Calf Stretch: 15 seconds per leg Saturday Precede this session with a dynamic warm-up emphasizing ballistic stretches for the lats. during which time you'll perform A3 and then return to A1 to repeat superset. Note: If you don't have access to a T-Bar machine.3. Retract the scapulae at the top.1. chest. do these with dumbbells and a pronated grip. and anterior delts. then perform A2 A2) Chest Supported T-Bar Row Sets: 6 Reps: 6 Tempo: 20X2 (hold at the top for a count of two) Rest: 90 seconds. return immediately to D1 to repeat superset E1) DB Dorsiflexion Sets: 2 Reps: 20 Tempo: 1011 (hold at the top for a count of 1) Rest: 60 seconds. A3) SCM/Upper Trap and Suboccipital/Levator Scapulae Stretches: 15 seconds per side . A1) Decline Close Grip Bench Sets: 6 Reps: 3.

do C1 with your right arm. this time with thoracic rotation) Rest: 30 seconds between arms. D) Saxon Side Bends Sets: 4 Reps: 6 per side Tempo: Don't sweat it. repeat superset with opposite arm Note: As you may have inferred.B1) Single Arm Low Pulley Cable Row to Abdomen Sets: 3 per side Reps: 10 Tempo: 20X2 (again. In other words. retract the scapulae for a count of two. Then. you'll be performing these exercises in succession one arm at a time. go immediately to C2 C2) One-Arm Prone Lower Trap Raises Sets: 3 Reps: 10-12 Tempo: 2011 (squeeze at the top for a count of one) Rest: None. and then C2 with your right arm. B2) Pec Stretch: 15 seconds C1) DB External Rotations. elbow supported at 90 degrees Sets: 3 Reps: 10-12 Tempo: 2010 Rest: None. repeat the superset with the left arm. These are killers. just worry about controlling the movement and surviving! . during which time you should perform B2 for the side to be trained next.

Rest: 60 seconds --------------------------------------------Wednesday. Friday. and Sunday: Postural GPP (To be done at home) Chin Tucks Sets: 2 Reps: 20 Theraband External Rotations Sets: 2 per arm Reps: 25 Prone Cobras Sets: 2 ? one at 10 & 2 and one at 9 & 3 Reps: 1 ? hold for 60 seconds in retracted position Single Leg Knee-to-Chest on Foam Roller Sets: 2 per leg Reps: 15 Supine Bridges Sets: 2 Reps: 25 Prone Bridges Sets: 1 Reps: 1-60 second hold Side Bridges Sets: 1 per side .

Repeat as necessary. Added bonus: Do this rapidly to music and girls may stick dollars in your shorts! Warrior Lunge Stretch Go into a lunge with the arms outstretched overhead. Don't place your hands on your knee or lean too far forward or arch the back to increase the stretch. From the starting position. Keeping the head and chest up.Reps: 1-30 second hold Scap Pushups Sets: 2 Reps: 25 Applicable Stretches Those included in program along with the good morning and lat stretches (pictured below). . let the hips sink down and shift your weight forward so you get a stretch in the front of the hip on the "down" side. Exercise Descriptions Supine Bridge Lie on your back with your legs bent to approximately 90 degrees and the feet flat on the floor. Hold and squeeze at the top. Hold for 15 seconds. just let the hips sink and shift forward. then return under control to the starting position. squeeze the glutes like you're trying to pinch a quarter and raise your vertebrae off the ground one at a time. and then switch sides.

cross the right leg over the left so that the lateral aspect of the right ankle is in contact with the left quadriceps. but it'll also roast your hammies if you're pushing the knees back properly. shift the weight to the heels and think of simultaneously pushing your heels through the floor and pushing the knees back. Assume a shoulder-width stance and take a snatch grip. but making sure you perform the exercise properly. Next. Perform the opposite steps to stretch the left ITB and TFL. and there should really be no movement around the upper torso after you're locked in. reach through (with the right hand) and around (with the left hand) to grasp the left hamstring. you can actually push away on it). particularly where the glutes begin. thus applying pressure on your right ankle to move in the same direction (don't let the knee move. You should feel a stretch along the lateral aspect of the right thigh. To stretch the right side. Now here's the most important part. the weight should be on the mid-foot or shifted slightly toward the heels. IT Band/Tensor Fascia Latae Stretch Lie supine with the knees flexed to 90?. . From the starting position. Really work to lift the chest and retract/depress the scapulae. Not only will this really tax your upper back. though. Pull the left leg toward your face. You should work to keep this position throughout the movement.Snatch Grip Deadlifts The emphasis on this exercise isn't using maximal weights.

and then move on to the other side. Positioning your trailing leg toes like this will prevent you from pushing off with the back leg. like an elf shoe). . • Drive the heel of the lead leg into the bench as you would with initiating the deadlift. head up. do all your reps on one leg. we just want to offer a few reminders: • Keep the chest high. and scapulae retracted throughout the movement. pressing your low back into the ground.Barbell Step-ups Most of you probably already know how to do step-ups. we promise! • As you reach maximum height. squeeze the glutes. Don't alternate legs. Don't worry about going out of your way to consciously fire the quads. rest. Draw your navel towards your spine. • Position your foot so that the heel is on the step or bench. and the back leg is on the floor with the toes dorsiflexed (pulled up. they'll come along for the ride. Dead Bug Twists Lie supine with your legs bent to approximately 90 degrees and extend your arms as shown. While keeping the stomach tight and back flat. and forcefully contract the hamstrings and glutes to pull yourself up onto the bench. rotate your torso slightly from one side to the other. Step back with the trailing leg and repeat for reps.

thrust the hip toward the ceiling.Another note: If at any point during the movement the back comes off the floor. stop the movement and return to the starting position. and reverse the movement. . Side Hip Thrusts Position yourself so that your body is sideways and perpendicular to bench. descend to the bottom position. Hold for a count of one. Once you've completed your reps. flip over and work the other side. Keeping your body in a straight line and the head facing straight forward. Rest the bottom elbow on the bench and the feet stacked on top of one another on the floor.

etc. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat with opposite arm. Medium Grip Seated Row This is just a normal seated row. twist from the hips away from the arm until you get a mild stretch in the chest and shoulder. Shoulder/Pec Stretch Using a doorway.. focus on initiating the movement by retracting the scapulae. With a "soft" elbow. Keep your chest high and don't round over. . but we want you to use a wide-grip lat pulldown attachment and an overhand grip (this grip reduces involvement of the subscapularis). post. Your arms should just "come along for the ride" as you bring the bar to the lower abs.Pronated. firmly grab with one hand at about shoulder level.

Rear Delt Fly Get on a rear-delt fly machine (to prevent cheating) and use a neutral grip. placing the weight on the heels and keeping the chest up. squeeze. Squeeze at the midpoint and then return slowly to the starting position. this isn't a shrug! . If you can't understand the directions on the machine. take the middle of the rope in a straight line towards the bridge of your nose. Alternate Exercise: Bent-over Laterals Bend over at the waist. Don't use the upper traps. give up on postural correction training and go play in traffic. The key is to make sure you fully retract the shoulder blades at the midpoint. squeeze the posterior deltoids and raise the dumbbells to a point parallel to the ground. Keep your chest against the pad throughout the movement.Face Pulls Face a lat pulldown or low pulley machine and grab the rope with an overhand grip. and then return to the starting position. From the starting position. the higher on your back you'll target). or throat (the higher you pull. Pulling through the elbows. forehead.

To execute the concentric portion of the movement. if the towel drops. . The elbow should be flexed to approximately 90? with the upper arm held as close to the side as possible.Low Pulley External Rotations Set the handle on a low pulley at slightly above knee height and stand with your non-working side toward the weight stack. which indicates recruitment of the supraspinatus and deltoid (not the external rotators). A good trick is to pin a towel in between your elbow and side to prevent cheating. externally rotate the humerus (all the motion should be at the shoulder) while keeping the elbow close to the starting position. Grasp the handle with your working arm and pull it across your body until it's at upper thigh level on the opposite side. you're abducting. This is the starting position.

It's very important that you attempt to keep your scapulae held tight against the rib cage throughout the movement. With the elbows locked. Reach across your body and grip the handle with only a slight bend in the elbow. you can do these off a bench (as shown below). High-to-Low Cable Woodchops With the knees slightly flexed. . keep the body as vertical as possible (minimizing forward lean). stand with one side facing a cable set-up with a D-handle attachment set above your hairline. do not let them wing! If you don't have access to a dip stand.Dip Shrugs Set yourself up as if you had just completed a dip with bodyweight. shrug your shoulders so that all the movement occurs at the scapulae.

Make sure to keep your chest high and scapulae retracted. Walking Dumbbell Lunges You've probably done these before. You should also get some activation of the hip abductors with the body weight shifting that occurs throughout the exercise. so there's no need for an elaborate description. don't round over! Dumbbell Split Squat Isometric Holds . Try to avoid excessive hip flexion by focusing on keeping the chest high. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for reps.Using the core musculature (especially the internal and external obliques). forcefully rotate your upper body to pull the cable across your body to a point below the opposite hip.

With a slight knee-bend. Or. keeping the chest high and scapulae retracted. you should fatigue. the chest high. All in all. and the head up. relaxing into a stretch for the hip flexors on the back leg. Drive your heels into the floor (as in a deadlift or good morning) and fire your hips forward. you could just have someone hold your foot. we want you to hold at a position where the front leg is slightly below the 90 degrees knee flexion position. However. be sure to take a step forward to ensure that the weight stack doesn't touch down on the eccentric portion of the lift. Reach back between your legs and grab the rope with a neutral (palms facing each other) grip. Since the loading is pretty significant. The point between the back pad and seat on an incline bench works well. Drive your front heel into the floor and squeeze the glutes and vastus medialis hard. keep a tight arch in your lower back.Position yourself as if you're going to do a dumbbell split squat with the back leg elevated. Pull-throughs Position yourself with your back to a low pulley with a rope attached. . Focus on contracting the glutes as you pull through. you'll want to hold the position for one minute before moving to the other side. as do benches with built-in gaps (for switching from flat to incline). instead of descending all the way to the bottom. You may find it helpful to find some way to "fix" your back foot.

Dumbbell Dorsiflexion Sit on a bench with the legs close together and the ankles and feet dangling off the end of the bench with a dumbbell held between the feet. flex the abs down until you can't contract them anymore. Think of rolling your shoulders over onto your lower abs instead of your entire torso going to your knees. not your hip flexors! Come up under control to the starting position. With the knees locked to prevent the quadriceps . pull a rope attachment down behind your neck. From the starting position. Note: Make sure you only use your abs.Pulldown Abs Facing away from a lat pulldown machine.

from assisting with the movement. Calf Stretch This one isn't rocket science. Alternate Exercise: Prone. 45? Incline Dumbbell Rows This is just a makeshift T-Bar row. we just don't want you to cheat it up with hip extension! Be sure to retract the scapulae to initiate the movement and hold the retraction for a count at the top. Hold for a count at the top. Note: If you have access to a dynamic axial resistance device (DARD). or from a semi-pushup position. . Pronated Grip. Either do this on the edge of a step. Follow the same guidelines as before: scapulae retraction and tucked chin. use that instead. and then lower the toes and repeat for reps. raise your toes toward your face (dorsiflexion). Chest Supported T-Bar Row This is a normal T-Bar row. Use a pronated (overhand) grip and be sure to keep the chin tucked.

Reverse all these steps to stretch the left side. Place the left hand on top of the head to assist the stretch and hold for 15 seconds. . place your right hand on the bottom of the chair and your left arm on the opposite side of your head. tuck the chin in and bring it towards the chest.SCM/Upper Trapezius Stretch In a seated position with good erect posture. Suboccipital/Levator Scapulae Stretch From the same starting position as the SCM stretch. Gently pull on the right side of your head with your left hand to assist the stretch. hold for 15 seconds.

From this position. Think of this as a seated row/one arm row hybrid. Once the dumbbell has reached the pad. lower the dumbbell forward (internally rotating the humerus) so that your palm faces toward the floor while maintaining the 90?/90? shoulder/elbow angles. . Then. it'll look like you're waving to someone with your elbow propped up. Dumbbell External Rotations. knees slightly bent. Hold the handle with a neutral grip (thumbs facing up). in other words. elbow supported at 90 degrees Sit sideways on a preacher bench and support your elbow while holding a dumbbell.Single Arm Low Pulley Cable Row to Abdomen Set the pulley at mid-shin and face the weight stack with a shoulder-width stance. bring the handle to alongside the hip. and initiate the rowing movement by retracting your scapula on the same side as the handle. and lower back slightly arched. In the starting position. reverse directions by externally rotating the shoulder to return to the starting position. Keep the chest high and chin tucked throughout the movement. there will be 90? angles at both the shoulder and elbow joint.

this exercise is performed face-down with your chest-supported on an elevated flat bench (i. just make sure that your upper body remains parallel to the floor at all times (no cheating!) Hold a dumbbell in one hand with a supinated group (the thumb points up at the top of the movement). concentrate on retracting the scapulae while keeping it tight to the rib cage (no winging). longer legs.One-Arm Prone Lower Trap Raises Ideally. . so that you're higher off the ground). Horizontally adduct (think reverse fly) your arm while maintaining the thumb-up position. if you don't have access to such a bench. However. and the upper arm and torso should form a 90-degree angle.e. At the top. your arm should be at the 9 (left) or 3 (right) positions. Begin with the arm dangling below you on the bench. you can do it bent-over. Throughout the movement.

and repeat on the opposite side. Chin Tucks Lie supine with the head flat on the floor. but hurts like hell (in a good way. of course)! Stand with the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell held in each hand and the arms directly overhead and together. .g.Saxon Side Bends Suffice it to say that we love and hate Coach John Davies for popularizing this movement. Return to the starting position. with the motion coming at the waist. tuck the chin towards the chest. From the starting position. but keep the head on the ground (e. and then repeat as necessary. Be sure to keep the dumbbells close together throughout the movement. don't let the suboccipitals and SCM take over the movement!) Hold. not the shoulder girdle and arms. Laterally flex (bend) to one side. it's extremely effective. relax.

externally rotate your arms so at the midpoint your palms are facing down. Hold and squeeze at the top. then lower under control to the starting position. but with a theraband instead. 9&3 . You'll be doing a set of these at two positions: 9 and 3 (arms directly out to the sides) and 10 and 2 (arms slightly forward of the previous position?kind of like Superman). Initiate the movement by squeezing the shoulder blades together and raising your upper chest a few inches off the floor.Theraband External Rotations These are performed exactly the same as the low pulley external rotations. Prone Cobras Lie face down on the floor with your arms lying next to your torso with the thumbs up. A key point: as you come up.

thus preventing scapular winging. Get set up as if you were going to do a pushup. Single Leg Knee to Chest on Foam Roller ." Basically. You should drop about two inches toward the floor. and then just allow your shoulder blades to retract without bending your elbows. This exercise activates and strengthens the serratus anterior.10&2 Scap Pushups This exercise is also known as a "Pushup Plus. it's a pushup without any movement at the glenohumeral or elbow joints. To reverse the motion. a muscle that is crucial in holding the scapulae tight to the rib cage. protract the scapulae until you're back in the starting position.

you can pick up one of those pool noodles children use in swimming pools to stay afloat. You'll probably have to cut it in half. bend the elbow so your upper and lower arms make 90-degree angles. Prone Bridge and Side Bridge For the prone bridge.Lie supine with a foam roller positioned directly underneath your spine (parallel to it) between your back and the floor. but it's important to have one of these items in place for sensory feedback. you'll only be bracing with one arm at a time. Raise one knee to the chest while maintaining the flat back position. A good trick is to place your hand on your abdomen during the movement to develop a better awareness of abdominal firing (as opposed to hip flexor firing). Brace your entire core area and keep your hips up and in-line with your legs and torso. and make sure the elbows are placed directly underneath the shoulder. Posteriorly tilt the pelvis utilizing abdominal hollowing. the actual movement approximates 90-135 degrees of hip flexion. . Note: If you don't have access to a foam roller. For most individuals. For the side bridge. "Stack" the feet and keep your body in a straight line. this should flatten out the lower back (neutral spine) and allow you to maintain contact with the roller with your lumbar spine.

push the butt back until you feel a mild stretch in the hamstrings.Additional Stretches (to be performed daily) Lat Stretch Again. push the butt back until you feel a stretch along the sides of your back. Keeping the chest up and your back flat. keep the hands just above hip level. . Remember to keep an arch in your back throughout the stretch! Hold for 15 seconds and repeat as necessary. Stand up straight with the chest held high and the hands on the hips. using a doorway or post. From the starting position. Good Morning Stretch This is an excellent technique that focuses the stretch on the hamstrings rather than the low back. Hold for 15 seconds.

try to let the left shoulder/elbow lower down to the hip. That said. or "functional" about it.Seated Side Bend (Quadratus Lumborum) Stretch From an upright. you may wish to modify some of the exercises utilized. there's nothing particularly fancy-schmancy. From this position. Rather than going overboard to calculate a 38.9756% reduction in volume. for example. and then repeat on the opposite side. You'll want to follow this program for four weeks. Hold for 15 seconds. feel free to post your version of our program on the T-Forum [link] and we'll do our best to stop by and offer critiques and suggestions for improvement. As such. Some of you may need Olympic lifts. simply . If you do choose to modify the program and aren't sure if you've done so appropriately. sport-specific. Don't twist the spine! Make sure the trunk is erect for the entire duration of the stretch. seated position place the fingertips behind the head. the core exercises included at low volumes may not be applicable for everyone's goals. Just make sure the overall integrity of the program remains virtually the same in order to "undo" the damage that's accumulated from years of unbalanced training approaches and poor daily posture. Concluding Remarks We designed this program for the average Joe Weightlifter to iron out imbalances. dropping the overall in-gym volume for the fourth week.

C. C. rehabilitation. Testosterone Magazine.W. Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. . U. Indiana. 14 May 1999. BS.A. To contact Mike. References 1) Poliquin. Eric has experience in athletic performance. C..S. M. CSCS is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Connecticut. Mike Robertson.S.S.. He can be contacted at ericcressey@hotmail. injury rehabilitation. is the Director of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) in Fort Wayne. The APC offers sport performance training..drop a set off of each exercise in the program. He graduated from the University of New England with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports and Fitness Management. Start up the following week with the program we'll outline soon in Part V! About the Authors Eric Cressey. and personal training services to its clients. Mike has been a competitive powerlifter for the last three years and is currently the USA Powerlifting State Chair in Indiana. Question of please send an email to and general conditioning settings.

This program will last three weeks (and is meant to follow the first program outlined in part IV).Neanderthal No More. three second scapular retraction at the top) Rest: 90 seconds between sets and before B B) Rack Pull with exaggerated scapular retraction: back-off (feeder) set Sets: 1 Reps: 15-20 Load: 70% of working weight from A Tempo: 21X3 C) Lunge off 6" box Sets: 3 per side Reps: 8 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 45 seconds between sides . Chomp no more. Remember. (Descriptions and pics to follow. but include 3x10 side steps (per leg) with the ankle band. after which you'll want to have a back-off week consisting of markedly lower volume. we shifted the balance in the opposite direction to start to take care of the problems created by lack of balance in previous programs. you'll still learn some new exercises you've probably tried before. it's one step closer to the balanced training programs you should seek to create. because this is it! The program contained in this article is designed to reintroduce more of the traditional exercises that you've grown to love while still maintaining the emphasis on postural corrections through appropriate prioritization and volume manipulation. Here are the goods: Monday Pre-workout: Normal dynamic warm-up. Part V The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture! By Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson It's been a while since Part IV so those of you following this program are probably chomping at the bit for the conclusion. and even if you're not following the entire "Neanderthal No More" program.) A) Rack Pull with exaggerated scapular retraction Sets: 8 Reps: 3 Tempo: 21X3 (two seconds to lower. Oh. explode up. Essentially. one second pause on the pins.

during which time you should stretch your hip flexors E) Full Contact Twist Sets: 3 Reps: 6 Tempo: 30X1 Rest: 30 seconds between sides Wednesday A1) Chest Supported Row Sets: 5 Reps: 6-8 (week 5). 4-6 (week 7) Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 60 seconds before return to A1 and A2 B) Chest Supported Row: back-off (feeder) set Sets: 1 Reps: Max Load: 75% of A1 working weight Tempo: 10X1 C1) Bent-over Laterals with 10-second iso-hold on last rep Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Tempo: 20X2 Rest: None. proceed immediately to C2 C2) Prone Lower Trap Raise with 10-second iso-hold on last rep Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Tempo: 20X2 Rest: None. 4-6 (week 7) Tempo: 20X2 Rest: 60 seconds before A2 A2) Incline Dumbbell Press Sets: 5 Reps: 6-8 (week 5). proceed immediately to C3 . 5-7 (week 6). 5-7 (week 6).D) Kneeling Squats Sets: 4 Reps: 12 Tempo: 10X1 Rest: 60 seconds.

during which time you should stretch your IT band C) Extended ROM Bulgarian Squat Sets: 3 Reps: 6-8 Tempo: 21X1 Rest: 45 seconds between sides D) Reverse Hyper Sets: 3 Reps: 12-15 Tempo: 2012 Rest: 60 seconds E) Uneven Barbell Side Bend Sets: 3 per side Reps: 8 . A) High Bar (or safety squat bar) Low Box Squat Sets: 5 Reps: 10 Tempo: 21X1 Rest: 2 minutes. during which time you should stretch your hip flexors and calves B) Seated Good Morning Sets: 3 Reps: 8-10 Tempo: 20X1 Rest: 90 seconds. but include 3x10 side steps (per leg) with the ankle band.C3) Dumbbell Cuban Press Sets: 3 Reps: Max Load: 7% of 1RM Bench Press Rest: 2 minutes before repeating tri-set D) Bar Rollout Sets: 5 Reps: 10 Tempo: 30X1 Rest: 90 seconds Thursday Pre-workout: normal dynamic warm-up.

alternate back and forth between sides E) Prone Bridge Sets: 2 Reps: 1 really long one! Rest: 120 seconds .Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 30 seconds between sides Saturday A1) Double D-Handle Seated Row Sets: 6 Reps: 10 Tempo: 20X2 Rest: 60 seconds before A2 A2) Weighted Dip Sets: 6 Reps: 6 Tempo: 20X0 Rest: 60 seconds before returning to A1 and B B1) 1 1/4 Inverted Row Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Tempo: 20X2 Rest: None. proceed directly to B2 B2) Band Retraction Sets: 3 Reps: 12 Tempo: 3012 Rest: 2 minutes before return to B1 C) L-Lateral Raise Sets: 3 Reps: 8 Tempo: 20X2 Rest: 90 seconds D) Single-Arm Dumbbell Protraction Sets: 3 per side Reps: 15 Tempo: 11X1 Rest: None.

. This is the same exercise we used in the GPP portion of Part 4. Loading isn’t all that important here. iliopsoas and adductors. As girly as they may seem. you have to concentrically work with the lead leg abductors and eccentrically with the trailing leg abductors (provided that you control the movement speed and don't let your feet get too close together in between reps). as the hip abductors need constant stimuli in order to counteract the tightness that almost everyone has in the TFL/ITB. and lock out the bar with a glute squeeze. Basically. you’ll need either bands with Velcro cuffs on each end that allow you to wrap them around each ankle. Keep the abs as rigid as possible. Here’s the kicker: when you’ve locked the bar out. Rack Pull with Scapular Retraction: Set the pins in a power rack to a point about an inch below your kneecaps. have someone add a 45-pound plate or two to your back. Exercise Descriptions Side Step with Ankle Bands: We’ve used variations of this exercise with others and ourselves pre-training. you're just working on activation. If you find that you can hold this position for more than 60 seconds. When doing side steps (or other variations). From here. forearm and grip development and deadlift lockout strength. thrust your hips forward. This is a phenomenal exercise for upper back thickness. but you're just going to do two sets for maximum duration. during training.Note: No tempo here. and on off-days. pull the shoulder blades together forcefully and maintain this retracted position for three seconds. you really can't go wrong with them. or regular bands that you can double wrap to get around your feet. just do a top deadlift: fire your heels into the floor.

two important determinants of knee stability. The extended ROM (range of motion) will really blast your VMO and glutes. Sink into the lunge until your right knee is very close to or lightly touches the ground.Lunge off 6" Box: Place an aerobic box in front of you (yes. With your chest up. . Drive back off the heel to the starting position. just short of where you'd normally land for a regular dynamic lunge. landing on your left heel. take an exaggerated step forward. they really are good for something).

You'll not only be surprised about how much weight you can use on this. you'll be upright with a 90-degree angle at your knees. You'll really be able to feel the glutes working at lockout (as they should with the lockout of a deadlift). but also with how sore your posterior chain is the next day! . From a kneeling position. When your butt makes contact with your calves. From here. slide under the bar as if you're going to squat it and unrack the weight. simply push the butt back while looking straight ahead or slightly up. fire your glutes in order to push the hips forward. At this point.Kneeling Squat: Set up some padding on the floor at the base of a power rack and position the bar so that it's slightly below shoulder level when you're on your knees on the padding.

2) Keep the chest pushed out against the pad. Incline Dumbbell Press: Nothing too exciting here. This will not only give you a more stable surface to press from. 3) Keep the neck vertical and chin tucked. However. Using an alternate grip. rotate the torso until you face toward the wall. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on an incline bench. grasp the barbell at the weighted end with the arms extended and your back to the wall. Chest-Supported Row: You’re probably familiar with this exercise already. make sure to retract and depress the shoulder blades. On the eccentric portion of the movement. In other words. but it'll also . You’ll want to load plates on the opposite end for resistance. you should be able to tuck the chin without staring down at the floor. so a full description is unnecessary. the arms should just come along for the ride. remember a few important components: 1) Initiate the movement with scapular retraction. lower the barbell under control to the starting position. Never lean back to move the weight with "body English." as doing so will just recruit the hip extensors.Full Contact Twist: Take a barbell and position one end of it in a corner. Before pressing the dumbbells up. Using the core musculature.

Bent-over Lateral: You may have used this in the last program due to lack of a rear delt flye machine. this isn't a shrug! . we've changed the recommendations enough to allow you to keep it in there for a few more weeks.keep your shoulders healthy and allow you to use more weight! Drive the dumbbells up in an arc to a point just over your chest. squeeze the posterior deltoids and raise the dumbbells to a point parallel to the ground. placing the weight on the heels and keeping the chest up. don't sweat it. If so. From the starting position. Squeeze at the midpoint and then return slowly to the starting position. Bend over at the waist. then lower under control to the starting position. Don't use the upper traps.

keeping the thumbs pointing up. however. now we’re going to do it with both arms at the same time. and raising the arms to 9 and 3. Whether you do it bent-over or prone with your chest supported on a bench is up to you. just make sure that you’re getting plenty of scapular retraction.Prone Lower Trap Raise: This is the same exercise that we used in Part IV. .

hold the elbows steady while externally rotating the humeri. Kneel down in front of it with your hands just outside shoulder-width. Go out to a point where your lower back wants to sag. and then squeeze the abs to return to the starting position. simply press the dumbbells overhead.Dumbbell Cuban Press: Perform an upright row until the dumbbells are just below your armpits. At this point. Then. Make the abs as rigid as possible and let the bar roll out in front of you. there should be 90-degree angles at both the shoulder and elbow. At the completion of this movement. and lower along the same path to repeat for reps. Bar Rollout: Load a barbell with a plate on each side and set it on the floor. curse our names. .

The only difference between the standard version and our version is that we're putting an emphasis on depth to increased glute and VMO recruitment. and forcing the knees out to explode off the box. see Dave Tate's article HERE. sit down on a bench that puts your knees at 90° of flexion. tight upper back and chest-up position while lowering the upper body until your torso touches your inner thighs. Seated Good Morning: In a power rack.High Bar Low Box Squat: Again. Key points to remember here include sitting back as far as possible. get under a bar so that it’s resting across your upper traps. Maintain your lordotic curve. and obviously has a carryover to core hip extension movements (e. Make sure that you have a relatively wide stance to allow for appropriate range of motion. deadlifts.g. For full details. When the trunk is upright. Focus on feeling the hamstrings and glutes — not just the lower back. Olympic lifting). keeping the chest up. At this point. squeezing the glutes. so we’re not going to beat a dead horse here. This exercise can do wonders for individuals that have a hard time coming out of "the hole" when squatting. forcefully drive the head back as you dig the heels into the floor and allow the hip extensors to fire your torso upward. With a wide grip and the upper back tight. standing good mornings. Louie and Dave have written extensively about how to box squat properly. reverse the directions to begin the next rep. .

Extended ROM Bulgarian Squat: This exercise is identical to the version we described in Part IV. but this time you'll put an aerobic or low box where your foot would go. so you should consider reducing the load until you get acclimated to the movement. Set-up and performance of the exercise are identical. . This adjustment makes the exercise much more difficult. with the only difference being we're increasing the ROM to further blast our VMO and glutes.

and then lower under control to the starting position.Reverse Hyper: Louie Simmons and Dave Tate have talked for years about the benefits of this exercise. "What if I don’t have a machine?" Be creative and improvise! John Davies has talked about doing them off the back of a pick-up truck. put the weights on one side only (you might want to double up on clamps . so consider yourself forewarned. hamstrings and lower back at the top. and lie backwards on it so your hands can grab the back and your hips are hanging off the front end. Squeeze your glutes and swing your legs back to a point where they're in-line with your torso. Another viable option is to jack up the front and back of a Roman chair or glute-ham machine. so if you aren’t incorporating them. Lie facedown on a reverse hyper machine with your arms grabbing the bar in front of you. Position a barbell in a rack as if you’re going to do squats. though. I’m sure many of you are thinking. now is the time. Squeeze your glutes. Uneven Barbell Side Bend: This one will make you hurt for a few days. making sure to keep your legs as straight as possible and lead the movement with your heels. For added loading. Instead of loading plates on both sides. have someone place a dumbbell between your ankles.

One and One-Fourth Inverted Row: Also known as the "fat-boy pullup. scary that they actually have a good use. the legs should remain perpendicular to the floor the entire time. supinate so that the palms are facing up when your scapulae are retracted. As you row. This supination will also give rise to a fair amount of humeral external rotation. making sure to keep the chest up and squeeze the triceps throughout. Weighted Dip: If you’ve been training for more than a week. Begin the movement with the handles at arm’s length and a neutral grip (palms face one another)." this is an upper back exercise with a good carryover to the bench press. do a side bend to the weighted side. With the feet shoulder-width apart.just to be safe). which certainly bodes well for your cause. Now. hunchback. If possible. perform these with weight. Don’t allow the knees to bow inward or the opposite hip to "slide" out. Position the bar across your upper traps with a relatively wide grip. huh?) at about mid-thigh. Instead of pressing the bar. pull . Double D-Handle Seated Row: This is a normal seated row. you know what a dip is. except you’ll be using two Dhandles as your attachments. position yourself on the floor under the bar with your hands positioned as if you’re going to do a bench press. be sure to keep the scapulae retracted and upper back tight. These handles allow you to supinate your forearms as you row. Perform the desired number of reps and then switch over to the other side. Set a barbell up on the pins in a rack (or just a Smith machine.

feet on floor 2) Knees extended. but make sure to keep the movement nice and controlled so momentum doesn’t take away its effectiveness. Loop a mini-band around the post of a power rack so that the middle of the band is in the middle of the post. Remember that we’re doing one and one-fourth reps. feet on bench with weight plate on chest You want to keep your entire body in a straight line. Note that the chin is tucked in the photos. as we don't want you to reinforce that protruded chin/forward head posture. you’ll drop one-quarter of the way down and then go back up to the bar before returning to the floor. . feet on floor 3) Knees extended.yourself up until your sternum touches the bar. feet elevated on bench 4) Knees extended. change the position of your legs and feet. this is important. and just try to squeeze your shoulder blades back and together. You don’t have to worry about your arms taking over the movement here. don’t allow the hips to sag. Band Retraction: This is a simple exercise that doesn’t quite provide us with enough loading to make it a primary movement. Put your elbows in the ends of the bands. but it works perfectly as a follow-up to a bigger exercise. so after touching your chest to the bar and retracting the scapulae. Enjoy. The progression from easy to difficult is as follows: 1) Knees flexed. That’s one rep. In order to modify resistance.

L-Lateral Raise: With a dumbbell in each hand and the elbows flexed to 90°. Once your upper arms are parallel to the floor. perform a lateral raise to 90° of humeral abduction. externally rotate your humeri so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor (as in the mid-phase of a military press). .

With the dumbbell in the up position. . Holding the protraction is far more important than the weight utilized here. simply protract your scapulae. but don't get caught up in adding pounds if it's compromising your form. which holds the scapula tight to the posterior aspect of the rib cage. and then allow the scapulae to retract. Think of punching the dumbbell through the ceiling without flexing the elbow or significantly moving at the glenohumeral joint (we’re looking for scapular motion only here). Hold at the top for a count. You'll be able to use some decent weight on this exercise.Single Arm Dumbbell Protraction: Set up as if you’re going to do a one-arm dumbbell bench press. This exercise helps to strengthen the serratus anterior.

please send an email to mikerob022@yahoo. Hopefully. Indiana.S. CSCS is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science at the University of Connecticut. it's been fun. or you can go back to a life of slouching at your desk and training only what you can see in the mirror. M.Conclusion Well. BS. You can either continue the trend we've sought to establish with positive daily postural habits and a balanced training approach.S. injury rehabilitation. but you're on your own now. He graduated from the University of New England with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports and Fitness Management. Where you go from here is entirely up to you. Eric is a competitive powerlifter with training and coaching experience in athletic performance. and general conditioning settings. we've set the record straight: a few sets of lat pulldowns and leg curls simply won't cut it and will actually make the problems worse in many cases! For those of you who have stuck with the entire program. and personal training services to its clients. is the Director of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) in Fort Wayne. Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State Mike Robertson.W. U. The APC offers sport performance training. C... we encourage you to post some "before" and "after" photos to show the stubborn Neanderthals what they're missing! About the Authors Eric Cressey. rehabilitation.C. Feel free to contact him at ericcressey@hotmail. Mike has been a competitive powerlifter for the last three years and is currently the USA Powerlifting State Chair in Indiana.S.. . To contact Mike.

look around and see if you can figure out who's a newbie and who's an experienced lifter. there's a time and a place for everything. However. Sure. Here're some quick and dirty basics. The Eccentric A lot of emphasis in bodybuilding literature has been placed on lowering the weight slowly. I think the lack of emphasis on tempo variations comes from nothing more than a general misunderstanding of how tempo influences training.A Closer Look at Tempo The difference that speed of movement really makes by Doug Santillo The next time you go to the gym. But as you'll soon learn. it's about time that bodybuilders learn how to correctly manipulate this variable to suit their goals. How much of a difference can speed of movement really make? I'll tell you. What's important isn't . Adhering to a tempo guideline also requires a lot more concentration than simply "controlling" the weight. With all the new theories on strength training out there. a huge difference! Honestly. Testosterone contributor Doug Santillo has written a nice little overview of tempo prescriptions and their applications to various training goals. The poundages being used? That might help in some cases. most of the time a slower eccentric is probably the way to go. tempo is often an overlooked variable in periodization models. A spanking new Body-For-Life T-shirt? Yep. What signs will you watch for? The size of the trainee? Maybe. including fast eccentric tempos. There're four parts of any repetition: ? An eccentric or negative portion (the lowering of the weight) ? A pause in the stretched or "bottom" position ? A concentric portion (the actual lifting part) ? A pause in the contracted or "top" position Let's analyze these and see if we can sort out the metabolic and neural effects of each. sounds like a newbie! But perhaps the best sign to watch for is how the lifter utilizes the concept of tempo. So whether you want to be the next Arnold or the next World's Strongest Man champion (or maybe you just want to look good nekkid) you'd better be paying attention to tempo.

so the muscles must rely solely on their own energy. of force on the bar. but how you organize your training program around both fast and slow eccentric tempos. All of the above are goodthings if your goal is to become a big cornfed-looking sumbitch! It's not uncommon to hear reports of trainees making strength gains using eccentric-only protocols. The force on the bar in this situation was a lot higher. a good choice would be to . For example. if you have a max curl of 100 lbs. at least in terms of force production and muscle tension. at best. when curling a weight of 70 lbs. In training for maximal strength. in order for the bar to actually descend. you give the nervous system more of a break between each explosion. Assume the bar is loaded with 300 lbs. without giving your muscles any time to rest and recuperate during the set. since the tension is reduced. So think about incorporating some eccentric-only training into your plan. In other words. all the way down to your chest. but it does mean that for the purposes of hypertrophy. There're times when lowering the weight fast can be advantageous.. The reason this type of training can lead to higher levels of concentric strength is simple. In order to lower heavy weights (oftentimes) even heavier than your 1RM. Does this mean a bodybuilder should never use faster eccentric tempos of only one or two seconds? Of course not. From a bodybuilding standpoint. this second option looks a lot better. Look at these two examples using the bench press. less force is applied to the bar than that of the resistance (the weight on the bar). A slow eccentric causes you to apply a very high level of force (i. for a bodybuilder. so make sure you're monitoring your recovery ability. since his priority is gaining muscle mass. taking a full eight seconds to bring the bar to your chest. By doing this. muscle tension) for the entire repetition. How much force was applied to the bar during the lowering? Probably not much. your muscles must contract from a more relaxed position. Maybe 150 lbs. because you lowered the weight much more slowly. I must warn you. that heavy eccentric repetitions can quickly lead to overtraining. the primary goal is to force your nervous system to more efficiently recruit fast twitch fibers. In an eccentric repetition. you're still putting about 100 lbs. the trainee must still apply extremely high levels of force to control the weight. otherwise it wouldn't go anywhere. Keeping tension high for the entire set can lead to muscular endurance and a higher degree of tissue microtrauma. the force on the bar must be less than 70 lbs. the majority of the time should be spent using slower eccentric speeds. This work is done without the benefits of elastic energy. With a faster eccentric speed. not maximal strength. and you do a 4 second negative with 110 lbs. around 295 lbs... This means big gains in strength and size.. Of course. 2) You resist the load. 1) You lower the weight in one second.e.which is better. thereby forcing your nervous system to adapt. however.

alternate between fast and slow eccentrics during his strength phases.

Pause in the Stretched Position Ian King has perfectly illustrated the benefits of taking a pause in the stretched position in his book Get Buffed! If you haven't picked up a copy yet, I strongly suggest you do so. Charles Poliquin also has a nice section on the all-important pause in his book The Poliquin Principles. Rather than repeating everything that they've already said, I'll sum it all up nice and neat for you. The stretch shortening cycle refers to the transition from eccentric to isometric to concentric. When this transition is fast (i.e. you bounce the weight off your chest when benching) elastic energy built up in the muscle helps to propel the weight up. In other words, if you don't pause in the stretched position, you can lift more weight. However, taking advantage of elastic energy reduces the amount of actual muscular work performed. So, while going straight down and taking that little bounce at the bottom of a squat may make you look stronger, it's definitely not the most effective way to train. It takes a full four second pause to completely dissipate the elastic energy, but even a one second pause will help. If you take a pause between the eccentric and concentric, you have to work harder to lift the weight. This translates into more fiber recruitment, more muscle growth, and ultimately, more kinky sex with Hooters girls. (At least we can hope.) Of course, there're appropriate times to take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle. If you're training for strength in specific speed related movements such as shuttle runs, sprinting, and jumping, using this elastic energy can be advantageous. This is usually referred to as plyometric training.

Concentric Portion At last, we come to the really exciting part: the lifting, the pressing, the pulling and the pushing! It's the "power stroke" of the set. Concentric speeds have long been misunderstood. Variations in this crucial variable are hard to be found. Most strength coaches tell you to accelerate the weight regardless of your training phase or your goals. If you're a collegiate, Olympic, or professional athlete, I'd probably tell you the same. However, for a bodybuilder, variations are more important, as is stimulating a broader range of fiber types. So, we need to figure out which concentric tempos are best for each type of program or goal. An athlete generally trains with one of three goals: maximal strength, strength and size, or hypertrophy. We'll look at each of these using the bench press as an example. Assume in all examples that your max bench press is 300 lbs.

I. Maximal strength: If your training goal is solely to gain strength, then the force on the bar must be high in order to stimulate your high threshold fibers and trigger neural adaptations. So, you need to make sure that the force applied to the bar is maximal, regardless of the actual weight used. You have two ways to accomplish this. A) Use a heavy weight close to your1RM. Attempt to accelerate the weight, even though the bar will move very slowly. Generally speaking, this is how bodybuilders train in a given strength phase. Charles Poliquin has popularized the use of low reps and heavy weights for bodybuilders, and rightly so. The bar is moving so slowly with maximal weight sets that your muscles must provide all the force for the full range of motion. However, this isn't the only option for strength training, and like everything else, your body will adapt if you use this method too often. With heavy sets, use a slow eccentric tempo if you're primarily interested in hypertrophy. Use a faster eccentric tempo if your main goal is strength. You could also choose to alternate between the two as described above. Using a rep bracket in the range of 1-4 is considered a strength phase regardless, but altering the eccentric tempo can change the emphasis either more toward the strength side or the hypertrophy side. For example, four sets of three reps with 270 lbs. using a 41X1 tempo* would lean towards hypertrophy training. Four sets of four reps with 270 lbs. on a 21X1 tempo would be better for strength goals. B) Use a lighter weight and focus on exploding the weight up. In this case, the bar will move very rapidly. (See my X-Comp Training article for more info.) In this example, maximum force was still applied to the bar, and consequently, the sets will lead to neural adaptations. I've found this second option to be far underutilized by strength athletes. However, since the concentric tempo is much faster, and the eccentric poundage is reduced, I recommend a faster eccentric tempo and more repetitions to keep the time under tension at an appropriate level. Some strength coaches have their athletes perform eight sets of three reps using 60-70% of their maximum poundages, which is a weight most trainees can handle for 8-10 reps. If the trainee focuses on exploding the weight up, big strength gains can be made, even though the athlete isn't going anywhere near concentric failure. The point here is simply that not all strength phases need to utilize maximum weights, as long as you focus on accelerating the weight. An example of this type of training may look like this: 8 sets of 3 reps with 195 lbs. on a 21X2 tempo.

II. Strength and Size: If you want the best of both worlds and your training goal is to increase strength and size, you're looking to stimulate a broader range of fiber types. The force on the bar must be a middle ground between stimulation of higher and lower threshold motor units. That would mean that the force on the bar needs to stay around 85% of your maximum. Again,

we have two options. A) Use a load significantly less than 85% of your 1RM, and lift the weight quickly. If the bar is loaded with 75% of your maximum (this is just as an example, as any weight down to about 60% can be used), applying 85% of your maximum force will result in the weight moving relatively fast. So, since you can't measure your actual force on the bar when you're trying to do your set, the only way to ensure that your force production stays at 85% is to use about a two-second concentric. (This will vary depending on the actual weight you use.) An example might look like this: 3 sets of 6 reps with 225 with a 3121 tempo. B) Use 85% of your maximum and a slow concentric tempo. If you decide to use 85% of your maximum, you'd need to lift the load slowly at about a five second concentric tempo to keep the force on the bar at 85%. In reality, however, applying an 85% level of force on the bar would mean that the weight would go nowhere and you'd simply be holding it in the middle of the repetition. However, the force difference between holding the weight and lifting it in five seconds is pretty small. If you're using 255 lbs. on the bench (85% of 300), and you lift it in two seconds, the force on the bar would be closer to 275 lbs. This would be more suited for pure strength training. To keep the force on the bar down to 255 lbs., the concentric speed needs to be very slow. Since the weight is heavier than the first option, I suggest using a slower eccentric tempo to reap the benefits that eccentric training has to offer. Since each repetition takes longer with this method, you'd also have to reduce the number of reps in each set to keep the total time under tension between 30 and 40 seconds. An example would look like this: 3 sets of 3 reps with 255 lbs. at a 4151 tempo.

III. Hypertrophy: Lastly, if your training goal is size only, you need to keep the force on the bar between 60-70% of your maximum and you need to keep it there for a longer duration (45-60 seconds). There're two ways to accomplish this: A) If the load is at the full 70%, you need to lift the bar more slowly in order to. keep the force production down to 70%. You'd also be doing less repetitions. The rationale for this is the same as in the "strength and size" model. With the heavier weight, you need to use a slower tempo to keep the force production down to where you want. You'd use less repetitions to keep the time under tension between 50-70 seconds. An example would look something like this: 2 sets of 6 reps with 210 lbs. on a 4141 tempo. B) If you choose a lighter load, maybe 60% of your 1RM, the concentric tempo would need to be faster with more repetitions. Again, the rationale is the same as the strength and size example. Since the load is less than 70%, you need to use a faster concentric tempo to jack up the force on the bar to the optimal level of 70%. Since each rep is

faster, you need to do more reps to keep the time under tension between 50-70 seconds. An example of this type of training would look like this: 2 sets of 10 reps with 185 lbs. on a 4111 tempo. As you can see, there're more training options available to you than you might've guessed. Don't accept any one lifting tempo to be supreme, but keep alternating the styles you use to train different muscle fibers. Alternating concentric tempo is simply another way to add an element of variety in your program and ensure you're targeting the appropriate muscle fibers.

Pause in the Contracted Position When Ian King refined the three number tempo system (which was ultimately popularized by Poliquin), he left out the pause in the contracted position for purposes of simplicity. However, I think bodybuilders are familiar enough with tempo prescriptions that it's time to introduce how important this variable can be. The pause in the contracted position has very different effects on different exercises. For example, taking a pause at the top of the bench press (when your arms are fully extended) and taking a pause at the top of a chin-up (when your head is over the bar) are very different. In the bench press, the fully contracted position is the "easiest" portion of the lift. In a chin-up, however, holding your head over the bar can be pretty damn hard. We also need to distinguish between different types of pauses. Try this, stop reading right now and do four reps of "chair dips" wherever you happen to be sitting, just like you would do bench dips in the gym. Onthe first two reps, I want you to extend your arms to their full lockout position, noting how much tension is reduced at the top of the movement when your arms are locked out. The next two reps, stop just short of lockout, noting how much tension increases at the top of the movement. With pulling movements there really are no differences, but with all presses, triceps exercises, and squatting movements, this difference in top-position pauses will become a factor. This pause can have very different effects depending on the style you use. In the bench press, for example, extending to full lockout and pausing there for a second will improve your strength during the next rep due to the small amount of rest you'll get during the pause. On the other hand, extending to just short of lockout will cause a greater degree of fatigue and decrease your strength during the next rep. So what kind of pause should you use? Both of them! Just like everything else in the iron game, there's a time and a place for both types. What's important is how you plan the variations. In maximal strength training, it may be advantageous to take a brief one second pause in the full lockout position in exercises like the bench presses, military presses, dips, squats, etc... Taking this small break in the set can help you sustain your power output for more repetitions.

the pause should be taken just short of the lockout position to maximize tension on the muscle. taking this pause decreases muscle tension. In these movements. faster if the weight is between 75-80%: 1-2 seconds Pause in the contracted: Quick pause in lockout position when it increases strength . So here's a quick overview of my tempo guidelines for each training phase: Maximal Strength: 85-100% of your 1RM (could go all the way down to 60% with Compensatory Acceleration Training) Eccentric: Alternate slow and fast speeds if the weight is close to your 1RM. So in a hypertrophy phase. I realize that now you're probably more confused than when you started this article! The fact is. In these exercises. rows. faster if the weight is between 75-80%: 2-3 seconds Pause in the stretched: 1-2 seconds (longer pause for pulling movements) Concentric: Slow if the weight is near 85%: 3-5 seconds. chin. even in maximal strength training. denoted by "X" (even if the bar doesn't move that fast) Pause in the contracted: Pause in lockout position when it increases strength: 1-4 seconds Strength and Size: 75-85% of your 1RM Eccentric: Slow if the weight is near 85%: 3-5 seconds. so a longer pause should be taken there instead of the contracted position. or pulldown. there're a lot of things to consider when figuring out which tempo you should be using. Most of the time. faster if the weight is 85% or lower: 1-3 seconds Pause in the stretched: 1-4 seconds (longer pause for pulling movements) Concentric: Always explosive.However. the "rest" period is at the bottom in the stretched position. and pulldowns. I prescribe a pause at the top of any row. the contracted position is the point at which the muscle has maximum tension. which is not what we're looking for in a hypertrophy program. Summary Okay. It would also be smart to pause in pulling exercises like chin-ups.

It could be the missing ingredient you've been looking for. when the bar is sitting on your chest. there're many other factors that play important roles in reaching your bodybuilding goals. that means you should explode the weight back up. Let's say you see the numbers 4221 beside of the bench press in a training program. refers to the eccentric or lowering portion of the lift. then where the heck have you been. If you happen to see the designation "X". If you see "XXX" then you are watching a dirty movie. Finally.Hypertrophy: (60-75% of your 1RM) Eccentric: Slow 3-8 seconds (to keep tension high throughout the set) Pause in the stretched: 0-1 second (longer pause for pulling movements) Concentric: Slow if the weight is near 75%: 3-5 seconds. that's how long you'll pause at the top part of the exercise. The second number. refers to the pause at the bottom i. not training. if you see a fourth number. faster if the weight is between 60-70%: 1-2 seconds Pause in the contracted: Pause just short of lockout where it increases muscle tension: 1-4 seconds Of course. The first number. If you're not familiar with tempo prescriptions. The third number. 2. bud? Here's how it works. 2. 4.e. like "1" in the example above. refers to how many seconds you'll take to raise the weight. . but if you're not progressing I'd strongly encourage you to take a close look at the tempo you've been using.

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