Archive for July, 2012

Friday workout with Sled Drags and Farmers Carries

Posted in Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by zenithstrength

 

Farmers walks are a fantastic exercise to build grip strength as well as core strength and upper body strength.

Here’s some video of our training session using sled drags and farmers walks.

Bill Hartman has a great article on corrective carries using farmers walks and suitcase carries.

I like to use farmers carries in this case to teach proper core stabilization keeping the ribs down and the abs braced.

In addition, holding the weights also helps integrate rotator cuff stabilization as the athlete needs to have the shoulder blades in the proper position while walking. I like to cue our athletes to stay tall and keep the shoulders down. Once everything looks good, you want to load the weight heavy enough so they can still keep the proper form.

We also have the knee drive variation from the video (see 1:17). These are great to teach hip separation for sprinting and also hip flexion without rounding the low back. The kettlebells engage the core and create stiffness and prevent lumbar flexion and extension.
Cue the athlete to get tall which should help clean up the movement.

Give these a try and let me know what you think.

SS

 

 

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Wall Slide Variation with Bands

Posted in Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , on July 17, 2012 by zenithstrength

Wall slides are a great “bang for your buck” exercise to keep the shoulders healthy especially if you’re an athlete involved in overhead sports or are coming off a shoulder injury.

Here are a few reasons why I like using wall slides so much.

1. Improving shoulder external range of motion.

I remember first learning about the effectiveness of wallslides from the Optimal Shoulder Performance Dvd by Eric Cressey and Mike Reinold. Wallslides  gently  improve shoulder external range of motion without excessive stretching  for those who may have limitations  caused by sitting in a chair for hours on end.

2. Improving upward and downward rotation of the shoulder by strengthening the lower traps, serratus and activating the upper traps.

Eric Cressey has talked extensively about the importance of shoulder upward rotation in this post and mentions the research as to why upward rotation is important not only for baseball pitchers but for athletes involved with overhead sports.

3. Improving thoracic spine extension and shoulder flexion range of motion.

In addition to improving shoulder external rotation, wall slides also improve shoulder flexion and mid back extension which are two areas that we usually could use  more mobility with . Unfortunately, these two motions have a synergistic relationship in that a limitation in upper back extension mobility will generally affect your ability to reach your arms overhead.  Furthermore, soft tissue restrictions in the lats and pecs can also limit shoulder flexion.

While you can perform wall slides seated or standing, I prefer to do them seated with the head, shoulder blades, and low back touching the wall. This will ensure that the athlete does not substitute shoulder flexion,(raising the arms overhead), for lumbar extension(excessively arching the low back). Make sure to keep the ribs down so they don’t flair out while raising the arms overhead.

I like to cue our athletes to take a nice deep breath in, expand the rib cage and  then exhale performing a rep while the ribcage is depressed. You don’t have to perform them like this but integrating breathing will help teach what it feels like to keep the rib cage down.

Once you get really comfortable with these you can progress and add some band resistance which really lights up your lower traps and also challenges T spine extension since the bands are pulling you forward.

For more goodies on the T-spine check out Dean Somerset’s fantastic write-up on that subject here.

Give these a try at the end of your upper body workouts and let me know how you like them.

Shyam