Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Plank Variation That Saved All the Puppies

If there’s one exercise that sets the foundation for all others, it’s the front plank.

Think about it.

What’s a push-up? A moving plank. What’s a pull-up? A moving plank. What are we doing with our torsos during squats and deadlifts? Maintaining the flat back posture characteristic of, you guessed it, a plank!

Yet if there’s one exercise that’s notoriously butchered, it’s also the plank.

People often attempt to hold it for way too long (e.g. several minutes on end). And when they do, it’s usually ugly. They lose proper position (a straight line from head to heel) and, therefore, the desired training effect. They also kill all of the puppies in the process.

Over the last few years, likely in response to the puppy-killing plank epidemic, the RKC plank has emerged as a potential solution.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Biggest Gimmick in Performance Training

“Sports-specific training.”

Everybody wants it for their athletes, but do they really know what it means?

Taken literally, sports-specific training is often interpreted as the act of mimicking sporting movements in the gym. This approach sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t always pan out in practice.

Not only do “sports-specific” exercises tend to be awkward to load and perform, but the added load also changes the movement pattern subtly. This change can be just subtle enough to negatively interfere with the actual performance of the sport.

A classic example of this type of error is wearing ankle weights to run. The weights change the way you run, which can reinforce bad habits.

Wearing ankle weights could make you run like this.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the camp that believes strength and strength alone is sports-specific. Get freakishly strong in the gym, they say, and leave the sporting movements to the sports coaches.

As with most things, the answer typically lies somewhere in the middle of the extremes.