Categorized as: TECHNIQUE

The Overhead Squat Is a Punk: Advice From Experts on How to Make It Better

The overhead squat is a punk. It is one lift that vexes many new CrossFitters and weightlifters alike. Arms collapse, knees come forward, you go up on your toes, and sometimes it feels like your back muscles are about to snap.

You need a strong overhead squat for one reason – to complete the snatch. Although we use it in CrossFit workouts all the time, in reality, the overhead squat is simply one of the elements of a properly executed snatch. In order to snatch heavier weight, you need to be comfortable coming out of the hole with a lot of weight over your head. So we train the overhead squat in both CrossFit and weightlifting.

But as I said, this movement can be difficult and frustrating for many athletes early in their careers. And it’s not an easy one to coach because while as an athlete I may know the nuanced mechanics that have helped me master the movement, those cues are sometimes difficult to transfer to a beginner. It takes lots of practice with light to progressively heavier weights in order to get comfortable with this lift.

So in order to help both you and myself with the coaching of this lift, I assembled some highly regarded coaches from around the country and posed this question: “My overhead squat sucks. How can I fix it?” Read More…

 

6 Benefits Of Pullups

There are a lot of benefits of pullups. I could literally go on about the importance of this exercise all day, but today I’m going to talk about the top 6 benefits and I’m also going to give you a few tips on how to do more pullups.

Benefit #1: Convenience

Pullups are one of the most convenient exercises around. You can do this exercise pretty much anywhere. All you need is a bar and your body.

When I first started working out I took a metal pole that I found in the garbage and hung it my laundry room. Voila!

Sidenote:  Don’t use a metal pole you find in the garbage… You can buy an inexpensive pullup bar that latches safely unto your door frame. Click here to buy an awesome pull up bar that you can use anywhere.

Benefit #2: Fundamental Compound Upper-body Exercise

I’ve stressed the importance of compound exercises in the past. Compound exercises are important because they target multiple muscle groups and trigger a release of growth hormone.

I’ve also talked about squats and what a great lower-body muscle building exercise they are.

Think of it this way – Pullups are to your upper body what squats are for your legs.

There is no other excise that will make your upper body grow quite like pullups. Specifically, pullups do a great job of targeting the back and biceps.

If you want a V-taper, pullups are a must! Read More…

MASTER THE L-SIT TO GET STRONGER AND SHREDDED

Q: What do you see when you look at the physique of an Olympic male gymnast?

A: You probably didn’t have to look very hard to notice those insane triceps attached to a mountain of a shoulder, and of course, a set of rippling abs. Despite their impressive development, though, gymnasts don’t lift weights. They do, however, use their own body weight as resistance, and while it would be difficult to replicate many of the gymnasts’ signature moves in a conventional gym, there is one you can do that will target your triceps and abs like no other exercise: the L-sit.

The L-sit hold is a deceptively brutal exercise with benefits that go beyond merely the visual. Not only will this exercise help fill out your sleeves and chisel your abs, it will improve the health of your shoulders, help you with your deadlift, and build functional core strength as well. How do you do it? The L-sit hold is best done on a pair of parallettes. They look like a tiny version of parallel bars (hence the name) you’d find in a gymnasium or outdoor park. Most CrossFit gyms will have a few of them lying around, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one in a commercial gym. However, nearly every gym has dip bars, and you can even do L-sits on a pair of pushup bars, on kettlebells, yoga blocks, or even on a pair of benches. You just need two sturdy and secure platforms of the same height that will lift your butt off the ground when you lock your arms pushing down in between them.

To perform an L-sit, position yourself between the parallettes, set shoulder-width apart. Using a firm, neutral grip, push your body off the ground, locking your elbows as if you’re at the top of a dip exercise. Make sure to keep your shoulders down as you lock your knees and hold your legs together tightly, forming a 90-degree angle with your torso. Your legs should be parallel to the ground. Now hold…and hold…keep going. Is it at least 20 seconds yet?

OTHER VARIATIONS

So your first attempt at an L-sit made you feel like a little girl. You can work your way up by trying the following intermediary variations.

Chair L-Sit
You will need a dip station or something higher than most parallettes for this easier version of an L-sit. It’s the same as a regular L-sit, except your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. You’ll look like you’re sitting in an invisible chair in the end position. Read More…