Workout of the Day

Position = Power

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There are some archetypical positions that we talk about frequently in the gym. A hip hinge, a lunge, or a hollow body position, for example. The archetypical positions (and, more dynamically, movement patterns) aren’t just arbitrary criteria that we’ve made up for no reason. Physics, physiology, and their lovechild, biomechanics, all give us a sort of blueprint for safe and effective movement. And while there isn’t a “perfect squat position” (everyone’s individual anthropometrics will make their best squat position different) there are some basic patterns that guide us to better movement and position, and therefore performance.

Take, for example, the rack position in the front squat. Biomechanically, a rack position with high elbows and the bar resting on the shoulders, as close as possible to the athlete’s center of gravity, will be stronger than a rack position with dropped elbows (and thus shoulders), and the bar resting in the athlete’s hands with the bar pitched forward from the center of gravity. We see the same with a neutral vs. over-extended torso in an overhead position, a knee in line with the athlete’s foot vs. a knee collapsed inwards, the strength of a lineman standing upright vs. a lineman with a low chest and hinged hips, and so on. It should be no surprise, also, that we see these movement archetypes expressed almost without exception in performers at the highest level.

This conversation is easy to have and nod your head along to in agreement until you find yourself in the pickle of being stronger in the wrong position. The athlete who can lift more weight she rounds her back on the deadlift is our classic example. This may seem counter to what I’ve just claimed above -- that certain position archetypes are better than others -- but it’s really not. It’s a matter of practiced vs. unpracticed positions. If I go my whole life holding my pen in a fist every time I write, it’s going to feel a lot easier than holding a pen between my thumb and fingers, and I’ll perform better with my “incorrect” pen holding. With practice, though, the fine motor skill potential of the fingers will ultimately outperform those of the wrist and forearm. Just because it’s better, easier, more comfortable right now does not mean it is the best position.

Better position offers greater potential for performance and safety, and with time and attention, better position will always win out. Position is not arbitrary.

- PS


6/13/17

  • Keg carry - 4x50m (AHAP)

  • 3 rounds for reps, 1 min at each station

    • Max cal bike

    • Max pull-ups

    • Max sit-ups

    • Max hand-release push-ups

  • Rest 1 min