Workout of the Day

When In Doubt, Pinkies In

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If you’ve been with us for any considerable time, you’ve likely heard a thing or two about your lats, namely how you need to use them better. The lats, which attach to the humerous and originate in the mid- and low-back, are the largest muscles in the back, and are important as prime movers in pulling motions (such as a pull-up), as well as stabilizers in pushing motions (such as bench press or overhead press) and significant contributors to trunk motion and stability (such as holding a front rack, when pulling on a rope, or when swinging a kettlebell). To put it simply, they’re kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, though, many athletes are guilty of under-utilizing their lats and not quite “knowing” how to get them involved. It’s all too common to see compensation patterns developed that allow the body to work around the lats, leaving their potential untapped.

While the solution to this problem is far more involved than a simple cue, I recently came across a good one that acts as a helpful prompt for getting our lats to engage in pull-ups, in particular. The cue is to pull with your pinkies, or to pull your pinkies down into the bar. The cue helps in a few ways. It forces you to grip with your full hand (rather than just the middle and index fingers, a common mistake), and cues the lat to engage to pull the elbows back and into your sides (in other words, to do their job). This cue can also be used in other movements that demand involvement of the lats and use a rigid object such as a barbell or kettlebell.

It’s important to recognize that a cue is not a cure, but sometimes hearing the same thing (“use your lats!”) in a different way “pull with your pinkies!”) is just the thing we need to teach our body how to move optimally. Give it a try next time you’re on the pull-up bar, and see if it helps!

- PS


4/12/17

  • 8 min AMRAP

    • 1 rope climb

    • 10 ground to overhead (95/65)

    • 10 push-ups

  • Rest 4 min

  • For time:

    • Complete the amount of work that you finished in the AMRAP, but for time