How to get tight before lifting a heavy weight. 1. Squeeze your abs 2. Take a breath 3. Push the air against your closed throat.
– What's happening, guys?
It's Will here, and today we're
going to have a little chat
about bracing all the
muscles around your middle,
and how you do that in the context
of lifting a heavy weight.
So this is probably going
to be a longer video
with some really important
information in it,
so I don't know, go make
yourself a cup of coffee
or something and sit down,
and set a little time aside for it.
Now in general terms, why the
hell do we care about this?
Well one, we want to lift heavy weights
and two, we want to be
safe while do it, right?
So if we are in the situation
where we're squatting heavy
or dead lifting heavy or
even pressing overhead heavy,
or Olympic lifting or any
of those kind of things,
you need all these
muscles around your middle
locked down together in order
to keep your spine straight
and transferring power from
your legs and your hips
to the bar, without anything
deflecting or you getting hurt.
So the old analogy that's
always kind of used for this
is if you're going to pry
a rock off the ground,
would you ever use an iron bar to do that?
Or would you rather use
a rubber bar to do that?
And of course the answer is the iron bar.
How come?
Well because it doesn't bend
and flex, and move around.
So if we're going to do
a big heavy back squat,
we would prefer if all this
stuff across the middle
acted like a big rigid bar, right?
Sort of preparing our
weight, sitting up here.
We're trying to transfer
power from our legs
and come on up, we're going
to have a much easier time
if we're not like flexing and
moving it round the middle.
So learning how to do
this actually requires
a little bit of practice.
The steps involved essentially are we
squeeze the abdominals
as tight as you can,
first, like someone's going
to come up and slap you.
You then, take a big deep
breath down in to your belly,
you then close your throat
and push that area
against the closed throat.
Now if you guys follow
along at home and do this,
kind of stand up out of your chair,
squeeze your abs tight first,
like someone's going to
come out and slap you
and then, take that big breath down here,
close the throat, push the
air against the closed throat.
What you'll notice is all the
muscles around your middle
will contact as well, so
you can kind of feel this
if you dig your thumbs in here and here,
go through that sequence and (deep breath)
take a big breath, you should
be able to pop your thumbs
out of the sides like that,
so all those big external
muscles will lock down.
Now, to kind of illustrate
what the hell is going on here
and how this works, I've
got this little foam roller
and essentially you could
do a little bit of a
foam roller anatomy here.
The way that you create all
this tension is the abdominals
are these muscles here at the front,
wrapped round the sides,
you've got these kind of
side muscles, the obliques,
the big kind of thick things that hurt
when you do suitcase walks,
that all kind of want to tie
onto the lower back muscles,
which run along the back here.
Now, when you squeeze all these together,
you create that nice rigid iron bar
that we were talking about.
Now why the hell is the breath important?
Well of the top of the cylinder,
we've got a big sheet of
muscle called your diaphragm,
which will move downwards when you breath.
So, if everything here is rigid
and that diaphragm moves
down with that big breath,
what of course happens is
we compress this cavity
in the middle here,
so we kind of squash everything down
and you'll know if you're ever
in a science class I suppose,
but when you reduce the
volume of the cylinder,
you increase the pressure on the middle.
Now the effect of that,
is all of those other little muscles,
things like the transverse abdominus,
the internal obliques,
the pelvic floor muscles,
all the other little things on the inside,
all lockdown sympathetically
and create a really, really rigid cylinder
around the middle.
This idea floating around out there
that you breathe out on the way up
and you breathe in on the way down
and all that kind of thing,
and guys, that's fine if you're
going to do a set of 20 reps
or something like that,
for midline stability is not a priority,
but if you are doing
something for a set of one,
or a set of three, or a set of five,
even a really heavy set of eight or ten
once you're a good squatter,
it's going to require
these rigid as possible
around the middle.
So you go through these
steps before each and every
heavy barbell lift.
So when you squat, you begin
by squeezing your abs tight,
take a big deep breath,
and then push the air against your throat
and continue holding that tension
the whole way through the lift.
Likewise if you deadlift heavy.
You address your bar,
get yourself stretched,
squeeze your abs tight,
take a big deep breath,
hold on that much all the way through
entire part of the lift.
Now, when you do that,
you shift all the work
of supporting your spine
to the muscles that are supposed to do it.
If you don't do that, by
contrast if you're relaxed,
the only thing that holds you together
in those scenarios is
your connective tissue.
So if you kind of come up and you do the,
you know the round back
kind of deadlift like that,
the only reason that your
spine isn't falling apart there
is because all the connective stuff,
like your ligaments and tendons
and spinal discs and things
are being asked to stretch.
And of course, those things don't stretch,
tendons and other connective tissue
don't have the same
extendability the muscles do,
so they either kind of hold
together or they don't.
I always call this like stopping your car
with a handbrake, right?
You can stop your car by
squeezing the foot brake,
which is to land you the job.
Has lots of degrees of fine tension.
Or you can stop with a
jam of the handbrake on,
which you know, works,
but eventually if you do it too much,
the smoke starts coming out,
you have to go visit an expensive guy
that causes a lot of pain
and suffering for you
and get it fixed,
which you don't want to do.
So, that's the idea
behind elastability right?
We want to support more weight,
we want to be safe doing it,
and we want to make sure
we can have a good time,
whilst doing all that stuff.
So practice that every time
you lift a heavy barbell
or heavy kettlebell or heavy lifting else.
Abs tight first, take a big
breath down to your belly,
and then push the air against your throat
and you're having a good time.

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