by Mike Scialabba
Squats, bench press, overhead presses, conventional deads; they're all killer lifts, and we all know it. But here's a couple of variations of movements you're probably already doing that will help maintain strong, efficient hips, and proper moving shoulders with superior upward strength.
1. Trap Bar Deadlift:
You've seen that diamond shape looking bar right? Well it's a Trap Bar. If you're gym doesn't have one, consider looking into double suitcase dead lifts. However for now, let's talk about the new and improved trap bar.
Old school trap bars were completely flat, and the handles were at the same height as the collars. The new bars have an elevated handle, and allow a more efficient hip movement pattern. If the bar available to you doesn't have elevated handles, find some blocks, rubber pads, or aerobic step boards to elevate the load onto.
Execution: Stand square inside the bar, with feet hip width apart. Firmly grip the handles and drive your hips back towards the wall behind you. Your hips should be above the knees, however your back should not be parallel with the floor. This is not an RDL. Pullyour shoulder blades back and tilt your chest slightly upward looking approximately 15 feet in front of you. Do not try to look straight up. Tighten your back, and press your abdomen into your groin. Take in a large gasp of air and hold the diaphragm tight. Clench the glutes and drive the hips forward underneath you while trying to drive your traps into the ceiling.
Make sure your arms stay in a locked position and that you're not pulling with the biceps. Return the weight the same way you executed the lift, and repeat for sheer pleasure.
2. Overhead Barbell Shrug:
I'm sure you're shrugging, but I'm also sure you're not overhead shrugging. This movement will aid the low, mid, and high trapezes muscles, strengthen the serratus anterior and create better range of motion in the shoulders. You should be able to press your shoulders from a depressed state, nearly into your ears. Some of you may be lacking serious strength and mobility in this department, so work slowly, and perhaps consider starting with a dowel.
Execution: Clasp a bar (unloaded), right outside the shoulder. Press upward and lock the elbows. The biceps should be in mid-line with the ears. Slightly retract the shoulder blades and press your knuckles toward the ceiling. Lower and repeat. If your ROM is small, don't give up. You need it to increase, so practice like you would anything else!!
Overhead Barbell Shrug - Top
Overhead Barbell Shrug - Bottom
Enjoy stronger hips and a better shoulder girdle!
This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - September 22nd, 2010
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