Breathing Is The Catalyst To Better Bracing

cassandra strunk Oct 06, 2021

If you’ve attended any lifting competitions or gotten any training from a gym on weight lifting, I can bet that you’ve heard “BIG AIR” being yelled at the top of a coach’s lungs. Some of you may have even learned the generic breathing strategy to “inhale on the way down (such as lowering the bar to your chest during a bench press or on the way down in a squat) and exhale on the way up or during exertion (as you press the bar off your chest or as you squat up).” Maybe someone has given generic advice that the “Valsalva maneuver” isn’t good for you. Why does the technique of breathing–besides the fact we have to do it to live– matter? Why this emphasis on breathing?

First off, let’s clarify a couple of nuances: 

  1. Breathing is not bracing. Check out this video taken out of our Kabuki Strength Principles of Loaded Movement course discussing this topic. 
  2. Cueing “a belly...
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Difficulty Getting Under The Bar? Tips To Better Shoulder Mobility And Positioning In The Squat.

cassandra strunk Sep 14, 2021

Whether you’re a high bar squatter or low bar squatter, optimal positioning of the bar on your back and how you support the bar on your back with your hands and arms is factored in when considering the ability to create trunk stiffness, as well as considering the management of wrist, elbow, and shoulder aches and pains in the back squat. 

Generally speaking, the position of your shoulders and arms should allow you to maximize the tensioning of your middle back muscles and engagement of the latissimus dorsi during the squat. Shoulder positioning in the back squat is oftentimes overlooked in how it contributes to trunk stability, but lat tensioning plays a major role in trunk stiffness due to its connection to the thoracolumbar fascia. When considering the anatomy of the lats and its connection to the thoracolumbar fascia, we are looking at soft tissue that spans the entire posterior aspect of the trunk! 

So if you’re finding yourself constantly dealing with...

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Sumo Is Not Just Wide Conventional

cassandra strunk Dec 23, 2020

Most people who start out in barbell lifting are familiar with conventional deadlifts. It’s typically the style of deadlifting we learn in traditional weightlifting gym setting, P.E., group fitness classes, and even rehabilitation settings to retrain hip hinge patterns. When it comes to sumo deadlifting, it is most commonly seen in the world of powerlifting. The question often gets asked, “should I pull sumo or conventional?” But to simplify this piece, we are actually not going to address that question here. What we want to cover in this piece, are considerations for new lifters to sumo, who have already decided they want to give sumo deadlifting a chance and are experimenting with sumo deadlift technique.

To kick off the discussion, the first thing to consider when switching from conventional deadlifts to sumo deadlifts is understanding that there is more to it than just widening your stance and trying to pull. Most people familiar with...

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Understanding Mobility And Stability For Strength Athletes

cassandra strunk Oct 02, 2018

Oftentimes we hear clients and fellow athletes reporting that their warm up routine consists of 30 minutes or more of “stretching” or “rolling” or “smashing” their muscles, only to find themselves back to being “tight” the next training day or feeling little to no benefit in their performance. It’s not uncommon for people to go straight to general mobility drills when the time comes to “warm up” for training. It’s very common for people to give little thought to stability or activation drills prior to their main movement or sport.

Before you continue reading, let me say this early on in this piece: we are not saying to ditch all your mobility drills; some people are “tight” and they need to address it. This article was written to shine a light on the consideration of stabilization exercises in your training, particularly during your warm up. It was written to further expand on the concept...

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