Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Push, Pull, and Squat

We are winding down in our weeks until The Beast on the Bay! How exciting?!😆 I literally cannot wait! With all the excitement and maybe some nervous energy, it can be hard to prioritize in your training and that’s understandable! With 10 miles and 30 obstacles, you will never be prepared for EVERYTHING coming your way. That said, I believe there are a few movements in your training program you should never skip! And those are the push, the pull, and the squat!

These 3 movements are key to building strength and improving performances. What I mean by “the push,” is anything involving primary the pectoral muscles, the triceps muscle (the back of your arm), and the shoulder muscles. The push movements include push-ups, bench press, shoulder press, and many more accessory movements. As mentioned before in my earlier blogs, the push-up and variations of the push-up are important for core and upper body strength. Being strong in the push mechanism will make falls easier to recover from, and, if the core is strong, less likely to occur. I incorporate the push-up in my weekly upper body training either at the beginning of my work out as a warm up or at the end of my work out as a “burn out technique” to fatigue those muscles groups completely!

The second movement I will never skip in my training is “the pull.” The pull mechanism includes the muscles of the back; the latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius, erector spinae, the rector muscles, and the biceps as well. With that many muscle groups working at the same time, it’s obvious that skipping this movement is a no-no! Movements of the pull include the pull-up, chin-up, inverted row, barbell row, and many more! It took me quite some time to be able to perform a pull-up, but there are many ways to gain strength and eventually preform a pull-up!

In the beginning of my strength training, I would use my gym’s pull-up assist machine which helped me learn the movement of the pull with some assistance. This is a great starting point, but eventually I wanted to rely on more of my body weight in a less mechanical movement pattern. So, I used large resistance bands and looped them over a hanging surface. I would place my foot in the looped band and perform the pull up movement for as many as reps as I physically could. Eventually, I started using a technique called the descending pull-up which helped my pull-up more than any other technique. What you do to perform this movement is to start at the top of a hang bar, branch of a tree, basically anything sturdy enough to hang from and as slowly as possible you descend from the top of the apparatus to the bottom in a hanging position. It the opposite of a pull-up! An important tip for this is to perform it as slowly and as controlled as possible so the muscles are in control of the movement not momentum! I perform these at least once a week in my pull day training!

The next movement can be categorized as a push, but I like to place it in a league of its own… the squat! There are many variations of a squat; the body weight squat, front squat, overhead squat, split squat, dumbbell squats, and some consider the lunge as a variation as well! The muscle groups of the squat include: the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the gluteals, the erector spinae, and, depending on the variation performed, many more groups are targeted! The squat has many benefits including increasing lower body strength, core strength, and increasing an overall anabolic environment of the body; meaning muscle building throughout the body is increased. I won’t go into each mechanism of metabolism, but anabolism is the muscle building part of your metabolism. Since the squat is such a taxing movement on the body causing many micro tears in multiple muscle groups, with proper nutrition the body’s anabolism is kicked into high gear and muscle growth occurs. The benefits of performing squats and i's variations are a continuous list making it pretty obvious as to why I would never skip this movement pattern! I always include this in my weekly training schedule and perform its variations during my H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training) on a weekly basis as well.

I hope I’ve made it pretty clear as to why you should include these movements in your Beast on the Bay training! If you haven’t started to incorporate them this is your subtle hint to start doing this now 😉 The Beast is right around the corner so we must do all that we can to be ready!  🐉

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