Getting Stronger is in our hands... literally!
People walk through our doors and they expect to get stronger. It might not be their goal, but in the back of their head when they see all the weights, they know some lifting is about to go down!
Strength is a skill. It needs to be practiced. Men and women come in knowing they could be stronger, but what if additional strength was in right in their hands?
Creating tension through the hands and feet is one of the fastest ways to increase your strength numbers. A lot of strength comes from our ability to create tension. Here are two tests:
1) At the top of our squats and deadlifts, we want you to make it feel like a plank. Lower body tension will help you lock out. Standing, make your body feel like a plank. Squeeze your quads and butt and whatever other cues you like.
Now, find that same tension, but grip the ground with your toes. Imagine you’re at the beach and you’re try to squeeze the sand so hard it makes diamonds!
Does everything get tighter? It did?! Then don’t forget your feet!
2) For actual planks don’t forget your hands. Find a push-up plank position. Tighten everything like you normally would. Notice the tension in your shoulders, arms and core. Then, grip the ground with your fingers. Pretend you’re squeezing a grapefruit until it bursts.
Do you feel more tension through your upper body? You do?! Don’t forget to use your hands!
What are the benefits?
1) Instant Strength
It's INSANE to see people's eyes light up when they're doing a carry or squatting, and we cue them to object they're holding. It's so simple! They automatically feel more confident in their lift or carry and confidence is key when we're building the skill of strength!
2) More Functional Core
Gripping the object in our hands engages the lats, which helps the core (everything from your shoulders to your hips) stay stable. At the same time, if we can engage the feet by gripping the ground, we can get our glutes more involved, making our core more stable.
3) More Stability
If our core is stable, we're more likely to be stable overall. A great example is an exercise like the split squat. Balance is most challenging at the top of the movement. If we can crush the object in our hands, then grip the ground with our front foot, we've locked in the upper body, then connected the lower body to the best of our ability. Members will notice a difference right away in relation to how confident they feel during the exercise. Yay!
How can you apply this to your training?
For lower body exercises, as long as it’s not a movement where you’re walking, grip the ground. Our bodies crave stability. Gripping the ground lets the body know we’re connected to environment around us. Whether you’re squatting, deadlifting or doing exercises in half kneel or tall kneel, utilize your feet and tension through the floor to get the lower body set and strong.
For upper body exercises, create tension through your hands. For patterns like pressing, pulling and hanging variations, squeezing the object in your hands, whether it’s a handle or the ground, you’ll feel the shoulders and core turn on. So, if it’s a push-up, inverted row, or overhead press, CRUSH the object in your hands to get that much stronger!