There is no doubt that great technique tips and cues may lead to outstanding fitness outcomes. It is amazing to witness our clientele perform their programs with confidence, control and purpose due, in part, to great tips/cues. While there are thousands of ways to frame a specific tip or cue for each exercise or training modality, this week, a few used every day when training our clientele will be highlighted.
Begin utilizing these tips and cues today when training to reinforce proper training alignment, stabilization, mobilization, effectiveness and safety techniques by alerting yourself to the tips and then repeating the cues to yourself (i.e. think of the cues as a “mantra”). You will be amazed how significantly your training sessions may improve and ultimately, your training outcomes. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Great Alignment, Stabilization, Mobilization, Effectiveness and Safety Tips and Cues
-Ask yourself, where you are at in space and time—be kinesthetically aware from beginning to ending
-Head and neck a natural extension of the spine – gaze at the horizon
-Align the ears with the shoulders – avoid permitting the chin to jut forward
-Bury the shoulders into the shoulder blades – shoulders rotated back/down
-Rib cage lifted off of the waistline – tall spine—top of the head to the tailbone straight as an arrow
-Knit the ribs together like a corset
-Navel pulled toward the spine – compress the abdomen; create intra-abdominal pressure
-Pelvic floor pulled up and inward – stabilize the pelvis
-Shoulder, hips, knees and toes all facing the same direction
-Direct line of pull established
-Brace the body – think of someone about to punch you in the abdomen and “absorb” the punch
-Anchor the body – think of an oak tree with deep roots and hold your ground
-Stabilize before mobilizing – before moving, position the body optimally for peak performance
-Feel engagement before movement – initiate from the muscle origination
-Create a rhythm to your movement patterns keeping the flow smooth/continuous
-Achieve peak contraction at the top of each contraction
-Bury the contraction in the belly of each muscle – avoid momentum use
-Complete the movement pattern at the muscle insertion (complete range of motion)
-Work toward momentary muscle failure each set – reach that point when you cannot perform another repetition without breaking form (and do not break form)
-Keep the tempo slow when performing muscular strength training (think at least two counts in each direction)
-Keeping the muscle under tension (i.e. time under tension – TUT) long enough to create the physiological changes required to elicit hypertrophy (i.e. an increase in muscle size)
-Follow all alignment, stabilization, mobilization and effectiveness tips/cues
-If the movement pattern does not “feel” right, it probably is due, at least in part to position, so attempt to re-position and if this does not remedy the issue, then perhaps another solution should be considered such as less external load, lowering the exertion level or perhaps a different exercise or exercise modality altogether.
-Listen to your body and push when you are able and back off when you must!
-If it hurts, don’t do it!
-Is the environment clear of obstacles so that you may move safely and effectively?