no images were foundSee that old wooden folding ruler? We can learn a lot from that thing. We can learn how long our arm is, how long our leg is and how long our…well…let’s just say we can measure stuff with it. But I wouldn’t go searching the web for a photo of a folding ruler just to tell you that (or maybe I would, but in this case I didn’t). This thing can teach us about our arm position for an overhead squat, any of the presses, or generally holding anything overhead. You might be thinking, “how can it teach us about holding stuff overhead, Coach Tai?”
I’m glad you asked.
If you broke two segments of that ruler off the end (so that they remained connected to each other), you would learn how to hold stuff overhead. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that one end of that 2-segment piece is always touching the ground and the other one is always NOT touching the ground. Are you with me? I don’t care – I’m going on anyway. Now what happens if we bend the segments to 45 degrees and push *straight* down on the top one? It collapses, as you’d expect. How about if we put the segments at 178 degrees (almost straight) and then push down on it? Yep, it collapses. Now we set the segments at 180 degrees and feel the little ball lock into place to hold it straight. What happens if we push straight down now? It becomes MUCH more stable and (assuming you keep it vertical and are pushing STRAIGHT down) it simply will not bend. Push it at a little bit of an angle, and it collapses.
The strongest and most stable position for that thing is locked out straight. (This sounds familiar) The maximum amount of weight it can hold while bent even slightly pales in comparison to when it’s completely locked out straight. See? I told you that thing could teach us something useful.
When you are putting a load overhead (a kettlebell, a barbell, a bumper plate, whatever…) don’t focus on holding up the weight – focus on getting into a locked-out position. That position can and will hold far more weight for a much longer period of time than your wimpy little arms can. True, as the load increases the position becomes harder to attain (and harder to hold), but I assure you that if you fight like hell to get into and STAY in that position, then the POSITION will hold the load so that you don’t have to. The moment you lose the position, you lose the load.
Therefore, today’s message must be “don’t blow your load – lock out your arms.”
All reps of each movement must be completed before moving on to the next one.