Ask the Dryland Coach Fixing the Flaws Part 2: Statics and Strength
By Mike Mejia, M.S., C.S.C.S
In the last installment of our series on self assessment exercises (Fixing the Flaws Part I), we focused on drills to help correct any imbalances you may have uncovered doing the reach, roll and lift test. This time around, we'll cover what to do to combat any deviations from proper form you may have experienced while doing the wall slide.
Static Lat Stretch: Stand near a sturdy object that you know isn't going to move (a squat rack in the gym, or staircase bannister in your house will work fine). Begin by grabbing the object at about waist level with both hands. Once you've got a firm grip, sit back into your hips by bending your knees slightly as you allow your arms to straighten out. Hold this position for at least 30-45 seconds.
For an even deeper stretch, grab the anchor point with just one hand and sit back and towards that same side (i.e. if stretching your right arm, sit your hips back and to the right). Remember to stretch both sides for at least 30-45 seconds each. Feel free to do an extra rep to one side if it feels noticeably tighter than the other.
Internal Rotator Broomstick Stretch: Stand holding a broomstick with your first two fingers and thumb so that it sits behind your hand and forearm. Keeping your arm just about parallel to the ground with your elbow bent approximately 90 degrees, reach across your body with your opposite arm and gently pull the bottom of the stick forward. As you do this, your forearm should move backwards slightly in relation to your elbow, effectively bringing you into a position known as external rotation. As you're doing this stretch, make sure that you're not arching your lower back to give the appearance that your forearm is moving through a greater range of motion. Instead, keep your core braced in a neutral spine position so that the internal rotators can be properly stretched.
Lying Pec Stretch on the Foam Roller: Begin by lying down on a 3 foot round foam roller, so that your tailbone and head are both in contact with it. Next, keeping your spine in a neutral position (no heavy arch, but lower back not flush to the roller either), begin by bringing your arms up over your chest bent at a 90 degree angle. From there, simply allow the weight of gravity to take your arms down towards the floor to stretch your pecs. Hold this position for at least 30-45 seconds.
Once you feel your pecs have opened up a bit, feel free to change the angle of pull a bit by bringing your elbows up slightly above and then slightly below the level of your shoulders- making sure to hold each position for at least 30-45 seconds.
Prone YT Raise over stability ball: Begin by lying prone over a large stability ball, with your knees bent approximately 90 degrees. While keeping your back flat, drive your knees into the ball to help eliminate the temptation to use your lower back when attempting to lift your arms. Once in position, extend your arms straight out in front of you in a "Y" position with your thumbs pointed up. Begin by using your middle upper back and shoulder muscles to raise your arms up so that they are at least parallel to the floor, if not slightly higher. Pause at your highest point, then lower your arms and repeat until you've completed 8-12 reps.
As soon as you're done, lower your arms so that they're right out in line with your shoulders. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows and back flat, pinch your shoulder blades together as you bring your arms up in a wide arc to work your upper back and rear deltoids a bit differently. Hold for a second once your arms are slightly higher than parallel to the ground, then lower and repeat until you've completed 8-12 repetitions.
For a slight variation, keep your palms facing each other at the bottom of the movement and then as you lift up, rotate your arms so that in the top position your thumbs face the ceiling. This will target some of the rotator cuff muscles a bit more.
Don't forget to keep your eyes out for part III of this series where we'll go over how to correct any imbalances noticed during the overhead squat test!