Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Elbows High" A Pain?

You are so not alone if you KNOW that as soon as you lift the bar off the rack you will hear your coach yell, "get those elbows up!" Tight lats (aka Latissimus dorsi) could be your primary culprit in causing you to lose that nice rack position as you squat quickly (oh say, during thrusters). Keeping your elbows up on these movements isn't just to look pretty in pictures though, you can really hurt yourself if you let your elbow go slamming into your thigh! A little stretching is all it takes to help you avoid a broken wrist or worse, constant harassment from your coaches!

First, place a standard bar on a rack at shoulder height. Stand at arms distance resting your wrists on the bar  at shoulder width, thumbs up.  

Now start to sit down. Keep your arms straight and be conscious of the sensation through your armpits, shoulders and along the sides of your rib cage. *It's true my arms don't look straight, but that's what my arms look like at this angle.

You may notice that I am standing feet together instead of in squat stance: this is a hold over from yoga. In Chair pose you stand with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart. When you then start to sit down into Chair, you press your knees and thighs together to maintain posture and balance.

Be aware of how the stretch feels of where you feel it most. I will sometimes find that I'm nice and loose and so I need to step a little closer so that I can squat down more to get a deeper stretch. Other times I need to really focus on pointing my tail bone up to increase that lower back sway which in turns increases the stretch.

I'd recommend adding this to your everyday pre-workout stretch/warm-up routine. Experiment a little bit to address your particular needs! Enjoy :-)!

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