The topic of wrist wraps comes up in conversation at the gym every now and then. What are they? How do I use them? When do I use them? With this in mind, we made a video covering the basics, and Starting Strength was kind enough to run it on their site (and Youtube channel). Check it out!
When you take your stance for the deadlift, you do so in a position that places the bar directly over the middle of your foot, i.e., with your shins about an inch from the bar. This is all well and good for that first rep, but you also want to pull every subsequent rep from that same midfoot position. It is not uncommon to see lifters set the bar down well in front of the midfoot (and yes, sometimes even behind the midfoot), and they then have to spend extra time and effort at the bottom of the deadlift getting the bar back to the proper position for the next pull.
Let’s fix this.
When you lower the deadlift, you do so by bending primarily at the hips first - reaching back with your hips and sliding the bar down your thighs by bending at your waist - and bending at the knees second. If you do this, you stand a very good chance of setting the bar down right where you picked it up in the first place - over your midfoot. However, if you find that you still struggle to put the bar down in the right spot, try this: look right at the middle of your foot as you set the bar down.
If you look at the middle of your foot, tell yourself to set the bar down RIGHT THERE, and keep looking at the middle of your foot as you lower the bar, I bet you’ll find that your body takes care of the rest, and magically, that bar will be in the right spot for your next pull. If you find yourself constantly setting the bar down in the wrong spot, give this a try for a few sessions and see if it doesn’t fix the problem.
Summer has arrived, and it is certainly getting warm in the gym. With this in mind, here are a couple of tips for training when it’s hot:
Bring a towel. Not a washcloth. A towel. You’ll appreciate it.
Cotton t-shirts are always a lifter’s best friend, but in the summer, some of you may want to bring more than one. One shirt to squat, and then one for the rest of the training session. Some of you may need three shirts!
Tank tops are excellent when you want to show off your sculpted gunzz, but they are terrible for squatting, benching, and cleaning (the olympic version - you can vacuum and dust in a tank to your heart’s delight). Tank tops leave your shoulders bare, and you want fabric in contact with the bar or the bench, not sweaty, oily human skin. Gross. Just gross.
If you don’t typically train with a water bottle, now is a good time to start. Gatorade or a similar sports drink works well also.
Headbands are not only stylish - they keep sweat out of your eyes.
Also, as a bit of a housekeeping follow-up to the tips above, please remember to do the following:
Spray and wipe down your bench when you’re finished benching.
Grab a nylon brush (we have 4 of them at the gym) and brush down your bar before you take it back to the storage area.
Some people like training when it’s hot while some would choose a chilly day every time, but whether you love it or hate it, you can still train productively when it gets hot. A little preparation goes a long way, and you’ll find that you can adapt to the warmer weather just fine. After all, you’re an athlete.
You know - sage lifter that you are - that the purpose of your warm-up is to prepare you for the work ahead of you that day. You know it’s important, and you know that whether you’re going to squat 145 lbs or 345 lbs for your work sets, it is neither prudent nor productive to simply load the work weight on the bar and have at it without the appropriate warm-up.
But . . . there is an additional purpose to the warm-up. Perhaps it’s not even an additional purpose, but rather a purpose that is merely hidden in the concept of preparing for the work ahead. Put simply, you can (and should) use your warm-up to become a better lifter.
The weights are (relatively) light when warming up, so this is a great time to work on refining your technique. Because you haven’t yet reached the soul-crushing, mind-altering load that is your work weight for the day, the warm-up is when you can spare some mental bandwidth and put into practice any changes or cues that you and your coach have recently discussed.
Maybe you’re trying to fix some pesky knee slide in the squat. Break out the TUBOWs and get to squatting. Perhaps you’re attempting to improve the bar path in the press or the bench press. The warm-up is a great time to do exactly that. Are you inconsistent when it comes to hitting depth in the squat? Grab a coach (or a fellow well-informed lifter) and ask him or her to check your depth as you warm-up.
The warm-up is a precious time. A magical time. Don’t just plow through it - get the most out of it. You can finish your warm-up a better lifter than when you started. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.