There are a number of different tips and tricks out there that promise to improve your strength.  Some are good, some are questionable, and some are downright lies.  If I can share with you only one tip to help you to increase your strength in almost all exercises, it would be this…

Learn what neutral spine is and how to properly brace the trunk musculature.

One of the most common mistakes people make in the gym with squats and deadlifts is neglecting neutral spine and improperly bracing.  This will not only limit your strength, but it will also put your lower back at risk of injury.  Most people would agree that squatting or deadlifting with a rounded back would not be considered proper form nor ideal… but what about a hyper-extended back?  When loading the axial skeleton (or spine) such as in the back squat and deadlift, many people will overcompensate for the load and hyper-extend their back.  This is usually in fear of having the load break their form leading to rounding of the back.  Although rounding of the back is far from ideal, so is hyper-extension.

soda can fullsoda can dent

Try this (at your own risk):  find an empty soda can (or two) and stand on it upright.  Notice that it will support your weight.  Now have a friend flick it, and watch it collapse underneath you.  The solid cylindrical structure can support a lot of weight in comparison to its own weight.  When the structure is compromised by a dent, notice that the structure collapses under the same load.  Now consider your abdomen.  Achieving neutral spine and learning to breathe properly while bracing the trunk will mimic the flawless soda can.  Through increasing intra-abdominal pressure and a forming cylindrical-like structure through proper breathing and positioning, the body will be able to handle higher loads and transfer more force.

Learn how to achieve a neutral spine, brace and breathe properly, and more in our upcoming workshop.  We will be covering how to set-up and properly execute the deadlift.

Details of the deadlift workshop

Where: Pro Sports Club Willow’s Road in Redmond, WA

When: Saturday April 4th, 2015

Time: 12 pm- 2 pm

Cost: FREE (must be a member of Pro Sports Club to attend)

Images from the following sources (found through Google image search)