I wanted to wrap up this LTT write up with the second day of the seminar. While I can't say for sure how the attendees feel, this is always my favorite part of the weekend. Maybe it's because I'm a coach at heart, but teaching and helping is what I love to do.

First thing in the morning, we split into groups and I was put with (got stuck with?) Harry again, as well as Shane Church and my husband, Matt. We, in turn, had a great group of attendees.

During the squat session, we focused on the box squat. Common technical issues that we see here is that most people don't sit back into the squat. Typically, they bend at the knees first rather than pushing the hips back. Another very common issue is not keeping the upper back tight. I find that this is one of the most difficult things to teach because the body awareness of how to tighten up the lats and upper back isn't there.

Key takeaways for the squat:

#1. Set up the same time, every time. No matter what the weight is. Go through your mental checklist of things to do before you even unrack the bar.

#2. Take only two to three steps back when walking the weight out. If you are taking more than that, you're wasting time and energy.

#3. Once you are set, you should have another mental checklist of things to do: big breath, tight lats and upper back, elbows down, hips back, knees out, start the descent. Pause on the box but stay tight, drive the chest up first as you spread the floor.

One note on keeping the elbows down: As a small lifter, I am able to keep my hands in closer which helps to A) create a shelf to put the bar on and B) keep my upper back tight. Many larger guys who don't have the shoulder mobility are forced to keep their hands out by the collars. If this is you, then you must really work on keeping your upper back tight. I've seen a lot of guys put their hands out wide because someone bigger and stronger than them does, but they can't keep tight. Find the right hand placement for you.

After about an hour and a half of squatting, we moved on to the bench. Of course, who doesn't like to bench? So we took a couple guys up and hit some PRs, which was nice to see.

Key takeaways for the bench:

#1. Set up the same time, every time. No matter what the weight is. Go through your mental checklist of things to do before you even unrack the bar.

#2. Set the feet and the hips first. Grab the bar, then set the shoulders.

#3. Have your spotter help you unrack the bar. This will allow you to stay in position and stay tight.

#4. Take a big breath just before unracking the weight. Just like in the squat, keep your breath the entire time.

#5. Squeeze the bar tight... no really. Squeeze the bar. Not only are you squeezing the bar, but you are thinking about breaking the bar apart. This is an "ah-ha" moment for a lot of people. When you break the bar apart, your lats become engaged.

#6. Bring the bar down under control, but not slow. As you press the bar, drive your feet into the floor.

One more note on the bench: getting the shoulders in position and keeping the lats tight are key. If you master this, you will automatically put pounds on your bench.

After a delicious lunch, we continued onto deadlifts. We were able to have some people try both conventional and sumo. Since they are there to get help with technique, we took advantage of it and didn't worry about the weight so much.

Key takeaways for the deadlift:

#1.Set up the same time, every time. No matter what the weight is. Go through your mental checklist of things to do before you even grab the bar.

#2. Grab the bar and pull your hips into place. As you do this, you will be pulling the slack/tension out of the bar and this will be key to a big pull.

#3. When pulling conventional, think about pushing your feet through the floor. As you pull, drive your shoulders back. This will keep the bar path in a straight line and not let the bar get out in front of you and not let your hips pop up first. If your hips pop up first, you will have a hard time locking the weight out at the top.

#4. When pulling sumo, drive the knees out and spread the floor— just like in the squat. Arch and keep the hips close to the bar. Pull back and stay upright.

The day finished up with the coaches helping the attendees with random assistance exercises. This was their chance to ask any questions about any exercises with which they wanted help.


So, remember: the moment you hear of the next LTT, be sure to get on the list.