Body Mechanics 101: Training Partner Form Fix

TAGS: activating glutes, Kyphosis While Squatting, I Hate Training Partners, wrist pain, body mechanics, barbell rows, Just Sayin', training partners, Skip Hill

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I hate training partners. In my 34 years of training, I have had only six training partners for any length of time.

You might think, “Skip, you have trained with your wife for quite a while, right?” I have. And she knows the only reason I train with her is because she wouldn’t train otherwise. It’s the lesser of the evils. On the one hand, I don’t want to train with anyone. But on the other hand, I don’t want a fat wife. Sometimes, you've just gotta take one for your team.

I now not only have my wife that I train with, but I have ANOTHER training partner. Yes, that makes three people total. I have never in all of my years trained with two other people. It is typically slow and there is more opportunity for jawing about unimportant shit. I was so against it until something weird happened: this new potential training partner corrected my form while warming up for squats.

Now, your first reaction is probably, “Oh shit, Skip must have lost it on that son-of-a-bitch.” Nope. I didn’t want to hear it (because I am not used to being corrected), but I listened to him explain what I was doing wrong in words that I couldn’t understand (you know, big words – bigger than “fuck”, “shit”, and “bitch”, my typical limited vocabulary). This is when I figured I'd better listen because he seemed to know what the hell he was talking about.


RECENT: Body Mechanics 101: Three Things to Help Eliminate Pelvic Tilt


Come to find out, Mr. Training Partner is a Doctor of Chiropractic but isn’t just one of those typical ones. He's one that is gung-ho and is ridiculously passionate about it. Over the course of the next two weeks, he corrected me two more times for a total of three times. These aren’t just corrections to “get huger,” but corrections that increase longevity and can keep me from getting injured.

Mr. Training Partner has now brought something to the table that has not ever been brought to the table, or at least for a very long time. See, my gripe with my wife (and I love her dearly and anyone close to me knows she is my favorite person ever) is that I have to structure everything for her. I make her meals, I correct her when she is doing an exercise wrong, etc. I get nothing of that in return. However, she is getting much better at taking video without chopping off my entire upper body. I don’t get any feedback about form, any motivation, and half the time I have to make sure to ask her for a spot or she might be checking Facebook while a bar is crushing my neck.

This guy (Mr. Training Partner) knows his shit and I am pretty sure Mrs. Skip thinks he’s hot. She all of a sudden has an interest in taking care of her neck and arm problems and has appointments three times a week. I have been trying to get her to go to a chiropractor for almost two years.  Hmmm. But I digress.

Some of the things he just corrected I have been doing for YEARS and had really no idea I was doing anything wrong. It isn’t easy to catch small subtleties while under the bar.

The three things he has “fixed” for me so far? Here they are:

1. Kyphosis While Squatting

It was easy for me to miss this because I cannot see myself from the side unless, of course, I happen to take a video. Obviously, I had not seen this or I would have noticed it. I believe I was doing it because I was too focused on my lower back because I have to force a bit of an anterior tilt to my hips to guard my lower back. It is something I have done for years since first developing lower back issues from excessive posterior tilt. I found it funny that after forcing my chest out and shoulders back, it was even easier to force the hips anterior.

2. Non-Activation of Glutes During Barbell Rows

I am talking NO activation — like none. I was likely not doing this because I was again so focused on my lower back and making sure that it was stable the entire time to support my upper body that it didn’t occur to me to take a HUGE load off of the erectors and put it onto the glutes. I was shocked at how much more “solid” my base (hips) was when I engaged my glutes. Immediately, I felt that my lower back was supported considerably more and I could all of a sudden row more.

3. Wrist Causing Elbow Pain During Bench Press

This was the easy explanation. Here is his explanation:

“Too much extension in the right wrist from extensor digitorum. This was causing abnormal tension on the common extensor tendon that originates off the lateral epicondyle.”

Layman’s terms: I was rolling my right wrist too far back but not my left wrist. This was causing pain down my entire right forearm and was then causing my elbow to tuck slightly. My answer was to support my wrists with wrist wraps because this solved the issue or at least applied a band-aid to it.

As soon as I was able to unroll my wrist and have it locked in the correct position (I had to go away from a suicide grip that I have used for almost 30 years), the elbow flared instead of tucked and there was no pain at all. It was solved that quickly.

While doing overhead seated smith presses behind the neck, when I would make this correction my shoulders would align perfectly instead of my z-axis being screwed up (side to side twist, essentially).

If Mr. Training Partner can fix this much in a week, I’m okay with the guy sticking around and benefiting from a training partner for the first time in a while. He also enjoys eating about as much as I do so that makes for good company for Skiploads. In return, he says he just wants to learn my methods and how I train. He doesn’t care to control anything when we train, instead repeatedly telling me that he is along for the ride. He simply follows the schedule, the exercises, and even uses the same weights I use. It’s a win-win for both of us. Could it get any better?

He’s just dreamy. Mrs. Skip thinks so, too. Just Sayin’.

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