Three tips. Nothing crazy. Give these a shot!
1. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, all the time
It seems silly, but flexing your gluteals while training is awesome.
The real benefit is that it keeps your pelvis in a neutral and stable position that helps to spare the lumbar spine.
But also, it feels amazing!
Whenever you’re performing exercises in a standing position, flex your glutes hard.
Whenever you’re in a half-kneeling stance, flex the glute of the back leg hard.
When you bench or overhead press, squeeze ’em. When you lock a deadlift or RDL, squeeze ’em. When you plank, keep ’em squeezed!
By engaging your glutes during these and many other movements, you’re stabilizing your entire trunk area. The abs stay tight, the whole core is rigid, and you have overall better tension throughout the body. This tension translates to more efficient force production and a decreased chance of acute injury.
2. If you want to sprint, ease into it, but make sure you’re actually sprinting
Sprinting is the pinnacle of athletic development. The problem is that many people get sprinting confused with “really fast running.”
When you think about the amount of energy you expend during an all-out sprint, it’s pretty massive. Obviously it is not an activity that you’re going to be able to perform effectively for even a short amount of time. I’m talking 15-20 seconds MAX, depending on what type of condition you’re in. So just to be clear, if you’re programming “sprint intervals” into your training and they call for 30+ second bouts of running, you are not doing sprint intervals!
So, the two important points to remember:
- Sprint like you mean it, and keep the duration short
- Don’t overdo things as sprinting is extremely taxing
Dedicating one or two days per week to some good old fashioned sprint training is plenty. Keep the reps low and the distance consistent. 6-10 40 yard dashes will get the job done just fine, as long as the effort is there. Allow yourself to fully recover before you start the next sprint.
And again, if you haven’t ran at your maximum speed in years, be careful! Start out small and gradually build up your work capacity. Your hamstrings will thank you.
3. Give your upper back the volume it deserves
If you’ve been lifting for awhile you probably understand this, but your upper back musculature can handle an obscene amount of workload. Since it’s capable of withstanding a constant beating, why don’t we train it more frequently?
Well, it’s never too late to start. Try doing some extra upper back work at the end of workouts or throwing on some extra sets and reps during dumbbell rows, chin-ups, face pulls, band pull-aparts, etc.
Increasing the strength of these muscles is essential to improving your deadlift performance, as the upper back is a common limiting factor during super heavy pulls. And also, a strong, ripped back looks pretty damn impressive.
Take home points
- Squeezing your glutes together gives you a strong, stable foundation to work with during heavy lifting (and it feels great)
- Sprinting is tremendously effective and empowering, just be careful with it and give it your all
- It’s very difficult to overtrain your upper back, so hit it hard