Stuff You Should Read

Technique Guides

Gray Cook and Brett Jones demonstrate technique, variations and cues for the deadlift in this Functional Movement video, “Cook-ing the Deadlift” (filmed backstage at a recent CK-FMS).

News flash: Neutral spine is more of a range/zone than static position. Mike Robertson of Robertson Training Systems and Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training explains. “The Myth of Neutral Spine

A front squat opus from Eric Cressey. Definitely worth the time to read: “How to Front Squat:  Everything You Need to Know

The SLDL-SQ: Love single-leg deadlifts (SLDLs)? Love Squats? Want monster hip stability? Check out this new single-leg combo exercise that hammers hip and core control. It’s definitely a keeper.  “Exercises You Should Be Doing: 1-Legged RDL to Squat

Pavel Tsatsouline of StrongFirst explains why he believes the kettlebell swing is the top dog in the world of hip hinge exercises:  “The ‘Best’ Hip Hinge Exercise

Nearly everyone needs to work on thoracic spine (upper back) mobility. The Brettzel (named by Gray Cook in honor of Master SFG Brett Jones) is one of the best exercises for developing t-spine mobility. Learn how to do the brettzel in this video:

The side-lying windmill is a thoracic spine AND shoulder mobilizer, while also giving a great pec stretch: perfect for the warmup but also soooo relaxing during a cool down. Credits to Tony Gentilcore and Eric Cressey from Cressey Performance.

Hey strength fans, don’t forget the “and conditioning” part of “strength and conditioning.” In this blog post, Joel Jamieson discusses 5 ways to improve your conditioning.  “5 Ways to Improve Your Conditioning

Motivation

Oh boy, is this a good post. Dan Trink discusses why women should lift heavy, and PRAISE [insert name of whomever you praise], he doesn’t fall back on “fitspiration” nonsense.  “Girl Power: Why Lifting Heavier Can Be a Life Changer

Hey endurance athletes, getting strong should be a top priority for you too. In this article, Mo Farrah’s coach explains how strength training was the key to propelling this runner to double Olympic gold this year: “The number one thing that has helped Mo is not the 110 miles a week he puts in on the road, but the seven hours a fortnight he does in the gym.”  “Mo-tivator: How Mo Farah’s Coach Trained Him Up for a Double Olympic Gold Success

Recovery and Stress Management

Do you cool down at the end of your training sessions? In this blog post, Science of Running gives a new perspective on why cooling down is so good for us.  “Rethinking the Cool Down

At this time of year, it’s so easy for life to spiral out of control. In this blog post, Whole9Life shares its brilliantly simple formula for a balanced life:  “The Whole9 Health Equation

Even Elmo is advocating diaphragmatic breathing these days. “Belly Breathe

No one disputes that it’s important to keep an eye on overall straining volume and intensity to avoid over-reaching and over-training. But too often, we ignore all of the other stresses in life. In this blog post The Science of Running discusses how the stress of life is something no one can afford to ignore. “The Stress of Life: How Stress Can Impact Your Workout

Let’s talk hand care. In our view, nothing (including the Pedi Egg) compares to the Tweezerman Spa Callus Smoother. Here’s what to do: keep the callus smoother in the shower with you. Toward the end of your shower, after your hands have had a chance to get nice and soft, spend a little time gently running the file over your callus line. This process will take less than a minute. The goal is to file away the excess skin; it isn’t to remove your callus altogether. Learn from my fail: it’s a gentle process, not an opportunity to wear down 9 months of neglect in one session. (This advice holds true no matter what filing implement you use.) If you ignore this advice, even a few rays of sunlight will make you whimper. But if you gently work on your hands and do a little work every shower and then follow up with lotion, you will keep the toughened skin that helps with training, but you won’t have excess skin just begging to be torn by an errant clean or snatch.

With proper kettlebell form and hand self-care, you should never tear a callus. But sometimes things go awry, and you’ll need to tape your hands while they heal. In this classic blog post, Master SFG Reifkind explains the best way to tape your hands. “How to Tape Your Hands

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