‘Break the Bar’ It sounds so simple, but that is exactly why it is so effective.

Imagine holding a stick of bamboo or other reasonably supple pole with both hands, raise it up in front of your chest and bend the stick until it breaks, by screwing the hands in a shape that leads the small fingers down and the thumb tot he ceiling. Creating an arch like shape in the stick. This external rotation of your shoulders allows you to stabilise your shoulders when you grasp an object such as a barbell. This in turn creates torque and it is this that will add strength and control to your lifts.

There are two key points to remember:

  1. Keep the wrists directly over the shoulders to allow for a strong starting position and allow you to maximise torque and minimise the displacement of your elbow during the lift.
  2. Bracing through your core and glutes to provide a stable core in which to create this torque in your shoulders.

This action of screwing your shoulders into a stable position allows you to create tension and stability in your ball and socket joints. When you wind up your arms and create this torque you activate all of the musculature to support the joint. When you fail to do this you are for want of a better phrase hanging all of this pressure and weight onto your muscles, ligaments and tendons rather than bracing your muscles in a tight compact and secure position.

Remember this action must be perfromed before the weight is loaded onto the muscles. In other words before you unrack the weight or before you start your press ups. This will ensure you have adequate core tension and can generate enough torque prior to the lift. Then it is just a case of maintaining this position as you press the weight.

This simple cue can be used as a great tip to improve lifts such as overhead presses, bench press and even push ups.

So the next time you set up for a bench press, brace your core, take up your strong grip position, break the bar, then lift it out and rock it. 


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