Fixing Wrist Pain Before Weightlifting

There is simply no replacement for good warm ups and recovery.

Stretches both dynamic and static have their place when priming your body before training.

Easier said than done right?

I’m guilty of NOT doing any post training recovery, in which I pay for dearly. I really need to practice more of what I preach with post training recovery…

Some days it takes me longer to warm up than it does to complete my training.

Between Jiu Jitsu and weightlifting, my joints and certain muscle groups really take some punishment, Especially my hands and wrist.

Some days my wrist start off so stiff I can’t grip the barbell or a gi, nothing that can’t be fixed. Without proper warm up I’d never be able to train.

Needless to say, I’ve found what works for me.

Full disclosure, this is just for the wrist primer. This does not replace the fact the connective tissue with forearm, triceps, shoulder, and lats needs work.

But this does help with flexion of the wrist and warms up for before training. It elevates pressure and tightness in the wrist, allowing for better movement in training.

More so by the time I’m finished I’ve removed a lot of the pain I was experiencing prior to training.


 

The Whiteboard Culture: Why Your Score Doesn’t Always Matter

We all exercise and workout to try and improve ourselves.

Whether we are trying to lose weight, lift heavier, or gain endurance we are all trying to improve in some way.

While keeping track of our score in a workout in a great way to track progress over time and measure improvements, it does not always lead to improvements in our health and fitness.

It can be easy to use those scores to determine performance. Our entire perception of our fitness level is now determined by our score.

In most cases this comes at a cost, we no longer pay attention to our technique and mechanics. The soul focus becomes the score board.

The reason technique and mechanics matter is to get the best benefit possible from the movement.

But without a workout score, how do we determine the quality of our training. Ask yourself these questions

  • Did I move the entire workout and give my best effort for the duration of the workout?
  • Did I focus on keeping my movement correct for the entire workout?
  • Did I improve myself in some way during this workout?

If you can answer Yes to all of these questions then you had a quality workout, regardless of what your final score may be. So for your next workout, pay less attention to putting up the highest score and pay more attention to how you are preforming your movements and the effort you are putting forth.

– Hussey

Tight Traps & Neck Muscles : Lacrosse Ball Fix

As a teenager, Monday nights was my “church” night.  Probably not the church you’re thinking of.
It was the biggest night to watch wrestling of the week!  I never missed a episode.  I remember the Monday night
wars between WWF/WCW as the political rival of my child hood.
I was a WWF fan myself.  But then this MASSSIVE wrestler showed up named Goldberg for WCW.  His traps went from his shoulders all the way up to his ears.
As a kid, that was nothing short of impressive, his was so big people even begin to call it their “Goldberg” muscles.
I wanted mine to look that way!
I use to endless amounts of barbell shrugs through my miss guided, and fairly under educated youth.
It wasn’t until I discovered Olympic weightlifting, that my traps (trapezius) really begin to grow.
This is one of those be careful what you wish for moments, now that I do have bigger traps, they get tight all the time.
Can lead to stiffness, mess up my lifting sessions, cramps when I do Jiu Jitsu, and even tension headaches.
My favorite way to elevate some of that tension is with a lacrosse ball pushed again a hard surface.

This really allows me to get a lot of tension release and pressure into the area where I’m feeling stiffness.


Strength Training For BJJ : How to Find Balance

“Train Smarter Not Harder”

I’m sure at some point you’ve heard any variation of that quote. Buy why wouldn’t we work on training harder AND smarter.

I’m frequently ask in one way or another from athletes in our gym, how they should split up their strength training with their Jiu Jitsu.

First, don’t over do it! Don’t think you HAVE to do BJJ and strength training in the same day.

Like most cases limiting factors outside of time is sleep, nutrition, and age. All playing a major role in your capacity to train and recover.

Those being our limiting factors, I NEVER recommend doing BJJ and Strength training back to back.

There is some gray area here in which you use one for technique one for a hard session. But in general when this question is ask,

I’m assuming you’re looking at putting eighty to ninety percent effort into both your Jiu Jitsu and strength training.

In which case one will suffer. Split it up based on your priorities. Not everything has to be done EVERY DAY!

Be mindful of your training, your body, listen to it! You have to find what works for you, don’t force it!


 

Belt Squat: The Back Squat Substitute

There is no movement in the weight room more natural to humans than squatting.

For some setting weight onto the back of the shoulders can cause anxiety, failing the lift before its even started.

For others, there could be some lower back or shoulder issues not allowing you to squat.

Belt squats are a little different, its going to be a different feel, but it will work. Not every gym has a belt squat machine, so like any good lifter we adapt with variations.

The belt squat provides us with a variation to increase leg and hip strength without loading or damaging your back.

The weight pulling at the hip can also provide traction for the spine.

I get a hip pinch form time to time, and when I do I switch from barbell squats to belt squats, which help clear up the issue.

The greatest benefit for the belt squat is it will allow you to load the lower body without loading the spine.

I will also use these as a primer before squats on some days, just to get everything tight before the barbell.


 

Foam Rolling : Stop Wasting Your Time

I joke a lot with Chewy, on how he could stand on his head for a warm up, before he teaches Jiu Jitsu and the next day everyone would be doing the same.

I don’t feel that its a far fetched statement since he’s built such trust among his athletes, and leading by example, they believe what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Which made me think of some of the recovery we do at not just our gym, but any of the many I’ve traveled to.

It’s inevitable be it in my gym or one I visit, someone is face down on foam roller rolling out their top of their legs for minutes on end.

Chances are they witness someone else in their gym or a video doing the same thing, we all seek knowledge and sometimes forget to ask, so we try to mimic.

Personally, I don’t use a foam roller for my legs. I prefer the pressure and logistics a barbell offers for smashing out legs.

So while most will just foam roll their legs back and forth, I use a barbell in smaller increments to workout a lot of the damage tissue.

I do this 2-3 times a week on recovery days, some times its 5-10 minutes others it can be a lot longer session depending on how tore up my legs are.

Give it a try, but be ready for the added pressure!


 

How to Make the Deadball & Sandbag Cleans So Much Easier!

It’s hard to do any type of weightlifting, powerlifting, or any version of strength and conditioning in general that we don’t naturally migrate toward the use barbell.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very partial to a barbell myself.   But at times its nice to have a change of pace with some odd object training.

If you think about it, nothing is more traditional than Sandbags, Wreck Bags, Dead Balls, and Atlas Stones.

The barbell wasn’t even invented until 1910.  While dumbbells can date back to Greco Roman days, moving stones as a measurement of strength can be traced back even further.

Traditional lifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, whatever your choice of poison can at times make you complacent.

To spice things up, during my de-load and reload weeks is add in a little odd object training.  Just for a change of pace.

I gravitate toward the use of sandbag and dead ball movements during this part of my programing.

Nothing to crazy just enough to change up some movement pattern and mechanics.

My two preferred methods I like to use depending on the weight and volume are the Lap Method and the Scoop Method.

Each having their own special benefit, with limiting factors of each.

Power Jerk: Perfecting The Dip & Drive

It wouldn’t be over indulging to say I enjoy lifting.

In fact, outside of spending time with my wife and beautiful daughter, I cant think of a simpler activity that brings me more joy.

A few months back I attended a weightlifting seminar in Columbus, OH.

When it was over, the instructor approached m giving me merit on my mechanics and movements. After a brief conversational bout lifting he ask me who coaches me.

It was an eye opening moment in my career.

I’ve always just lifted with friends, attended seminars, but never had someone work on individual development for my Olympic lifting.

Now this instructor was 6ft 6inch easy, and I’m 5ft 7inch on a good day.

Making it easy to remember him towering over me, head tilted to the side and a blank stare saying “But why? Everyone who wants to get better at any sport needs a coach.”

I knew I wanted to start competing, but knew I’d need to reach out to those with vastly more experience than I have.

After asking around to other coaches in the area, I kept hearing the same recommendations Joe Hamblen.

We’ve been working now for around 6-7 weeks, and while the weight we’re using is light.

My lifts have improved more in that time than when I started!


 

Bench Press – Your Do’s And Don’ts Checklist

Here we go International Chest Day!

Like any lifter, we all want a big bench press, I still remember the first time I got over 200lbs, I thought I had made it, that I was in the big time.

Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing, I wish someone had shared some bench tips with me. Its not as simple as getting under the bar and pressing it, there are mechanical processes that will DRASTICLY improve your bench press.

Let’s talk about my set up, more of a checklist I use when bench pressing. This is the same bench I’ve used to hit PR’s as high as 385lbs at 205lbs bodyweight.

Here’s what you’ll find necessary for the checklist.

First I want to ensure your bar is lined up evenly. Making sure your weight is not shifting more to one side than the other. Now I’ll get under the bar.

Once I’m under there is a few things that take place. My eyes are in line directly under the bar My hands are in the same position as my overhead press.

My Hips are in contact with bench.  My Thumb is gripped around the bar (no suicide grip) I’ll now use the bar as leverage to pull myself up, set my shoulders into place, I’ll press into the bar pushing my shoulder firmly against the bench.

Bracing my core I’ll arch enough so someone could run their hand under my lower back all the way through.

I will now walk my feet back being on my toes pushing into my body driving my traps further into my bench. In this position you’ll notice my knees are lower than my hips.

Now we’ll drive the bar up, lowering it down across my nipple line.

It’s important to point out that as I’m lowering and pushing the bar my elbows stay in front of or under the barbell.

PLEASE remember to breath!

You may find you’re already doing a few of these. This process has drasticly driven my bench press numbers up. Good luck!

Killer Grip Strength Exercises For Jiu Jitsu

I’ve worked so closely with Nick “Chewy” Albin  these past 8 years, I’ve listen to countless of his podcast, videos, lectures, and his ever so elegant rambles.
Almost all of his seminars, social media, and in person I’ve witness a trend of questions.
One that sticks out the most is “How Do I Improve My Grip Strength”?
The obvious answer is the most clear, which is just do Jiu Jitsu.
You could say I do a lot of training, doing so indirectly trains my grip.  I would never recommend to someone to directly train your grip.
Why?
The overall benefits of directly training your grip is small compared that of indirect training it will receive from compound exercises to focus on overall strength, power, and conditioning.
Now, if you feel individually you NEED to work on directly training your grip to improve strength there are a few recommendations I may have.
I would like to add I would not do these until the end of my workout, and maybe 1-2 days a week.  You’ll be working with smaller muscle groups and can easily be stress to the point of overtraining.

Doing these three exercises will compliment your grip when doing Jiu Jitsu, but ultimately you will need to develop that grip strength through Jiu Jitsu.