Back to basics.  We hear it all the time, but do we ever really listen to?  Unfortunately, it usually takes an injury or some similar eye-opening experience to realize that we can only go as far as our fundamental skills and mechanics allow us.  After a bunch of nagging and annoying injuries, it finally hit me.  I need to take a step back and work on my mechanics.

For me, there is one huge mechanical fault I noticed in my movement that puts me in a shitty position for the majority of my movements: whenever I get fatigued or the weight gets heavy, I lose my chest/upper back positioning.  Now this is mostly a function of a lack of strength and control in my upper back.  So my new mission?  Fix this!

Here’s the simple prescription I’ve come up with for myself to fix this problem:

  • First and foremost, no complicated met-cons.  I’m keeping all my conditioning work to either running, pushing the prowler, pulling a sled, and kettlebell swings.  Basically, only movements I know I can perform safely and won’t interfere with fixing shitty mechanics.
  • One month, 5×5 linear progression for 6 different lifts (Back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, Pull-up, Chin-up, Press).  Basically, I’m looking to focus on keeping a good position and getting in A LOT of practice with these lifts.  For the linear progression, I started light.  Somewhere around 65% of my max.  I add either 2.5, 5, or 10 pounds (depending on the lift) every time I perform a lift.
  • Finally, I perform a minimum 10 reps of a close-grip overhead squat every time I lift.  This is the specific upper-back work I’m doing to fix my problem.  Each rep is performed with enough weight that if the bar deviates from a good position (over my shoulder blades), I lose the lift.  Also, my ROM is only as low as I can go maintaing proper technique (weight through heels, knees out over ankles).

After two weeks of this, it’s getting a bit repetitive, but I know it’s helping (no pain, movement feels more efficient).  My goal during this time period has shifted from trying to go through things fast or lift as heavy as possible, to just show up and do the work for a month.  This mindset has been pretty crucial in keeping me on track.  Working on the basics can definitely get boring, but every once in awhile it’s necessary to take a step back and address them.  It’s the only way to keep moving forward.


Tina working on the most important fundamental of any fitness program…have fun!

Workout of the Day
10 Minute AMRAP:
3 Power Snatch (165/100)
6 Wall Ball (20/14)
9 Toes-to-Bar