The week is past the halfway point! Hope you have made your week productive and joyful! My weekstarted of great with the engagement, followed by an entire day off on tuesday, and two great coaching sessions on monday and wednesday. I can't really ask for anything more at this point.
I did pick up my books for school on tuesday which means I finally had to face the reality that school is going to be starting on monday next week. As evidenced by the picture to the below I will most definitely be getting my learning on this semester (xD). Now I'll I have to do is show up to class and earn the grade (easier said than done at times).
This week's "Exercise of the Week" is a movement that was inspired by a client who I worked with who experienced shoulder pain whenever we would place him in a position where his shoulders were externally rotated and his hands were gripping in a pronated position such as during a back squat. This forced me to limit his bilateral squatting exclusively to anteriorly loaded movements which was sufficient for developing his lower anterior chain and posterior chain in tandem with deadlift variations
But the problem this pain created was how to provide sufficient loading with unilateral lower body exercises. This client became strong and efficient in unilateral lifts such as lunging. One my favorite lunging exercises is the reverse lunge and I was able to progress this client to sets of 3 to 4 with reps of 5 to 8 using 80 pound dumbbells. But to continue to progressing this client with dumbbells on this movement became way to difficult. The clients grip became a limiting factor as to how many reps he could perform and the size of the dumbbells made it difficult to perform the exercise comfortably. And because of his shoulder pain I couldn't simply throw a barbell on his back.
Now I could have elected to change the client to a different unilateral exercise or perhaps even make the Reverse Lunge more difficult by making the client perform it off a step. But I choose not to for two reasons. First the client really enjoyed this exercise and might have even considered it his favorite exercise so I wanted to make sure we kept incorporating it into his program. Second I honestly felt that the client still had a bunch of remove for adaptation to this particular stimulus I just needed to find a way to continue applying a sufficient stimulus by increasing the weight or intensity of the exercise.
It was during this time that I stumbled across a video on Eric Cressey's youtube channel of him performing an anteriorly loaded step-up. When I first saw the video the only thing that came to mind was that this exercise was the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. But after a couple of minutes it dawned on me that I could use this same exact concept and apply it to my client's loading issue. I could simply have him hold a barbell as if he was going to perform a front squat, which he was already familiar with, and then perform a basic reverse lunge. This grip and the exercise made a perfect match because it reinforced the need to keep the torso upright during the lunge as well as prevented the client from feeling like the barbell would roll forward because the initial movement of the exercise is backward.
To make a long story short, this method of loading worked perfectly. It allowed my client to continue performing the reverse lunge while still deriving benefit from it because he was able to use a sufficient load. Thus giving my client enjoyment because he could keep performing his favorite exercise in addition to looking better and being stronger. It was a definite win-win.
How To Perform the Barbell Front-Grip Reverse Lunge
1. Pick up a barbell with an overhand false grip. Meaning your thumb is not wrapped around the bar, but is on the same side as your other four fingers. Curl the barbell to shoulder height then raise your elbows so that they are inline with your shoulders. This should place the barbell on the top of your shoulders. Relax your grip and allow the barbell to sit just behind your shoulders against your neck. 2. Being the movement step your right foot back and make contact with the ground using all of your toes. This should force your right foot to be slightly pointed inward. 3. Keeping your torso upright drop your right knee straight to the ground allowing your left knee to bend. If you took a long enough step both your right and left knees should be bent at 90 degrees. 4. To return to standing, push off the ground with your right foot and drive through the ground with your left heel. Maintain an upright torso as your return to the start position. 5. Repeat for prescribed repetition and then switch legs.
Below is a video of me demonstrating the entire movement. Enjoy!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training