This is the second part (part I) of the superb series The Investments by ‘Unbreakable‘ Adam Glass. Love it.
An investment can be defined as something that provides larger return than what is initially placed in it. Successful investors identify high yield return items and focus there.
In the strength and conditioning world, there are people who seem to achieve more by doing less. While every person has their own story and circumstances, there is typically a common thread bonding successful strength athletes and separating them from the mediocre and less than average athletes.
That bond is choice technical drills, text book form, laser focus on the tiniest details, and dedication to the end product.
In part I of this series, I identified two drills which I label as perfect for any strength athlete. I want to continue this trend. I am not going to identify something and say ‘this is good for a thrower, but no good for a swimmer‘. My goal is share choice drills that apply across the board.
If for some reason you think there is no such thing, I will offer points to warm you up to my methods here. First of all, people need to keep an open mind. By labeling a drill useless, you are closing your mind to potential advantages. The way someone else uses a drill may be of no use to you, but the drill itself can be a gold mine. I will share one example on this : the first man I ever met who deadlifted a lot was a body builder at a Golds Gym in Dearborn Michigan. At the time (I was 14) I did not know anything about lifting. This guy would do sets of 12-20 reps in the deadlift, usually with very little weight. Now with everything I know now 11 years later, I say he was wasting a lot of his time the way he trained, but I also say the dead lift is the best lift in the world. That’s what I am talking about.
So today we will examine two drills for the shoulders that are not really shoulder drills, but total body drills. These are two drills that are very good for all kinds of strength athletes. I am going to show some variations of them as well.
Meet the Get-up
The get-up is a strange beast. It is a support feat for the shoulders, and a dynamic core drill for the hips, stomach and sides. There are several distinct phases of the drill that all have their own exercises associated to them. Today I am only going to cover the basic get up. I am going to demo it with a 7 ft bar, because nearly every one has access to a long bar. I learned this way, so should you. I feel Kettlebells are the best tool to use for this drill until you can comfortably lift over 110lbs, than switch to a long bar. I for the record, strongly urge people to stay away from Dumbbells. DBS + the get-up can be a problem. When the bar goes out the groove, you have a better chance of getting away from the plates. With a DB it will fall on your support hand, your melon, or your body. With a big bell, it will cost you. I know this very well, I dropped a 150lbs DB on my inner thigh because I was being stupid and trying to do too much too fast. The lesson learned was stay away from DBs when doing get ups.
Here is an outstanding video explaining the get up from Jeff Martone, creator of H2H DVD series and Tactical Athlete.
The sets and reps are a matter of personal choice. Some people like to pick a certain number of total reps with a given weight; some people like to work for time. I have personally always gone with picking a number of reps with a given weight.
Meet the Halo
The Halo is a drill I first heard of from master martial artist Steve Maxwell. Steve is world champion jujitsu player and one of the most innovative trainers in the world. This drill promotes shoulder mobility and strength in many planes of movement. It can be done with a kettle bell, plate, shot put, club (called a shield cast) or block weight. The basic execution is simple – hold the implement and rotate it around your melon. As you do this, keep it close to your head and get as much safe range of motion as you can. Many people find this drill feels very good for a tight set of shoulders. I almost always use this a warm up for my heavy bending workouts.
Here is Jason C. Brown, RKC from Kettlebell Athletics demonstrating the halo in top form.
Here is the man himself – Steve Maxwell – demonstrating the Alternating Shield Cast with a pair of Clubs.
So add these two drills to your workouts. I do not care what you do – these will be a huge asset to your program.