These guys obviously didn’t read that post by Jason Ferrugia regarding the evil of treadmills.
I didn’t quite get to finish this post yesterday so going to quickly add to it before I head off to work.
Trying to improve the number of pull-ups I can do. Are there any other exercises (besides pull-ups and assisted pull-ups) to help improve this?
I sent Bart a mail and told him to come into the gym. It took me all of about 4.3 seconds to work out what one of his problems was…I say 4.3 seconds because that’s how long it took for me to say hello and to follow him in.
I just took this photo quickly to show Bart. It wasn’t taken with the intention of blogging about it so it isn’t as clear as it could be. But Bart has a lot of scapula winging…now winging is cool if you’re Batman or Satan but it isn’t cool if you want to do pull ups.
This winging indicates a few things. Firstly, weak and or dysfunctioning serratus anterior. There are other causes of winging such as issues with the trapezius muscle or the rhomboids. In Bart’s case his winging is most significant when moving his scapula laterally and when elevating in other words outwards and upwards which is more usually an indication of a serrratus anterior issue. All this stuff is interesting but as I’ve said before…I don’t want to turn this into an egghead blog….mainly because there are so many guys out there that can out egghead me…so I try to stick with what I actually do rather than the theory behind it…if it’s an area that you are particularly interested in let me know.
These muscles run from the front here where you see them around the rib cage to the back where they attach on the medial border which is the inside edge…the edge closest to the spine of the scapula. These muscles are really important in scapula control and in helping to fix the scapula…I say ‘fix’ as in hold it in place. If you can’t fix the scapula, hold it in place and control its movement then you have no base to apply force from.
You need to be able to secure the base…that is your scapula…so that the parts that are doing the lifting and the muscles doing the work can apply all the force they have.
So what Bart is going to do first is to work on all those muscles around his scapula.
I made this video a while ago…which practically none of you watched…but that’s not my problem.
This video basically goes through a bunch of exercises you can do to improve the stability, mobility and strength of these muscles. I am going to make another video today if I get a chance on the routine that I think Bart should be doing because all too often what coaches tend to do is similar to what doctors do and that is to treat the illness not the person. In this case with Bart it is not just a matter of ‘he has scapula winging so lets strengthen the muscles that need to strengthened and stretch the muscle that need to be stretched’ you have to look at the whole…look at making sure his movement patterns are right and if they aren’t looking at correcting those as well. So in short Bart like most athletes plays his sport, competes and gets on just fine because his body has learned to compensate and has made adjustments…the human body is great at it…but his performance will be far from optimal until he gets these issues sorted out.
As an aside
A friend of mine who is coaching in Germany sent me this email…he reads the blog and said it reminded him of my work.
In fairness…I do know how these army instructors feel.