Wow! Two blog posts in one day, that is a PR. Whenever I review something, I like to write about it because it solidifies my knowledge on the subject and reminds me that I need to be relentless when coaching that particular movement. I have been thinking a lot about torque lately, specifically how it relates to the shoulders. My shoulders are messed up! I believe it is primarily due to poor coaching when I was in high school as it related to push-ups, bench press, or any kind of overhead pressing motion. Go to your local school and watch a kid do a bench press or push-up for that matter and you will be appalled. If you are coaching, and especially if you are coaching kids, be relentless when it comes to this issue. Shoulder pain is the worst and fortunately it can be avoided if proper cues are consistently given. Below is a checklist of cues that seem to work for me when I coach my teen athletes, find the ones that work for you.
If it isn't working, find something that does:
- Screw your hands into the floor (visual and verbal cues work here).
- Pull your shoulders back and down (visual and verbal cues seem to work here).
- Pinch your shoulder blades (tactile cues work here).
- Break the bar on the way down and pull the bar apart on the way up (as it relates to pressing especially on the bench).
- Elbow pits forward (visual and verbal cues here).
- Elbows in or back (visual and verbal).
Remember that you are saving these young people pain in the future and teaching them to actively engage the proper musculature while preserving the soft tissues in the long run. Also, if results are motivating, that which is mechanically sound will ultimately lead to greater performance in the long run.