We arrive at the time of year in which I need to get my butt into gear around strength. I believe it, I prescribe it, but I am not the best at adhering to it. Like many athletes, I find it so much easier to just throw shoes on and head out for a quick run, but this isn’t good enough. My wet-noodle type arms showcase my performance flaw, but it is time I take action to commit to my 2022 journey.
The good thing is that I don’t have any excuses, as I have loosely followed Coach Mike’s strength program in the last couple of months and it is exceptional. In addition, I work from the Purple Patch Center, so my work office is the ultimate setup for quick strength sessions. Perhaps I was just missing a little accountability, and my freudian slip to mention my strength commitment on last week’s podcast made some ripples. There is no going back...
I am -- indeed -- training for a big bike ride in 2022. It is named the Haute Route, and involves 7-days or riding through the French Alps. I will take on the challenge with my two brothers, as well as Peter (yes, that Peter from the Peter Minute) and a few other friends. It is a beast, and I need to train. I firmly believe that strength training is a central part of my preparation, so I am getting going now. Q4. Post-Season strength.
And it seems that I am not alone. A host of Purple Patch athletes are joining me in the journey to share the commitment, and build accountability. In the coming weeks we will ramp the Watch Parties, but we commence with the full VOD Strength Sessions with Mike. I have done my first two sessions this week, and my soreness indicates the value and my prior laziness.
The question is -- will you join me too?
2022 full year strength. It begins now (or in the coming few weeks if you are on the Build program!). We will share the journey and make it fun. I am excited, and hope that many Purple Patch folks will embrace the commitment and challenge also.
To help kick us off, I request Coach Mike provide some deep guidance on an exercise I have always struggled with a little: the deadlift. Massively important and highly valuable, but often executed incorrectly. Luckily, Mike is here to set us up on the best path.
Over to you Mike….
from Coach Mike:
Thank you Matt for stepping up to the bar(bell). In a moment, I’ll dive into why I so deeply believe in the benefits of deadlifting, especially for endurance athletes. However, it’s important to master this incredibly technical movement correctly, even if it feels too easy at first. As with all our training: form first!
So, CLICK HERE for my video on the fundamentals, then read on...
Why Deadlifting is Essential for Humans:
- It reinforces good posture. As you finish standing tall in a natural, strong alignment, the mind-body connection for that position is strengthened. This awareness can also help correct slouching throughout your day.
- Deadlift strengthens big muscles -- glutes, lats, hamstrings, trunk stabilizers -- increasing their energy requirements, and thus your metabolism. This means you pull more daily energy from fat, which can improve body composition when supported with good nutrition and sleep.
- Deadlifts strengthen movements for shoulder “retraction.” Many of us spend hours on computers hunched over in a “protracted” position, which can lead to shoulder inflammation and impingement. Deadlifting helps maintain neutral, retracted scapular joints, staving off daily-use issues.
Why Deadlifting is Essential for Endurance Athletes:
- Deadlifting is the fundamental movement to train hip extension: the driving force of power production when we do things like run, pedal, hike, or jump. It is the first exercise we need to master to improve run or bike power.
- As athletes doing single-leg activities, we often develop imbalances between right and left, which can progress to compensation and injury. Deadlifting is a controlled movement that targets balance and stability on both sides of your body equally, helping to mitigate any compensations that arise.
- The Core Dilemma: “Core exercise” is a popular endurance term, but I feel it’s a bit misguided. The point of “core exercise” is to strengthen muscles that stabilize our spine, pelvis, and ribcage in a neutral position during activity. Deadlifting is the best “core exercise” for endurance athletes because it targets critical muscles in positions we live and train in, helping us resist fatigue and maintain good posture.
- Bike: The bottom of the deadlift almost identically replicates a time-trial or even road bike position. Getting comfortable and strong here, with hips square and not tilted too far forward or back, improves our ability to sustain good bike posture.
- Run: The better we are at standing up straight, the less likely we are to slump into the classic “IRONMAN shuffle”. Strong hips, backs, and posterior chains keep us upright with good form even in the toughest parts of a race.
- …swim? Yes! Remember that the hips are the center of your swim stroke. Having control and connection between hips and shoulders is essential in maintaining great swim form and body position.
There you have it. Now get to work.
Matt and Mike
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