Saturday, March 22, 2008

And The Verdict Is.... ???

Met with Steve Freides, RKC today to discuss my problem forearms. Steve was fantastic about watching my forms and trying to determine the source and solution to my problem. What looks to be the problem as Steve says (and I'm trying to quote as closely as I remember), "You have some real funny things going on with those shoulders of yours. Like nothing I have seen before."

So it appears that I am some sort of mutation from normal folks! Well actually, my shoulders tend to raise up at certain points of motion. They raise and drop ever so slightly at certain points in my swing. Similar when I demonstrated the Z-Health "under elbow" mobility motion, it became more apparent how they have trouble staying pulled into their sockets.

Nevertheless, I have some homework to do! Steve then went on to show me Pavel's Fighter Pullups, which is a pullup variation that I had never heard of and at first seems counter intuitive. I explained to Steve that I have stopped performing pullups because they aggravated my forearms. But this version of the pullups felt particularly better on my forearms than the traditional bodybuilder type pullup. You can find a copy of these at

Similarly, Steve gave me a modified version of the pushup to work on, similar to the Fighter Pullup, where one keeps their shoulders rounded forward throughout the movement. Additionally, I am going to incorporate double kb overhead holds as well as kb overhead squats.

Although I've attempted overhead squats in the past, I was not performing them correctly. With Steve's guidance I used a single 12kg kb and worked myself through the correct movement. And let me tell you, not only did I hear lots of snap, crackle, pops in my left shoulder, but the stretch across my mid back was intense! I have never felt that tightness before. Incredible. Maybe at some point I'll work up to double overhead kb squats, but for now, that single is enough.

As for my swing and snatch form, except for the weirdness in the shoulders, all else looked ok. So for now, I am going to drop down to some smaller kbs, focus on form and introduce some of these new movements. Will also refresh myself with the Resilient shoulder exercises, since it appears it's my shoulders causing me trouble and not my elbow.

At the moment, my two-year old is napping, so I am going to take advantage and groove some of this stuff. More to come...


Back from my session. This should have been easy, but it definitely was not.

Gabi's "Shoulder Flow" - one time through with a 12kg (this I liked although I need a refresher on the arm bar - and I had to move into another room as my usual spot isn't big enough to accommodate the arm bar stretch out)

Overhead Squat: 12kg - 5/5 (performing these correctly... they are just hard!)

"Fighter" Pushups - 10 (also hard)

Double 12kg Overhead Holds: 30 sec (snap, crackle, pop in the left shoulder - no pain, just funny noises)

Overhead Squat: Empty EZ Curl Bar - 10 reps (used an extra wide grip and focused on stretching the bar out to the sides, keeping the shoulders down and the elbows locked - still hard!)

"Fighter" Pushups - 10

Double 12kg Overhead Holds: 30 sec (the noises continue)

I stopped here. I had attempted to perform "Fighter" Pullups but the design of my chinning tower forces one to keep your body to the outside of the bar meaning you can't get any of your body curved underneath during the motion. Could be another cause of my pain. Not a natural motion. These will have to be put on hold until I can design a better pullup station.

I'm sure I'm gonna feel this tomorrow...


Gabi said...

Wow, that's quite a lot of info, and quite a lot to do! But at least now you know what it is all about and you can be sure you are on the right track.

As for the barbell OH squats, it might be useful to determine your proper barbell snatch grip width, if you haven't yet. (Here's how: pp. 1-3)

P.S. Glad you liked the Flow :)

Franklin B. Herman said...

I am extremely happy that Steve Friedes was able to provide you with a set of exercises designed to improve your shoulder position.

He is one of the top RKC instructors out there and you are fortunate to have direct access to him. Thank goodness he continues posts frequently on DD with no nonsense tips and views so that us non-locals can learn from him.

Aaron Friday said...

So Steve Friedes determined that you are a mutant. That will be a valuable thing to know as you go for more PRs.

Get that stuff sorted out, and then start snatching like the beast you are. If you can do 17/17 with deficiencies, you'll blow way past me with good shoulders. Godspeed, my friend.