Friday Distractions 4/20/12: Instant Strength via Bracing, To Foam Roll or Not to Foam Roll, etc.

1. First, I'd like to thank all those that emailed me (per my call for aid last Friday) to give me some suggestions for blog material. Given that I've been experiencing plenty of writer's block lately, it was much needed, and I thank you for taking the time to write with your suggestions! (you can thank the "suggestion box" for my post on Wednesday re: what you should eat/drink after your workouts.) For those of you who didn't write me with suggestions of material you want to see here on SAPTstrength....there will be pain....oh, there will be pain.....

2. Here is a fantastic video by Bill Hartman on the "right" way to breathe before a heavy set of squats or deadlifts to effectively brace your midsection and provide plenty of stability for your precious lumbar spine. Although he gives the demo with respect to wearing a belt, you can certainly use this technique even if you don't use a belt.

Although Bill doesn't necessarily showcase it in the video above, he is one smart dude. He's forgotten more things than I have learned, and he's one of those guys that I really wish would put more content out on the internet for us mere mortals/peons to learn from. I've seen a few of his presentations, which basically knocked my socks off.

In fact, I'd argue that one of the toughest (yet vitally important) things, for me personally, is to coach people on bracing correctly during a heavy lift. It's just very difficult to teach someone to do it properly and to get them to do it every time. Bracing properly basically ranks just below ingesting water and food within the hierarchy of needs of human survival. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but I often find that once someone learns to adequately brace, all of a sudden they find that their back stops hurting during squats and deadlifts, and they're able to move heavier and heavier weight in an effective and safe manner.

Hint: If your chest and shoulders are elevating as you brace, you have some work to do.

3. Over the past month or so a blog post (actually written a few years ago) titled "Get off the Foam Roller" began to spread through the fitness industry like wildfire. Mike Boyle then wrote a rebuttal to the article on (a paid subscription website), but then released it for free on his blog.

Anywho, while you will still find me on the foam roller for the time being, here are two sides of the debate in case you're interested (the first two links are "against" the foam roller and the last link is the argument "for" the foam roller:

Get Off the Foam Roller - Mike T Nelson Stop Foam Rolling Your IT Band - Greg Lehman Is Foam Rolling Bad for You? - Michael Boyle

5. THIS was kinda funny. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to at least a few of the images representing moments in your life where it's an "Ahhh crap" moment. #16 and #18 were probably the funniest for me. (The link takes you to "The 21 Absolute Worst Things in the World" picture-based article.)

That's it for now....hope everyone has an awesome weekend.