Pain and injuries are weird. Sometimes an athlete can move perfectly in all planes of motion demonstrating a harmonious blend of strength, flexibility and correct firing patterns, and still experience pain.
How does this happen?
Let’s look at a few things with regards to injuries:
Regardless of the exercise we are performing, we for the most part are training the same way on a daily basis, moving our joints through a full range of motion over and over again.
What I’m talking about is isometric exercises. I’m sure if we were to look at just about any gym’s programming, the list of isometric exercises utilized are limited to three to seven different variations of planking.
How many exercises have you programmed for your members this week, month or even year that involved isometric exercises? Just like it seems like a no brainer that you wouldn’t program Snatches seven days a week, how often are you varying the different types of contractions — isometric, concentric and eccentric?
We should be programming a blend of all three to help eliminate these preventable over-training injuries.
This month, let’s apply this concept to pull-ups. If we look at pull-ups, whether strict or kipping, we always seem to be running after intensity and volume alone. We are always going for more reps or more weights, viewing anything outside of that as a regression.
How many of us are using isometrics to build strength around a specific position in the arms, upper back and core? I know all of us have a weak spot in the pull-up position, whether it is at the top, mid point or bottom of the movement.
Isometric training is not only a fantastic way to train around pain if any athlete is experiencing pain with pull-ups, but it is equally as effective way to prevent those pull-up injuries from happening in the first place.
The above boxes are to serve as a programing cheat sheet. You can combine any grip variation from the first column with any variation from the second column. For example you can do pronated, 90/90 hang, as just one example.
These different variations can be performed for strength or in a WOD. With all these different isometric positions, you want to maintain a strong hollow body position.