I am willing to bet that it has been a while since you gave your lats a good, solid stretch.
This means your results in the gym are probably being stifled.
Tight lats will inhibit your muscle growth gains. Muscles need to be limber and flexible to allow for optimal growth, and if they are tight, your results will be stunted.
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever seen how flexible bodybuilders are? They may look muscle bound, but the truth is most of them stretch their asses off in order to maintain flexibility. If your lats are tight, you are limiting the amount of size you can put on.
Tight lats also mean your shoulders will not work right and your lifts will suffer. A great example is any form of overhead lifting: Strict Press, Push Press, Log, Barbell, Axle – it doesn’t matter. Tight lats will hinder your overhead performance.
Don’t believe me?
Try this. Do any version of overhead press with a thick hoodie on. Put a belt on your waist over top of your hoodie. You will feel the hoodie begin to restrict your overhead movement once the bar passes your head. This is essentially what happens when your lats are tight too – they inhibit your movement, and the Overhead Lifting is not the only thing they affect either.
Best Way to Stretch the Lats
Watch the video below. It will will show you my favorite stretch for the shoulders and lats. If you do this 4 or 5 times a workout, your tight lats will be on their way out the door, brother.
Obviously, this stretch utilizes bands. If you don’t have any bands, then you need to get some because these things are worth their weight in gold. If you have any questions on which bands to get, just let me know.
Places to Get Bands
If you don’t have bands, order some today. Beyond stretches like the one I show today, you can use them for tons of other things. Here are a couple of sources.
I am helping one of my good friends from college get back into shape after some injuries caused him to get out of lifting for a while. He has been sending me his workouts for several weeks, and one of the first things I noticed was he has been doing too much volume in his pushing movements compared to his pulling movements.
Here is a video I shot today addressing this issue, and a quick rundown on what you can do to prevent shoulder pain and injury from setting in.
Shoulder Pain Prevention
One of the biggest causes of shoulder pain is a lack of strength balance between the anterior and posterior muscles of the torso.
When the muscles of the chest and front portion of the shoulder are too strong and the muscles of the back and rear portion of the shoulder are too weak, problems can occur.
This is just one of many causes of shoulder pain, but it is also one that can most easily be prevented.
The first step in preventing shoulder pain due to muscular imbalances is to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for muscular imbalances. You can take a step in the direction here by making better exercise selections in your training.
The simplest way to do this is to choose exercises that will naturally begin to produce antagonistic balance, or strength balance between opposing muscle groups.
This will give you some examples that will help you make smart exercise choices that will promote antagonistic balance.
Exercise Selection To Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury
Here are some easy exercise combinations that will compliment this approach of developing antagonistic balance.
Bench Press + Bent Over Row
Military Press + Pull-ups
Incline Press + Pull-downs
Close Grip Bench Press + Seated Narrow Grip Rows
Front Raise + Straight Arm Pull-downs
These exercise combinations will get you going in the right direction towards workouts that will still allow you to push big weight in the gym, plus they will help keep you going strong for many years because you will keep your shoulders healthier than someone else who overloads the pushing muscles and neglects the pulling muscles.
This week, I have been posting and emailing quite a bit about elbow pain.
The main reason I have put so much emphasis on this week is because my buddy Rick Kaselj and I updated our program, Fixing Elbow Pain, and we put together an improved version.
We took our already helpful program and make it better based on feedback we’ve received from past customers.
The other reason why I wanted to focus on this is because over the last couple of weeks, I have talked with MANY of you who have been reporting elbow pain, especially Tennis Elbow.
I asked Rick if he could do me favor and just shoot a quick video on some of the basic causes of Tennis Elbow. Rick knows his stuff. He has 20+ years of experiencing helping people get out of pain, and it turns out elbow pain is a common injury he helps people with.
So, check out this video and understand the causes of Tennis Elbow.
As you can see, Tennis Elbow pain can be developed in as quickly as a day or two from doing an extra building job at your house, or by doing too much training over the course of a weekend.
It can also be something that is more cumulative – it can result over the course of several weeks, such as doing bigger home-improvement projects, or by specializing on one certain aspect of training in a micro-cycle, such as if you are attacking grippers hard for a while, or working on lifting the Blob or Inch.
Getting Rid of Tennis Elbow
If you’ve got it, Rick can help you get rid of it with his multi-faceted rehab program. Many people have actually reported that they have noticed a change in pain after as little as just one workout.
Avoiding Tennis Elbow and Keeping it Away For Good
If you want to keep elbow pain away for good, I will share with you EXACTLY what I do week in and week out to stay healthy. Some of the techniques I show on the Preventive side can also be used to fix pain as well. I can’t wait to share this with you.
Special Bonuses if You Grab It Today
If you haven’t grabbed Fixing Elbow Pain 2.0 yet, take note that Rick and I added 3 time-sensitive bonuses this week and they are being pulled down after this weekend.
Here are the bonuses:
Bonus #1 – Indestructible Elbows – This is awesome. This is a program that Jedd put together that you can do to fend off elbow pain from ever coming back again.
Bonus #2 – Secrets to Pain Free Elbows – This is a coaching call that Jedd and I did with past customers, answering their questions and expanding on the Fixing Elbow Pain program.
Bonus #3 – Private Coaching Call – Jedd and I will be doing one more private coaching call in the next few week. The first one went so well and helped a lot of people and we will do another one.
Elbow Pain is something that causes problems for any lifter.
It doesn’t matter what style of training or sport you practice, if your elbow is riddled with pain, it is going to keep you from lifting the weights you want to, it can keep you from performing your best, and it can be a little distraction that just sits there all the time in the back of your mind, and you will always be thinking about it and wondering when it it is going to bother you again…
I got the following email today in my inbox just as I was starting the below post. This is a question I get on a routine basis, so I thought I would address it here for all of you.
“Hello Jedd, my name is Alex. I am definitely a fan of your site. Since you’ve been injured before, maybe you could help me out.
I sustained an injury while doing 600 lbs calve raises. I was diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrome by the physical therapist, and I had real sore knees for six months.
Because it took so long to heal, I now have a fear of getting injured and I am always sore, even when I work out. I wonder, is that little twinge of pain in my wrist flexors indicative of a larger problem, or is it nothing?
Anyway, this fear of injury is causing me a lot of problems with really going to my full potential. Even now, I’m starting to be afraid of training my forearms, which I never thought would happen before. I’m afraid my wrist tendons will snap clean off the bone.
Anyway, Jedd, maybe you have some advice for me?”
Hell yeah, I have advice for you.
Do everything in your power to prevent these injuries BEFORE THEY HAPPEN, because even if that muscle never tears, and all you get is an injury to the connective tissues, that will be bad enough.
My recommendation right away is to grab our book, Fixing Elbow Pain 2.0RIGHT NOW while we have it on sale and start implementing the preventive strategies I cover TODAY.
Diesels, I have suffered from High Forearm and Elbow Pain on more occasions than I care to count. The first time I got it, I was doing a lot of Steel Bending while I was also doing Odd Object Lifting like Atlas Stone Training.
Both of these activities are completely safe if you watch the volume and have good technique. Unfortunately for me, I was NOT monitoring volume because I thought I was some kind of tough guy, and I was very new at Atlas Stone Lifting, so I was probably lacking a bit in the technique area too.
What resulted from this lack of attention to volume and technique was some of the worst pain I’ve ever been in – a combined case of Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and Golfer’s Elbow (Medial epicondylitis). Both of these conditions are bad enough alone, but I had a serious case of each of them and getting through a workout meant at least a half dozen ibuprofen – I was probably on way to developing an ulcer as well!
Fortunately, these cases are preventible if you follow some really simple prevention methods, which I’d like to cover below.
How to Prevent High Forearm and Elbow Pain
1. Warm-up Properly
The muscles and connective tissues of the high forearm and elbow area need to be warmed up in order to function properly and to keep injuries away. In the video below I show what I do at the end of my full warm-up session in order to make sure my forearms are flushed with blood and the joints lubricated.
2. Stretch Post-Workout
If you are not stretching the forearm and hand muscles out at the end of your workout, then you are initiating a countdown to injury. Stretching helps to reduce the tension in the muscles, relaxing them, and allowing them to more fully recover. Skipping stretching is so 2001! It only takes 3 minutes to stretch out the forearms effectively, so I don’t want to hear any excuses.
3. Stretch Contributing Muscle Areas
Any time I feel tension building in the area near the elbows and epicondyles, I schedule a 30-minute massage. To my surprise, sometimes she isn’t even concerned about the epicondyle area, but rather up the chain to the upper arm. You see, the tricep had gotten do tight, it was pulling on the lower forearm bones and causing issues for the entire elbow. Here is what I do in order to keep this pain from coming back, 3 times a week.
For Alex, I would tell him to stretch his biceps. They could very well be tight and causing the same kinds of problems to his elbow, just on the other side. If you notice above, he said it is the flexor muscles that he is worried about. And along the lines of worrying – that’s got to stop right now! When you worry, you focus too much on the problem. Instead of worrying, pick up my program, Fixing Elbow Pain 2.0, follow my preventive strategies in the 2nd ebook, and you won’t have to worry anymore.
On top of the three things I show above, I also have a handful of exercises I do every single week in order to keep the lateral portion of the high forearm/elbow strong and stimulated. Weakness in the area is also a contributor, so I make sure there is NO CHANCE for weakness in the area.
DIESELS, I haven’t had a serious bout of epiconylitis in over 2 years since employing these regular prevention methods and I have done nothing since then but train harder and harder and harder.
I am confident that if more people followed my lead, fewer people would suffer from annoying pain like this. The information is available for CHEAP, a fraction of the cost of actual physical therapy, that’s for sure, so I am not sure why more people don’t get our ebook.