Guest Post: Upper Body Training Considerations (Danny McLarty)

5 Nov

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my FitFluential Family with a very specific request: Would anyone be interested in writing a guest post for me with some upper body strength training ideas?  I need help in that department, I feel like I could use a Coach just for upper body.  I do a few exercises, I get wicked sore, figure I’m weak or doing it wrong, and quit again.

Danny McLarty was awesome enough to step right up and help me out. From his website:

Danny McLarty is a fitness coach and is currently training clients out of his house in Rockton, Illinois.  He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Planned Periodization Specialist (PPS through Tudor Bompa). Danny feels that “there is no ‘magic trick’ to improving your body; train, eat, sleep, and repeat. Those that are consistent, disciplined, and give everything they have, can bring their health, physique, and performance to a new level.”

Here is what he has to say about upper body strength training, which I will definitely be trying once I get back into a full blown routine!

Upper Body Training Considerations

When you walk into the gym do you just haphazardly do “alittle this and a little that?”  If so,your physique is probably nowhere as good as it could be.  Or worse yet, you may just be settingyourself up for an injury.  Whenever Iwrite up a program for a client, I take a number of things intoconsideration.  Today I’ll share some ofthose “secrets,” and focus on the upper body.

Work That Backside!
Most of us spend too much time working the “mirrormuscles.”  It is just more fun to see the muscles that you areworking.  However, overtime this can leadto poor posture (rounded shoulders). There is nothing wrong with chest presses, shoulder presses, inclinepresses, etc.  But when you add up thenumber of sets of “pushing” exercises that you perform throughout the course ofthe week, it should not exceed the number of “pulling” exercises. 
We need to strengthen our back, which will contribute tohaving good posture, a sexier physique, and help us stay in the game longerwithout injuries.  So make sure that youare doing AT LEAST as much, if not more, pulling exercises in relation topushing exercises.
I’m speaking of exercises like lat pulldowns, chin-ups, androws.  Now, if you do feel that yourshoulders are already a little rounded, really make sure to emphasis pulling inthe “horizontal plane” (row variations).
The 23-1 Rule
This one piggy backs off of point number one.  No matter how “perfect” your program designis, it can’t “undo” poor habits outside of the gym.  I mean, if we spend an hour in the gym, weare still outside of the gym for another 23 hours!  Of course, we know that nutrition is HYOOGEhere, but I’m going to speak to the typical problems that most of us have inregards to posture.
In today’s society we spend WAY TOO MUCH time hunched overthe computer (like right now!), slouched over on the couch watching tv,slouched over in our car driving, and the list goes on.  You can spend your entire time in the gymdoing horizontal pulling, by that still can’t compete with the 23 hours youspend imitating the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Make sure you sit tall in your chair – chest high, shoulderblades retracted.  And try to stand upand move around every 20 minutes or so. If we sit too long, “creep” can set in (which is deformation of thespine).
What Else Can We Do?
Now that we have you realizing the importance of dailypostural habits, lets throw some exercises at you to help ensure that you stayinjury free with good posture.
-Perform thoracic extensions on the foam roller –
Keep the roller in the thoracic region (around the shoulderblades) and NOT the lower back.
-Perform scapular stability exercises such as..
We need to go out of our way to“reverse” the natural tendency that we have to hunch over in today’sflexion-based (rounded shoulders) society. That means that we should spend more time performing upper body pullingexercises (especially in the horizontal plane), get up out of our seats as muchas possible, and perform scapular stabilization exercises throughout theweek.  If you do that, I’m confident thatyou will look and perform your best, while staying healthy! 
Anyone else feel like they really need to take the advice here? I know I do! 

What is your upper body strengthening routine? 


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