Improving the Pull Up

Pull ups are challenging. They require significant upper body strength making them difficult to perform correctly. Here are a few tips to improve them:

Begin your pull by pinching your shoulder blades back and down and leaning back slightly. This will activate the right muscles and put us in a good position to pull from.

Maintain this shoulder blade position as you begin pulling yourself up. Keep your elbows relatively close to your body and avoid shrugging your shoulders at the top.

Reverse the motion on the way down keeping your shoulder blades down and back until you get to your bottom position. Maintain a braced core – avoid extending through your low back. 

Whether you are performing pull ups with or with out support the principles remain the same. 

Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Improving the Pull Up

If not now, when?

We all have goals, aspirations, and visions of our future – what we will become, what we will achieve. But we find reasons to put those goals off to the side. We will get to it next week, or next month, next year even.

See the pattern? The hardest part is starting. We see a future full of potential and time. “Next week I will have more time.” But when next week arrives, you’re still busy. So another excuse arises.

Start today. Even if it is the smallest step towards your goal. You’re still starting. Then that will lead to another step. Your motivation will increase and you will be that much closer.

Today is as good as any other day will be. So the question remains. If not now, when?

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Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

If not now, when?

Muscle Soreness

The day after a hard workout can be uncomfortable. Muscle soreness and fatigue can make daily movement difficult.   Skipping the gym may seem like a good idea, but moving around is important when your sore. We encourage our clients to come into the gym even when they are sore.

Recovery

We believe in recovery days. Some foam rolling, light aerobic work, and mobility drills can make a huge difference in how you feel. Increasing blood flow, especially to those sore areas will make you feel better quicker. It’s okay to miss a lifting day if you’re feeling beat up – let’s dial back the intensity and focus on your recovery.

Routine

Going to the gym when you’re sore and tired helps keeps your routine in check. Consistency is key for long term progress. This includes days that you don’t feel 100%. When you start making it a habit to stay home when you’re sore it will affect your progress.

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Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Muscle Soreness

Trust the Basics

Our training philosophy is simple – perform basic movements really well. Why? Because it works.

Improving movement quality is important for building strength and feeling good. It doesn’t require flashy or complex exercises. Our basic movement patterns target all muscle groups that improve our function as human beings.

If you find yourself bored with the same old exercises try finding a different way to challenge it. Add a pause or tempo, switch up your equipment, or get out of breath and then perform the exercise. Dedicating time to improving technique will promote long term progress. You don’t need the latest and greatest exercise program.

Regardless of your goal – weight loss, strength, muscle mass, athletic development, etc. – basic movement patterns are a must.

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Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Trust the Basics

Improving the Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings are a great exercise for improving power and strength. They target our core and posterior chain. A proper swing requires a solid hinge pattern as well as coordination and timing. Learning the swing can be tricky – it takes some time for everything to come together. Here are a few common errors to avoid:

Squatting the hinge

(Chest tall – knees bent like a squat)

Swinging low

(Kb too close to the ground during swing)

Over extension 

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(Leaning back at top position, lower back extended)

Proper swing

(Chest towards floor, slight knee bend, kb stays close, body aligned in top position) 

Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Improving the Kettlebell Swing

Chops and Lifts

Banded chops and lifts improve rotational core strength. While performing them our trunk experiences force that wants to twist it. We can avoid rotating by bracing our core and stabilizing our spine. Bands are a great tool strengthening the rotational muscles. A strong core allows us to transfer power from our lower body to our upper body more efficiently. 

Chop

Position the band a few feet above your head. Grab the band like a baseball bat with your top palm up. In an athletic stance, pull the band down across your body. Pull with some speed on the way down, then return the band to the starting position under control. Keep your core braced through out.

Lift

Just the opposite of the chop, position the band just below knee height. Grab the band the same way and pull it up across your body. Speed on the way up – controlled on the way down. Again, think stable core. Avoid any twisting in your lower back.

  These exercises can be performed standing or kneeling. 

Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Chops and Lifts

Patience

Change takes time. It requires consistent action and sacrifice. Unfortunately many people give up on their goals before the time necessary to see results. 

When setting a goal its important to choose a realistic time frame. Things don’t change overnight or in a week. True results come from long term consistency and sustainable actions. 

Your daily decisions should reflect your goal. They must continue even when the initial excitement and motivation wear off. The more often these decisions are made over a long period of time, the closer you get to reaching your goal. 

We can all practice patience. Our goals require time. When we understand that, we can then enjoy the process of reaching for them.

Taylor Reuillard

@tailored_strength

Patience