Q & A: Arnold Press vs. Regular DB Shoulder

Q: When your workouts call for a standing dumbbell military presses can I do them like an arnold press. Basically just starting at the clean position and going up and down from there, or would it be more beneficial to do them as a normal press?

A: I do not really like the Arnold press for overhead pressing. The problem with it is that it does not require much from the upper back in order to stabilize the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is prone to injuries as is so promoting imbalances that are usually already present is not the best idea.

By doing them the way I explain on the videos you force your shoulder joint to work in a more balanced manner. However, you have to make sure that you have the upper back mobility to get yourself into the exact position I demonstrate and be able to maintain that position for the entire rep before you want to add a lot of load.

If you lean back or can not keep your elbows pushed forward so that they are directly under the wrists then you need to work more on your mobility than you strength for that area. Check out the video in my previous blog post for the video demo I am refering to.

-James Wilson

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Exercise of the Week: The Shoulder Press

Here is how to properly execute a shoulder press. Along with being a great shoulder exercise, this is also a great torso strenghening exercise, making it a must in our programs.
-James Wilson-

Q & A: What caused my injuries?

Q: I bought my program at perhaps the wrong time for me, since I am down with a partial tear in my Achilles tendon and a case of tendonitis in my shoulder so have been advised by the doc not to train or ride until healed. Not sure about what caused either but they are on the same side.

Two things that might have aggravated the tendon are a new pair of shoes and perhaps the clips were a bit too far forward in the shoe. Another possibility is that my seat was set a bit higher by a few centimeters for a 2 hour climb.

seatheight

Injuries are not fun and can undo months of training in what seems like just a few weeks.

This is new territory for me so appreciate any suggestions.

A: I think that there is probably a lot more to your situation than new shoes and saddle height. They may have contributed but i think that it is more like the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Here is my take – bad movement causes pain and injuries and also robs us of performance. Bad movement is caused by imbalances in the body, particularly in the area of mobility. If your mobility is poor then you body learns to create movement around that poor mobility and that is what causes pain and injuries.

Lucky for you my programs work on mobility and restoring balance so you will hopefully be able to address the real causes of your injury. I’d try to do the mobility routine while you wait for your injuries to heal as they will probably not aggrevate them and may speed the healing process. of course, do not do anything that hurts.

-James Wilson-

Q&A: Replacing regular deadlifts with Sumo deadlifts?

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Q: I have a question about the sumo deadlift:What do you think about replacing regular deadlifts with sumo deads? I find it much easier to keep form with sumos, and even at the peak of my stretching and strength last summer my form with regular deadlifts left much to be desired.

If it boils down to another weakness/muscle imbalance that I don’t know I have, and if you think the regular deadlift addresses these things better than a sumo, I’ll keep doing the regular ones.

My sumo lift was always significantly heavier than my regular deadlift last year (numbers are in locker somewhere else).
A: You have to remember that you are ultimately practicing movements when you exercise. While you don’t want to go overboard, considering how you create movements on the bike is important when assessing the value of an exercise.

While sumo deadlifts are a good exercise, they are not as “specific” as regular deadlifts to riding. They also do not require the same degree of hip mobility which is why some people naturally prefer them. You can certainly use them but I would still base most of my deadlifting on the regular stance version.

Do not confuse arbitrary strength numbers with better performance on the bike. Getting strong in a less specific movement pattern is not as valuable as forcing your self to master and get strong in a more specific movement pattern.

-James Wilson-