personal training st. john's

Because I’m a powerlifter, it will come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the deadlift, I even have my own personalised Deadlift bar. When it comes to hitting your entire posterior chain in one fell swoop, from your calves all the way to your upper back, the deadlift reigns supreme.

But what if I told you that you could build a strong posterior chain that will keep your deadlift strong with lifts that don’t require you to pull a heavy barbell off the floor?

To be clear, I’m not tossing the baby out with the bathwater: to get a strong deadlift you’re going to have to deadlift, and deadlift regularly.

But there are additional exercises that train the muscles of your posterior chain that don’t require you to place shear forces the spine.

I’m a big fan of adding in smaller movements because it introduces variety in your training while still hitting the muscles recruited in the competition lift, and more muscle mass helps move more weight. Building rear-wheel strength without loading the spine is a great way to do that without irritating your lower back.

Below are three of my favorite exercises to perform after you’ve completed your last deadlift set. And even if you’re not a powerlifter looking to score big on the platform, you can continue to improve strength in your posterior chain by adding these lifts into your exercise routine.

Barbell Glute Bridges

The glutes and hamstrings are major players in the deadlift and I love barbell glute bridges for building muscle in that area. You have the opportunity to target the hamstrings and glutes fairly exclusively, and because you’re lying down and pushing up on the barbell instead of pulling on it, you can work up to some serious weight.

The key to getting the most out of the barbell glute bridge is to turn your focus exclusively on your glutes. When you get into position, imagine you have a bowl of water sitting on your pelvis. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and tip the water into your belly button. Only raise your hips as high as your glutes fully contract —any higher and you’re getting into low-back territory and we don’t want that: for this we want to make it all about the butt.

Bodyweight Pull-Up

The deadlift is a heavy hitter for the lats. They play a key roll in stabilizing the spine and they also help keep the barbell pulled in close to the legs once it leaves the floor. Use pull-ups to target the lats from another angle, no barbell required.

Pull-ups can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be. You can introduce assistance with bands or with our favorite variation at Movement Minneapolis, the Box-Assisted Pull-Up.

Here’s how to do them:

  • Place a box under a pull-up bar. Make sure it’s tall enough so that your chin clears the bar when you’re standing on it underneath the bar.
  • Stand on the box with your hands in an overhand grip on the bar, keeping one foot on the box and one foot off the side.
  • Slowly lower yourself down until your arms are fully extended and then use as much support as you need from the foot that is on the box to bring your chin back above the bar.

Suspension Trainer Face Pull

Face pulls target the muscles of the upper back, namely the rear delts, rhomboids, and external rotators. Strengthening these muscles will help with the lockout portion of the deadlift and beyond that, it’s a lift no client of mine escapes because it directly counteracts the poor posture many of us find ourselves acquire from being at a desk all day.

Hot tip: Don’t lead the movement with your chin. (In other words, no chicken-pecking.) Brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and keep your chin tucked.

UP_JVB_Author_400About JVB

Jennifer Vogelgesang Blake’s leggings might be pink but her weights aren’t. A personal trainer at The Movement Minneapolis she is a powerlifting coach and competitor with a passion for helping her clients discover and grow their strength, inside and out. She’s here to spread the good word that strong is empowering and because of that, really, really fun.

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I’m 36 Years Old and started with JKC in 2013. In the past I’d often have motivated spurts of a gym routine but they would usually only last a month or so. It’s pretty easy to press the snooze button at 530 am when there’s no one waiting for you. The fact that the guys are always on time/prepared and motivated for your session adds a level of accountability to your shoulders to “get out of bed” and bring your best effort each time. From the pressure free trainers to the camaraderie that you create over time with the individuals you’re working out with, JKC is able to offer an experience many other gyms cannot.

I’m 35 and I started at JKC in November of 2019. I was coming off the win of the Royal St. John’s Regatta in 2019, and our crew was chomping at the bit to be stronger and faster for 2020. The reputation of JKC leached into our group and away we went! Unfortunately the regatta was cancelled due to COVID-19, but I just loved JKC so much I stuck around. JKC is different from other gyms because the level of experience the team has is unparalleled. Jon, Thomas and Craig all mesh well together and mentor me in a way that I know they love what they do and are genuinely excited to guide me towards my goals (and beyond). I really enjoy the atmosphere, the sense of community and all the positive vibes that I experience in every session. There’s never a time I don’t want to go because I’m motivated by the team’s coaching style and I get results.

Tara Rector-Whelan

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I started at JKC after a good friend recommended it to me. She had been coming for about a year and I was envious of her great results. I felt sluggish after failing to motivate myself with various home workout routines. I love the fun and relaxed atmosphere at JKC. It’s such a comfortable gym space and I enjoy knowing so many of the people I work out with. Jon and Thomas make an effort to introduce everyone to each other and with all the joking around,  it starts to feel like a family. Not to mention the awesome results. I’ve always liked to run on a treadmill but I’ve never had the drive to lift weights on my own. Going to JKC makes me accountable which was what I really needed. I feel so much stronger and healthier than I did 4 years ago when I started.

Astrid Billfalk-Kelly

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I wanted to add strength training to my cardio, but have always felt gyms to be a bit intimidating, and was worried I would hurt myself without some supervision and help. JKC was highly recommended by several work colleagues. Thomas and Jon are both fantastic, making sure that everyone gets a highly personalized work out in a very supportive environment. The attention to detail and professionalism are second to none. The groups are very small, but very supportive and make the workouts even more fun. Since getting pregnant (36 weeks as I write this) I’m so happy that they continue to help me get stronger while always being safe.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

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