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’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

I’m 40 years old & started training at JKC in 2015. The gym I was working out at closed and my husband recommended JKC. JKC meets you where you are in your fitness journey and tailors the work to help achieve your goals. I’ve trained with Jon & Thomas pre pregnancy, while pregnant and now post baby and they have helped me enormously to stay fit through all life phases.

I joke with the guys often that I’ve seen no change in my fitness level since joining the gym, but the reality is I’m in far better shape at 40 than I ever was at 30 thanks to them.

I’m 43 and started at JKC just over a year ago. I started at JKC because of multiple recommendations from existing clients. There are 2 main elements that distinguish JKC for me. Firstly the sense of community. I’ve been to multiple gyms in multiple cities/countries, you just  can not manufacture the sense of community and support you get from other gym goers and the team. It’s very motivating and happy to say I’ve made some friends at JKC.

The other major distinguishing factor for JKC is the expertise and passion of the team. Jon, Thomas and Craig craft highly personalized programs based on my fitness goals and know how to push me best without being pushy. They pay close attention to ensuring my form is solid before encouraging me to take on more weight for the exercise. Plain and simple they love what they do and it shows.

I’ve been weight training on and off for years but never really had a specific goal or target in mind so routinely stalled out, plateaued or stopped training all together. Before I joined JKC I was definitely in a fitness slump and needed something to motivate me and get me back on track. I did a bit of digging online, looking at various personal training options and gyms around town but JKC seemed like the best option by far. I’ve tried big box gyms and other personal trainers in the past but none of them have had the perfect combination of goal specific fitness programming, welcoming and supportive environment, and the knowledge and passion to back it all up that you’ll find at JKC. Jon and Thomas are great to work with, they know how to motivate you if you’re having an off day and are well versed in all the different ways to make your muscles burn! I also have noticed some major improvements in my deadlifts since I started with JKC and was really happy with the result.

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.

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