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BCRPA Weight Trainer * BCRPA Group Fitness Leader * BCRPA Personal Trainer * Cory Holly Institute Principles of Sports Nutrition Education Program * Body Training System Group Power Instructor *Body Training System Group Centergy Instructor * CORE Conditioning Instructor * TKO Fitness Instructor * Boot Camp Leader

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WatchOut Wednesday | Seated Press & Your Spine

I was in the gym early this afternoon for a session with a new client. I’ve noticed the usual influx of bodies within the facility since the 31st of December already. And with this increase of traffic flow, comes the overzealous intentions of pushing too hard, too fast and improper execution techniques by newcomers who have no direction by a professional. This is every personal trainer’s worst nightmare!!

A particular member, who I saw performing what looked like a seated shoulder press, is the inspiration for today’s entry.

I have seen her before so she is not a newbie to exercise but this doesn’t mean that someone who has worked out for years will not do incorrect moves. In fact, many people I know who have claimed to have worked out for many years don’t know how to execute proper alignment in some very basic exercises (the classic one is the squat!).

The above photo shows proper technique. This is NOT the member that I saw in the gym.

The member had her shoulders pressed against the back of the bench, and her back was extremely hyper-extended. So much so, that almost her entire backside would not touch the bench while she was doing the press. This is poor technique and will cause intense spinal and back pain due to the unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae and little to no core contractions to keep the torso stabilized.
This is a very common risky mistake I see amongst new and old fitness participants. Be aware of your mid section at all times Team!

Proper Technique

1. Sit on the bench with your legs 90 degrees, knees above ankles, hip width apart.
2. Press your shoulder blades against the back part of the bench; to get the rest of your backside against the bench properly, contract your core muscles and pull your bellybutton towards your spine until you feel the small of your back pushed against the bench. There shouldn’t be space between your back and the bench. Keep your stomach contracted to stay like this!
3. Lift hands beside your shoulders so they’re about the same height of your jaw line.
4. Press the weight straight up towards the ceiling without locking the elbows, pause, then return to start position.
5. Elbows should start and finish at about shoulder height, and wrists aligned with the elbow.
6. Beginners start with 8-10 reps, 1-2 sets. Work your way up to 12-16 reps, 2-4 sets.

This is a great variation of the seated press with an incline:

Make sure you pay attention to these two shots! Does YOUR execution match what you see? You don't want to start the 2013 working hard towards back pain!

Until next time Team, why not revisit basic techniques and execution with all your exercises to make sure you are starting off strong and correct!?

Health respect & happiness,

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