Therapeutic applications of Massage:
The interest in therapeutic applications of Massage Therapy has increased significantly over the last 30 years. Numerous studies have been done for the purpose of determining the exact physiological effects caused by Massage Therapy. The experiments clearly show that every function of the Human body, benefit significantly from the various techniques or systems of massage. What became evident during these studies is that massages helps with pain relief and aid with the control or correction of many physiological and psychological diseases. The two most popular of these diseases that come to mind are stress and depression.
In this brief article, I will focus on how massage affects the muscular system. However, many of the intricate scientific details will be omitted. The purpose of this article is not to be an in-depth academic discourse on how massage affect your muscles, but to shine some light on an overlooked medium of keeping your muscles healthy.
Massage is the manipulation of the muscles:
Massage in its most basic view has to do with the manipulation of the muscles. This is not to say that massage does not affect other soft tissues such as bones, ligament, tendons, blood, and lymph vessels. It does. However, for the purpose of this article we will say that in its most basic description; massage is the manipulation of muscles. When we take into consideration that muscles constitute approximately 50% of the body's mass and that it receives about 25% of the body's blood supply, it should be clear that any direct manipulation of the muscles must have a significant effect on the entire body.
Massage is Exercise for the body:
I will take a very radical stance and say massage is like exercise for the body. Here is why. Although the muscles constantly receive a certain amount of blood supply, this supply is comparatively small except during activity. When the muscles are inactive, the blood goes around them rather than through them. But the moment activity of the muscles begins, there is a great increase in their blood supply even before any significant increase in heart rate occurs. The same phenomenon happens when the muscles are massaged. A recent study showed that blood flow to the muscle was increased by 42% following a mere 10 minutes of massage and the increase lasted nearly 45 minutes. Here is a simple explanation. The push, pull, and twist movements of massage produce suction and pumping effect on the muscles, moving the contents of the veins and lymph channels. This creates a vacuum to be filled by a fresh supply of fluid derived from the capillaries and the surrounding tissues.
Massage Feeds Your Muscle Without Exhausting It:
One very important effect this has on the muscle is that the increased blood supply induced by massage naturally improves its nutrition. Experience shows that when systematically and regularly applied, massage produces an actual increase in the size of the muscular structures. The muscle is also found to have an increase in resting length and become more pliable. Massage feeds a muscle without exhausting it. In this respect it differs from exercise. The improvement in regards to the increase in size or length is seldom noticeable within a short term. However, the most noticeable effects should be expected after about two or three months of regular massages. It is my position that massage is not a substitute for exercise. Exercise directly affects the whole motor mechanism - nerve center, nerve, and muscle - while massage affects chiefly the muscles directly, and the nervous system indirectly.
Massage Fights Muscle Fatigue:
Fatigue is another popular complaint we have all experienced at some point. Numerous experiments have shown that massage decreases abnormal degrees of muscular irritability. Some studies conclusively show that toxic substances that are produced as the result of muscle work leads to the phenomena we call muscle fatigue. This fatigue is due to the influence of these substances upon the nervous and muscular systems. Stiffness and soreness of muscles, which occur from secondary fatigue, resulting from excessive exercise can also be relieved by massage. Moreover, the fact that a fatigued muscle can be restored to full strength in a short time by applying massage is a testament to its effectiveness.
Energy Matter's In Massage:
Before I close, I will bring up the topic of energy. If you think the therapist or client’s energy doesn’t matter, think again. Experiments have demonstrated something extraordinary. With each muscular contraction an electrical discharge takes place. This is called an “action potential”. The study further shows the muscle as a sort of electrical accumulator and generator at the same time. Electricity is always being generated and stored by the mechanical and thermal activities which are constantly taking place within a muscle. Now here is what’s really interesting. A muscle may be excited by induction, which simply means the muscle can produce “electromotive force in a neighboring body without contact.” Therefore, a person being massaged may be positively influenced by the highly charged muscles of their Massage Therapist just by being in the massage room. The implications of this finding is something to consider the next time you go to get a massage.
In closing, I’m glad you read this far. Massage can help your muscles to be stronger, healthier and more flexible. This is significant considering that 50% of your body mass is muscle, I see this as a good thing for you overall health.
Till next time, cheers to your health!!
( Carfareli,Flint 1992) “The role of massage in preparation for and recovery from exercise.” Sports Medicine Vol 14. No.1:1-9.
DeLisa, Joel A. and Bruce M. Gans 1993) Rehabilitation Medicine: Principles and Practice, 2Ed. Philadelphia: J.Lippincott.
Gelb, Harold. 1985 Clinical Management Of Head Neck and TMJ Pain and Dysfunction, 2nd Ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company.
Wood, Elizabeth, and Paul Becker. 1981 Beard’s Massage, 3rd Ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company.
Yates, John. 1990. A Physician’s Guide to Therapeutic Massage: Its Physiological Effects and Their Application to Treatment. Vancouver: Massage Therapist’s Vancouver: massage Therapist’s Association of British Columbia.
Let's me honest to take good care of your self is not cheap- however, it has to be done. That being said, there are some things you can do for yourself to save some time and money. One is a self massage that can help your head forward posture. If you haven't taken the forward head posture self assessment test click here and do so now. After you are done, if your find that you have a head forward posture you can start correcting it by doing these two exercise on the video ( click here to see). When you are finished doing the exercises you can do a self massage to further help with the correction process it until you see your Massage Therapist. The video below show you a quick and simple, yet effect self massage technique. Try it out. I guarantee you will feel a change.
Forward Head Posture Massage - Self Massage Technique
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Can you figure out who are these top 3 celebrities with horrible posture? If you can't figure it out, I will give you the answer at the end of this blog post. According to new research, people spend about 5 hours each day on their smartphones, tablet or computer. This has a big toll on your body! In today’s tech crazy world, people are attached to their cell phones, tablets, kindles and laptops nonstop. It doesn’t even stop there since a similar head position is commonplace when driving a car. It’s unlikely this will change anytime soon, in fact it will only worsen. Go just about anywhere and you will see at least half the people communicating on one of these gadgets even when in the company of others. I bet you are looking down at your device reading this — back slumped, head forward and shoulders rounded, right? Did you know that you are putting yourself at risk by doing this?
I know there’s no way you’re ditching your devices. The good news is that it’s pretty simple to correct your poor posture. It doesn't matter what your age, gender or health condition may be, your forward head posture can be fixed so read on. In the video below there is a simple exercise you can do to start correcting your head posture.
The good news is that you are in good company since 99% of America either uses a cell phone, drives a car or sits for hours at a computer every day. We are in this fight together. Usually I ask people if they are a 1%er. That means, are they willing to do what others aren't in order to create their legacy of strength. But today I'm going to ask you are a 99%er? If you answered yes, click this link asap.
In other words, if you’re slouching with your head down and arms closed off, chances are your feelings of self-confidence and power are at rock bottom. You don’t feel like a winner and therefore you won’t be a winner.
Holding a power-pose will boost muscle building testosterone levels, lower your stress causing and fat storing cortisol levels and increase your feelings of power and risk tolerance. All of those traits sound vital to achieving peak physical and mental performance as I’m sure you would agree. This is why if you’re an athlete looking to perform at a high level, you should always maintain a strong posture showing your opponent or onlookers that you’re ready and up to the challenge. This is not just for show, there are real hormonal implications involved. So how do you ‘carry’ yourself?
When you walk into a room, into the gym or on the field, do you stand tall and confident with your head held high, shoulders back and chest forward? Or do you look down at the ground with your neck bent forward, back rounded and arms crossed? Maybe you never gave it much thought before, but now that you know how critical this ‘power-pose’ is, it’s time to act. The study actually found that by holding a strong, powerful posture for just 2-minutes that it had tremendous impact on the subject’s physiological, psychological and behavioral state.
Here’s How to do the Movement and Quickly Get Yourself into a Position of Power:
NOTE: You can do this movement from a standing or seated position. Example below based on seated.
• From a seated position, first tilt the pelvis forward creating a slight arch in the lower back which immediately helps to raise the chest.
• Then pull the shoulders down and back with your arms at your side.
• Next, lift the head and slightly tuck the chin making yourself as tall as possible.
• From this position you should now feel your back, glute and abdominal muscles working to hold you in this strong alignment.
• Begin by just holding this position for 5-10 seconds at a time and progress to holding it up to 2-minutes.
This proper spinal alignment should become habit in all phases of your life. Tuck your chin and sit tall when working at your desk, driving your car or sending a text. Bring some balance back to your abused and damaged neck muscles and FIX your ugly forward head posture.
At the bottom of this post i have a few more videos for you to use to correct you forward head posture. However, the videos are just part of the comprehensive program. If you would like to check out the full Fix your Forward Head Posture program click here now.
Till next time,
P.S. The celebrities in the image above are Justin Beiber, Bill Gates and Taylor Swift.
Listen, performance is not just for Athletes. The lay person needs it too. Today's blog is not what you may be thinking. I’m not going to tell you about a new technique to try or costly special equipment or even some underground secret training program. It really has to do with one simple but life-changing thing: UNLOCKING your tight hips. You are going to be blown away by what I’m about to share with you. The ‘power zone’ (as It is called) lies at the center of the human body. Sure, the arms and legs are super important for any person or elite athlete, but the source of true power resides within the hips. Martial Artists have been saying this for centuries. Talk to any coach or trainer the world over and they will agree with this simple assessment: All athletes from hockey to football, baseball to tennis, soccer to powerlifting rely on the explosiveness that their hips and glutes possess.
Without the ability to bend, jump, twist, dive, run or move effectively, an athlete is dead in their tracks, literally.
So what is the common thread that ties most athletes together? Some might say speed, power or even strength, but the answer is actually much simpler than that. I’m talking about the athletic position or ready position found in most sports. Imagine for a moment the linebacker in football, the shortstop in baseball, the goalie in hockey or the powerlifter on the platform and how their body looks. They all stand ready in a position of strength to either tackle someone, catch a ground ball, stop a puck or lift maximum weight. For example, what does the powerlifter do just before the squat or deadlift? They move into a strong, athletic position as they mentally connect to every muscle in their body so that they can create as much power and force on the bar as possible. None of them would ever stand casually in an upright position seconds before having to perform. Why is that? Because they would not be able to generate ANY power from that position. An athlete in almost any sport will stand with feet shoulder width (or wider) apart, knees flexed, butt back and torso tilted forward. They are balanced, grounded, strong and ready for anything that comes towards them.
From this position, anyone can react quickly, explosively and with tremendous power. If at any time the muscles in the hip area are compromised, athletic performance is undoubtedly affected and not in a good way. When it comes to acceleration and speed, the hips are at the epicenter of power. Even though the squat or deadlift with maximum weight may not look very fast, the lifter is telling their body to move as fast as they can to move the load.
So when I assessed how much I sat every day on the computer and realized even though I train hard 5 days per week in the gym, my hips were in terrible condition. And knowing how critical the hips are when it comes to generating ultimate power, it was time to seek out a professional who could help me out.
After discussing this issue with Injury Specialist Rick Kaselj, I knew that if I could lengthen my hip flexors and undo all of that damage from sitting so much over the years, I could become more explosive and lift more weight.
Rick came to our facility and put me through a series of movement patterns and exercises. In only 15 minutes I had done not just static stretching (like most warm-up programs) but proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), dynamic stretching, 3-dimensional core stability exercises, mobility exercises, fascia stretching and even some muscle activation movements. Immediately after performing all of these exercises, I felt READY. Ready to move. Ready to lift. I truly felt more powerful and energized than I had in years.
So what did I do? I went ahead and did some deadlifting. I literally added 35 lbs to my max lift after only doing this routine once. My hips were awake. The circulation through my ‘power zone’ was flowing and I felt incredible. I know this sounds too good to be true but it is absolutely a night and day difference. Granted, this routine would need to be practiced daily for the results to continue but I couldn’t argue with the immediate results of this 15 minute routine. By UNLOCKING your tight hips, you was able to perform at my best and instantly gain strength in my lifts. Rick's program is called Unlock Your Hip Flexors and if you do any kind of explosive lifting it can definitely add pounds to your max without changing anything else.
Check out the video below to see a little bit of what I'm talking about
Do THIS Before You Squat
I have a few more videos to share with you before I'm done today so just keep reading because this is really important. Also, If you are just a lay person you must keep reading because the last paragraph has some very serious information just for you.
Look, when it comes to athletes everywhere and achieving peak performance health, there is one thing they all have in common and that is being powerful through the hips.
Regardless of the sport, athletes want to perform at their best every single time they take the field, the court or the ice. In order to do that, we must have healthy, strong and mobile hips: Hips that function without pain, tightness or lack of mobility.
A balance in strength exists through the hip flexors, the iliopsoas group and gluteus group which helps keep the body moving and performing at its absolute best. Athletes from all backgrounds across the world spend a great deal of time working on the balance of strength within their hip area. They stretch, strengthen, massage, or anything else that will help them improve hip function.
Without even realizing it, athletes are helping to not only improve their physical performance but also their mental and emotional function. Is it any wonder why after doing something physically active, even just a good long walk, you feel emotionally uplifted? Athletes and others that push their bodies in sports, in the gym or at home, simply feel better and more energetic.
Case and point: the body was designed to move and not be in a seated position all the time. But unfortunately for most people, sitting is a large part of our lives and the center of the body is restricted and stressed out.
But that’s NOT the case for many athletes. The messaging that goes from the lower body to the upper body and back again has less roadblocks, less stress and the signals are stronger. When stronger signals are passing from head to toe in an athlete, their power production is improved dramatically. And as stated at the very beginning, when you increase power, you achieve peak performance health.
Now, I've been focusing on athletes all along in the blog however the lay person will also benefit from this. Her is why-Nobody sits as long as the lay person. As crazy as it sounds it is true. We’ve all experienced it before, that pain or achiness after sitting in a fixed position for a good portion of the day whether it's from sitting in a stiff chair on a long distance flight, working on the computer all day or spending far too much time in the car. When it comes to sitting there is one thing that is certain, there’s a strong chance you are placing your body in an unfavorable position and as a result of this, your body will get stiff. Unfortunately, sitting is part of our culture and mostly unavoidable. By spending so much time in your chair in a flexed position coupled with a lack of movement throughout the day, you have successfully followed the formula for creating tight iliopsoas muscles(Hip Flexors). These tight damaged hips cause back pain, health problems and even disrupt sexual-function (more on that in a moment).
One of the most significant things about the psoas (pronounced so-az) or hip flexors muscle is that it connects the legs to the spine, which means that what you do with your legs could possibly affect your spine without you thinking about it, or even feeling it. With a tight psoas from sitting all day your hips will become fixed in a forward thrust position causing your pelvis and leg(s) to rotate. This forward tilt will cause your hip socket to become compressed leading to pulling and shifting of joints, tendons, and muscles pulling on your lower back.
This pulling on the lower back WILL decrease blood flow and circulation as well as delayed nerve response to the hips. If you can’t see how tight hips can affect your sex life, please read that again. Decreased blood flow and circulation will happen with tight hips.
If you thought that was bad enough, let’s look at the emotional side of this issue, as this might be more important than our physical performance in the bedroom. Our emotions have a lot to say about the current state of our sex life. Ask anyone if emotions and feelings have a role in their sexual desire.
If your psoas is constantly tight and overworked, the body is faced with permanent roadblocks of emotional and physical stress which forces the brain to continue to send warning signals to all of the systems of the body, including the reproductive system.
These signals trigger responses within the body that will cause an overexertion of the adrenal glands and will weaken the body’s natural immune response to stress. Stress and sex DO NOT go together.
Remember, the hips are the primary movers in sex and it’s somewhat common sense that we want our hips to be loose and flexible in order to achieve great dynamic sex.
So what does this mean for your sex-life? If you sit all day and aren’t doing the appropriate work needed to fix your hips, you can be sure you are not tapping into your peak sexual-health.
This Blog isn't all doom and gloom because luckily there is an easy fix. You see loosening your hips and hip flexors can actually be easy with something called the "Sequential Flow Method". Click to see more. At the end of this blog you can see a series of exercise designed with carefully selected exercises, including PNF Stretching, Static Stretching, 3-Dimensional Core Stability Exercises, Mobility Exercises, Fascia Stretching & Muscle Activation.
I have to tell you one thing though, the videos i'm giving you today is not the entire program. If you want the entire program you must click here right now because Rick is giving you a limited time offer if you get it today.
Till next time,
Chris Wilson, Coach at Critical Bench.
P.S. Rick is "THE" guy fitness professionals go to when they want to learn about the latest techniques to help their own clients. He's given over 352 live presentations to more than 8,152 health professionals in the US and Canada. His new Unlock Your Hip Flexors program is highly recommended. Check out the next series of videos. It gives you a few example of the types of stretches you can start with to Unlock your hip flexors. But remember this is not the entire program. If you want the entire program you must click here right now because Rick is giving you a limited time offer if you get it today.
Physical Therapist Approved!
"With so many people suffering with Hip Pain out there, Ricks’ program "Unlock Your Hip Flexors" is a great tool for any fitness or health professional that wants to reduce pain, and improve strength, performance and overall health.
As a Physical Therapist that works with numerous hip injuries, I can incorporate many of Rick’s exercises into my rehabilitative and wellness programs for my patients with excellent results.
The exercises are sensible and easy to learn – and your clients will be happy, healthy and thank you for it!"
A Great Resource for Coaches & Trainers
"Having trained hundreds of clients over the past 15 years, I know the importance of having fresh, valuable knowledge that I can rely on especially on areas of the body like the hips. Unlock Your Hip Flexors was exactly what I needed to read. In typical Critical Bench fashion, the content blew me away.
With this program that Rick and Mike created, I am able to confidently walk into a training session better equipped to take my client to the next level of training. Critical Bench is my go-to source for simple yet professional information. I can't recommend them enough."
Brian Klepacki, MS, CSCS
Owner of Optimax Performance Training
You Need Flexible Hips to Live a Long Healthy Life
"I have known Rick Kaselj since college. Since then I have gone to Chiropractic college and become a Diplomate of the International College of Applied Kinesiology and a Diplomate in Clinical Nutrition. As a result I have come to some important conclusions about how the body works. Hip flexibility, mobility and strength is one of the most important things you can do to keep your overall body healthy. The way we moved thousands of years ago is our natural state, which requires flexible and mobile hips.
I was excited to here about Rick Kaselj’s Unlock Your Hip Flexors program and have read the manual and watched the videos. I was very impressed with the content. I implemented the concepts and program into my practice with my clients.
Rick has developed a comprehensive system to unlock your hips and restore movement the way it should be. Everyone could benefit from Unlock Your Hip Flexors. The two most important things to live a long healthy live is good quality whole food and great movement and which requires great hip mobility. I cannot recommend this program enough."
Dr. Alan Jenks DC DIBAK DABCN
The Hague Area, Netherlands
Stronger & Faster Than Ever
"These days I'm stronger and faster than ever and still competing in sports. Rick gave me the ability to perform at my highest level as a coach and regain the athletic ability I had lost over the years from wear and tear. I've been using Rick's strategies for years to help myself manage and recover from injuries as well as countless members of the fitness community. I couldn't recommend this product enough!"
Frank Daniels, CPT
White Plains, NY
Don't Have a Personal Trainer? No Problem!
"I’m not a fitness professional, just a 62 year old guy who came across your website looking for help with several physical issues I have been experiencing.
As a former college basketball player I found it discouraging that no one could seem to help me with my lower back problems and more recently my Glutes and Hip flexors. That was until I found your site and ordered your exercise program which has dramatically improved each one of my conditions!
The Unlock Your Hip Flexors program is easy to order and easy to download, no waiting for a delivery. The video presentation and visuals in the exercise program give me confidence that I am doing the exercises correctly which for me is key with no personal trainer. As a former Div 1 college athlete the programs work really well for me! Keep up the good work!"
Account Executive, Boston, MA
LAST CHANCE -> Grab Unlock Your Hip Flexor For Just $10
Doctors Gave Up Fixing This 65-Year Old Man’s Spinal Stenosis, but Today he is golfing.
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Doctors Gave Up Fixing This 50-Year Old Woman’s Spinal Stenosis, but Today She Feels Brand New
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Doctors Gave Up Fixing This Yoga Girl’s Back Pain, But… In Less Than An Hour, She’s Doing The Downward Dog Again. Click Here for Full Article.
How THIS Yoga Instructor Fixed Her Back Pain
Hint: It Wasn’t By Doing the Downward Dog Pose.
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Doctors Gave Up Fixing This Grandparent’s Back Pain, but Today She Can Pick Up Her 5 Grand kids with Ease
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Doctors Gave Up Fixing This Woman’s Arthritis Back Pain, but Today She Feels Brand New. Click here for more.
If you are a golfer who suffers from back pain click the link below because help is on the next page.
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Forward Head Posture Correction Exercise - FIX Ugly Texting Neck
Forward Head Posture Adjustment (You Can Do Yourself)
Best Forward Head Posture Stretch - Improve Ugly FHP
Forward Head Posture Correction (4 Tips to FIX!)
Forward Head Correction Exercises for Posture
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Forward Head Posture Corrective Exercise with Band - FIX Ugly FHP
Have you ever seen yourself do a deadlift?
I don’t mean looking forward into a mirror since that doesn’t reveal much about your form. It’s from the side that you can really see what’s going on with your spine while pulling some weight. So that you have a good understanding about what I’m going to discuss, do yourself a favor next time you deadlift and set up a camera (or have a friend take a video) and record yourself doing a deadlift from the side. Get a couple of reps and watch yourself a few times. What did you see? What did your head and neck look like from start to finish?
Were you looking forward?
Regardless of techniques like conventional or sumo deadlift one thing must remain the same and that’s having a neutral spine. The spine of course is essential in all that we do and to maximize our performance, we need to be in optimal position as often as we can. FHP or Forward Head Posture is a problem affecting approximately 90% of people in America. We look down so much at our cell phones, personal computers, tablets and don’t even realize the damage we are causing our cervical spine. It can also be found while driving since many people sit without ever using their head support. You are driving with forward head position. With all of this ugly forward head position in our lives we create an imbalance in the muscles supporting the head. I think we can all agree that the head is fairly important in our lives so fixing this issue is imperative for not only improving performance but overall quality of life. So now we go from this ugly forward head position or “texting neck” all day to the other extreme while executing the deadlift. Let me explain. The nasty habit that is found in gyms across the world is that ‘head up looking at the horizon’ approach to deadlifting. As athletes, we are always told to ‘look ahead’ and ‘don’t drop your head’ and that is usually good advice in most sports but NOT when it comes to the deadlift. When the body hinges at the hips in preparation to pull weight from the floor, the spine is no longer vertical but angled forward. The angle can vary from person to person but all things considered, the body is somewhere near a 30-45 degree angle just before the lift begins. So why lift the head to look straight ahead? Because it just “feels” right and you’re so used to looking into the mirror or at the wall you don’t even realize you’re doing it. But don’t be fooled, sometimes we let our eyes have too much influence over our bodies.
In this stationary exercise, it is MUCH more advantageous to maintain proper spinal alignment which means our head lines up perfectly with our mid and lower back down to our hips.
There is a very simple test you can perform in minutes to FIX this technique problem. You will have to grab a friend to assist with this.
Place a foam roller or wooden dowel against your head, back and butt and have your buddy hold that in place as you go through a rep. The key is to keep all 3 points touching the stick or roller the entire rep. If the head, mid-back or glutes pull away from the object then that is what you need to fix. In most cases, it’s the head that’s the issue.
Here is why this is a problem.
Cranking the neck and lifting the head puts unnecessary pressure on the cervical spine and wastes energy that should be in the back, shoulders and hips. This ugly bending of the head to focus your vision on the horizon can lead to neck pain and a decrease in performance.
Since our neck holds our head on our body, I would say that placing it in uncompromising positions especially while performing maximal lifts is a very wise choice.
Avoiding ugly head position ensures proper breathing (unrestricted airway), better nerve messaging from the brain to the body and helps to avoid unwanted strains and pains that may occur in the muscles supporting your head like your traps, scalene and sternocleidomastoid muscles.
Your chin should stay tucked in the entire movement. The thing to remember is that you cannot have any leaks of energy. If your head is raised and your cervical spine is bent, that is a leak. You wouldn’t twist or rotate your head while doing a squat or bench press, would you? No.
The chin tuck from beginning to end helps your spine brace itself against the load and perform the deadlift in optimal spinal position. If the deadlift is important to you and you do it repeatedly, this simple correction could mean the difference in a new PR or a few extra reps on a heavy set.
Improving Your Forward Head Posture Can INCREASE Your Deadlift
Forward Head Correction - Do You Suffer from Texting Neck?
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