Written by Team Juggernaut
Sam Ryder, a UK based Strength/Nutrition Coach, submitted this to us after attending a recent Juggernaut Powerlifting Clinic with Chad Wesley Smith and Brandon Lilly at The Underground Strength Gym in Manasquan, NJ…
Before starting I would like to express my gratitude to Chad & Brandon for their time, which was most humbly priced, and Zack for hosting the seminar so it was possible. These three men are undoubtedly in love with their jobs and live and breath to help better others.
Screw your feet for hip tightness and to feel depth
Chad kicked off the clinic with squat technique, explaining his views as a coach to why the cue ‘knees out’ can lead to improper weight displacement across the base of the feet. Screwing your feet involves an inward emphasis of your heels whilst simultaneously resisting the force with your knees. When applied correctly you will feel an increase in hip tension, which will not only aid in maintaining correct posture during the eccentric phase, but when practiced will provide a natural cease in decent below parallel cueing your reversal and upward drive to complete the lift. Or acquire the hamstring and calf (more like cow!) development of Chad to provide a physical cue of hitting depth when sitting on your cows!
Assessing the deadlift from the knees for larger athletes
Another coaching tip that a book simply can’t explain, this gem comes from time with a barbell and experience in coaching a lift a thousand different ways. To which I can’t think of anyone more suited than Brandon in teaching the deadlift. The setup of a deadlift can leave some of the more bear like individuals amongst us rounded and the appearance of poor technique which is often referred to as a cannon ball posture. Using submaximal weight, allow the athlete to apply force accelerating the bar to the knees, and then reassess the individual. Many of the setup discrepancies will have been corrected leading to the desired biomechanical angles involved with knee ankle alignment whilst maintaining a neutral spine. This usually can be credited to the dense tissue between the legs and torso inhibiting a ‘text book’ setup.
Bench like you would fight, for increased strength and speed when lifting RAW
Amongst the banter from Chad in leg drive during the bench set up, it may not be a surprise to you that this tip was explained by Brandon, calling out a victim from the crowd he asks his opponent to hold his arms in a wider geared bench stance as if he were to fight, to demonstrate the lack of strength and speed produced when there are no layers of gear to support us. Brandon then assumed a closer stance-aligning wrist and elbow at 90 degrees cocking back to demonstrate the strength and speed produced when unassisted. The carry over to the bench was instant emulating a piston welded to the bar.
Whether you are a seasoned lifter or new to the iron sports, I highly recommend attending one of the JTS clinics to not only improve your own technique but more importantly the foundation of knowledge that you can help others to better themselves, as like these two mountain sized men our sport is made by the generosity, kindness & knowledge of others.