(Part 4 of 5)
Jin Young uses the term “heavy” all of the time, in regard to your elbows. The concept helps you position your arms in the most efficient place for blocks and strikes. It prevents you from using your shoulder and traps excessively.
Heavy elbows position you to use your body weight as the power source. In strength training, I put the heavy elbows concept into practice when I teach my clients to keep their traps out of the equation while performing certain movements.
As I have ranted before, most people unnecessarily recruit their traps while performing most rowing or lat pull down exercises during resistance training. Why? Weak posterior deltoid and upper back strength. When these muscles are weak, your traps come into play to assist. This is known as a compensatory muscle recruitment.
For instance when a seated row is done correctly, the elbows should be lower than the hands at the completion of the positive or concentric motion. This is the point when the weight is moved in closest to your body by the means of pulling.
The act of keeping your elbows heavy while performing the seated row exercise will help keep your shoulders down and engaged. You want to think that you are driving the weight towards you, leading with the elbows rather than your hands. During lat pull down exercises keeping heavy elbows will keep the shoulders from elevating and keep the traps depressed during the movement. This is the ideal and correct position.
It also creates a better mind- body connection, in order to disengage the trapezius and drive the elbows down as you pull the weight towards you. If you put into perspective that your elbows are closer to your body than your hands are, driving the weight downwards in a more direct path will be easier. For instance, for a front neck pull down keeping the elbows wide and heavy while driving the bar towards the top of sternum will create a straighter, more direct line towards you rather than a unsteady, unstable
Learn more about correct techniques for strength training and resistance training at Biomechanix.net
Jon Torerk, CSCS