Make UP Day!
Welcome to your new gym, Matt Mansfield!
What do you mean Elbows Up?
from CF Noosa
"Elbows Up!" A familiar cry from your Coaches and Trainers but is it as simple as that? Looking at the images above, there are differences between the two athletes, and I’m not just talking about beards. They are actually brother and sister but that is just a cool coincidence that I chose the two pictures. Both are in good position but the elbows on Casey (brother) Burgener are way lower than Sage (sister) Burgener’s. The angle of the back is pretty vertical on both and the bar is racked back on the chest, again for both lifters. "Elbows up" is relevant if the shoulder is held in proper position - tight back in the socket, not extending out and protruding forwards. When proper position is achieved, the shoulder blade or scapula is locked firmly against the rib cage on the back, using all the available muscle to stabilise the shoulder, and the action of lifting the elbow is more of a lever against the rib cage and therefore the spine to drive and keep the upper body vertical as the knees and hips extend. So "elbows up" does not have to appear the same for everyone, and for less flexible athletes, it is going to be a lower position. As long as the shoulder is locked back stable and the bar can rack on the chest and front of the deltoid (shoulder) muscles, then "elbows up" is the action required not necessarily the end goal. Failure to understand this can have you forcing athletes into the “douchebag shoulder (DB)” position to satisfy a mental picture (douchebag=front of shoulders rolled forwards and inwards). Let’s work towards that perfect mental picture over time but ankle, knees, hips and spine position throughout the lift are better indicators. Google Kelly Starrett and DB Shoulder for in depth dealings with douchebag shoulder.