Recalibration (diary entry)

knee bar

My second private lesson of the evening was with my recovering client. We began our usual progressive routine of mobility exercises for the spine, adding on combat sport specific movements such as triangle crunches, sprawl-to-knee-strikes, sit-throughs and bridges. Next we moved onto some more ground submission work.

Today’s technique was the knee-bar. We trained it from both an attacking and defensive position. The former concerned attacking the half-guard. Here the fighter counters his opponent’s under-hook and then spins into the knee-bar. When breaking the movement down, I pointed out that it is important to stay on top of the opponent when securing the trapped leg prior to the final transition. The latter concerned defending from the turtle position. Here the defending fighter seeks to hook a leg from behind him with his legs. He then shoulder rolls with the trapped leg and completes the technique. As is often the case with teaching a knee-bar, I taught a contingency technique if an opponent tries to kick or push with their free leg. This is in the form of an ankle lock.

We then moved onto our exercise recalibration. As part of my partner’s recovery process, I am constantly looking to better improve performance behind strength training by drilling back to down to basics. Today we looked at dead lifts and squats. The best deadlift anyone can do is with a trap-bar. This lift affords a more even lift, better engaging the muscles and helps to defeat bad form. A common mistake with the deadlift that can be done by the best of us is to over-engage the lower back. The back muscles, particularly those situated around the lumbar region are prone injury with several free weight exercises that target the legs. When it comes to deadlifting the back needs to be kept straight and used to stabilize the lift with the leg muscles being mainly involved with the kinetic part of the process.

We didn’t have a trap bar, so performed dumbbell deadlifts with the weights held at the sides. First we performed one legged deadlifts using a single dumbbell, which are great stabilizing exercises for keeping form and posture. We then moved onto heavier lifts with a standard two-dumbbell deadlift.

Next we moved onto front squats, which are another great exercise for establishing a strong posture. The standard back squat allows a lifter to press more weight, but it is easier to damage the back through bad form. The front squat forces the lifter to keep a straight back throughout the lift.

The above image is from Howcast