As Spartans, we're a unique breed. We run for miles upon miles, intermixing grip and various stability challenges. Our training is non-traditional, and we prepare for literally anything that could be thrown our way at any point in time.
But when you train, you need to ensure that your programming is well-rounded, focusing on every biomechanical movement that your body can do. This means that you need to incorporate pulling just as much as you incorporate pushing.
What Is Upper-Crossed Syndrome?
In today’s society, we spend the majority of our day sitting at desks or constantly checking our phones. Our bodies are fighting an ongoing battle with gravity. The more we sit — particularly with our heads looking downward — the more our shoulders begin to fall, our mid-back starts to round, and our back musculature reaches fatigue. The more fatigued our muscles become, the worse our posture gets. In time, this could lead to a chronic condition called upper-crossed syndrome (UCS).
Upper-crossed syndrome is becoming more and more common. People who suffer from UCS exhibit a forward-rounded position; the mid-upper back begins to round due to tight chest and neck muscles. As with every other part of the body, when one group of muscles becomes overly tight, the opposite muscle group — in this case the mid- and upper-back muscles — become underactive. This creates a muscle imbalance that could cause such symptoms as poor posture, chronic headaches, upper-back pain, and neck stiffness.
When we suffer from poor posture, we spend our days with tightened pushing muscles. If we continue to perform pushing mechanisms, we continue to shorten our chest and neck muscles, pulling us further into a forward-rounded position.
The secret to improving posture is to train our weaknesses. You must implement more posterior chain exercises and more anti-flexion core stability exercises. You shouldn't neglect your pushing muscles, but you must make sure that you're using proper form and engaging your core stabilizers throughout the entirety of the motions. It is possible to continue to push without falling into bad habits.
The Upper-Body Strength Workout
This strength-training workout helps build and develop a well-rounded upper body. You will be supersetting pushing, pulling, and core stability exercises. You will perform one of each exercise in the circuit, and there will be two tri-sets. The workout concludes with a lockout burnout.
Note: The lockout, or bicep hold position, is crucial in obstacle course race training. It not only develops your back and bicep strength, but also trains your grip strength and core stability. For every time you drop out of your bicep hold in a 60-second timeframe, you will do 5 burpees.
You will need a kettlebell for this workout. If you don't have a kettlebell, you can fill up a water jug or laundry detergent bottle to add external resistance. The pull-ups and the bicep hold can be done using a resistance band.
Push-Ups with Lateral Step - 4x8
Pull-Ups - 4x6
Kettlebell Lift - 4x8
Seesaw Press - 4x8
Bent-Over Row - 4x8
Crab Walk - 4x8
Every Drop = 5 Burpees (Make sure to stop your time when you drop.)