Powerlifting and strength sports often get lost in a range of defined movements, that make you very strong in very specific planes, but rip for injury in almost every other plan.
Here are 6 exercises we wish we did.
1. Lu Raises
Like many powerlifters, at times I was proud that my hands wouldn't go over my head, and that my three time weekly benching had made me so tight I couldn't swim (I was never very bright).
If there was one exercise I wish I did all the time, its Lu Raises (there a zillion videos on this exercise). Its just laterals with plates, all the way over your head, allowing your scap to move.
Palms facing each other at the bottom, back of your wrists facing each other at the top. Try them, just do them slow and stop if it hurts (obviously we don't give medical advice, but if you have spurs or messed up shoulders, this apparently hurt and click a lot).
If you cant get your shoulders down and back more comfortably, you will squat more. That super wide, just fingers touching squat is not conducive to a hard drive out of the bottom.
2. Walking Lunges
There is literally no exercise I hate more than walking lunges. Like most people reading this, I work on a computer most of the day and train during the evenings (and I sleep in the fetal position). This means for 24 hours a day, my hip flexors are not stretch or moved.
Hip flexor stretching never seemed to work, but walking lunges seem to open up. Its one of those 'I'll feel better later' but it just feels awkward.
People that struggle to get there hips under the bar or lock out deads some times have really tight hip flexors. We were at a comp recently, and a guy wouldn't get the squat command because his hips were dipped back almost constantly.
3. Pushups (full scap)
Here's Brian after a set of banded pushups. Its sounds so basic, but pushups (full range - chest touching the floor to shoulders all the way forward) are such good bang for your buck.
At the top, do a scap pushup - that just means shoulders start all the way forward, and go all the way back before your arms even start bending (a great way to practice bench form).
Its a decent ab workout and helps strengthen you hipflexors and engage your psoas so your back hurts less.
Whenever someone says there bench has stalled, we recommend some pushups after every workout. Its more work, its recoverable and its pretty hard to do 5 sets of 30. Add bands once you can do that.
4. SSB Squats
For some bizarre reason, in my head, high bars were far superior, and SSB was for the lazy. You then realise that SSB is far less technically taxing, and you can actually work on building muscle.
Is a luxury if you have one at your home gym or commercial gym, but high rep high bars are hard, as are mid and low rep. Years of low bar make us weak in the drive when high bar, so we often dump forward.
Years later, SSB is far better to us, and there are 100s of high bar workouts that could have been far more effective (for carryover to low bars).
5. Side Plank
Nobody is saying you have to do a zillion sets of abs, but doing side planks to the extent you are even stevens is a good idea. Almost everyone we've got to test this has one side way stronger than the other, and when they do the weaker side first to even it out, has less back pain.
Again, this sounds dumb, but being able to walk for 30 minutes without a lower back pump is a good idea (ignore this if you have actual cardio).
Audio books will change your life to get this done. David Goggins audiobook was so good, I once walked 12km (that is a lot for a powerlifter).
A walk on the days you don't train is ideal, its active recovery, and if you haven't walked for 30-45 recently, you will be surprised how annoying it is.