Monday, February 28, 2011

CHIN DOWN! How to Get Your Clients to Stop Looking Up

I had the fortunate opportunity to meet and learn from Charlie Weingroff this past week.  He did an in-service with the staff at IFAST, and it was awesome to hear his thoughts on things.  Needless to say, Charlie is a super smart guy, and I learned a lot from him.   If you are not already reading his blog, you should definitely check it out at

Today, I want to discuss an excellent cue/tip I picked up from Charlie while watching his DVD series Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training.  In it, he talks about the importance of neck position.  He refers to the optimal neck position as one in which you pack your head back and chin down (if you do this correctly you should have a double chin).  This position gives you much more stability and will keep your spine neutral.

This guy knows the double chin!

I know a lot of coaches will tell you to keep your head up when performing many lifts, but I do not agree with this.  At IFAST, we always teach people to keep their chin down to give them added stability and a neutral spine. 
When you extend your neck (i.e. keep your head up) during lifts, you will have the tendency to extend your low back as well - your lumbar spine (low back) follows the position of your cervical spine (neck region) and vice-versa.  As I wrote in my last post, this is bad because an excessively lordotic lumbar spine robs us of stability.
It can be hard for clients to get used to this neck position and to understand why they should lift this way.  Therefore, try out the tip below (stolen from Charlie) to help them with this.
A good way to get your clients to think about keeping their chin down is to have them imagine a string with a hook on the end hanging from their chin.  You then want to think about hooking that onto a bar below you.  How would you lift the bar up?   You would pack your neck back, put your chin down, and extend at the hips to pick it up.  This is exactly the same position your neck should be in during all exercises.  It will take some time getting used to, but it will pay off in terms of health and big numbers in the weight room.
Charlie Weingroff also has an excellent blog post on this topic at:  I highly recommend checking it out.
How do you guys teach people to keep their neck during lifts?

Have a good week everyone!  

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