A few weeks ago we introduced to the fitness world the concept of ‘lativation’ – that is, our made-up word to describe the activation of the lat muscles during exercise. 🙂 Contracting your lats (the sides of your back that form a V) creates a pull of your shoulder blades down toward your back pants pockets. This keeps the entire shoulder girdle engaged – tight, compact, steady and stable. “Packed,” as we say.
Loosey-goosey shoulders that aren’t packed not only set up that area for injury, they also prevent you from lifting heavier weight.
Packed shoulders = strong shoulders = strong lifts.
We wanted to show you three ways we use Shoulder Packing via “lativation” in the gym and how this might translate to everyday life movements outside the gym.
Here we go!
Holding weight overhead increases in difficulty and danger if we don’t have our shoulders packed. So, pull your shoulder blades down by activating your lats and stand with proud chest (not leaning back, though), abs tight.
Everyday life translation: Lifting anything overhead! Think about packing your shoulders the next time you’re lifting that bucket of beach toys onto the garage shelf or trying to stuff your carry on into the overhead compartment.
During this common gym exercise, set-up is key. Here are some tips for foot and bar placement and. in the pic below, you’ll notice the difference between packed shoulders vs loose shoulders as Coach Kelly grabs the bar and begins the deadlift set up process. Loose shoulders make it more likely the weight will travel in an arch away from your body as you stand – increasing the demand on the low back – ouch! Pack those shoulders intentionally every.single.rep. It’s a starting position that ensures a safe lift – plus, you’ll find you’re a lot stronger when shoulders are packed!
Everyday life translation: Picking anything up off the ground! Think about packing your shoulders the next time you’re picking up a child or lifting your heavy potted plants from one end of the deck to the other.
You’ll see many of our members walking up and down the turf of the gym, simply carrying a dumbbell or kettlebell in their hand(s). Carries are programmed frequently since they translate so well to everyday life and turn on almost every muscle of the body! One of the carries we’ll do is called a Farmer’s Carry where you’re holding onto two heavy weights and walking (you can read about the other three types of carries HERE). When holding onto the weights at your side, letting the dumbbell or kettlebell pull your shoulders forward and disengage those lats is a big no-no! Instead, walk with chest up and proud, shoulders pulled back and down. Packing the shoulders this way allows stability in shoulders and torso, allowing you to carry with much more ease – plus, you’ll be developing nice toned back muscles!
Everyday life translation: Carrying anything at your sides! Think about packing your shoulders the next time you’re walking while holding a gallon of paint at your side or trying to be a one-trip-grocery-bag-carrying superhero.