Weightlifting Tip: Fill The Tank

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When do we do this?
Bracing for a lift

What does this mean?
“When you take a breath think about pushing the air into your gut using the cue ‘fill the tank.’

This increases intra abdominal cavity volume so that when you brace your core muscles, you increase your body’s IAP or intra-abdominal pressure which activates your body’s “natural weightlifting belt.”

When you breathe and brace into a belt it adds another “layer” to our body’s “natural weightlifting belt” which increases IAP and stability to an even greater degree…meaning it gives the potential to lift even more weight.”

-Dr. Horschig

Why?

To protect your spine and improve your ability to successfully complete a lift. This technique also helps you keep a stronger focus on whatever exercise you’re trying to perform. There’s definitely a psychological aspect to this routine.

EXTRA CREDIT:

Points Of Performance for the bracing sequence:

  • Squeeze your butt as hard as you can
  • Set your pelvis in a neutral position
    • Position your feet directly under your hips – keeping your feet parallel to each other – screw your feet into the ground and squeeze your butt as hard as you can
    • Don’t think about tilting your pelvis. Just squeeze your butt. You will always end up in the right position because it’s your butt – those gluteus were engineered specifically for your pelvis and spine. A lot of people mistakenly think they can get tight by simply engaging their abdomen. Although the musculature of your trunk stabilizes your spine, it’s nearly impossible to use your abdominals to control the position of your pelvis. For that reason, you have to use your butt to set the position.
  • Pull your ribcage down
  • Pull your lower ribs in, balancing your ribcage over your pelvis.
    • Imagine that your pelvis and ribcage are two bowls filled to the brim with liquid. The idea is to keep your pelvis and ribcage neutral so that liquid doesn’t spill out either end. If you overextend, water pours out the front of your pelvis and out the back of your ribcage. If you round forward into flexion, water pours out the back of your pelvis and out the front of your ribcage. Although this analogy only applies to standing perfectly upright in a braced-neutral position – you can still be in a braced-neutral position and hinge forward or lean back – the idea is to get your ribcage and pelvis aligned.

Here’s a great example that highlights “Filling The Tank” from expert Karl Eagleman

Not sure if you’re doing this? And, you want to make sure you’re getting it right so you don’t get injured? Then come in and schedule a training session through the calendar below!

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