Workout Tips Q&A: Lifting Straps, Smith Machines, Muscle Imbalances

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Listen to the Workout Tips Q&A on our Live Lean TV Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Deadlifts, Bikram Yoga, Elbow And Wrist Pain, Warm Up Stretches

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing a workout tips Q&A where I answer 7 questions relating to lifting straps, deadlifts, smith machines, muscle imbalances, joint pain, warm ups, and yoga.

This is episode #2 of our #LLTV “Lightening Round” Q&A series.

In this video series, I’m answering common fitness questions in 1 minute or less on camera.

Each video will be less than 3 minutes.

You can check out the first Lightening Round Workout Q&A episode here.

Workout Q&A

Alright, let’s get into it.

Here are today’s Lightening Round workout questions:

Question #1. What are my thoughts on using knee straps and wrist straps?

Time stamp with video answer: 0:15

First of all, I’m not a big fan of using or recommending knee straps for most people, unless you’re a powerlifter.

The main reason is knee straps may increase the risk of injury when you’re not in the gym, since it can take away from the functional side of lifting.

In other words, using knee straps can be a crutch, rather than truly increasing functional strength.

When it comes to wrist straps, I occasionally use them when I’m lifting heavy, for 3 reps or less, during lower body exercises such as the dumbbell stationary lunge and dumbbell bulgarian split squats.

However, try not to use wrist straps every time, especially for upper body movements, since they can weaken the muscles needed for grip strength.

Question #2: What do I prefer: bent leg or straight leg deadlifts?

Time stamp with video answer: 0:43

I like both deadlift variations, however I prefer bent-leg barbell deadlifts over straight leg barbell romanian deadlifts because I find they give you a better range of motion.

This is especially true when you perform barbell deadlifts on a low platform.

When I do bent-leg barbell deadlifts, I often like to use a wider snatch grip because it makes it harder to hold onto the weight.

If this is a case, and you’re going really heavy for low reps, this is when you could use wrist straps.

But just try not to rely on wrist straps.

Question #3: What are my thoughts on smith machines? Do I like them?

Time stamp with video answer: 1:04

I don’t like the smith machine because it can lock you into a fixed movement.

This can stress the spin since it does not allow the body to move up and down naturally.

Bottom line, the smith machine locks you into a fixed position, which is not the way your body was meant to move.

Next question.

Question #4: How do I fix muscle imbalances so my body becomes symmetrical?

Time stamp with video answer: 1:17

This is a great question.

If you have one side of your body that is bigger or stronger than the other side, add in more unilateral work.

For instance, when training chest, only use one dumbbell at a time.

You can do this by completing a single arm dumbbell incline press using your non-dominant side first.

But be sure to lift the same weight for the same number of sets, for both arms.

Next question.

Question #5: How do you stop elbow pain and wrist pain during presses and curls?

Time stamp with video answer: 1:39

Here’s a tip if you’ve been experiencing elbow pain and wrist pain during barbell pressing and curling movements.

Simple Exercise To IMPROVE WRIST FLEXIBILITY and Mobility

Try leaving a small space between the plates and the collar, so the weight can spin.

Click here to see the video demonstration.

This can decrease the stress on your tendons.

Next question.

Question #6: How do I safely warm up using dynamic ballistic stretches?

Time stamp with video answer: 1:52

First of all, using dynamic stretches is the correct way to warm up.

To use them properly, I want you to use the pendulum method.

The pendulum method simply means you don’t go for a maximal stretch on the first rep.

It’s important to first build up to it.

Click here to see the video demonstration of the pendulum method.

So if you’re doing standing side to side leg swings, start with a low level to the ankles first.

Then increase the range up to the mid-shin, then mid-knee cap, and then go as high as possible.

Repeat this until your legs are warm.

Let’s answer one more question.

Question #7: What are my thoughts on bikram yoga?

Time stamp with video answer: 2:15

It’s interesting, because I once heard Charles Poliquin say that stretching is the yin to the yang of strength training.

So yes, I love yoga, and I’ve heard bikram yoga, in particular, can help increase your growth hormone.

As you may know, when you increase growth hormone, you burn more fat, and you can also increase your strength gains.

So, add it in.

That’s another Lightening Round Workout Tips Q&A

Thanks for tuning in to another Lightening Round #LLTV Workout Tips Q&A session.

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