Dr. Michael Hartle
Medical Committee Chair
Sledge Hammer GPP,
By Michael A. Hartle, D.C., D.A.C.B.N.,
C.C.S.P., C.C.N., C.S.C.S.
In the last issue I discussed
the equipment needed to begin using the sledgehammer for weighted
GPP. To reiterate, several of the benefits of using this common
tool include increasing rotational and angular/diagonal strength
of the trunk, increasing forearm and wrist strength, increasing
reaction times of the forearm and wrist muscles as they stabilize
the hammer's handle and an overall increase in the body's strength-endurance
capabilities. We will now get started with the first type of swing
we use: diagonal swinging.
Last week's article showed
a picture of me holding the sledgehammer. This is the beginning
position. The hand nearest the hammer part will be called the slide
hand. The hand at the end of the handle will be the static hand.
Decide which side to hit to first. Stand in front of the tire and
square yourself up to it. What I mean is place the center of your
abdomen in line with the center of the tire. Back up from the tire
about 12-18" depending upon how tall you are. Then place your feet
just wider than shoulder width and parallel to each other. If you
decide to make the static hand your left, you will be swinging to
your left and contacting the tire on the left side. When you reach
the number of contacts you wish to on that side, you will then switch
your hands quickly and do the same to the right side.
During the first workout I suggest you do the first set slow
to get your rhythm right. For the following scenario and instructions,
we will be having the static hand as our left and contacting the
tire on the left side. As you start to swing back make sure you
rotate your body while keeping your feet planted. Moving the feet
during this exercise is not wanted or suggested as you will lose
some of the effect we are trying to achieve. When you have rotated
and laterally flexed your trunk and hips enough reverse this direction.
As you reverse the movement, your slide hand (right hand) will move
down the handle to meet up with your left hand during the swing.
Your buttocks will push backwards as you bring the sledgehammer
down to contact the tire. After hitting the tire, the sledgehammer
will bounce a little off of it, but as I stated last week, I suggest
you contact the tire just inside the outside edge where the tire
is harder. When the sledgehammer bounces up, start to pull it up
and back and start another rep. One other item to mention is occasionally
when the sledgehammer hits the tire, the sledgehammer handle may
want to twist in your hand or the hammer part may want to go to
the side. Make sure you have a good grip on the handle with your
static hand to prevent this. Another way to train that grip!!
An interesting item to note is for most right-hand dominant
people, swinging to the left will be easy, especially if you have
swung a sledgehammer before. When you start to swing to the right
with the left side of your body, make sure all video and regular
cameras are turned off as you will feel and look goofy!! The reason
for this is since you are right-handed, your central nervous system
(CNS) is used to swinging with the right side of your body. You
now are asking it to swing with the non-dominant side of your body,
which will feel and look weird at first. After a few hundred reps
over several workouts, swinging with the left side of your body
will start to approach the normality of the swing of the right side.
All I can say is stick with it and go slow at first until you feel
more comfortable swinging with your left side. When you feel more
comfortable, increase the contact frequency and speed to bring it
up to par with the right side. When you bring the left side up to
speed with the right, you will be that much more prepared for your
sport as your weaker and non-dominant side will be able to hold
its own just like the right side does when you encounter the type
of scenarios I mentioned in Part 1 of this series. Of course, if
you are left-handed, then just reverse the aforementioned information
in this paragraph.
The Athletic Performance Center (APC)
is offering sport-specific performance training, physical therapy
and rehabilitation services, and one-on-one personal training. Michael
Robertson, MS, CSCS, a Ball State University graduate, is the Director
of this division. This is the place to go in the Midwest for the
aforementioned services. More to come on this in the future!!
The next issue we will discuss and show another of the
three ways we swing the sledgehammer. If you have any questions,
feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
and In Health,
Michael A. Hartle,
Executive Committee Board Member
Chairman, USA Powerlifting Sports
Chairman, USA Powerlifting Drug Testing Committee