6 PHASES OF THE PERFECT DYNAMIC WARM UP

Perform at maximum capacity while keeping yourself injury-free. Completely FREE for you to download.
DOWNLOAD NOW

The big compound lifts are some of the most technically advanced movements in the gym that need to be learned, mastered and maintained over time to continue to progress while staying injury-free in the process. But as every serious strength athlete knows, there are times in your lifting career when your big lifts plateau and pain starts to rear its ugly head, seemingly out of nowhere.

Continuing to blindly pound yourself into the gym floor force-feeding stagnating and painful lifts is not a smart plan. And skipping the lifts all together is no better, as you never truly identify and strengthen the weak link that is causing the problems in the first place.

But what if there was a method that would allow you to hit the reset button on the lift, allowing you to improve your technique while training it without chronic aches and pains, all while keeping the bar or movement exactly the same? There is, it’s called reactive neuromuscular training (RNT), and it’s one of the most powerful methods in the industry for fixing faulty movements while continuing to train the big lifts hard and heavy simultaneously.

With the use of just a resistance band attached to the barbell or your body, you can add in the best external training cue for all of the major compound lifts you’ve ever used before to spark the much needed reset you’ve been seeking for longer than you’d like to admit to. Here’s how it works.

What Is Reactive Neuromuscular Training?

Reactive neuromuscular training (RNT) is a corrective strategy that has been successfully implemented into both training and rehabilitation programming for the improvement of movement patterning and quality.

Though the science of neuromuscular and intramuscular coordination, in which the RNT method is dependent on, is an extremely deep theoretical area, the basis of how the RNT method actually works to quickly and effectively improve dysfunctional and/or painful movement patterns is actually quite simple.

When a dysfunctional or compensated pattern arises during a movement, a band can be utilized on an area of the body in order to pull that area into a further and more market dysfunctional pattern. By “feed the dysfunction” during the execution of the movement pattern, the body super compensates to correct out of the dysfunction, utilizing active stability and activation of segments that were previously lagging.

This re-activation of key stabilizers of any foundational movement pattern has the power to not only clean up movement pattern quality in an efficient manor, but also allows motor learning of properly executed movements to be habituated and transferred into more challenging movement variations in the not so distant future training plan. You can display strength and power that you can first stabilize and control.

As a staple in the Functional Movement Systems corrective exercise programming, I first learned about this powerful technique from Gray Cook and Dr. Greg Rose more than a decade ago. After having a great amount of success with the RNT method for restoring sound movement quality, I did notice one major limitation to this method; the necessity for a coach or rehab pro to position and hold the band during the correction of a movement pattern.

While individualized attention is sometimes needed to correct faulty movements, it’s not practical for the average lifter to have a training partner or coach “spot” every lift with the use of this band. After reviewing options to create more self-sufficiency for my athletes using the RNT Method, I started implementing into bigger and heavier lifts during strength and performance training with the band attached to an immovable object like a squat rack with great success.

As load and intensity is increased, movement capacity has a tendency to decrease, reducing a movement’s effectiveness in training. That’s why utilizing the RNT method with the big barbell lifts like the squat, bench press and deadlift (in addition to some other staple compound movements) provides a huge opportunity to improve movement quality and reducing pain patterns while still being able to train the big lifts meaningfully. Here’s how to setup and execute the RNT method for 7 staple movements that should be the cornerstone of any strength and conditioning program.

The RNT Method Squat

The biggest mistake many lifters make in the squat pattern is not placing enough emphasis on the posterior chain musculature of the lower body, mainly the hamstrings and the glutes, during this movement. Instead, many lifters lose foundational stability and inherently “fall” forward with a more anterior chain dominant squat pattern, which is less efficient and effective for building a strong and authentic squat pattern.

By utilizing the RNT method for the barbell squat, we can ensure that pre-tension and positional stability is achieved at the posterior chain muscles before the first rep even starts it’s decent. Pulling back against the band will improve the feel, mechanics and loading of the glutes and hamstrings leading this movement pattern, while maintaining constant stability and tension throughout all phases of the squat.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Barbell Back Squat

  • Attach two light bands to either side of the squat rack.
  • Loop the bands around the collar of both sides of the barbell.
  • Unrack the barbell, walking back slowly and under control.
  • Pre-tension the shoulders, hips and core against the band tension.
  • Execute the eccentric and concentric phases of the squat for X reps.
  • Control the barbell back into the rack.

The RNT Method Bench Press

When pressing big numbers while simultaneously maintaining shoulder health in the process, you are truly only as strong in the press as your upper back is stable during this cornerstone upper body lift. Many lifters that have plateaued their bench press or have battled against painful and achy shoulders while trying to progress simply haven’t mastered the art of upper back, lat and scapular stability that is an absolute requisite to pain-free pressing.

By using the RNT method for the bench press, we can tap into the stabilizing potential of the lats and upper back to create and maintain optimal amounts of stability to create a more favorable pressing position for the shoulders to work from while mitigating joint and non-contractile tissue stress as well.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Barbell Bench Press

  • Attach one light band to the midline of the top crossbar of the squat rack.
  • Loop the band around the midline of the barbell.
  • Unrack the barbell slowly and under control.
  • Pre-tension the lats and upper back actively against the band tension.
  • Execute the eccentric and concentric phases of the bench press for X reps.
  • Control the barbell back into the rack.

The RNT Method Deadlift

Similar to the bench press, upper back and core stiffness is an absolute requisite to a strong deadlift pattern. The main upper body contributor to this packing of the spine and achievement of the “lifter’s wedge” is the lats and upper back, presenting as the broadest attaching muscle in the body playing a key role in the linkage of the shoulders to both the torso and hip group.

By utilizing the RNT method for the deadlift, we are able to kick on active engagement of the lats pulling back against the band to help stabilize the shoulders, core and hips simultaneously throughout this entire movement. This method will produce better core stiffness, more optimal back engagement and a more natural hinge position for pulling during any hip hinge based movement.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Barbell Deadlift

  • Attach a light band to the bottom column of the power rack.
  • Loop the band around the midline of the barbell.
  • Ensure that you are facing the rack with the band in front of you.
  • Grab the barbell and roll it towards you against the band tension.
  • Achieve a starting position with the bar tight to the body.
  • Pre-tension the lats and upper back against the band tension.
  • Drive up the barbell, locking out with maximal tension at the back.
  • Control the eccentric lowering portion of the lift and repeat for X reps.
  • Control the barbell back down and in front of you after the set.

The RNT Method Overhead Press

The overhead press is one of the most advanced lifts in the iron game due to it’s immense amount of requisite for both mobility and stability being displayed simultaneously under load. But many who struggle with pressing overhead with sound mechanics are not in need of more shoulder mobility, but rather better shoulder stability patterns that unlock the inherent mobility that the true shoulder joint, the gleno-humeral joint, naturally has.

By utilizing the RNT method for the overhead press, we can teach and re-pattern the upper back and lats to act as strong postural stabilizers for the vertical press while unlocking power and strength potential in this plane of action. Though there could be many locations of dysfunction and instability during this full body lift, improving the lats stability function will go a long way when looking to quickly clean up this lift.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Barbell Overhead Press

  • Attach one light band to the midline of the top crossbar of the squat rack.
  • Loop the band around the midline of the barbell.
  • Ensure that you are facing forward with the band in front of you.
  • Unrack the barbell and step back slowly and under control.
  • Pre-tension the lats and upper back actively against the band tension.
  • Ensure lower body, hip and core stability with bracing before lift.
  • Execute the concentric and eccentric phases of the press for X reps.
  • Control the barbell back into the rack.

RELATED: “How To Assess Whether Or Not You Can Safely Overhead Press”

The RNT Method Lunge

Similar to the squat pattern, the lunge and its many variations tend to have a common executional fault of being far to anterior chain dominant. The power and potential of getting the most out of single leg work depends on the ability of an athlete to utilize their posterior chain for strength and stability during single leg activities.

This posterior chain dominant skill set is one that is often times forgotten in terms of motor patterning, hence why the RNT lunge is such a powerful tool in teaching and fixing faulty lunge patterns. By kicking on the glutes and hamstrings to pull back against the band, the posterior chain will become to primary stability group of single leg lifts, exactly the way that the body was biomechanically designed to function for optimal strength, stability and performance.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Barbell Reverse Lunge

  • Attach two light bands to either side of the squat rack.
  • Loop the bands around the collar of both sides of the barbell.
  • Unrack the barbell, walking back slowly and under control.
  • Pre-tension the shoulders, hips and core against the band tension.
  • Step back into a reverse lunge, and return to starting position.
  • Allow for a slight static forward torso angle to target the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Execute the step back and return to neutral for X reps.
  • Control the barbell back into the rack.

The RNT Method Row

The horizontal pull aka the row is one of the most pivotal movement patterns to build a bulletproof upper back and pain-free shoulders. But here’s the kicker, it’s only as effective as it’s level of execution. And as we’ve all seen, the row is one of the single most butchered movements in the gym.

The row has a distinct advantage over vertical pulling variations like the traditional pull up due to allowing the shoulder to avoid heavy loaded internal rotation moments and maintaining a better, and more neutral alignment. These advantages are thrown out the window as soon as elbows flare and shoulders crank into internal rotation. That’s why the RNT method for the row pattern is an extremely powerful tool that will enhance the “arcing” moment of the row to keep the shoulders more neutral, and the lats and upper back more engaged while decreasing front sided shoulder stress.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Bent Over Barbell Row

  • Attach a light band to the bottom column of the power rack.
  • Loop the band around the midline of the barbell.
  • Ensure that you are facing the rack with the band in front of you.
  • Grab the barbell and roll it towards you against the band tension.
  • Achieve a starting position with the bar tight to the body.
  • Pre-tension the lats and upper back against the band tension.
  • Drive up the barbell, locking out with maximal tension at the back.
  • Slowly hinge your hips back to achieve a stabilized bent over position.
  • Execute the bent over row from this position against weight and band tension.
  • Control the eccentric lowering portion of the lift and repeat for X reps.
  • Return to a neutral position, and control the barbell back down and in front of you after the set.

RELATED: “Fix Your Ugly Row With This Banded Dumbbell Row Variation”

The RNT Method Pull Up

Contrary to popular belief, the pull up is not only an upper body exercise, but rather a full body movement that needs to link the upper body to the lower body through a strong and stable core unit. But one of the most common faults during the pull up is allowing the core to go passive, the spine to extend and the pelvis to dump into an anterior pelvic tilted position, essentially dis-integrating the lower body from the upper body in the process.

Using the RNT band to cue the anterior core and hips to achieve and maintain proper stability and engagement throughout the vertical pull, we can reduce unwanted shoulder and lower back stress that is commonly associated with poorly executed pull ups, and truly make the vertical pull a demanding full body movement once again.

Setup & Execution: The RNT Pull Up

  • Attach a light band to the handle of a heavy dumbbell.
  • The dumbbell will be positioned on the floor approximately 2 feet behind the pull up bar.
  • Position the looped band around your ankles with the band positioned behind the body.
  • Grab onto the pull up bar with your hands while keeping band around ankles.
  • Bring your legs into a “hollow body” position with knees extended, hips slightly flexed and ankles in a neutral position.
  • Ensure tension is placed on the band and there is no slack in the system.
  • Execute the concentric and eccentric phases of the pull up for X reps.
  • Return the feet safely to the ground and remove band from ankles.

Dr. John RusinDr. John Rusin is an internationally recognized coach, physical therapist, speaker, and sports performance expert. Dr. John has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes, including multiple Gold Medalist Olympians, NFL All-Pros, MLB All-Stars, Professional Bodybuilders, World-Record Holding Powerlifters, National Level Olympic Lifters and All-World IronMan Triathletes.

Dr. Rusin is the leading pioneer in the fitness and sports performance industries in intelligent pain-free performance programming that achieves world class results while preventing injuries in the process. Dr. John’s methods are showcased in his 12-Week FHT Program that combines the best from athletic performance training, powerlifting, bodybuilding and preventative therapy to produce world-class results without pain and injuries.

6 PHASES OF THE PERFECT DYNAMIC WARM UP

Perform at maximum capacity while keeping yourself injury-free. Completely FREE for you to download.
GET ACCESS NOW