Spoiler Alert: There is almost too much value in this one…
A quick story for ya nerds:
I received a FB message that said, “Dude, I’ve been reading your stuff and I feel like we know each other or at least should.” I was all like “Who’s this deadlifting fella?” So, we set up a quick phone call to learn more about each other and it turns out that we had a ton in common when it comes to the fitness industry. *This sounds like a Tinder story….sorry Matt*
I quickly realized that he is someone that we would all be lucky to learn from and instantly wanted to get him on this series. You’re welcome and, no, we didn’t get bunk beds.
As fate would have it he ended up coming into town for a tournament and we spent some time together. It’s funny how the universe works and I am pumped to have met him.
So, who is this beast?!
Ladies and gents, I give you Matthew Ibrahim
Besides a coffee and deadlift aficionado, here are some of his specs and such:
- Physical Preparation Coach at Boston Underground Strength Training
- Clinical Athlete Provider at ClinicalAthlete
- Sports Performance Manual Therapist at Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness
- Founder at Movement Resilience
Holy-$hit he’s the real deal? You got it, Ace.
Alright, Matthew, what do you have for us?
- What are the main things that you would tell a new coach or trainer?
“My biggest advice for a new coach/trainer would be to adopt a “rookie” mindset and use it every single day. Learning is a lifelong process; it doesn’t just happen overnight. Wake up every morning ready to learn, grow, develop, and create positive change. Remember – you will always be a student of the field.
It’s important to keep an open mind. All too often I see new coaches and trainers cemented in stone on their beliefs and training philosophies. I hate to break it to you, but there are multiple ways to skin a cat. Sure, completing one 3 or 4-month internship at a world-renowned training facility is a great experience. However, it doesn’t mean that is the only training system that works and that all other training systems are garbage. Plus, this short time spent at this internship is only a very small fraction of the time you will spend in the field throughout your career. Complete multiple internships and immerse yourself in several learning experiences and shadowing opportunities.
Walk into every situation with a blank white canvas and see if there are things you can apply to your current training philosophies. Be open to learning at every single chance you get. Every. Single. Chance. If you find certain information useful, keep it and apply it. However, if you find other information to not be as useful – that’s cool – simply move past it, but at least you exposed yourself to it.
If there is an industry-leading training system or concept that is proven and works on a consistent basis, go learn that system. However, don’t just believe everything from the start. You must prove to yourself that it works – I can’t stress this enough. At the end of the day, there are lot of training systems, philosophies, and concepts that truly work. Never marry yourself to one system though. Create your own pot of stew (i.e., training system), while tossing in ingredients (i.e., training concepts) that work and that you can apply best. This is what will ultimately build your unique coaching platform and style.
Go learn from the best in the field. If there is someone doing exactly what you want to be doing – seek that person out and learn from him or her. You’d be surprised at how kind and genuine people in this field can be. I’m sure they were once in your shoes, and I’m sure they looked for guidance as well. They want to give back and help. Don’t be afraid to ask. The worst thing that can happen is that someone says “no” or simply ignores your message. That’s fine. Move on and keep trying with other professionals in the field. The term “networking” applies here, but I simply don’t like that word. I’d rather refer to it as “building a circle of like-minded professionals and long-lasting relationships”.
At the end of the day, it’s important to keep it simple. Speak to your clients like humans – not robots. They DON’T care that you think their pelvis is anterior tilted and that their posture sucks. (The power of language is important. Never put your clients down. Your job is to raise them up.) What they DO care about instead, is that you can help them strengthen their lower back and get strong.
Treat your clients like gold and work hard to help them achieve their goals. Put them in the best positions possible to become successful not only in training, but in life. Training goes much further than just squatting and deadlifting – it’s an integral part of their long-term health and longevity. You need to show them that you care A LOT about them, and also helping them get to where they need to be. Show them how much you care through your actions.” – Matthew Ibrahim
- What are the top things that an adult needs to execute a proper hinge?
“A proper hip hinge starts in the core. It’s important to master the basics first. By basics, I’m talking about core stability. My go-to exercise here is the RKC Plank, in which we want to create as much full body tension as possible. By doing this, it ensures that are core muscles are engaged and that are lower back is strong and safe. Here’s a quick RKC Plank tutorial video: https://instagram.com/p/BO9qCM2ghk4/
Next, we need to groove the hip hinge pattern. This can be achieved in many ways, however, I’m a big fan of the Pull Through since it truly mimics the horizontal line of pull needed in a Deadlift (which is the ultimate end-goal). Here’s a quick Pull Through tutorial video: https://instagram.com/p/BPm87v-A5Aw/
Now that we have the RKC Plank and the Pull Through in our pocket, it’s time to actually pull weight off the floor. For the general population, we will typically begin with a KB Elevated Deadlift or KB Deadlift, depending on the client’s current movement abilities. Here’s a quick KB Deadlift tutorial video: https://instagram.com/p/BPBG-VQAaJk/
In a nutshell, we would need the client to be proficient at the previous 3 exercises. Once those have been accomplished, the next step would be to progress to double-leg hip hinging (i.e., Barbell RDL, Trap Bar Deadlift, Sumo Deadlift, Conventional Deadlift, etc.) and single-leg hip hinging (i.e., Single Leg RDL, etc.), depending on their training goals and movement capabilities.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into the hinge, I present the Hip Hinge 101 Workshop with my friend and colleague, Dr. Zak Gabor. We provide a full day workshop with the following key topics being covered: assessment and screen, low back and pain science, breathing and bracing, hip hinge exercise progressions and regressions, dynamic warm-up, deadlift training progressions and regressions, hands-on deadlift coaching, active cool-down, and a Q&A session.
Here’s a list of upcoming workshops:
March 5th in Boston – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beverly-ma-hip-hinge-101-workshop-tickets-28343612508
March 26th in Connecticut – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/derby-ct-hip-hinge-101-workshop-tickets-28343843198
April 9th in Rhode Island – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/middletown-ri-hip-hinge-101-workshop-tickets-28343987630
April 29th in New York – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fairport-ny-hip-hinge-101-workshop-tickets-28344110999
May 27th in Colorado – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/broomfield-co-hip-hinge-101-workshop-tickets-28344373785 ” – Matthew Ibrahim
- Why is being able to hinge important?
“Being able to properly hip hinge is imperative for long-term health. Think of how many times each day we need to pick something up off the floor and sit down in a chair or seat. It’s important to have the basic skills in place in order to properly hinge at the hips while performing these movements.
Lower back injuries have taken a huge rise. There is too much money being spent on a yearly basis due to injuries and lower back related pain. Over the course of the lifespan, roughly ¾ of the population deals with a lower back-related injury. All of this can be mitigated and reduced though. A big help can be found in learning how to properly hinge at the hips.
A hip hinge doesn’t just belong in the gym while performing a Deadlift. We see it in sports on the field and on the court when athletes are jumping, moving, and changing positions at fast speeds. We see it in the kitchen when people are loading and unloading their dishwashers. We see it when a parent is picking their baby up and out of their bed.
Case in point: the hip hinge is everywhere in life. We do it constantly every day. It’s important to learn how to do it the right way for long-term health.” – Matthew Ibrahim
- How do you avoid injury in progressing your hinge?
“It all starts at the core. We teach basic breathing and bracing concepts first, and then we carry those concepts with us when we teach core stability and strength. Your core is your pillar and your foundation. It’s important to have this area on lock and engaged when performing hip hinge-based exercises. This helps to protect the low back.
Also, it’s important to incorporate intelligent warm-up and recovery strategies to keep your posterior chain muscles happy and your lower back healthy. Here’s a list of my go-to exercises:
Inchworm – https://instagram.com/p/BPC2lu8A0kF/
Single Leg Lowers – https://instagram.com/p/BPfT-3zgu4S/
Single Leg Hamstring Floss – https://instagram.com/p/BOxIB-0AnDh/
Half Kneeling Wall Hip Flexor Stretch – https://instagram.com/p/BPFfUlegpvA/ ”
– Matthew Ibrahim
Ok, so that was insanely good. Wow.
Matthew from all of us, Thank YOU, you crushed that. Thank you for stopping by
Thanks for reading and Kaizen on, Beast