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Training Principles: Joint Stacking

Joint Stacking

What is Joint Stacking?

Positioning all joints in a straight line relative to the medial and distal portions of that limb and must also allow movement as needed from these joints.

Why is it performed?

Joint stacking can improve the absorption of force from oncoming resistance, produce maximal force output, aligns the joint to move in its strongest and most stable position, and prevents shearing forces on joints that may lead to injuries. Joint stacking can be applied to many exercises to increase performance and safety.

How it is performed

Step 1: Assess the joints involved in the movement and what the functions of those joints are.
Step 2: Assess the muscles involved, role of those muscles and the process the muscle is going through to contract optimally.
Step 3: What are the benefits of stacking these joints?

What can it be used for?

Joint stacking is primarily used for:
 – Squats.
 – Bench pressing and shoulder pressing.
 – Deadlifts.
 – Rowing and pull ups.

Technique flaws:
 – Squat: Knee cave and bent wrists.
 – Pressing: Over-tucked or over-flared elbows.
 – Deadlift: Knee cave.

Example of Assessment: Back Squat

Step 1: Joints = Hips, knees and ankles.
Step 2: Muscles = Quadriceps and gluteal muscles, the quadriceps extends the knee, the process it goes through while descending is the ‘stretch shortening cycle’ which strengthens the contraction .
Step 3: Benefits = By stacking the knees above the ankles, the gluteal muscles activate and can contract optimally.

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