Wednesday, December 23, 2009


An interesting quote from Glenn Pendlay on the GoHeavy forums:

"Funny you should mention upper back development. After I got home from the Junior Worlds in Romania, I had a conversation with several people about the differences between those on the medal stand, and those placing 10th or below, which was, often, precisely the differences between the Medal winners and the American lifters.

You couldnt tell a medal contender from a B session lifter by leg size. At least I couldnt, not thighs, hamstrings, or butt. Some of the lifters with the most impressive legs were either B session lifters, or bottom of the A session. Many of the medal winners didnt have huge legs.

What I found to be the most noticable quality that seperated medalists from lower caliber lifters was general leanness, and upper back/posterior delt muscle. That really stood out to me while in the warmup room and seeing various lifters without their shirts on and with singlets pulled down. The top guys were LEAN usually, and, VERY musculasr all across the upper back... not neccessarily high traps, but just very thick and muscular on the backs of the shoulders, around the shoulder blades, between the shoulder blades, etc...

I discussed with Dr. Michael Hartman for about an hour, what to do with this observation? Does this mean the winners tend to be people who naturally are muscular in this area? Is a slightly different pull or other technical difference in the top lifters building muscle in this area? Would it pay to do extra "non-weightlifting" exercises to build this area, like barbell or dumbell rows? I believe the chinese do a fair amount of dumbell rows...

I am not sure what the answer is, maybe a combination of things. But I am glad to hear this observation from anther person... "

Monday, December 21, 2009

1988 Olympics: 90kg Class C&Js

More footage from that mystery DVD I have. I still don't know whom it belongs to.

Somewhere out there, waiting to be converted from VHS, is some rare footage of Antonio Krastev and others lifting in NY area competitions. Stay tuned in the next couple of months.

What You Need to Do

You need to do two things to get stronger: add weight and do more reps. The answer has never been: lift light weights for high reps, or lift heavy weights for few reps. The answer remains: Lift heavy weights for high reps. - Dan John

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Push Press

Supposed training of Misha here.

Gelnn Pendlay on the push press:

My advice on push press is to #1 get your squat and front squat up. That's a whole other thread, but it's safe to say that you wont be push pressing 300lbs with the same squat numbers that you are push pressing 230lbs with. You'll need strong legs.

When I push pressed 440lbs, I had done 770 for a triple on the Olympic style squat wearing only a belt, and 606lbs for a set of 10 without even wearing a belt. Rob McAdams push pressed 375lbs weighing about 200lbs, he squatted 400lbs for a set of 20 OL style with no belt, and did front squats with 440lbs and more wearing only a belt. It's hard for me to imagine a 300lb push press with much less than a 500lb OL style squat done raw. I'm sure its been done by some freak, hell some freak out there probably push presses his max squat. But if you're aiming for 300lbs on the push press, I'd aim for 500lbs on a raw squat done deep and a stance close to what you are push pressing with.

Now as to training the push press itself... I would do them twice per week if you are no good at them, if your technique is bad. Do this just to learn the movement. If you are skilled at them, cut it back to once. But do overhead work 3 times per week if you can. Do a variety of movements. Military press, push jerks, even snatch grip push press, and regular push press with the bar behind the neck. Benching once per week won't hurt you, but if you bench too much, it cuts down on what you can do overhead, at least in my opinion.

A good workout emphasizing the push press might look like this


5x5 on military press


3x5 on push press


3x5 on bench press

3x5 a little lighter on some other overhead movement, like push jerk, or snatch grip push press

Start conservative, build and after 4 or 5 weeks change the reps or one of the exercises.

For variety, you can do complex exercises... for instance, on one of the days, you can use a weight you can do around 4 or 5 reps on the military press, press it for 3 reps then push press it for 3 more, for 3 or 4 sets.

Or, if you know how to jerk, take a weight you can push press say 5 times, push press it for 3, then jerk it for 2 or 3 more... again for 3 or 4 sets.

These complexes are killers! Don't overdo them.

That's basically it, get your squat up, and practice overhead work. Its nice to see someone interested in my favorite upper body exercise. A big bench is cool, but there is always the equipment controversy. A big jerk is simply a thing of beauty to me, but there are always those who scream "it's all technique" and dismiss the strength needed to do it. But a big push press, I don't know, to me, its just the absolute coolest expression of shoulder/arm strength there is. I think a big push press is a damn cool thing.

Just remember that the real "meat" of a program isn't so much the exercises or the days of the week... it's how you plan/approach your progression. Make sure you keep good track of what your doing... try to make small steady jumps on your weights, try to do things in some sort of systematic way and not be jumping all over the place. And last, listen to your own body, use your own head! Listening to others is good, but if you listen TOO MUCH, and don't think for yourself, you'll end up flying all over the place always trying the latest greatest thing. Pay attention to what is working for you, and what isn't. Make changes in a reasonable fashion, know why you are changing, and change one thing at a time so you can monitor the results.