Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Purposeful Pause

"Pausing in the bottom position of extensor chain movements such as front squats forbids the use of the stretch reflex, thus increases intra-muscular tension, a great way to vary the strength building stimulus." Says Charles Poliquin.

If you do a lot of Olympic lifting you're probably used to training the bounce out of the hole. Don't neglect the pause technique to work the muscles without the rebound effect.

The deadstop lift is another method to eliminate the bounce effect in training. Dan John used it with success.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grip Training for your Deadlift By James Smith (www.dieselcrew.com)

Have trouble opening jars? Your hands look someone who got smashed by a house in the Wizard of Oz? You’ve got problems. Well, fortunately you are doing something about it. You are accessing a wealth of knowledge, on the greatest Powerlifting site on the web – www.EliteFTS.com. To increase your bench, dead and squat, one essential aspect everyone forgets – is strengthening your grip. Gripping the bar with the strongest / tightest grip possible is essential for locking your body into a solid, weight bearing structure. There are many different types of grip strength; supporting, pinch, crush, levering, bending and tearing – for instance. For this article we will focus on supporting strength as it pertains to your deadlift.
Here are 3 quick, simple exercises that will help increase your deadlift grip.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Strengthen Rosie and her Five Friends - Grip

By Jim Wendler
One of the biggest things that I struggled with during my deadlift training was my grip. This was never a big deal when I was lighter (under 250lbs), but as I became bigger my grip began to suffer.


The big embarrassment came when I pulled 585 and it fell out of my hands. I had everyone telling me to go see a doctor because of the numbness, but I knew what the real story was; I had not taken my grip training seriously enough.
Now I was in somewhat of a dilemma – I know I needed to train my grip but everything I’ve read was contradicting itself. I’ve heard that the best way to better your deadlift grip is to deadlift. While I believe this is true, the only problem with this is that when one becomes more advanced, the less you can perform deadlift workouts. The deadlift is extremely hard on your body and can take a long time to recover from. So what was going to suffer? My overall training or my grip?
Then I got the shot in the ass that I needed. (No, not that shot.) I met Jed and Smitty from the Diesel Crew at the 2003 Boston Seminar and they got me on track. First, they showed me what it is like to have fun and train again. Like many of you, training often became a job for me; something that I did only because of habit. It was the same routine over and over again and I would feel guilty if I didn’t do Reverse Hyperextensions or ab work at the end of a workout. I know that many of you are or were in the same boat. Then I met the Crew and things changed. They loved what they did and it showed. I had a renewed sense of training after seeing them.
The Diesel Crew (www.DieselCrew.com)  is known for grip prowess as well as doing lifts that have long been forgotten. They’ve got dozens of strange videos on their website; most of them showcase some kind of lift that will make your head shake in amazement.
Anyway, with their guidance (along with some other people) here are some of the things that helped my grip tremendously. They are simple to do, but grip work takes time. While I noticed results in about 6 weeks, it took about 8 months of training my grip to get it where it needed to be. To give you a point of reference – when I began doing this, I couldn’t close the Captains of Crush Trainer with my left hand (this was my numb/weak hand). In about 6 months, I was able to close the #2 fairly easy. I think this was a substantial improvement. The biggest thing that you will notice is that I didn’t really focus on improving my crushing grip, but my finger strength. In doing so, my overall grip improved. Remember the saying, “You are only as strong as your weakest link”? Well, much of grip training focuses on the thumb and forefinger. These are already strong on most people. It’s the pinky, ring and middle finger that are usually weakest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deadlift Grip Development - Ernest F. Cottrell

There are many reasons that lifters fail to make a record deadlift they have worked so hard to attempt, and one of the major problems appears to be in grip strength for two important reasons: 1. Obviously, if the grip isn’t strong enough to hold the bar it is lost during the lift, and 2. If the grip is just strong enough to get the weight up in an accepted lift, your grip strength may not be strong enough for you to do this at any given time, and you either lose the lift now and then, or when it weakens, your confidence weakens too, and it’s left up to accident whether you make it or not. Naturally, this is a big problem you’d like to eliminate if possible, and develop a grip that has reserve power at all times.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adding 100 pounds to my deadlift by Paul Carter

"So for all of you crappy deadlifters out there such as myself, I'm going to write about how I took my deadlift from the 550 range to it's current 650-660 range over the last few years, and put into a program you can use combining some of the methodologies I used to get there.  So I hope you enjoy benefiting from my mistakes."

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Finnish Deadlift Routine

A lot of work in the lower % area makes this volume intensive program good for people with an already heavy pull. (new link)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coan/Phillipi 10 week Deadlift Routine Calculator

Nice calculator for the well known Coan/Phillipi routine here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finnish Deadlift Secrets

by Sakari Selkäinaho
Through out the years, the deadlift has been our ”national sport” here in Finland. World records has been broken since early 70´s. What makes Finns pull so much, what is their secret ?

I took a look and after collecting training information of many new and former greats, here is some background and information.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quest for the Title

Derek Poundstone's quest for the WSM 2011 Title - a good write up of his journey and the overall event, with plenty of good pictures, too.

UPDATE - new link to google cache of story.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Lock your shoulder blades into place and think about putting them in your back pocket"

I found this to be a useful deadlift article at T-nation.
Am deadlifting more than in the past and the differences between the deadlift and Olympic pulls are notable.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Partials, or the vast majority of lifts

I can modestly say that I am world famous for doing partials (in that I seem to be the only one doing them in such a comprehensive manner), this has lead many people to believe that I therefore cannot or will not do fulls.

From the many comments I have received I can see a number of mistakes being made. These mistakes were the same mistakes I made for many years and which lead to me not making gains for many years…

Let’s see if I can address these issues by replying to some of the questions I have received…

From the incomparable Sumoman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can you build strength with the Olympic lifts? by Glenn Pendlay

"Consider the fact that the argument used to disparage the Olympic lifts as drivers of strength gain is usually that they use too light a weight, move too fast, and are over with too quickly to adequately provide the necessary stress. But a lifter who clean and jerks in excess of 80% of their squat or deadlift has, when performing a heavy clean and jerk, racked a bar to the shoulders that is higher percentage of their deadlift than most competitive powerlifters use to train the deadlift, front squatted a weight that is a maximal or near maximal front squat, pushed overhead and supported a weight that is a higher percentage of their back squat than many popular strength programs use to train the back squat, and completed a lift that lasted longer and had the body under the stress of the weight longer than any back squat that most lifters are ever likely to do."
Full article here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

On Bar Speed - Dan John

Simple, direct, valuable focal point for training in the weight room. Bar Speed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Strong for what You Need

I love this anecdote:
One of my strength coaching colleagues told me that in the early ’70s during a press conference prior to a Russia versus US wrestling competition, it was brought up that the American wrestler in the 165-pound bodyweight class could bench press 365 pounds – quite a remarkable accomplishment in that time period, especially for a non-powerlifter. And consider that athletes were not using the elaborate equipment they have access to today that can add literally hundreds of pounds to a raw performance. The Russian counterpart responded by producing two pairs of pliers and proceeded to squeeze them so hard that they snapped! After the match, the defeated US wrestler commented that when the Russian grabbed his arms, he felt as if they were locked in a vise grip and that he immediately began to lose sensation in his arms and hands. Again, the US wrestler was certainly much stronger than the Russian from a weightlifting standpoint, but the Russian had achieved a remarkable degree of functional strength for his sport.
It's from this article on thick bar training from Charles Poliquin. I like the anecdote better than the article.

That Glenn Pendlay Concetric Only Idea...

has been getting some play on the intertubes lately. Here's a piece in that vein I saw attributed to Glenn a couple years back, same idea:


As most of you know, I train athletes and not bodybuilders, so often the methods I use are geared mostly towards strength with little regard to gaining size, or even geared specifically toward gaining strength WITHOUT any size gain for athletes in specific weight classes.

that having been said, I usually have a hard time keeping weight off the guys, the volume of training we do often means that the guys must watch the diet really close to avoid growing out of their proper weight class.

now, having said all that, there are times when I have a guy that needs to move up a weight class quickly, for instance I recently had a guy that needed to move from the 77kilo weight class to the 85kilo (or from 169lbs to 187lbs) weight class because in his particular division the competition was actually easier at 85.

This particular guy usually trains about 10-12lbs overweight, so I actually had to move him from 180lbs to about 200lbs in 8 weeks, hopefully with no body fat increase, and of course with no drugs. I thought id share one of the ways I have accomplished this quick weight gain in the past and how I did it in this case. In case you wondered, he did accomplish this, weighed 201lbs 2 weeks before competition, and is now cutting for competition; he’s weighing 195 now one week out, most of the rest well sweat off the day of weigh in.

the best way to accomplish weight gain is with of course more food and increased training volume, but I run into a problem here because my guys are squatting hard 3 days a week already, and doing maximal lifts in heavy leg and back exercises like the snatch and clean and jerk 6 days a week already... so adding volume in the conventional way would quickly result in an athlete breaking down.

So I use an idea that didn’t start with Westside, but has been recently popularized by them, concentric only exercise. The good thing about this is that it seems to have a good effect on the body, but doesn’t really make you sore, and doesn’t seem to affect recovery that much; in some athletes it seems to even help it.

The way I structure the workouts is this, the regular training around noon, and the extra workouts around 6 or 7 pm. typical exercises are as follows.

Walking up stairs with weight, taking the elevator down. For this I have a long, thin bag filled with sand, actually several of them. An athlete takes a bag, say a 50lb bag, and walks up 2 flights of stairs, then walks to the elevator and rides it back down.

Heavy ball throws. I have various bags and balls weighing between 20 and 100lbs. the athlete gets his arms around one on the ground, then with a clean or snatch type motion throws it up and behind them. It hits the ground; they turn around and throw it back. We usually do 10 throws at a time.

Various sled pulling. This is pure Westside; they have come up with many variations of this. a couple that we use are simply to attach a rope from the sled to the waist, usually around a weight belt, and walk 40 or 50 yards taking long, straight legged strides. for the upper body, we use two ropes, each with a handle, and for instance do a bench press type motion to pull the sled forward, then walk a step, then press again, etc. or turn around and do the same thing with a row motion. we also put the rope between our legs, and face away from the sled... as you take a step, straighten the body slightly, this pulls the sled forward. Take another step to take the slack out, and then do it again.

all of these things work the major muscle groups with concentric only action... adding to the workload but not compromising recovery ability that much, as long as you get extra sleep and remember to take in more food at least. Using these sorts of methods seems to allow athletes to handle more workload than they could with only normal exercises, but it’s important I think to time the workouts right. You want to do these "extra" workouts 4-6 hours after your normal workouts if possible. I know others who have done their regular workouts in the evenings, and gotten up and done these extra workouts in the mornings and had good results, but I haven’t tried that much.

I am not really sure how these types of things would work for bodybuilders... however I have to think that they would in fact work... I mean one of the reasons I don’t use them more in regular training is that it tends to make it too hard to keep a guys weight. They seem to be particularly effective for adding mass to the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and the spinal erectors and also upper back.

one other thing, we alter the weight we use for each day much as Westside does... in other words, if you do it 3 days in a row, the second day you use half the weight you used on the first day, the third day half of what you used on the second day, and then you start over again with 100% weight. If any of you bodybuilders out there thinks about trying this, I’d is interested to hear how it worked for you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A conversation between masters

"Hey bro, I want to do 5x5 bro. Will it work for mass?"

"Yeah bro. It will. But I don't do it that way. I change it around. Because 5 reps aren't enough to get big bro."

"How do you do it then?"

"Well I use the 5x5 outline but I do 3x12, then what I do is superset the next two movements and do like 5 burn out sets bro. Makes my arms pumped to the max bro."

"But that's not 5x5."

"Sure it is bro. I use it almost exactly like it says. I just add my own thing to it. So it's almost the same. I've gotten jacked this way bro. My arms have never been so swole."

"Sounds good bro. I will do that."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

8 Stupid Myths about Squatting

Myth #2: Squats are bad for the knees. Not only are squats not bad for the knees, every legitimate research study on this subject has shown that squats improve knee stability and therefore help reduce the risk of injuries. The National Strength and Conditioning Association has published an excellent position paper on this subject with an extensive literature review, and data from the Canadian National Alpine Ski Team suggests that regular squatting reduces not only the rate of injuries but also the time it takes to recuperate from injuries that do occur.

See the rest of the list here. But if you read this blog you probably already know squats are healthy and good for you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Steak and Chimichurri

2lb Flank or Skirt Steak:
Marinate steak with a very light touch of soy, Worcester, salt, pepper. Very very light!

For chimichurri:

    * 1 to 2 garlic cloves
    * 2cups flat-leaf parsley including trimmed stems
    * 2 cups mint including trimmed stems
    * 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
    * 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Make chimichurri ahead to let it mature and mellow a little. Drop garlic into food processor with motor running and finely chop. Add remaining sauce ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse until herbs are finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Cook over high flame grill, broil or sear in cast iron a couple minutes each side. Take off and let rest 8min. Slice against grain. Serve with chimichurri on side. Fried egg acceptable addition for breakfast consumption.