Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rack It - C. S. Sloan






Rack It

by C.S. Sloan


Power. Strength. Mass. Few bodybuilders of the new millennium those qualities. There just aren’t many around who have truly tremendous power. What, you say? How can that be? The reason is simple. Bodybuilders have gotten away from their roots as strength athletes and instead focus on looking pretty or going solely for the pump in their training. Well, if you want to be a real lifter, a person who’s at least as powerful as they appear, then you need to orient your training toward serious power training.


There are several effective methods for building mass PLUS strength and power. One very useful tool for doing that is the power rack. The fact is, you could train exclusively within the confines of a power rack and make tremendous gains. I train at home most of the time, and the majority of my workouts take place inside my rack. Sure, I do some bench presses, deadlifts, curls, cleans and overhead presses outside the rack, but I also do plenty of bottom-position bench presses and squats, squat lockouts, rack pulls, midrange benches and bench press lockouts, bottom-position military presses, close-grip benches, floor presses, standing shrugs, one- and two-board presses, power holds and rows in the rack. That’s the beauty of the thing. It enables you to train in complete safety with the heaviest weights possible, and to perform bottom-position movements and lockout exercises you would otherwise never be able to do alone.


Power rack training can provide some of the most rewarding and enjoyable workouts you’ll ever do. To get you started down the right path, here are detailed instructions to several good programs that will give you the most bang for your power-training buck. At least one routine should work for you.



OVERALL MASS BUILDER ONE

This routine has you training three days per week.


Day 1

1.) Bottom-position Bench Press – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Get in the rack and set the pins so you start from the bottom position of the bench press, with the bar just touching your chest. Explode to lockout, lower the bar under control for a count of three to four seconds, pause on the pins for a second or two and then begin the next rep.

2,) Behind the Neck Press – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Once again, set the pins so you start the exercise from the bottom position in the rack, in this case right at shoulder level. Pause on the pins after each rep before starting the next one.

3.) Bottom-position Squat – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

If you thought the bottom-position benches were hard, you’re going to get a real dose of it with these. Set the pins so you begin in the ass-to-bottom position. Lower each rep under control and pause on the pins briefly before starting the next.


Day 2 – Off


Day 3

1.) Deadlift Lockouts – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Set the pins so you start the movement at knee level. Pause on the pins briefly between reps.

2.) Bottom-position Incline Presses – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Bentover Rows – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) Power Holds – 2 to 3 holds.

Set the pins in the rack at about knee level. Take an overhand grip on the bar and perform a deadlift. Hold the weight for as long as possible, until the bar actually starts to slip from your hands.


Day 4 – Off


Day 5

1.) Bottom-position Bench Press – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

2.) Behind the Neck Press – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Squat Lockouts – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Set the pins so you perform the top 1/3 of the movement.

4.) Barbell Curl – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

5.) Lying Barbell Extension – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.


Day 6 –Off

Day 7 – Off.



OVERALL MASS BUILDER TWO

This routine has you training four days a week.


Day 1

1.) Bottom-position Incline Press – 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

2.) Midrange Bench Lockouts – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Set the pins so you begin five to six inches above your chest.

3.) Behind the Neck Press – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) Lying Barbell Extension – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.


Day 2

1.) Bottom-position Squat – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

2.) Front Squat – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

Don’t use the bottom-position technique on these, but do set the pins so you can unrack the weight at the bottom of the lift if you get stuck.

3.) Standing Calf Raise – 5 to 7 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

4.) Barbell Curl – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.


Day 3 – Off


Day 4

1.) Dumbell Bench Press – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

2.) Wide-grip Bottom-position Bench Press – 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

Use a grip that’s outside the power rings.

3.) Behind the Neck Presses – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) California Presses – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

Set the pins just above your head so you can rest the barbell there for a brief second between reps. Begin the movement as if you were doing a standard close-grip bench press. Once the bar gets about halfway between the starting position and your chest, begin lowering it toward your throat as if you were doing a lying barbell extension. Rest briefly on the pins between reps before pushing back up for the next rep.


Day 5

1.) Rack Deadlift Pulls – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Set the pins at mid-shin level so you’re almost performing a full deadlift. This exercise takes away the initial movement that’s generated when you pull off the floor.

2.) Wide-grip Chins – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

3.) Bentover Rows – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4,) Barbell Curls – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

5.) Power Holds – 2 to 3 holds.


Day 6 – Off

Day 7 – Off



POWER SPECIALIZATION PROGRAM

Make sure you include several heavy sets of ab work at the end of each session on this powerlifting program.


Day 1

1.) Accelerating Bottom-position Bench Press – 8 to 10 sets of 3 reps.

Use a weight that’s 60-70% of your one-rep maximum bench press. Set the pins for bottom-position benches and accelerate the bar from the pins as fast as possible to lockout. Lower with control for a count of two seconds, pause briefly on the pins and then accelerate back to lockout. Three reps are all you need on these. The pause will build tremendous starting strength on your regular bench presses. This exercise will teach your body to lift heavier weights with more force, a must in powerlifting.

2.) Behind the Neck Press – 5 to 7 sets o 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Wide-grip Chins – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) Close-grip Midrange Partial Bench Press – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Take a grip that’s about 10 inches wide. This movement is fantastic for letting your triceps handle maximum poundages while taking your pectorals out of the lift.

5.) California Presses – 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.


Day 2

1.) Accelerating Bottom-position Squat – 8 to 10 sets of 3 reps.

Use same technique that you used on accelerating bench presses as described in Day 1.

2.) Front Squat – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Stiff-legged Deadlift – 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) Good Mornings – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Most people don’t work this exercise heavy enough, despite its potential for really bringing up the numbers on your squat.


Day 3 – Off.


Day 4

1.) Bottom-position Bench Press, Midrange Partials, or Close-grip Bench Press –

3 to 5 sets of 1 rep.

Alternate the above exercises weekly. Make sure that every set after warming up is a maximum attempt. This rotation will keep you from going stale and prevent plateaus.

2.) Push Press – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Use the rack on this exercise will keep you from having to clean the weight into position.

3.) Bentover Row – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

4.) Lying Barbell Extension – 10 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

Strong triceps are the most important asset to a strong bench press, which explains the high volume on this exercise.

5.) Barbell Curl – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.


Day 5 – Off.


Day 6

1.) Bottom-position Squat, Rack Pull, or Squat Lockout – 3 to 5 sets of 1.

Alternate the above exercises as described for Day 4.

2.) Accelerating Deadlift – 6 sets of 3 reps.

Once again, use 60-70% of your one-rep maximum. Accelerate as fast as possible off the floor.

3.) Good Mornings – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.


Day 7 – Off.



ARM SPECIALIZATION PROGRAM


Day 1

1.) Bottom-position Squat – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

2.) Behind the Neck Press – 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

3.) Bottom-position Close-grip Bench Press – 7 to 9 sets of 3 to 7 reps.

Take a grip that’s about 10 inches wide. That will maximize triceps involvement while taking your shoulders out of the movement as much as possible. For your first work set go as heavy as you can for 7 reps. Add 5-10 pounds on each successive set until you finish with a few sets of 3 reps. Make sure you pause briefly on the pins at the bottom of every rep.

4.) Lying Barbell Extensions – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

5.) California Presses – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.


Day 2

1.) Wide-grip Chins – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

2.) Bentover Rows – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Barbell Curls – 7 to 9 sets of 3 to 7 reps.

Use the same set-and-rep scheme as described for the close-grip benches in Day 1.

4.) Dumbell Hammer Curls – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

5.) Reverse Barbell Curls – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.


Day 3 – Off.


Day 4

1.) Bottom-position Bench Press – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

2.) Behind the Neck Presses – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Close-grip Midrange Partials – 5 to 7 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

4.) Reverse-grip Bench – 5 to 7 sets of 5 to 7 reps.

If you’ve never performed this movement, take it easy at first to learn the exercise, and to make sure your shoulders can handle the stress.


Day 5

1.) Wide-grip Chins – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

2.) Bentover Rows – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

3.) Alternate Dumbell Curl – 7 to 9 sets of 3 to 7 reps.

Use the same set-and-rep scheme that you used for the barbell curls in the Day 1 routine.

4.) Cheat Curl – 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

Use back strength and momentum to curl the weight any way you possibly can. Use good form and a slow negative on the descent.


Day 6 – Off.

Day 7 – Off.


There you have it. Four very good power rack programs for just about anyone. Of course, you don’t do all the exercises in the rack, but all you need for any of the above workouts is a rack, a bench, a barbell and some heavy dumbells. After trying these routines, you may never go back to any other type of training.

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