Thursday, November 6, 2008

From "Broad Shoulders" - Bob Hoffman

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In the repetition clean and press the weight is brought to the shoulders, from there it is pressed overhead in the usual manner, lowered to the chest, then to a position near the floor and the movement is continued as described for the chosen number of repetitions. The deltoids do a fair share of the work in pulling the weight to the shoulders, a major portion of the effort of pushing the weight overhead.

We will not attempt to go into details as to correct performance of the repetition snatch, those who are interested will no doubt be sufficiently concerned to find instruction describing this lift. It will suffice for the beginning bodybuilder if we say that the weight is drawn from the floor to arm’s length overhead, a sufficient poundage should be employed that it will be necessary to lower the body either in the squat or split style as the weigh goes overhead, the split style is the easiest and currently the one most commonly used. Pull the weight up close to the body, pull so that you can feel your arms and deltoids working, bring the feet on a line, lower and repeat. This movement requires a lot of power and stamina when continued for 10 or 12 repetitions.

In the clean and jerk very heavy weights can be employed. We get out of exercise what we put into it, and here is a movement that permits you to put all you have into it. As a competitive lift only one supreme effort is made to get the weight to the shoulder, another to get it overhead, there it is held for the count of two and lowered to the floor. The very best men lift more than double their bodyweight overhead. America has far more men who have performed this feat than all the rest of the world combined. Terlazzo of the York club is out best man; he has put over 40 pounds more than double his bodyweight overhead in this style. Naturally he has wonderful deltoids, bit he also excels at pressing, holding the world’s record and is a good man at hand stand press ups as well as many other forms of lifting. He has been rewarded for the years of constant practice that have made him the great champion he is today by his superhealth and fine muscular development.

We are chiefly interested in the clean and jerk here as a continuous movement, so it should be practiced with a weight which will permit repetitions both of the clean and the jerk.

Repetition jerks, or partial repetition jerks, performed with a slight heave of the legs and a press out of the weight will bring favorable results. Another of the York champs, U.S. and world’s record holder in the 123 pound class, Emerick Ishikawa, practices this movement regularly, as did Luhaar, the giant Estonian who for long held the world’s record in the clean and jerk.

One hand lifts are most excellent for developing the shoulders as very heavy weights can be employed. The one arm snatch is done so quickly that it can do little for the shoulders, but in direct contrast is the bent press. It is too complicated a lift to explain very thoroughly in this book, but here is a rough description. Somehow the weight is brought to the hip, by cleaning the weight, by merely pulling it up, by rocking the bell; while supported at the hip, the feet are properly placed, one pointing straight front, the other 15 to 18 inches from it, advanced slightly and the toe turned out somewhat. The leg on the lifting side is held straight, the hip thrown form center to balance, the elbow holding the weight placed on the back of the hip, the bar turned far around until what had been the rear is now the front, until it is perpendicular to the body, and sloping so that the back of the bell is highest, from that position leaning forward, the body is finally inclined so far that the bell almost goes up of itself. Yet with a heavy weight the shoulder has plenty of work to do and practiced as a repetition movement, a powerful and all around development, including strong deltoids, will result.

The one arm clean and jerk is a good movement to practice. The bell is placed in front of the lifter, he grasps the bar with palm front, then with a quick pull brings it as high as possible, catches it on his hip or at the shoulder, and from that point jerks it overhead. The best men handle unbelievable poundages in this style, 266 pounds is the record held by Lurich, a Russian who flourished in the years of the beginning of this century. All lifters of his day excelled at repetitions in this lift and you can be sure that this movement played an important part in developing the big and powerful deltoids the old timers possessed.

The one hand swing practiced as a repetition of the style used in competition, lifts such as the two hands anyhow, where very heavy weights are supported overhead for considerable periods, a movement where the bar is pressed to arm’s length overhead, and then holding it in this position the body is bent forward at the hips, will have a severe effect on the deltoids.

The great old timers, especially the Europeans who at one time held all of the lifting records, did a great deal of dumbell lifting. Single dumbells have their advantages in developing the deltoids, for considerable balance is required to keep them properly overhead. So some heavy dumbell work should be included in your training. The most simple forms of dumbell lifting are two of the best – the clean and press with two dumbells, and the clean and jerk with two dumbells.

Combination Movements

1. Continuous pull up and press
2. Repetition two hands snatch
3. Repetition two hands clean and jerk
4. Repetition jerks
5. Bent press
6. One arm clean and jerk
7. One hand swing
8. Two dumbell clean and press
9. Two dumbell clean and jerk


The rowing motion behind the back is a little known but different and result producing exercise. It develops all the muscles of the upper back, the arms and the shoulders.

A somewhat similar movement, but one which is performed a little differently, is the shoulder shrug with barbell held behind the body. This movement will bring different fibres of the huge and powerful trapezius muscle into action than will the usual shoulder shrug practiced with the bar held in the hands at the thighs.

The arm and shoulder girdle are capable of a great amount of movement. They are the guiding force in every lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying movement. It is evident when a great number of the muscular fibres of the shoulder muscles are brought into action that superior development of the shoulder muscles will result. While a few simple heavy exercises will produce far better than average shoulders, the practice of many exercises will result in the strongest, best proportioned and broadest shoulders.

In performing the lateral raise, to gain a bit longer range of action, instead of stopping the dumbells at the thighs permit them to extend across the lower back until they touch.

Lifting motions with repetitions and heavy poundages bring the shoulders to the limits of their development and in addition create a favorable effect on all other muscle groups. They are particularly stimulating to the internal organs, glands and processes. Pressing movements of all sorts are excellent for developing the shoulder muscles, for raising weights overhead is what the shoulder muscles are designed to do. Also, pulling the weight to the shoulders as in the clean, or to arm’s length overhead as in the snatch, and jerking the weight overhead after the one or two arm clean are good exercises too. Every leading lifter has a pair of well developed, broad shoulders.

Even if you are in the class which call themselves body builders, kindly remember that weight lifting exercises are among the best body builders. Every body builder should practice the lifts for their muscle building results, particularly the shoulder building results they offer.

When you practice exercises to develop the shoulders which consist of straight arm raising, forward and lateralward, you will find that after the practice of several different exercises your shoulders and arms become quite tired. While it is necessary to make demands upon the muscles in to obtain the maximum of benefits, to exercise at times until they ache, it is neither comfortable nor a good plan to do this too frequently. It is a fact that it is much easier to obtain a superior brand of shoulder development by the practice of lifting moderately heavy or heavy barbells of dumbells to arm’s length overhead. While the very best shoulder development is obtained by practicing a multitude of exercises you can obtain magnificent shoulders by practicing a single exercise. This, the pressing of a single dumbell aloft in the method described in the chapter on repetition exercises. It is the modified side press.

When you press a moderately heavy barbell overhead a number of times you will be developing the triceps and deltoid at one time, but the deltoids will receive more benefit than the triceps. In addition to single arm pressing with a dumbell in the side press style, very excellent results in shoulder development are obtained when the body is held erect during the exercise. For, when the body is permitted to bend to the side many other muscles assist in raising the bell and the shoulders are robbed of some of the developmental effect. This is well proven by the fact that when Arthur Saxon whose record in the bent press, leaning far to the side and front, sustaining the weight with the body, is 371 pounds, while his record in the one arm military press, a press with the body held in the military position as the name implies, is only 125.

A good variation of the shoulder shrug is performed with the body bent forward at only about 45 degrees instead of the usual 90 degrees of the rowing motion when the body is at right angles to the legs. Shoulder shrugging in this bent over position develops the shoulder muscles from a different angle.

Few men have the place, equipment or the inclination to practice Roman ring exercises, yet it is acknowledged that they build the most unusual shoulder, upper body and arm strength as proven by the development ring performers obtain. This form of exercising and hand to hand balancing will build the strength and development of the shoulders to a considerable degree. Very similar results can be obtained in a manner which can be practiced in any home gymnasium. To practice this exercise, lie face down upon the floor, arms extended in front of head, and from that position raise yourself as far as you can from the floor. Another way is started also in the face down position, but this time with the arms extended laterally from the body. In each hand should be a dumbell. This exercise is a harder way to apply your strength and is similar in effect to the effort demanded to maintain the cross upon the Roman rings. Keeping the arms stiff and straight, roll the dumbells to a position under the body as it is raised. An easier method would be to lie flat on the floor on your back, or better still on a bench, with a pair of dumbells, and you can pull them up while keeping the arms straight until they are together over the head. A very wide range of movement can be practiced lying on a bench.

A certain amount of dipping is done in the York Barbell Club gym. This is always performed the hard way, wit the feet in front and higher than the hands, and weight placed in the lap.

Chinning produces most muscle for the biceps and the latissimus dorsi, but as you will see, the shoulders which are allied with these other muscles also obtain some benefit.

The handstand dip and press is a most excellent exercise. It’s the pressing in the handstand position that which provides real benefit and develops the muscles. If you are not exceptionally skilled as a hand balancer yet, kick up against the wall and raise and lower the body while supported in that position. More skilled lifters kick up into a hand balance on a low bench, and from that position raise and lower the body in the handstand position. In this way it is possible to lower the body a great deal more, for the chin can extend out over the edge of the bench and the body be brought down until the chest nearly touches. Siegmund Klein, an outstanding possessor of deltoid strength, presses into an unsupported handstand and performs tiger bends planches.

Pulling a weight over for a heavy bridge lift while lying on the floor is a fine exercise. In 1902 George Hackenschmidt excelled at this press on back lift with a record of 386 pounds, which was Joe Nordquest later exceeded by two pounds. Since that time the record has moved upwards very slowly. In handling 200 or 300 or more pounds, nearly 400 for those in the record breaking class, the shoulders most certainly receive their share of benefit.

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