Friday, January 22, 2010

The Magic Circle - Carl Miller

#1. The bar would be around floor level with the shoulders directly above or a little in front of the bar.

#2. The bar would be around the knees witht the shoulders well in front of the bar.

#3. The lifter has scooped under like he would when doing a pull.

#4. The lifter has extended straight up as he would when doing a pull.

#5. The lifter puts his hands on his thighs to help himself up from a heavy squat.

The Magic Circle
by Carl Miller

The Magic Circle’s greatest value is that it can be used for “pulling squats” (squats the stimulate the double knee bend style of pull. If you look at the pictures accompanying this article, you will see the lifter is squatting as he does for the double knee bend. In Picture #1, the bar would be around the floor level with the shoulders directly above or a little ahead of the bar. As the bar would come to the knees (Picture #2), the shoulders would go well in front of the bar. Then the lifter scoops under as when doing the double knee bend (Picture #3) and then uses his hips and his legs to extend straight up as he would do when pulling (Picture #4).

This action is easy with the Magic Circle because as the shoulders go in front of the bar, the Circle is pulled back toward the body (see the difference in distance the front part of the Circle is from the lifter’s body in pictures #1 and #2, and note that the front edge has been pulled toward the body), and the lifter remains in good balance. With a bar on the shoulders, this cannot be done without extreme pressure on the lower back and discomfort of the shoulders. When a lifter does this type of pulling squat, he gets a lot of transference of power that is gained from squatting; the power is transferred to pulling. It is a psychological fact that the greatest transference of power from progressive resistance exercises to the specific action done in any given sport takes place when both actions are as similar to each other as possible.

Another value of the Magic Circle is having a lot of weight feel comfortable on the shoulders. This is very important for beginners. Leg and hip power is so important, but beginners shy away from gaining it in the form of one of the best exercises, squats, because of the bar digging into the shoulders. Even with pads, it can still be uncomfortable and cumbersome.

A final value is the safety of handling large weights when alone. The hands can be put on the thighs, and with a hard push by the hands, the lifter will come right up (see Picture #5).

So with its comfort, safety when handling heavy weights, and its ability to be used effectively when doing “pulling squats”, the Magic Circle is something which can certainly help an Olympic lifter.

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