Thursday, October 31, 2013

Flag - Bud Parker

by Bud Parker (1962)

There is no doubt that big muscles - symmetrically developed - command the attention and respect of all people. But even more so than the male physique itself, muscular strength holds first place in bewildering people the world over! 

Strongmen are comparatively rare today - in an age when people are fascinated by man's ability to command machinery to do his work - but, whenever and wherever one appears, spectators never fail to pack the arena in hopes of seeing a memorable show of muscular might.

The bodybuilder can't help but command the attention of everyone at the beach - and although this attention is his to command - the occasional strongman - regardless of what type physique he possesses - who shows up to amaze onlookers with a few feats of strength, commands even more attention - even it if lasts no longer than his act (and less than this sentence), when all eyes are turned, once again, towards MIGHTY MUSCLES! 

Now, if might, well-proportioned muscles were also trained to perform feats of strength, attention would be unanimous in the direction of the all-around bodybuilder/strongman. As bodybuilders you can make your muscles serve you to the full by training them to perform feats of strength - and, at the same time, have some fun, challenge your own ability to accomplish such feats, and amaze all onlookers with both your muscles AND your might!

Here are some stunts that you should be able to perform once you spend some time perfecting them. Difficult to do, they'll challenge your ability and impress all your friends - who will attempt them and inevitably fail. These stunts will tax all your strength, and, if you perform them five or 10 times each, you can be sure that you possess a mighty frame!

The bodybuilder of average strength may be able to perform them correctly as feats of strength - meaning one at a time. By continual practice the average bodybuilder will acquire the strength to perform each one twice in succession, or, at least make a good try at it. In time - provided you practice regularly - you should be able to perform five or ten successive reps easily and correctly.

The short fellow, it seems, has a great advantage over the tall fellow in most of these feats - because the longer the legs, body, and arms the greater the bodily leverage; hence, more strength is required to overcome this leverage.

In these exercises a strong pole or iron pipe will serve the purpose. The best diameter sizes are from 1.5 inches to 2 inches; the pipe or pole should be securely fastened at the top and bottom.

Strength Feat No. 1

This is the easiest of the lot. Generally speaking, the stronger of your two arms is the one that takes the lower grip position, as shown. You can soon determine which hand position suits you best by trying both - first the left up and right down, and then the right up and left down. There should be a moderate or comfortable distance between the hands.

Now, straighten both arms rigidly, and by pulling down or hanging with the upper hand and pushing upward with the lower hand you raise your straightened legs up at right angles to the upper body.

Holding that position for a few seconds is a pretty good feat of strength for the average fellow. To make this an exercise (which you will find more difficult), lower the feet to the floor until they just touch; then raise back to the right angle position, and repeat as many repetitions as your strength will allow. If you rest the arms and upper body the least bit when the feet touch the floor you are not doing it correctly.

This feat or exercise (as the case may be) is great for the entire upper body, arms, and front of the thighs. Remember to change hands and exercise both sides equally.

Strength Feat No. 2

A variation of the above is to straddle the pole as illustrated. The only other difference between the above feat and this is that the upper body is bent, elbow down. A strong bodybuilder can remain in this position for quite a time without apparent strain.

The exercise obtained from this feat is very strenuous. As you can see the lower arm is straight and the upper arm is bent. Now, the exercise is done by slowly allowing the lower arm to bend and the upper arm to straighten out as the entire body is lowered. When the upper arm is straight the body is lowered as far as it will go. Then the feat is to raise or pull the body back up to the original position. This, of course, is done by chinning with the upper arm and straightening the lower arm - if you can. Do 4 or 5 and you've accomplished something! Change arm positions and exercise evenly.

Strength Feat No. 3

This is sort of a one-arm chin, but it demands a better grip than chinning from a horizontal bar. You can see that the hand in this position will easily slide down the pipe when the weight of the entire body is lifted off the floor with this one arm.

In doing this one, you grasp the pole high enough above your head so that the elbow will be slightly above the level of the same shoulder. This allows you to raise the feet clear off the floor when you raise your body to the point where the shoulder is level with the elbow.

If you haven't the strength to pull the body up these few inches, then you can jump up and hold yourself at that height. See how long you can retain this suspended position, hanging by the strength of one bent arm without undue strain. You can swing around the pole in this feat while you are supporting your body with the one arm, as in the previously mentioned feat.

As an exercise this is very strenuous for everyone except the very few who can chin several times one-handed. The difficulty is largely due to the position of the hand and the wrist, and the slipping tendency of the hand when in this position.

As an exercise, raise your body as high as possible and lower as many times as you can. If you must jump (and most fellows will have to), do so, but let the body come down as slowly as possible until the feet touch the floor. Use as much arm strength and as little jump as you can to get you up. This will greatly strengthen the back, shoulders, and arm muscles.

Strength Feat No. 4

This is a simple "flag." The flag proper, as you know, is done with the arms straight at the elbows. This position cuts short cuts short the length of leverage and gives stronger arm support, consequently making it easier to keep the body and legs out in the air at right angles to the pole.

You will notice that the elbow of the lower arm supports part of the weight. The weight is supported mostly by the bone strength of the forearm. Of course, the strength of the grip of this lower hand is important.

The upper arm is in a very strong position with the elbow, forearm, and hand against the pole.

The feat is to hold the legs and body out as stiff and straight as possible for a few seconds. The exercise is the repeated lowering of the legs and body from the highest position.

Strength Feat No. 5

This is the most difficult of the lot. Grip the pole by placing the upper hand on it so that the back of it faces out, and the lower hand is turned so that the back of it faces the opposite direction. The farther the hands are apart, the easier the feat becomes. Be sure that the flat of your back is parallel with the pole - as you assume the "flag" position. The hips must be in the same relation to the pole.

The shorter you are, the better you will be able to perform the "low" flag. 

There are two difficult parts to this feat:
1) raising and keeping the legs and body at right angles to the pole;
2) preventing the legs and body from swinging around the pole.

As an exercise, the Flag is a honey! It is rarely used for exercising purposes, and the reason is obvious. However, those who are looking for something real strenuous for the arms, shoulders and upper body should try the Flag as an exercise.

The movement of the exercise is the raising of the feet, legs, and hips to the right-angle position with the bar, and then slowly lowering back. Don't rest at high point nor at the low point.

Yes, these feats are fun to do, they'll challenge your ability, tax your strength, help mold your muscles, and amaze your friends. and you can be sure that you're strong if you can do these!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Split-Clean & Jerk for Bodybuilders - Gord Venables

Figures 1 - 5
Click Pics to ENLARGE

Figures 6 - 11

The Split Clean & Jerk for Bodybuilders
by Gord Venables (1962)

This article is not for weightlifters. It is for bodybuilders who want to acquire a greater degree of overall strength by lifting the largest possible poundages overhead with confidence. 

How much can you lift overhead? Seems to me to be a simple enough question for any weight man to answer. Novices assume and rightly so, that the more weight you can lift overhead the stronger you are. Well, how much can YOU lift overhead?

If you're a bodybuilder you probably have a pretty good idea of how much you can press while lying on a bench, and some of you may even know how much weight you can press overhead. But, to get the greatest weight overhead you don't press it, you jerk it. 

You can lift more weight overhead in the Jerk than by any other method, but to jerk a weight you first have to clean it to your shoulders. If such terminology as 'press', 'clean', and 'jerk' seem strange to you -- you are a novice, so perhaps this article will help enlighten you a little. 

A bodybuilder should spend some time and energy on the Olympic lifts and their variations. No other lifts will build terrific body speed/strength and at the same time improve ability. Granted, the Snatch requires more agility than the Clean & Jerk. Nevertheless, more weight can be lifted in the latter, and the more weight lifted the more strength acquired.

Strength is important to a bodybuilder. The stronger and more confident he is with heavy weights, the more poundage he can use in his exercises and - the more poundage used properly the more muscle acquired. Reasoning thusly, it would be wise for every bodybuilder to acquire a greater degree of strength and confidence with heavy weights. Big shapely muscles are a joy to behold, but strength is a priceless possession. The Split-Clean & Jerk builds great strength.

The Clean & Jerk is actually two movements:
1) the clean pull-in to chest, and
2) the jerk to arms' length overhead.

There are two methods of cleaning -- the split, and the squat. I would like you to consider the split method of cleaning here. It is easier to master, the split-clean bears similarity to the jerk, and I find it develops a different form of agility and confidence in bodybuilders.

In pulling the barbell to the chest (cleaning), the bar should be grasped with the hands about shoulder width apart, shins almost touching the bar, feet should be spaced as for a heavy dead lift, the back flat and the arms straight. (Fig. 1)

Keeping the back as flat as possible the bar is pulled hard and high (Figs. 2 and 3). Start bending the arms as soon as the barbell leaves the floor. This is a different technique than that used by Olympic weightlifters, but one I should like you as a bodybuilder to use. Pull the bar as close to the body as possible without touching any part of the body.

You can pull a very heavy barbell only so high, and that is about 2 to 4 inches above waist level. The instant the barbell reaches its highest position above waist level the feet must be instantly split fore and aft, the hands turned over and the elbows thrust forward (Figs. 4 and 5). 

All this must be done in a split second, and if the bar does not land solidly on the chest just above the sternum it will come crashing back down to the floor. Even if the bar reaches the sternum it can be dropped if the elbows are not instantly thrust forward. The old expression of "whipping the barbell onto the chest" is an apt description. Flexibility in the wrists is important at this phase.

Your feet should hit the floor together the instant the bar lands above the sternum. The rearward leg may be slightly bent but it must be rigid. The knee must not touch the floor.

The forward leg should appear as in Fig. 5 when the feet touch the floor. Whether you split the right or the left foot forward is immaterial; whichever comes naturally to you is the proper way.

The moment the bar has settled on the chest and there is no chance of it falling forward, come to the erect position (Fig. 6). If you are perfectly balanced in the full split come erect by pushing the forward leg until it is almost straight, bringing it back to the starting position. Then bring the rearward leg up in line with the forward foot. If the weight is very heavy it may be necessary to bring the feet together in several movements and this is acceptable.

Stand in the erect position (Fig 6) until steady, taking as much of the weight of the bar on the chest and shoulders as possible. Buy thrusting the elbows high the bar will rest against the sternum and both shoulders. This is a solid position from which to jerk. Avoid taking all the weight on the hands. Many topnotch lifters emphasize this point by allowing the bar to roll back to the fingertips; the entire weight being supported between shoulders and sternum, for the impetus of the jerk comes from the legs through the body. The bar must have a firm foundation for the overhead jerk.

Take a slight dip of not more than 4 inches (Fig. 7). That is all that is needed. It is the sudden upward speed of the jerk that shoots the weight overhead, not a slow, deep dip. Straighten out the legs as fast as possible (Fig. 8) as if you were going to jump and heave the barbell up.

You can heave the barbell only so high and the instant it has reached its greatest height split the feet fore and aft (Fig. 9) just as you did in the Clean except that you will not have to split as wide (Fig. 10). You split only low enough to lock the arms. The arms should be locked the instant the feet touch the floor. If they don't you will be forced to press the barbell into arm lock and when it gets very heavy this is difficult unless you are a phenomenal presser. Better to have your timing perfect so that the elbows straighten and lock the arms the instant your feet touch the floor.

Make certain the bar is locked safely overhead and you are balanced (neither too far forward or too far backward) then come to the erect position (Fig. 11). Bring the forward foot up first then the rearward. More than one movement may be taken if necessary.

The barbell must be held motionless at arms' length overhead for a minimum of two seconds before being lowered to the chest and then to the floor.

If you are a fairly strong overhead presser (can press more than 50% over bodyweight) you should, after some time, be about to jerk about 1.25 times what you can press. If your Press is better than 50% over bodyweight you should Clean & Jerk about 1.20 times that amount. If you are a weaker presser (about 25% or less over bodyweight) you might Clean & Jerk 1.5 times what you can press.

Bodybuilders should experiment with doing the Clean & Jerk at least once a week, even if it is only for the satisfaction of knowing how much they can lift to arms' length overhead. The body strength and mental confidence you acquire will be well worth the time put in.

Cleans - Cornell Hunt

 Power Clean:
How to Clean Tutorial, Glenn Pendlay

Cleans for Explosive Strength
by Cornell Hunt (2013)

I'm going to cut right to the point. If you're into athletics or cross-training, you're probably incorporating some type of Olympic lifting into your workouts. If you've been keeping up with the current trends of fitness, you know that Olympic lifting is part of what the masses are doing and looks as if it's here to stay.

Olympic lifting is no longer exclusive to the Olympic games or to college or high school programs. People are smartening up. Everyone wants to be strong and fast and to look good. So, the fitness population has decided to mimic the moves of elite athletes around the world -- and Olympic lifting has made its move into the mainstream.

The chances are, however, that you are performing the lifts incorrectly. I am an Olympic lifting certified coach, and it hurts my eyes to see so many people performing these movement poorly. It is a recipe for injury in the name of physical fitness and strength, which is a travesty. To get the most out of these terrific exercises, take a step back, learn the movements, and then progress. Keep your ego in check, and watch your workouts improve.

Below is a beginner's guide on how to learn the power clean and squat clean. I could fill pages and pages with instructions on Olympic lifting, so bear with me as I drop that down to just a few. The fact that there is so much to learn shows how important the technical aspects are and how these lifts must be done with caution.

Foot Placement

Foot placement is a big issue I see among beginners when they're learning how to do Olympic lifts. Here's a simple drill. Jump up as high as you can go about five times without thinking about foot placement. After you land on your fifth jump, look down. That's your correct foot placement for the Olympic lifts. People fail to realize that the clean and the snatch are jumping movements in which your body is trying to produce as much power as it can. Wherever your feet push through the ground to jump as high as you can, that's where you should place your feet when setting up. Generally, it's about hip width apart.

Hip Hinge/Romanian Deadlifts

The next movement that you should be able to do is hinge at your hips while keeping your knees slightly bent, your spine neutral or slightly arched, and the muscles of your back engaged. Keep the bar close and move your hips back. If you are performing the movement correctly, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. That stretch is crucial, as you will learn later. Once your flexibility stops you from going any lower with the bar, stand up violently by extending your hips through a hard gluteal contraction. Beginners should master this before progressing further.

Front Squats

Flexibility and core strength are huge limiting factors when you're trying to perform front squats. Grab a bar with your hands about thumb distance away from your thighs. Put the bar across your clavicles with your elbows up and your triceps running parallel to the floor. Your hands should be relaxed but helping slightly to support the bar from falling forward. This is where sub-par flexibility will be exposed. There can be a host of problems, but the inability to put your elbows up high shows a lack of wrist flexibility, lat tightness or poor shoulder rotation. Sometimes you can address the problem by adding weight to the bar, but you must address it before you move on to performing cleans.

When squatting, open your feet about shoulder width apart or slightly wider, keeping your toes pointed out slightly. Also keep your knees tracking over your toes throughout the movement. With your torso being a bit more vertical, your ankles will go to greater levels of dorsiflexion, so adequate ankle mobility is required. Olympic lifting shoes that have elevated heels and stable platforms will give you an easier descent. Also, your ability to maintain an upright torso will help to test your core strength. When you are holding heavy weights in your hands, whether you are doing a clean or a front squat, the weight will pull you forward. You'd better have the core strength to offset that and remain stable. Again, make sure you are able to perform the front squat safely and without much limitation before moving on.

Clean Pulls (from different hang positions)

This is where we begin to implement the power. Start by performing a clean pull from the mid-thigh. Grab a bar with the same grip as described above. Push your hips back as in the hip-hinge exercise until the bar is in the middle of your thighs and your weight is on your heels. From that position violently push through the ground, creating power, and then transfer the power from your heels onto the balls of your feet. That should also cause a violent hip extension. For beginners it's easy just to say, "Jump" which usually results in the desired outcome. 

After you've mastered that, take the bar a bit lower to the top of your kneecaps, still by hinging at the hips. You should feel that stretch in your hips, as described above. The stretch will cause your hamstrings to load up tension and energy and then release that energy by forcing a violent contraction, which allows for a more efficient transfer of power when you're doing the full movement. When you reach your knees, slowly start back up; when you hit the mid-thigh position start your clean pull.

Once you've mastered this range of motion, proceed to lowering the bar below your knees. Keep your knees flexed, with your shins vertical. All your weight should be on your heels. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your shoulders in front of your toes. Also, don't forget to keep your back tight. You will learn that when you have a heavier bar in your hands, creating back tension will keep you safe and injury free. Slowly rise, and then violently jump, letting the bar brush around that mid-thigh position. Learn these movements completely before moving on.

Hang Power Clean From Each Position

Notice that we didn't do the clean pulls from the floor yet? There is a reason. You want to get better, right? Continue to follow this advice, as it's like fastening links together to form a complete chain. 

After you've gotten the clean pulls down, return the bar to the mid-thigh position. Now perform the clean pull again, but this time let the bar come up and travel upward. As the bar rises, drop yourself back down under it, catching it in a power position -- hips back, tall chest, feet flat on the ground -- looking like the descent portion of a front squat. Remember to relax your fingers as the bar travels upward, and catch the traveling bar as you move into the front squat. Practice this movement by mastering the timing and rhythm so the bar is caught gracefully and doesn't crash on your shoulders. After you've done this, proceed to performing hang power cleans from each position -- above the knee and below the knee.

Set Up and Lift Off

Once you are able to lift from the floor, you should proceed with caution. This is where many people make mistakes. Making sure your feet are around the hip-width position, walk up to the bar, putting your shins about an inch away from it. The bar should be over the laces of your shoes. Squat deep, and grasp the bar in the clean position. A good rule of thumb is to keep your hamstrings close to your calves and have your weight on your heels. You want the movement from the floor to be very quad dominant, allowing the hamstrings to kick in later. That's another reason that Olympic lifters have huge quadriceps. Get your chest up nice and tall, with your elbows rotated outward. 

Once you are safely set up and your back is tight, lift the bar upward by moving your knees out of the way, performing a reverse Romanian deadlift. By pushing your knees back and out of the way, you enable the bar to travel straight up along a smooth and efficient path. Most beginners keep their knees bend and in the way, forcing them to move the bar around their body when it should be the opposite.

Once you rise, your knees will straighten out, and that's what we call the 'first pull'. After the bar passes your knees, you will begin the double-knee-bend, or scoop phase of the movement. Here, your knees go under the bar, thereby beginning the 'second pull' which is the violent hip movement and jump, as described above. 

Power Clean and Squat Clean

There is a difference between the power clean and the squat clean. When thinking power clean, think of a powerful athletic position. Think of a basketball defensive stance. Your knees are slightly bent, your chest is up, and you're catching the bar into something that's much like a quarter- or half-squat. The power clean should be learned before the squat clean, and you should become efficient at both. Once you obtain some skill, precision and confidence with the rhythm and timing of the power clean, you can start working the squat clean harder.

Many people don't understand the mechanics of the squat clean. Quite simply, when the weight gets heavier the bar won't travel as high. So, after you initiate that second pull, you have to drop under the bar and 'catch' it in a deep front squat. There is a time in this fluidity when the bar weighs nothing. That is when you have to get under it. Once you are under it, having a good front squat enables you to stand up and get out of the hole.

If this seems like a lot of information, know that there are books on how to perform squat cleans. As a certified Olympic-lifting coach, I appreciate how difficult it is to teach someone how to perform Olympic barbell movements. Trainees must be coached and go through a series of steps (a 'progression') before they can lift the weight from the ground effectively. Some people may simply not care to lift more weight, but I would assume that if you are reading this article you aren't part of that crowd. The stronger you are, the better off you will be. Learn the movement, and get better at it. Have patience, and watch your workouts take off.

Cleans are rightfully making their way back into all fitness arenas, including the programs the high-intensity junkies love. Now, I'm not a huge fan of putting Olympic lifting into high-intensity workouts. I believe the risk outweighs the reward, especially with someone who is a beginner at the movements. So, if you're going to continue to do these, let my advice help you a little. If possible, find a certified Olympic-lifting coach, and have him or her help you. Drop the ego, and realize that taking a step back can lead to multiple steps forward. Increase your strength with the movement. Learn to do it correctly, and master the technical aspects.

Implement these complex lifts into your overall workout with caution. Always work on your lifts before doing any metabolic work that can cause you to fatigue and stray away from proper movements. People who do Olympic lifts while in a fatigued state just end up rehearsing bad movement patterns and wondering why they don't get stronger. Think logically about the positives and negatives, the values and risks of higher rep and/or fatigue-state Olympic lifting before simply retching plans blindly onto your workout sheets. 

If I I haven't convinced you sufficiently to keep away from the high-intensity power clean workouts, give this clean/front squat ladder routine a go:

Put about 60% of your one rep power clean or squat clean max on the bar. Perform 10 power cleans and then perform 10 front squats . . . then 9 power cleans, and then perform 9 front squats . . . working your way down to one rep of each movement. Once you feel your technique is dropping, make the weight lighter before continuing.

If you're working out and have the patience to learn Olympic movements you are already part of an elite few. Just respect the progressions and get stronger. It will lead to an overall improved workout experience, enabling you to hit your goals more quickly.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dead Serious - Taylor Wilson

The deadlift is the easiest lift to perform, and the most difficult to train, for me. It lends itself to over arousal, since there's really no "over" with deads, and I love that. But, past the novice stage, I've always burned out pulling heavy from the floor. The result was that I was forced to consider one of my least favorite things: conjugate periodization. My deadlift is really the only lift I figured out, and trained, alone.

Initially my main lifts besides pulls from the floor where 16" rack pulls, deficit deads from 1.5-3", and more recently, I added pulls with the plates on 3" blocks. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about deadlifting came from The Mad Stork. When I first pitched my rack pull idea, he felt they were OK, provided one took great effort to mimic their position in the deadlift, at that stage of the pull. As a result my best 16" rack pull is only 35lbs more than my deadlift from the floor. Could I pull more if I simply used the most efficient way to pull from the greater height? Of course, but it wouldn't have carried over nearly as well to my DL. My deadlift from the floor is reliably 25-35 lbs. behind my 16" rack pull; it's a great indicator lift for me. But only because I mimic my position in the DL, rather than trying to see how much I can lift from 16".

I don't rotate these lifts on any fixed cycle, like you often see. This makes no sense to me, if you're still doing well pulling from the floor, why would you just up and switch? Initially you'll probably hit the wall before you realize it's time to switch. On days like that I advise sacking the deadlift, and going harder on the assistance. As you get used to it though, you'll be able to smell it coming. The PR will be smaller, the weight will have felt heavier than it should have, and you'll know you should switch lifts next week.

For me, intensity has always been king when it comes to the deadlift. My training has pretty much always been 1 to 3 sets of 1 to 3 reps, although I added downsets later. Yes, that's correct, sometimes my best deadlift workouts are just working up (in large jumps) to a heavy single. I believe in weekly or bi-weekly deadlifting, the once a month, once every two weeks thing just never did anything good for me. I will admit that I have weeks where I just suck ass at deadlifts, but at least I'm giving myself the chance to perform well. That said, I've met enough guys who do better on infrequent pulling that I would suggest experimentation. That's true of pretty much anything I suggest, many ways to skin a Walrus. But, I can't help but wonder if these infrequent pullers have, themselves, not experimented. Perhaps the truth of the matter is they can't pull from the floor heavy frequently, which is sort of the whole point of this article: few people can do that. But there are ways to keep yanking heavy weights without pulling from the floor weekly.

People royally fuck up their deadlift set up all the time, and it drives me crazy. It's not even about where their hips are, or what their back is doing. It's that they're leaving all kinds of slack. If you were trying to remove a tree stump using a truck and a chain, would you leave 20' of extra chain, and gun it? Well, that's what most guys are doing when they deadlift, and that's a fucking terrible way to pull a stump. It starts with your hands. Really work that bar into your hands. Don't just make a fist around the bar, that's not how your hands will stay during the pull. I like to put it further up on my hands, resting right on my callous ridge. I start with it there, and that's where it stays during the pull. I do know one man who could hold onto deadlifts with the first two digits of his fingers, but you are not that man, most likely. I know I'm not. Then it's the arms. What's with these loosey-goosey arms? These are the chains that connect you to the bar. TAUT, man. As part of allowing the arms to be taught, one must conversely loosen up the upper back. How many guys have you seen start with their upper back in a tight, retracted position, pull that tightness out, then yank on the slack in their arms? It's awful . . . you'll never pull the stump like that. Take out all that damn slack.

Another thing that comes up periodically is what to do with the back and hips. The truth of that, of course, is that it depends on the lifter. But here's what I found. I've always had a little bit of monkey-see-monkey-do in me over the years. Hell, I pulled sumo (because that's what all the Vogelpohl lookalikes where doing, so I should get on it right?) up until 500, at which point I missed it thrice, before getting furious, yanking it conventional, and never looking back. The "Konstantinov’s slump" led to larger PR's for me almost overnight. It changes the leverage of the lift ever so slightly for me, so that I may be more hinge-like and keep the bar closer to my body throughout the lift. Whether you pull with an arched back, a flat back, or a rounded back really doesn't matter. What matters is that your back doesn't move while you're pulling: start in the position your back is going to end up in. It's that moving around that hurts folks. That's why rounded backs get such a bad reputation, guys start neutral backed, then round mid lift. If they'd started with their back rounded, they probably would have been fine. Lifting with a rounded back is something the human body can do just fine, it has for longer than I even understand. I, myself, prefer a neutral back position for the lumbar area, while rounding the upper back as much as possible (and taking the goddamn slack out).

I do have to say that I've noticed high hipped puller tend to do better on the deadlift. You always hear the same refrain ". . . and he almost stiff legged it, too!" Well, that's no accident. It may very well be that people with bodies and limb ratios better suited to deadlifting are more comfortable with high hips, and it's their natural talent that makes their big pulls possible. But the high hipped pulling has always worked best for me, and the guys I see who get way down there usually spring up to high hipped level right before they pull anyhow. It also tends to increase what's already an abominable clusterfuck of slack.

I do, strangely, though, think there is something to the idea of a sort of "second pull" in the deadlift. I have a lot of speed off the floor, but I don't just shove my legs into the ground and blast off like a rocket. I come off the ground nice and steady for a couple/few inches, and then accelerate hard to pull past my knees. Lockout should be easy for a conventional deadlifter (the only actual deadlift is with your legs within your grip, and the bar in front of your body), unless they have some kind of muscle imbalance. One thing I see time and time again is weak glutes. Upper back strength is important as well, of course, but less so than people expect. One needn't retract their entire upper back at the top of a deadlift, but simply push their hips through and pull their shoulders back. What they really need is a stronger ass to push their hips through if they're having trouble above the knees. For the most part, just more squats and RDL's (see below) should fix this. There is one assistance exercise I think helps people with trouble using their ass properly, as much as I hate to advise any sort of sumo pulling. Sumo stance rack pulls (What could be more useless than normal rack pulls you asked, right? Don't be so fucking hasty.) for short rom are effective for this purpose. Pull from a height that lets you use your 1RM for sets of 5. Keeps the hips high and the legs locked like they would be at that point in a sumo pull. The only way to initiate, let alone finish the lift, is squeezing your ass. This is especially good for guys with shitty squats, because in their case, a competition depth or full squat will never overload their glutes.

There are two assistance exercises that almost never, ever get cycled out of my routine, regardless of what I'm trying to do. I like 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps (roughly) on RDL's, and bent over barbell rows. RDL's are not the super complex lift some folks think they are. It's just staying tight, and then like most of the other important lifts, it's a function of "Ass back, hips forward". I also love dumbbell rows. Hammering the upper back really allows for a lot more wiggle room on the deadlift. My best deadlift came at a relatively low bodyweight for me. My starting position was better (When I'm heavy I'm like a seated pregnant woman, my gut hits my thighs, my tits hit my guts and I can hardly breathe down there), I could keep the bar closer...and my upper back strength was down. When heavier, I need that "excess" upper back strength to compensate for those minor, but important differences. Shrugs are fun, but I've never really gotten much from them, and just throw them in as a "Whatever" type exercise. Maybe do some power shrugs, or snatch grip shrugs for high reps, just whatever gets my rocks off that day.

My best deadlift to date came during a period of no squatting. I wonder sometimes, now, if that was a mistake. I intend to repeat the experiment with squats, we'll see. I would do one heavy deadlift day using the conjugate method above, and the second day, I would do snappy doubles either from the floor, or a deficit, depending on what happened on heavy day. If I pulled from an elevated height or the floor, deficit pulls, if I was pulling heavy off the floor, then deficit pulls on light day. Afterward, hit more posterior chain and upper back. I chose the word snappy over saying speed work, because you don't wanna be fucking with 60% on that day. Keep everything quick and crisp, but you don't have to use obscenely light weights.

One of the only newfangled devices I approve of is the glute ham raise. An old friend of mine welded me one, and I've loved it for the past decade or so. I like to use bands, or a mix of bands with weight. Much like with sit-ups on the GHR bench, as the lift gets easier toward the top end, bands stretching keep the resistance more consistent. Make that two newfangled devices. Damn, they got to me.

Band good mornings are the pushdown of the deadlift. Do at least 120 reps on band GM's after every posterior chain workout. Do it three times a day. You gotta get into this like you're jerking off your erectors.

Over the years I've found that both bottom position rack squats and box squats seem to translate better to the deadlift. Another really odd assistance exercise I like to go with the sumo stance, small ROM rack pulls are partial, highbar, narrow (same as deadlift) stance squats. You can do these for triples off pins, or for higher reps with a regular top start. They won't do shit for your squat, but they're fun, and they seem to help my deadlift.

Find your "bad place" for when you deadlift. Like I said, no such thing is as over arousal with deads. If you can, work yourself into such an emotional fury that you've got tears in your eyes and your teeth are chattering. You're gonna pull on that goddamn bar until your lockout, or your spine blows out in a spray of bone shrapnel and LSD laden fluid. That might be the only thing you really need to listen to in this entire husk of an article, just fucking pull hard. Don't fake it, don't thump your chest like an ape (unless that just happens to be your thing for psyching up), just get ferocious, motherfucker.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Advanced Squat Training - John Kuc

An Advanced Squat Training Program
by John Kuc (1986)

In previous articles I have taken the reader from the beginning stage of training to the point where he is ready to concentrate 100% on powerlifting. We have worked our way through the building and learning stages and we are now ready to begin thinking of competitions, records and advanced training.

In order to get to the top in any sport you must be willing to pay the price. Don't think these records or championships come easy. There will be many setbacks and disappointments along the way. Many will fall by the wayside, but the ones who are able to pay the price will be rewarded.

The following discussions are for the advanced lifter; only those who have a solid base should follow programs such as these. 

We will begin with the squat since it is the first lift of competition.

Of the three powerlifts the squat is the most difficult to do in a contest. The lift entails so many aspects. Wraps must be applied; the lifter must adjust under the bar, walk backwards and set up; wait for the official's signal, perform the actual squat, wait for the signal, then rack the weight. Quality squatting equipment is expensive and cumbersome. The extra detail of setting the bar to each lifter's height uses valuable time. Because of the very heavy weight now used and the way the lift affects the lower back, hips and legs, there are many injuries resulting from the squat. The squat also requires the most athletic ability of the three powerlifts. It is difficult to judge for depth and form resulting in much controversy. Spotting the lift is difficult and dangerous for spotters and lifters alike.

Squatting has some drawbacks, but it is one of the very best and most effective developers of power in the lower body. The squat demands high concentration if a lifter expects to be successful in doing it. Like the deadlift, the squat involves the use of many large and powerful muscles. Squat training takes a lot of hard work. The workouts are heavy and repetitive. Unlike the deadlift, the squat can be trained harder and heavier for longer periods of time before a state of overwork is approached. Most lifters train the squat twice per week with two or three days between squat workouts. One workout is designated the heavy day, with three to five sets of heavy doubles and triples, or fours and fives with lighter weight lifted. There are big differences in all of us, and individual training requirements often differ among individuals. It takes years to know your body and the training that works best for it. LEARN A LITTLE FROM EVERY WORKOUT.

Some lifters naturally have the right body structure to be powerful squatters. They possess short legs, wide hips, thick abdominal structure, short stature and thick limbs. If you do not have it naturally and want to excel at the squat you will have to make some changes in body structure. An increase in bodyweight will better your squatting leverages. Stronger and  bigger thighs, calves, and abdominals are important squat builders. As an example of how bodyweight helps the squat - I remember before I bulked up to superheavyweight I was squatting a marginal 700 lbs. at 242 bodyweight. I took 18 months to reach a bodyweight of 330. During the eighteen months I did a single rep at the end of each workout. Each week, for 72 weeks, I added 2.5 lbs. to this single without fail. By the end of 72 weeks I was doing a  training single of 875 lbs. Every training squat I did in those 18 months was easy and I did not miss one single training rep. For every 5-lb. increase in bodyweight per month my squat jumped 10 lbs. There were no tight suits, thick belts or good knee wraps at that time either. I think that says a lot for bodyweight's positive effect on squatting leverages.

Personal equipment is one more way to increase squat poundage. A good suit, thick belt and Dyna Wraps will add many pounds to the lift.

Beginning lifters should not use equipment until they reach the advanced stage. High levels of real strength should be developed without the aid of personal equipment. During the lifter's initial years the weights should be felt and learned through the unrestricted movement of each lift. This is impossible when the new lifter is tightly bound in wraps, suit and belt.

Training the Squat

Because it is possible work the squat more often than the deadlift, the squat is worked twice per week. A sensible schedule for squatting that least affects the two other lifts and is least affected by them must be devised. There are different possibilities for setting up your squat training and training in general. These possibilities are governed by your work schedule, recuperative capabilities, lifestyle and the schedule of training partners.

Here is one method that is flexible and provides rest between heavy workouts. Do not follow it word for word unless you find it acceptable to your training. Look it over, try it, then make the changes necessary to bring it into accord with your body.

Monday -
Heavy squat and heavy bench.

Thursday -
Light squat and heavy deadlift.

Friday -
Light bench.

It looks like there is a lot of time between workouts. If all we did was powerlift, that would be true. This, however, is only the powerlift schedule. On heavy days and off days there is bodybuilding to do. Assistance work, abdominal work and stretching must also be done.

There is a theory that a lifter should train the squat without a tight suit, belt or wraps; then shortly before the contest resume their use. It is felt that training without gear will increase squatting poundages, because the body must work harder without it. Training without gear will increase squatting poundages, but it will not be to the lifter's advantage if this practice is continued too close to a contest. It takes two or three weeks to readjust to equipment. Two, three, four or even six weeks before a contest is a critical time. The lifter might be hitting the peak, fixing a depth position in the mind, or evaluating present strength with the day of contest strength. This is not the time to be falling forward or not going deep enough in the squat. Begin training with the exact equipment you use in a contest three months before the contest. Remember: train as you perform.

Squat Routines

1) Heavy Day -
1st warmup - sets of 15-8-6-4 reps, followed by the 2nd warmup, used for warming up to heavy worksets - use progressively heavier weights  for each set of 2's - 2-2-2-2.

2) Light Day -
1st warmup - 15-8-6-4-3, 2nd warmup - 2 worksets - progressively heavier singles - these singles are not to be done as maximum attempts unless you are testing your singles strength - 1-1-1.

Additional Sample Routines with Sample Poundages

I. Heavy Day - 
1st warmup - 225x15, 325x10, 425x5, 525x3 - 2nd warmup - 625x2, worksets 700x3, 725x3, 755x3.
I. Light Day - 
1st warmup - 225x15, 325x10, 425x5, 525x3 - 2nd warmup - 625x2, worksets 700x3, 710x2, 725x 1.
II. Heavy Day - 
Warmup - 225x15, 275x10, 325x8, 425x6 - worksets - 475x4, 500x4, 530x3, 560x2, 600x2.
II. Light Day - 
Warmup - 225x15, 275x10, 325x8, 425x6 - worksets - 450x 465x4, 485x3, 525x2, 550-575x1.
III. Heavy Day - 
1st warmup - 175x10, 225x8, 325x6 - 2nd warmup - 375x4, worksets 415x4, 425x4, 460x4.

III. Light Day - 
1st warmup - 175x10, 225x8, 325x6 - 2nd warmup - 350x4, worksets 385x4, 405x4, 425x4.

IV. Heavy Day - 
Warmup - 225x15, 300x10, 375x6 - worksets - 410x5, 430x5, 460x5, 490x5.

IV. Light Day - 
Warmup - 225x15, 300x10, 375x6 - worksets - 410x5, 430x5, 450x5, 460x5.

Personal Squatting Routine

Cutting down to 242 lbs. from superheavy was traumatic  to my squat. While reducing bodyweight I could feel the squats getting heavier day by day. When I arrived at the 242-lb. bodyweight I had less strength than I had before I gained all the bodyweight. My choice of routine was influenced by the fact that I cannot do many reps without sooner or later getting a lower back injury. The new routine had to consist of sets of low reps. I build my routine around three to four heavy sets of two and three reps. I trained two days a week, one heavy day and light on the other. The heavy day had the four sets of three or two reps with a heavy weight. A heavy day went like this -

225x10, 330x6, 430x4, 550x4, 635x2, 685x2, 725x2, 750x2, 710x2.

The light day went:

225x8, 330x6430x4, 550x4, 635x2, 685x2, 750x1.

I always have a single worked into most of my routines. It is not a maximum attempt. It serves the purpose of keeping attuned to heavy singles during a time when reps make up the majority of training. My squat assistance work was not too extensive, although I did loads of heavy bench squats during the early years of my lifting. Leg extensions and leg curls are the only assistance work I have done since 1974. I use the close stance, high bar style of squatting. The only place I ever encountered a small sticking point was from three-fourths of the way up to lockout. It was easily overcome by doing leg extensions and leg curls and from strength gained over the years doing the regular squat.

The squat has given me more upper and lower back injuries than the deadlift. If I kept the reps low, I avoided injury. The weight never seemed to cause the injury, only the amount of reps. I never injured my back with a heavy single, however, I have injured it countless times with rep sets. Another place I have run into back problems was when I took the bar off the rack and walked backwards or forward to return the bar. When you walk with the bar abnormal stresses are placed on the back every time one foot leaves the floor. All the weight is concentrated to one side and throws the back out of balance. Stay close to the rack, take a minimum amount of steps and drag your feet. Never completely take the weight off any one foot. 

Drug Free Training

Since I have training 100% drug free I have adjusted the previous training method slightly. I won't get into the philosophy of drug free training as I have covered that in previous articles.

The biggest adjustments I have made are that I don't go as heavy so often and I have cut the reps back a little more. The recovery period is longer so the real heavy days have to be further apart. A heavy day might go like this:

225x10, 330x6, 430x4, 550x3, 635x2, 685x1, 735x1, 780x1, 820x1. (Doubles would follow if the 820 set wasn't done.)

I have found this low rep system to work extremely well and I should do over 850 in 1986.

Assistance Work

There are two ways to schedule assistance work with your squat routine. First, squat assistance work can be done once per week. It can be done in place of your light squat routine. In this way you squat moderately to heavily in your regular squat workout and do assistance work exclusively in the other workout. Another way to schedule assistance work is to squat twice weekly, light and heavy, fitting in assistance work at the end of your heavy squat workout. Whatever method you use depends on how well you recover from each type described. If two squat workouts plus assistance work cause your progress to go flat, ease up and go to the easier schedule of one squat workout and one assistance workout weekly.

Sticking Points - Causes and Remedies

Lifters who use the wide stance, bar low on the back style squat usually encounter a sticking point from below parallel to a few inches above parallel. A strength deficiency in the quadriceps is the cause. Another frequent sticking point for the wide squatter is a few inches above parallel to completion. The lower back and hips are heavily involved at this position, so they would need special work.

Lifters who employ the narrow stance, bar high on the back style seldom have the sticking points of the wide squatter, but have their own sticking points particular to the narrow stance olympic squat. The narrow stance squatter gets a good upward start from the thighs and calves and upper thigh and abdomen pushing off each other. The narrow squatter usually hits a sticking point in only one place. This is from a point three-fourths of the way up until lockout. The muscles most activated at this position are the muscles of the lower, outer, upper and back of the thighs. Strengthening these muscles through specialization would help eliminate this sticking point of the narrow squatter.

The preceding has been a fairly thorough discussion on my theories and philosophies concerning squat training. The number one key to success is HARD WORK. The best routines in the world won't help if you don't work hard enough.

Good luck with your training, and
may all your lifts receive white lights.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Strength - Flex (2013)

Few things are more impressive than watching a dude load up five or six plates on each side of a squat bar and taking it deep to the bucket before driving it back up with authority -- for six or eight reps. And to make matters worse, when you glance over you notice legs the size of tree trunks. Likely, your first thought will be, "What is this guy doing in his training that I'm not?"

Strength is the first test of man's will to overcome. It's the genesis of lifting and fitness, and dates back a few thousand years, when it was a tremendous asset for survival. Fast-forward to the late 1800's and early 1900's, and feats of strength were the main attraction at any venue. Today, strength testing is still being performed, but has taken a backseat to size-building and shaping the perfect physique. But ask anyone who's anyone in the sport of bodybuilding and they'll tell you they began by lifting heavy, and that before they even considered trying to build and shape their massive physiques, they were in the gym working to build strength.

While volume reigns as the best way to build size, there's no better way to lay down dense muscle fiber and build a rock-solid base than to train strength. And whether you're a novice or a longtime veteran of the bodybuilding game, a solid strength cycle is a must every few months, if not more often. It's not a stretch to see the reasoning behind a good strength program. Lift more weight and increase your strength, and you inevitably hit more reps at the weight you did before, as it becomes lighter.

This example should serve well to illustrate. 70% of 100 is 70. 70% of 150 is 105. While pursuing biceps bliss, would you rather be curling 70 or 105 pounds for your reps? Furthermore, if you've increased your max, the weight you used to do do will feel much lighter. At your former load, you'll be able to bang out plenty of reps - just like the big benchers who take 225 for a 40-50 rep ride. While physiology will define it, math will prove it. It's simple. Don't be afraid. Don't avoid it. Embrace it and watch your lifts increase and your size benefit as an aftereffect.

I don't need to explain this scientifically, since the proof is definitely in the pudding - but I will anyway. Why? Because we need to define some rules as to what strength really is. More importantly, we need to prevent guys from doing 1/8 or 1/4 reps, throwing things around, making asses of themselves in the gym and occupying space needed by people who really want to see results. I'm tired of watching guys waste time loading up machines to do less than even a partial rep. They make a spectacle of the loading, disappoint on the lift, take 10 minutes between sets, then don't put their shit away. Another reason why science is necessary is for those who forget their legs exist. Let this serve as a reminder not only that friends don't let friends skip leg day, but also that strength training, by definition, will force other muscles to fire and get big. Take a look at the abs of the leaner, heavy squatters and deadlifters - trust me, no need for situps when you lift big.

Entire Body Builds Strength

Scientific evidence has shown that even muscles not being trained improve during strength training. To balance big loads you need to activate additional stabilizer muscles and even antagonistic (opposing) muscles. If you're a competitive bench presser you already know that your lats, when combined with your pecs, will produce much  greater force and drive out of the bottom of your lift. Build a thick back and your pushing strength goes up. Build solid legs, and all your lifts go up. Muscles need to work together to lift the big stuff. If you've ever gotten yourself under some heavy weight, whether it was helping a friend move furniture or in the weight room, you know that a three-rep max or even a one-rep supermax leaves you breathless for a while. It took every ounce of muscle you had to do it while getting plenty of help from stabilizers and assistor muscle groups. We know that because a day or two later you're wondering why some obscure muscle has DOMS and it's preventing you from getting comfortable. That's strength, and that kind of training is what makes muscle fibers activate, fire, and grow big. This is not news, though, it's been decades, long enough that research has proven this fact and confirmed it several times over since.

Recruit More Fibers

It stands to reason that if you want to lift big, you need all the help you can get. One of the benefits of big strength is that you'll recruit additional fibers to join in the parade. Just like a tug-of-war team can overpower its opposition by adding another person to their side, teaching your muscles to join in and fire means that more fibers are being used. This means that two things are happening. One, all of the fibers in your muscle will get activated, and two, if they haven't been used before, they certainly will now and thus you have a few more fibers to aid in your girth goals down the road. But unlike the rules in tug-of-war where both sides have to be equal, you make the rules for the strength game, so why not overpower your opponent and beat them by increasing your odds of success? One of the tricks we can pull out is that we can alter the stimulus to force more fibers to get involved. We can vary position, technique, set and rep schemes, and exercise selection to excite dormant muscle fibers. With consistent normal training, your body preferentially recruits fibers, and becomes almost automatic in which muscle fibers fire and how it does a lift. This, while good for someone like a baseball pitcher who needs to get a ball into a strike zone, doesn't bode well for those of us who continually try to see our muscles grow during a hypertrophy-based program week in and week out. But rather than just shock your muscles by attempting to confuse them or continually changing your routine, it's best to get them to up their effort by forcing them to lift big. By doing strength training under a strict regimen, you'll simply get better overall muscle fiber recruitment and avoid those annoying plateaus that make you wonder why you ever began with weights in the first place.

Strength Training Can Bust Plateaus

Ever had one? A plateau. Well if you've been training for long and you said no, you're lying and you  can stop reading this and go back to your perfect world. It's inevitable. It's also the downfall of training for regulars of the strength world. Without doubt, continually lifting heavy will cause a plateau. So why would we suggest strength training to bust plateaus? Easy. You're not doing it now, right? Or you will engage back in a good volume and/or hypertrophy program soon enough and you'll plateau at some point down the road. Besides, a single strength workout or two mixed in to your normal routine isn't enough.

Instead, embark on a six-week challenge and reap the benefits of real strength. The truth is that plateauing is not unique to any single kind of training. The body strives for normalcy and will make even the toughest tasks in the world normal with enough practice. So for those who regularly strength train, you need a different stimulus to break plateaus (save that for another time). But for those who work mainly on their physique, this strength program will get you over the hump in addition to giving you more to work with when you go back to your standard program.

Method to the Madness

Since strength is finite and wanes very quickly, instead of slowly ramping up your strength sets, you need to have a quick warmup and hammer out the big weights early. This ensures that maximal muscle recruitment occurs and that you haven't fatigued those much-needed muscles before the heavy weight. But before you get to lifting that big set, you need to make sure that you've properly warmed up. Each day of the program starts with 2-4 warmup sets of the first exercise you'll do in the program. For example, you'll do 2-4 warmup, lighter-weight bench presses before going on to your first actual workout set. You'll then do the prescribed number of bench press sets before moving on to the next exercise (such as incline press). Note though, you don't need to perform warmups before any other sets that day, just the first.

Next, a unique thing to strength training over hypertrophy training is that exercises are targeted by by function not by muscle group. In strength training, there is no chest day, rather it's bench day. While for many those will seem like the same thing, they're quite different, as follow-up exercises are designed to increase your bench strength, not necessarily target the pecs. Exercises are chosen based on a particular phase of a single-rep max. So, for bench and squat you have - a lowering phase, a brief pause, a drive out of the bottom push, and a lockout or finish. For pulls you have - an initial drive phase, a pull through the movement to the end, a brief pause, and a  controlled lowering phase to finish the rep.

After you perform the major exercise you'll do specific exercises  that work those portions of the lift. It's like solving an equation. One step at a time, you deconstruct the lift and attack the segments. Strength training uses low rep sets, from 3 up to a max of 6, but anything more and you start to cross over and your strength gains will be limited. Four sets are the norm, and five sets are preferred for the first few exercises of each training day. This six-week program adjusts your reps at the midway mark, dropping them from the standard 5 down to 3. Of course, when you do this, you should up your weight accordingly. Rest periods should be at least 3 minutes and up to 5-6 minutes. Rushing through will limit your gains. That means that these workouts will require a little more time than normal, so plan on it. I continually get this question - "What should I do if I don't have enough time?" My answer - MAKE TIME. If it's important enough to you, you'll find the time.

With big strength, you'll only hit each movement once per week. At first that'll look like it won't do the job, but if you lift like it's the last thing you'll ever do, you'll wonder if you shouldn't have taken up bowling or billiards instead. Oh, and don't worry, we add an extra day, bringing your total to five days, to nail your arms and shoulders one more time - this time for size and shape. And lastly, you should be attempting to increase your weight each session. Don't be a wuss. Get on it.

Starting Point

I am regularly asked about calculating maxes and using percentages for training. I am not a fan. Sure, you can calculate your max, but working off percentages assumes that you have the right numbers for each day. What if you have an unusually good day - or worse, a really bad day? Then your initial starting point may be more or less than what you actually need. This will affect your weights on all your exercises and workouts, forcing you to lift heavier than you should or lighter than you want. Instead, you need to pick a weight appropriate to your strength that particular training day and go. If you have been doing sets of 8 reps, start 5-10% more weight than you normally lift. If you've been doing sets of 10, go 10-15% more for starters, and if you've been doing sets of 12 or more reps start with at least 15% more. Within a few reps you'll know where you stand, and within the first few sets of each session you'll know how heavy to go. Work hard to complete your target reps but don't cheat by using crappy form or shortening your range of motion.

Strength training is not about gimmicks. It's about the desire to push past your body's natural urge to quit. Rather than trying to determine what you should be lifting, just go out and lift heavy.

Monday Day 1 - Squat

 - Squat
(warmup) 10, 8, 6 (2 minutes rest between sets)
5 sets of 5, weeks 1 - 3 (4-5 minutes rest between sets)
5 sets of 3, weeks 4 - 6

 - Wide Stance Squat
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3-4 minutes rest)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6

 - Narrow Stance Squat
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3-4 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6

 - Leg Press
5 x 5 (3 minutes)

 - Leg Extension
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3  (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6

 - Leg Curl
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6

 - Standing Calf Raise
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 5, weeks 4 - 6

 - Decline Weighted Situp
4 x 8 (3 minutes)

Tuesday Day 2 - Bentover Row

 - Bentover Row
(warmup) 10, 8, 6 (2 minutes rest between sets)

 - Bentover Row

5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (4-5 minutes rest between sets)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (4 - 5 minutes)

 - Chinup
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3 - 4 minutes rest)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (3 - 4 minutes)

 - Pulldown
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3 - 4 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (3 - 4 minutes)

 - Seated Cable Row
5 x 5 (3 minutes)

 - Reverse Grip DB Row
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Rear Delt Flye
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Barbell Curl
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Preacher Curl
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Standing One Arm Cable Curl
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 8, weeks 4 - 8 (3 minutes)

Wednesday Day 3- Bench

 - Bench Press
(warmup) 10, 8, 6 (2 minutes rest between sets)

 - Bench Press
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (4 - 5 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (4 - 5 minutes)

 - Wide Grip Bench Press
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3 - 4 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (3 - 4 minutes)

 - Close Grip Bench Press
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3 - 4 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (3 - 4 minutes)

 - Incline DB Press
5 x 5 (3 minutes)

 - Barbell Overhead Press
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Weighted Dip
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (4 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (4 minutes)

 - Lying Triceps Extension
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
5 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Triceps Pushdown
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

Friday Day 4 - Deadlift

 - Deadlift
(warmup) 10, 8, 6 (2 minutes rest between sets)

 - Deadlift
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (4 - 5 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (4 - 5 minutes)

 - Sumo Deadlift
5 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (4 minutes)
5 x 3, weeks 4 - 6 (4 minutes)

 - Straight Legged Deadlift
5 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 - 4 minutes)
5 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 - 4 minutes)

 - Hack Squat
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 5, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)

 - Leg Curl
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Seated Calf Raise
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

 - Weighted Lying Crunch
4 x 6, weeks 1 - 3 (3 minutes)
4 x 5, weeks 4 - 6 (3 minutes)

Saturday Day 5 - Shoulders and Arms

 - Seated Barbell Press
3 x 10, weeks 1 - 3 (2 - 3 minutes rest between sets)
3 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 - 3 minutes)

 - Dumbbell Press
3 x 10, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minute)
3 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 minutes)

 - Side Lateral Raise
4 x 12, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)
4 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 minutes)

 - Lying Triceps Extension
3 x 10, weeks 1 - 3 (2 - 3 minutes)
3 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 - 3 minutes)

 - V-bar Pushdown
3 x 12, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)
3 x 8, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)\

 - Close Grip Bench
4 x 12, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)
4 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 minutes)

 - Barbell Curl
3 x 10, weeks 1 - 3 (2 - 3 minutes)
3 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 - 3 minutes)

 - Preacher Curl
3 x 12, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)
3 x 8, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)

 - Standing Cable Curl
3 x 12, weeks 1 - 3 (2 minutes)
3 x 8, weeks 4 - 6 (2 minutes)



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