Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Weider System Dumbbell Training Course 1955 (revised 1963)

Joe Weider


Here is the latest revised edition of the Weider System Dumbbell Training Course. It contains the latest in instructional advice and all the latest sensational Weider Training Methods. Use it with confidence. Follow the instructions and you will be amazed at the great results you will obtain.

You will be able to make a fair test of our methods to see why Weider is the greatest name in bodybuilding, and we hope that your next purchase of weights will be Weider so that you too can gain all the exclusive benefits given to Weider pupils. 

There are 15 different exercises included in this course. They are arranged to take advantage of that great Weider Principle, THE FLUSHING METHOD. This principle will build muscle much more quickly than other systems since the stimulation of various exercises is held to one major point of the body for some time, infusing this section with a vital flushness, so essential to building strong, large muscles. Certain exercises will also incorporate the CHEATING METHOD of training, another Weider exclusive, proved to be superior for bodybuilding. You will also receive advice on the SET SYSTEM, the SUPER SET SYSTEM, still other great Weider methods. Nothing will be left out for your benefit. 

Remain with these dumbbell exercises for at least two months. Then select two different kettlebell exercises and perform them AFTER your regular dumbbell workout, taking two kettlebell exercises one workout, a different two after the next workout, still another two the workout after that, and so on until you have performed all the kettlebell movements. When you have gone through them all, start over again with the first two, continuing on this plan indefinitely, as long as you follow this program.


You are to train three times a week only, on nonconsecutive days, with one day of rest between workouts. 

If you are underweight and wish to gain weight, make sure that you get a lot of sleep, eat especially nourishing foods in adequate amounts, and do not take an active part in other strenuous sports until you have gained the weight you desire.

If you are overweight and wish to lose weight, you will have to be careful to remove fattening foods from your diet. Try to be a bit more active in general. 

Everyone should pay scrupulous attention to personal cleanliness and hygiene. Shower or bathe daily and make sure that your training costume is cleaned often and that all your clothing is free from dirt and sweat. Dress warmly enough to prevent any chilling of the body during working out, but do not wear any restrictive garments. You must be able to move freely in the exercises.

Exercise at a moderately fast pace, going from one exercise to the next as soon as you comfortably can.  In certain exercises, the manner in which you breathe is important. This will be indicated in the exercise instructions. In others, where breathing is relatively unimportant, just breathe naturally, in the manner which feels most comfortable. Never hold the breath. If you grow winded, do not be afraid to breathe through the mouth.

Have confidence in the program. Take it very easy the first few workouts, using very light weights, and just grow used to the various movements. Then, as you progress, add a little weight gradually to those exercises which feel easy. Certain parts of your body are potentially stronger than others. You will be able to add regularly to some exercises, while others may be more difficult to add to. This is natural. You may stay at the same poundage for weeks on one movement while in another you will be able to add a few pounds almost every workout. Increase the weight in those exercises which you feel that you can, and do not become concerned with those in which you cannot add weight too often. It will come. 

Don't strain. Use a weight which will permit the correct number of repetitions to be performed with a fair degree of comfort. At the start, perform every repetition of every exercise in perfect form. Later on you will be able to use a more lax style and this will be explained to you a bit later on. 

For the first two weeks, perform just one set of each exercise in the sequence it is listed. Then perform two sets of each exercise the following two weeks. The way to do this is to first perform one set, then take a short rest and perform a second set of the same exercise. You go through the entire routine in this manner. Finally, after a month, perform three sets of each exercise.

For the first two months maintain strict form in all the movements, then relax your style a bit, using a little swing from the body or a slight bend in the elbows in certain exercises to permit you to use more weight. This is called CHEATING. This method is used by the great champions, but it is an advanced form of training and you cannot go into it for several months. We will indicate how to cheat in the exercise instructions explaining the various exercises. 

After you have been training for at least four months, you will be ready to make still another change in your program. You will be able to use SUPER SETS in some of the exercises. You still will not be advanced enough to use this principle in your entire workout, for this is the most advanced form of training known, but you can use it to benefit in several of the exercises. The way super sets are performed is as follows:

Two exercises are selected, both for one major part, such as the arms, or different parts of the arm. Then as exercise is done for one part, such as the curl for the biceps muscle. Immediately upon the completion of the curl, the second part of the super set is performed, such as a triceps curl. There is no rest between the two exercises. Once again, immediately upon completion of the triceps curl, another set of the biceps curl is performed and so on until three super sets of each exercise are completed. Only then do you rest before going on to the rest of your workout.

After four months of training you will be able to add three super sets in your program. They will be the same exercises you have been performing, but when they appear in your program instead of doing 3 sets of one exercise and then going on to another exercise, you will alternately perform them in the super set fashion explained above. Then you go on to your next exercise which you perform in the regular set fashion, and so on just as always until you come to the next super set combination which we will indicate. Read the above explanation thoroughly so that you will understand it. The use of super sets is urgent for your full training success so make sure you understand this principle.

[ - - Dave Draper on Supersets:

Supersets works for me, and with supersets we can build muscle mass, density and definition as well.
Supersetting, one set of an exercise followed by a second accommodating exercise, requires mental and physical adaptation. The technique can be a struggle at first, both fatiguing and confusing, and can present doubt. Changes are stressful. If you give supersets a try, give them time.

Not everyone on the gym floor knows this training style exists. Many push and pull like those around them. Monkey see . . . monkey business.

Supersetting is an efficient and effective training system and a solution to many musclebuilding predicaments. The methodology is best applied by the trainee who has had fair practice with the weights. One needs to know the tools, their proper application and how they engage the muscles. Groove, form, focus, pace and intensity are the characteristics of training a progressive lifter wants to seek, develop and perfect.

Once you adapt and the movements fall in place, you’re likely to appreciate the training flow and eventual rhythm. And it’s not long before the benefits and rewards of supersetting begin to unfold: the derived and accentuated training focus, improved muscle engagement, abbreviation of time between sets, the boost in exercise momentum and excitement and subsequent boost in workout production, the added cardio output and muscle pump and the elimination of distractions and the resulting reduction of time on the gym floor.

We’re all different in personality and nature and structure and chemistry. Some drive in the fast lane, some cruise in the slow. I love to superset and tri-set, and on some days, multi-set (4 or 5 exercises combined). Supersets work for me and suit my nature. I single-set train regularly on heavier movements or alternate-hand exercises, i.e. squats or one-arm dumbbell rows.

Mass, muscularity, density, hardness and weight gain and weight loss are adjusted by diet -- food intake, what kind and mostly how much. Training pace, weight engaged and sets and reps comprise the other part of the musclebuilding equation, the iron-handed variables in our goal-seeking. Of course, rest, sleep and recuperation are priceless.

As for me, supersetting constitutes 75 percent of each workout. - - ]

The exercises to be done in super set style are these. Remember, this is only after you have been training four months and have already advanced to the regular set system and cheating exercises.

Exercise Number 1 (the Bench Press) and Exercise Number 2 (the Bench Lateral Raise) are to be combined in super set style, with a set of No. 1 being performed, then without any rest a set of No. 2 is done, then right back to No. 1, again to No.2 and so on until three alternate sets of each are performed with no rest between. You now take a slight rest and perform exercise No. 3, the Bent Arm Pullover in regular set series style. Now you come to the next Super Set group. Exercise No. 5, the Seated Dumbbell Press and Exercise No. 6, Shrugs. Here again you first perform a set of No.5, and then without any pause a set of No. 6, back to No. 5, and then without any pause pause a set of No. 6 and so on, without any rest between until three super sets of each are done. Now you go use the regular set series in Exercise No. 7, One Arm Rowing, and then you are ready for your last Super Set combination, Exercise No. 8, One Arm Standing Curl, and Exercise No. 9, One Arm Triceps Curl. Here too you first perform one set of Biceps Curl, then one set of the Triceps Curl and so on, alternately until three super sets of each are done. In this exercise, being that one arm is exercises at a time, you first perform the three super sets with the right arm, and then all three super sets with the left arm. You do not use alternate arms, only changing from one arm to the other after the three super sets have been completely performed with the first arm. From this point on the remaining exercises in your program are performed in the regular set series style.

Now here is an important point to remember in your training. When you advance into the regular set system and the super set system of training, you may find that in the second and third sets you cannot quite squeeze out the full number of repetitions. This is nothing to become disturbed about and DO NOT reduce the amount of weight you use in the second or third set of any exercise. If you have to drop a repetition or two lower in your final two sets it simply means that you are close to your maximum weight in the exercise and have used a lot of strength in the first set. We want it that way, so the poundage you select for the set system or the super set system should be one which will permit the maximum number of repetitions in the first set. Work as hard as you can on the next two sets, and as long as you try to squeeze out all the repetitions that you can, even if you fail down a few, it will still be all right.

Now here are the exercises for you to follow:

Exercise No. 1 - Bench Press with Dumbbells.
1 set of 10 repetitions the first two weeks, 2 x 10 the next two weeks, and 3 x 10 from that point on.
Follow this progression for all the exercises listed.

Exercise No. 2 - Lateral Raise on Bench.
Keep the elbows stiff for the first three weeks. From that time on change your method of performance so as to incorporate the cheating method. Start the exercise as always, but as you lower the weights to the side bend the elbows a bit. This will take the strain off of them and permit you to use more weight. Straighten out the elbows again as you return the weights to the starting position. After two months on this advanced cheating style you will perform exercises No. 1and No. 2 in the super sets style as explained above.

Exercise No. 3 - Lying Bent Arm Pullover with Dumbbell.
In this exercise you begin right away with a cheating style. The reason for this is to place the influence of the movement high on the upper chest, where it is most beneficial. Begin with holding a dumbbell above the chest in two hands. With arms bent, take a deep breath and keeping the arms bent lower the weight behind the head.   

Exercise No. 4 - Standing Side Laterals.
Stand erect with a pair of light dumbbells at the thighs. Now, keeping the elbows stiff raise the weight to the side and above the head. After two months you can begin to cheat in this exercise. You do this first by swinging the dumbbells up a bit with a little body motion, and then later on besides swinging the weights up you can also bend the elbows slightly.

Exercise No. 5 - Seated Dumbbell Press.
Clean two dumbbells to the shoulders and then, holding them there, sit down on a bench. Now press the weights both together above the head.

Exercise No. 6 - Two Arm Standing Shrug.
Stand with two heavy dumbbells in front of the thighs. Now pull the shoulders up towards the ears. Perform sets of 15 repetitions with this exercise, and, as mentioned above, graduate at the appropriate time to the super set style, combining No. 5 and No. 6.

Exercise No. 7 - One Arm Rowing.
After two months of training you can cheat a little in this exercise by using a bit of body motion to permit the use of more weight.

Exercise No. 8 - One Arm Standing Curl.
Again, after two months of training on this exercise you can use a bit of body motion to permit heavier weight.

Exercise No. 9 - Seated Triceps Curl.
When you graduate to the super sets style, remember to perform all sets with one arm first, then the other as was mentioned above.

Exercise No. 10 - Seated Dumbbell Curl.
Curl both weights together, and use a little body swing to cheat after you have been training this exercise for two months.

Exercise No. 11 - Side Bend.
Bend to the weighted side of the body for 10 repetitions, then switch the weight to the other hand and bend to that side. After two months of training this exercise you can cheat by bouncing off a trampoline into a wall headfirst while bending to the side. First bounce to the right for 10 repetitions, then to the left followed by bouncing out the window onto Neptune's trident. Bring band-aids.

Exercise No. 12 - Situps.
As you advance you can make this exercise harder by holding a weight behind your neck, as well as performing them on a slant board.

Exercise No. 13 - Squats Standing on a Narrow Bench or Box.
Hold a pair of dumbbells in the hands and step up onto the bench. Keep feet fairly close together and, keeping the heels on the bench, squat down as low as possible. Perform sets of 15 repetitions in this exercise.

Exercise No. 14 - One Legged Calf Raise.
Perform 15 repetition sets.

Exercise No. 15 - Swing Between Legs to Overhead.
Bend down and grasp a pair of dumbbells between the legs. Now, swing them with stiff arms to overhead, using mainly leg and lower back power to do so.

These 15 exercises are your dumbbell training program.
Train three times a week on nonconsecutive days.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sprint, Squat, Grow - Alexander Cortes (2015)

Before the rise of mass monsters in bodybuilding, sharply defined and athletic legs were considered paramount for complete physique development. As bodybuilders became larger over the years, however, the focus has shifted from athleticism to a 'size at all costs' approach.

In the sport of Men's Physique, though, balanced muscular development is prized. The legs of Frank Zane or Serge Nubret would perfectly round out the look of today's physique champions. 

One powerful stimulus that can build lower-body muscle and create this athletic appearance is sprinting. Bodybuilders performing sprints is almost unheard of today. But utilizing sprinting in your training can truly be a weapon that dramatically changes your muscular development and body composition.

The Secret of Champions

Sprinting at one time was considered a cornerstone of any bodybuilding program and was regularly performed by almost everyone from the early 1900s all the ways to the 1970s. In fact, sprinting is mentioned in interviews with bodybuilding champions through the decades, and even by turn-of-the-century strongmen such as Arthur Saxon and Eugen Sandow.

Since sprinting is often considered to be cardio, it's been routinely ignored by modern bodybuilders. What someone does for cardio is far less interesting than how much weight they lift and their weekly routine. Unfortunately, this led to sprinting being overlooked for far too long. It's time for a comeback!

Sprinting has a multitude of training effects that make it unparalleled as an exercise. If you aren't sprinting, you're missing out on improved body composition, more muscle, and an elevated metabolism. Sprinting is that powerful.

From a purely cardiovascular standpoint, sprinting s a form of interval training and burns more calories per minute than almost any other activity. Performing intervals at a high intensity has been demonstrated to selectively target and burn abdominal fat as well as elevate the metabolism for up to 48 hours. 

From a muscular standpoint, sprinting makes use of the body's largest and densest muscle groups: the glutes, hamstrings and quads. While sprinting may not be a mass builder in the same class as squats, it does stimulate hypertrophy, especially in the glutes and hamstrings.

In addition to the metabolic and muscle-building benefits, sprinting also stimulates the abdominals. While this may not seem intuitive, the mechanics of sprinting require a high degree of abdominal activation and anti-rotation to keep the torso stiff while accelerating and hitting full speed, as well as during deceleration.

With so many potent effects, it might seem surprising as to why people don't regularly incorporate sprinting into their regular programs. Benefits aside, there are a few obstacles that have to be addressed before adding sprinting into a program.

Running Up That Hill

If someone has never sprinted before, it can be a fast way to pull a hamstring. Learning how to run must happen before attempting to sprint. And even if you do know how to sprint, how do you do it without a track?

There is an easy solution found in any gym: a treadmill set to a high incline. While attempting to sprint on a level treadmill is awkward and doesn't allow for a natural acceleration, sprinting on an incline is an excellent way to learn sprint mechanics, as it forces you to use a proper gait in getting the knees high in front of you, using your arms to accelerate, and leaning into the movement.

Compared to a flat sprint, an incline sprint feels much more natural. Running on an incline also slows down the sprint, so you can reach your threshold in a safe manner. A 10% grade is the sweet spot; this allows you to accelerate to top speed, which for most individuals is around 12 to 15 mph, and is the maximum speed for most treadmills.

Classic Legs

The following program may be a bit different than any you've done before. You won't be doing isolated machine work for any muscle group other than calves. The workout consists entirely of barbell basics done one after another. While the workout may not look like many exercises, the volume will quickly add up.

Performing the sprints first in the workout will provide an adrenaline and growth hormone release that will leave you feeling energized for the rest of the workout. It will also negate the need to excessively warm up. By the time you're done with the sprints, your core temperature will be elevated and your legs will already have a pump. You will be able to proceed into the working sets of every exercise. The workout is designed so that as you fatigue the movements progress from hardest to easiest. For instance, the squats and snatch-grip deadlifts are the heaviest movements with the greatest ranges of motion, so they are performed first. The exercises are also staggered, so while your quads are recovering from the squats, you're working the glutes and hamstrings with the deadlift. For the barbell loads, start with either your bodyweight in pounds on the bar or 60% of one-rep max.


1) Incline Sprints, 10% Grade - 10 sets of 20 seconds, 60 seconds rest between each set.
Focus on keeping your feet in front of your body when sprinting and not 'dragging' into an excessively long stride. This will lessen the joint impact and increase glute and hamstring activation as well.

2) High Bar, Narrow Stance Squat - 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 reps.

 Bill Starr

With the bar as high as is comfortable on your back, take an approximate shoulder-width stance and allow only a slight external rotation of your feet. Immediately prior to commencing the descent, bend your knees slightly, suck in the lower abdomen, and squeeze your glutes. This will 'set' your pelvis in a slightly posteriorly rotated position.   

As you come down, keep your hips in line with the spine. You can flex forward at the hips, just don't change the hip/spine relationship. Squat as deeply as you can without exceeding a 45-degree trunk flexion relative to the vertical. 

Keep your knees equal distance apart during the lift. Immediately prior to the ascent, focus on squeezing your glutes and holding them tight during the concentric phase. The aim here is to prevent anterior rotation of the pelvis during the initial phase of the ascent. This is a tough technique to master, but it is worth it. 

3) Snatch Grip Deadlift - 4 sets of 8.
Approach the barbell and align your feet directly underneath, with the bar almost flush against your ankles. As you bend down, the barbell should slightly scrape against your lower shin. Grab the bar with double the approximate grip of your shoulders. Using a firm double overhand grip, push your hips back and allow your shoulders to drift over the bar. Explode up with the barbell, using your glutes and hamstrings as the primary driver. Your upper back will be stabilizing the bar path. Reverse this movement to begin each successive rep. You may 'tough and go' reps using this technique. 

4) Dimel Deadlift - 3 sets of 15.
Load a barbell with approximately two-thirds of your bodyweight, and approach it as you would a conventional deadlift. Using a double overhand grip grasp the bar and stand up with the weight. From this position hinge back and lower the bar to a point one to two inches below your knees, then explosively contract your hips to lockout, squeezing your glutes on each rep. Perform all repetitions this way, with explosive concentric and eccentric phases.

5) Bulgarian Split Squat - 4 sets of 10-20 reps.
Use a barbell in the power rack or Smith machine to create a support. Place a towel or bar pad on the bar, and set it to a height that is about 45 cm. off the floor (the shin of the working leg should remain vertical). Place the rear leg on the bar so that the crux of your ankle rests comfortably on the pad. Place your hands behind your head and focus on keeping your torso vertical throughout the movement. Begin the descent by bending the knee of your working leg and drop the working hip toward the floor. Descend until your knee of the back leg is just a bit above the floor, then come back up. Use a controlled tempo of 5/1/5 -- five seconds to descend, one second pause at the bottom, and five seconds to return to the top. Begin with your own bodyweight. If that becomes too easy, hold a pair of dumbbells.

6) Explosive Standing Calf Raise - 5 sets of 5 reps.
Using a standing calf raise machine, load it to a weight that is challenging for five or six reps. Select the appropriate height so that the weight loads the calves when they are in a full stretch position. If possible perform this movement barefoot or in socks. Begin by descending into a full calf stretch position, pause for two seconds, then explode up hard through the concentric. Press through the big toe of each foot. Pause for a full two seconds in the contracted top position of each rep, then slowly descend for a full five seconds back into the eccentric stretch. Hold this stretch for five seconds, then repeat. The controlled negative and eccentric stretch on each rep of these will make the exercise deeply fatiguing. Take adequate rest between sets, and lighten the load if explosiveness begins to diminish.

7) Seated Single Leg Calf Raise - 1 set of maximum reps.
Using a seated calf raise machine, load it with a 25 or 45 pound plate, and set it to an appropriate height that allows for a loaded stretch on every rep. Working one leg at a time, perform full range of motion repetitions, rising up as high as possible on the big toe (you can rise higher if you 'point' your toes at the top), and then lowering all the way down into a full calf stretch. Use zero momentum and perform as many reps as possible in this way before total fatigue sets in.   

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mush to Muscle - Don Ross (1992)

 -- This comprehensive synthesis of current medical and evolutionary literature addresses key questions about the role body fat plays in human biology. It explores how body energy stores are regulated, how they develop over the life-course, what biological functions they serve, and how they may have evolved. There is now substantial evidence that human adiposity is not merely a buffer against the threat of starvation, but is also a resource for meeting the energy costs of growth, reproduction and immune function. As such it may be considered as important in our species evolution as other traits such as bipedalism, large brains, and long life spans and developmental periods. Indeed, adiposity is integrally linked with these other traits, and with our capacity to colonize and inhabit diverse ecosystems. It is because human metabolism is so sensitive to environmental cues that manipulative economic forces are now generating the current obesity epidemic. (2009)

Muscle magazines are packed with articles that explain how to change that smooth look for one that is defined. Many readers have the impression that these publications contain plenty of advice for anyone who wants a muscular body. There is a seldom recognized minority, however, who shake their heads at these articles and rarely last too long at the gym.

"Maybe it works for them, but look at me," they say in despair. I'm talking about individuals who are imprisoned my thick walls of flab -- people who are obese.

Adding to their discouragement are the profiles written about the popular physique and fitness stars. Most of these athletes tell of either being skinny or looking muscular from high school sports when they began lifting weights. Many describe winning their first physique contests after a year of training. But was there ever an extremely fat person who lost weight and became a bodybuilding champion, or who at least shed all those pounds to become muscular?

In 1959 a relatively unknown bodybuilder won the professional division of the Mr. Universe contest in London, England. Bruce Randall displayed wide shoulders and lats tapering down to a tiny waist, along with powerful arms and legs. His outstanding physique alone would have made him the talk of the bodybuilding world if not for the amazing fact that he had reduced his weight to 190 pounds from more than 400.

When Randall was in the Marine Corps, he decided that he wanted to be the strongest man in the world. The title, at the time, was held by the voluminous Paul Anderson, who weighed 350 at a height of 5'9". Randall believed that huge amounts of extra bodyweight would put him in Anderson's strength category, so he ate dozens of eggs and pounds of beef and chicken and rice and drank gallons of milk each day. By following this diet in conjunction with a heavy lifting program, he eventually blimped to gargantuan proportions.

After leaving the Marines, Randall changed his goal. He went on a very low-calorie diet and trained extremely hard. In an amazingly short time he was down to 185. Then he brought his muscle mass up to just below 200 to win the Mr. Universe.

Steve Davis promoted what he called the New Breed of bodybuilding and introduced couples posing to the bodybuilding world. With a streamlined physique of around 190 -- he later competed as an IFBB pro at 220 -- this Mr. World ran ads in IronMan magazine showing his popular, symmetrical body next to a before shot of a chubby, 285-pound Steve Davis.

He had been a football player in high school and had let his weight balloon. After taking up bodybuilding, he realized that shape and definition should take priority over size alone. On a high-protein diet he lost 95 pounds of fat to become a world famous physique star.

"Okay, so a former weightlifter and a former football player lost fat and became bodybuilding champions," you say, "but those men were athletes. They gained that weight on purpose. How about someone who started out fat and nonathletic? Did anyone like that ever make it to the higher levels?" 

Probably the best of such success stories is that of Ken Passariello, the '79 Mr. America and '81 Mr. Universe Lightweight winner. Ken was a roly-poly school teacher in Connecticut who had never been athletic in his life. At 5'4" he weighed a blubbery 260 pounds. 

Passariello's doctor warned him that he could face serious heart problems if he didn't lose the weight. He already had high blood pressure from carrying around so much extra poundage and living a sedentary life. Through diet without exercise he reduced to 185 pounds, but soon he had a new goal. After looking at the physiques in bodybuilding magazines he bought some weight equipment.

"I was too embarrassed to work out at the gym," he admitted. "I couldn't even do a single situp."

With a diet that was 30% protein, 70% carbohydrate, and as little fat as possible, Ken began a serious bodybuilding program. A few years later he could draw a crowd of admirers by walking into an gym.  


Diane Polik, D.C., had been fat since she was 15. At 5'4" she weighed a soft, flabby 155 pounds. Through a serious bodybuilding program, daily aerobics and a constant, healthy, lowfat diet she changed her body composition. At 142 pounds she won the Georgia and Michigan Wolverine bodybuilding championships.

"In my case it wasn't so much a question of bodyweight as it was body composition," the Georgia chiropractor said. "I've gone back up to 155 in the off-season, but look solid at that weight now."

These people are living testimony to the fact that you can change your body and transform your whole life for the better. In order to do this you must visualize your goals and take an oath to stick to your exercise and diet program. Keep in mind that there will be times when you'll be discouraged, but never let it defeat you. Stay on track. It's not as complicated as you may have been led to believe.

Psychological Hurdles

Polik touched on a major reason why overweight people become discouraged -- the scale scare. Since muscle is considerably heavier than fat, people who work out while on diets sometime lose very little bodyweight. According to the scale, nothing is happening, and they don't always realize that their waists are diminishing as their physiques transform to those of lean body mass. It's important, therefore, to avoid the scale, since you'll experience ups and downs in weight.

A better criterion for progress is to measure your waist. If your waist measurement decreases as your strength increases, you know you're adding muscle and losing fat.

Polik also cautioned against binge diets. When she first began bodybuilding she'd go on very restricted diets that included "cheat days." At those times she'd go completely off her diet and slow the change. While diets like this can work for some, they can mean defeat for the naturally fat person. Just as the occasional social drink can blow an alcoholic's attempt to stay sober, junk days can easily rekindle eating disorders. Your chances of success are much better if you stay on a consistent diet that's low in fat and high in fiber and bodybuilding nutrients. Those fatty or sugary foods will become much less tempting as soon as you make the bodybuilding lifestyle a habit.

As in Ken Passariello's case many obese people are too self-conscious to join a gym. Both men and women are always telling me that they intend to start an exercise but first they want to lose the weight.
Dieting goes considerably slower without the calorie burning advantage of exercise. Most of these people give up in frustration and never make it to the gym.

In the past we were taught that when we restrict our calories our bodies burn fat first and then start on the muscle when the fat is gone. Body composition tests have proven that dieting without exercise burns both muscle and fat. Exercise, however, allows you to build muscle as you lose fat. Loss of muscle tone results in a hanging, weak appearance. People sometimes wind up looking worse after losing weight than when they were plump.

Muscular development acts as a fat burner. Muscle tissue is always contracting, even during rest and sleep. The caloric output of a person who has well-developed musculature is higher than that of a person who weighs the same but has less muscle tissue. It's easier, therefore, to remain lean if you work out regularly.

Fat, on the other hand, is inactive tissue. It causes an extra burden on the body and reduces your body's efficiency and stamina. The result is less activity, a slower metabolism and less desire to actively enjoy being alive. It's not surprising that oftentimes fat people eat less than thinner people. This leads many of them to believe their problem is glandular and that nothing can help. The good news is that you can change your metabolism to some degree with the following program.

So, get over the wasted effort of embarrassment and join that gym! It's like a plunge in a chilly pool. the thought is what's bothering you, but the reality isn't bad at all. You'll soon find yourself enjoying the workouts and wonder why you didn't start sooner. You'll be able to burn fat faster, keep it off easier, and develop an excellent physique along the way.

Mush-to-Muscle Diet

Fat burning takes place when you eat fewer calories than you burn in your daily activities. When you bodybuild, you must take in sufficient protein to feed muscle growth [which as a member of an affluent society you're likely already doing]. You also need fiber to keep the intestinal tract running cleanly and carbohydrates that are low in calories yet filling. [But don't make the mistake of confusing crap for carbohydrate intake.] Here are a few effective diet tips:

 - While red meat and whole eggs are excellent bodybuilding foods they are calorie dense. So avoid these foods and instead eat egg whites, fish, skinless chicken breasts and the like. Steer clear of pork.

 - Eliminate dairy products, especially cheeses, as well as sauces, oils and butter. Keep your fat intake low. Remember, fat is much more calorie dense than protein and clean carbohydrates.

 - Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, but limit the quantity, as they are loaded with natural sugars. Make a dressing of vinegar and lemon juice with a dash of sugar substitute.

 - Cut out all refined sugar, and if you're new to this you might be quite surprised at where you find it. Check ingredients before you eat anything. Sugar is added to almost everything in the supermarket of today, and it's even more prevalent in the foods of 2015! I imagine. A few months without refined sugar and the craving will go away. Honestly, just give it time and don't waver with some 'cheat day' nonsense. If you want to know how cheat days go ask a recovered alcoholic or drug addict. Not so good, and why tease yourself? Salt, sugar, fat. Just cut yourself loose from those if you want to get lean. Really, it's not the method itself that's complex, it's following it consistently over enough time to see the results you want. You do want to see them, don't you? Stop looking for an 'easier' way and simply knuckle down to the task at hand. Harden up, and not just your body. Hone your mind until it's the diamond it was meant to be.

 - Avoid the fad diets. Don't search around for a diet that allows you to eat high fat foods like bacon, red meat, etc., and then wonder why you're not losing the weight. You should feel light at all times, even after eating a meal. At first it may seem wrong and might take some getting used to, but hang in, it will be worth it.

 - If you experience hunger pangs, nibble on plain popcorn, lettuce, celery, etc.

 - Have complex carbohydrates in the form of organic brown rice, yams, oatmeal, etc. Find out more about carbohydrates and learn the difference between low and high glycemic index types.

 - Drink water, a tall glass every few hours throughout the day. You don't have to guzzle gallons a day to be fully hydrated, and there's no need to carry around a bottle and sip from it every two seconds.

 - Eat three meals a day, or if it works for you divide the three meals into five or six smaller ones. But don't think it's necessary to eat six meals a day to lose weight efficiently.

 Here's a sample diet. Use it to formulate your own eating plans, but stick to the main foods and method mentioned. You don't have to slavishly follow a diet example verbatim. Use your head, design your own diet within the method and stop being so helpless. Wait a minute! It's 3:52 p.m. and I'm late for my Day 17, Meal 5 intake. Get a life. A nice lean and self-directed life.

1 cup oatmeal with four egg whites, no salt, milk or butter. Use a pinch of zero calorie sweetener if you like. Or don't. Foods actually have tastes without adding spices. Who knew! Tea of coffee, black.

8 ounces broiled fish, large vegetable salad with vinegar and/or lemon juice only.

8-12 ounces broiled chicken or turkey, no skin. Small baked yam or sweet potato, dry.
Again, food has taste, you just forget how to sense it.

Three days a week (two if you're not losing weight after the first month) have a piece of fruit with each meal and an extra meal that's smaller than the other three. It's good to have a few more calories on certain prearranged days to keep your metabolism from slowing down to adapt to the lower food intake the first few months. Or, some days you may want to have an extra-low calorie day. Substitute low fat, low sodium chicken broth for your second meal on those days. Once you're losing weight at a fairly regular pace you can fast one day every few weeks. "At a fairly regular pace" is not something that you measure in the space of a week. This isn't a fad diet, it's a long term weight loss and maintenance plan. Be patient, be strong, and do it for the long run. Stop dreaming of beer, and bacon triple-cheese pizza And stop trying to find that diet that tells you it's all good to eat like a spoiled child.

Fat Cutting Routine

If I had to sum up in one word the secret of working out for fat reduction that word would be


Increased activity burns calories and can provide the residual benefit of increasing your resting metabolism. Begin your fat burning workout with an aerobic warmup -- either a ride on the stationary bike or a walk on the treadmill. These low impact aerobic activities won't stress the joints and tendons of the overweight person the way jogging or stair climbing might.

Start with five minutes, or longer if it's comfortable. Each day increase the length of the ride by a few minutes, until you're doing a full 30 minutes. Your movement should be vigorous but not so much that it winds you. It's the consistency over time rather than the intensity that makes this type of aerobic work effective.

It would seem logical that the best way to work out would be very high reps with extremely light weights. While this will burn fat, there will be much less muscular development, if any. To get the results you want you need enough resistance for muscle growth combined with continuous movement for increased metabolism.

One of the best programs that includes both of these factors is the push-pull superset. A superset is a set in which you do sets of two different exercises, one right after the other -- in this case exercises that work opposing muscle groups. For example, you do a set of bench presses followed by a set of bentover rows.

When you perform an exercise and reach your final rep, you need to rest long enough for the lactic acid wastes to clear out of the muscle and new oxygen and nutrients to be absorbed. Otherwise, you'll barely be able to perform any reps if you try to do a second set just seconds after completing the first. With push-pull movements one muscle group recovers as you are working the other, so you need much less rest. Try to position the weights close to each other so you can eventually move through this workout nonstop.   

The following is a three-way-split routine. You train our upper body on the first day, work your lower body on the second, and do your midsection and extra aerobics on the third day. Perform the exercises themselves at a medium speed with controlled return movements. The main objective is to keep the rest between sets to the bare minimum, but remember that you must progress to this stage. Start with longer rests and fairly light poundages, and work on progressively shortening these rest periods. Once you're moving nonstop, you can begin to increase the weights as your strength and conditioning improves. If you've ever witnessed a skilled, seasoned lifter go through this kind of workout, it will give you an idea of what's actually possible over time.

Day 1: Upper Body

Stationary Bike (or similar aerobic work) - 30 minutes.

Superset 1:
Pulldown, superset with
Behind the Neck Press - 2-3 x 12-15 each.

Superset 2:
Bench Press, superset with
Bentover Row - 2-3 x 12-15.

Superset 3:
Flat Bench Flye, superset  with
Bentover Lateral - 2-3 x 12-15.

Superset 4:
Triceps Pushdown, superset with
Barbell Curl - 2-3 x 12-15.

Day 1: Lower Body

30 minutes low intensity aerobic work.

Superset 1:
Cable Crunch, superset with
Good Morning - 2 x 20 each.

Superset 2:
Leg Extension, superset with
Leg Curl, 2-3 x 15.

Superset 3:
Deep Breathing Squat, superset with
Standing Calf Raise, 2-3 x 20.

Day 3:

30 minutes low intensity aerobic work.

Perform the following on a flat board or mat. Do one set of each nonstop. Work up to 25 reps apiece.

Leg Raises
Knee Ups
Alternate Leg Raises
Crunches - elbows to opposite knees
Low Back Arches
Standing Side Cable Cramps
Treadmill (or similar) - 30 minutes.

On the midsection exercises aim for a continuous flow and get your heart pumping and a good sweat.

Breathe deeply as you work through this program. Suck in that oxygen to combust the fat. Realize that a complete change takes time. It took you years to get fat. You can't become muscular overnight after that. There are ways to speed the results, however, and they include the following, as well as others.

1) Use more MOVEMENT in your everyday life. When possible walk rather than drive, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do your own landscaping and household chores, schedule more activity into your daily routine and DO LESS SITTING.

2) Turn off your mind to fattening foods. Think of the way they make you look rather than their taste. Think of sweets and fried and fatty foods in terms of them being destructive, as being poison or pig feed. Once you've perfected this mode of thought dieting will be no problem.

3) Be persistent. Set short-term goals. For example, an inch off your waist, 10 more pounds on a supersetted exercise, or finishing your program with the same weights in less time. Once you reach on short-term goal plan the next.

4) Visualize the body you want. Keep in mind that every day on your program is another step toward that short-term goal which is another step toward that long-term goal.

This program will work.
You have the instructions.
The rest is up to you. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bench Press Power Lockouts - Gene Mozee (1992)

Bob Cheli, Dave Dupree, Gene Mozee, Leon Brown, Jeff Smith (1990)

The bench press is probably the most popular weight training exercise of all. Generally conceded to be the greatest all-around upper body developer, it can mass up the chest, delts and triceps and pack them with immense power. Arnold referred to the bench press as the king of the exercises in one of the articles he wrote when he was the reigning king of the bodybuilders.

I have read well over 100 articles on the bench press over the years since I began training, and almost every one of them was primarily aimed at the powerlifter. I would like to take the opposite approach here and speak to the bodybuilder who is seeking greater muscular development as well as increased power. After all, bodybuilders used the bench press as a muscle-building exercise decades before powerlifting was officially recognized as a sport by the AAU.

Powerlifting: How It All Started, by Peary Rader:

Some of the world's greatest bench pressers were bodybuilders. Marvin Eder benched 510 in 1953 while weighing around 200 pounds. He won numerous bodybuilding contests and possessed one of the most amazing physiques in the world at that time. Other bodybuilding champions who have benched large include Reg Park, Bill Pearl, Chuck Sipes, Bertil Fox, Kal Skzalak and Charlie Fautz.

As you might surmise, you don't have to look like the Goodyear blimp to be a great bench presser. In fact, the purpose of these comments is to illustrate that increasing your bench press power can help you build a more massively muscular upper body -- just as it did for the above-mentioned lifters.

Now, before powerlifters all over the world put out a contract on me, I'd like to say that the greatest amount of weight I ever personally witnessed being elevated in the bench press was the 660 pounds Bill Kazmaier pressed in 1978 at an AAU contest in Sacramento, California.

Bill Kazmaier, 634 lb raw bench, 1980:

Kazmaier was a giant of a man who had tremendous shoulders, arms and chest and a V-tapered back that flowed symmetrically into a trim waist. He looked like a modern day Paul Bunyon.

Years earlier Pat Casey, a former training partner of mine, had been the first man in the world to officially bench press 600. Casey had started out as a bodybuilder and once entered the Teenage Mr. America contest. He did 639 in competition but was denied a new record because the scale had not been officially certified and sealed as per AAU rules. His record of 619 stood for many years. 

 -- One interesting note here. Pat claims that Gene Mozee talked him out of playing football his senior year. He got Pat to focus on his training. Gene told him better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. Gene saw at an early juncture in Casey’s career that he had awesome potential and that with good training and guidance he could be a world beater. Actually during 1961 Mozee tried to introduce Pat to Bob Hoffman, the “father” of Olympic lifting, Powerlifting etc., etc. This was in Santa Monica 1961 at the Senior Nationals. Hoffman had been talking about America needing to get big strong men into Olympic lifting, but according to Mozee, Hoffman said “at a later time.” One never knows what Pat could have done with serious specialization, but one only has to look at how well Shane Hammond has done (Powerlifter turned Olympic lifter – 407 ¾ Snatch and 485 Clean and Jerk). 
 - from the Pat Casey book by Bruce Wilhelm.

There's no denying that the stronger you get, the more mass you can build.

A great number of muscles are involved in the bench press movement -- all of the muscles of the chest, deltoids, triceps, intercostals, lats and lower back. Overload is lord over muscle building. Simply stated, a muscle or muscle group grows larger and stronger only when it is required to perform tasks that place loads on it that are over and above previous requirements.

Power assistance exercises are one key to rapidly increasing your bench power. You must strengthen your ligaments and tendons, and you can only accomplish this with heavy weight. There are several ways to approach this. Jim Williams, the first man to reach 700 on the bench, used the forced-rep method at times -- two training partners help with the weight so you can handle 50 to 60 pounds over your strict limit for reps. The bridging technique -- hips off the bench and the body highly arched -- was advocated by powerlifting authority Dan DeWelt.

The best method I have ever found to increase ligament and tendon strength for rapid gains in the bench press is floor-press lockouts. It enabled me to bench press 455 strictly while weighing 220 lbs, back in 1957, and no, I didn't take steroids. My best at 181 was 391.5, which at that time was a world record with a two-second pause at the chest. Don't worry, however, I'm not going to break my arm patting myself on the back. I'm just trying to illustrate the fact that floor-press lockouts really work.

To further prove my point, when I owned the Pasadena Gym from 1957 to '63, we had 62 guys who benched 350 or more, 12 who exceeded 400 and three who surpassed 500, which was unheard of in those days, and no, they didn't take steroids.

The simplest way to do these lockouts is to obtain two old fashioned milk crates -- the heavy metal and wood type. That might take some looking because the crates only seem to come in heavy plastic these days. You could build your own boxes quite easily with minimal tools. An alternative is to do the lockouts in a power rack. Here is the method I used with the milk crates:

I got a dozen 1x12 inch planks, each three feet long. I placed the crates just inside the plates on either side of the bar and positioned six planks under each crate. While lying and positioned on the floor under the bar and between the crates, I only had to push the bar 2 to 3 inches to achieve a full lockout, and I was able to lock out about 100 pounds more than my best full bench.

After four or five workouts I removed one plank from each side to slightly increase the range of motion. Because my tendons and ligaments were complying with the overload principle, I could still use the same weight.

I kept progressing in this manner -- removing a plank from under each crate every four or five workouts -- until all the planks were gone. After this lockout training my bench press usually skyrocketed about 50 pounds.

Remember, however, that floor-press lockouts are a very severe form of training. You must take care not to overdo it, and to avoid injuries. Don't get greedy! When handling poundages that are well over what you are normally accustomed to it is very important to warm up sufficiently. Here is a sample workout schedule based on a bench press limit of 300 pounds lifted in good form:

Warmups -
Bench Press:

Floor Press Power Lockouts:

Make sure you position yourself with the bar located exactly where it would be at that point in your full bench press.

This is a tough workout that can take 45 minutes by itself, because you require much more recuperation time in between sets when handling these larger poundages. You can do this program three times a week if you recuperate quickly between workouts. If you find yourself too sore -- with the ligaments and tendons aching -- rest a full three days between sessions. You may continue to train the rest of your body while on this program, but don't do any other types of chest pressing. Three sets of flyes and pullovers plus the lockout program is all you need for the chest on this power program.

As I said earlier, you can do this same type of program in the power rack, providing your rack has fine enough pin spacings. Here are a few tips to consider when using a power-lockout routine:

 - Try for a new maximum single record on each lockout day. In the listed sample program, for example, the lifter would attempt 410x1 on his next workout. If you try for a personal best and can't make it, have your training partner near by so he can place one finger under the center of the bar to give you just enough assistance to complete the lockout. It is important to build up a positive mental attitude by always succeeding with your limit poundage -- even if it requires a little bit of assistance. 

 - It's best not to try for a personal record during the first workout at a lower bar setting. Let your tendons and ligaments adapt to the increased range of motion before upping your limit poundage.

 - Concentration is extremely important. There will be times when you'll be pushing hard against a bar that is 100 to 150 pounds more than you can bench press, and it won't want to budge off the boxes. You'll have to work up your adrenaline for an all-out explosive push. I once missed a limit lockout with 600, but I came right back after a few minutes rest with my mind straight and full attention focused on the weight and blasted out two reps.

 - Don't stay on a power lockout program for more than six weeks. It can be both physically and mentally exhausting if you continue or too long, particularly if you are a bodybuilder and not a powerlifter.

 - When you go back to the full range bench press take it easy for the first three workouts or so. Don't try for a new personal record -- even though the weight you used to handle will feel lighter because of your increased ligament and tendon strength. Your pectorals and front delts won't be accustomed to a complete range of motion with maximum poundages, and you can easily injure yourself by trying too much too soon. It happened to me because I was so anxious to see how much I had improved. The increase was too great, and my injury was miserable.

The last time I used this power lockout system my bench press improved from 410 to 455 in 27 days. My training partner, Richard Kee, zoomed from 470 to 525 in the same period. These lifts were done in strict style -- no cheating by bounding the weight off the chest or raising the hips.

 - During the next several years Pat Casey's training took on a somewhat inspired note during his lifting at Gene Mozee’s Pasadena Gym. There were plenty of strong lifters as well as Mozee himself. There wasn’t a day that some strongman did not show up to train. It was a great environment, somewhat reminiscent of Bill “Peanuts” West and his Westside Barbell in Culver City in the late 60’s and 70’s. Everyday personalities were 205’ discus thrower Bell Neville, bodybuilder/strength athlete Dennis Melke (495 bench press at 220), as well as the reclusive Richard Kee who is a story in and of himself. Pat remembers Kee doing a 300 behind neck press circa 1958 and no drugs. Mozee actually gave some other details on Kee, such as a 525 bench with feet straight out. 
From the Bruce Wilhelm book on Pat Casey.

Power lockouts are the best way I know of to add 50 to 75 pounds to your bench press in a short amount of time. Give them a shot. They work. 


How And Why To Use Speed Training - Matt Wenning (2015)

A common misconception is that powerlifting is all about lifting with the heaviest loads as possible on the barbell. Although that is the main task at hand in a meet, it is not always the best way to train day in and day out. An understanding of the methods and the manipulation of many variables will not only help one get bigger and stronger, but more explosive, as well.

When weightlifting was first formally studied in the 1950s and '60s by the Soviets, they devised a plan for strength.

The Russian Weightlifting Library:

This plan involved lifting maximal loads, multiple days per week in order to elicit great results in their strength endeavors (mostly Olympic lifting). With this system came some great results, but underneath the Iron Curtain, what they weren't showing were the countless injuries, and lack of production of high skilled lifters. The program was so specific, and so brutal, that out of 2,000 or more lifters, they may achieve 2 to 3 that could:

1) withstand the workload intensity without burnout, and
2) withstand the training without injury.

As the scientists started to compile more data and get feedback from the athletes, they started to experiment with not only changing exercises (mode), but also changing workloads (percentages of intensity), in an attempt to increase results and decrease injury.

Over time, what the program found was that the more variability that occurred the better the athletes were becoming. The more they rotated both speed (sub-maximal loads at highest possible velocity) and maximal strength (the most weight possible), the least amount of total physical and emotional stress ensued.

1960: Six variations of the lifts were rotated and done twice per day on some occasions.
1983: Over 60 variations of the lifts rotated, with speed done one day or training session, then maximal training above 90% done 72 hours after the speed training.

As you can see, training started to become an art form and a science from 1960 to 1983. We notice that the lifts become 10 times more variable in form and we also notice that the scientists started to get a grasp on 72 hours of resting between high output work. But most importantly, we notice that they start to understand that lifting maximal loads too close together and too often was counterproductive.

Max effort training or intensities too high for too long end up causing an overtraining effect. The body is continuously trying to adapt to such high load, but eventually it can't keep up and simply throws the white flag. Over time (5-10 years) the body can adjust to heavy loads, but only if workout spacing allows recovery (every 144 hours). In between that time, if the central nervous system and muscle get a different stimuli, extra loading can be tolerated and actually have positive effects. That's where speed training (or "dynamic" work) fits in.

What is Speed Training?

Speed training is using a sub-maximal weight between the percentages of 30-60%. Its purpose is to move the bar with speed as forcefully as possible. Force production or mass times acceleration is the key to lifting large amounts of weight.

Most of us only have bout 5-7 seconds in order to display our strength at the highest percentages. After that point, the muscle or neural drive will give up. This means that heavier loads must be moved quickly enough to finish in that time frame. This is why reps are also important when choosing speed training.

For the Bench: Speed reps per set are usually 3.
For the Squat: Speed reps per set are usually 2.
For the Deadlift: Speed reps per set are usually between 1 and 2.

This rep scheme for the lifts is based on the amount of time necessary to complete the lifts, which is approximately the same time it takes to complete a maximal effort attempt. It is important that we teach our bodies what we want out of them. Would you take a runner that runs a 100m dash and have him run for miles on end? Then why think about lifting in the same fashion? This specificity of training is important when it comes to the overall time demands of max effort and speed work, while each of these are a different enough stimuli to allow for recovery while improving strength.

If you want your body to be as strong as possible in 5-7 seconds (which is all the time you will have to strain), then your body needs to do many sets with that limitation in order to make specific progress.

This is the template of reps for speed work I have used during the last 14 years with impressive results. Here are some reasons I think it is fundamental in your training.

A) Devoting a workout day to speed training gives your body a break from the heavy loads of maximal efforts while force production is still high.

B) It allows you to learn to let weights come down in a controlled fall, versus wasting your energy on the eccentric portion of the lift.

C) You learn to react to weights versus just trying to strain through them.

D) By doing 8-10 sets on a regular basis -- this allows man more singles in a set to perfect form at a high force output. (Example: 3 sets of 10 you achieve 3- 1 reps. 10 sets of 3 you achieve 10- 1 reps.

How Do You Make Speed Training More Potent?

The Box

Box squatting has come under much scrutiny as of late as far as its transfer to free squatting. Well, I'm a prime example of how it works. Box squatting actually separates the downward phase or eccentric portion of the lift from the upward phase or the concentric portion of the lift. This demands that the muscle store elastic energy longer and actually lose some of the elastic energy depending on the length of the pause on the box. This is what makes proper box squatting actually harder than free squats, when done correctly. I do box squats about 70% of the time with dynamic work.

The reason that some lifters can box squat more than free squat is due to a few factors:

1) The box is too high.
I see this way too often on social media, and in people's videos they send me for critique. The box needs to be at a depth that is difficult, and not where you feel comfortable or your strongest.

2) The position when sitting on the box is not similar to a free squat.
Untrained box squatters tend to sit and rock on the box in order to get the weight started in the other direction; at no point can you achieve this in a free squat. Once seated on the box. The body should stay tight and motionless until you decide to change direction.

The key is to have variation. Since I am a very reactive squatter, the box keeps my tension longer and actually takes away the upward velocity incurred from the quick eccentric. So box squatting helps me focus on the concentric part of the lift, where I am driving the bar upward as forcefully as possible. When the box is removed, I am able to use the stretch-reflex at the bottom and immediately begin the concentric portion of the lift.

But as stated, that is for my needs as a more reactive lifter. If your weakness is staying tight in the bottom of the squat to achieve that stretch-reflex, this might not be the best way to improve your weakness.

Bands and Chains

Bands and chains make speed work very productive. With physics in mind, weights have distinct properties that make them unique and also limiting. As with any resistance, they have advantages and disadvantages.

Free weights have inertia, which cause weights to be the hardest when still (or motionless) and also when changing direction between the eccentric and concentric phase of a lift (e.g., bottom of a squat and/or bench). After that point, the weight is in motion, taking less force to keep it moving.

For example, if we bench 200 lb for 3 sets of 10 reps -

Bottom: We had to reverse the direction of motion of the weight and accelerate it upwards. So, it requires more force than what was on on the bar. Acceleration is difficult to measure in the gym, so for this example and simplicity's sake, let's say it take 225 lbs (of force).

225 lbs x 3 x 10 equals 6750 lbf. (pounds of force).

Middle: Weight is already in motion and the bar velocity is at its highest. The bar does not need to be accelerating at this point since it will have to stop at the top of the rep. So you are just fighting gravity and applying force to the bar to keep it moving. Therefore, less overall force is required from the system.

200 lbs x 3 x 10 equals 6000 lbf.

Top: At the top of the rep, the bar must come to a complete stop, which means it has decelerated to a speed of zero. So, the force you need to apply at the top of the rep is less. The bar may feel heavier or more difficult at the top but this has more to do with the mechanical disadvantage of the system, as well as the fact that with normal resistance your body has stopped pushing.

175 lbs x 3 x 10 equals 5250 lbf.

Keep in mind that these lbf. values are at back of the envelope calculation. We haven't calculated the acceleration of the bar, so it is impossible to calculate the force needed. The acceleration will likely vary between people but the general concept and pattern of bar motion, velocity and acceleration is consistent. There are also other variables such as stretch reflex, leverage changes, etc., which influence how difficult a specific portion of the lift is. However, this is a simple way to show limitations of only training with free weights.

This environment over time can can create strengths and weaknesses at different points of the lifts. This is where we integrate bands and chains to change the behavior of the work portions of the lift differently.

Bands and chains are forms of accommodating resistance that allow the body to have to conform to an environment not seen by traditional weights. It forces a lifter to have to contract at a more consistent force output throughout more of the lift. This is a result of the resistance to the muscles becoming greater as the bar is concentrically moving.

So, instead of letting inertia and bar motion reduce the amount of force needed to complete a lift, the bands and chains increase the load used by the lifter. This will help teach him how to strain with maximal intensity, as well as maintain bar speed.

The amount of bands and chains added to real weight is an important aspect, and usually I see people adding too much in accommodating resistance, or too much actual weight. (I use between 185-200 lb of accommodating resistance and bench 620.)

The author working up to a 500 lb Incline Bench:

Speed bench - 10 reps in 6.58 seconds
with 205 lbs + 40lbs  in chains + 120 lbs band resistance:

600 lb Raw Bench, 2012:

The goal is to keep the rep difficult for the entire range of motion. If the bands/chains are too much, we see the opposite problem. At the bottom, no real force is needed and then it increases to a near maximal at the top. Also, this scenario isn't allowing the lifter to produce a high enough amount of force throughout the entire lift and is actually opposite to the way weights will feel in a competition.

Especially for speed days, you should be moving the bar explosively from start to finish. The accommodating resistance allows the lifter to not reduce force applied at the middle as well as the top. The bar will still be decelerating; it has to since it comes to a complete stop, but you do not need to actively reduce the force applied to the bar. The applied force will be more consistent with bands and chains.

Just as with any program, you should base your training on fundamentals first, then your needs come second. You need to do max effort in order to strain, you need speed work to increase force production and you need a certain amount of volume with reps (accessory work) in order to bring up specific muscle hypertrophy and correct weak points. 

It is not always the person who trains the hardest who makes most gains -
it takes smarts as well. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bench Routines - Pat Casey, Ted Arcidi

Pat Casey's 600-pound Bench Program


Bench Press:
Warmup - 1 x 10-15
Medium Weight - 3 x 3
95% of Max - 6 sets of 1 rep
Medium Weight - 3 x 3
Pump Set - 1 x 20

Lying Barbell Triceps Extension:
Warmup - 1 x 20
Heavy - 8 sets of 3 reps
Medium - 1 x 5


Incline Dumbbell Press:
Warmup - 1 x 12
Heavy - 5 sets of 4-5 reps
Pump Set - 1x 20

No Weight - 1 x 10
Heavy - 8 sets of 3 reps
Medium - 1 x 10


Bench Press:
Same as Monday

Lying Barbell Triceps Extension superset with Dips:
Extensions, warmup - 1 x 10
Dips, warmup - 1 x 10
Extensions superset with Dips - 5 x 5 each.

Ted Arcidi's Big Bench Routine


Bench Press:
405 - 420, 3 sets of 5 reps

Seated Behind the Neck Press:
260 x 5
275 x 5
300 x 5

Lying EZ Triceps Extension to Nose:
340 x 6
350 x 6

EZ Barbell Curl
160 - 195, 3 sets of 6 reps

Lat Pulldown:
235 - 240, 3-4 x 10


Bench Press:
560 - 570, 3 sets of 6 reps

Seated Behind the Neck Press:
225 x 3 x 6

The rest is the same as Monday


(not including warmups)
550 x 1 set of 5 reps

540 - 620 x 1 set of 5 reps

Seated Behind the Neck Press:
335 x 3
365 x 3

Preparation-phase Training

Goes light on the bench presses and medium on the presses behind neck.

Sometimes does lat pulldowns on this day rather than Monday. Other than that Tuesday is a rest day.

Complete rest and relaxation. 

Goes heavy on the bench presses and light on the presses behind neck.

Occasionally will perform lat pulldowns on this rest day rather than on Thursday.

Heavy intensity on the presses behind neck.

This off-season prep phase lasts for four to five months.
He always controls the speed of each repetition.
Rests five to six minutes between sets of the three powerlifts.
Rests two to three minutes between sets of the assistance work.

Competition-phase Training 

Begins approximately 10 to 11 weeks before a scheduled meet.

First Three Weeks:
Uses a repetition pattern of 6 reps on the bench press, day 2 only.

Second Three Weeks:
Uses a repetition pattern of 5 reps on the bench press, day 2 only.

Final Five Weeks:
Begins to adapt to 3 reps and then uses a combination of threes and twos during the final two weeks of the cycle on bench presses, day 2 only.
Does forced reps occasionally.
Performs the last heavy workout 10 days before the meet.

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