Monday, May 29, 2017

Retro Mass (Full Body Workouts) - C.S. Sloan (2002)

Originally Published in This Issue (May, 2002)

Full-Body Workouts for Muscle and Power
by C.S.Sloan (2002)

In the era of go-for-the-pump bodybuilding - the legacy of steroid using pro bodybuilders who are about as strong, pound for pound, as my 75-year old grandmother - we've forgotten one of the best methods for building bulk, mass, power and strength. I'm talking about the 3-Days a Week Full-Body Workout. 

To be fair, it's not just pro bodybuilders who have brought about the near demise of this tremendously effective program. It's also the rantings of certain writers in the field, who'd have us believe that there's no way in hell we're going to grow if we train our bodyparts any more than once a week, or even once every other week. Well, I'm here to tell you that the 3-days-a-week method is still the best around for packing on power or busting out of a rut.

Not convinced? Take a look at these examples of bodybuilders and lifters who used 3-days-a-week full-body workouts.

Marvin Eder.
The greatest all-around bodybuilder, powerlifter and strength athlete ever to walk the planet, Eder had 19-inch arms at a bodyweight of 198. He could bench press 510, squat 550 for 10 reps and do a standing barbell press with 365. He was reported to have achieved the amazing feat of cranking out 1,000 dips in only 17 minutes. [60 x 17 = 1020 seconds/1,000 dips = averaging out to about one a second.]

As IronMan contributor Gene Mozee put it, "Modern day bodybuilders couldn't carry his gym bag." And no doubt about it, Eder's favorite routine for adding mass was a whole-body workout.

Steve Reeves.
Steve Reeves was renowned for the beauty and proportion of his physique. It was quite possibly the most perfect structure that ever graced a bodybuilding stage. He always used a three-days-a-week full-body routine. (And I bet you thought whole-body workouts were only for weightlifters).

Joseph Curtis (J.C.) Hise
In the 1930's J.C. Hise had been training for a number of years but weighed only 180 pounds at a height of 5'9". He was unsatisfied with his results until he took up a three-days-a-week workout built around heavy, high-rep breathing squats. Hise gained a then-unheard-of 29 pounds in one month. His results were so amazing that no one actually believed his progress.

Mike Bridges. Though perhaps unknown to many IRONMAN readers, Bridges was one of the greatest powerlifters of all time. Competing in both the 165- and 181-pound divisions, he benched well over 400 pounds, squatted more than 700 and deadlifted close to that. Bridges trained on all three of the lifts in the same workout, three days a week.   

George Oleson. Considered by some authorities to be the strongest man alive, Oleson has 23 inch biceps and 14 Guinness world records. In addition to several amazing feats of strength, George bench presses close to 600 pounds, squats more than 900 and deadlifts more than 800. His favorite weight workout involves training all the major lifts in one session, doing 3 sets of 3 reps for each lift.

Still not convinced?

Just give the following routines a try, and I guarantee you'll be a believer.

Beginning-to-Intermediate Program 

 If you've never lifted a weight before - or you've only been lifting for a few months and your buddies at the gym have convinced you that a six-day split is the only way to go - it's time to take a true back-to-basics approach. If you've been lifting for years without making appreciable gains, that advice goes for you too.

What follows is very similar to the routine Marvin Eder used and recommended to other bodybuilders. Perform it on three nonconsecutive days during the week; for example, Monday / Wednesday / Friday.

Squat - 3 sets of 5 reps.

Use a medium-wide stance with the bar resting across your trapezius muscles. Make sure you lower to below parallel on the descent; that is , your hips should be below your knees. Also, stay tight at all times. Once you reach the proper depth, EXPLODE back to the top. Note that the above set and rep requirement doesn't include warmups.

Incline Barbell Press - 3 x 5 reps. 

Use a bench set at 45 degrees. That will keep the focus on your chest muscles primarily, and save some shoulder strength for the overhead pressing later. Grip the bar so your little fingers are on the power rings, lower it to your upper chest - just below your neck - and then EXPLODE to lockout.

Wide-Grip Chin - 4 x failure.

Take a grip that's a good deal wider than shoulder width. As you raise yourself, try to come close to touching your chest to the bar. Descent slowly and focus on getting a good stretch in your lats. Perform four sets of as many reps as possible. I don't care if you can only manage two reps on your first set. Stick with the exercise until you're performing multiple reps on all four sets. You can alternate these with the incline presses if you wish: Do a set of incline presses, rest a couple of minutes and then perform a set of chins. Continue like that until all sets are finished.

Overhead Press - 3 x 6 reps. 

Use as slightly wider than shoulder width grip and clean a barbell off the floor to your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, press the bar up to lockout. Lower, and then repeat. You only need clean the first rep, or you can take the bar from the rack or stands.

Standing Barbell Curl - 3 x 6

As popular as arm training is in modern gyms, it's a shame that you rarely see this exercise performed. Instead, pumpers and toners would rather spend their time doing numerous sets of cable, machine. or light dumbbell curls that never produce the results they're after. This exercise might be more taxing and painful than the others, but it's also the most effective.

Barbell Pullover and Press - 3 x 6

I don't give a damn if you've never heard of this exercise. It's fantastic for triceps mass and power as well as being an excellent finishing movement for the upper body. Lie on a bench and grab a barbell - preferably an EZ Curl bar to minimize wrist pain - holding it over your chest. Keep your upper arms locked into place and lower your elbows as if you were going to perform a skull crusher (lying triceps extension). Once your elbows are at 90 degrees, lower the bar back behind your head as if you were doing a pullover. Pull back up and press.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of this workout:

 - After two weeks increase to four sets per exercise.
 - After four weeks increase to five sets per exercise.
 - After six weeks increase to six sets per exercise.
 - Try to keep other exercise to a minimum.
 - Don't add any exercises. The time for that will come later.
 - Increase your weights whenever possible. Keep pushing to add more weight to the bar.

If you've been training for at least one solid year and have already made good gains, the time has come for you to move up to a more advanced workout.

Advanced Programs
Using the Heavy, Light, and Medium Concept 

When lifters reach the more advanced levels, they often switch to a split routine. Sometimes a split can be a good idea, but most of the time it isn't. Let's take a look at some advantages of whole-body workouts performed three days a week, for advanced lifters.

One advantage is that all the muscle groups get equal attention, which gives you proportionate strength throughout your body, and helps to focus on any weak bodypart. I know, I know. I can hear avid followers of the split routine objecting. That's the whole purpose of a split routine, right? To allow you to blast one or two bodyparts per day, giving them more rest between workouts and a greater pump at each session.

With most trainees, however, the split system does the opposite of what was intended. They tend to skip a lot of sessions involving the legs and/ore the trunk, meaning the hips, abs and lower back - and instead show up for more chest, shoulder or arm sessions. If, however, they resign themselves to performing squats and lower-back work at the beginning of each session - not allowing themselves to work any other muscle groups until their leg work is finished - they'll become much more balanced and symmetrical.

A lot of lifters use the excuse that they can't perform three full-body workouts a week because they just can't do justice to their other bodyparts if they train legs first. They say they're too tired to do any good work for the muscles of their chest and shoulder region, back or arms.

The reason for this is, they're out of shape. After a few weeks on a whole-body routine they'll have their strength back up to their previous levels on all bodyparts, and before long they'll have surpassed previous personal records.

Another advantage for advanced lifters is that their muscle groups get worked more frequently. Yes, I know what you're thinking. Haven't I advocated very infrequent training in the past? Sure - for lifters who have been grinding away for months or years on a multiple-set, multiple-rep, multiple exercise per bodypart, multiple days per week program. That type of training wreaks havoc on cortisol levels and depletes testosterone and recovery levels to such a degree that they require a bout of brief, infrequent training.

The opposite is also true, however. If bodybuilders have been performing infrequent workouts for an extended period of time, then an 8 to 12 week stint - or as long as the gains keep coming - of a three times per week full-body routine is in order.

Here's the kicker for advanced bodybuilders. You still hit each bodypart heavy only once a week. The other two full-body sessions are light and medium workouts.

Here's an example of the type of routine you should commit to when you graduate from the intermediate program.

Advanced Program One

Heavy Workout

Squat - 5 x 5, 1 x 10 reps. 
Perform two warmup sets followed by three all-out sets of 5 reps. Pick a weight that you know you'll have to struggle to get the 5 reps with on all three sets. Whenever you manage 5 reps on all three sets add weight at the next workout. After the last set, drop the weight down for one set of 10 reps. These 10 reps should be next to impossible to perform.

Bench Press - 5 x 5, 1 x 10.  

Follow the same plan as the squats. 

Deadlift - 5 x 5. 

Use the same plan as above, but omit the higher rep set.

Overhead Push Press - 5 x 8.

Do two warmup sets of 8 followed by three work sets, going as heavy as possible for 8 reps.

Barbell Curl - 5 x 8.

Incline Situp - 3 x 45.

Do these on an incline board. Perform 15 reps as regular situps, 15 reps twisting to the right side, and 15 reps twisting to the left side. For three sets.

Light Workout

Squat - 5 x 5. 

Use a weight that's 60-65% of the weight you used in the heavy workout. In other words, if you squatted 300 pounds on Monday for your three work sets, you'd use about 180-195 pounds on these. You'll probably only need one warmup set so you can do the remaining four sets with your lighter work set weight. Concentrate on SPEED and EXPLOSIVENESS during these work sets. The concentric portion of each lift should go quickly.

Bench Press - 5 x 5. 

Use the same plan as the squats. 

Good Mornings - 5 x 5. 

This exercise is great for building strong lumbars. Perform two warmup sets followed by three heavy sets of 5 reps. Heavy, of course, is relative on this exercise. Even though you're training intensely, you still won't be using anywhere near the amount of weight you used while deadlifting. Thus, it falls on the Light Day.

Seated Dumbbell Press - 5 x 8. 

Do two warmup sets followed by three all-out work sets. 

Concentration Curl - 5 x 8. 

Crunch - 3 x 45. 

Perform these as you did the incline situps on the Heavy Day. I put them on the Light Day because they involve a very small range of motion and don't require the effort that other ab work does. 

Medium Workout

Squat - 5 x 5, 1 x 2 reps.

Perform two warmup sets just as you did on the Heavy Day, followed by 3 sets of 5 reps with a weight that's less than what you used at that workout. I like to use around 85% of what I use on the Heavy Day. For example, if you squatted 400 for 3 sets of 5 on the Heavy Day you'd use about 340 at this workout. After your 5th set rest a few minutes and then do a heavy double with more weight than you used on your Heavy Day. You might move up to 410 for these two reps. That will help you prepare for the upcoming Heavy Day, when you'll attempt the weight used for a double here on your 3 sets of 5.

Bench Press - 5 x 5, 1 x 2. 

Use the same plan as just described for the squats above. 

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts - 5 x 5.

Do two warmup sets of 5 followed by three heavy sets of 5. The weight you use on these should be somewhere between what you use on the Good Mornings on the Light Day and the Deadlifts on the Heavy Day. 

Behind the Neck Press - 5 x 8.

Do two warmup sets followed by three heavy sets. 

EZ-Bar Curl - 5 x 8. 

Hanging Leg Raise - 3 x 45. 

Perform one set while raising your legs straight up; one set while twisting your legs to the right side; and one set while twisting them to the left side.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of this first advanced program. 

 - Stick with the program for at least 8 weeks.
 - Make sure you eat adequate amounts of protein. This program is very demanding, and you'll need extra nutrients. If you're trying to add as much muscle mass as possible, get somewhere between 15 and 20 times your bodyweight in calories on a daily basis. 
 - After a month on this program increase the amount of weight you use on the light and medium days. Go to 75% on the Light Day, and 90% on the Medium Day. 

Advanced Program Two

This routine is for very advanced lifters who have been training for at least two years, are in excellent condition, and have reached the upper limits on their numbers on the big lifts like the squat, bench, and deadlift. It incorporates the Heavy / Light / Medium system, but goes about it differently from the first program. 

In this routine you perform different lifts on each day, and the exercise itself determines what day it falls on.
Keep in mind that what follows is just an example. Highly advanced lifters need to incorporate as much variety as possible. Feel free to change exercises on the light and medium days regularly as long as they fall within the guidelines. 

Heavy Day 

Squat - 7 sets of 5 reps. 

Don't deviate from the instructions for this exercise; no matter what. The full squat, or some version of it, should be the cornerstone of every workout in every routine. There, however, you do two more sets than you did previously. Perform three progressively heavier warmup sets followed by four work sets of 5 reps. Once you can get 5 reps on all four work sets increase the weight on the next Heavy Day.

Bench Press - 7 x 5.

Use the same plan as the squats above.

Deadlift - 7 x 5.

Not the same as it ever was, but the same as above.

Wide-Grip Dips and
Wide-Grip Chins - both 4 x 5.

You should be well warmed up from the previous work, so jump straight into your work sets on these. Perform a set of dips, rest two minutes, then do a set of chins, rest another two minutes, and continue back and forth until you complete all eight sets, four sets of each.

Barbell Curl and
Pullover and Press - both 4 x 5.

As above. As above, so below.

Incline Situp - 3 x 60. 

Use the same plan as described for the Heavy Day in Advanced Workout One. Here you go for 20 reps in each direction.

Light Day

Olympic-Style Pause Squat - 5 x 5.

Perform these with the bar resting high on your traps, almost on the neck.

Use a fairly close stance and squat as low as possible, pausing at the bottom for a second before starting the ascent. Perform two warmup sets. Shoot for a weight that's at least 70% of what you use on the work sets for your squats in the heavy workout. 

One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press - 5 x 5. 

This exercise will be tough when you first try it, because of the coordination it takes to lift heavy weight with just one arm. Stick with it, however, as it will greatly aid your regular bench press. Do five sets with each arm.

Round Back Good Morning - 5 x 8. 

I reserve this exercise for advanced lifters who are already used to working regular good mornings intensely. The rounding of the back will enable you to go much deeper on the negative portion and work the lower back in a different manner. Be cautious when increasing the poundage. 

Dumbbell Curl and 
Lying Triceps Extension - 5 x 8 each. 

Crunch - 3 x 60. 

Medium Day

Bottom-Position Squat - 5 x 3, 1 x 3 reps. 

Set the pins in the power rack below parallel.This exercise will bring new meaning to the words Hard Work if you've never performed it before. It is, in fact, a tougher exercise than a regular squat due to the amount of effort it takes to start the squat off the pins in the rack from a bottom position. The fact that you aren't able to use as much weight is the reason this exercise falls on the medium day. You should do the final set of three reps with a weight that's close to your work weight on the Heavy Day . . . once you become accustomed to the dead start of bottom-position squatting. 

Incline Bench Press - 5 x 5.  

Do two warmup sets of 5 reps followed by three work sets. The weight should be approximately 90% of the weight you use on the flat bench presses. 

Power Clean - 5 x5.

This is one of the best back exercises in existence. The beauty of it is that you can work your lower, middle, and upper back all in one exercise, once you're working it hard enough. If you've been lifting for more than a couple of years and have never tried these, you've done yourself a real disservice. They're not that easy for rank beginners to learn, and this is the reason I've included them in the advanced program. 

Close-Grip Chin - 5 x 5.  

Use a regular, reverse grip on these. Use the same weight as you use on the wide-grip chins on the Heavy Day. 

Lying Barbell Triceps Extension - 5 x 5.

Hanging Leg Raise - 3 x 60.  

Here are some tips for getting the most out of the program: 

 - Remember, the workout is only a guideline. The more advanced  you become, the more variety you'll need. There are many chest, back, and squatting exercises to rotate, so you should never go stale on the program. With a little thought and lifting experience on the exercises, you will be able to determine which ones fit the Heavy, Light, and Medium days naturally.

 - Take in a large amount of protein while you're on the program, but don't be ridiculous. You should be training hard at every session with this routine, so your body will need extra nutrients. 

 - If you feel worn out, avoid taking a layoff at first. Simply switch to some exercises that require the use of lighter weights for a week or two. That will decrease your total workload and should get you back on the gaining track, back in the saddle, trains now leaving once more. 

Final Thoughts

Being of sound mind I do hereby leave my, no, not that. If you've never tried full-body workouts before, you owe it to yourself and your muscles to give them a try. Some people would call them a little retro, but in my book that ain't a bad thing. 

Show the world some workouts that Marvin Eder, Steve Reeves, and J.C. Hise would be proud of! 

Soar With More - Randall Strossen (2000)

For Much More from Randall Strossen, See These Two Books:

by Randall Strossen (2000)

 In the not too distant past the idea that less training could produce more results was fairly novel. That may be hard to believe now that the whole less-is-more concept has become a cliché, but why wouldn't it become popular? Who wouldn't love to train less and gain more? Who wouldn't love a legitimate reason to back off when it comes to lifting weights? 

The only catch is that there really aren't any free lunches, and gains are usually proportional to effort. While less can produce more, it's more likely that less produces less and more produces more.

The less-is-more idea starts with the idea that instead of doing a zillion movements - which might produce overtraining and limit gains - you should pick a limited number of basic movements, things like squats and deadlifts, and focus your attention on them. Then you make sure that you don't do too many sets and that there's plenty of recovery time between workouts. 

One thing leads to another, and before too long, three workouts per week go to two; and then it's one every four days and before too much longer, it's, maybe, three workouts every two week, and so on. After a while you wonder whether any of these guys train at all.

Most people who jump on this bandwagon are usually settling for much less than they have to, often without even realizing it. Misunderstanding the process usually begins at the first stage, when the training program is cut down from many movements to just a few. When progress continues or even accelerates, that's often interpreted as a sure sign that training less is the wiser way to go, when in fact what's really happening is that the person is just dropping a lot of unproductive movements.

So, while one person might do five sets of four different lifts, with the intention of increasing, say, his power clean, another might just do five sets of power cleans. When the second person makes more progress than the first, it's easy to conclude that it proves the dangers of overtraining - when what might really show is that the other four movements were a waste of time and energy.

This is an important lesson because the history of progress in bodybuilding and lifting is pretty much a history of people training more and getting greater results. For example, when bodybuilders and lifters started to do multiple sets, progress exploded. Decades ago the standard routine for most of the world's top lifters was to train three times per week; now many of the world's top lifters train three times a day. And lest you think that increase in  training frequency goes along with reduced training intensities, consider that some of the top lifters who train the most often are also training at close to 100 percent intensity levels most of the time.

"But I'd never recover; I'd always be injured," the less is more extremists would say. Could be, but not necessarily. First, our bodies adapt to stress, which is exactly how we coax them to get bigger and stronger by overloading them - we ask them to do more than they're used to, and they adapt by getting bigger and stronger. 

That also means we can increase or decrease out ability to withstand rigorous training. How hard we can train effectively is elastic, and it goes up and down depending on what we think and do. Just as we can condition ourselves to train less and less, we can also condition ourselves to train more and more. 

Second, ironically enough, it's often the case that more frequent training is the best way to avoid injury because the body is more likely to be properly loosened up and primed for the lifts we do. Ever notice how your worst workouts usually come after your longest layoffs? How many people who train during the week and take the weekend off find that Monday's workout is the toughest of all, even though they should be the most rested for it? Some of the hardest-training Olympic-style weightlifters never take layoffs because everything from soreness to injuries increases when they come back from a layoff. 

Properly performed training is a good investment: It returns more than you originally put in. Thus, the person who has hit a level of reasonably good overall conditioning might run several days a week, lift weights hard a few days a week, do plenty of other work throughout the day and still have lots of energy. At the other end of the spectrum, a poorly conditioned person who keeps reducing his training load might complain that he's tired the day after an arm workout. Part of the difference is in the mind, but all the effects are felt in the body.

Talk to the most demanding coaches in the iron games, coaches who are famous for putting their lifters on routines that are so hard that even veteran lifters stare at the programs in disbelief, and you'll quickly learn that the key to being able to train at that level is to gradually increase your training load. 

Think of the process as being analogous to adding weight to the bar: You don't go from a bench of 50 pounds to 500 pounds in a hop, skip and a jump, but, rather, in a long series of usually small, often irregular steps. You add five pounds here, 10 pounds there over many hours of training. The same process applies to boosting your overall training intensity and volume - the operative word for your increases should be slowly.

And as with just about everything, successful implementation of the entire process begins between your ears because, while you may not be able to will yourself to each level of success, you can certainly think your way to a level of reduced expectations and general passivity that will ensure mediocre results. Believe that you can succeed, and then act accordingly.

None of this emphasis on turning up the heat is to say that you can't get tremendous results from abbreviated programs or that even a little training isn't better than no training at all. When your progress stops, though, instead of assuming you're overtrained and need to back off, think that you're stagnating because your body has become used to your current training load. At this point the correct response isn't to back off but to bump up the ante. 

So, if you want to soar, try doing a little more.     

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Make 4X the Gains - Chad Waterbury (2017)

Originally Published in This Issue (June 2017) 

More Articles by Chad Waterbury: 

A More In Depth Look at High Frequency Training Here:

by Chad Waterbury (2017)

 - Take a break from body-part splits and add size by hitting every muscle four times per week -

As is true in almost any skill, the more you lift, the better you get at it (and the bigger you get as a result). The more frequently you train a muscle, the faster it's going to respond by growing. So if you've ever trained only one or two body parts in a session - totaling only one or two sessions for that area a week - prepare to switch to a full-body, high-frequency routine that will gains at mind-blowing speed. 

The problem with high-volume body-part splits is that they beat your muscles into the ground. For instance, if your chest day contains five or six different exercises for the pecs, they'll need several days to recover before they can be worked again. It's great to train a muscle from all the angles and improve its work capacity, but going so long between workouts robs it of a chance to be exposed to the training stimulus again sooner, and that's blowing an opportunity for growth.

To train a muscle more often, you have to reduce the work you give it in a single session, but that's okay. Instead of working your chest with 12 sets in one session, you might do 12 total sets over the course of a whole week, with each session building on the gains of the previous one. 

While muscles respond well to being worked often, the joints can resent it big time. Doing heavy bench presses one day followed by shoulder presses and dips on other days will be hell on your shoulder joints and set you up for injury. To train often and safely, you need to pick mainly joint-friendly exercises and keep recovery foremost in your mind, and that's why you'll see various chest-supported rowing movements and bodyweight exercises in our program. 

Training the whole body in each session will ensure you make balanced gains and work the same muscles four different times in a single week. Think about it: If you were hitting your arms once a week, that's 52 arm workouts a year. If you start hitting them four times a week, that's a whopping 208 arm workouts per year. 


You'll train four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) on a rotating schedule. So you'll do Workouts A through C Monday through Thursday, and then you'll repeat the cycle with Workout A again on Saturday. You'll pick up next Monday with Workout B. 

Each workout consists of exercises that are paired and alternated, so you'll do one set of the first exercise in the pair, rest, then do a set of the second exercise, rest again, and repeat until all sets for that pair are complete. 

Workout A (Monday . . . Saturday . . . Thursday etc.) 

Chest-supported Dumbbell Row, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternate with
Cable Bench Press, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

Bulgarian Split Squat, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternate with
Lateral Raise, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

Workout B (Tuesday . . . Monday . . . Saturday etc.)    

Pullup (or Lat Pulldown), 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternate with
Feet-elevated Pushup, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

Barbell Hip Thrust, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternate with
Chest-supported Rear Delt Raise, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

Workout C (Thursday . . . Tuesday . . . Monday etc.) 

Chest-supported Row, Palms Up, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternated with
Decline Bench Press, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

Goblet Squat, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest
alternate with
Neutral-Grip Front Raise, 3 sets, 90 seconds rest.

The Details 
In Weeks 1 and 2, begin every set of every exercise with a five-second static hold. That means you'll hold a certain point in the range of motion for that lift. (See the exercise descriptions to follow). Immediately afterward, perform five full range of motion reps. Rest 10 seconds and perform a four-second static hold, followed by four full range of motion reps. Rest 10 more seconds, do a three-second hold, then three full range reps. All of the above equals one set.

In Weeks 3 and 4, do a six-second static hold and then immediately do six full range of motion reps. Work down to a four-second hold and four full reps. 

In Weeks 5 and 6, do a seven-second hold and seven reps. Work down to a five-second hold and five full reps.  

The Exercises

Chest-supported Dumbbell Row:
Set the bench to a 45-degree angle. With your palms facing each other, draw your shoulder blades back and together as you row the weights to your sides. Begin each set by holding the finished (rowed) position.

Cable Bench Press: 
The top position is the static hold position. 

Bulgarian Split Squat:
The front leg bent (lowered) position is the static hold position.

Lateral Raise: 
The arms raised to ear level position is the static hold position.

Pullup (or Lat Pulldown):
Pull yourself up (or the bar down) until your chin is over it and the bar nearly touches your collarbones. This is the hold position.

Feet Elevated Pushup:
Rest your feet on a bench or other elevated surface that allows you to perform all the given reps. Begin in the top position and try to pull your hands together. They won't move, but actively trying to slide them together in front of your chest will activate more pec fibers. This is the position of the hold. 

Barbell Hip Thrust:
The hips raised position is the static hold position.

Chest-supported Rear Delt Raise: 
Set the bench to a 45-degree angle and lie with your chest against it. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and raise the weights up until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Hold that position.

Chest-supported Row, Palms Up:
Set the bench to a 70-degree angle. The static hold position is the top position.

Decline Bench Press: 
Set the bench to a 15- to 20-degree decline and perform a bench press with hands set shoulder width apart. Lower the bar to your sternum. Hold the up (pressed) position.

Goblet Squat:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly out. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands under your chin. Push your hips back and lower your body into a deep squat. Hold this bottom position.  

Neutral-Grip Front Raise:
Hold dumbbells with your palms facing each other and raise up to eye level at a slight angle to your torso. Alternate arms. The top position is the hold position. 

Arm and Calf Specialization

If you want to target your arms and/or calves over the six-week plan, place this circuit at the end of any two of the workouts. For example, you could tack it onto the end of Monday's and Thursday's sessions.

Perform one set* of each exercise in sequence and repeat for three total rounds. Rest 60 seconds between the exercises.

*Note that these exercises are done the same way as all the others, alternating isometric holds with full reps.

Chest-supported Incline Curl:
Set bench to a 70-degree incline and lie against it with a dumbbell in each eye, er, hand, palms facing each other. Curl the weights up, supinating the wrists so your palms face up at the top. Hold the top (curled) position for the isometric.

Triceps Pushdown:
Perform pushdowns with a rope handle. Hold the extended (contracted) position.

Single-leg Standing Calf Raise:
Hole the top (contracted) position.   

Priming the Pull - Liam Tweed (2017)

Priming the Pull
by Liam Tweed (2017)

So you think you are a well-rounded strength athlete, do you? 

You squat and you press for all you're worth, and once in a while you even grind out those back-busting, butt-ripping deadlifts.

In short, you are a bad hombre . . . nobody should mess with you, right? 

Hmm, depends . . . do you PULL? 
I mean really PULL! 

I'm talking about explosive lifting, ripping weights with controlled acceleration from the ground to specific height targets from hip to above your head.

Firstly, a well-rounded athlete needs to do a LOT or the basic movements; the definition of these varies depending on the guru, but in my view you need to: 

1) Squat
2) Press
3) Pull

Many years ago I was told by a respected iron gamer that that was all I ever needed to do. I believed him then and I still believe him now. But . . . 

What do we mean by a "pull" . . . in my mind lat work doesn't qualify. Chins are great but they aren't pulling. Pulling for an athlete means a dynamic explosive movement that moves a weight from ground to wherever it's destined to end up. 

Have you ever seen the spinal erectors on a high ranked weightlifter? 

Those weren't built on the Bosu Ball! 

Explosive pull exercises have gone the way of the dodo, even sadly in some weightlifting circles where it's pretty much been boiled down to Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Squat. In my mind that's a damn shame, as we seem to have thrown "the baby out with the bathwater." The explosive pull has a lot to offer if your aim is to pack functional (there's that dreaded word again) muscle onto your legs, lower back and traps.

"Legs" you say?  

Yes! But don't take my word for it. Give a few sets of Clean Pulls for 3's a go and get back to me on that! 

Back in the '60s lifters used to work HARD and they did it or the love of lifting, not for fame, money and glory. Here in South Africa it was no different. Lifters ground out their presses, pulls and squats, day after back breaking day, just to gain a few pounds on their totals. And all this was done on top of a full time job.

Excuse me for glorifying these Iron Warriors, but I'm an undying fan of the true amateur athlete, because I can relate. It's us that battle away year after year, decade after decade with no thought of the hope or glory or recognition that are the true hero's.

That's right! I'm talking about YOU out there reading this . . . step up and take a bow!

Now, let me tell you a story about an unknown Springbok (SA national) lifter from the '60's by the name of Jannie Van Rensburg. He was known for being hard on himself and the lifters he trained. He once wrote a  nine month pulling specialization course in the South African weightlifting magazine, and I'm presenting it here for shock value and hopefully to illustrate why we should respect and admire those that came before us.


First 3 Months

Monday / Wednesday / Friday

1) Clean Pulls - 5-4-3-3-3, jumping 20 lbs. each set, start with 80% of Clean. 
2) Snatch Pulls - as above.
3) Power Snatch From Blocks (midway between pelvis and knees) - 4 x 3 reps.
4) Power Snatch From Blocks (pelvis height) - 4 x 3.
5) Power Clean (same height as 3) - 4 x 2.
6) Power Clean (same height as 4) - 4 x 2.

76 Reps of Pulling!

He said in his article that after his first workout on this course, " I crawled from the garage gym into bed." One of his trainees increased his Power Clean from 200 to 255 lbs. over the 3-month period.
But there's also the other three days of the week!

Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday

Light Lifts for Form . . . and
Pressing - lots of emphasis on Pressing Strength.
25-Yard Sprints.
Standing Broad Jumps.
Jumping Over Hurdles.

Second 3 Months

 Monday / Wednesday / Friday

1) Power Snatch 5-4-3-2-1 (jump 10 lbs.).
2) Power Clean 5-4-3-2-1 (jump 10 lbs.).
3) Snatch High Pulls 5 x 3 reps (jump 20 lbs., start 80% of Snatch).
4) Clean Pulls - 5 x 3 ( as above).
5) Overhead Squat of Split Overhead Squat - 5 x 5.
6) Jerks From Racks - 5 x 2.
Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday
Same as the First 3 Months Layout.

Third Three Months

Monday / Wednesday / Friday 

1) Power Snatch - 5 x 2 reps.
2) Snatch - 8 singles (jumping 10 lbs.).
3) Power Clean - 5 x 2.
4) Clean and Jerk - 8 singles (jumping 10 lbs.).
5) Straddle Hop - 3 sets until tired (jumping "fore and aft and sideways").
6) Overhead Squat - 5 x 5.
Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday
Same as the First 3 Months Layout.

Okay. That's the way they used to train when they wanted to improve their pulling power, and considering that there had to be a lot of focus on pressing strength you can imagine how HARD they trained. 

Any guesses as to whether they were strong, athletic and conditioned? 


Don't neglect your explosive pulling if you want to build and maintain your athletic abilities. 

Train hard and "do not go gently into the night, rage, rage against the dying of the light." 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dips - John McCallum (1967)

Originally Published in This Issue (June 1967)

Parallel Bar Dips
by John McCallum (1967)

Sam Bartlot is a young man who, until two years ago, zipped around is a souped-up car with blind optimism and a supreme disregard for municipal traffic regulations. "Speed," he often said, "ain't got nothing to do with accidents. It's them crumbs crawling around in second gear."

Sam's outlook was as bright as his grammar was dull. He kept a color photo of his girlfriend's legs pasted on the rear view mirror, and a large plastic replica of the Virgin Mary on top of the dashboard. The statuette contributed a certain amount of theological comfort to Sam's occasional passenger, but blocked, unfortunately, most of the view through the windshield. Residents, it is rumored, called their dogs in off the street when Sam was thought to be in the vicinity, and four policemen knew the number on Sam's driver's license from memory. 

Sam was driving home one rainy night at a comfortable seventy-five when his right front tire blew a hole the size of a teacup. The car smeared a concrete bridge abutment and most of Sam went through the windshield. An ambulance crew scraped up the parts of Sam that were lying on the road, and the next day a garage mechanic cleaned out the rest of him with a high pressure steam hose before the insurance company wrote off the car.

They packed Sam into the hospital with most of him leaking onto the floor and called for the head doctor. The doctor was playing bridge at home he arrived grumbling. When he saw Sam he stopped grumbling. A team of surgeons worked all night, and the next morning Sam was still alive with some parts missing and enough thread in him to sew up a circus tent. A very long time after he hobbled home on two canes and a shiny aluminum leg. 

Sam's nerves were bad for a long time. His health was even worse. His doctor was a progressive man and he suggested Sam take up exercise for his health. Sam started on weights.

His nerves got better and his health improved, and then one day, about a year later, the inevitable happened - the bug bit and Sam wanted to look like John Grimek. He came to see me about it.

"Johnny," he said. "You wouldn't really say I got a good build, would you?"

I thought he was kidding. I put down my book and looked at him.

"Would you?" he said.


"I'd like to know." 

"Well then, frankly, Sam," I said, "no, I wouldn't." 

He looked embarrassed. He slid up the sleeve of his sweat shirt and showed me his arm. "You wouldn't actually call that heavily muscled, would you?" 

"Sam," I said. "Let's face it. You got pretty near as much muscle on that tin leg of yours." 

He thought about it for a moment and then wandered back into the gym and I picked up my book again. I'd been trying to finish Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath for over a month. I read a page and then Sam came back in. "You busy, Johnny?" he said. "Sorry to bother you." 

Sanora Babb's "Whose Names Are Unknown" has enjoyed an underground reputation for many years among those scholars who have known of its existence. Babb is a skillful artist who identified wholeheartedly with the ordeal of the dispossessed during the 1930s. The recovery of her novel is a miraculous gift that will play an important part in future reconsiderations of mid-century U.S. literature.

I put the book down. "I'm not busy, Sam. What do you want?" 

He still looked embarrassed. "Johnny," he said. "What's the most important thing for a good build?" 

"Muscles," I said.

"I know. But apart from that?" 

"Bulk. Well shaped bulk." 

He picked up the book and riffled the pages. "Weight training builds bulk, don't it?" 

"Proper training does." 

"The how come I ain't bulky?" 

"Cause you're not training properly to get bulky." 

He looked surprised. 'I'm not?" 


"How come?" 

I took the book from him before he tore it. "Because," I said, "you never told me you wanted to. When you started here you said you just wanted to calm your nerves and improve your health." I looked closely at him. "You're doing that, aren't you? Your nerves are okay. Your health's improving." 

"It is," he said. I can't complain." 

"Training should be directed towards a definite goal, you know." 

"I suppose so." 

He left and I opened the book. 

 - Sanora Babb wrote Whose Names are Unknown in the 1930s while working with refugee farmers in the Farm Security Administration (FSA) camps of California. Originally from the Oklahoma Panhandle herself, Babb, who had first come to Los Angeles in 1929 as a journalist, joined FSA camp administrator Tom Collins in 1938 to help the uprooted farmers. As Lawrence R. Rodgers notes in his foreword, Babb submitted the manuscript for this book to Random House for consideration in 1939. Editor Bennett Cerf planned to publish this “exceptionally fine” novel but when John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath swept the nation, Cerf explained that the market could not support two books on the subject. The book was eventually published in 2004. 

I'd hardly found by place when he walked in again.

"Johnny," he said. "What's the best exercise for bulk?"


"What's a good substitute for them?" 

"There isn't any substitute for them." 

He frowned. "You know I can't do squats." 

'I know. You didn't ask me that." 

He looked dejected. "Sit down," I said. He slumped on a chair. I opened the desk drawer and tossed Steinbeck in. "Sam," I said. "Let's be honest with each other. Do I gather from all this pussyfooting around you're doing that you'd like to build up a showy physique?" 

He winced. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there?" 

"No. Not a thing." 

"Could I do it?" 

"I think so." 

"What about squats? I can't do them." 

"I know. That makes it tougher, all right."

"Is there anything I can do instead?" 

"Not really." I thought about it for a while. "You see, Sam, squats are the number one exercise in any gaining program. Nothing can really take their place. Squats are responsible for more pounds gained than all the other exercises put together. They'll literally transform you if you work hard enough on them." 

He looked worried so I hurried on. "But in your case, there's no use worrying about all that. You can't do heavy squats so you've got to work hard on some other exercise - something that'll do almost as much for your upper body as squats will do for your entire body." 

"Like what?" 

"Parallel bar dips."

"They'll take the place of squats?" 

"No," I said. "Nothing'll take the place of squats. But parallel bar dips will help a lot." 


"Well," I said, "normally they should be done in conjunction with squats. The combination of the two - heavy squats to stimulate overall bulk and power and parallel bar dips to localize the action and pack the chest and arms - makes a fantastically effective routine. I've know lots of men who built up real herculean size this way."

"Yeah," he said, "But . . ."

"But you can't do heavy squats. I know. So we've got to forget them and concentrate exclusively on the dips. It won't be as good that way, but you can still accomplish a lot if you work hard enough." 

"I don't mind hard work," he said.

"You might mind it as hard as I'm talking about. Not many people appreciate what hard work really means in the sense that I mean it." I thought for a moment. "Have you ever seen one of the real big boys work out? Reg Park, for example?" 

"No," he said. "I never did." 

"You should. It'd knock your eyes out. Park puts out a concentrated effort that's inspiring to watch. He jams more work into one workout than the average trainee does in a month. That's the reason he makes other guys look like old ladies with rickets." 

"I'll work hard," he said.

"Okay. And don't forget that I'm talking about doing parallel bar dips, I mean doing them properly. You gotta use every ounce of will and vigor you can muster. Do them properly or don't do them at all, okay?" 

"Okay," he said.

"Good." I swiveled around and got comfortable. "Now. Parallel bar dips are one of the oldest exercises of them all. "They're an offshoot of the common pushup, only a heck of a lot more result producing. They're a perfectly natural movement, they need a minimum of equipment, and it's almost impossible to hurt yourself doing them.

"Parallel bar dips," I continued, "give a terrific workout to the three most impressive upper body muscle groups - the pectorals, the triceps, and the anterior deltoids. They'll bulk up those groups in short time if you work hard enough." 

"You don't hear much about dips," Sam said.

"No," I said. "You don't hear much about dips," Sam said.

"No," I said. "You don't." And here's why. Parallel bar dips used to be practiced years ago before the days of protein supplements, multiple sets, and so on. Nobody got much in the way of results from dips, but they didn't get much from the other exercises either. They were doing them all in a very old fashioned way.

"Now," I said. "At about the time the new discoveries were being made in training techniques - multiple sets and so on - the bench press somehow enjoyed a wave of popularity. Everybody started bench pressing and applying the new training techniques to it. The records went up, the guys got results, everybody was happy. But parallel bar dips fell into limbo and the new techniques weren't applied to them except in a few isolated cases.

"Incidentally," I added, "those isolated cases got results. Maurice Jones used dips twenty-five years ago and built a 52-inch chest and 19-inch arms. Park does a lot of dips and you know what he looks like." 

"How about me?" Sam said. "What do you recommend?" 

"Well," I said. "Dips are ideal for the 'High Protein/High Set system. Figure on doing 15 sets of dips."

"That's a lot of sets." 

"Sure," I said. "And you'll get a lot of results." 


"You gotta work hard, though, and you gotta use heavy weights. Tie them around your waist. You gotta work up to well over 100 pounds, and you should be trying for 200."

Sam looked doubtful.

"You can do it," I said, "if you want to badly enough. Do them like this: 

"Start out with a moderate weight for 5 reps. Then add weight and do 5 more reps. Then jump to your best weight for 3 sets of 5. Keep forcing the poundage. Add some weight every workout. You've got to grit your teeth and make it the most important thing in your life.

"Now," I said. "Drop the poundage way down and start doing sets of 8 reps. Do 10 more sets with about 30 seconds rest between sets. Drop the weight slightly as you tire, but don't add to the rest period. These fast sets will give you the kind of pump you gotta have to really grow.

"Don't forget the high protein part," I said. "Make your meals primarily protein. Eat three meals a day, take a snack between each meal and at bed time, drink at least two quarts of the 'Get Big Drink' and eat all the supplements you can afford.

"Think you can manage all that?" I said.

"I think so." 


"He left and I took my book out of the drawer. I'd just found my place when he came back in. I closed the book. 

"What's that?" he said.

I showed him the cover.

"Nice story" he said. "You oughta read it some time."  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

One-Arm Lifts for Muscularity (1970)

Check into Joe Roark's Iron History Forum! 
Megatons of Information Over There.
Note: Your Real Name will be required for registration. 

Bodybuilding is not only one of the most popular and exciting pastimes, it's also progressive. Every day is a "breakthrough day" . . . every day a new trail is blazed under the weights . . . every day some lifter takes a giant step forward on his own, and almost overnight every other iron man learns about it and profits by the experiment. Let's take a moment to see how this works in practice.

Until just a few years ago bodybuilders who trained exclusively on bodybuilding movements, using the standard schedules, developed strong and muscular bodies . . . to a  degree. Then they latched on to the special techniques of the power lifters, which enabled them to handle consistently heavier weights, thus bulking up the chest area . . . widening the shoulders . . . bringing out that spectacular tie-in between pectorals and deltoids . . . and building more massive arms in the process. Heavy bench presses done in power-lifting fashion of many sets of lower reps were largely responsible for this startling improvement.

At the same time they began to alter their former leg training programs with a view toward building more massive leg size. This was accomplished by changes in Squat technique: doing more sets of fewer reps, but using heavier weights . . . and by the inclusion of Deadlifts which strongly affect the rear thighs, as well as building more massively-muscled lower backs. It is this obeisance to power lifting that has done so much to restructure the incomparable physiques of Bill Pearl, Chuck Sipes, Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many others. 

And so we of the bodybuilding world have taken technical tips from the power lifters and have notably changed the image of bodybuilding. Another significant step forward can be made possible as well . . . this time through a backward look! 

How? By looking back to the time when one-arm lifts were equally as important as two-arm lifts in World championships and the Olympic games. Yes, in the earlier days the One-Hand Snatch and One-Hand Clean and Jerk were counted in the lifter's total. 

Moreover, the One-Hand Bent Press and Side Press were for many years dear to the hearts of the famous old-time strongmen lifters. Side Presses of over 225 pounds were not uncommon, and the great Arthur Saxon at one time Bent Pressed over 370 pounds while weighing slightly over 200! 

Other great champions such as Charles Rigoulot did a One-Arm Snatch with more than 260 pounds at a bodyweight of 230. George Lurich, the great Russian strongman, made a One-Arm Clean and Jerk with over 300 lbs. while weighing 196.

George Lurich and Friends

As for the Bent Press and Side Press, strongmen/bodybuilders of more recent times have kept interest in them alive. Bert Elliot has succeeded with a 300 lb. Bent Press at a relatively light weight. Marvin Eder (known as "The World's Strongest Youth") made a Side Press of 240 while weighing about 196 . . . and this, mind you, was done with less than two weeks' training!

But Why One-Arm Lifts?

Bodybuilders, you might say, are interested only in muscle-building results. How can they possibly be interested in strength "stunts" such as these one-arm lifts seem to be?

Because so many have found that one-arm lifts build fantastic forearms . . . a more powerful grip . . . shoulders of more rugged breadth and mass, and which are far more cut-up . . . and backs with densely muscled spinal erectors, those two big rope-like columns of muscle on either side of the spine which are the true mark of the really strong man.

To put it another way: The one-arm lifts build a totality of symmetry and muscularity that does not appear in the physiques of bodybuilders who have never taken the time to practice them.

If you doubt this, let me urge you to study photographs of today's two-arm-lift Olympic champions and compare their physiques with the greats of old who practiced both two-arm and one-arm lifts . . . men like Sandow and Saxon. Both men had magnificently developed abdominals as well . . . and the most chiseled serratus magnus.

Thus, when power-lifting for mass, and one-arm lifting for the classical muscular look are incorporated into a modern training program, the most sublime muscular perfection is achieved. 
The wonder of one-arm lift training is that every muscle of the body is affected. Once you begin to practice these lifts you'll find an exciting new massiveness and shape forming in the trapezius and deltoids . . . and from every viewable angle. Far deeper, thicker, and more chiseled than just overhead Presses and Lateral Raises can produce.

How One-Arm Lifts Improve the Two-Arm Variety

Although this article is channeled to bodybuilding interests, it is of considerable value to Olympic weightlifters to note that one-arm lifting is beneficial to the standard two-arm Olympic lifts. For although human energy is concentrated into three double-handed Olympic lifts today (ah, the good ole days), experts know that single-handed lifting produces special strengths, energies and skills that can be transmitted to the double-handed lifts to boost them to tremendous new totals and personal records. Why? Because single-handed lifting requires (and produces):

(a) hair-trigger timing
(b) lightning-like speed
(c) an extra-sensory balance
(d) greater nervous energy
(e) a more daring, courageous frame of mind

You've got to think big . . . think heroically . . . you must have the pioneer spirit . . . you must be a trailblazer, and you must train yourself almost imperceptible muscular reflex action! One-arm lifting works in all these desirable directions.

Another great bonus provided by one-arm lifting is a better lockout because of greater lockout power, because the single-handed lifts train the right and left arms to act independently of each other. Any lifter with a faulty arm-lock frequently suffers failure and disqualification because his Snatches are 'pressed out' at the crux of the lift, or his Jerks come tumbling down because his elbows function inefficiently as he rams the weight overhead and tries to hold it for the count.

How to Perform One-Arm Lifts
When I have described the various techniques of the one-arm lifts I shall close with some general suggestions. These will have to do with basic factors common to all the one-arm lifts, and it will help you if you study them as much as you do the actual lifting techniques.

The One-Hand Snatch

[Note: I'll include some links to more info on this blog about each of these lifts, following the article technique descriptions.]

This is the simplest of all one-arm lifts, and it's the flashiest. The technique is simply to pull the weight swiftly from the floor to overhead in a single motion, with a dip at the knees and a swinging of the body under the weight as it ascends. In 'slow motion' it works this way:

(a) Start with the weight in front of the body as though to begin a two-arm lift from the floor.

(b) The legs should be bent so as to crouch over the barbell, keeping the back flat and hips lower than shoulders.

(c) The non-lifting hand should be placed on its corresponding knee for balance, and to help assure evenness of follow-through.

(d) Reach down for the weight and grasp the barbell exactly in its center. In one swift, explosive follow-through motion, pull (snatch) the weight upward to overhead elbow-locked position.

(e) This technique mandates dipping the body under the weight as it ascends so that you actually end in a half-crouch (semi-squat), your body bent to the opposite side of the exercising arm. You should be looking at the weight all the time - as you snatch it upward . . . as it clears the body . . . and as it reaches elbow-locked position overhead. As your balance improves you can even get into a full squat under the weight, but at the beginning concentrate on pull - to get the weight up . . . on balance - to keep the bar up . . . and on solid position under the weight - to insure the use of the heaviest poundages.

More here:

The One-Arm Clean and Jerk

(a) Bend forward, flexing both legs, as though to clean the barbell with two hands, keeping the back flat and the hips lower than the shoulders. The non-exercising hand rests on the knee of the same side.

(b) Keep the back flat . . . the head up . . . and the eyes fixed on some object about 45 degrees overhead.

(c) Grasp the weight in about the center of the bar (mark the center beforehand) . . . raise it just slightly off the floor to make sure you have it evenly balanced . . . and then in a sort of 'fast Curl' clean the weight swiftly to the shoulder. Actually this follows the same pattern of the Two-Arm Clean, except that, of course, you do it with one arm and start with your palm out, as in the Curl.

(d) As the weight comes into the shoulder, squat to meet the weight . . . drop smartly under it and catch it on the shoulders below the neck.

(e) Stand up with the weight, making sure the elbow of the exercising hand is fixed into the side of the waist or upper hip. The body should form a solid support for the lifting arm.

(f) Lean slightly into the lifting side with the hip, and make sure the leg on the side of the lifting arm is stiff.

(g) With feet about 18 inches apart - and with arm still fixed into the side of the waist or upper hip - jerk the weight overhead by bending the knees slightly and quickly, and then straightening them, and at the same time bend your body slightly to the opposite side to get the weight going.

(h) Drop under the weight in either semi-Squat, full-Squat, or split fashion.

(i) After locking the arm, stand up under the weight.

(j) All one-arm lifts must be done with both right and left arms.

(k) Handle about 75% of your record weight in the exercises. It is well to do the One-Arm Clean and Jerk in series of 3 reps . . . in complete movements.

More here:

The One-Arm Side Press and Push

(a) Get the weight to the shoulder in the same manner as you did in the One-Arm Clean and Jerk.

(b) Place your feet about 18 inches apart, with the leg on the side of the lifting arm stiff, and the other leg pointing slightly forward.

(c) Bend sideways and push the weight overhead. You should always bend sideways as much as possible when pushing the weight overhead.

(d) The non-exercising arm should be out level with the shoulder to provide perfect balance and to provide a momentum in bending sideways. Your eyes should follow the weight as it proceeds to the completed Press position.

(e) You may push the weight overhead quickly as you bend sideways, or you may do it more slowly. Slower with 6 reps per set for muscular shape and size . . . of faster, with heavier weights (as in a Forced Reps technique) to build massiveness and power. (This principle applies to all One-Arm lifts).

(f) Always warm up with lighter weight and gradually work up to heavier and maximum poundages. 

More here:

One-Arm Bent Press

(The starting position is the same as that for the One-Arm Clean, except that you can use the hand of the non-lifting arm to overlap the lifting hand, thus using both hands to help bring the weight to the shoulders.)

The purpose of the lift is to get the weight up in the easiest manner, because what counts here is pressing the heaviest weight possible overhead. You can handle heavier weights in the One-Arm Bent Press than in either the Side press and Push, or the One-Arm Jerk.

(a) With the weight ready on the shoulder in the exact position of the One-Arm Jerk, you should test to discover the exact position which will give you the strongest foundation for the lift. You may do this by spreading your legs a bit more widely by moving the foot on the side of the one-exercising arm a bit further from the body.

(b) Lean slightly forward and bend the knee on the side of the non-exercising arm.

(c) Always look at the weight. You should have so firmly determined the best-balanced position that you no longer need to think about body balance, but only on looking at the weight and concentrating on getting it up.

(d) Bend slowly . . . not fast, or you will cause the bar to become unbalanced.

(e) Lower your body (lean it) to the opposite side as much as possible. The tricep of the lifting arm should rest on your lat, to give support to the lifting arm as you bend sideways.

(f) At this point start bending the leg on the non-lifting side, and at the same time place the non-exercising arm on the bending knee for more support as you complete the Bent Press.

(g) When the Press is completed you half-turn your body around from the starting position . . . the arm will be overhead and you will be in a very low-Squat position.

(h) Slowly come back to the starting position and do the lift with the opposite arm. You can repeat this 6 times with each arm. You should be able to handle at least 20% more weight with the first attempt of the Bent Press than you can with the Side Press and Push.

(i) Be sure to warm up with a light weight before going to heavier ones, so that you loosen the sides and shoulder and neck muscles. Don't hit the heavy weights right away. 

More here:

And here is an absolutely fantastic full length book by Walter Dorey on The Bent Press:

Two Arms Anyhow

While in the bent-forward position prior to coming erect with the barbell, you pick up the dumbbell . . . swing curl it to the shoulder . . . then come erect and finish the lift by pressing the dumbbell overhead until both arms are straight. This is what is called the Two Hands Anyhow, even though both arms do separate and individual things in the same lift.

This is one of the very best muscle and power-building lifts. After you have spent some time practicing this lift, just think of the fact that Arthur Saxon, weighing slightly over 200 pounds, was able to lift 448 in this lift. It will give you a small idea of the fantastic power of this rugged man, and of the old time strongmen.

Incorporate one-arm lifting in your workouts . . . when you have some extra energy. It is a good idea to combine a few power-lifts and a few one-arm lifts at a special time each week . . . such as on a Saturday, after you have done your regular workouts for the week. They will give you a density of muscle . . . a muscle quality that will enhance your physique so very much, and take you into the realm of the great champions.

But, as I mentioned earlier . . . follow these suggestions:

(a) Always warm up thoroughly for any and all one-hand lifts.

(b) Warm up with far lighter weights, not only for the stimulation of the muscles, but for loosening them . . . getting the kinks out . . . preparing them for the onslaught of heavy work later on in the one-arm workout.

(c) Also practice with light weight to get the feel of the bar in orbit . . . of balancing the bar, as well as balancing the body. Use light-poundage-practice to determine foot spacing. Thus the exercise technique will become almost automatic, and you can thenceforth concentrate on hoisting the heaviest weight . . . thus making every workout a day of competition with your previous records of the preceding workouts.

When I was a teenager I would work out four times weekly, doing my regular bodybuilding routines. Then on Saturdays I would take a rest from every exercise I had done during the week and have a fun session with the gang at the gym, just practicing powerlifts . . . bench pressing in a competition with each other, and squatting too. Sometimes I practiced deadlifting instead of squatting, along with the One-Arm Snatch, Clean and Jerk, and Bent Press.

All this added fun and excitement to my workouts . . . it was a wonderful change of pace . . . it helped develop agility and staying power . . . and when I returned to my regular bodybuilding workouts the next week I could do fantastic things! Also, this change-of-pace Saturday fun session was largely responsible for helping me build the power to win weightlifting contests.

To give you an idea of the weights you can handle and shoot for: When I was 17 and weighed 175 pounds, with about a year of off-and-on training on the one-arm lifts, I was able to one-arm snatch 160 pounds . . . one-arm clean and jerk 190 . . . one-arm side press 170 . . . and bent press 205 . . . and do the two arms anyhow with about 265.

You can see now that anyone who spends some time training them can lift more than his bodyweight in each lift. So give the one-arm lifts a special niche in your week of workouts . . . you'll be amazed at how they make everything in bodybuilder come just that much more easily and productively in building larger, shapelier, and more 'cut-up' muscles.

Article Author: Joe Weider


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