Thanks to Liam Tweed!
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Several years ago, Bill March began to take rapid and successive steps up the ladder of Olympic lifting. His gains in power and physique were both regular and phenomenal. These gains were in part due to a system of training devised and refined by Dr. John Ziegler. We know this system by many names, such as limited movement, isotronics, partial movement, isometronics, and so on. However, as the system has spread and been adopted by the weight trainers of the country, a name has been used with ever increasing clarity and regularity . . .
This name sums up in simple terms the essence of the new system of training. Strangely enough, not much has been written on the applicability of rack work to powerlifting (1964). The chief reason for this is doubtless because only recently have the Power Lifts emerged as a popular sport. Up until a few years ago, the bench press, squat, and deadlift were used only as a means to an end and not as an end in themselves. This has changed almost overnight, and soon national, and possibly international championships will be held in Power Lifting.
The purpose of Power Lifting is to determine a man's all-around bodily strength,and the three lifts now generally used; the bench press, squat, and deadlift, are well chosen for this task. They all involve large areas of the body's voluntary musculature and they all require a minimum of technique. This is in direct contrast to the Olympic lifts, where all three lifts have become "quick lifts" involving a high degree of flexibility, coordination, and practice.
Many men are physically and psychologically well-suited for Olympic lifting, but not for Power Lifting. The reverse is also often the case, and the recent surge of interest and participation in Power Lifting presents an excellent and deserved chance for those men who are not cut out for the Olympic lifts to enjoy and gain from competition.
For the man who enters competition in Power Lifting, as well as for the bodybuilder who feels a need for more strength to break a slump, Rack Work is the answer. It offers that combination which is rare in many areas of life -- maximum results with a minimum of effort.
Detailed below is a program used by some of the Power Lifters and bodybuilders in this area. This program has brought excellent strength increase to all who gave it a fair test. Several variations of the method have been tried here at the University of Texas, but this particular routine has proved to be the most result-producing. Listed below are the exercises, the method or performance, and the poundages used by the author.
1) Low Bench Press - begin with the bar just touching the chest. Raise the bar off the chest and hold for 12 seconds. Add weight when the bar can be held off the supports for 12 seconds. 570 lbs.
2) Top Squat - Begin with the bar at about 6 to 8 inches from the completed position. Perform 2 repetitions and pause just above the support pins on the way down from the second rep. Hold this position for 12 seconds; raise the weight again to straight legs; and finally lower the bar to the supports. Add weight when 12 seconds can be done. 1,300 lbs. (Limit of the bar).
3) Top Dead Lift - Begin with the bar at about 6 inches from the completed position. Raise the bar to the completed position being careful not to rest the bar on the thighs, lower to the starting position just above the supports and hold for 12 seconds. Add weight when 12 seconds can be done. 1,070 lbs. (With straps).
4) Frog Kicks - Hang from a chinning bar and pull the knees as close to the chest as possible. Perform one set of 25 repetitions.
1) Middle Position Bench Press - Begin with the bar at approximately the sticking point. Perform 3 repetitions from a dead start. Add weight when 3 reps can be done. 450 lbs. x 3 reps.
2) Low Squat - Begin at the bottom position of the squat. Raise the bar from the support pins and hold off for 12 seconds. Add weight when 12 seconds can be accomplished. 625 lbs.
3) Low Dead Lift - Begin with the bar at the height of the start of a regular dead lift. Raise the bar smoothly off the floor and hold for 6 seconds. Do not jerk the bar off the floor and if the back begins to round or hump excessively, return the bar to the floor or supports. 775 lbs. (With straps).
4) Bentover Rowing - Perform these in the regular fashion for 3 sets of 5 reps. Employ a loose or "cheat" style after thoroughly warming up. 465 lbs. x 3 x 5 reps. (With straps).
5) Frog Kicks - same as Monday.
1) Bench Press Lockout - Begin with the bar at about 3 inches from the completed position. Press the bar to arms' length and hold it for 12 seconds with arms slightly bent. Add weight when 12 seconds can be completed. 740 lbs.
2) Top Squat - same as Monday.
3) Middle Dead Lift - Begin with the bar just below the knees. Perform 3 dead lifts from this position. Add weight when 3 reps can be done. 765 lbs x 3 reps.
4) Frog Kicks - same.
1) Bench Press - work to a limit or near limit for 3 single repetitions. 465 lbs. x 3 singles.
2) Squat - Work to one limit or near limit single. 640 lbs. x 1.
3) Dead Lift - Work up to one limit or near limit single. 715 lbs. correctly, and 735 lbs. with a hitch.
4) Bentover Rowing - Same as Tuesday.
5) Frog Kicks - Same.
The inclusion of the standard application of the bentover rowing exercise may seem strange at first glance, but there are five reasons for its appearance in this routine:
1) It enables the man who does some Olympic lifting to continue exercising the pulling muscles of the arm and shoulder girdle group. As an example, after practicing this program exclusively for two months, the author made a power clean with no foot movement of 385 lbs., 10 pounds better than his previous best.
2) It enables the bodybuilder to keep these same large muscle areas well exercised and filled out.
3) It exercises muscle areas that would be neglected unless it were included. In this way, this brief routine becomes complete since every major body part is vigorously worked.
4) The exercise does not lend itself well to work on the Power Rack. Because of balance problems and the chances of a back injury, the bentover row is one of the few major exercises not conducive to the heavy partial movement of Rack Work.
5) Last, but most important for the Power Lifter, the exercise bulks and thickens the latissimus and teres area, which is important in giving the original impetus to the barbell in the bench press. It is interesting to note that Pat Casey, the world's best in the bench press, always performs some type of latissimus-teres exercise, either the bentover row or the wide grip chin.
This is basically the program that has been successful for many Power Lifters an bodybuilders in this area. It is no miracle worker, but it is a program based on a combination of the empirical method of trial and error and the observation of body mechanics. Its success depends in large part on the adherence to the general rules of good health and on the development and cultivation of a positive frame of mind toward whatever objectives are desired.
If these rules are followed regularly and diligently, Rack Work can be the solution to many discouraging training problems, as well as the best method of adding those elusive pounds to the three Power Lifts.