Thursday, September 27, 2018

Blaster Bar Training

Those Egyptian Kafka-esque authors I mentioned in the previous post? Here's an early go-to guy who laid some of the groundwork for novelists of yer existentialist type: Andrey Platonov, pen name used by Andrei Platonovich Klimentov, 1899-1951.

Interesting to note that once you've heard cars in traffic described as "gleaming rats" . . . 
they'll never look the same to you again. If you're like that. 
Note: Interesting that you've heard rats in traffic described as "once gleaming" ain't it? 
New Word Order, Brudder! 
Okay, the weights . . . 

Our lifters are encouraged to stick with the basics. We squat, deadlift in various forms, bench press, do some rack work, and perform specific rehabilitative movements. This accurately reflects the philosophy of the gym, and our equipment is needless to say, well made, well maintained, but designed to allow the performance of the basic movements. Rocket science this isn't.

We also use thick bars, and our newest addition to the family, the Blaster Bar. When one does the bench press, technique is extremely important. This is often downplayed in word or in deed. I've seen numerous lifters, some quite accomplished, who stated that bench technique was in fact, important, but they performed all their top work sets in sloppy, incomplete, non-competitive style. They bounced their warmup weights, did not lock out any but the first or last rep of a set, had their feet haphazardly placed, shifted on the bench, and even to the most inexperienced observer, failed to perform what could be termed any legally passable bench presses.

We have all of our lifters do every repetition properly and this includes warmup sets. I have spent over twenty-eight years in the competitive arena and I know from my acquaintances and my own experience that one goes onto "automatic pilot" once they get onto the platform. One rarely thinks about doing everything correctly once the lift begins, but rather, they do what they have been trained to do. This applies to any sport. One does not come out of the football stance and actively think, "I have to parry the offensive blow, pull, and swim." By that time, they're on their butt watching the opposing team moving downfield. The lineman just "does" what he does because of so much repetitive practice.

The bench press does not differ from this. If you bounce your bench presses or fail to make a legal pause in training, fail to stay still on the bench, fail to fully lock out, you cannot assume that you will, under the severest of competitive situations, do everything correctly. You might if the thousands of bench presses you do in training are done properly and legally.

 As an adjunct to the bench, we have used thick bars in training. These fatter-than-usual bars do not allow one to bench in the competitive groove. They demand that one just "shove" and build strength in the deltoids, triceps, and pecs. In the past, many of our lifters and football players have gotten a lot of benefit from thick bars.

We now have the Blaster Bar. This was designed by Chip Kell originally, to help football players strengthen the pressing musculature while giving additional overload work to the wrists and forearms. The Blaster Bar weighs 55 lbs. and has angled hand grips. These grips place the hands in a stronger pressing position as they are slightly supinated relative to a standard power bar. The design of the bar, however, demands that one lock the wrists and stabilize the bar, a feat more difficult than one can imagine.

Remember that when one demonstrates strength, they want things to be as "easy" and advantageous as possible. This is how one bench presses as much as possible. When one is training, however, they should want things to be as difficult as possible so that the intensity so that the intensity of the movement is enhanced, causing as much muscular involvement as possible. The Blaster Bar allows for a much higher order of work for all of the involved benching musculature. Although it is more difficult to "control" than a standard power bar, the degree of hand rotation reduces stress on the elbow and shoulder joints.    

As a modality to do "backoff" sets with, off season training, the "other day of bench work" during the week, or as a means to finish the triceps with close grip bench presses that are much more comfortable and effective than a regular bar, the Blaster Bar will serve as a welcome addition to any home or commercial gym.

Lifting Article by Ken Leistner (1993)

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