Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tips From Tony D. - Anthony Ditillo

Before we get started, here's a Don Blue deadlift thing.
It's an extended set; rest-pause you could call it.
Sounds brutal.

Don Blue used to put Roger Benjamin and Mike Arthur through some innovative and painful deadlift workouts.  Once, upon completing 400 x 10, Roger was told to keep the belt on, count to 10, then hit 9 reps with the 400, count to 9, do 8 reps, count to 8, do 7 reps, etc. One extended set of 55 reps with 400 lbs. It gave him the best soreness in his traps he's ever experienced.

Power Rack Work

In my opinion nothing beats power rack work for powerlifting success. I remember when a 600 squat was still something to be proud of - I did an easy 585 with very little training on the actual squat at all. Just mainly 1/4 and 1/2 squats in the rack. I weighed around 245 or so and REALLY trained VERY LITTLE at that time.

One day I'd do 1/4 squats, maybe 8 or 10 sets of 3's or 5's working up 100 lbs. per set. On another day I'd start at the 1/2 squat position and once again did 8 or 10 sets of 3's or 5's. After four or five months of this I started to do power squats. 5-4-3-2-1-1-1-1-1. I'd use 135x5/225x4/315x3/405x2/495 x 5 singles.

I NEVER PUSHED ANYTHING. Only in the rack did I work fairly hard. I LIKED rack work. You couldn't cheat and EVERY rep was from a dead bottom stop.

When I decided to squat 600 I went up over a year of so to 585 and during this period I don't believe  EVER failed with a single attempt. This shows how EASILY I trained at this time yet the power rack helped me gain anyway.

When you can get under 600 in the 1/2 squat bottom rack position and stand up with it you KNOW you're almost low enough and this gives you confidence. When you can 1/4 squat 900 or 1,000 lbs. for REPS, well, 500 or 600 on your shoulders no longer feels heavy.

Rack work builds confidence.

I would advise any intermediate lifter to incorporate rack work into his routine. Probably in the "off season" or for a month or so after a meet or perhaps once every two weeks on a regular basis. The only trouble with rack training is you can get hung up on heavy partial movements and as you start moving hundreds of pounds some guys (like me) really favor the rack work to the power three. For the stay at home lifter this is okay but for the competitor this could be disastrous!

I warn you. Be SURE to continue to work the actual lifts regularly and hard so you won't lose technique or style.

The Theory of Maximum Fatigue was utilized by Dr. Terry Todd and Dr. Craig Whitehead during the middle '60s and it deals with proper usage of the power rack for both power and muscle size. You should remember: Adding muscle size and dropping body fat will change (increase) your leverage and which also will increase your strength.

Each of the lifts is broken down into three position: Low-Medium-High. Using the max-fatigue theory you push or pull from bottom pins to a second set of pins placed five inches higher. Let's use the bench press as an example . . .

Low Position is from chest to 5 inches above. Medium position is from 5 inches above chest to 10 or 12 inches above. High position is from 12 inches above chest to lockout. I would suggest 2 or 3 sets in each position or 5 or 6 sets in the one position you need the most work in. In short, it's up to YOU to decide how much or how often to use the power rack.

Let us assume you want to work the rack once a week for all three powerlifts. Here's an example routine:

Bench - warmup, 3 x 10-12 reps.
Rack Work -
Low Position, 2 x 3 reps, hold the last rep against the top pin and isometrically contract for 8-10 seconds.
Medium Position, repeat above.
High Position, repeat above.

Squat - warmup, 3 x 10-12 reps.
Rack Work -
Low Position, 2 x 5 reps, hold last rep against top pin and isometrically contract for 8-10 seconds.
Medium Position, repeat above.
High Position, repeat above.

Deadlift - warmup, 3-5 x 8 reps.
Rack Work -
One position from knee to lockout, 5 singles up to max weight, hold at lockout for 5-8 seconds.

Using Max Fatigue Theory on the bench you'd put the bar on pins just on your chest and set a second set of pins 5 inches above. Now you do 2 sets of 3's pressing from one set of pins to the other. On the 3rd rep when you reach the second set of pins you try to push through the 2nd set of pins with all your might for 8-10 seconds. Terry Todd would then lower the bar down to the 1st set of pins and try for a fourth rep! After a 10-second isometric hold!

THIS is what is meant by theory of maximum fatigue. Todd and Whitehead figured using this "3 rep/iso hold and try for a 4th rep" way of using the rack would stimulate 50% more muscle fibers. T"he more muscle fibers you utilize the more muscle you can grow and the stronger you can get.

Try it and see!

Anthony Ditillo
145 Inslee Place
Elizabeth, NJ 07206
PH 201-354-9733 after 5 PM. 

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