Sunday, November 11, 2018

Back Power - Buster McShane

Thanks to Liam Tweed! 

by R. T. "Buster" McShane
Full Squat - 500 x 3
Bench Press - 400
Bodyweight - 160

This article, fourth in the series on power, covers the back and is therefore as important as any. As we all know from very early on in the game that the back is the seat of all strength and power, and the center of the nervous system is situated in the small of the back. 

Heavy progressive exercise will, we know, not only build the muscle but strengthen the nervous centers creating more abundance of energy and vitality, which are invaluable assets to any sportsman and of all importance to the lifter and body-builder.

The muscles of the back are undoubtedly the most interesting of all groups owing to their remarkable formation and to the great number and variations in shape of the muscles composing the group.  

A good back is not just broad - but heavily developed showing deep muscularity - what more impressive sight on the posing rostrum than the back view of an advanced physique showing the deep groove between the erectors running from the back of the neck into the hips and either side of the back packed with well developed muscular and shapely bulk and breadth.

On the type of training in this schedule - it will be noted that there is no direct overhead work or unusual stretching exercise such as chins behind neck and various pulley movement - admittedly these are very useful in developing a broad back, but they are easy work and only fully useful exercises in stretching the latissimus-dorsi and scapula - which should FOLLOW this basic back power program. This is important. Those exercises should follow this basic back power program. 

Those who have been following the previous schedules can be assured that the benefits from this one is equally substantial in gaining power and development. 

It is advisable to keep the shoulders back and hip well heated while training for strength in these movements. 

Increase all poundages as often as possible but only exceed limit on one lift in one workout.

Exercise No. 1: Barbell Clean Without Split
 - This exercise is the same movement as cleaning the bar for a normal press - but in this case with it being the complete exercise more weight should be used. It should not be forgotten that deep concentration should be used while performing the movement, thus increasing style, enthusiasm and poundage. The Russian lifters are very fond of using this exercise with a shoulder shrug after the clean, finding it of assistance in increasing their military press. 4-5 hard sets of 3-5 reps are ample. 

Exercise No. 2: Continental Clean
 - Add 20-40 pounds to the weight you have used in the previous exercise, the starting position being the same. The bar is pulled in as in a high dead lift, to sit on the belt at the waist as shown in photo. 

Note: Not many people do continental cleans any more. Here's a little tutorial by Peary Rader: 
There's more about them on this blog, just search around. 

After a short pause in getting settled the legs are used (as in jerking), giving the drive upwards, using the arms and shoulders cleaning the bar at the same time, using a split as shown in the second photo describing the lift. A couple of years ago this lift was very popular among professional lifters in America, many making between 350 and 400. Have your training partners stand-in when you are working heavy on this lift. Don't be afraid of the weight and inside four weeks you'll be surprised with your poundages. 6 sets of 2 reps. 


Exercise No. 3: Power Rowing Motion
 - This style is slightly different in performance to the often used strict B.B. motion. Here, the legs are used to an extent in assisting the motion. A slightly wider than shoulder width grip is advised, the bar touching the chest each rep. The photo shows the bar at the halfway position going up - this assistance movement really builds back power so give it 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps and don't be afraid to add weight. You should use your top C. & J. or 2-second pause bench press for sets in a short time.

Exercise No. 4: Dead Lift
 - Here is the exercise that builds the power needed for the first half of the clean, and works the whole back very adequately. Some men (including the author) do not find themselves favorable to this movement, obtaining lower back trouble when working very heavy. If you are among this category train with moderate weight, and the lower you keep your hips and more upright your back the better will be your leverage and smaller your chance of injury. 3 sets of 5.  

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