Saturday, April 24, 2021

Strength Building Exercises - Harry Paschall


 The Author, Harry Paschall

 Harry Paschall at the Lambiek Comiclopedia:
Now then . . .
Dead Lift From Blocks 
The dead lift from blocks is a slight modification of the well known standard back exercise. By using blocks 6 or 8 inches high, with international 18 inch plates on the bar (if your plates are of smaller diameter, increase the height of the blocks), the rather dangerous "stretch" period when the back must be bent is eliminated, and the exercises can use considerably more weight with safety. The bar should cross the legs just below the knees. 

Performance: Place feet 6-10" apart, stand erect, but "loose." Do not approach the bar in a tense position. Lean down with very little forward bend, so that lifting is done with the legs instead of the back. Grip bar with one palm forward and the other back, to facilitate grip. The best dead lifters - pardon? - use a hook with the overgrip, but you may find this rather hard on the thumbs, since they must be pinched inside the fingers. Start the upward movement easily and add power and speed as you come erect. Lean well back at finish. Breathe in deeply just before pulling on the weight, and breath out as you lower it. Repeat not over 5 times for strength building. The strongest men will be capable of 700 to 800 pounds in this exercise. William Boone does it with 900 pounds. Personally, we found 500 pounds is sufficient because of the grip. It will build tremendous finger strength as well as the back. 
Overhead Squat
The squat with bar held overhead in the Snatch position is one of the very finest exercises for the back, legs and waist region, as well as promoting bodily poise and coordination. Pete George, the sensational middleweight lifter, uses this exercise and unquestionably it has had much to do with his power and balance while in the deep squat position. We like this movement because it affects the back muscles from a different direction to the Dead Lift, and because its long range of movement makes it a marvelous conditioning and shaping exercise as well as a strength builder.
Aaron Horschig's Squat University:
Performance: To start, flip barbell of moderate weight up into the snatch position, and then squat all the way down. It helps to wear solid shoes with 2-inch heels, or to place your heels on a block of similar height. As soon as you firmly hit "bottom," rise immediately to the erect position. Breathe in at top, breathe out as you almost reach the top coming up. Take another full breath and repeat. For strength building 5 repetitions are always sufficient, and less when using heavy weights. It is well to have two catchers ready to take the bell from you in case of losing your balance. Several men have reached 300 pounds in this exercise. It is pretty severe, however, and we feel that anyone who can do reps with over 100 pounds is starting to develop power.
Heavy Overhead Supports
Lifting and supporting of a very heavy barbell overhead is one of the very best methods of building bodily power. The bar must be securely lashed to overhead beams, or otherwise supported so there is no danger of falling. Anyone desiring to become a much stronger weightlifter will find this the key to becoming able to handle heavy weights overhead. It strengthens the whole body.
Performance: The bar should be suspended at various heights. Assume the split position under it with arms locked and braced; then arise to erect position, just as if you were completing a heavy jerk. Stand erect for several seconds, holding the weight free from its suspension in the regular Jerk finishing position, feet in line. Lower and repeat. Breathe in just before lifting movement, and breathe out with weight overhead, breathe in shallowly again and lower. Weights as heavy as 800 pounds have been used in this exercise by John Grimek. We were agreeably surprised when we first tried to see how light 300 pounds became. Any strong man will find weight from 300 to 500 pounds possible in this exercise.
Press Out
This is a variation of the supporting exercise previous, and it is designed to promote power in back, shoulders and arms. A considerably higher weight must be used, since this is simply a limited press-out motion, and sheer push and power are necessary.

Performance: Use a weight slightly higher than your best press poundage, and have the weight suspended at about the height of the head. Now brace yourself firmly under the weight with shoulders back, the lower back and buttocks flexed, legs straight (your regular pressing position). Breathe in deeply, then push the weight to the finish position at full arms' length. Breathe out as you lower, and repeat. A 150-pound presser will find 200 pounds possible in this position. Weights from 300 to 400 pounds are possible for the very strong. 
1/4 Front Squat
This is another heavy movement, with a suspended bar, or with one on a squat rack. The idea is to build explosive power and energy in the back and thighs. This, too, is a favorite movement of the York lifters, and has added drive to their heavy jerks.

Performance: Bar should be on rack, or suspended so that it must be lifted about 6 to 8 inches to be pulled in at the shoulders in the regular "clean" position. It is best to hold the weight on the deltoids with elbows up. Get it firmly set, breathe in, lower by bending the knees abut 6 to 8 inches (quarter squat) and drive strongly upward to erect position. Breathe out at the top, take another breath and repeat. You should use a weight considerably higher than your best jerk. The York boys often use 500 pounds and more in this exercise.
Shoulder Shrug
Well, well, well! Is that Joe Hise doing all that puffing? Boys and gals, here is that much discussed (Hise) Shoulder Shrug devised by the Old Maestro to take the pain out of bodybuilding squats. We commend this exercise as a wonderful power builder.
 Fred Howell
Much more on this, here: 
Performance; Take the bar from a rack (or suspension) several inches below shoulder level. A very heavy weight may be employed and progression is fast. Get your whole body firmly placed, feet apart and in line, legs braced, back strongly erect and lift weight from supports. Now breathe in strongly and attempt to lift weight up and back by shrugging the trapezius muscles. Breathe out as the weight lowers (it only rises an inch or two) then breathe in and repeat. As a bodybuilding exercise, some 20 reps are used with 3 to 5 puffing high (costal) breaths between motions. As a straight power builder, one breath is sufficient, and 5 reps with very heavy weights recommended. You will find it possible to go up to 600 or 700 pounds in this exercise, and for the very strong, half a ton is well within the realm of possibility. 
Clean, No Foot Movement
The regular "clean" movement, without moving the feet, is a very popular exercise in the York gym. (Steve) Stanko . . .
. . . became able to do 375 pounds in this way, and that it contributed greatly to his tremendous power is obvious.
Remembering Bob Hoffman - by Terry Todd:
Performance: Use a barbell around your limit press poundage. Stand erect and "loose" with feet firmly placed in your usual cleaning stance. Stoop with back as straight as possible, grip bar and pull strongly in to the shoulders, without moving the feet. Breathe in prior to pulling upon the weight, and breathe out at the top after weight is received at the shoulders. Lower and repeat. 
Heavy Squat
One of the key strength building exercises has been for years the famous Squat or Deep Knee Bend. This very vigorous leg and back exercise has no equal as a bodybuilder or as a strength builder. Everyone should do it. It has been described so often that we need very little elaboration here.
Performance: Take weight from racks (you cannot clean enough weight to tax your leg and back strength), place feet firmly from 8 to 14 inches apart, breathe in deeply (in top of chest) and descend to full squat position on full lungs. When your thigh biceps hits the calf, bounce strongly upward and come erect. Breathe out at top, take another deep breath and repeat. After several squats you may find it necessary to take several panting breaths at the top between lifts and this is recommended for chest building and body growth. For our strength-building purpose one breath and 3 to 5 reps will be sufficient. Body-builders should do 15-20 reps. Any strong man should be able to do this with 300 pounds. The best authentic record we know of a full squat is that of Henry Steinborn 

back in the 1920's who did several reps with 550 pounds. 
Bouncing Split
If you pride yourself on your springy legs and your athletic ability, this "bouncing split" movement should bring out the best that is in you! It is made to order to assist the split lifter to attain needed leg spring and strength for snatches and cleans.
Performance: Place light bar on shoulders, using a pad to protect the back of the neck. Grip the bar strongly and pull down to fix the bar so it will not bounce. Now split forward strongly and speedily with the right leg, going down into the deep split position until the knee of the left leg touches the floor. Now BOUNCE up and immediately reverse the leg action, placing the left foot forward and go down until right knee touches. The best performance we know on this novel exercise is that of Fraysher Ferguson
co-director of the Apollo Health Studio in Columbus, Ohio. He is a very good all-around athlete, and very fast in action. He does 20 reps with 150 pounds, completing them in 20 seconds (10 reps each leg). 
Dumbbell Press
From the famous Austrian Beergarten Weight-lifters we have borrowed this dumbbell power-builder for the shoulders and arms. It builds pushing strength in a way no barbell exercise seems to reach.  

Reg Park Gets Intense with a Pair of Heavies

Performance: Take two dumbbells, pull them in to the shoulders. Now let shoulders back slightly, keep back straight and firm, lock legs and buttocks, and push the bells together overhead. Breathe in as you raise the weights, out as you lower them. This movement may be varied by raising one bell at a time with alternate arms. If you have difficulty in cleaning two dumbbells to shoulders it may help to load the bells 5-10 pounds heavier to the back, as is done in the one arm dumbbell swing. On alternate presses we recommend that the elbows be wide, and pulled back as far as possible. When you can do this movement with a pair of 75 pound bells you are getting strong. A pair of 100's means super strength -- and 125's puts you up with the world champions. 

Handstand Pushups 

Handstand pushups have been employed by many, many champions to improve their press, their arm and shoulder strength and their muscular coordination. If you cannot balance -- stand about 18 inches from a wall, and let your feet rest lightly against the wall. Use two chairs or boxes so that the body may be lowered between them for a full movement. A pair of low parallel bars are handy for this. Do several sets of as many as you can. 
 Ryan Hurst's Handstand Pushup Progression:

Do several sets of as many as you can. If you can do 10 of these you are strong. 20 reps is super-strength. You can make it even tougher by attaching plates to your belt. 

Upright Row
This is one of the best combined arm, deltoid and trapezius exercises. Stand erect, grasping bar with overgrip with hands close together in center of the bar, differing widths used for variation. The arms are at full hang to start. Now pull the bar upward, close to the body, until it touches the chin. Breathe in as the bar is raised, exhale as bar is lowered.


As a gauge to relative strength, anything over 100 pounds in this movement is a better than average performance. 150 pounds means that you are very strong. Over 175 puts you in the superman class. We have seen a couple of of our star strength athletes use 200 pounds.   
Bouncing Pullover
The bouncing (rebound) pullover is a fine chest, shoulder and arm developer -- but its chief purpose is to lift the chest while breathing in rhythm with the movement. Lie on a low bench or on a 6-inch box placed under the upper back. The movement can be done with a swingbell as well as a barbell, and consists of a half-circle. Starting with the bar resting on upper thighs, you carry it back over the head until it hits and bounces from either the floor or boxes behind head; then repeat. 

 It's tough to round up vintage pics of the rebounding style. 
Ya mean them pics online weren't just always there?
Breathe in as the bar goes back; out as you bounce it forward. Another breathing method is to breathe in until the arms reach the over-chest position, and out as it is returned to the thighs. For strength work, this exercise should be done with the arms bent. A better than average performance with straight arms is 75 pounds. A good strong man can handle 100 pounds, and a few supermen can do 125 pounds. With bent arms the sky is the limit. Some of the best men do over 200 pounds. 
Swingbell Curl
This exercise is a great favorite of Steve Stanko and has had a great dealto do in developing his 19-inch biceps. You sit on a box of stool rather lower than an ordinary chair; bend forward at the waist, grasp swingbar with underhand grip with arms fully extended between thighs. Curl the weight up until it reaches the chin, then return bar to full extension of arms between thighs. 
The use of the swingbell is imperative in this case, because it is necessary to have hands close together to get the desired "cramp" effect and also to permit weight to go down between the thighs. The last inch or two of upward rise is very important, for it is in this position that you can feel the complete intense contraction of the biceps. And the lockout of the triceps on the downward motion also permits "cramping" these muscles too, making this exercise one of the very best muscle-moulding exercises for the whole arm. The amount of weight handled in this exercise is not important, except that you will find it best to use one light enough to perform 3 series of at least 10 repetitions.   

Dumbbell Side Bend

The side bend with a dumbbell in one hand develops the external oblique muscles at the side of the waist and also has a good effect upon the back as well. By using a fairly heavy dumbbell, you can build great strength here. Some men have used more than 100 pounds in this exercise. It is a good conditioner as well as a strength-builder.   
Press From Behind Neck While Squatting

One of Bob Hoffman's favorite conditioning exercises, this is a movement we can recommend as being much tougher than you would suppose. Place bar behind neck, then as you bend the knees to go into the deep squat position you press the barbell overhead at the same time. As you come erect you lower bar back to starting position behind neck. The pull on the lower back is vigorous, and the exercise demands perfect muscular coordination. If you can do this 10 times with 100 pounds, you are a pretty good man. If you can do it with 150 you are terrific.
Good Morning
A very vigorous lower back exercise. Taking bar on shoulders you bend forward as far as possible. You may also bend in a twisting movement to each side. This one is rather painful in the neck so a pad is desirable. This is a favorite movement of many top level lifters and some incredible weights have been handled (straight legged, very deep), from 200 to nearly 300 pounds. If you can do it with 100 pounds you are okay in my book.

Leg Press

The leg press is a very good exercise for building strength in thighs and calves, as well as affecting the loins and lower back. A great deal of weight may be handled this way. 

Stiff-Legged Deadlift-Shrug-Lat Lockout

This is one of my favorite conditioning exercise which also possesses wonderful muscle-moulding possibilities for the entire back region, including the trapezius. You bend forward and pick up bar with and pick up bar with overgrip, just as if you were going to perform a stiff-legged deadlift; as you come erect, shrug the trapezius muscles high, then leaning back slightly, you rotate the shoulders and transfer pressure from the shoulders to the latissimus muscles of the back. At this point, by practice, you will be able to achieve a latissimus "lock" -- spreading the shoulder blades and widening the back to its utmost. While keeping these muscles spread, you bend forward to lower bell almost to floor (with stiff legs) while maintaining the "pull" on the back muscles all the way. A weight approximately bodyweight is good in this movement -- but you should start much lighter. Remember, the "feel" is all important in muscle-moulding movements. 

Next: Some Power Building Schedules.

Enjoy Your Lifting!


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