Friday, August 6, 2021

Rack Work for Bodybuilding - Val Vasilieff (1965)

 Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed

 - Mr. America suggests that you try rack work to shock your muscles into the greater strength that you need to make bigger, better and faster gains . . . 
Before getting into power lifts themselves, i would like to elaborate on the difference between physique training and power lift training. As I have stated in previous articles which appeared in past issues of Strength & Health, the Upper-Lower split approach is the greatest type of training for physique competition. However, the training routines for power lifts are entirely different.
With my training partner, Bill St. John, who is one of the stronger bodybuilders, I have tried to improve the power lifts with various routines. Feeling that I needed more help, I turned to Jim Corea, owner and operator of Jim Corea's Gym and Health Club in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Since I knew that Jim had been using the Isotonic movement system for the past six months, I was interested in obtaining his opinion. I felt that this routine would help me to keep the size which I had gained through the split routine of training. The split routine is somewhat dull and offers very little diversion. 

After talking with Jim, I felt that this change in my routine would not be harmful to the size of my physique; it would also perhaps help the size of large muscle groups such as the chest, thighs and back.

Ideally, this type of program should be supervised by someone who has had training with a power program.

The average bodybuilder uses the same weights in training and seems to progress well up to a point. There he reaches a plateau and seems to progress no further. In order to progress and make those muscles really work, progressive training on the rack must be used. Changing to a power routine for the physique man can be a rewarding and stimulating experience. I have found that power training contains many movements helpful to bodybuilding. 
When I first started on this routine, I planned to stay on it for a period of three months. However, following a short layoff after winning the 

1964 Mr. America

 . . . I am back on this routine, making the best gains of my life. Here is my program: 


1) Low Bench Press. With bar on chest. Press up and hold for 12 seconds. Place bar in the pin-hole height which is satisfactory for you. 

2) Top Squat. Begin with the bar 8-10 inches from a completed position and slowly complete the exercise and lower until you are about one inch above the pins. Hold for 12 seconds and repeat for two more repetitions. 

3) Top Deadlift. With bar 8 inches from the completed position, slowly complete exercise and lower until you are about one inch above the pin. Hold for 12 seconds and repeat twice. 

4) Heavy Dip. 3 sets of 5 reps. Suspend as heavy a weight as you can use from your waist. Perform complete contractions.

5) Sit-Up With Weight. Perform 10 reps with as heavy a weight as you can handle. Place the weight behind your head. 

1) Middle Position Bench Press. Begin with the bar at approximately the height you reached on Monday. Perform 3 complete repetitions from a dead stop.
2) Low Squat. Begin at the bottom position, making sure the the thighs are parallel or below. Raise the weight as high as possible off the support pins, being careful to maintain a straight back.
3) Low Deadlift. Begin with the bar at the height of a regular deadlift. Raise the bar smoothly off the floor for a few inches and hold it for 10 seconds, being careful to maintain a straight back.

4) Bent Forward Row. Perform 3 sets of 5 reps with as heavy a weight as can be handled. 

Wednesday - Rest. 


1) Top Bench Press. Begin with the bar 4 to 5 inches from the completed position. Press the bar to arms' length for 3 repetitions and hold for 12 seconds in the locked out position. 

2) Top Squat. Same as Exercise #2 on Monday.

3) Middle Position Deadlift. Begin with the bar just below the knees. Perform 3 complete repetitions with a maximum poundage.

4) Sit-up With Weight. Same as Exercise #5 on Monday.

Friday - Rest


Work up to limit or 90% of limit on the Bench Press, Squat, and Deadlift. If any energy remains, perform 3 x 5 reps in the Dip with Weight, and Bentover Row.

This is basically the program I used for the past few months. Work on the rack such as this has been very helpful to me. It has given me relief from training boredom and has proven to be an excellent method of developing strength and the large muscle areas of the body.
I hope this program works as well for you as it has for me.
Enjoy Your Lifting! 

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