Monday, December 5, 2022

The 4-Power Exercise -- Donald V. Clarkson (1977)

Sergio Oliva

Note: I wonder if this is the same author as the last article, using a pen name. I'd bet bucks to baloney, maybe even dollars to donuts it is . . . 

Generally, working together synergistically in any exercise for the upper body are the upper pectorals, the deltoids, and the triceps. The neck, often neglected in generalized training, usually does not figure in with the foregoing bodyparts. 

I have found an exercise that will pump all four bodyparts at once. Because I have done much of my training during the past seven years at home, experimentation was often called for; sometimes the resulting exercise was merely useful, but in the case of the 4-Power exercise the effect was amazing. 

We all know the benefit of neck bridging exercises. 

While in the wrestler's bridge position, plates are held upon the chest and the upper body rocked forward and backward. This is excellent work for the muscles of the neck, though in nearly total isolation. 

Now, if a barbell is pulled over and pressed while in the bridge position, some deltoid and triceps work is done, plus work for the pectorals. Generally, however, the barbell is too light while pressing in the bridge position to work any part very strenuously other than the neck.

Allow me to reconstruct the bridging experiment. Taking an EZ-Curl bar, I loaded it with two 25-pound plates and the little outside collars -- approximately 62 pounds. The weight you choose may be more or less. Tucking my feet and legs well under, I arched into the bridge position, the EZ-Curl bar behind my head (be sure to cushion the head). Grasping the bar at the position of the narrow angled grip, I pulled the EZ-Curl bar over and up to a position over the chest. I lowered the bar behind my head into a form of half bent-arm pullover and half triceps press, barely touching the floor and returning the bar to the starting position.

Performing 12 repetitions on the first set, I noticed a definite flushing in the neck, deltoids, triceps and pectorals. After three more sets the pumped look and feeling were phenomenal. I realize that my experience with this exercise may not be unique, but from its use I can report that it resulted in the aforementioned flushing. The 4-Power exercise is highly adaptable to weight increases. I believe it to be a great upper torso builder, possibly even in the area of the upper back much like that standard bent-arm pullover. 
The body seems to work efficiently in this bridging position, with no element of joint or ligament-tendon strain being noticeable. Those not accustomed to the wrestler's bridge position, must begin with a very light weight in this exercise. I've been bridging for years, thus the experimental weight I employed did not tax my neck muscles too much. 
The important part of the 4-Power exercise [giving something a new name gives it new clout!] is that a relatively light weight brought the desired flushing to those parts described above. It may not be an answer to those who cannot afford the very expensive Nautilus machines, especially the torso-pullover machine. 
Note: Is he comparing a torso-pullover with EZ-curl bar pullovers in a wrestler's bridge position there?
In other areas of weight training, the most aerobic exercise I have found is the SNATCH WITH TWO DUMBBELLS. 12 repetitions with two hefty dumbbells and your rate of respiration will soar. 3 sets of 12 and your entire body will start to quiver. 
Keep the snatching movement rhythmic and continuous. lowering the dumbbells up and using momentum to complete the desired number of repetitions. Keep in mind that bodybuilding means good conditioning as well as beauty of physique.  
Other exercises of this conditioning genre are the Clean & Press, and the Deep Knee Bend and Press Behind Neck. I have obtained the best conditioning barbell workouts employing these exercises, plus the dumbbell snatch, and the straddle hop with barbell held tightly across the back and shoulders. 
Many bodybuilders go through entire routines consisting of isolated movements, never working up even a constant 120 beats per minute for any length of time. Those who insist on training this way must either run or swim. I would advise the use of the conditioning workouts for the benefit of the heart muscle, and do not be too surprised when your muscles begin to work in ways you hadn't expected. That means shape and symmetry, which we all want to develop.
THE FOREARMS are difficult propositions, as are the calves; and for years I have struggled with the best means with which to effectively train the forearms. Usually in performing the reverse curl, the premier forearm exercise, it is too easy to give in to cheating; we attempt to use weights that require swinging the barbell up. Again, I have nothing revolutionary here, but I wonder how many trainees have thought to use the preacher curl bench with which to perform the reverse curl.
Taking a mere 35 pounds on a straight barbell, I did 12 reverse curls on a preacher bench in the strictest style. I was able to do a second set of 12, but on the third set only 9 were possible; 7 on the fourth set. So great was the pump and the work on the wrists that a fifth set burned like fire and I failed to perform even the seven that I had made on the fourth set. 
Your ego will not inflate over the light weights this strict form forces you to use, but the idea is to get down to the deepest forearm muscle fibers and preacher reverse curls will do the job. Each individual must find his poundage level.
Keep in mind that what I tell you about bodybuilding and physical conditioning does not come from a champion bodybuilding practitioner. I have never had the genetic makeup to win titles, neither have I had the time nor the inclination. When I speak, it is as a durable, experimental trainee of more than 30 years. I love to train, and what I learn from bodybuilding and conditioning is for everyone who wishes to be stronger, better developed, and healthy.
Enjoy Your Lifting!  

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