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  1. By Keith Wassung The overhead press has always been the premiere shoulder exercise for strength and development. Few exercises are as satisfying as the overhead press. I believe that if you could find a remote, primitive island in the world and left a loaded barbell on the beach in the middle of the night, within a week, the men of the island would be trying to lift it over their heads. The heaviest recorded weight that has been pressed in an overhead manner was 535 lbs by Ken Patera, in the early 1970’s. Patera (photo below), who became famous as a professional wrestler, may have been the strongest man ever to compete in Olympic lifting, but he lacked the technical proficiency of his competitors. Pressing big weights is a real kick and it is rare to see in most gyms. Many years ago, I visited the original Golds Gym in Santa Monica with some friends. We were dressed in street clothes and were wandering around, watching all of the bodybuilders train. We came to a seated press unit and my friends coaxed me to do some overhead presses. I did not want to do this knowing that I was amongst people who routinely pressed 300 lbs for 8-10 reps, or at least that is what I was led to believe by reading the various magazines. I started warming up and as I added weight, I began drawing on-lookers. By the time I had 315 lbs on the bar, about three-fourths of the gym members had gathered around to watch (talk about pressure). I did 4 hard reps with the crowd enthusiastically cheering me on. I believe that if you can bench press 225 lbs, then you have the capacity to perform an overhead press with 300 lbs. This may take you a year or it may take five years, but the effort will be worth it. One of the most common questions that I am asked is what is the best combination of sets and reps to do in order to achieve increased strength and development. My answer has always been that it really does not matter as long as you are training in a progressive manner. Progression and overload are two very important principles that must be followed, yet are often overlooked in many people’s training program. Strength and development is as much of an art, as it is a science. You have to experiment, keep track of your numbers in a training log and make adjustments as necessary. I have always believed that the best way to make consistent, long-term progress is to do a wide range of repetitions in your training, In order to increase your standing overhead press, you have to develop near perfect technique, strengthen your weak points and get your body physically and mentally prepared to lift heavy weights over your head. Technique The body has to work in harmony with itself as a unit. Each muscle or set of contracting muscles has an opposite set of muscles, which are referred to as the antagonistic muscles. For example, the triceps are antagonistic to the biceps when doing barbell curls. To maximize your training, the antagonistic muscles need to be set or balanced against the contractor muscles. When standing in the traditional upright stance, there is little balance and once the lifting begins, the antagonistic muscles actually begin draining the contractor (the ones used in the exercise) muscles of strength and energy. To place yourself in the strongest standing position, you should place one foot approximately 3-4 inches in front of the other in a staggered stance. This will place you in a much stronger stance permitting more work to be performed. Boxers, martial artists, baseball players and track and field athletes also use the staggered stance. If you ever see pictures of past Olympic lifters such as Vasily Alexeev or Paul Anderson (photos below), you will notice that their feet are staggered when elevating weights overhead. Practice with a somewhat narrower grip-many people use the same grip on their overheads that they do on the bench press but bringing your grip in just a bit will give you a stronger and faster press. Take the barbell from the uprights and get set into your stance, maintaining tightness in the mid-section and lower back. When you begin pressing the bar, you want to be looking at a very slight up angle. This will take your head slightly back and will allow the bar to pass in front of your face without having to change the trajectory of the bar. As the bar clears the top of your head, you will want to push the bar up and slightly back in a straight line so that you end up with the bar directly over the center of your head. You would be surprised how many people perform this movement incorrectly. Instead of pressing so that the weight ends up overhead, it ends up actually in front of the head. The leverage that your shoulders have to work against when you’re in this adverse position can really put undue and unnecessary stress on your shoulders-the joints, not the muscles, and will inhibit you from pressing the maximum amount of weight in this exercise. Lock the bar out, lower back to your shoulders and repeat for the desired number of reps. It is important to start each press from a stopped position. It is easy to develop a habit of lowering the weight and then rebounding off the shoulders to start the next rep. By starting each rep from a “dead” position, you might initially have to reduce the weight you are lifting, but you will be much stronger in the end, especially when performing maximum singles. Strengthening Weak Points One of the limiting factors in the overhead press is the strength and flexibility of the lower back and mid-section. Train your mid-section as hard as you train anything else. Mid-section weakness is very common among lifters. It is not that the mid-section is weak, but it is weak in comparison to other parts of the body that are worked in a progressive manner. If your goal is strength and power, then traditional abdominal isolation exercises, such as crunches and leg raises will only take you so far in your quest for optimal strength and development. The purpose of the mid-section is primarily for stabilization and therefore this area needs to be worked in a static manner. Do as much of your mid-section training as you can while standing on your feet. Perform overhead lockouts, overhead shrugs and learn to do overhead squats (Use a search engine and type in overhead squats, Dan John to learn this valuable exercise from the master himself ). I like to elevate objects such as dumbbells or a keg over my head and then go for a walk around the neighborhood or up and down the stairs. I walk until I cannot keep the weight overhead, then I place it on the ground, rest for 20 seconds and then keep moving again. These types of exercises will build your mid-section and have a tremendous impact on your overall strength and physical preparedness. If you have been working hard on basic exercises such as squats, dead lifts or rows, you have no doubt experienced either a stiff back or overworked lumbar muscles to the point where you cannot relax or tighten them completely. Your back can become as “stiff as a board” with the lumbar muscles so hard to the touch or so fatigued that they are like a steel spring that has been overstretched. It is essential to have the back properly stretched and warmed up prior to performing any type of overhead presses. Hanging from a chinning bar for a minute or two each day will decompress the lumbar spine and increase flexibility. I also like to do some hyper-extensions and some very light bent leg dead lifts in order to prepare the lumbar spine for overhead presses. Overload & Adjunct Exercises Marathon runners traditionally trained by running in excess of one hundred miles each week always at or near marathon pace and speed. The legendary running coach, Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand was one of the first coaches who realized that long distance runners could improve their race times by performing sprint training in their workouts. He used to have his marathon runners compete in the sprint events at the club level. All of his runners hated sprinting but they all loved setting records and winning world and Olympic championships. Coach Lydiard improved his runner’s performance by employing a form of overload. The first principle of weight training is overload. Overload refers to placing greater than usual demands on the muscle group being worked. In essence, to increase muscular performance, a muscle group must be worked harder than it usually works to complete everyday activities. As muscle strength and/or endurance increase, the amount of resistance or repetitions necessary for overload must increase as well. The Overload Principle is a concept based on “overloading” the muscles by lifting more than it is use to doing. The primary method of overload for the overhead press is the seated overhead press. This exercise will allow you to work the pressing muscles of the upper body, while minimizing the stress on the lower back. I have found that by alternating the standing press with the seated press, I can use heavier weight and train with a much greater frequency that if I were to only perform standing presses. When performing the seated, MAKE SURE that you do this with the back braced-do not do this movement sitting on the end of a flat bench or on a stool as this places a great deal of stress on the lumbar spine, which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place. The design of the seated press machine if very important. You don’t want the back of the unit to come up in higher than your shoulders-if it does, you can’t get your head out of the way of the bar. You also want to be sure that you can brace your feet against something in order to drive the low back solidly against the backboard of the unit. If you do not have the ideal apparatus as your gym, then might have to mix and match some equipment pieces in order to achieve the desired effect. This is why you should always keep a roll of duct tape in your gym bag! I also suggest doing the seated presses starting from the bottom position and not where someone hands it to you from the overhead position, and then you bring it down and back up-you want to mimic the mechanics of the standing overhead press as much as possible. For some variety, you can do a seated 80-degree incline press as a core exercise. This also takes the lower back out of it and really allows you to get used to lifting heavy weights overhead. I believe that if I had never done the seated presses and the 80-degree presses, I would have never exceeded 300 lbs in the standing overhead press. The next movement is a heavy push press done in the power rack. Use a weight that is roughly equivalent to your best single rep in the standing overhead press. You put the pins 4-5 inches below the starting position. squat down and get set with the bar, explode up elevate the bar to just over the top of your head, and then slowly count to 4 on the way down, set it on the pins, explode and repeat for 6 total reps-this is the most brutal thing I have ever done for the upper body-you will likely need a spotter (just to yell at you, rather than for safety reasons) and if you feel like or want to do a second set, then you did not use enough weight on your first set. This will do as much to improve your overhead strength capacity as anything I know. If you need to improve the strength of your triceps then consider doing some overhead presses while using a narrow grip. I use the same grip that I would for a narrow grip bench press with the index fingers being on the smooth part of the bar and the middle finger on the knurling. You will find that your arms may prevent you from lowering the bar all the way down to the upper chest/shoulder region. Use whatever range of motion works for you. As an added twist, you can use this same grip to do overhead lockouts. Place the pins in the power rack so that the bar is even with the top of the head and then press the weight to lockout. Barbell bent over rows are an excellent adjunct movement for the overhead press. It is safe to say that barbell rows are an excellent adjunct movement for just about every lift. Work this movement hard and don’t be surprised if you see increases in all of your lifts as well an increases in muscular development. One of the great aspects of the bent-over row is that there is a wide variety of techniques and variations to chose from which means that just about anyone can find a method of performing this movement regardless of their body structure. The important thing is to ensure that your technique is consistent so that increased poundage is the result of strength gains, not in favorable advantages in the biomechanics of the lift. FINAL THOUGHTS The frequency in which you train the overhead press is entirely an individual decision. If you are focused on improving the bench press, then consider adding in the overhead press about once a week. If you want to specialize on the overhead press, then you can do it as much as twice per week. I personally always did best training the overhead press about three times every two weeks. I would suggest doing nothing but standing overhead presses during one workout, then the seated presses and the adjunct work on the second workout. Make sure you are keeping your shoulders healthy with proper warm-ups and rotator cuff training. Best of luck on your quest to 300 and beyond. Keith Wassung kwassung@yahoo.com
  2. Anthony Ditillo Training Routines for Bulk and Power Routine #1 This full schedule should be repeated 2 times per week. However, if you want, you could increase it to three times per week, but this is up to your ability to handle work. Monday and Thursday: Squat – One set of 10 reps, as a warmup, followed by five sets of five reps using all the weight possible for each set. Deadlift – Same as Squat. Bench Press – Same as Squat. Bentover Row – Same as Squat. Routine #2 This kind of training routine is more severe and that is why you only do 2 movements per training day. You will be working these 2 movements quite hard and this will cause you to gain. Monday: Squat – 1×10; 1×8; 1×6; 1×4; 1×2 and then 5 sets of 3-5 reps using all the weight possible. Bench Press – Same as squat. Thursday: Deadlift – same sets and reps as Monday. Bentover Row – same sets and reps as Monday. Routine #3 This would be the ordinary every other day schedule for the ambitious, underweight trainee. Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Squat – 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps using all the weight possible. Bench Press – same as Squat. Deadlift – same as Squat. Bentover Row – same as Squat. Routine #4 This type of routine would enable you to concentrate on one movement per workout for power and the other two for added muscular bulk. However, you will positively have to be sure to eat enough of the complete protein foods and get more than enough calories in order to grow. Monday: Squat – 1 set of 10 for a warmup, and then 8-10 sets of 3 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle for each set. Bench Press – 2 sets of 10 for a warmup and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bentover Row – 2 sets of 10 for a warmup and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Thursday: Deadlift – 1 set of 10 for a warmup, and then 8-10 sets of 3 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle for each set. Bench Press – 2 sets of 10 reps, and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bentover Row – 2 sets of 10 reps, and then 3 sets of 5 reps using all the weight you can possibly handle. Bulk And Power Routine No. 1 In this routine you will be performing the three basic power lifts. In it you use both low and high repetitions. This will allow you to gain in both muscular power and muscular size. Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Bench Press: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Bench Press: 2 sets of 10 reps Full Squat: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Full Squat: 2 sets of 10 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 2-4 reps Deadlift: 2 sets of 10 reps Bulk And Power Routine No.2 In this routine I have you working for bulk in the upper body while you are specializing on the lower body for power. The sets and reps are well suited to gaining in both and I have even broken down the workouts themselves into three distinct sections. I have you working the chest and shoulders on Monday and the back and arms on Wednesday (rowing and cleans work the arms quite hard!). Then on Friday I have you really work your thighs and hips and back. Monday: Bench Press: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Incline Press: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Wednesday: Bent Over Row: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Hang Cleans: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Friday: Full Squat: 10 singles using 90% of your one rep limit Deadlift: 10 singles using 90% of your one rep limit Bulk And Power Routine No. 3 This routine has you training for power on the bench press and the seated press while your leg and back work aids in gaining size. Monday: Full Squat: 1 set of 20 reps using a weight which is 50lbs. greater than bodyweight. Take 5 deep breaths between each rep. Deadlift: 1 set of 20 reps using a weight which is 50 lbs. greater than bodyweight. Take 5 deep breaths between each rep. Heavy Bent Arm Pullover: 5 sets of 5-7 reps, maximum weight Wednesday: Full Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Bench Press: 10 singles with 90% of your 1 rep limit Friday: Half Squat: 5 sets of 3-5 reps High Deadlift: 5 sets of 3-5 reps Seated Press: 10 singles with 90% of your 1 rep limit Bulk And Power Routine No. 4 Monday and Thursday: Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps Bent Row: 10 sets of 3 reps Full Squat: 10 sets of 3 reps Tuesday and Friday: Incline Press: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Half Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Bulk And Power Routine No. 5 Monday: Full Squat: 10 sets of 3 reps Dip: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Weighted Chin: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Wednesday: Deadlift: 10 sets of 3 reps Bent Arm Flyes: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Curl: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Friday: Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps Half Squat: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Rack Deadlift: 5 sets of 5-7 reps Intermediate Mass Program The intermediate mass program is NOT for the advanced man. He would never respond to the amount of work I’m going to advise herein. Being advanced necessitates diversity in performance and volume of work as well as tightening up the dietary schedule, since continued weight gain would NOT be desirable for the truly advanced man who has already gained sufficiently in basic bodyweight. For the majority of beginners and intermediates, three total body workouts per week seems to be just about right. You will have two heavy days and one medium day, for variety and recuperation. On your two heavy days the movements are heavy and basic. The repetitions are kept low to enable you to use truly heavy weights to ensure mass gains. The first and second sets should be warmup sets. Sets three, four and five are to be performed with all the weight possible for the required reps. Rest no longer than one minute between sets. When sets three, four and five can be done fairly easily, add ten pounds to your upper body movements and twenty pounds to the lower body movements. The entire schedule consists of between twenty-five and thirty sets. Surely this much work can be finished within ninety minutes. Monday & Friday (heavy days) Press Behind Neck – 5 sets of 5-7 reps. Bentover Barbell Row – 5 sets of 8-10 reps. Barbell Curl – 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Lying Triceps Press – 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Half Squat – 5 sets of 8-10 reps. * On your off days, do four or five sets of calf raises and light abdominal work. Wednesday (medium day) Dips – 4-5 bodyweight sets doing all the reps you can. Chins – the same as dips. Full Squats – 2 sets of 20 reps as described. Stiff-Legged Deadlift – 2 sets of 10-15 reps using light to medium weight.
  3. Strongman Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 Pounds (1955) By John Grimek Edited by: Strength Oldschool This article refers to Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 lbs from shoulder to chin level – incredibly strong! Before the USA team left for Munich they worked here in York. Clyde Emrich and Jim George, however, arrived almost a week before and have been training regularly with Chuck Vinci, the bantam. Jim George is the younger brother of Pete, who lifts almost identically in the same style as Pete. Many of you will remember that Pete was a poor presser as compared to his other lifts, but by persistent practice and conscientious effort he succeeded in reaching the point where he can press 260 to 270 lbs in excellent form. His brother Jim is about the same; good on the quick lifts but still lagging in the press, which he is working on to improve. Being only twenty years of age and a good competitor, he should improve considerably. No one expects him to win but outside of the Russians we doubt if anyone will beat him, so he should win a place in the championships. In training here last Friday, the lifter who continues to amaze everyone is the massive Anderson, and massive he is! He looks as if he gained another 100 lbs in the past year. Most of us agree that he might tip the scales at 400 lbs before too long, although he weighs around 345 lbs (24 stone 9 lb !) now. While the fellows continued to warm up and make lifts, Anderson calmly sat on one of the benches sipping honey and gulping some milk, and then decided to warm up himself. He began loading the barbell until the chap who was helping him asked, "How much weight do you want? " "235 lbs " was the casual answer! It's been a long time since we saw that much weight used for warming up. He brought the weight to his chest easily and then, much easier than we anticipated, he pressed it several repetitions, just as any lifter who could press 300 takes 200 and makes a few warm up Presses. Back again he sat on his bench. Another sip of honey, another gulp or two of milk. After five or ten minutes they loaded the bar to 395 lbs. This was his second attempt with a weight that was near his world record. We heard some rumours that he was pressing around 440 lbs, but when we asked him this question, he said it was just rumours. He brought the 395 lbs to his chest by employing a fairly low clean squat, but came up as if he were doing a squat without any weight at all, so easily it appeared. He then pressed it overhead easier than I've seen other heavyweights press 300, not once but three times! He might reach 450 lbs ! Everyone who witnessed this lifting had to yell with laughter at the ease which Anderson pressed this weight. More resting, more honey and milk and then he was back again asking for 415 lbs. This poundage represented more weight than his accepted world's record, but no one will deny that he did not press this weight overhead with ease. Everyone agreed this was more weight than any, who were present, ever saw pressed, and it seemed evident that Anderson would press at least 425 lbs at the world championships and possibly the 440 lbs he was rumoured to have pressed previously. He did say, however, that if his clean was easy he could press easier. We're looking forward to him making 450 lbs before long, possibly at the next Olympics, if all goes well with him. As the lifters warmed up for the Snatch, Anderson sat by watching, still taking a sip of honey and drinking his milk. When the lifters had progressed to a heavier weight, Anderson took 270 lbs for his warm up, making it easily. Back to his resting place... by this time, he was working on his second quart of milk and called for 305 lbs for his second attempt. The weight flew up nicely and this concluded his lifting workout. When asked why he didn't practice more snatching and cleaning, he replied that he doesn't train too much on actual lifting but practices more of the power exercises, and his favourite is the one I have always recommended to those who wanted to improve their Presses and Jerks - by supporting a heavy weight on the chest in such a way as if you're going to press it. No one but Anderson! Anderson amazed everyone by loading the bar to 625 lbs and sent the weight almost to the top of his head several times! I've held that much weight on my chest years ago, but I have never been able to move it, much less get it that high! And I doubt if anyone ever did outside of Anderson. Later he performed several squats with this weight... just to keep his thighs limber, or so he says! Everyone seemed to enjoy their last workout before they left the next day. Bradford, however, didn't show up till later and took his workout that evening. Pete George was flown over earlier by the army. His brother Jim informed us he was in the armed service. Members of the team included Chuck Vinci, Tommy Kono, Jim George, Clyde Emmrich, Jim Bradford and Anderson. Hoffman was coach, Terpak trainer and Johnson manager. Alan Hool our Mexican representative, went along on the trip as a spectator. Norbert Schemansky (photo above) and Sheppard didn't make the trip because each was confined to his job and unable to get off. I hinted at Sheppard giving up lifting last month, but then I wasn't positive and felt sure that he might get back into training. However, he doesn't seem to be interested at the moment and may never be again, but there is still some chance that the lure of the coming Olympics may stir within his chest and find him getting into shape for this event. But only time can bear out this statement. Schemansky is so busy learning the finer points of police work that he is attending a special school for the police, so could not get the time off to compete in the world championships. He planned entering the midheavyweight class. With he and Sheppard holding that position, it's doubtful if the Russians could score against them, but the sad part of this is that both these men, who were potential winners, didn't even make the trip. The American team has little chance of winning. They have some hope of getting three, possibly four championships, but actually, the only sure title which can be preconcluded is in the heavyweight class. The others who have some chance and might come through are: Chuck Vinci, Pete George and Tommy Kono (photo below). * The Saturday Evening Post - Aug 23 - 1919. The Saturday Evening Post (photo above is not the actual issue), the October 8 issue, features a rather lengthy article on Paul Anderson, pointing out reasons why he is the world's strongest man. The article is interesting and should bring about many additional converts to the lifting game. Ever since the Americans visited Russia, lifting has had an added boost, and placed Anderson in the limelight. The governor of Georgia already proclaimed a "Paul Anderson Day" but now the Jr Chamber of Commerce in Toccoa, Georgia, have plans to erect a statue of Anderson at the cross-roads! Goodness only knows what other proclamations will come to pass before the fame of Anderson dies down! * A recent photo of the Paul Anderson Statue. One thing I will lay my money on, is that Paul Anderson, providing he wins and makes a record or two, will receive even more outstanding publicity than he did up to now. I predict that after these championships, every man, woman and child will hear or know about Anderson. * Strongman Paul Anderson did actually go on to win the 1956 Olympic Weightlifting Championships. John Grimek NOTE by Strength Oldschool: The above article comes from the attached photos below...
  4. Chuck Sipes Bench Press Power Training Program - 5 Days a Week By Dennis B. Weis We shall now look into the training wisdom that Chuck Sipes has shared with me by letter and long distance phone conversation. One of the things that really impresses me about Sipes is this: he has never neglected to write a reply to my letters. He always answered immediately and his solutions were very well thought. The point that makes this a great effort on Chuck’s part is the fact that at the time I was in heavy correspondence with him (the late 1960’s) he was a youth counselor at a California reformatory, was doing strength shows worldwide and was in heavy competition for such titles as Mr. World and Mr. Olympia. He was also training to bench press 600 lbs. at a bodyweight of 230. It is hard to see where he could find the time to answer my letters as well as those of countless others he was in regular contact with. The one thing that I have noted about all the training advice from Chuck is his constant belief that one should include heavy supporting movements to build up the tendon and ligament strength. From the beginning of correspondence with Chuck he always stressed taking germ oils, sunflower seeds, papaya, peanuts and lots of milk. He always advised me to constantly add weight whenever I could for maximum stimulation of growth and strength. He once mentioned that I should use a jump rope for 4 sets of one minute all-out jumping at the end of my workouts. The one advantage to using the rope is that it only takes a small area in which to use it. Here in Alaska it’s not always possible to run outdoors! During one of my letters to Sipes, I was very interested in increasing my bench press. This is one of the routines that he suggested I use. For this Bench Press routine he said to begin at least 6 months before a meet. This is a five days per week routine which is very intense. There is much direct effort stimulating the ligaments and tendons. Monday & Wednesday * Warm up Prone, regular grip – 2 sets x 10 reps. Bench Press – 2x6; 2x4; 2x2; 4 singles. Tuesday & Thursday Heavy Supports – 5x8. (100 lbs. over best press from ¼ way down to lockout.) * Prones – Close to maximum poundage. Heavy Supports – 150 lbs. over best press, holding with a slight elbow bend. * Prones – close to maximum poundage. * NOTE by Strength Oldschool: Not sure what Chuck Sipes means by "Prones"? It may mean performing Lying Barbell Rows for the Back muscles. A modern gym equipment version of this exercise can be seen below... Friday Incline Press, wide grip, slowly – 4x6. Dumbbell Incline Press, slowly – 4x6. Pullovers, very light weight, deep breaths following 1 minute skipping – 2x20 Flat Flyes, very deep breaths – 4x8.
  5. Train for Power - Part 1 (1954) By Reg Park Today physical culture has more followers than ever before, and in consequence the progress of the past few years has been amazing. Weight-lifting (read "strength" here) records are constantly being broken and the standard of physique has also improved. Unfortunately, however, bodybuilding and weight-lifting are for the most part regarded as two distinct sports, and it is rare indeed that you find a bodybuilder with REAL POWER or a weight-lifter with a PRIZE WINNING PHYSIQUE. By power I do not necessarily mean that one should become an Olympic lifter and specialize on the press, snatch, and clean & jerk. (Or a powerlifter, if written today). My interpretation of a powerful man is one who can put up a good performance on a variety of lifts, and one who instantly comes to my mind when I think of a strong man is Marvin Eder (see photo below), whom I consider to be The World's Strongest Man when bodyweight is taken into consideration. Marvin has successfully combined training for Power and Physique. His bench press of 480 pounds and his reported overhead press of 350 are the heaviest weights ever lifted by a man under 200 pounds bodyweight. John Grimek also comes into the above category -- having been an American weightlifting champion and winning every physique honor possible. Here in England we have two fine examples in Buster McShane and Bill Parkinson. But the fact remains that there are many top bodybuilders who cannot lift weights in accordance with their physique and at the same time there are strength trainers whose physiques leave much to be desired. When Stan Stanczyk (photo above) was the world light-heavyweight weightlifting champion, it was reported that some youngster who saw him on the beach did not believe that Stan was the world champion because the kid said, "I know fellows with bigger muscles than you." Whether this is true or not, I do not know, but it is a fact that Stan did devote a lot of time to bodybuilding. I have listed a number of exercises which I consider to be real Power Builders and can be used by bodybuilders and strength men alike. I have split them up into TWO SCHEDULES and would suggest that you train three non-consecutive days i.e. MON, WED, FRI, per week on Schedule One for a period of one month followed by a week's full layoff, and then train on Schedule Two three times per week for a month and note the increase in poundages handled at the end of this time. SCHEDULE ONE Exercise 1: Squat This is a great power builder and has been put to good use by such men as Anderson (photo below ) and Hepburn in their own training, but it is a lift which many weight-lifters omit completely; while bodybuilders tend to rely too much on squats to a bench. Like my good friend Leo Stern, I have always favored the parallel squat and prefer to wear heels on my lifting boots rather than placing the heels on a wooden block. The heeled boots give me a firmer base as well as greater confidence. You may have noticed that Kono lifts in shoes and Sheppard has a built up heel on his lifting boot. I also believe a belt should be worn when performing this lift. The squat should be performed for 5 sets of 5 repetitions -- increasing the poundage with each set. For example, I do 3 sets of 5 on the squat working up to the heaviest weight I can handle then I increase the weight by 100 pounds and do 1 set of 5 half squats, and then increase by another 100 pounds with which I perform 1 set of 5 quarter squats. It has been reported that Anderson can handle 1,500 pounds for the last method and Pete Farrar and myself used to perform 10 reps with 1,000 pounds. Exercise 2: Bench Press This lift has created a great deal of controversy overt the past few years but nevertheless both the B.A.W.L.A. and the A.A.U. now use it as a strength lift in championships. There are several pros and cons but if the lift is performed correctly (pressing each repetition from the chest) and not bounced off the chest, it is a great power builder both for deltoids and triceps as well as giving speedy development to the pectorals. The strict style does in fact cramp the pectorals more than the cheat style. This lift has done wonders for me (Photo of Park above) as I know it has done for Eder, Hepburn and Parkinson. A variety of grips can be used but I favor the same width as taken when performing Military pressing. 5 sets of 5 reps are ideal. Exercise 3: Two Hands Clean The technique of this lift has been fully covered in Al Murray's article on the Clean and Jerk so I will not dwell on it, other than to say 8 sets of 2 repetitions should be employed, working up to as heavy a weight as possible. This exercise can then be followed by taking a weight in excess of your best Clean off the squat stands and holding it at the shoulders for a count of 5. Repeat this 5 times. Exercise 4: Press Behind Neck Like most bodybuilders I have favored this exercise for shoulder development -- and in order to illustrate the power this lift can build I include here the best lifts of several prominent men: Doug Hepburn does repetitions with 300 pounds; Eder 300; Eiferman 280; Wells 280. The bar can either be cleaned or taken off the squat stand, whichever you prefer. The weight should then be pressed and not jerked to arms length and lowered until it touches the back of the neck. Perform 5 sets of 5 reps with the maximum weight possible. Exercise 5: Barbell Curl Perform this for 3 sets of 5 in strict style increasing the poundage if possible with each set, then increase the weight by 20 to 30 pounds and do 2 sets of 5 adapting the cheat or swing style. Exercise 6: Deadlift This lift should be practiced only once a week working up in singles until you have reached your maximum. It is better to attempt this lift on a rest day and not when performing exercises 1 to 5. There are of course other important factors which must be taken into consideration when training for power and in order of importance they are as follows: 1/ To overcome the fear of heavy weights by having a complete positive mental attitude when training. 2/ As much good food as possible especially meat, milk, fruit, starches, etc. 3/ 8-10 hours sleep each night. To read PART 2 click here!
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