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Archive for the ‘athletic strength training lift odd objects’ Category

How to Build Hand Strength: Blob Lifting

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Blob Training

Here in Wyalusing, PA, there has been some serious training going on.

This is the kind of stuff that will scare most people.

One point of focus for us has been working with the Blob. The Blob is a type of Block Weight, a weight or object shaped like a Block that you lift in a wide, open-handed, pinch grip.

Why Perform Block Weight Training?

Block Weight Training is an EXCEPTIONAL way to train the hands due to the wide open position it creates. This makes your whole lower arm work harder, especially the thumb, but the wide position also works the fingers and wrists thoroughly.

For more information on Block Weight Training, check out my ebook => Lift the Blob

Here are a few recent highlights from some of the Blob Training that has gone down.

50-lb Fatman Blob to 50cm with 60-second Time Limit

For the recently ended Grip Monsters Challenge, the challenge was to lift a 50-lb Blob to a 50-cm platform for as many repetitions as possible in 60 seconds. I did this a few times. I didn’t really hit my potential for what I can do in this though, because my left thumb had a nasty split in it for at least two of my sessions.

Luke Raymond Hits a Blob & 5-Tens Combo Feat

Luke has been challenging himself more and more with his grip training. Here, he takes a couple of solid attempts at lifting a 50-lb Fatman Blob, then he combines a 50-lb Next Generation Blob in one hand with 5-Tens loose pinch in the other hand.

Blob Lifting Terminology

In case you are not familiar with Blob Lifting terminology, here is a short list of key terms you should know:

Fatman Blob: The original style of York pill-shaped Blobs. These Blobs are a bit wider and have a more rounded edge than later models. Although seemingly a small detail, the additional slope makes lifting them quite a bit more difficult.

Next Generation Blob: The style of Blob York produced some time later, after the Blue Blob. The Blue Blob was slightly narrower and had less slope. The Next Gen had an even narrower profile and still less slope.

Loose Pinch: Pinching done with plates that are not supported in anyway, such as with a pipe. In the video above, 5-Tens Pinch (with smooth sides of outside plates facing outward) is an example of Loose Pinch.

Stay tuned for more clips on Blob Lifting.

If you are looking for tips on how to improve your Blob Lifting, be sure to check out my ebook, Lift the Blob.

All the best in your training.

Jedd

Strongman Article: Strongman Training for Powerlifters

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Strongman Training For Powerlifters

by Ian Driscoll

Coming from a powerlifting background and previous to that, a kid who just wanted to get bigger and stronger for high school sports, strongman training has proved to be the most effective and fun training that I have ever done.

Strongman training is hard, damn hard. However, the benefits are hard to ignore whether your goal is to add slabs of muscle mass, becoming a more explosive athlete or simply put pounds on your gym lifts.

tire axle

Getting Started in Strongman Training

First I’ll start off with a little bit of personal history. My first year of college, I was a hungry 18 year old powerlifter looking to up my game. I had always enjoyed strongman competitions on TV and decided I was going to give it a shot.

I drove two and a half hours to a garage gym known as Jobe’s Steel Jungle every weekend. There I had the opportunity to experience what “Strongman Sunday’s” were all about. Log presses, axle presses, deadlifts (of all varieties), keg loading, stone loading, yoke walks, farmers walks, sandbag carries, and sled pulls are a list in a vague memory of what I have done there.

On these weekends I only did three or four strongman events and I was left exhausted. The two and a half hour drive back was always euphoric. My t-shirt was stained with sweat, tacky, and chalk but the recent memory of strongman training was all that was on my mind.

My Improvement in the Powerlifts from Strongman Training

This weekly strongman training carried over to my powerlifting in a noticeable way. I used to have trouble stabilizing my body under 405 pounds in a squat. I would look like a baby giraffe coming out of the womb. Heavy yoke walks took care of that problem. The yoke walks taught me how to create tension and brace my body. Instead of having a coach tell me abstractly how to create tension and brace the trunk, I threw myself under a heavy yoke, kept my body as upright as possible and I learned exceptionally quick what bracing and creating tension feels like.

I used to have problems double overhand deadlifting anything over 315 pounds. Farmers walks took care of that, something about walking with 260 pounds in each hand for 100 feet will cure most grip problems. My deadlift and squat were suffering from the inability of pushing the hips through. I loaded a stone 20 times in a row, you have no choice but to learn how to use the hips.

Enough about my personal experience; here’s how strongman training can benefit you:

Benefits of Strongman Training

Loaded Triple Extension:
Triple extension is simply the simultaneous extension of the ankles, knees, and hips. Classic barbell lifts such as the squat, deadlift, and power clean demonstrate this.

stone over bar

With strongman implements, one can take it a bit further. Loading an atlas stone to a relatively high platform trying not to let the stone break one’s spine in half or flipping a heavy tractor tire will have one go from a deep squat position through to the tippy toes. With these implements being odd objects, the awkwardness is a nice change of pace and the technique is not as comprehensive as a barbell lift.

There is something primal about flipping an 800 pound tire or loading a 300 pound stone. For powerlifters, we don’t need to go extremely heavy with strongman implements. Just getting out of the gym and doing something exciting that provokes hard work is beneficial. We can argue all day about what is optimal or what’s best for triple extension and to be honest I see a lot more carryover from strongman based triple extension movements to the gym than what the gym brings to strongman.

yoke

Bracing the trunk:
In order to walk with 600 pounds in the hands, 800 pounds on the back, or load something over 300 pounds to a platform it is critical to brace the trunk. It is impossible to do any of these disciplines efficiently without bracing effectively. Yes, one can learn how to brace the trunk very well in a squat, bench press, or deadlift but walking with the weights one can deadlift or squat takes the bracing concept to a whole new level and makes them more efficient when they go back to traditional squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting.

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Grip strength:
Bearhug walking with a heavy keg, farmers walks or doing some axle deadlifts will develop that manly handshake and improve upon the ability to lift heavier weights. It is called the law of irradiation, the harder an individual can squeeze something, the more efficiently the chain of muscles can be utilized. Nothing fancy here, just hard, grueling work.

Explosiveness:
Along with loaded triple extension, and bracing the trunk that aid in explosiveness, strongman events are supposed to be done fast. Things are timed in strongman, we need to be as efficient as possible. A classic example of developing explosiveness would be tire flips as fast as possible for 50 feet or cleaning a heavy axle up to the shoulders. Personally, there is a direct correlation to the speed of my power lifts when I add in strongman training.

Mental strength:
What makes strongman appealing to me is the amount of mental strength it takes to endure the events. There have been a couple times I literally thought that I was going to die. Everyone wants to set down a heavy yoke, drop the farmers when their shoulders feel like their being pulled out of socket, let go of an atlas stone when it rips into their forearm, grind through a 15th rep on a deadlift for reps or drop the log when it is crushing their lungs. The intense commitment and desire to plow through these mental barriers is, to me, invaluable.

truck pull

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How to add strongman events to a powerlifting routine?

There are many ways to go about doing this. Here are a couple of examples…

Full Strongman Day:
I suggest replacing a gym day for an event day if one is lucky enough to have access to the implements. For example, you can get your main powerlifting work done during the week, and then do your Strongman Training on Saturday or Sunday.

Strongman Lifts as Accessory Movements:
Another way to add Strongman Training is by using strongman events in place of other accessory movements. For example, after deadlift training one could hit five sets of five on tire flips, instead of straight leg deads. Another example would be an axle clean and press for three sets of five after bench training. An additional example could be three sets of 50 feet on yoke walks after squatting.

The options are limitless, but one must be smart about it. Strongman training has a funny way of leaving the body in a pile of ash if one gets carried away. One event day consisting of three events or substituting a main accessory for a similar strongman event.

Wrapping it Up

In summary, strongman training is great. On the other hand, it is not the end all be all of training. A lot of elite level powerlifters have never touched strongman equipment. For strength athletes, strongmen included, the classic barbell lifts are going to be the priority of a training system. My thoughts and ideas are to give you a few tools you can try out on your own and see if they aid in your strength sport. There is a time and a place for several tools, I am under the impression strongman training is one of those under-utilized tools that has a great carryover to the powerlifts.

-Ian Driscoll-


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6 Tips for Improving Your Continental Clean

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The Continental Clean

The Continental Clean is a technique for pulling a bar from the ground to the shoulder while utilizing the belly or belt for assistance. The “Continental” is very different from the Olympic Clean.

The term “Clean” from the Olympic Lifts is used because the original lift was performed without allowing the barbell to touch the body at all. These days, brushing the bar against the body is permitted, but to use the belly or belt for assistance is expressly disallowed.

The “Continental” is most often used in Strongman Competitions with the Axle, and is generally used prior to Pressing, Push-Pressing, or Jerking the Axle Overhead to finish off the repetition. With the level of weights that are able to be lifted overhead on the axle, the Continental becomes a necessity, since the Grip limits how much one can lift in the initial phase of the movement, pulling the Axle to the Shoulder for the “Clean.”

How to Improve the Continental Clean

The Continental Clean is a highly technical lift, so here are 6 tips that you use use to improve your technique and make your Continental more efficient.

1. Wrist Wrap Awareness

Wrist Wraps are important on this event because when catching the Axle at the shoulder, there is a chance that the wrist can get bent back. Also, with wrist wraps on, your grip will be stabilized for the overhead portion of the lift. However, one mistake that people often make is they leave the thumb/finger loops on their thumb. The thumb is very important in getting a solid grip on the Axle, and having the loops still on the thumbs will cause interference in gripping the bar.

2. Drive with the Lower Body

Once you have the bar on your belly, you must propel it up to the shoulders using your legs and hips. The harder and faster you can pop the barbell or axle the better. You will save time on each repetition and you will conserve strength and energy for the duration of the set/event.

3. Make Faster Transitions

If you analyze the movement, there are at least 4 individual parts:

  • Pull to Belly
  • Stretch Reflex (Lowering the Body)
  • Popping Bar off Belly (Propelling Upwards)
  • Catch at Shoulder

The quicker you can move through each phase and transition, the better. For instance, once it hits your belly, your aim should be to pop it up with your lower body to the shoulder, which requires a quick drop of the body, a rapid ammortization phase, and then the thrust to pop the bar up. If you need a breath between the catch and the press that is fine, but try to limit it to one. Standing there holding the bar on the belly is far too much of an energy leak and waste of time.

4. Alternate Hands on the First Pull

It is fastest to pull the bar from the ground with the hands both overhand, but this will be limited by your grip strength. If you find you can’t pull the weight you need to with a double overhand grip, feel free to alternate them. This will enable you to pull faster and with more strength, plus it might even allow you to pull the bar up to the perfect spot on your belly. Either way, the higher you can pull like this the better, because it will help you save energy. Energy leaks are the worst thing in strongman. If you can reduce them, you can become that much more efficient. Once you get the bar to your belly or shoulder, then transition to double pronated.

5. Keep the Bar Close

It is more efficient to have the bar stay close to your body at all times than to let it drift away. Pull it outwards only as far as you need to in order to pass your belt, and keep the transition from belly to shoulder nice and close to the chest as well. If it loops outward away from the body, it will be harder to control and you will have to move your body too much to catch and re-direct it.

6. Isolate, Train and Strengthen Each Phase

After doing your primary work, (and even including the press) go back and work each phase of the lift with heavier weight to strengthen each phase. In other words, if you max out with 200 on the full lift to the shoulder, you can perform the following drills:

  • Full Pull to Shoulder: With light weight, practice pulling straight to the shoulder from the floor (like an actual clean)
  • Belly to Shoulder: With heavier weight, practice popping the bar from belly to shoulder. Don’t return it to the floor every time. Just let it roll down to the chest and re-grip it. It should feel really good on the chest bones.
  • Floor to Belly: Do some sets with double overhand and alternating grips. Put on heavier weight and just get the bar to your belly as fast as you can then go right back to the floor.

These are just a few bullet points you can start working on to improve your Continental Clean. If you take a video to the weight room with you, I can pretty much guarantee you will improve even more, because you will be able to iron out your technical bumps that much more quickly.

Improving the Continental Clean – Videos

Here’s a quick video showing some cues I was able to catch in my own training for instant improvement.

Just a couple of weeks later, I was able to improve even further on my Continental Clean.


Get More Information on Improving Your Strongman Lifts

If you are interested in more information regarding the Strongman Overhead Lifts, be sure to sign up for email updates using the form below. Steve Slater and I will be shooting a new DVD that covers the Overhead Strongman Lifts in November, including the Log Press, the Axle Press, The Monster Dumbbell (One Arm Overhead Lift), the Viking Press, and more.

All the best in your training,

Jedd


Learn the Basics of Atlas Stone Training with our Definitive DVD
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The Blob – The Grand-Daddy of all Block Weights

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

The Blob: The Benchmark One Hand Pinch Feat

There is one Grip Strength Challenge Item out there that is parallel with closing the #3 Gripper, Lifting the Inch Dumbbell, and bending a 60D nail. It is the Blob.

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This feat of Open hand / Pinching Strength was started by Richard Sorin, who when moving a bunch of broken dumbbells from one storage area to another tried pinch gripping a half 100-lb York Dumbbell. This lone half-100 was the only one of many that thwarted his efforts, and he set himself the goal to train his grip until he was able to not only lift it, but MASTER it.

This Grand-daddy of all Block Weights, which has been found in countless Grip Contest Medley, Grip Gauntlets and other Grip is called the Blob.

The story of how the first Blob came to be and the early history of it is an amazing one. Throughout the first few decades of its existence, it stopped the likes of Richard, John Brookfield, Wade Gillingham, and many others DEAD IN THEIR TRACKS at first, until they were all ready to re-group, re-strategize, and re-formulate their plan of attack.

the-blob-what-man-can-lift-me

Since then, thousands have tested themselves against the Blob in various venues across the Nation and around the World, only to have it laugh in their face like the bully at school.

But despite all of the valiant attempts that were colored by failure, there have been a few stories of dramatic inspiration that have spurred others to forge ahead with their training in order to tackle the beast…

Stories such as Rick Walker who at the time he first lifted it in 2003 was only about 200-lbs…

…like Chad Kovach who has successfully lifted the Blob with hands about 7-inches long…

Brad Martin, who succeeded in lifting it after just a few weeks of training and hands under 7.5 inches

…even Richard Sorin himself, Blob Pioneer, has average sized hands and can lift the Blob today, some 20+ years after first challenging himself to do so…

…and still, there are many other accounts of people putting in months or even years of dedicated time to finally accomplish the revered feat of lifting the Blob in a Pinch Grip, the true test of Open Hand and Thumb Strength.

Unfortunately, many people talk themselves out of lifting the Blob before they even try.

They think because the have small hands, they have no chance. The documented cases above prove this not to be so, in fact, as long as you can get one of two different finger and thumb combinations over the edges of the Blob, you will be able to lift it.

People think that because they do not own their own Blob, they are doomed to never develop the strength needed to lift it. Nothing could be further from the truth, as there are many suitable options that can be used in order to cultivate the wide-pinch strength needed to slay the Blob.

And many have been told that because they have little experience with Grip Training that they have two chances to lift the Blob: Slim and None. Absolute hogwash. Grip History is filled with accounts of average Gripsters accomplishing Blob Lifts and other Gigantic Feats with little training time under their belt.

The fact is, large hands, owning a Blob, specialty equipment, and years of training are indeed NOT prerequisites to becoming a Blob Lifter.

What is necessary is knowledge. Understanding key points about Blob Lifting such as technique (yes, there is technique; don’t let anyone fool you), chalk application, positioning and leverage, as well as the proper way to train on the Blob, are what you really need.

These factors will ease the frustration of the misses, the failures, and the heartache.

These intangibles will fill in the blanks between your desire to succeed and your ability to feel success.

These elements are the ones that will make you what you want to be – a Blob Lifter.

And now, all of these things are available to you in my brand new ebook, “Lift the Blob.”

If you want to Lift the Blob or any other goal Block Weight that is in your sights, then you need this ebook to help guide you.

If you want to find out more about what kind of information is in Lift the Blob < = click that link.

Or if you just want to get started right away, click the button below.

All the best in your training.

Jedd

Interview with Neuro Mass Author, Jon Bruney

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Jon Bruney, Submit Strength

bruney

DIESELS! Today I have an interview with one bad-ass son of a gun, Jon Bruney. This dude is FREAKISHLY STRONG. Easily one of the overall strongest Performing Strongmen on the circuit. I know he can out-lift most other performers in more conventional lifts like the Squat, Deadlift and Pressing movements. He’s built like a freakin’ FIRE PLUG, and he gets the guys he trains strong as hell too.

Now, he is teamed up with Dragondoor to write a new book called Neuro Mass. I managed to get a few minutes of his time for an interview about his brand of Strongman Performance, the way he approaches the rest of his training and what Neuro Mass has to offer.. Check it out below.

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Interview with Neuro-Mass Author, Jon Bruney

Jedd: Jon, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule being an absolute MASTER OF IRON and SLAYER OF STEEL for the interview today. For those who may not be familiar with your exploits of strength and power, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

Jon: Jedd, thanks for having me on today. I’m a performing strongman, motivational speaker, pastor, trainer, and author. I am also co-owner of Submit Strength Equipment and have designed cutting-edge training equipment that is now in use around the world. I am a Battling Ropes level two coach and certified in Controlled Fatigue Training. My brand new book Neuro-Mass was just released.


Jedd: How did you get so involved in super human strength and conditioning, brother?

Jon: I have always been interested in strength. I saw some strongmen performing some feats like breaking stacks of concrete with their hands, and I knew that this was something I wanted to pursue. I was privileged to have the legendary John Brookfield become my mentor. He really got me my start in the world of strongman performance.


Jedd: Awesome. John Brookfield is one of my biggest influences as well. Tell me this, what sets you apart from other performing strongmen out there? What feats do you do in your shows that other strongmen, quite frankly, just aren’t strong enough to perform?

Jon: Jedd, there are definitely athletes out there who are much stronger than I am. But, what makes me unique is the diversity of my strongman feats. For instance, I have had great strength endurance feats, such as pulling a semi-truck and trailer with John Brookfield for the distance of 1 mile.

In my shows, some of the feats include: dead lifting the back of an SUV, breaking stacks of concrete set on fire with my fist, bending steel bars over my head, breaking drill bits, bursting pop cans with my hands, pressing steel logs overhead, and laying down under a bed of nails while my wife jump ropes on top of it.

My favorite strongman feat of all time was performing the human link. I held back to Harley-Davidson motorcycles attached to my arms and let them try to pull me apart.


Jedd: Those are NEXT LEVEL strongman feats right there, my man. RESPECT. But I know that Strongman Performances are not the only gig you do. I also know you work with athletes. Tell us about your training approach with athletes.

Jon: My goal with athletes is to help them to build smart muscle. The focus isn’t just on getting bigger, but better. Smart muscle is muscle that can multitask.


Jedd: Niiiiice! Smart Muscle. Awesome, brother. And aside from your feats of strength, what other kinds of training do you do in your own workouts? When you aren’t destroying steel and piles of bricks.

Jon: In my training, I try to combine three distinct types of exercise into something called a Neuro-Set. This involves the following:

  • Grinds: slow controlled exercises that place resistance on large muscle groups
  • Dynamic Power Drills: movements that require power and speed
  • Isometrics: this type of exercise is performed while maintaining a static position and joint angle remains constant for the duration of the contraction

Jedd: That sounds like a combination that is different from just about any system I have ever heard of, especially with the Isometrics thrown in, which I know are HUGE Strength Builders. I also know this is the kind of training you write about in your new book, Neuro Mass. Tell me about this book that is currently sweeping the world and is nearing Best Seller Status on Amazon.

Jon: Absolutely, Neuro-Mass is a cutting-edge training system that…

  • Teaches the nervous system to recruit more muscle fibers
  • Teaches the body to adapt to multiple forms of resistance
  • Teaches the body to bypass genetic performance roadblocks

Jedd: It is funny you bring up Road Blocks, because my last post on this site is about overcoming plateaus in your training. Well, let’s just cut to the chase. Who should pick this book up and why?

Jon: This book is for anyone who wants to become more strength, endurance, and power. The book also includes cutting-edge mental preparation techniques, physical preparation techniques, and recovery techniques. It is an entire system.


Jedd: Jon, it sounds like this book is PACKED with Information. Could you give us a sample routine from the book that we could try to actually experience why this book is so awesome?

Jon: Sure. Try this great bodyweight routine that I recently shared in an article on Dragon Door’s site. It is a Shoulder Blasting Bodyweight Neuro-Set:

Shoulder Blasting Bodyweight Neuro-Set

  • Handstand push-ups – 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Hummingbird – 15 to 60 seconds
  • Towel isometric shoulder pull – 7 to 12 seconds

How To Perform The Handstand Push-up:

The technique we will use to get into position for the handstand push-up is called “wall walking.”

To begin, place both feet flat against a wall, while your hands and knees are on the floor. Now, driving your hands into the floor, begin to walk up the wall using your hands and feet. Be sure to contract the abdominals throughout the movement.

When you reach the top position, slowly lower your body until your head is a few inches away from the floor. Pause for a moment and raise your body up to the top position.

How To Perform The Hummingbird:

Begin by placing your arms straight out at your sides and lower into a semi-squat position. Now, explosively move your arms up and down within a 6-inch range of motion. The range of motion is extremely small. You’ll find that this innovative exercise has the ability to fatigue shoulders very quickly.

How to Perform Towel Isometric Shoulder Pull:

I first saw this powerful isometric exercise performed by my friend Ori Hofmekler. Begin by grasping the end of a heavy towel with one hand extended straight out to your side. Now, with the other hand grasp the towel at chest level. The position looks like an archer getting ready to pull a bow backward.

Try to pull the towel apart. As you continue this pulling motion contract the muscles of the back as hard as possible. As you increase the tension, power exhale through the mouth.


Jedd: That is a Crazy Combo, bro. Where can the Diesel Universe get Neuro Mass?

Jon: Just click this link to Get Neuro-Mass and the Awesome Bonuses. If you order today, there are $789.00 in bonuses available.


Jedd: Jon, thanks for the awesome interview. I know you are super busy, so thanks for sneaking this in for my readers.

DIESELS, Jon Bruney is no joke, man. This guy trains for real and doesn’t mess around. You need to pick this thing up, and right now, you can click the banner below and pick up Neuro Mass and get the $700+ in free bonuses. But it’s got to be today to get the whole package.

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All the best in your training.

Jedd


The Missing Part of Your Strength Training – Extensor Work – A Must for Any Serious Lifter – Hand X Bands
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