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7 Deadly Sins of Strength Training

Friday, February 27th, 2015

I had the amazing opportunity to put together an article for sponsor, Onnit’s magazine, Onnit Academy.

It’s called “The 7 Deadly Sins of Strength Training.”

Here’s a picture of the magazine:

Jedd

Here’s what you’ll learn from the article…

No matter what your main objective in your training is, it takes a LOT more than just getting your workouts in, to be successful.

There’s other stuff you’ve gotta do to support your training and recovery in order to ensure you see the results you want.

Whether you’re trying to build a massive yoke, excel at strongman, or training to close bigger grippers, when you get these 7 things right, you see better results in your training.

As my sponsors, Onnit has sent me a special link so that my readers can get a copy of this issue, and all you need to do is pay the shipping charges.

Special Onnit Academy Link for my DIESELS

This is a complete STEAL of a price, too.

This is easily the highest quality fitness magazine I’ve ever seen. The cover and pages actually feel more like catalog quality than cheapo magazine stock.

Plus, the information is top notch. This issue alone features contributions from:

    Mark DeGrasse, me, Lance Brazil, Joe Defranco, Jim “Smitty” Smith, Travis Stoetzel, Travis Janeway, Trey Hardee, Doug Fioranelli, Evan Brand, Luke Hocevar, Marcus Martinez, Joe Daniels Ryan Mortensen, Ken Blackburn, and Matt Wichlinski

Plus, I flipped through the thing and found just ONE ADVERTISEMENT in the whole issue.

So you’re not staring and endless supplement ads as you go through it like most magazines that are out there.

Instead, you’re getting solid information.

So, get yourself a copy for as cheap as you possibly can, by just paying shipping:

Onnit Academy Magazine – pay just $4.95 to cover shipping costs

I hope you pick it up and let me know what you think of the article!

Thanks and all the best in your training.

Jedd


Learn the Basics of Stone Lifting Today:
Stone Lifting Fundamentals


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.

jeddblobwatch

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-


New Strongman Trainees: Get Your Technique Right with out DVD,
Introduction to Strongman Training. It covers everything you need to know
to perform the most common and beneficial events the right way.
Click the banner below or go to this link => Strongman Training DVD


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


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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.

OBlobSide-300x225

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