Last Thursday, August 14, 2014, I took part in the Pro Care Fitness Challenge, a multi-contest competition at Pro Care Physical Therapy in Athens PA.
Jerry Jones – 535 Deadlift (Legit)
I competed in the Strength meet, which included the Bench Press, Weighted Pull-up, and Deadlift.
Here’s a run-down of the rules:
- (1) The scoring was all bodyweight based, since there were no divisions. I am not sure of the actual formula used in all the cases.
- (2) The Bench Press was the most loosely judged of the 3 events. They didn’t require a pause and your butt could come off the Bench. The Pull-up allowed for standing on a box and then stepping off to get an eccentric load, or you could go from a dead hang. The Deadlift did not require a set-down. You could drop it once you locked it out. You could also use straps if you wanted to.
- (3) There were 3 attempts on each lift for each competitor, if they wanted them.
Here’s the thing about the rules. This was not some kind of a professional powerlifting meet. This was a charity competition done for fun. So I really couldn’t care less about the looseness of the rules, and I really hope I don’t have to hear a bunch of complaining about them in the comments section, either here or on YouTube…
More important than the rules was the fact that this competition enabled people do get up there and see what they had. If this was their first competition, they could set their baseline numbers, and they would get to feel what it was like to have to lift the weight up under pressure.
Plus, it enabled everyone to see where they stood against others. New lifters got a chance to see where their numbers were at in comparison to more seasoned veterans, and they got to see what else was possible.
Speaking of what’s possible – I was super impressed with one of the staff members of Pro Care. blew away the rest of the competition with a successful Pull-up with 140-lbs attached to his body and he was benching and deadlifting right up near me, and I out-weighed him by 60lbs. It just goes to show what intensity, hard work and consistency can produce over time.
My personal highlight was the Weighted Pull-ups. It was my first time competing at those. In fact, I haven’t even heard of one in the United States for about the last 10 years, so I was PUMPED to give it a try.
Here are the videos from the Strength Competition.
I was still feeling a bit of pain from my Bench workout during the week, but I went after this anyway. I started with an easy 315 on my first attempt. I then jumped up to 365, which I have hit once or twice in the past year, although I rarely train Bench hard. I left my belt on and it was way too tight and when I went to press, it felt like it strained my abs on both sides of my stomach, so I was super distracted by the pain. I thought I hurt myself bad, but I did not. I finished up with 335, and it was also pretty easy for me. I probably could have gotten 345 or 350 on that day.
I am contemplated doing an actual Push/Pull meet sometime in the Fall, so I tried to stay pretty strict on my attempts to see where I am at, with the exception of the pause at the bottom of the movement. To be honest, I forgot all about that entirely.
Pull-up Plus Weight
This was an event I figured I would do very well in, as I do Pull-ups all the time, and roughly 50% of the time they are weighted in some fashion, usually with chains. I started out with a safe 48kg/105/lbs kettlebell, which I smashed. I then jumped to a 120lbs Dumbbell. That was also easy, but I was so focused on the repetition, my ears shut off and I didn’t hear the call, so I ended up hitting a “double.” For my third attempt, I went for 130, and that started to get tough. I probably could have hit 140 fresh.
The alternated grip was allowed on the Deadlift, but I have not pulled with the alternated grip with weight over 315 in months and months if not longer, so I did not even bother trying it with the weights I was pulling. Instead, for my first two attempts, I went Double Overhand (no hook grip), then for my last attempt I went Double Overhand with straps.
I hit 455 on my first attempt. That was easy, and I wished I did more. I then went for 500lbs, which topped Eli Thomas’s current leading lift of 495. Both of those attempts were Double Overhand, no hook grip. I was very happy with how easy 500lbs came up DO. For my third atempt, I decided to try and all-time PR weight for the Deadlift or 550lbs. I used straps due to my fear of alternating and tearing a bicep. This was a pretty pathetic miss. With the straps, it just didn’t feel right. I don’t know if I had the back strength to complete the lift anyway, but I was glad I reached for the PR. I do kind of wish I would have gone for 520 DO No Hook, though, because that would have been an all-time PR for me, using that grip.
The only event in which I placed in the Top 3 was the Pull-up. I got second there. It doesn’t surprise me that I finished further down in the other events, since I have not been specializing in the Bench or Deadlift, however, the lower finishes does make me want to push my numbers up in those events, plus, bringing up my numbers there will contribute to my overall goals of more full-body strength.
I am really glad that I went to this competition. It was a good wake-up call. It was also nice competing with Eli Thomas at something other than Grip. I think the last time we did a comp together was 2005, and I kicked his ass handily. The tables have turned now though, brother.
By the way, if you work with athletes, there is a new DVD Set coming out this week called the Elite Athletic Development Seminar, by Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn. It is being sold at a special price right now. I am not familiar with Joe Kenn, but I have seen a lot of Mike Robertson’s products in the past and that guy is a very good instructor.
Check this program out today: Elite Athletic Development Seminar
Thanks for watching my videos, and all the best with your training.
Tags: bench, bench press, big bench press, big deadlift, big pull-up plus weight, deadlift, powerlifting, pull-up
Posted in how to bench press, how to develop power, how to develop strength, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
Upper Body and Grip Training Workout 8/29/13
Lots of people love the idea of building a Big Bench Press, but have little idea how to go about doing it.
Often, the type of Bench Press training we learn about is what we learned in our High School Gyms, which are most likely recycled information that the coach learned when he was in High School and has never changed one single bit. It often ends of becoming a vicious cycle of bad, out-dated information.
My suggestion for people who want to bring up their Bench is to find someone who actually is a Powerlifter and is seeing some success in their training. When you train with someone who is successful in the Big Three Lifts (Bench Press, Squat, and Deadlift), Strength becomes Contagious. Just by lifting with them, you get stronger, and all awhile learn the proper way to train.
Last Friday, I had someone visit who has done just what I am suggesting. He went from having very little structure in his training a few years ago, to following one of the most popular Powerlifting Programs that is out there. As a result, he has seen impressive gains from the new-found structure and is enjoying the design of the program and the increased numbers, for sure.
This lifter is Josh McIntyre. I first met Josh through the Diesel Crew website in January of 2011 when I started the Weekly Grip Strength Challenges. Josh won many of these challenges during the year and has gone on to perform lots of Elite-Lever Grip Strength Feats since then, although these days his primary focus is Powerlifting with a little Strongman and Grip thrown in, a great mixture for developing incredible strength.
We hit an awesome workout this past Friday, about 2 hours and 15 minutes of Upper Body Training and then about an hour and a half of Grip Training, with a little break in between for a short interview.
Below is the video, which contains the entire session.
I asked Josh to send in a little write-up about himself so you could get to know him a bit better. I think you will also see that once you get some programming into your routine, you can expect to see some increased strength levels across the board. Here you go.
Josh McIntyre Interview
Jedd: Who the hell are you and how did you end up getting into Powerlifting?
Thanks Jedd for having me up to your place. My name is Josh McIntyre, I’m 32 and have been lifting off and on since I was 14, but with goals in mind since 2010 and most seriously since 2012. I’ve competed in both Powerlifting and Strongman. My best lifts to date are a 565 squat (raw w/ wraps,) a 390 raw bench and a 635 raw deadlift (no belt) but I’m seeing now that I’m capable of a lot more.
I never did anything more than a set of curls and some push up’s right after highschool. I thought I was strong back then. It’s amazing to look back at pictures and see a guy who thought he was the man. In 2007, I moved to NC from NJ and found myself with a spare room to fill. So I assembled my rusty old H.S. weight bench and got some cheap standard plates from craigslist ads and used sporting goods stores.
Around the same time I spent a lot of time on Youtube looking for workout routines. I found your channel and was floored by the feats I was witnessing. I had a “monkey see, monkey do” mentality like many others, and trained until I could replicate whatever it was that I was training for, like a 5 dimes pinch (have still to get 6 without a pipe through them,) pinching two 45’s, levering a 45# plate (still sloppy,) hubbing a 45# plate, closing an Ironmind #3 etc etc.
I also started to train the powerlifts. I use the term “train” loosely here because I had no idea what the hell I was doing and ended up with a lot of shoulder pain. For a while, since I had no squat rack and it hurt my shoulders to bench a lot, I focused primarily on the DEADLIFT. To this day, it’s still my best and favorite lift. (long arms)
Once I scored a power rack off of craigslist for $100, it was on from there. I read up a bunch on rehab and prehab for shoulders here on DieselCrew.com and Elitefts. I watched a lot of video’s and inched my DL up over 500 in 2009.
Jedd: Tell us About Your Early Competition Days
I competed in my first powerlifting meet in 2010 in the APA. I entered Deadlift only, weighed in around 235 and competed in the 242’s. I opened at 505, went 565 for my second and 585 for my third. Unfortunately they called me for hitching (rightfully so) and I was credited only for my opener. I learned a lot that day and I was hooked!
Since then I’ve competed in 6 powerlifting meets and 1 strongman contest. I’ve learned so much from each one. I really enjoyed the strongman contest but PL is where my passion is. I’ve also trained with a lot of brutally strong PL competitors I’ve met at meets and gained a lot of strength and knowledge from them.
Jedd: When I first learned of you, you were training mostly at your house and from time to time in a gym where they wouldn’t even let you bring in chalk. These days, I have seen you have been training at Raleigh Barbell.
Since March of this year, I began training with a PL team at Raleigh Barbell. I’ve seen my best gains ever just in the last 5 months since training there. We trained 2 cycles of Brandon Lilly’s Cube Method with some success. The guys are great, supportive, serious and very goal motivated. If I squat high, they let me know. If my back started to round a little there, or my ass rises off the bench slightly, they’re right there to correct it for me. Having an extra set of eyes is really helpful when you can’t see where you’re screwing up.
5-10’s Pinch for Grip Specific Warm-up – NO PROBLEM!
As far as the gym, Raleigh Barbell is an 864 square foot training facility located in the heart of downtown Raleigh which is owned and operated by Elite Strength and Wellness Coach Jackson Williams. He’s been a great coach and he’s strong as hell! I’ve seen him pull 650 raw like it was 315. Training with guys stronger than me has been exactly what I was missing. Coach Jackson and Teammates Mason, Hunter, Chris, Keven and Justus are great lifters and training partners, and I’m lucky to be training along side of them. For more info on Raleigh Barbell or to contact Jackson, check out Raleighbarbell.com or hit him up on the Raleigh Barbell facebook page, if you’re on the book of faces.
Recently we’ve started a 10 week training template written by our coach leading up to a PL meet in November in Richmond, VA followed by a Charity Push/Pull the following weekend that I’ve done for the past 3 years.
Jedd: Josh, I’ve gotten some questions asking why we chose the exercises we did during our workout and what exactly the bands are for. Could you explain these points please?
The bench workout you and I did was from our Raleigh Barbell week 2 speed bench. It focused on practicing the bench press movement over and over by doing 8 sets of 2 as fast as we could WITH GOOD FORM. We incorporated band tension to make the lockout more difficult. That forced us to generate momentum from the start to get us through the increasing resistance. We also added volume by going for max reps up to but NOT including failure. We don’t miss training lifts at Raleigh Barbell. We only took another rep if it was there. The rest of the bench day was higher volume accessory stuff, o/h press, shoulders, rows, hammer curls, tri’s, all for hypertrophy.
Jedd: Now that you are several years into serious training, maybe you could talk a bit about major lessons you have learned, pitfalls you have run into along the way, mistakes you’ve made, etc?
I’ve seen up’s and down’s in my training but the more experience I got the more I realized the anecdote “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is dead on. Also, enjoying the journey has been key for me. I lift ’cause I love it, that makes it easy to commit to. I see lifters so focused on their goal that they suffer through and end up hating their training. It’s ok to like what you do, it makes you easier to be around too.
Some of the mistakes in my own training over the years have been:
- 1. Sticking with a routine even after I stall while using it. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to get a different result. My numbers were up and down, up and down for far too long
- 2. Not doing any kind of accessory work to bring up weak areas
- 3. Thinking one way was right and ALL other ways were wrong
- 4. Waiting until I thought I was “good enough” to enter a PL meet. I wish I had done it sooner. Your entire mentality toward training changes after a competition. And the friends I’ve made and the things I’ve learned have been valuable to me as a lifter and a competitor. Don’t wait, sign up today. It’s so much fun and you’ll walk away with more than you came with
- 5. Finding reliable training partners. More easily said than done. If you have an opportunity to join a PL gym, or a CF gym or a Strongman crew DO IT
6-10’s Pinch. Off the Ground 5 or 6 Times, but Not Quite Lockout
Jedd: Josh, great having you up here. Come back again when you make a trip up this way. I want to see you get the 6-10’s Pinch sometime soon.
Again, thank you Jedd for having me up to train. The grip feats I witnessed and failed at were humbling and motivating. I was smashed when I left your gym but mentally I was rejuvenated with the idea of grip training. I have an entirely new respect and appreciation for Grip sport and its competitors. I look forward to meeting up again soon!
I got some feedback that the videos were hard to watch in the Playlist, and that you would like them separated out, so here you go…
Speed Bench Press Against Light Bands
Overhead Axle Training
Axle Rows for Back and Grip Strength
Tricep and Biceps Superset
Hammer Curls for Size and Strength
Josh McIntyre Interview
DIESELS – If you have any other questions about the training we did in the videos, leave a comment and I will do a follow up article to answer them.
All the best in your training.
The Missing Part of Your Strength Training – Extensor Work – A Must for Any Serious Lifter – Hand X Bands
Tags: bench press, bench press program, powerlifting, strength training
Posted in grip strength, how to bench press, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training videos diesel tv, strongman training for athletes | No Comments »
I have a little saying that I coined about two years ago that goes like this:
Misses Are Just Warm-ups
Warrior Presses Savage
This is a mental approach that you have to take when your overall training goal is STRENGTH.
You missed a new PR Lift? So What? Try it again.
You didn’t break your previous best mark on your first try? So what? Try it again.
If you set up your lifts right, you should always have at least three good attempts in you to set a new PR. And in some cases, even more.
It doesn’t matter what kind of strength you are going for: Grip Strength, Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting, Strongman Training – all of them require certain factors to be right.
If any of these factors are not right, then you might not complete your lift, even though in reality you are strong enough to complete it.
Here are just a few things that can be “off” when you go for a max and keep you from setting a new PR:
Tags: bench press, deadlift, military press, overhead lifting, overhead press, PR, press, strength training
Posted in grip hand forearm training for sports, how to bench press, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
Hey there, I hope your week has been awesome.
Today I have a review for you on a new report called, Bench Press Explosion, by Mike Westerdal, which is only $7 until tonight at Midnight.
This is in ebook format, so in a matter of minutes you can be reading it and sampling from the routines of some of the strongest benchers that have ever lived.
Review: Bench Press Explosion
This ebook is heavy loaded on two things: Technique and even moreso on Sample Routines.
Technique: It starts and ends with emphasis on the importance of proper technique in order to accomplish your maximum strength and muscle gains.
Routines: In many cases, the routines shows are the exact routines that the monsters of the bench would follow themselves.
Keep in mind something as you read through this sampling of routines from the ebook:
These programs are coming from the best in the world. It only makes sense to follow what the best in the world have done – why try to reinvent the wheel? And with so many different routines to choose from, you could be set for about the next full year for bench press routines. If you document and track your results the right way, you should easily be able to understand which ones work best for you. So go to the store, but a notebook for $1 and track your progress.
Now, let’s look at some of the routines featured in this ebook. Take note, this is by no means the exhaustive list of routines. These are just a few of the ones that struckme in particular when I reviewed the manual.
Pat Casey’s Routine
Pat Casey broke the 600-lb Bench Barrier with 617 and he used no ergogenic aids like equipment, substances or techniques. His routine focuses on weight, technique, and volume. In fact, in some cases, to spawn gains, he would go through periods of TREMENDOUS VOLUME. Wait until you read the kinds of volume numbers he would hit with his “Binge Workouts” on the Dip Stand. Other Worldly!
Ted Arcidi’s Blueprint for Benching
Ted Arcidi is someone I have been researching quite a bit lately, both due his success as a powerlifter, and because he spent some time competing in the Wrestling Ring during the 1980’s. If you haven’t heard of him, he was billed as the World’s Strongest Man, as he was the first man to bench 700 in a recognized competition. What is awesome is Bench Press Explosion outlines his exact routine he used, which he refers to as his Bench Press Blueprint for building chest strength and size.
Ken Lain’s Program Matrix
Ken Lain has benched 721 and 740 and Bench Press Explosion shows you exactly what he did to get to the 740 mark. What else is awesome is that this routine can be used for other multi-joint exercises, so if you want to transition into a period where you emphasize a different exercise, then you can use this program to build your other big movements, such as Squats, Deadlifts, Overhead Press and more.
Bench the Chuck Sipes Way
Chuck Sipes was just plain a bad-ass. In his hey day, not only was he stacked with rock solid muscle, but this crazy bastard used to bend nails and bars, often with the bar in his teeth, as shown to the right, so you know this guy was cool. In adddition to his steel bending prowess, this strongman trained up to a bench of 570 and even a set of 6 at 520 – AWESOME! This routine is specifically indicated for thos who are “stuck in a standstill” on the bench press.
John Carl Mese
This is another dude I am not familiar with, but what I liked about this section is that it gave some indications to look for as far as specific weaknesses you might have in your bench, depending on the spots you fail at, so you can work on your weaknesses, another big part of bench press success. Mese’s program also emphasizes balance between the upper, middle, and lower chest.
DIESELS, this is only scratching the surface of what is included in this ebook. There are actually over 15 Bench Press programs included in this report.
One word to the wise, however – don’t be jumping back and forth between programs. If you are not seeing results after just two weeks on a given program, don’t abandon it and move on to another one. That is a recipe for sure failure. Instead, pick one program out of the many listed here and use it as your guide from beginning to end. Track your results, including the prescribed sets and reps, but also take note of how the sets felt. You may be surprised as you look back how a certain percentage of your Max early on may feel tough and then a few weeks later it is a breeze. It is nice to have indicators like that written down in your work logs.
Then, when the program is complete, assess the results. You may try going through it again, or switching completely. With this ultra-cheap $7 report, you are going to be able to enjoy a great deal of flexibility in your training for months and even years to come.
OK, guys. That’s it for my review.
Take note, this ebook is on sale for a maniacally low price of just $7, but you have to pick it up before tonight at Midnight or else the price will go up.
You can get your copy here = > Bench Press Explosion
All the best in your training.
Many people have written me over the years about wrist pain when benching. After all, everyone loves a big bench press.
It’s one thing if you are stalled in the bench due to a technique issue or because you are having trouble deciding on a bench press program.
It’s something different altogether when your bench press is suffering because of pain in the wrist, so annoying and distracting.
So, what I have done is put together a video for you that is what I call a Diesel Work-around.
What is a Work-around, you might ask?
Well, in industrial settings, when a part of a process breaks or is faulty, but the work still needs to be done, alternative measures can be put into action in order to get the same finished product or desired result.
These alternative measures are called Work-arounds. For instance, if a conveyor belt is shut down, the items being moved can be placed into a cart and moved by hand to the next location, successfully “working around the problem” until it can be fixed.
In the case of the Bench Press, when there is pain in the wrist, we can perform a slight Work-around in order to still get the work done, in order to not miss a workout.
Now, before I get too deep into this, I have to stress this point: If you are injured, you need to address the injury with professional help.
So, if you strained your wrist in a bar fight or because you fell down a flight of stairs in a drunken stupor, you need to go to the doctor, get the problem professionally assessed and follow the doctor’s or therapist’s suggestions in order to completely address the injury.
However, wrist pain does not always mean that there is a break or soft tissue damage, such as that which can occur when you try to touch the stripper on stage and the Eric the Bouncer grabs you and tosses you out the back door into a dumpster.
Sometimes the root of the pain in the wrist is actually something simple such as the misalignment of the carpal bones in the wrist.
The bones of the hand and wrist are supposed to be arranged in a specific order. However, if we are training out of balance or if we have some light trauma to the wrist, these bones can be thrown out of whack, causing noticeable pain and loss of range of motion.
To see what I mean, check out the above picture. It may seem as though the bones seem to be randomly stacked on top of one another, but that is not the case – they are placed exactly how they need to be for optimal performance of the hands and lower arms, and if they get out of whack from trauma or imbalanced strength ratios as a result of your training, you can have some problems.
In cases such as these where the pain might just be a bone slightly misaligned, the following Diesel Work-arounds fit in nicely. They take pressure off of the wrist and allow you to perform work on the Bench without having to miss a bench workout.
Work-around #1 – Use a Thicker Bar
A thicker bar, such as an axle or fat pipe, can be used on the bench press instead of the normal Powerlifting bar. This will feel different to you, but you should notice that there is not quite as much pain when performing the pressing movement.
The force will be spread out over more of the hand and not so much directly on the point of pain within the wrist. If you do not have an axle or thick pipe that is set up for pressing movements, then you might also try a set of Fat Gripz placed on the bar to accomplish the same general objective.
Diesel Work-around #2 – Wrist Straps
Another suggestion to try is wrist straps. These can help cradle the wrist as you press can be very helpful for reducing pain.
A lot of people think I am completely against wrist wraps, but that isn’t really true. I think they are great for preventing injury and for helping to recover from injury, like if something is “out” in your wrist.
The most important thing to know here is exactly how to wrap the wrists in order to get the right support, which I show you in the video, below.
That wrapping technique is something that you can use on a lot of your lifts when you get into the big numbers. It will give you the support you need for confidence on lifts where the wrist is open for potential injury, such as overhead lifting.
I hope this has been helpful for you. If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks and all the best in your training!
P.S. I just got interviewed by Andres Gonzalez of Strongermen.Blogspot.com. Andres seems like a very nice guy who has decided to improve his lifestyle and has been doing a lot to better his health and well-being. In addition to that, he has been interviewing people he has been following who have made strength training a part of their lives. He found my site and said it is something that has helped him out with his journey to become stronger and I really appreciate him seeking me out.
Also, last week, Andres put together this cool video of the Top Nail Benders in the World. Check it out:
Tags: bench press, powerlifting, wrist pain
Posted in forearm injury prevention recovery healing, how to bench press, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | 5 Comments »
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