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Archive for the ‘how to develop strength’ Category

Next Goal: Strengthen Everything from the Waist Down

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Pain Free Barbell Hip Thrusts

Build Stronger Hips With These Hip Thrust Variations

DIESELS,

After having won the Overall at the North American Grip Sport Championship, I found out that I won an automatic berth into next year’s Mighty Mitts.

Mighty Mitts, as Andrew Durniat calls it, is the SuperBowl of Grip, taking place on the main stage at the Arnold Classic, and featuring some of the strongest hands in the world. Mighty Mitts is where the best of Grip Sport clash with Strongmen in some of the most challenging tests of hand strength imaginable.

And with that in mind, I have one clear-cut goal that is intertwined into all of my training.

To Get As Strong as Possible from Now Until March.

This means, I have some GLARING weaknesses that I MUST address body-wise. My overall Absolute Strength pales in comparison to the other competitors, especially my lower back and hip strength.

As I outlined in this post, Squats: Start Doing Them Today, due to countless lower back injuries, I barely Squatted from 2008 until 2013. This has left my lower back and legs extremely weak.

With that in mind, I have begun an all-out onslaught on my lower body training, hitting Squats, Deadlifts, Hip Thrusts, Reverse Hypers, and other exercises that target the hips as hard as possible.

Mission: Build Stronger Hips

With the idea of getting the Hips and Glutes as strong as possible, I wanted to share a couple of variations of Hip Thrusts with you that I have been performing.

I first learned about Barbell Hip Thrusts from Niko Hulslander of Garage Ink. I could not believe the amount of weight he and his crew were doing in this lift, moving close to or even more than 500-lbs in the lift (I don’t recall what it was exactly anymore).

When I started doing this lift in late 2012, I could barely handle a set of 10 with 135lbs, that is how severely weak my hip complex had become.

Once I started doing the lift regularly, the pressure on my abdomen from the barbell was so severe, I was left with marks for days and days after doing them.

I tried wrapping a pool noodle around the bar, which helped to reduce the pressure, but the pool noodle just kept disintegrating after each session. I then moved on to a 2.5-inch thick axle. This worked for a while, but it belonged to my friend JT Straussner, so when he took it back to train with at his gym, I had to find something else.

I tried slipping a big piece of pipe over it and that worked pretty well, but since then I found something even better – the Saxon Bar.

Barbell Hip Thrusts with Saxon Bar

The Saxon Bar is a loadable barbell that is used for pinching. I found that I could load this thing up HEAVY, and when I placed it flat over my abdomen, the pressure was spread out very nicely and I felt no pain at all.

Here is the Barbell Hip Thrust using a Saxon Bar in action:

The goal for each rep is to get a nice hard contraction and a pause at the top of the movement.

Heavy Bend Tension Hip Thrusts

I have also found another variation that I like quite a bit – this one involves Thrusting against heavy band tension, using the Blue Jump Stretch Bands.

Right now, the limitation here is being able to harness down the bands. I have been able to slip them underneath the feet of my Squat Cage up to this point, but I want to modify the cage a big so I can rig more band tension without having to pin the bands beneath the cage. Again, with these, I am looking for a pause.

For both variations of the Hip Thrust, I have been performing 3 work sets of 10 repetitions, aiming for a nice pause at the top in a flat table position. This is after 2 to 3 warm-up sets to get used to the work set weight.

Generally, I will work the Saxon Bar Hip Thrusts on one lower body day, and then the next lower body day, I work the bands. The Saxon Bar Hip Thrusts take a lot more out of me, so I do those as a stand-alone exercise.

The Band Tension Hip Thrusts only load up at the very top of the movement, so they don’t take as much out of me, and I usually pair them with another exercise, usually involving a heavy loaded barbell in the cage, that I can use for Barbell Shrugs, Partial Deadlifts, or Holds.

I really love these two movements, and plan on doing them for quite some time. My Squats have been feeling much stronger since working these in, and I have no doubt they will help with Deadlifts, Farmer Picks, and other heavy lifts that work the glutes/hip complex.

If you are looking for ways to work the hips harder, these could be two lifts that you might want to try.

All the best in your training,

Jedd

Squats – Start Doing Them Today

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

My buddy, Rick Walker, Squatting

DIESELS,

The best thing I have done in the last 6 months is I have begun doing Squats again.

It took a LOT of work. I have a long, long history of back injuries. I have had to be mindful of my back every single day I train since the mid-2000′s.

But in the last 8 days I have Back Squatted 3 times, each time hitting over 365lbs.

My Squat sucks. But I love Squats.

I feel better when I am Squatting. My other lifts are bigger when I am Squatting regularly, grip included.

I missed doing Squats for the last 5 years. I thought I could make do without them.

I was Wrong.

If you have a healthy back, knees and hips, I encourage you to start doing Squats today.

If you don’t have a healthy back, you need to fix it. Do whatever it takes.

If you can, do Back Squats. If you can’t handle Back Squats, try Front Squats. If not those, try Goblet Squats.


Goblet Squats – Gotta Start Somewhere

I will continue to do all of my soft tissue work, my warm-up, and my stretching so I can keep Squatting.

And that way, all my other lifts go up.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Like I said, my Squat numbers SUCK compared to many other lifters, but that is OK. I am not in a hurry.

Here is a recent video of a couple of my Squats and some other Training on top of it.

By the way, Luke is Squatting too and he is blowing up in all other lifts as well.

Squat if you can, brotherrrr.

Jedd

Learn How to Bend Horseshoes with the Hammering Horseshoes DVD

10 Reasons to Try Dips Plus Weight

Friday, March 14th, 2014
dip425

I love variety in my training.

If I do the same old stuff all the time, I get bored.

Honestly, as good of a lift the Bench Press is for developing upper body strength and putting on muscle, I just can not get “into it.”

Lately, I have been doing a lot more Dips instead.

And, I have been going super heavy on them.

I think you should try Dips Plus Weight too, and today, I am sharing my Top 10 Reasons for why you should use Dips Plus Weight in your Upper Body Training.

10 Reasons to Train Dips Plus Weight

1. Better for Shoulders and Elbows

On most Dip Set-ups, your hands will be in a neutral grip, or close to it. If your shoulders are beat up, this will take pressure off them. If your elbows are beat up, this will give them a break. Less distraction from pain, better effort during the exercise!

2. Freedom of Movement for the Shoulder Blades

When you lie on a bench, the shoulder blades are restricted in their movement. When you perform Dips, the scapulae can move freely. Again, if you are feeling beat up, this can give your body a chance to recover while still training hard.

3. Better for the Back

If you have lower back issues, a hard arch of the lumbar spine can really cause you problems. Believe me, I know. But with Dips, you actually experience a degree of traction, and the back can feel better. I talk more about how dips can make the back feel better here.

4. No spotter needed

When you are going heavy on the Bench you want NO DOUBTS whatsoever. It is a lot easier to do this if you have a spotter. No spotter, and you are taking a risk. You don’t even need a spotter with Dips. If you miss, you just drop down to the floor or foot platform.

5. Better Stretch for the Chest

One key aspect of lifting weights is getting the muscles to stretch under tension. This results in microtrauma that our body must repair, making us bigger and stronger. With Dips, I feel a better stretch than with Bench Press, and if you pay attention to your form closely, I think you will feel this too.

6. Works the Triceps Big Time

Just like the Bench Press, Dips will hit the triceps hard too. Depending on how wide the handles are and how you angle and load your body, you can also switch up how hard the triceps get hit by the movement.

7. Add Weight with Belts or Chains

You might not have tried this, but you can add a lot of weight to your body for Dips. You can use a Dip Belt and hang Kettlebells, Inch Dumbbells, Weight Plates or a Loading Pin from it. You can also use Weight Vests, Chains, and other forms of weight to your body to progressively overload Dips and keep your body growing.

8. Dynamic Stability for the Grip

I like the stability aspect that Dips require. You need to grip the handles harder in order to keep your balance, especially when you are loaded with a dynamic load, such as weight from a Dip Belt, or Chains around the neck/shoulders. Your hands get good solid work from Dips when you go heavy.

9. Improve Speed

You’ll quickly notice when training Heavy Dips that SPEED is your FRIEND. Being explosive out of the whole will get you more reps with heavy weight, and help you build more muscle and strength.

10. Deload the Body from Bench

If you are feeling beat up from the Bench, make Dips your primary lift for a couple of weeks. When you go back to it, your body will feel refreshed and ready to set new PR’s on the Bench Press.

Here is a recent video of 1RM Dip Plus Weight from the Grip Monsters Challenge. While super tough, I felt no pain in either of these attempts in my shoulders or chest, which is something I could never say about Bench Press.

Dip Plus Weight: 442.8 Total Lbs

Obviously, you don’t have to go adding close to 200 pounds to your body to get great benefit out of dips. Instead, start lower and go up. I think you will be happy with your results.

Dip Plus Weight Training Plan

Try this ramp-up for Dips Plus Weight.

Week 1: Bodyweight Only. 3 Sets of 20

Week 2: 25lbs Weight Added. 3 Sets of 15

Week 3: 50lbs Weight Added. 3 Sets of 10

Week 4: 50lbs Weight Added. 4 Sets of 12

Week 5: Deload

Week 6: Return to Bench or Dips + 25lbs 3 Sets of 20, and so on.

Enjoy your Dips and all the best in your training.

Jedd

P.S. Due to an ordering error, I am overstocked on copies of the Nail Bending DVD. Through this weekend, you can get your copy and save $10. Click below for the Nail Bending DVD. ONLY 20 COPIES AVAILABLE

Top 10 Videos of 2013 Countdown

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

I feel like I am Carson Daily, counting down the Top Videos or something. Man, what a terrible feeling. Someone, please help me.

Anyway, here are numbers 6 through 10 of the 10 most popular videos I put out this year, based on the number of views each video got.


6. AB Wheel Basic Technique | Core Training | Core Strength – 1937 Views

I made this video for a friend of mine, Chris, who got back into strength training this year and got himself an Ab Wheel to work is core, but was using it totally wrong, and I was worried he was going to mess his back up big time. Since then, it’s been viewed about 2,000 times and I have been told by some that it is the best Ab Wheel Demo video they have ever seen, so that is pretty cool. You might be surprised to learn I do core training. Well, I surely don’t do crunches, but you’ve got to do some regular core work in order to be as strong as you can be, and I love my Ab Wheel.

Related Article: How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly


7. Pat Poviliatis Breaks a Bat over Mike Bruce’s Throat – 1468 Views

Yes, this is for real. Pat “The Human Vise” Povilaitis is probably my best friend in the small community of performing strongman, having known him for nearly 10 years now. In this video, he breaks a legit baseball bat over the neck/throat area of Mike “The Machine” Bruce, another one of my good friends, and the man with the strongest neck in the world. This took place at the Arnold Classic this year, right on the center stage of the event center. Awesomeness. Be sure to check it out.

Want to watch the whole documentary? It’s 100% free – just add your email to the box below:


8. Build Bigger Traps – Horizontal Band Loaded Shrugs – 1396 Views

Earlier this year I was dealing with a slight back tweak (What else is new?) and I was trying to think of a way I could work my traps harder without having to load so much weight on the bar. Knowing that the Traps run down your spine, I thought about how I could get more than one section of the Traps to fire hard all during the same movement. That is when I came up with this Shrug variation that absolutely kicks your ass. Enjoy.

Related Article: Build Bigger Traps by Intensifying the Shrug


9. Strength Equipment Review – Globe Gripz – 1384 Views

Let me be 100% honest with you. I have enjoyed my training SO MUCH MORE this year because my joints are not hurting all the time anymore. Part of that is because I improved my diet so much this year, but another reason is because I have been extremely mindful of the exercises I am doing and the equipment I am using, so that there isn’t so much unnecessary wear and tear. One BIG PART of that has been the use of Globe Gripz for Barbell Curls. What used to KILL me is now essentially pain free and I love it.

Get your Globe Gripz here => Globe Gripz


10. My New Speed Bag Platform – 1273 Views

I used to hit speed bag all the time in the mid-2000′s. I did it as part of my warm-up to get my elbows and shoulders warm and get the blood flowing. And I did it at the end of the workout to constantly learn new combinations and techniques on the bag. Then, I change the gym location and put in a downstairs bathroom, and I lost my spot for the bag for several years. Earlier this year, I got a new one and have been digging it ever since.


We are well on our way to viewing the Top videos of the year, DIESELS. Check back tomorrow for numbers 1 through 5.

All the best in your training,

Jedd


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The Morning Ritual Just Got Greener

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Every morning, I start my day with the same exact routine, whether I am home, in a hotel, or at a friend or family members house.

You see, about 4 years ago, I was having a run of nearly daily headaches.

a-bad-headache
This is kind of what the headaches felt like

Every day I went to work, the headache would start about 9 AM.

That meant the daily dose of Tylenol or Advil or some other pain relief pill.

Sometimes it worked a bit, but usually it did nothing.

I knew it wasn’t migraines. I’d had migraines before, and these weren’t that bad. They didn’t stop me in my tracks. They were just that dull, annoying, ache, that never changed, kind of like when the radio dial isn’t quite exactly where it needs to be for the station to come in perfect, and you are stuck with that little bit of static over top of every song that plays.

You know what I mean.

Ice-Ice-Baby

The static where it’s not Ice Ice Baby that’s playing, but Zice Zice Baby.

I knew it wasn’t a sinus infection. I’d had those before, too. I still do to this day. Generally, once in May and once in September my cheeks, forehead, and sinus cavity gets so filled with junk and the tissue so inflamed that every step feels like someone jabbing me in the sinus cavity with a pitchfork. And the only way to sleep is by placing my face on top of my fist so that the skin is pulled off to the side.

And I hadn’t had any head injuries, thank god, so it wasn’t some kind of trauma that had set these things off.

So I began looking at what else could be causing these low-grade daily headaches.

And the hunch that I came to was “maybe I was dehydrated?”

So, the next day, when I got up out of bed, I used the toilet, and I walked straight to the kitchen.

There, I filled up a glass of water, about 12 to 16 ounces, and drank it down. Then, I did it again.

My hunch was that I had somehow gotten myself into a rut of dehydration. I hypothesized that I was going to bed dehydrated, waking up dehydrated, and going through the entire day dehydrated, and this was causing me to have this crazy, nearly hungover, type of headache.

And I was RIGHT.

super-mario

Once I downed that water, it was like I had hit the re-set button on a bad game of Super Mario and was able to start over from the beginning.

That day at work, it felt awesome to be able to look at other Managers in the eye without having to squint if there was a light behind them. I could sit and have conversations with employees without shuddering in pain if their voice was high pitched. And my workout that night was the best I’d had in a long time.

two_glasses_of_water
Every Day Brotherrrrr

So now, every morning, since then, with only a handful of exceptions, I have started the day with the Morning Gulp – 24 to 32 ounces of water, depending on how big the actual glass is, and I always will from now on.

But tomorrow, I am running a new experiment.

You see, my good friend Mark, with whom I train Back and Triceps on Friday mornings, pointed out something that I have been over-looking all year.

The water that I have been pouring down the sink after steaming my vegetables every other day or so, is most likely LOADED with nutrients and vitamins. So, today when I steamed the latest batch, afterwards I poured it into this giant plastic glass, and even though it looks like alien urine, tomorrow, I will be pounding this like a Keystone Pounder instead of just plain water, broccoli stubs and all.

veggie-water
Left-over Water from Steamed
Broccoli, Green Beans, Cauliflower, and Carrots

The idea is that tomorrow I will not only start the day off with a burst of hydration surplus, but also get a shot of vitamins and nutrients along with it.

Can’t wait brother.

Are You Chronically Dehydrated?

A quick google search on dehydration will tell you that an estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

When you consider that it takes only a 1% dehydration level to drastically decrease your mental focus and physical prowess, let alone cause headaches, it is worth it to sacrifice the 30 seconds of your morning in order to jump start your hydration status.

Yep, 30 seconds to fill and chug two glasses of water, first thing in the morning.

Risk of Water Intoxication

798742-mark-webber

Naturally, if you drink too much water, it can reach levels that are considered poisonous, even carrying the names “water poisoning,” “hyperhydration,” and “dilutional hyponatremia.” So, you can’t go overboard here. I am not a doctor and have no idea how to figure out how much is “too much.” So don’t try this until you talk to one about it.

Either way, if you aren’t drinking enough water, you’ll know it when you take a leak throughout the day because your urine will be yellowish, or if you’re really dehydrated, then it will be like neon orange, and you’d better start drinking more water.

Why not get ahead of the curve by drinking it first thing upon waking up?

Start with just one glass.

Give it a try and let me know how you feel by leaving a comment below.

It’s been roughly 6 months since I’ve gotten a legitimate comment on this site. I half wonder if anyone reads this site anymore, since I get no feedback, no props, no complaints, nothing.

All the best in your training,

Jedd


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