When to Cheat to Build More Muscle
The Summer months are here now, and that means it’s time for some Cheating.
Call me crazy, but I think people put too much emphasis on STRICT lifting technique.
I’m not saying that you should deviate from the technique so much that you put yourself at injury.
For instance, I think multi-joint movements like the Squat, Deadlift, and their complex variations should be done with excellent form at all times.
But when it comes to isolation movements, exercises where there’s much fewer joints moving and less risk for injury, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat a bit on your technique in order to bring about more gains.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to cheat sometimes on your form:
1 – When you go super strict, it limits how much weight you can use.
Eventually, you’ve got to move up in weight a bit, if you want to bring on more muscle growth. But if you’re always staying super strict, it makes it hard to bump the weights up.
For an example of when I like to modify the technique in order to lift more weight, here’s a combo set of Plate Front Raises and Dumbbell Side Laterals. I deviate from the strict form on the Front Raises, because I’m using a 100lb Plate, and I bend my arms a bit to improve my leverage. I still try to lower the plate under control to accentuate the negative.
As you can see, I bend my arms here a bit to be able to get the plate up – just a small adjustment away from textbook form in order to get a lot more weight, and put a lot more loading on the front delts. Believe me, my front delts were SERIOUSLY SORE after this workout – way more sore than the previous few weeks when I worked with much lighter weight.
(2) When you keep everything strict, it limits how many reps you can do.
Appreciable volume is a must in order to build muscle. In fact, I like to stay between 8 and 15 reps on my movements where the goal is building muscle and not sheer strength.
There’s a couple ways to dial back the level of strictness in your lifting, in order to get more volume. Here are my favorites:
Go Heavier and Cheat from the Start: This method pulls from the idea above, of using more weight. Grab something that’s a good 5 to 10lbs heavier than you normally do with pristine form, and use some body english right from the start in order to bump up the volume and feel the pump sink in.
Regular Weight and Cheat at the End: With this one, you’ll start out with your regular “textbook” form, and then if you burn out before you hit your goal number of reps, then stop being a form policeman, and get the rest of your reps.
This is really just a handful of ways you can ease back a little bit on the form, in order to kick-start your gains again by increasing the weights you’re using and the volume you’re hitting in your workouts. I’m sure you can think of a few more.
The way some people talk about lifting, it’s as if the Form Police are there shaking a nightstick at you, watching every rep you do, ready to pounce on you if you deviate even the slightest from perfect form.
That’s all in your head. Don’t feel the need to stay strict on every single set and rep you do.
Naturally, there’s a time and place for everything. You don’t want to get in the habit of ALWAYS using cheat form.
Use cheating as a way to break through plateaus, test yourself with higher weights, and challenge your endurance in higher-rep situations.
I think you’re gonna see that it can help you out a great deal and can bring on some last-minute size increases, now that the Summer is here.
All the best in your training.
Want More Ways to Build Bigger Shoulders?
Get Your Hands on Yoketober
Tags: big shoulders, bigger shoulders, deltoids, delts, muscle building, shoulders
Posted in Build Muscle, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, muscle-building-workouts, Shoulder Training | No Comments »
Back Contraction and Scapular Control for a Bigger Bench
One of the things I’ve been working on really hard the last few weeks is intensifying the contraction of my lats and the scapular musculature when performing Rows and Presses, in order to improve my back development and increase pressing power.
By doing so, my Barbell Bench Press has never felt better, and it’s almost completely pain free right now, for my shoulder.
I recently shot a video to help understand what I’ve been working on, and the feeling I’m going for when performing a lot of my Row movements.
There’s a million ways to do this, and one way is with Recline Rows, which we just happened to be doing recently.
Shoulder Blades Into Your Pickets
This video also talks about the idea of Shoulder Blades Into Your Pockets. This is exactly what I’m trying to do whenever I do a Seated Row, a Pull-down, and many other pulling/rowing movements.
I think if you try to implement this kind of contraction when you Row, you’ll gradually develop a better mental connection between your lats and scapular muscles, and this will lead a much more stable and stronger Bench Press.
If you have any questions on this, please leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel.
All the best in your training.
Want a Bigger, Thicker Back? Check out YOKETOBER
Tags: "big back", bench press, big bench press, big lats, bigger bench press, build a big back, build a big bench
Posted in back training, how to bench press, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, muscle-building-workouts | No Comments »
While most of what you see from me is Grip Training related, I actually do much more training than just Grip.
In fact, I do just as much, if not more training, for my full body.
Every so often, I even try a mainstream strength challenge to see where I’m at.
Even though I’ve only benched with a barbell a couple of times in the last 18 months, I wanted to see how many reps I could get in the 225lb Bench Press for Reps that you see done in the NFL Combine and other tests.
I’ve done this test a few times in the past, but honestly I have no idea how much I’ve gotten before. I *believe* this is the most reps I’ve ever gotten.
Throughout all of 2016, my main objective flat bench pressing was Dumbbell Bench Press, because it didn’t hurt my shoulders, as much as Barbell Bench.
Well, as it turns out, I had developed some bad habits with my Bench Press technique, and these habits are what was causing my issues, not the Barbell Bench itself.
I figured this out when I visited my friend Jerry Shreck, head strength coach from Bucknell University.
He corrected my form while we trained on the Bamboo & Tsunami bars at his gym, and ever since, my shoulders have started feeling better and better.
By using these bars, I was really able to lock in my form, and feel my lats working the way they’re supposed to during the Bench Press. By working on this form and training for endurance in my lats, I think my form is back closer to where it should be, at least as far as my upper body positioning is concerned.
Naturally, with proper form comes improved strength. As I said above, I think I got into some bad habits with my Bench Press set-up that over time caused some serious discomfort.
Once this form issue was identified, and as I worked to correct it, the pain subsided, and I gradually built back some of my strength.
I still have no clue what my Max Bench Press might be, and I don’t really care right now, as I’m much more interested in working back up to 150lb Dumbbell Bench Presses.
But we’ll see what happens!
I hope you got something out of this quick Bench Press post, and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
It’s Never Too Early to Start August of Arms
Tags: barbell bench press, bench, bench press, big bench, big chest, chest training
Posted in arm training, how to bench press, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
I have a few sayings I’m known for.
One of them is, “It’s not about how much you lift, It’s about how much you LOVE Lifting.”
What that means is, lifting is about being passionate about something and doing it with fire.
Lifting is about setting goals to always be improving.
Lifting is about feeling good, and feeling good about yourself.
So, a couple months ago, or so, when I really took a look at some of my training, I came to realize I wasn’t following my own advice.
The whole idea about that saying is that you should be pushing yourself because you love lifting.
It has nothing to do with pushing yourself so hard that you reach your goals at the expense of everything and everyone else.
But, there I was, trying to reach some goals related to the Barbell Bench Press, and instead of getting closer, I was coming further and further away each session because the exercise was tearing my shoulders up, and leaving me in pain.
It’s now been the better part of this year, that I have quit Benching with the Bar, and moved exclusively to Dumbbell Bench Press. And although my numbers were completely embarrassing at first, I now feel like I’m living more in tune with my beliefs.
And, after a couple months, or however long it’s been, I’m starting to see some good increases, feeling better in the shoulders, and I think even seeing a bit of growth.
I LOVE LIFTING, but I think I was coming severely close to having the majority of my training SHUT DOWN due to the pain I was feeling in my shoulders.
I encourage you to do the same as well – by all means train hard – don’t just go through the motions in the gym.
But, if there’s a movement that is tearing you up inside, don’t feel the need to push through pain and suffer because of it.
Remember…It ain’t about how much you lift. It’s about how much you LOVE lifting.
All the best in your training.
P.S. Along these lines, I want to help you out as much as I can, to get you to your goals. And that means helping you learn to do your goal lifts properly and as safely as possible.
Check Out the the Special Offer I’ve Got Going On This Week:
Tags: avoiding injuries, barbell bench press, bench press, lifting for life, loving lifting, smart strength training, smart training, strength training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury, strength training workouts, strongman, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer, your daily inspiration | No Comments »
It’s been since January of 2004 since I set a regular Deadlift PR, when I lifted 545-lbs. 11+ years.
I was 26. I’m almost 37 now, so it’s been a lengthy drought, you might say…
2004 is when I started experiencing routine back injuries that would sideline me for days or even a week at a time.
Unfortunately, my young, idiotic brain, just wanted to keep pushing harder and harder, and that meant the pain I’d experience would get worse and worse.
I’d hobble around for a week after my Strongman contests.
I’d literally limp through the hallway at my old job, after hard weekend workouts involving Deadlifts and Squats.
Finally, in 2008, I think, I had enough.
Since Squats and Deadlifts were so bad for me, I decided I wouldn’t do them anymore.
From 2008 until 2012, I rarely did heavy Deadlifts or Squats.
Of course, I continued to do Axle Deadlifts, because it’s a staple in Grip Sport competition, and I’d dabble every now and again with Squats and Deads, but never got back into them seriously until June of 2013, when I decided I was finally ready health-wise to get back under the bar and pull some weight off the floor.
For Squats, I literally started with the bar, hitting sets of 10. That’s how much I lacked confidence and stability.
For Deadlifts, I decided I’d guard my back by only doing Double Overhand grip (I was afraid of tearing a biceps anyway).
The Coan Philippi Deadlift Program
This Summer, I decided I was ready to finally train the Deadlift with some conviction, and I started a run through the Coan Philippi Deadlift Program.
I gotta say, it was AWESOME to push myself on Deadlifts! It was the first time I’d EVER followed a Deadlift Program in my life.
When you start the Coan Philippi program, it asks you for your starting max and your goal max at the end of 10 weeks, and then it computes everything for you.
I stayed a bit conservative and put in a 500-lb Max to begin with and a 550-lb Max for the end. My partner, Luke Raymond, started out with the same numbers, and it worked out really easy training with him, because we didn’t have to change the weights around at all.
The weights at the beginning of the program were super light, so Luke and I started on week 3 or 4. Everything went smooth until like Week 7. That’s when the volume caught up with me.
I struggled through to Week 9, when I hit 535-lbs, but my body just wouldn’t cooperate with me for Week 10, and I decided against going for a new PR on 3 separate Saturdays, until this past week.
The conditions still weren’t optimal, as I was up at 2AM to take my parents to the airport, and I trained at 5:30AM with my buddy, Brad Martin, but my back felt fully recovered after the 3-week layoff from heavy work, so I went ahead with the Week 10 plan.
And, I’m happy to say I was successful in my 550-lb lift, with potential for probably a few pounds more, although I didn’t push it.
Here’s the video:
Jedd Johnson All-Time PR Deadlift – 550lbs
What an awesome sensation, to FINALLY feel somewhat strong again.
Thankfully, after staying patient, working back slowly, and using my brain instead of my ego, I have been able to break one of my longest standing PR’s.
I must also say, I LOVE the Coan Philippi Program. It made me feel like a monster, and sometime this Fall, I plan on running through it again, once Luke’s schedule evens back out and we get train it together again.
Look for more updates, especially on my YouTube Channel, once I start the program up again.
All the best in your training.
Tags: deadlift, deadlift training, deadlift workout, how to build your deadlift, how to increase your deadlift
Posted in how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training workouts, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program
After Nationals, I decided I want to work on my full-body strength more by following the Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program.
Free on the internet, the Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program was designed by Ed Coan and Mark Phillipi.
Aside from that, I don’t know much about the program itself, except that my partner, Luke, began BLOWING UP when he started following it, and his strength went up BIG TIME.
That’s what I wanted too! So I got started.
We jumped in on Week 3, because Weeks 1 and 2 seemed too light. I just finished Week 7 this past weekend, of the 10-week program.
What I’ve got for you below is footage from Weeks 7, 6, and 5 in reverse order, as well as a little Q & A I did recently on my YouTube Channel in an episode of Cooking with Napalm.
You’re gonna see, I do a lot of my Deadlift stuff with some version of Double Overhand Grip, whether Full DO, Monkey Grip, or Thumbless, depending on the weight. This is to strengthen my fingers & hands, as I don’t get as much grip work in on the days I’m deadlifting.
Week 7 Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program
Week 6 Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program
Week 6 Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program
Q&A on Coan Phillipi Deadlift Program
Look, I’ll be honest. I’ve only ever followed a Deadlift program once, and only for a few weeks. That one did nothing for me.
This Program however, I like. I’m feeling good and the weights are going up, so that’s cool.
I really thank my friends Eli Thomas and Jerry Jones for turning me on to this.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. In a few weeks, we re-test our maxes.
All the best in your training.
August of Arms is Coming Soon!
Stay Tuned for Updates and Add Your Info Below:
Tags: deadlift, deadlift program, deadlift training, increase deadlift
Posted in how to build muscle, how to build strength equipment, how to develop strength, muscle-building-workouts, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
I posted this video on my Facebook wall a week or so ago, but I wanted to also add it here.
This video is by my friend, John Wojciechowski, a strength coach and grip sport friend of mine.
As you watch this video, think about this…
Every day that goes by, there are opportunities to improve, to get stronger, to get BETTER.
It may seem like we have all kinds of time to put the work in we need to, with each passing day, the opportunities to get better are sliding by.
We all need to make sure that we are taking advantage of the time we have.
That may mean sneaking in an extra workout, planning meals better, getting your water intake right, or any other number of things.
But it’s gotta come from inside YOU.
Your parents, your friends, your family, your partners can’t do it for you.
YOU know what YOU need to do.
Make your opportunities count. NO REGRETS.
Renew your commitment to your goals RIGHT NOW, if you’ve been letting distractions get in your way.
And if you need help getting back on the right path, send me a note and maybe I can help you.
All the best in your training.
Start Building Monster Traps, Shoulders and Upper Back Muscles
First off, a BIG THANKS to everyone who took action last week during the huge Black Friday Sale I ran.
If you don’t know what I am referring to, then you need to put your best email address in the box below, because you are missing exclusive content that I send out ONLY to my email subscribers.
Today, I have something else that’s very cool for you.
I was recently interviewed by Ray Toulany on the Super Strength Show => http://superstrengthshow.com/jeddjohnson
In my opinion, this show was one of the most professional I have ever been a part of.
I have gotten to know Ray very well over the last year, and it was my pleasure to be on the show.
You’re gonna see that the shows that Ray conducts are quite different from the majority of them that are out there.
They don’t just cover training information, but they talk about mindset, they talk about overcoming challenges, and they talk about what it truly takes to be successful.
I think you’re gonna really like the show,so PLEASE take the time to LIKE and RATE the interview on iTunes.
Here’s to spot to listen to the show on Ray’s site: Super Strength Show – Ray interview Jedd
Or you can look it up on iTunes, if that is what you’re used to doing.
Me, I don’t even know how iTines works, and I used to actually do podcasts from time to time…
Have a great day and all the best in your training.
Tags: grip training, interview, mises are just warm-ups, strength training
Posted in grip strength, grip task force, hand strength, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, interviews | No Comments »
In the Yoketober program, and in any good quality muscle building program, there is going to be plenty of multi-joint exercises, movements where there is movement across more than one joint.
And while these types of movements are very beneficial for build strength and muscle, they are also much more technical than other simpler, isolation-style movements. If you don’t do these things correctly, not only will you not get the results you want, but you can also injure yourself.
Today, I have a couple of videos for you that can help you with your technique so you can maximize your training results and reduce and eliminate risk for back injury.
Check them out below:
Back Safety Considerations for Hip Hinge Movements
Back Safety Considerations for Bent Over Lifts
These videos are short, but if you apply these quick pointers to your training, you should be able to keep your back healthy and strong and that in turn will lead to more intense workouts and better results.
All the best in your training.
Tags: bigger back bigger shoulder, bigger traps, build big traps, build bigger traps, build traps, get big traps, get bigger traps, yoketober
Posted in how to build muscle, how to build strength equipment, how to develop strength, muscle-building-workouts | No Comments »
Yoketober is in full swing.
This month, we are focusing on the Yoke – the Traps, Upper Back, Shoulders, and Triceps – the parts o fthe body that make up your outline and help you cast a big shadow.
The objective – To Develop Monster Mass by Halloween.
Yesterday was Yoketober 1st, so Workout #1 went down in the garage. It was my Upper Body Push Day, with Yoke work sprinkled in for seasoning.
#Yoketober Workout #1/31
In the past months of specialized training, #AugustOfArms and #Legtober, lots of people were requesting workout plans, but I didn’t work ahead those months.
Yoketober is different. I put together an entire ebook that includes a full month of training for you from Yoketober 1st to Yoketober 31st.
It’s time to fill that shirt up with some serious slabs of muscle.
All the best in your training.
Close Bigger Grippers with This Proven
Gripper Training Program
Tags: bigger traps, build bigger traps, trap training, yoke, yoke training, yoketober
Posted in arm training, build bigger arms, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve strength, strength training powerlifting, Yoketober | No Comments »
I hit a pretty big milestone for me this past week.
This is 455lbs for 5 sets of 2. I don’t recall ever hitting 455 or more all in one set for more than 3 total reps.
Also, these were all Double Overhand. I want to see how far I can get just going DO. I’ve also heard some people say that they help out with their Grippers, so we’ll see how it goes.
#Legtember is going great for me as far as strength is going up. I have been nothing but happy since starting it.
I actually had to miss a Deadlift session last month because I was so sore from 20-Rep Squats.
But during #Legtember, it has not happened, and I think my muscles have just been able to recover better because I am hitting some form of quad, hamstring or glute isolation exercise, plus I am doing mobility work and stretching.
I think the daily stuff is helping me recover and hit it harder by the next time I need to hit lower body.
As cool as #AugustOfArms and #Legtember have both been, the October promotion is going to be even more awesome.
Look for an announcement coming really soon.
All the best in your training.
Have You Picked Up Cadence Based Gripper Training?
Tags: deadlift, double overhand deadlift, overhand grip strength
Posted in how to develop strength, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle
Since August, I have been experimenting with 20 Rep Squats.
Performing 20 Rep Squats is a tactic that was made famous by many oldtime strongmen and other writers of yesterday.
The claim is that by performing 20-Rep Squats, you can put on substantial amounts of muscle mass.
Since that is one of my primary objectives right now, along with increasing full body strength, I decided to give 20-Rep Squats a try.
Now, from my understanding there are a couple of ways that 20 Rep Squats can be done. The method I am using is what was described to me by James Fuller, who actually is the one who made me consider doing these after all.
He suggests taking your 10-rep max weight in the Back Squat and performing 20 Reps with it. You rep out the first 10 Reps without rest, and then you finish with the last 10 Reps with any rest-pauses you need, but you absolutely do not set the bar down. It remains on your shoulders from the moment the set begins until you hit the 20-rep mark.
Other approaches exist. For instance, some teach rest-pausing as needed throughout the set. Others suggest taking as big of a breath as possible into the lungs before each repetition, in an effort to expand the rib cage as much as possible.
As far as expanding the rib cage, I have not researched that, but I will say that after my set of 20-Rep Squats, I do lie on a bench and perform chest stretches using the Dumbbell Pull-over movement.
Regarding MY 20-Rep Squat Sets
When you watch the videos below, take note that I am not using my 10-RM in any of them. There are a couple of reasons why…
1) I am always cautious of my back and I am siding toward being cautious. Nothing sucks more than being hurt and unable to train, especially when you know you could have prevented the injury by being cautious, so that is exactly what I am doing.
2) I do a great deal of Squatting BEFORE I do my 20-Rep Squat set. I pair Squatting with my gripper work and often do 8 to 10 work sets before my 20-Rep Squats, so I am already fatigued.
3) These 20-Rep Squats have essentially become my Squat finisher. These are the last thing I do before I move on to the next portion of my workout. My 10-RM is probably closer to 305 or 315.
Tom Platz Squats 500 for 23 Reps
Reading Sources for 20-Rep Squats:
I have not read these books
My 20-Rep Squat Workouts
20 Rep Squats: 225lbs – Aug 17
20 Rep Squats: 235lbs – Aug 26
20 Rep Squats: 255lbs – Sep 2
20 Rep Squats: 265lbs – Sep 10
I did 20-Rep Squats one time back in like 2004 and hated them. I got extremely sore and it interrupted a whole week of my training, so I said to hell with them.
This time however, I really wanted to see what they could bring me, so I have stuck with them.
I plan on gradually moving up in weight and will eventually be up over 300-lbs with them, I am just taking my time.
I welcome comments, especially from those who have followed the program, and I would love to hear about your results.
All the best in your training.
Learn Another Great
Full Body Strength and Muscle Building Method:
Tags: 20 rep squats, 20rep squats, breathing squats, oldtime strongman squats
Posted in build bigger arms, how to build bigger arms, how to build muscle, how to build strength equipment, how to develop strength, muscle-building-workouts | 3 Comments »
#Legtember is under way brother
After taking a much needed day off from training on Sept. 1st to enjoy a relaxing Labor Day holiday with my family, I am back at it brother.
In September, I will hit some form of intense leg work every single day. To make up for the day I missed, I will also do an extra workout on a Friday, the day I train before sun-up.
If your Legs are lagging behind, or if you desperately need to bring up your Squat or Deadlift, then join me for #Legtember.
Here are the details:
Any questions, let me know.
All the best in your training.
My KEY to Pain Free Barbell Curls: Globe Gripz
Tags: bigger legs, bring up squat, how to build hamstrings, how to build leg muscle, how to build legs, how to build quads, improve deadlift, improve squat, increase squat
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop power, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning | No Comments »
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 »
Pain Free Barbell Hip Thrusts
Build Stronger Hips With These Hip Thrust Variations
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,
My buddy, Rick Walker, Squatting
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.
Learn How to Bend Horseshoes with the Hammering Horseshoes DVD
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.
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
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,
If One of Your Main Goals This Year is to Close the #3,
Then Get CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination, and Learn EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Gripper Training
Tags: ab wheel, baseball bat break, build big traps, feats of strength
Posted in grip strength, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, muscle-building-workouts, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
Check Out The SPECIAL OFFER for the Month of October
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Tags: avoid headaches, drink enough water, get enough water, how much water to drink, hydration, watter and headaches
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, how to lose fat improve fat loss, how to lose weight and get in better shape, nutrition for athletes how athletes should eat | 11 Comments »
Me and Chris
A few months back, I was talking with an old friend of mine from college, Chris Christian.
Chris was one of my main training partners when I was in college between 1999 and 2001.
Unfortunately, he had been through an extended stint of “training vacation” and he wanted to get back into it.
He asked me for some guidance, and I asked him what he was currently doing.
He began to tell me about all this Beach Muscle work he was doing – each workout was filled with all this Pushing work and very little Pulling work.
Multiple Bench Variations, Shoulder Isolation work, Arm Training, but barely any Pulls.
So, we began working on that right away, because when you do too much Pushing and not enough Pulling, you run the risk of serious shoulder issues. Any doctor, physician or therapist will tell you that.
I laid out some new routines for Chris and shot him this video on balanced shoulder training guidelines.
He set forth following these new guidelines and said that once the Summer was over and his weekend job working security at an amusement park was done for the season, he would be up to hit a Big Workout, just like Old Times.
This past weekend, Chris made it up, and we had an awesome training session.
The way I laid it out, I wanted to give him plenty of new options for his training that were balanced between Pushing and Pulling movements for his entire upper body: Chest, Shoulders, Back, and Arms.
What this meant was that we would be hitting three upper body movements all in one day.
DISCLAIMER: I would not normally recommend training sessions like this on a regular basis. We trained for a solid 2.5 hours with very little rest. Doing this on a routine basis will almost definitely result in undue soreness and most likely over-training. That’s your warning, DIESELS. Don’t try this at home.
Part I: Intro Video, Warm-ups and Pressing
In this video, you’ll get to meet Chris. I immediately got him going on some warm-ups for his hips since he spends much of the day sitting on his ass and had just driven nearly 2 hours to my place. Even though we weren’t going to be hitting much lower body stuff, I still wanted everything to be limbered up well so that he was feeling right and performing well.
As I mentioned in the video, Chris’s job has recently been pretty intense. It was a long week filled with altercations, so I decided to add in some Odd Object Training along with the conventional barbell and dumbbell work. The idea behind the Odd Object Training is to get him better prepared for the altercations he sometimes sees in his job.
Part II: Log Incline Press, Incline Flies and Shrugs
Since Chris’s gym’s equipment selection is limited at best, I wanted to give him a treat of working the Incline Press with a Log. He said he loved it.
Also, since Chris is limited to a 30-minute workout since he trains at work, we threw in a nice super-set combo of Incline Flies and Shrugs. There’s no reason why Chris can’t get back into awesome shape. Even with 30-minute workouts, he can build muscle and burn off fat if he keeps his sessions intense, by including back-to-back pairings like these.
Part III: Pull-up Variations for Back and Grip Development
One of the ruts Chris and many people get into is they abandon Pull-ups and instead do all kinds of work on the Lat Pull-down Machine. I told Chris to start working Pull-ups back in because they are the Ultimate Back Builder.
You’ll also see in the video that we varied the grip and hand position throughout this section of the workout. We did this because I want Chris to start training his hands harder in order to be ready for anything on his job. You will see several different grip implements you can use.
This doesn’t even scrape the surface of what we did that day. Here it is almost a week since we trained, and I still haven’t got all of the footage edited and uploaded.
Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you get to see all of the footage from this awesome workout.
All the best in your training,
There’s been a HUGE surge in people wanting to learn Nail bending recently. If you do too, start out with the two best resources available today:
The Nail Bending eBook and the Nail Bending DVD
Tags: muscle building, strength training, workouts
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting | No Comments »
Jon Bruney, Submit Strength
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.
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.
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: athletic training, how to get more powerful, how to get stronger, jon bruney, neuro mass, strength training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, feats of strength, feats of strength bending, how to develop power, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning | No Comments »
Ab Wheel Training For Real
I have been continuing to experiment with the Ab Wheel. It is by far my favorite piece of equipment for training the core right now. Here are a few reasons why.
1. It Works a LARGE Portion of the Body
The Ab Wheel is similar to a dynamic plank – you must create tension from the shoulder area to the knee area. Because of this large amount of muscle that is working, I find basic Ab Wheel roll-outs to be a great warm-up, and I often use it at the beginning of workouts as a bridge from my general to specific warm-up.
2. It is not ONLY Hip Flexion
So many abdominal exercises involve hip and trunk flexion – sit-ups, leg raises, crunches – all of them involve drawing the hips and rib cage closer together, potentially causing shortening of the hip flexors. I sit down so much while I work and drive, my hip flexors are short enough, so I avoid doing that movement pattern in training as well. This is something to keep in mind if you sit down a lot and your back hurts – it could be due to tight hip flexors.
3. It Doesn’t Hurt My Neck
For whatever reason, in the past I have strained my neck doing ab movements. Whether it is from hooking my hands around my head, clenching my teeth together, or whatever – it has happened, and a strained neck is one of the most annoying things for me, so I look to avoid it like venereal disease.
With these three benefits considered, the Ab Wheel continues to be something I include in my training on a regular basis.
Plus, in the long-term, I want to be able to do a Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out. It seems to be an advanced feat for this simple device, and I think if I were to train to obtain it, it would be a “Gateway Feat,” in that my core would be so strong that the increased strength would assist in many other lifts as well.
With this in mind, I have been looking for ways to gradually increase the difficulty of the more basic ab-wheel roll-outs in order to progress more smoothly to the more advanced movements.
One drill I have come up with that I have not seen elsewhere is Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs. For these, you set the Ab Wheel up on some sort of decline, instead of a flat surface.
There are two main strength building benefits to performing roll-outs on a decline:
1. The eccentric challenge level as you roll out is increased greatly, as you must stay engaged in order to control the descent. This gives you much better stability than the basic exercise does.
2. The concentric challenge level is BRUTAL as you must pull much harder to climb back up the hill. This teaches you to pull much harder with the shoulders, lats, and core when returning to the starting position.
Decline Ab Wheel Roll-outs
There are surely many ways you could set this exercise up. One way that I think would be perfect is with an inside pitching mound, such as the one below, to begin with.
However, instead of busting out the nails, hammer and circular saw, I just dragged an extra gym mat out to the hill beside the house and used mother nature to my advantage.
As you can tell by my screams and grunts, this version of Ab Wheel Roll-outs is no joke. Far harder than the basic exercise, this one will hit you hard.
Even if you don’t go for the more advanced movements with the Ab Wheel, this piece of equipment is a great investment for those with home gyms. For about $10, it takes up no room and leaves every muscle in your core absolutely destroyed.
Get your Ab Wheel here: Valeo Ab Wheel
All the best in your training,
Braced Bending DVD: Bend Everything from Steel Bars, to Frying Pans, to Hammers and Wrenches
Tags: ab training, ab workouts, abdominals, core strength, core training
Posted in bodyweight training, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, how to develop strength, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | 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 »
Logan Christopher – Think and Grow Strong
I recently interviewed Logan Christopher about a product he is soon retiring call the Think and Grow Strong Master Course. This product is a collection of DVD’s, audios, and more, that covers EVERYTHING you need to know about harnessing the true power of the mind to help drive you in your training. I have begun studying Logan’s course and will report here from time to time. In the meantime, make sure to check out this video interview on the strength of the mind.
Logan’s Think and Grow Strong Master Course will go away on September 1st. Grab this thing right now, before it disappears.
Sign up for updates on future interviews and articles in the box below.
All the best in your training.
Tags: how the mind can help your strength training, mental side of training, using the mind to get stronger
Posted in how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, mental strength strong mind | 1 Comment »
Perfect Tool for Core Strength
4 Days ago, I did the drill I am going to show you today, and I am STILL SORE.
Normally, I wouldn’t judge the effectiveness of an exercise by whether or not it made me sore, but consider the following…
I have been doing Ab Wheel work for several months. I have been working it HARD.
I did 10 sets of 10 Roll-outs on my knees one day while I was on vacation, so I thought I was getting where I needed to be.
Then, last Friday, I set this drill up and 4 days later my abs are still cooked. That just goes to show you how vicious this exercise is, and why you should start doing it right now.
Standing Ab Wheel Roll-out Training
If you are looking for a way to build core strength, get stability for the lower back, strengthen the hips, and build your abdominal muscles, the only real piece of equipment that you need is the Ab Wheel.
Over the last 4 months or so, I have been including the Ab Wheel in my training on at least a weekly basis and I love it. I have written several articles about the Ab Wheel this year and will be continuing to experiment with it.
- How to Use the Ab Wheel Correctly
- Back and Triceps Training
- The Perfect Tool to Compliment Your Kettlebell Training
I would say my experimentation is still in its infancy, although the ideas that are going through my head are non-stop. I am doing my best to get them onto my ever-growing note pad, and hope to one day compile everything for you.
I have decided that one of my goals I hope to complete before the end of this year is a Full Ab Wheel Roll-out on the Feet.
As I am sure many of you know if you have tried one of these variations, the difference in difficulty between Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Knees and Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Feet is crazy. These two drills are not even in the same galaxy.
For Full Ab Wheel Roll-outs on the Feet, you must have much more abdominal strength, you must be much more stable through the core and the hips, and your shoulders must be able to with stand a great deal force in the full flexed position as well.
All of these factors, plus more that I am surely over-looking, make the Ab Wheel Roll-out version on the Feet much harder.
I have begun implementing more Ab Wheel work on my feet and moving away from Ab Wheel work on my knees altogether.
Today I want to show you a very promising progression step I have been using for working up to the Full Ab Wheel Roll-out on the Feet, and it involves using bands.
Someone asked how to do this method if you do not have bands. My answer to them is GET BANDS.
Bands are useful for countless exercises and methods. There are innumerable ways they can be used to make exercises easier, harder, and to de-load or assist you in bodyweight movements.
If you do not have a set, here are a couple of places to get them:
Again, if you don’t have bands, I really have to ask why. They are very affordable and the myriad of ways that they can be used make them very high in value. The links above are affiliate links. When you order through them, you will not only be getting yourself some training tools that you will use in countless ways, but you will also be helping me out with some commissions. Although they are small, it all helps me continue to improve this site and keep it available as a source of reliable information.
Keep an eye on new updates on my pursuit for legit Standing Ab Wheel Roll-outs by joining my Ab Wheel Roll-out Update List below.
If you don’t have an Ab Wheel yet, you can get one here: Where to Buy an Ab Wheel
All the best in your training,
Get the Benefits of Deep Tissue Sports Massage Without Having to Leave Your House. Fix Your Own Arms with ARMAID
Tags: ab wheel, ab wheel roll-outs, ab wheel rollouts, standing ab wheel roll-outs, standing ab wheel rollouts
Posted in bodyweight training, core training workouts, core workouts for athletes, feats of strength, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength | 1 Comment »
One of the biggest parts of strength training has nothing to do with how big you are, the loads you use, the volume you perform, or the time you spend in the gym.
Most people have those aspects pretty well covered.
This is something totally different that most people never give a bit of attention to…
Today, I am interviewing someone who knows a great deal about that. Logan Christopher.
Interview: Get Better Results in the Gym Through Mental Training
Jedd: Logan, thanks for doing the interview. Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got your nickname, the Physical Culture Renaissance Man.
Logan: I have to thank Geoff Neupert for calling me that in the first place. For those that don’t know, physical culture is an old term to describe all different aspects of health and fitness. And renaissance man is the term used to describe someone who is good at a wide range of things. The term is usually applied to people like Leonardo Da Vinci for his amazing work in art, music, sciences, invention and more. So basically this term refers to someone who is good in all different sorts of strength and fitness areas. If it’s related to strength I’ve probably done it. Some of the things I’m more or less regularly working on are heavy lifting, bodyweight training including hand balancing and gymnastics, oldtime strength feats, grip strength, kettlebells and more.
Jedd: Logan, what does it mean to “Think and Grow Strong?” Your DVD Set is the first I had heard of this, and I think I have an idea, but tell us more.
I came up with this title based on the famous wealth and business book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Everyone has heard the stories of old ladies lifting cars off of their family. Well if a person has that amount of strength stored within them strength training isn’t really about getting stronger but unlocking the power already within us. As you mentioned proper physical training is crucial and there is soooo much information available on that. Many people reading this will be quite versed in how to train to get stronger.
But very few people pay attention to the mental side. What I have found with myself and clients is that how you use your brain will instantly effect the amount of strength you can put forth, thus you can literally think and grow stronger.
Jedd: There have been some strength feats that I just knew right away I was going to attain and I did. Why is it that the way you think can have such a profound effect on something like strength training?
Logan: Just think about it for a second. When we’re exerting strength our nervous system is sending signals to tell the muscles to contract. If the CNS sends a stronger signal than you can contract harder and thus be stronger. And its not about trying any harder. In fact, with many of these drills you get better results with less effort. I recently did a simple experiment using hypnosis and curls. I saw a 27% improvement on reps using my weaker arm than what I could do with my stronger arm.
Basically you mind is going to direct EVERYTHING that you do. If it is optimized it just makes sense that you will see instant effects in performance. This stuff is actually easy once you understand how it works. But it only took me several years of studying it all to put it together 🙂
Jedd: Are some people born better able to optimize this mental strength than others?
Logan: Yes, just like some people are born physically stronger than others. But they’re all trainable skills. Many people, when they see what I can do, assume I was always strong. That’s not the case. In fact I was a very weak and scrawny kid growing up. Although I was fairly smart I wouldn’t say I was mentally strong either. If anything what I did have was a strong will to succeed, and that too is a trainable skill.
Jedd: Is this about repeating a mantra? Having motivational posters in the gym? What all is involved in this?
Logan: No, no, no. A mantra is a form of affirmations. While they can work mantras are the weakest of any techniques I’ve seen. The problem with them is that if you don’t believe what you’re saying you’re actually going to be affirming the opposite of your desire. You have to be careful of these limiting beliefs, but once you know how, they’re actually quite easy to change once you’ve identified them.
A motivational poster can do something but its not going to double your reps. Let’s talk about motivation. If you need to be motivated it means there is conflict between different parts of yourself. One part wants to achieve a goal and another wants to sit on the couch and eat cheetos. You can work to integrate these parts of yourself and then be congruent as you work towards what you want. And if you’re in this state than no motivation is necessary.
Some of the main techniques of what I teach come from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis, Visualization and Energy Psychology. There are different ways to help you achieve whatever your strength training goals happen to be by using these methods.
Everyone knows about visualization but few people practice it, at least regularly. But even with that I’ve found there are much more powerful tools. As an example visualizing yourself doing an exercise may help. But if you change HOW you visualize in specific ways, which changes your mental programming, you will definitely see an improvement.
Jedd: OK. So it’s not just about practicing Mental Programming, but also about How You Do it. Awesome. Another thing that caught my eye about your Think and Grow Stronger Master Course is that you talk about “manipulating your past, present and future.” How is this possible?
Logan: Time isn’t something that is real, in the sense that its not a physical thing. All it is is a mental construct that has many uses, but people also become trapped by it. All you really have is the present. In your mind you can go to the past and the future. Any exercise in goal setting is working towards a future time. You can also change how you frame the past. Just how much is possible with it? I think an example will show you what sort of manipulation you can do.
At the Wizards of Strength Workshop I led Matti Marzel through a drill. He was already quite strong in that he did two handstand pushups against the wall on just the index finger and thumb of each hand. At the time this was the best he could do. I led him through a little drill accessing how he programmed this exercise within in his mind. I had him step into the future where he had continued to practice this exercise. In this state he had more for a “feeling of owning the exercise”. I had him step back to the present bringing that feeling with him. He then did another set and was able to get 4 reps. He doubled what he could do by manipulating his mental programming and the future.
Jedd: When I played baseball, my dad always said I “wore my emotions on my shirt sleeve.” What exactly do emotions have to do with all of this?
Logan: The emotions are intimately tied into your thinking processes. Psyching up is a form of mental training that is common among strongmen and powerlifters. To get into this state people use anchoring, even if they’ve never heard of that term. What are they doing? They’re doing something to trigger their emotions, usually anger, to enter an altered state where the can lift heavier things. And it works. BUT there are better methods and while it works for non-complex heavy movements, psyching up does not work as well for everything else. Different emotional states are more or less useful for different lifts and exercises.
Jedd: Logan, I truly believe having your Mind right is a huge factor in success with strength training. I have seen people wrap up horseshoes and steel bars and then just before they attempt the bend they say, “I’ve never been able to get this.” And sure enough, they fail. I would love to put together a resource to help people improve this, but your Master Course is amazing. Please tell people about it and how to get it. I know you are planning on retiring it and it won’t be around much longer.
Logan: Limiting and empowering beliefs are such a huge aspect of success in any field. These not only directly responsible for your success or failure in training, but whether you even train and how you do it in the first place!
The Think and Grow Strong Master Course is a huge amount of information. It originally began as a monthly program but is now available all in one set. Ten modules cover all of the areas I’ve discussed and more. In total there is a binder full of written manuals, 12 DVD’s and 5 CD’s. The CD’s have hypnotic tracks that all you have to do is listen to in order to help you get stronger, gain muscle or lose fat. And they work.
But I’ve decided to retire this course and pull it off the market. I’m doing this to make way for new information in the future like my upcoming book Mental Muscle. So once this month is over it is gone for good. But right now you can get it for about one third of the price.
My guarantee is that with this course alone you’ll be far beyond any personal trainer and even sports psychologist out there in knowing how to properly use mental training.
I only have a few copies left and if they don’t sell out right away I’m pulling them off the market for good at the end of this month.
Jedd: Think about this guys:
It’s likely that you have spent a decent amount of money in acquiring training information in the forms of books, videos, certifications, etc. The great thing about mental training is that it builds on top of whatever knowledge you currently have. Regardless of how you’re training or what you’re training for it can be added on top to act as an accelerator for your goals.
If you want an edge on your competition, whether you are in strength sports, more classic sports, are a coach, or just want to look better, this could be the final piece to the puzzle to make your preparation complete.
Get it here while you still can for 1/3 the regular price:
Think and Grow Strong Master Course
All the best in your training,
Click the Banner Below to Learn Nail Bending
Tags: get bigger, get leaner, get stronger, how to build muscle, improve strength, lose fat
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, how to lose weight and get in better shape, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
Stretches for the Shoulders and Lats
I am willing to bet that it has been a while since you gave your lats a good, solid stretch.
This means your results in the gym are probably being stifled.
Tight lats will inhibit your muscle growth gains. Muscles need to be limber and flexible to allow for optimal growth, and if they are tight, your results will be stunted.
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever seen how flexible bodybuilders are? They may look muscle bound, but the truth is most of them stretch their asses off in order to maintain flexibility. If your lats are tight, you are limiting the amount of size you can put on.
Tight lats also mean your shoulders will not work right and your lifts will suffer. A great example is any form of overhead lifting: Strict Press, Push Press, Log, Barbell, Axle – it doesn’t matter. Tight lats will hinder your overhead performance.
Don’t believe me?
Try this. Do any version of overhead press with a thick hoodie on. Put a belt on your waist over top of your hoodie. You will feel the hoodie begin to restrict your overhead movement once the bar passes your head. This is essentially what happens when your lats are tight too – they inhibit your movement, and the Overhead Lifting is not the only thing they affect either.
Best Way to Stretch the Lats
Watch the video below. It will will show you my favorite stretch for the shoulders and lats. If you do this 4 or 5 times a workout, your tight lats will be on their way out the door, brother.
Obviously, this stretch utilizes bands. If you don’t have any bands, then you need to get some because these things are worth their weight in gold. If you have any questions on which bands to get, just let me know.
Places to Get Bands
If you don’t have bands, order some today. Beyond stretches like the one I show today, you can use them for tons of other things. Here are a couple of sources.
Start doing this stretch TODAY and I guarantee you will see better results from your muscle building and strength training, plus, your shoulders will me healthier because of it.
All the best in your training.
Got Other Shoulder Issues?
Get Back to Pain Free Workouts with Fix My Shoulder Pain
Tags: bigger bench press, bigger overhead lifts, bigger press, lat stretch, shoulder strength, stretch lats
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, injury rehab recover from injury, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Fixing Muscular Imbalances
Every August, he puts out a new edition of this program, with new guest experts, and this year he has put out a new installment on correcting issues throughout the body.
The new edition this year focuses on unconventional training tools, and how they can help correct weaknesses and imbalances through the upper body.
Much of the features of this program entail the use of equipment I have talked about often here at DieselCrew.com.
Here are some samples of this Muscular Imbalances Revealed installment:
- Sledge Hammer Training – Great for the Grip, Sledgehammer Training also gets your heart going while also training the core and glutes. It is also a great contrast training methdo for those who perform a great deal of kettlebell work.
- Ring Training – If you have weaknesses in your shoulders, chest, or back, this type of training will find it and correct it. Much more chaotic that training with barbells, benches, and dip stations, Ring Training makes you learn proper stabilization.
- Sled Training – If you aren’t including some type of sled work, they you most likely have not optimized your lover body recovery. This type of training has become a staple for many powerlifters and strongmen all over the world.
- Tire Flipping – One of the Strongman events that creates the most power, this is a great exercise for strengthening the posterior chain as well. The hammies, glutes, andd lower back are much too weak for some people, and this can help correct that.
- Reverse Stretching – Most people don’t stretch enough period. This section shows you how you can perform essential stretching to correct muscle and fascia issues to address flexibility issues that are hindering your strength development. If you have seemingly tried EVERYTHING in order to fix your imbalances and it has not worked, then this just may be the information you need.
Over the course of this week, the authors have put out samples of their portions of the program, and I have assembled them all here for you.
Sledge Hammer Training with Travis Stoetzel
Ring Training with Tyler Bramlett
Tire Flipping with Travis Stoetzel
Reverse Stretching with Isaac Ho
As you can see, this isn’t the same old boring re-hashed B.S. you’ve probably seen 100 times before. These guys are showing you how you can take unconventional tools and use them to improve your training in ways you might not have thought of before.
To get this program and start viewing it right away, click here = > Muscular Imbalances Revealed: Unconventional Tools.
All the best in your training,
Tags: correct imbalances, improve strength, muscle diseases, muscular imbalances, prevent injuries
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, forearm injury prevention recovery healing, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, muscle building anatomy, sled dragging workouts, sledge hammer training, strength training to improve athletic performance, strength training to prevent injury | No Comments »
Odd Object Training – Intense & Fun Strength Training
Odd Object training, lifting things like atlas stones, kegs, and sandbags is a very rewarding form of training. You get strong in ways that barbells and dumbbells can not provide and it is fun to pick things up that 99% of the population will never do.
Recently, I wanted to start working some odd object training into the routine. Optimally, I would have wanted to lift some atlas stones. But since it had been over a year since I last trained them, I wanted to work Odd Object Training back in slowly.
Instead of jumping right into stones, I opted to do some sandbag lifting and keg lifting. Both of these implements are shaped very similar to stones, and allow you to get used to the body positions of stone lifting and to somewhat practice the stone lifting technique.
The day I did this was also my Overhead Pressing day so I still wanted to do some overhead work. Since I was working with 110-lb Sandbag and a 127-lb Keg, I was able to get plenty of overhead lifting volume in.
For the sandbag, I decided I would do full cleans and presses. This would allow my back to get accustomed once again to the round-back position of odd object training, without going as heavy as my lightest stone, 230-lbs.
To stay conservative, I started with just 3 repetitions in my first set, and then added 1 repetition each set. All the while, I was trying to move faster and faster with the clean and the press in order to get a bit of an increase cardiovascular demand.
In the video you will see that I put a Timer in, just to show how quickly or slowly I was moving through the repetitions. Since there was a clean to the shoulder on each repetition, much more muscle was involved than just performing one clean and going for repetitions afterwards.
Here’s the video so you can see how it went.
With the Keg I decided to move to just one clean and multiple presses during the set. The clean is much tougher with my Keg because it is only half full of scrap steel and it shifts around quite a bit. I didn’t want to push my luck on my wrist, so 1 clean per set was good enough.
I also tried to perform a Keg Snatch, lifting it from between the legs overhead in one movement. I didn’t quite get it but I did come close. I think next workout I will be able to perform the snatch.
Check out the video:
As you watch the videos, you will see that I definitely have gotten a bit rusty with my Odd Object training. When you don’t do it for a while, you forget the challenge of controlling these implements, especially during the flip-over/catching portion of the Keg and Sandbag clean. After a couple of sets, I was able to knock most of the rust off.
For those who are new to this kind of training, you will want to approach it somewhat how I did. Even after the ow volume of work that I did, I was still sore in the middle back the next day. This is most likely due to the fact that I have been using so many conventional training implements (barbells, dumbbells) that my back is not used to stabilizing against such a dynamic load.
But that is actually the whole idea with Odd Object Training. It makes your body work harder than with regular equipment, so it helps you develop even more as an athlete or strength enthusiast.
Naturally, when you first start out with Odd Object Training, you’ll want to start out light and gradually move up as you get used to the demands of the Odd Objects. A good starter weight for most gals is about 50-lbs and for guys, about 80-lbs. That kind of weight with these bulky implements with give you a good introduction.
If you are interested in learning more about Odd Object Training, make sure you sign up for my newsletter, because more information will be coming your way.
If you have any questions on Odd Object Training, be sure to leave them below.
All the best in your training.
Tags: keg lifting, keg training, odd objects, sandbag lifting, sandbag training, stone lifting, stone training
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, old strongman feats of strength, overhead lifting, stone lifting, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 2 Comments »
I recently attended a seminar with several other fitness guys, many of whom were personal trainers and strength coaches. After one of the talks, it was time to get some coffee and one of the personal trainers, Lance, came over and talked to me.
He told me that he trains in some major chain gym with a bunch of machines and not a speck of chalk in the place at all. (If I had to train in a place like that, I might last two weeks before I went to another gym, just not my kind of long-term place)
So, as it turns out, Lance is sick of this place too. He said he just doesn’t think all the machines are helping him or his clients build “Real World Strength.”
He basically said, “What is sitting on a padded seat pushing against weight-stack resistance going to do to help me be strong enough to push a car out of a ditch?”
Ya know what? Lance is right.
Machines just don’t cut it when it comes to building the kind of strength that you need when your car is stuck in a ditch, or if you have to carry a giant recliner down a flight of stairs.
That’s why I like Strongman Training.
When you train with bulky implements like those, you literally feel like you can lift anything that crosses your path.
That kind of confidence can really come in handy in “Real World” situations.
So, now Lance is on a MISSION. He has a two-car garage just like mine and he wants to start Strongman Training.
But, he wanted to know what Strongman Gear and what types of Strongman Lifts he should focus on.
So, I told him about the Top 5 Strongman Training Lifts I suggest.
Top 5 Strongman Lifts/Events that Build REAL WORLD STRENGTH
1. Log Lift / Overhead Lifting
Bill Kazmaier – Log Lift
I LOVE Overhead Lifting and for that reason my favorite implement is the Log. It builds tremendous overhead strength, and it makes you develop a strong Core, Grip, and Power, especially when you perform dynamic overhead lifts.
2. Atlas Stones
Loading Atlas Stones
When you lift atlas stones, it makes you feel like you are capable of superhuman feats. There’s just something awesome about pulling a big, ugly, round stone off the ground and then either popping it up onto a platform or dropping it right back to earth (train outside if you are going to drop it, ha ha ha)
3. The Yoke
Phil Pfister – Refrigerator Yoke Walk
The Yoke is an implement that you carry across your shoulders. I absolutely HATE this event, but it makes you RUGGEDLY STRONG both physically and mentally. A heavy-ass Yoke draped across your back wants to crush you into the ground like a soda can, but you don’t let it. You just take one step at a time and show it who is boss.
4. The Tire Flip
Ready for the Tire Flip
You would be surprised at how big of a tire you can flip. Flipping a giant industrial tire may seem like a daunting task, but when you apply the strength you have worked to build with the proper technique, like I show you here, you can EXCEED your own expectations.
5. Farmer’s Walk / Frame Carry
Derek Poundstone – Frame Carry
This lift just plain makes a MONSTER out of you. Obviously, this exercise builds your Grip Strength, which is something I LOVE, but it also beefs up your Traps, Shoulders, Erectors, and Glutes. I like this exercise so much, I generally do it TWICE A WEEK.
There you have it – in my opinion the TOP 5 LIFTS from the world of Strongman Training. If you do these lifts, I guarantee you will develop strength that you can use in MANY other facets of life where you need to be able to lift heavy, bulky stuff.
The only caveat I would throw out there is NOT to try these lifts until you know the proper technique, so you can GET THE MOST OUT OF THEM.
If you need to learn the technique for these lifts, all you need to do is go here: Strongman Training DVD
All the best in your training.
Tags: strongman, strongman farmers, strongman log, strongman stones, strongman training, strongman yoke, strongmansport
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to develop strength, how to improve strength, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 1 Comment »
Overhead Lifting: A Must for Shoulder Strength and Size
I Love Pressing Movements
Hulk Hitting Some Odd Object Press
I love shoulder training. I especially love the idea of taking barbells, axles, logs, stones, kegs and other odd objects and lifting them over my head like an absolute caveman or barbarian.
Hell, I’d Overhead Press every workout if I could recover quick enough. When you are doing overhead lifts, it’s like you can just feel the muscle fibers expanding and becoming stronger.
I Hate Shoulder Isolation Work
But one thing that bores the hell out of me is isolation work for the shoulders, like front and side laterals.
Now, if you’re talking posterior delt work, postural work, shoulder stability specific training, I am all about it, but as far as doing Dumbbell Side Laterals, man, I’d rather have you jab me in the eye with an ice pick.
The other reason I don’t like doing a lot of Side Laterals is the fact that the rotator cuff is responsible for the initial movement of the dumbbell, and I have read of people injuring these small muscles doing this exercise, and being out of the weight room for a while because of it, so I don’t like to press my luck in that way, either.
But recently, I wanted to start putting some more emphasis on the Front Delts, so I entertained at least doing some Front Raises with an EZ Curl Bar.
After a couple of shoulder sessions, I was bored out of my mind and looking for something else to try.
Enter: The Landmine Press
Then, out of nowhere I saw an article by Tony Gentilcore on T-nation that showed several lifts for training the front delts, and one of them that caught my eye was Landmine Press, as if he was reading my mind.
I instantly gave the lift a try in my next upper body workout, and I loved it.
Although not a full-on isolation movement for the anterior delts, it did hit them hard and provided yet another way to get my press on.
The next day after the workout, I had that familiar feeling of working the delts hard, but without the stinging pain of straining the underlying, smaller stabilizer muscles.
I tried a couple of variations of the lift, but by far my favorite is the Kneeling Landmine Press. By kneeling, you end up pressing upwards more and it makes the movement a bit more challenging this way.
For instance, I was able to hit the Standing Landmine with 100-lbs added for a set of 8 with each arm, but in the Kneeling position, I could only muster half the reps, plus there seems to be a better core engagement.
Low Ceiling Getting Your Press Down?
When I posted this video up on YouTube, Nate Brous, a friend of mine and certified Red Nail Bender, mentioned that the exercise looked very promising for him in particular, because he is very tall and his home gym has a very low ceiling which makes overhead pressing very difficult. By performing the Kneeling Landmine Press, he can work the pressing muscles without having to deal with the ceiling.
I know all about that, because I used to have a hell of a time pressing in my basement, due to the low ceiling. If you are in the same boat and a low ceiling is keeping you from getting your press on, then this might be the accessory movement for you.
Main lift vs Accessory lift
Take note that I think this lift is best used as an accessory lift. I think for sheer shoulder mass and strength, you will be much better off doing some form of overhead pressing, either standing, or seated, simply because you will be able to move much more weight and work much more overall muscle all at the same time.
To see how to set up this exercise check out this video.
Programming the Kneeling Landmine Press
Here is how I have been training the Kneeling Landmine Press.
Set 1: 25-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 2: 50-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 3: 75-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 4: 100-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 5: Same as set 4.
I have done this two weeks in a row and my best is 4 reps per arm at 100-lbs, if you count that last rep with my right arm in the video as a rep. I got out of alignment, lost my balance, and had to chase the barbell in order to keep from dropping it.
I am toying with the idea of ramping up quicker through the loading and then going for some sicker volume next time I hit this. This is what I am planning:
Set 1: 50-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 2: 75-lbs added. 8 reps per arm
Set 3: 100-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 4: 75-lbs added. Max reps left arm, match reps with right arm.
Set 5: 75-lbs added. 8 left, 8 right, 7 left, 7 right, 6 reps left, 6 reps right, and so on.
To me, that sounds like some sick-ass volume and it should blow the delts up big time. I will give this a try and report back here.
Until then, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more awesome videos.
All the best in your training.
The Call to Arms is NOW!
Tags: build bigger delts, build bigger shoulders, get bigger shoulders, shoulder training
Posted in how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve strength, muscle-building-workouts | No Comments »
A few weeks back, I attended the PA Strength and Conditioning Clinic at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. A few weeks prior to that, I had written some of my good friends who attend the clinic each year and told them I was really looking forward to meeting up with them and hitting a good, solid, hard workout.
The reason I did this is because I wanted to just go there and relax and just blow off some steam by putting one another through the ringers, challenging one another in a nice, conventional workout in the gym.
So, Jerry Shreck, from Bucknell and Bobby Fisk, from Hobart, all met up and just threw down for about 2 solid hours of lifting with no real plan except to leave everything we had in the weight room.
Here is what we ended up doing.
Part I: Overhead Lifting
This portion starts out with some One Arm Snatch and One Arm Clean Clean and Press using Dumbbells. I was really looking forward to seeing how much I could do in these lifts, for two reasons.
First, the heaviest dumbbells I have in my gym is 110-lbs, and I seemed to remember Juniata’s going up to 150. Unfortunately, I remembered wrong, because they only went up to 120’s.
Second, there had been a post on the Gripboard talking about the heaviest One Arm Press people could do with no leg drive and starting with the dumbbell in contact with the shoulder. In training, I had gotten 100-lbs but kept missing with 110, so I was looking forward to seeing what I could.
The Snatches just happened because I figured I might as well start out with at least one fast lift, plus the Snatch takes nothing out of me for the Clean and Press so it ended up making sense.
For the Snatch, I ended up getting 120-lbs right handed. I was happy with this, but I know I could have gotten more, especially after Jerry cued me to keep my back straighter – everything felt more efficient after that and was much easier.
For the Clean and Press, I knocked out 110 without any leg drive whatsoever. On 115, I came very close, but I lost my balance a bit and had to move my feet to keep from falling over, so I can’t count it.
From there, we did some Pressing Ladders, where I started with 85 X 1, then 80 X 2, 75 X 3, 70 X 4, and then tried to reverse it back to 85X 1. I came close but didn’t quite finish it off.
Part II: Rows and Chest Press
Sadly, this is the part of the workout that really messed Jerry up. He had a pretty significant injury to his left forearm that kept him from hitting the numbers he really wanted to so, I know that he will be going after some payback sometime soon. Maybe we will have to meet up at Bucknell sometime for another encounter.
This video starts of with some Low Cable Rows. We started out with the whole stack, level 20, and we performed 5 reps there, then we would drop one plate off the pin and hit 5 more reps. This is where Bobby jumped in with us and proved that they don’t mess around in their training at Hobart.
I really liked this exchange. It was awesome having a pin-selected stack to work with. At my place, my Low Cable Row machine has an actual loading pin, so if I want to drop weight from it during a set, I have to stand up, walk 4 feet to unload, and then get back in position. Being able to just sit forward and have someone else adjust the pins was awesome.
Next, we hit the Chest Press Machine. We started with the stack again, and then dropped two plate positions, hitting 5 reps at each stop. This machine proved to be fairly surprising in the area of difficulty. It had been a long time since Jerry and I had worked on a machine like this, and the bottom of the movement as well as the lockout were much more difficult than the regular Barbell Bench Press.
With this in mind, it could be a good idea to work some machines in every so often in order to shock the muscles a bit and keep them guessing. As I told Bobby, “It’s a different hard. It can still make you better.”
Part III: Curls, Upright Rows, Side Laterals, Posterior Flyes
As I was walking around the gym warming up, I saw this freakin’ awesome angled handle barbell. I know Coach Smith from Juniata has all of the best equipment for his football players, so it didn’t surprise me that he’d have a barbell like this. Bobby and I jumped on it right away, throwing a 10-kilo plate on there and performing a few sets of curls. It felt awesome and there was absolutely no stress on the wrists or forearms whatsoever curling with this barbell.
After that we set up a combination for the shoulders. Lift A was Upright Rows, which I haven’t done in years, but have added in a bit recently using only the EZ Curl Bar. I have actually coached people NOT to do Upright Rows in the past, but with the form I use in the video, I think they are much safer than the regular form used with barbells. We combined that with a superset of Side Laterals and Posterior Flyes performed with Chains.
This was an AWESOME burner for the shoulders. What’s great about the chains is they are very light at the bottom and then KILLER HARD at the top. With the lighter resistance at the bottom, they do not strain the rotator cuffs like dumbbells would, and the difficulty only ramps up when you get out of the range where the rotator cuffs are doing all of the work.
I LOVED this workout. The only things that could could have made it any better were if my two regular lifting buddies, Mark Gannon and JT Straussner, would have been there, and if we would have thrown in some Grip at the end. However, I took a 3-week hiatus from Grip Training after nationals, so the only grip I did during that time was holding the weights in my regular Strength and Mass Building lifts.
I hope you enjoy the videos. If you have any questions about the training, please feel free to leave a comment below, or right on the YouTube video pages.
Also, make sure to subscribe to my channel by clicking here.
All the best in your training.
P.S. Be sure to keep an eye out for more updates from Juniata. I still have a few more training and learning tidbits I will be sharing from my time there. Stay Tuned.
Start Strongman Training and Take Your Strength to New Levels
Tags: chest press, dumbbell press, dumbbell snatch, juniata clinic, low cable row, strength coach, strength training
Posted in how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to lose fat improve fat loss, how to lose weight and get in better shape, overhead lifting, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training videos diesel tv | 1 Comment »
That may seem like an odd title when so many people spend all their time with new training plans and the hottest supplements to add muscle to their frame. But what can I say? I’m unconventional.
My goal is performance, that is what I can lift, rather then looking bigger. Although I’m tall I’m not a very big guy. At 6’2″ I tip the scales at about 185 right now. The biggest I’ve ever been was just over 190. Since a lot of what I do is bodyweight training adding mass doesn’t really help with those goals. Thus I choose to stay small. But I also like to lift heavy stuff.
It’s because of my size that I commonly hear the phrase, “You don’t look strong.”
But what does strength have to do with looks? For the average person the appearance of muscles means strength, but that’s only a piece of the puzzle if you want to become truly strong. In fact it’s not even near the top of the list of necessary things. And just because someone is muscular doesn’t necessarily mean they’re very strong either.
How do you get stronger without adding lots of muscle? There’s a few ways.
A muscle can learn to contract harder without the cells being any more in number or size.
Your skill and technique can be improved.
Use your mind to access more of the strength you already have.
And the main method I want to talk about today. The muscles are just one of the things that are used in lifting. Sure they get the spotlight and all the publicity, but for the super strong you’ll want to focus elsewhere. I’m talking about the tendons, ligaments and bones themselves. Supports and partials are two ways to train them.
Did you know that famous strongman Louis Cyr (whom a movie is being made about right now) back lifted more than 4000 lbs? If you don’t know what the back lift is, its a support where a platform is placed across the back. The legs and arms are straightened to lift the weight only about an inch or so. This was also a favorite of Steve Justa. This position is sometimes held or just done quickly.
Think about this for a second. If you tried to support that weight what would happen? I don’t know about you but it’s likely my bones would break under such a load. Perhaps your femur my snap or more than likely a joint would give out. Yet in working up to this feat Cyr was able to handle massive weights. I’m not sure if this made his bones any thicker in dimension but certainly denser and stronger.
There are several old-time lifts called supports because you support the weight rather then lifting it. Though often in order to hold a support you need to do a lift to get it in place which requires a short range lift. Here’s a list of a few of them besides the back lift:
Leg press support (like in a leg press machine but just supporting the weight. Some of the old-time strongmen would support a plan of wood on their legs which people would sit on while they laid on their backs)
Overhead support (This was a favorite of John Grimek and it is said he worked up to supported 1000lbs in this position. They would support a barbell from chains hanging off the rafters and then lift it up into the support position.)
Standing support (Think of the top position of a squat with the barbell across the shoulders. Just try this with a heavy weight and whatever you’re use to squatting will feel very light in comparison.)
Wrestler’s bridge support (This is a personal favorite of mine as a neck strengthener. Get in the wrestler’s bridge position and lift a barbell or have someone sit on you to add resistance.)
There’s many more possibilities. You could do a one arm overhead support or a zercher squat support. Use your creativity.
The bones are much stronger at supporting weight then the muscles are in lifting, especially through a full range of motion. Which brings me to the next subject…
Partials get their name from doing a partial range of motion instead of the full range done in most lifts. Depending on what range of motion you work these in, you’ll typically be stronger than the full range.
These are also great for people engaged in any sport or martial art. How many sports involve even parallel squats? Very few. Instead you can get stronger just in the top quarter range of motion which will translate over to more speed, bigger jumps, etc.
(As a side note the full range of a lift is quite arbitrary in some cases. A full range deadlift is only about half the available range of motions for the muscles involved. For a true full range of motion you’d have to be on a platform with your arms going down much lower than shin level.)
Look, full ranges of motion are great. I highly advise you to do them. But if that’s all you do then you’re missing out on some of the best training possible to strengthen your connective tissues and bones. If you only ever lift the comparably light weights that you need to for full ranges then you’re not going to build these areas to as great of a degree as you possibly could.
You can work different partials like a quarter, half or three quarter squat. You can make even smaller jumps doing progressive distance training. There are many benefits and different ways to use partials.
One of the simplest in my opinion is working the top quarter range of motion like in this rack pull here, a recent PR for myself. You can not only use really heavy weights but partials tend to be even safer than full ranges of motion.
This can be done with any exercise though they’re typically done with the big compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press and sometimes rows.
Supports will not add muscle because the only work they’re doing is to support keeping the bones in place. I suppose for a completely untrained individual they’d get that effect, but not for your average trainer.
With partials it will depend on how you train them. More reps and volume could add muscle. But if you do them in my preferred way, working at high intensity, you’ll get stronger but without much size.
All of these lifts will strengthen your bones, tendons and ligaments. You don’t need to do them all. Just pick one or a few to start with. As with everything you’ll want to build up to this slowly. Don’t’ go too far too fast as you body may not be ready for it. But you may surprise yourself in a short time just how much you can handle.
For more information check out my newest book Deceptive Strength available here. Right now you can grab it along with a bunch of bonuses.
Tags: bridge, louis cyr, oldtime strongman, rack pull, supports, tendon strength
Posted in bodyweight training, feats of strength, how to develop strength, how to improve strength, old strongman feats of strength | 2 Comments »
Build Bigger Traps
Dave Batista – BIG TRAPS
A common body part that lags behind other body parts is the traps. Many lifters I have spoken with have asked if I know any good ways to build the traps up besides normal shrugs. Today I will share that with you, but first let’s look at what the traps are designed to do.
Functions of the Traps
The traps, or trapezius, (so-called because altogether the three sections of the muscle are shaped like a trapezoid) is a muscle with many functions. While they are most visible at the top of the shoulder, they also extend down the back.
There are 3 segments of the trap, each with a different responsibility.
Image Source: Wikipedia
1. Upper Trap: Primarily responsible for elevating the shoulders and shoulder blades. Secondarily responsible for pulling the shoulders and shoulder blades back.
2. Middle Trap: Primarily responsible for pulling the shoulder blades together.
3. Lower Trap: Primarily responsible for pulling the shoulder blades down.
Now, when it comes to “building big traps” most people think of the section of the traps above the collar bone and shoulders. Dave Batista, pictured in the image at the top of the page, had some of the biggest traps I have ever seen in all my years as a wrestling fan.
Classic Trap Building Exercises
The classic exercise for building big traps are Shrugs and their variations. These are usually done with a barbell at the front of the body or with dumbbells at the sides of the body.
However, just because Barbell and Dumbbell Shrugs are what “everybody does” doesn’t mean everybody loves them.
Here are a few reasons why Barbell Shrugs and Dumbbell Shrugs fall out of favor with some trainees. Maybe you agree…
1. Barbell Shrugs, when done in front of the body, can be hard on the back if you have back injuries, especially when you start getting into serious weight.
2. Barbell Shrugs can also be done behind the body, but they can be uncomfortable on the shoulders and can force poor posture.
3. Dumbbell Shrugs are a fairly safe alternative, but some gyms are limited in their heavy dumbbell sizes and may not have loadable dumbbells that can be used to go heavier.
4. Because Dumbbell Shrugs are often done with lighter weights, you can find yourself doing very high rep sets in order to get the feeling that you have accomplished some effective muscle-building stimulation of the traps.
Because of all of these things, and possibly others you can think of, today I am going to show you one way you can intensify the Shrug to help build bigger traps.
In my garage gym, the heaviest matched dumbbells I have are 100’s. For anything higher than that, I use my loadable dumbbells and 25-lb plates. However, it is hard to do Shrugs with 25’s on loadable handles because the plates roll up your thighs, so to keep the movement legit, I have to stick with the 100’s until I get bigger dumbbell pairs.
I have gotten to the point now where I can perform upwards of 20 reps with my 100’s, and it doesn’t even feel like I have stimulated the traps unless I have already pre-exhausted them with another movement, like High Pulls. Unfortunately, those are tough on my back, so I don’t do them that much.
Instead, I have found a way to make the traps work even harder on every single repetition of the Shrug. You see, as listed above, the upper two portions of the trapezius are involved in pulling the shoulders back, as well as elevating them.
If you perform a shrugging movement, and then combine that with pulling the shoulders back, you will feel a much more solid contraction when you combine both movements. Even though the change is subtle, it has a big effect.
Try it now, even without weight in your hands and you’ll feel the difference.
Now, you can obviously just pull your shoulders back while you shrug in order to engage the traps differently, but I have found that there is a better way to accomplish this by combining bands with the exercise.
Watch the video below to see exactly what I mean.
Band Resisted Shrugs to Build Bigger Traps
So, as you see in the video above, the heavy band resistance makes you fire the traps and other musculature of the upper back intensely. This creates a movement that hits the traps in a much different way to help build them better.
Putting it Into Action to Build Bigger Traps
If you try this, I encourage you to start out with light dumbbells and band tension. This way, you can get used to the feeling of this movement, which is much different from a normal Shrug. Then, over the course of a few short sets, work up in weight and tension.
Also, you can play with the point the band is rigged to the structure. Since shooting this video, I have movement my anchor point higher for an even better feeling with this movement.
I think you will be surprised how much harder it is to perform Shrugs in this manner compared to just holding dumbbells. To give you an idea, I can Shrug the 100’s for more than 20 reps, and have yet to hit 15 reps with the blue bands on without taking a rest period mid-set.
Suggested Trap Building Workout
Barbell Clean or Log Clean – 6 Sets of 2
Overhead Lifting (Military Press, Dumbbell Press, or others) – 4 Sets of 3
Horizontal Band Resisted Shrugs – 4 sets of 10 to 12
Grip Training: Open Hand – Work up to a Max, then perform 10 doubles with 70 to 80% of Max
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All the best in your training.
Tags: build bigger traps, build traps, training the traps, trap build exercise, trap building workouts, trapezius
Posted in Diesel Workout of the Week, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, how to improve strength, muscle building anatomy, muscle-building-workouts, strength training muscle building workouts | 2 Comments »
The Top 5 Reasons You Should Use Kettlebells For Building Bad-ass Power
By Tyler Bramlett Creator Of The Warrior Workout System
Tyler Bramlett – GarageWarrior.com
Building massive strength and power are among the top goals of all athletes. After all, who doesn’t want a body that can generate endless amounts of explosive power on demand, right?
So what is the best way to go about safely building power in your workouts?
In this short article I am going to show you my favorite power building exercises as well as the top 5 reasons you should be training with kettlebells if you want to build a strong and powerful body that looks great and performs even better!
Let’s get started…
REASON #1 – Kettlebells Are Easy To Learn
I’ve been teaching kettlebells now for just shy of a decade and there’s one thing I know to be absolutely true. Teaching someone to safely use kettlebells is way easier than almost any other training tool.
Probably 9 times out of 10 I can get someone to swing a kettlebell correctly within minutes and with only a handful of simple coaching cues. Try doing that with a barbell clean or even a power clean and watch as you or your clients struggle to get it right.
Don’t get me wrong I love the O-lifts, however I rarely meet coaches who are truly qualified to teach these lifts and I even more rarely meet someone who has the requisite mobility to do the O-lifts safely.
Kettlebells eliminate these learning curves by making explosive style lifting easier to learn and easier to coach.
REASON #2 – Kettlebells Build Explosiveness In All Planes Of Movement
Unlike many bilateral movements done with barbells, explosive kettlebell movements such as one arm snatches and high pulls build explosive strength and power in all planes of movement.
You not only need strength of hip extension, but by doing these exercises unilaterally (with one arm) you demand more core strength to resist rotation and leaning.
It is this unilateral power which athletes and those looking to really boost performance need. Take a moment to think about many different sports being played… They involve running, throwing, catching jumping etc. Each of these movement patterns rely’s on unilateral power rather then bilateral power.
Mastering some of the basic kettlebell moves will aid you in boosting your unilateral power and resilience which will in turn make you a better athlete!
REASON #3 – Kettlebells Are “Different” Than Dumbbells And Barbells
Regardless of whether you are a coach, athlete or simply just a fitness enthusiast, you’ve no doubt seen or herd someone talk about how they were afraid or intimidated to use heavy weights in their workouts.
Being that I am the head coach of a large training program in the bay area I had to quickly figure out how to remove this “social conditioning” from peoples minds when they entered my training program.
The #1 technique I learned was most effective was by using kettlebell training as the root of my programming rather then dumbbells or barbells. Partly because they were “new” and thus attractive to new customers.
But even more importantly I could look someone in the eyes who was perhaps intimidated by using a 10lb dumbbell and tell them that kettlebells are totally different. Immediately these people picked up the kettlebell and had a different relationship then the one they had with other free weights.
BOOM!! Problem solved… They were now on an effective training program using weights and explosive exercises and I didn’t have to hear them bitch about using too heavy of dumbbells anymore. Now all I had to do was remind them that this is how you use kettlebells.
REASON #4 – Forge An Iron Core
By now you should have gotten wind that the “core” as they like to call it these days is responsible for stability of the spine. One of the major elements that high level trainers across the world are now focusing on is anti-rotation of the core.
This means rather then using your core to move an object you instead train the core to resist movement. This is extremely important in athletics and daily life as your ability to keep your midsection stable when getting jolted by the opposing team or bad misfortune in your daily life is critical for keeping your spine safe.
So what does this have to do with kettlebells?
Well, one of the coolest components of kettlebell training is their ability to be tossed from hand to hand. This act of kettlebell juggling is perhaps the best way to condition your core to resist rotation and lateral movement and to build massive amounts of power coupled with unpredictability.
A good friend and master kettlebell juggler, Logan Christopher attributes his great midsection strength and 500+lb deadlift (at 6’2” 180ish) to kettlebell juggling. It is truly a lost art that will help you to forge an iron core!
REASON #5 – You Can Safely Do High Power Moves For Reps
Although some training communities are doing high rep Olympic lifting, I strongly urge you to think twice before hitting a puke worthy set of 20+ barbell snatches. The bottom line is that the O-lifts are complex and when you add speed to complexity more things can go wrong fast. So what are you to do?
Kettlebell style lifts like snatches, push presses and jerks are much safer for reps and easier to learn and teach then their O-lifting counterparts. Why should you care? You should care because the development of strength or power endurance (i.e. repeating a strength move for reps is one of the best ways to boost not only power, but also to boost mental toughness, cardiovascular capacity and muscle gain.
Ok, so kettlebells are obviously a good choice when looking for the right tools for developing power safely. So, what now? What should I do and what exercises should I start with?
Which Kettlebell Lifts Should I perform to Build Power?
Stick to the basics… Do exercises like swings, snatches and if your up for it give a little kettlebell juggling a shot. Do these exercises for 10-30 reps and focus on the development of movement mastery or the ability to make the hard look easy. Over time, your skills will grow and you will develop unparalleled explosive power that will leave you with a body that looks great and performs even better.
Tyler Bramlett is a REAL Functional Training Expert located in Santa Cruz CA. He is the creator of the Warrior Workout System, a system of movement progression based training that you can follow to accelerate your performance and results.
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, how to develop power, how to develop strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
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