Check out this pictorial of “Iron Tamer” Dave Whitley’s Red Nail Certification from over the weekend.
Notice how Dave starts high and then swings the arm into position for the bend.
The video shows there is NO WASTED MOTION as he begins the initial kink. There is no shaking of the hands, no energy leak, if you will. The force is all concentrated into the nail. That is the first compression – INWARDS on the nail or bar being bent.
The second compression takes place in the lower body and core. This allows you to continue the kink even further.
You can get stuck in “No Man’s Land” when you don’t kink the bar far enough. The bar freezes there as you try to re-group and get the bend going again, but often, that is where it stays.
This second compression allows for a longer kink, moving you past “No Man’s Land” and deeper into the sweep where you can exert more force.
I never knew about any of this, of course, back in 2004 through 2008 when I was doing more bending. In fact, I never learned it until 2010 when Pavel had me do a bending demo at the RKC Certification weekend. He saw what I was doing, mainly standing straight up while bending. This is something you may do too. If you’re just bending 60D’s all day, then that might work for you, but when you are crossing up into unventured territory in 7-inch long, 5/16-inches thick Cold Rolled Steel territory, otherwise known as the Red Nail, standing mainly straight up is only going to get you so far.
Pavel coached me to drop with the legs and core, and not just lean forward but to actually sink down and compress the core, and I couldn’t believe the difference.
I’ve told Dave a few times already, but one more won’t hurt – “Nice work, brotherrrr!”
If you want to learn more about this Double Compression technique to increase your DO Bending, be sure to grab my Nail Bending DVD. I cover it in there, along with many other technical enhancements you will pick up.
Many small things like this can equate to BIG improvements in your bending. Just like any physical endeavor, technique is SO IMPORTANT.
You must build your house on a strong foundation, otherwise, you might find your kitchen in a sink hole one day.
The same can be said regarding Nail Bending. Your strong foundation is your sound technique, and if you don’t have strong technique, then you are leaving bending power on the table.
In this episode, Doc and I speak with Eric Roussin from Ottawa, Ontarrio, Canada. Eric has owned grippers for longer than most of us, but never got serious of developing his crushing Grip Strength or competing in Grip Sport until just a few years ago.
Since he was a teenager, Eric has been competing in Arm Wrestling, which anyone can tell you is a pretty good way to develop the lower arms and hands.
In today’s interview, we talk about Eric’s athletic background, what made him transition to more of a Grip Sport emphasis in his training, and what he thinks are some of the methods that work out well for developing strong arm for the arm wrestling table, and a strong hand for the Grip Sport platform. Also, we discuss Eric’s excellent performance at the Holdfast Gauntlet, finishing 2nd in the overall and winning the Trap Bar Hold for Time.
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.
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.
Louis Cyr Back Lifting
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.
Anton Riha is shown here supporting 1400 lbs in quite the standing support.
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.