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.
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Tags: "big back", bench press, big bench press, big lats, bigger bench press, build a big back, build a big bench
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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 »
It has become a tradition to do a run-down of the most popular videos I have uploaded each year.
For the next few days, I will be posting the Top Videos of the year, along with a little description of what is going on in each one.
One thing you are going to notice is that my Youtube Channel is pretty eclectic. It’s not just about one thing, like Grip Strength or Muscle Building, but rather about all kinds of different KILLER things you can do in the gym to not only get stronger but love the idea of training as well.
In short, I love training and love helping people with their training goals. So, without further ado, let’s look at videos 11 through 15 that were on the fringe of breaking into the top 10.
11. Bench Press Tips – Activate Lats for a Bigger Bench Press – 1266 Views
One part of the Bench Press Technique that is often overlooked is the engagement of the lats. Most lifters only think of the Bench Press as a lift for the chest, delts, and triceps, but if you can figure out how to get your lats more involved, you will no doubt see bigger lifts. This video shows a quick demonstration of how to do this as taught to me by Todd Hamer.
Related Article: Bench Press Tip – Activate Lats for Bigger Bench Press
12. Easy Way to Increase Pull-ups | How to Do More Pull-ups – 1139
Pull-ups are one of the best lifts for building strength and size in the upper back. The more you can do the better. Unfortunately, some people have trouble doing Pull-ups. This video will cover one way that you can train to perform more Pull-ups, and see better results for your back in your training.
If you like the Back Bull, here’s where to pick one up: Back Bull Equipment
13. Easy Tubing Warm-up Drill for Javelin Throwers – 1087
I was surprised this video ended up so high on the countdown. Earlier this year, I released a DVD called, Grip Training for Track and Field Throwers, and put this video out as a little sample of some of the stuff javelin throwers can do as part of their specific warm-up prior to throwing. Hopefully, this has helped out a few throwers in preventing injury and improving their performance in competition.
Check out our DVD: Grip Training for Throwers
14. How to Make Your Shoulders Feel Better with a Simple Stretch – 1034
This video shows an awesome stretch for the lats using bands. I have never felt a lat stretch that is as intense as this one. I love it.
15. Strongman Wrench Bend – 1000
I got a wild hair to bend a wrench earlier this year and ordered in about 25. Unfortunately, 20 or 3 of them stopped me dead in my tracks and a couple others snapped. This is the first one that finally bent. I am not by any means the best bender or braced bend specialist in the world, but I was happy to finally pull this off.
Learn feats of strength like wrench bending, bar bending, and rolling up frying pans, check out our Braced Bending DVD.
Stay tuned as I continue to update the list throughout the week.
Kick ass in your training,
Tags: bench press, big bench press, increase pull-ups, injury prevention, shoulder pain, wrench bend
Posted in grip strength, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve grip strength, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training powerlifting, strength training to improve athletic performance | No Comments »
Posts Tagged ‘big bench press’