In talking with many other lifters who are looking for that thick upper back look, I’m convinced that many people are not seeing the results they want, due to a lack of poundage and overall volume.
In my experience with training to build a bigger set of traps and a thick upper back, heavier weights are the way to go.
Optimally, I’d be Deadlifting once a week, hitting other deadlift variations on another day during the week, and then performing some form of heavy Rack Pull or Shrug that requires lifting straps on another day during the week.
However, my lower back has given me some problems through the last quarter of this year, so I haven’t been able to perform those kinds of lifts with the frequency I’d normally go for.
Instead, I’ve had to switch gears and go very heavy on my “isolation work,” for the upper back, and recently I was able to get some of this work on film to share with you.
In the video below you’ll see the following exercises and suggested volumes if you try them out:
1A – Heavy Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1B – Lighter Incline Posterior Flies – 8 to 12 reps
1C – Heavy Dumbbell Shrugs – 10 to 20 reps
On this particular occasion, I used 65lb dumbbells on the first sub-set of Posterior Flies, followed by 35lbs (I think), then immediately went to 120lb Dumbbells for the Shrugs.
Optimally, I follow the Posterior Flies up with heavier Dumbbell Shrugs, especially if I’m working in my own gym with plate-loadable dumbbells, but I had to make due with the light 120-lb dumbbells at the local commercial gym.
I’m convinced, you need to hit these body parts with heavy weight. Optimally, you go with big weights on barbells, but if your back is acting up, you can do some of the stuff I showed you today.
Any questions, please let me know.
All the best in your training.
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Build Big Traps, Thick Back and Stronger Shoulders
Tags: back, big back training, big shoulders bigger traps, big traps, bigger traps, shoulders, traps, upper back
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In 2014, I began doing month-long periods of specialization training to bring up specific parts of my body.
After doing August of Arms in August and Legtember during September, I was getting messages every day from people asking me to set them up with similar programming.
So, once October hit, I knew it was time to put something more formal together, and with that, Yoketober was born!
That was without a doubt one of the funnest months of training I’ve ever had, and I must say I thought I saw some pretty darn good gains too!
Since then, Yoketober has been a staple of my training, every Fall.
But this year, I wanted to shake things up.
I wanted to go through Yoketober, totally disassemble it, and put it back together to breath new life into it.
And now, I honestly feel that Yoketober is the best it’s ever been.
So, I’m having a special sale for the last few days here in September, so you can get the new and improved Yoketober for a special price.
And, if you have picked up Yoketober in the past, I’ve got an even better deal for you – all you need to do is contact me through email, Facebook, etc, and we can set it up.
You’re gonna love Yoketober, and the massive gains that come along with it.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
Click the Yoketober Banner Below to Start
Building Big Traps, Meaty Shoulders and a Thick Upper Back!
Tags: big shoulders, big traps, big yoke, bigger shoulders, bigger traps, build a big yoke, build a bigger yoke, build big yoke, build bigger yoke, shoulders, upper back, yoke, yoke building, yoke training, yoketober
Posted in back training, build bigger arms, Build Muscle, Build Shoulders, how to build muscle, how to build strength equipment, muscle building nutrition build muscle mass, muscle-building-workouts, Yoketober | No Comments »
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.
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Tags: big shoulders, bigger shoulders, deltoids, delts, muscle building, shoulders
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How to Overhead Press WITHOUT Lower Back Pain
Back Pain SUCKS, brother.
I know – I’ve lived with it off and on since I was a Freshman in High School.
I can go weeks and months with no issues at all, and then all of a sudden, WHAM, my back goes out and I’m either out of the gym for a week or two, or every single lift I do is affected.
Know what I mean?
My most recent Back Tweak happened when I was grabbing a pair of 45-lb plates to move them.
TINK! Something went in my back and I haven’t been able to Overhead Press without pain in about 2 weeks.
Which drives me bonkers because I love to work shoulders hard and LOVE Overhead Pressing.
In fact, the Rack Press has become a staple of my training for over 2 years now, but I just haven’t been able to do it without pain in my back the last couple of Shoulder Workouts, so I needed to switch things up.
I also know that they advise NOT to do Seated Press movements either, because the seated position magnifies the pressure on the lumbar area.
Well, yesterday, I discovered something that allowed me to perform my Shoulder Press Workout with ZERO PAIN whatsoever during the movement.
I’ve never seen this variation done before, so I am naming it the Leaning Press.
The Leaning Press
Check out the video below to see how the Leaning Press is done.
This variation allowed me to train without any of the pain I have been dealing with the last couple of weeks. The leaning position allowed me to completely avoid any of the compression force on the spine that the seated position is known to cause, and I still got the taste of the Overhead Lifting that I love so much.
Naturally, I’d much rather be pressing a loaded barbell or Strongman Log overhead, but my back needed the rest, and this little variation gave me what it needed.
If your back hurts, see what your doctor says about giving this a try.
More Overhead Press Articles
If you like Overhead Lifting as much as me, then be sure to check out some of my other articles on Overhead Lifting:
All the best in your training.
Want to Bring Up Your Log?
Check out Intro to Strongman Training:
What’s up Diesels?
I bet you are all kicking some serious butt in the gym and setting some huge PR’s – that is freakin’ awesome. Keep it up!
As I did last year, I went through all of the videos I uploaded to my YouTube Channel this year and picked out the top 10 most watched videos. They all appear below along with a little description and a link to their related article, in case you’d like to read more about the feat, drill, or Q & A.
Before you drop down and start watching and reading, I also want to say THANK YOU to all of you for helping me reach a goal of mine some time in November, of reach 1 MILLION views on YouTube.
In the Fall, maybe September, I noticed my views were up there pretty high and that 1 MILLION by the end of 2012 was a possibility, so I set that as a goal of mine. However, I never looked back to check my progress until just last week. To my surprise, I had reached and surpassed that goal, and I am now at 1,032,000+ views.
Also, one of my goals this year was to reach the mark of 2,000 subscribers. I was able to attain this in late Spring/early June, and I am not currently at 2500+ subscribers.
While you don’t get a prize for 1 Million view or 2500 subscribers, hitting these numbers does mean that I have been able to reach more people. I feel I bring very high quality information through my YouTube channel, plus it helps me spread the word about Grip Training and Grip Sport, two things I just love to do.
Going forward, I want you to know that I welcome you to share my videos with your friends, colleagues, and on-line contacts, whether you post them on your Blog or put them up on forums, Facebook, etc. In fact, when you do share or post one of my videos, send me a note and I will do my best to promote it as well, and bring more viewers to your site, blog, or other on-line place of interest.
The only thing I ask you not to do is to copy whole entire articles off my site and paste them on yours – that’s just not cool.
I will be setting some goals for next year very soon, and I will be sure to share them with you. Any help you can provide me, I appreciate it. If you have a YouTube channel and you would like to work together on a cross-promotion, or some other idea, please let me know.
Alright, Diesels – here are the Top 10 videos I posted to my channel this year, from 10th to 1st. First, I will post #10 through #6, and then tomorrow I will post #5 through #1.
I hope you enjoy them. All the best in your training, and Happy New Year to you all.
#10 – Hardest Pull-ups Ever – 1369 Views
Rogue Fitness sent me a bunch of their equipment to use at my seminars, so I also took the opportunity to review each piece and put the video up on YouTube for everyone to see. Their equipment is all high quality, but the gear I have used the most this year has been the Pull-up Gear, especially the Globe and Dog Bone. Really cool stuff, and I especially like the ability to train a Pull-up style exercise and the Grip at the same time.
Related Article: Rogue Fitness Equipment Review Videos
#9 – Instant Relief from Back Pain – 1388 Views
Earlier this year, I was experiencing some nagging back and glute pain. I tried a lot of things to get rid of it and was unsuccessful, but to my surprise, when I did a few sets of Dips, something adjusted in my SI Joint area which gave me instant relief. This is something I used to do from time to time years ago, but got away from it. Be sure to give this a try if you have lower back or SI Joint Pain as well.
Related Article: Relief from SI Joint Pain with a Simple Exercise
#8 – Build Big Shoulders – 1504 Views
Earlier this year, I came to grips with the fact that the tightness in my torso, especially my pecs, was hindering my performance in various lifts. I did some research and tested out some nice stretches and mobility drills and found a few things that really benefited me. I am continuing drills such as these to this day and have been feeling much better, especially since reviewing Fix My Shoulder Pain.
Related Article: How Stretching and Mobility Work Helped My Overhead Pressing
#7 – Number 1 Tip for a Safe Deadlift – 1509 Views
I have worked with several people this year on various forms of the deadlift, and from this experience I have seen that you can have a perfect set-up for your back and core and then screw everything up BIG TIME by pulling the bar from the floor incorrectly. I call this incorrect “yanking” of the bar off the floor “shot-gunning” with my guys. The video above will explain this, and the post below will give you even more detail.
I reviewed an outstanding product on Deadlifting this year called Deadlift Dynamite from Pavel and Dragondoor. For many people, the thing holding them back the most on their deadlift is their Grip Strength, so I put together a special bonus called “Never Drop Another Deadlift.” This is currently available, ONLY to those who pick up Deadlift Dynamite through my affiliate links.
Related Article: You MUST Do This When You Deadlift
#6 – 1st Lift of Blobzilla – 1509 Views
Blobzilla was named by my friend Daniel Reinard, an excellent up-and-comer in Grip Sport. Earlier this year, we organized a group purchase of Blobzillas from the York Barbell Company and several of us lifted them. I was extremely excited to lift this Block Weight, as pinching is my favorite style of Grip Strength training.
Related Article: Blobzilla – Biggest York Block Weight Ever Lifted
#5 – First 400+ Axle Deadlift – 1804 Views
Finally this year I was able to attain several lifts at or above 400-lbs on the IronMind Axle. Despite these lifts, I still failed to pull 400-lbs in competition, but I am happy to have seen some progress on this lift, both at the beginning and towards the end of this year.
Related Article: IronMind Axle – 400 Pound Deadlift
#4 – Manus Grip Gear – 1997 Views
Some of my most popular videos on YouTube have been my equipment reviews. I always give my honest opinion on the equipment I review, and the Manus Equipment is no difference. I was very impressed with the Manus Equipment I got, especially the way it was all packaged, which far exceeds many other competitors’ products. I also liked the smoothness of their instant thick grip handles very much.
Related Article: Manus Grip Product Review
#3 – Fat Gripz Extreme Review – 2020 Views
Fat Gripz Extreme took the number 1 spot of all the instant thick grip handles I have reviewed this year. The handles are very large. In fact, they are larger in diameter than a soda can, making them a great addition to your training arsenal if you are a Grip Strength enthusiast. My favorite drill to use them on has been 20-rep Shrugs with 100-lb Dumbbells. This exercise is so freaking tough, I generally have to perform rest-pause sets in order to hit my goal of 20-reps per set. If you want to get these, check out the Fat Gripz website.
Related Article: Fat Gripz Extreme, Wrist Developer, Manus Hand Yoga
#2 – Fixing Elbow and Forearm Pain – 2905 Views
Many people have trouble with forearm and elbow pain like Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow. These are not just Grip Enthusiasts either. Everyone from Powerlifters to Strongmen, Office Workers to Manual Laborers, Athletes to Coaches. Rick Kaselj and I put together a program to help all of them out, called Fixing Elbow Pain, but I also wanted to put out this video showing one of the things I do to prevent Tennis Elbow, which combines the benefits of increased circulation and self myofascial release (SMR).
Related Article: Fixing and Preventing Forearm & Elbow Pain
#1 – The Knee Driver – Innovative Glute Activation Exercise – 4282 Views
The biggest video of the year was something I stumbled upon while working with my buddy, Mike Rinderle, on our DVD called Braced Bending: How to Destroy Everything in Your Path. I was looking for a way to replicate the way you kink a steel bar over your knee, and I grabbed a heavy resistance band and could not believe the activation I was getting in my glutes.
Related Article: Simple But Effective Glute Activation Exercise
And there you have it, DIESELS! The 10 videos that you made the most popular over the course of last year. Thanks for watching and subscribing. And remember, always feel free to share my videos around with your friends, colleagues, and contacts.
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All the best in your training,
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Tags: forearms, glutes, shoulders, strength, strength training
Posted in feats of strength, forearm injury prevention recovery healing, grip strength, hand strength, how to improve grip strength, how to improve strength | 4 Comments »
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