To me, the greatest thing about lifting weights is the never ending ways to challenge yourself.
Just when you accomplish one goal, there’s any number of other things you can do to make yourself better.
In the Fall of 2014, I pushed myself to the limit with 20-Rep Squats.
I wanted to see how far I could go.
I started with 225-lbs, and over the course of about 10 weeks, I worked my way to 355-lbs. I only got 16 reps with that, however, as on my last rep I strained a hamstring/groin muscle.
But I had no regrets. Sometimes an injury happens when you’re trying to see what you limits truly are.
After a couple months of rehab, recovery, and rebuilding, I decided I was ready for another round of 20-Rep Squats, only this time i was gonna do it a little different.
Instead, this time, the goal would be to hit 20-reps of Goblet Squats with the Inch Dumbbell.
Here’s my best effort to date in max reps: 13 with the 176-lb Inch Dumbbell on loan from John Eaton:
Goblet Squats are a great exercise. While they are usually used as a precursor to Back Squatting by using lighter weights, they can also be used for heavy training as well. On top of using the Inch Dumbbell for Goblet Squats, I was also using the 200-lb Kettlebell for Goblet Squats for a time this year as well. You can see some videos of that here => 200-lb Kettlebell Goblet Squats.
What’s interesting about Heavy Goblet Squatting, especially with a circus-style dumbbell such as the Inch Dumbbell, is that a part of the bell lies on your stomach.
So, not only is breathing difficult due to the dumbbell being held at chest height, you’ve also got the additional challenge of breathing through the belly against the lower portion of the dumbbell at the same time.
I liken this challenge to performing multiple repetitions of Atlas Stone lifting. The difference is, you never drop the stone to re-grip or load it atop a platform. Instead, it’s like you just keep going from the lap to the chest-load position.
Stone Lifting Technique: The Chest-Load
Above, Steve Slater lifts a stone to the chest-load position. Going from lap to chest-load like this feels VERY similar to Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squats.
It makes for an awesome physical challenge, and that’s what it’s all about, for me, when it comes to strength training.
I’ll keep you updated on the 20-Rep Inch Dumbbell Goblet Squat Saga.
Speaking of the Inch Dumbbell, next week, I will be shooting a DVD on that very subject. If you’re training to lift the Inch Dumbbell, make sure you sign up for updates about it using the form below.
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All the best in your training.
Are You Training to Lift the Inch Dumbbell? This DVD Will Help You:
Tags: atlas stone lifting, atlas stones, inch, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, stones, strongman, strongman stones, thomas inch dumbbell, thomas inch replica dumbbell
Posted in feats of strength, inch dumbbell, stone lifting, strongman | No Comments »
Strongman Training For Powerlifters
by Ian Driscoll
Coming from a powerlifting background and previous to that, a kid who just wanted to get bigger and stronger for high school sports, strongman training has proved to be the most effective and fun training that I have ever done.
Strongman training is hard, damn hard. However, the benefits are hard to ignore whether your goal is to add slabs of muscle mass, becoming a more explosive athlete or simply put pounds on your gym lifts.
Getting Started in Strongman Training
First I’ll start off with a little bit of personal history. My first year of college, I was a hungry 18 year old powerlifter looking to up my game. I had always enjoyed strongman competitions on TV and decided I was going to give it a shot.
I drove two and a half hours to a garage gym known as Jobe’s Steel Jungle every weekend. There I had the opportunity to experience what “Strongman Sunday’s” were all about. Log presses, axle presses, deadlifts (of all varieties), keg loading, stone loading, yoke walks, farmers walks, sandbag carries, and sled pulls are a list in a vague memory of what I have done there.
On these weekends I only did three or four strongman events and I was left exhausted. The two and a half hour drive back was always euphoric. My t-shirt was stained with sweat, tacky, and chalk but the recent memory of strongman training was all that was on my mind.
My Improvement in the Powerlifts from Strongman Training
This weekly strongman training carried over to my powerlifting in a noticeable way. I used to have trouble stabilizing my body under 405 pounds in a squat. I would look like a baby giraffe coming out of the womb. Heavy yoke walks took care of that problem. The yoke walks taught me how to create tension and brace my body. Instead of having a coach tell me abstractly how to create tension and brace the trunk, I threw myself under a heavy yoke, kept my body as upright as possible and I learned exceptionally quick what bracing and creating tension feels like.
I used to have problems double overhand deadlifting anything over 315 pounds. Farmers walks took care of that, something about walking with 260 pounds in each hand for 100 feet will cure most grip problems. My deadlift and squat were suffering from the inability of pushing the hips through. I loaded a stone 20 times in a row, you have no choice but to learn how to use the hips.
Enough about my personal experience; here’s how strongman training can benefit you:
Benefits of Strongman Training
Loaded Triple Extension:
Triple extension is simply the simultaneous extension of the ankles, knees, and hips. Classic barbell lifts such as the squat, deadlift, and power clean demonstrate this.
With strongman implements, one can take it a bit further. Loading an atlas stone to a relatively high platform trying not to let the stone break one’s spine in half or flipping a heavy tractor tire will have one go from a deep squat position through to the tippy toes. With these implements being odd objects, the awkwardness is a nice change of pace and the technique is not as comprehensive as a barbell lift.
There is something primal about flipping an 800 pound tire or loading a 300 pound stone. For powerlifters, we don’t need to go extremely heavy with strongman implements. Just getting out of the gym and doing something exciting that provokes hard work is beneficial. We can argue all day about what is optimal or what’s best for triple extension and to be honest I see a lot more carryover from strongman based triple extension movements to the gym than what the gym brings to strongman.
Bracing the trunk:
In order to walk with 600 pounds in the hands, 800 pounds on the back, or load something over 300 pounds to a platform it is critical to brace the trunk. It is impossible to do any of these disciplines efficiently without bracing effectively. Yes, one can learn how to brace the trunk very well in a squat, bench press, or deadlift but walking with the weights one can deadlift or squat takes the bracing concept to a whole new level and makes them more efficient when they go back to traditional squatting, bench pressing or deadlifting.
Bearhug walking with a heavy keg, farmers walks or doing some axle deadlifts will develop that manly handshake and improve upon the ability to lift heavier weights. It is called the law of irradiation, the harder an individual can squeeze something, the more efficiently the chain of muscles can be utilized. Nothing fancy here, just hard, grueling work.
Along with loaded triple extension, and bracing the trunk that aid in explosiveness, strongman events are supposed to be done fast. Things are timed in strongman, we need to be as efficient as possible. A classic example of developing explosiveness would be tire flips as fast as possible for 50 feet or cleaning a heavy axle up to the shoulders. Personally, there is a direct correlation to the speed of my power lifts when I add in strongman training.
What makes strongman appealing to me is the amount of mental strength it takes to endure the events. There have been a couple times I literally thought that I was going to die. Everyone wants to set down a heavy yoke, drop the farmers when their shoulders feel like their being pulled out of socket, let go of an atlas stone when it rips into their forearm, grind through a 15th rep on a deadlift for reps or drop the log when it is crushing their lungs. The intense commitment and desire to plow through these mental barriers is, to me, invaluable.
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How to add strongman events to a powerlifting routine?
There are many ways to go about doing this. Here are a couple of examples…
Full Strongman Day:
I suggest replacing a gym day for an event day if one is lucky enough to have access to the implements. For example, you can get your main powerlifting work done during the week, and then do your Strongman Training on Saturday or Sunday.
Strongman Lifts as Accessory Movements:
Another way to add Strongman Training is by using strongman events in place of other accessory movements. For example, after deadlift training one could hit five sets of five on tire flips, instead of straight leg deads. Another example would be an axle clean and press for three sets of five after bench training. An additional example could be three sets of 50 feet on yoke walks after squatting.
The options are limitless, but one must be smart about it. Strongman training has a funny way of leaving the body in a pile of ash if one gets carried away. One event day consisting of three events or substituting a main accessory for a similar strongman event.
Wrapping it Up
In summary, strongman training is great. On the other hand, it is not the end all be all of training. A lot of elite level powerlifters have never touched strongman equipment. For strength athletes, strongmen included, the classic barbell lifts are going to be the priority of a training system. My thoughts and ideas are to give you a few tools you can try out on your own and see if they aid in your strength sport. There is a time and a place for several tools, I am under the impression strongman training is one of those under-utilized tools that has a great carryover to the powerlifts.
New Strongman Trainees: Get Your Technique Right with out DVD,
Introduction to Strongman Training. It covers everything you need to know
to perform the most common and beneficial events the right way.
Click the banner below or go to this link => Strongman Training DVD
Tags: stone lifting, strongman, strongman training, tire axle deadlift
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, stone lifting, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | 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 »
Bicep Curls for Increased Performance and Injury Prevention
The first part of the title of this post might sound like the biggest oxymoron ever stated.
After all, what in the world can Curls possibly do for your performance?
I am about to line all that up for you right now.
You see, for the last few weeks I have been working on a project that will come out soon about arm training, and during all of the preparation, I have been trying out new things with my arm training, new lifts, new variations, and new modifications, etc…
Because I have been “studying” arms so much, I have been putting in more time training the arms, and also as a result, they have gotten stronger, and I have also seen excellent results in other parts of my training, especially my Pull-up work.
What Have I Been Doing
Now, I am not down there hitting arms for 2 hours straight, multiple times a week, but it is safe to say I am doing arm training at least once a week every single week for the past month and a half, AND on some occasions I have hit them twice in the same week.
Also, I am not just down in the gym banging away on Bicep work. The Triceps makes up far more of the upper arm than the Biceps, so a lot of my arm work has been Triceps based, but I am also getting my fair share of Bicep work in.
In addition to all of this experimentation and manipulating my arm training, there has been one additional training factor that seems to have been very beneficial, and that is, surprisingly enough, testing myself in the 1 Rep Max Dumbbell Curl.
I first started doing this when Josh Dale introduced the Rob Vigeant Dumbbell Curl Challenge, which was to lift 100-lbs in strict fashion on the dumbbell curl. I thought this would be fun, so I tried it out and to my surprise I was able to get a 75-lb Curl. It is hard to believe that it was almost a year ago when this challenge came out.
When my long-time friend Kyle trained with me earlier this summer, we tried out the Max Dumbbell Curl just for fun, and I was happy to see that I had retained much of my strength, even after several months where I did not try a max curl.
Two weeks ago, I tested myself again for a max lift, this time using a dumbbell with extra weight stuck to it with a magnet. During that workout, I was able to get 84-lbs left handed.
This week, I was able to move my mark up even further, hitting 85.5-lbs.
Other Improvements I Have Seen
Again, the 1RM Dumbbell Curl is not some kind of major focus in my training. There just happens to be a fun challenge list going on right now, and it has served well as a tester for my current Bicep strength.
However, the most important thing about this is not the amount of weight I am putting up in the Bicep Curl – oooh, woopty-doo, right?
The biggest benefit I have seen, and this is where the “Performance” aspect comes in that is reference in the title, has been my Pull-up Performance.
Now, we all know, or at least we should, that the Pull-up is one of the best exercises for building the upper back. It is a great bench mark of strength for athletes, students (scholastic fitness tests) and even the Military incorporates Pull-ups into their testing and training protocols. The Pull-up is or should be a major part of your training.
I have stated before that I do all kinds of versions of the Pull-up, and most recently I have fallen in love with training on the Rogue Dog Bone <= See some of my recent training here. This thing is just a sick piece of training gear. When I started out, I could barely get 2 reps with this thing, but I have been seeing great increases here. Also, my regular Pull-ups are kicking ass as well (I do my conventional pull-ups on Perfect Pullup Handles).
I have been training my conventional Pull-ups with somewhat of a Ladder approach, especially when Kyle is here. He and I will start with one Pull-up apiece and follow one another, each time increasing our rep-count by one repetition, up to 5, and then back down. It looks like this:
Jedd – 1, Kyle – 1
Jedd – 2, Kyle – 2
Jedd – 3, Kyle – 3
Jedd – 4, Kyle – 4
Jedd – 5, Kyle – 5
Jedd – 5, Kyle – 5
Jedd – 4, Kyle – 4
Jedd – 3, Kyle – 3
Jedd – 2, Kyle – 2
Jedd – 1, Kyle – 1
Pretty basic, but also pretty demanding, given the fact that we only rest the amount of time that it takes for us to step away from the Pull-up Bar, and wait for the other guy to finish his reps.
The first time Kyle and I did this, which was in May, I believe, I needed serious spots from him to finish out many of my sets once I hit the 3-rep mark, and up until I got back to the 2-rep mark in the Ladder.
Kyle missed about 2 solid months of training due to a job change, but when he did return, I had only trained this ladder a couple of times on my own, but the day we did this together again, I only needed spots on my last rep during my 4-rep sets and my last two reps during my 5-rep sets.
I’d estimate that within 3 weeks I will be able to finish this ladder all by myself without any spots. This is a huge improvement and I think the increased arm work has played just as big of a role in this improvement as my recent concerted efforts toward improving my Pull-up abilities.
I will branch off a bit here and say this. If all the arm work has helped my Pull-ups so much, what could also be the effects if I focused a bit more on Log Cleans or Stones (I honestly haven’t been doing those as much as I want). It is possible I could see improvements in other Biceps-involved lifts as well. It’s also possible that you could too! Something to think about for sure.
If You Are Not Training Arms Seriously…
I know there are a handful of people out there who either do not train their Biceps or do so half-assed. I know this because I have heard it said many times, especially by Strongman competitors and those who perform a great deal of Rowing movements. The reasoning, so they say, is that since they are constantly lifting Stones, Logs, and doing all the Rows, that they are getting enough Bicep work in already.
After these last few weeks of increased arm training and seeing the results it has brought, I encourage you to re-think your approach to arm training, especially if you have been skipping Bicep Training or if when you do it you only hit a few token sets just to “get some work in.”
Another Reason Why Direct Bicep Work is Important
If bigger numbers and more reps in Pulling movements is not enough to make you consider adding arm training back into your routine, I have two more things that I feel must be discussed about the benefits of specific arm training.
First off, even though Rows, Log Cleans, and other similar lifts work the Biceps through elbow flexion, you still are not getting the same intensity as if you are truly aiming for growth and strength increases in the Biceps.
Secondly, with Rowing movements and Log Clean, the forearm does not supinate, which is another movement pattern that the Biceps are responsible for.
My fear is not that if you neglect Biceps training that you will hold back your performance on Pull-ups, Rows, Log Cleans, or any other movement where the Biceps are involved (although to a degree, that will happen). Rather, I’m more interested in keeping all of you safe and injury free.
It Happened Right Before My Eyes
In August, I watched a Bicep tear take place right before my eyes during a Grip Contest, of all things. Competitor, John Wojciechowski, tore his Biceps Tendon performing a normally straight-arm-style event called the Adjustable Thick Bar Lift. I actually thought he ripped the seat of his pants, and it was so loud the camera even picked up the noise.
In no way am I saying the reason John got hurt due to lack of training the Biceps. I don’t know much about John’s past training except that he has put up some very nice general strength training videos as well as impressive gripper and bolt bending videos.
I am only saying that lack of training parts of the body, like the Biceps, can lead to weaknesses and imbalances. Weknesses and Imbalances can lead to injuries, and after watching Wojo tear his Bicep tendon, that was enough for me. I don’t ever want to see it again or learn that one of you had it happen either.
So, major take-aways from this post:
1. The Biceps assist in many other training movements, not just Curls. Pull-ups, Rows, Logs, Stones are all examples.
2. Having Strong and well-conditioned Biceps can lead to improved performance in other lifts which are very beneficial toward over-all strength and performance, especially Pull-ups, which I have seen in my own training.
3. Make sure to train the Biceps intensely. No need to go overboard, but don’t neglect them either. Although some of you may be turned of by “Show Muscles” or “Beach Muscles” remember to strengthen all links in the chain.
4. It’s not always about Strength. Sometimes Injury Prevention is even more important. My friend, Wojo, is going to experience some down time due to his injury. Down time SUCKS.
Keep these things in mind as you train. All the best with your training and stay injury free.
Tags: arm strength, arm work, arm workouts, bicep training, biceps strength, Biceps training, log clean, pull-ups, rowing, stone lifting
Posted in forearm injury prevention recovery healing, how to improve fitness and conditioning, how to improve strength, muscle building anatomy, strength training muscle building workouts, strength training to improve athletic performance | 4 Comments »
There’s been a lot of stuff going on recently.
My dedication to bringing you the absolute best information for your training needs has never been higher.
Let me bring you up to date of just some of the things I have in the works…
1. How to Make Atlas Stones
I got together with Steve Slater from SlatersHardware.com and StrongmanStuff.com a few months back and we shot the complete DVD on how to make the best Atlas Stones.
That DVD should be ready this week. I have been running into some technical issues, but I am working through them.
If you have a set of molds and want to make better stones, or if you are thinking about getting some, stay tuned, because we left no stone unturned during the shooting of this DVD. Steve has made more stones than anyone else in the world and he is going to show you exactly how he makes the world’s best atlas stones.
2. Hub Lifting Mania
The Workout of the Month at The Grip Authority is uploaded and the members are digging it.
You can join The Grip Authority here for just $7.
I’ve got tons of awesome features on that site. If it’s grip or feats of strength related, then it is on TheGripAuthority.com.
3. Flexibility / Mobility Update
I have really been working hard on my stretching, ROM work, and soft tissue efforts the last couple weeks and my pecs and shoulders are starting to feel much better.
I also got the Horse Liniment that I mentioned in a newsletter last week. It is called “Absorbine Veterinary Liniment.”
I will report back to you about it, but I do have to warn you that it says right on the bottle “for livestock only,” so I am not going to tell you to go out and get it.
4. Grip Training for Track and Field
At a recent seminar, I met Matt Ellis from PrimalATC.com, who works with Track and Field Athletes. Matt and I decided to get together and shoot a DVD on Grip Training for Track and Field Athletes.
I never joined the Track team in High School because I was a baseball player, but Grip Strength is very important for Shotput, Javelin, Discus, Pole Vault, and even the Sprinters in the starting blocks. Plus, as it turns out, there are plenty of hand, finger, and wrist injuries that take place in Track, especially for the throwers.
We put together a DVD of drills that Track Coaches can do with their athletes to strengthen and bulletproof their lower arms.
Stay tuned for that. One of Matt’s colleagues is working to find a video editor to get that product ready, because I am working on another product already for you guys…
5. Next Project – ACL Tear Prevention
Tomorrow, I will start aggressively on completing a DVD I shot with Jerry Shreck from Bucknell University, on ACL Tear Prevention.
ACL Tears are a career threatening injury for nearly all athletes, and the statistics for college athletes are pretty eye-opening, but Jerry has been using a conditioning progression for several years with his athletes and it has been very effective in preventing them with his athletes.
Goal to release that DVD to all of you animals is 2nd week of June. Keep your eyes open…
As you can tell DIESELS, it has been a hot-bed of productivity around here the last few weeks.
I am dedicated to bringing the DIESEL UNIVERSE the information you all need to excel, whether you like to rip, bend, and twist things or if you dominate more conventional sports.
You are in the right place.
If you want to stay up to dat on the developments about these upcoming products and features, make sure you are signed up for the daily updates here at the site:
All the best in your training,
Tags: ACL tear, atlas stones, discuss, grip training, hub lifting, javelin, make atlas stones, pole vault, prevent injuries, shotput, stone lifting, strongman, track and field throwers
Posted in athletic strength training lift odd objects, grip strength, injury rehab recover from injury, stone lifting, strength training to improve athletic performance, strongman competition training, strongman training for athletes, strongman training log stone tire farmer | No Comments »
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