Sunday, June 29, 2014

Forced Reps - Ron Fernando (1984)

Roger Estep backs up George Frenn

Click Pics to ENLARGE

In their endless quest for powerlifting Nirvana, many of today's athletes are employing increasingly sophisticated training techniques, interweaving the related disciplines of  kinesiology, physiology, nutrition, bio-feedback theories and the like. As the levels of competition intensify with each succeeding year, platform savvy, hard work and luck just aren't enough. Proper application of time-tested theories will garner  the athlete faster gains and greater success than before. In the midst of this maelstrom of information hurled at the power athlete, one tends to forget the old 'standbys' of yesteryear which have as much or more applicability in today's high-tech powerlifting world.

This month's feature will 'touch' on one of the most effective methods of breaking nagging sticking points, of literally blasting through the mental 'number' barriers (i.e., a 400-lb bench press) and of significantly increasing the level and quality of musculature on the athlete. This method has applicability in both powerlifting and bodybuilding as well having some crossover effectiveness in related strength sports (weight throwing, football, wrestling, etc.).

The method that I have been alluding to is the venerable 'Forced Reps' system. Yes, we all have probably picked up a copy of an old Muscle Builder magazine where the Weider methodology was espoused. Throughout the endless 'tri-sets' and 'blitzing' the Weider principle of forced reps is by far the most useful of the lot.

I have had the good fortune to train on quite a regular basis with two of the best powerlifting minds around, Roger Estep and George Frenn. They have taken the original ideas of forced reps and turned them into a sophisticated, very workable training method that can be used by all athletes. In light of today's increasing emphasis towards drug-free competition, forced rep training, or as Roger calls it- the 'hands on system' - is a real boon to those not wanting to rely on the friendly neighborhood pharmacy for his or her gains.

The physiological theory behind forced reps is quite simple. Basically, it takes the Overload Principle, an idea gleaned, incidentally, from the German weightlifting team in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932 by the U.S. coach Mark Berry, and it carries it to the ultimate end.

During a maximum attempt almost all of the muscles and nerve endings are 'firing' simultaneously in order to achieve the lift. If there is a psychological barrier due to a prior injury or because the weight is now in a 'magical' area (usually the even numbers such as 300, 400, 500 etc. are responsible for this), signals from the stress receptors will be allowed to overload the 'system', like a common circuit breaker, and shut it down; and the lift will be missed.

As an example, we all know the lifter who can literally 'vaporize' 290 lbs on the bench press. The weight flies to arms' length as if the discs were made of balsa, not cast iron. Yet, place a mere 10 lbs more weight on and suddenly the Burden of Ages seems to be on the bar and the lifter gets crushed with the attempt. Ridiculously enough, if this same lifer's workout buddy surreptitiously puts an extra 20 lbs on the bar and doesn't tell him, he may do much better in the attempt. Prudent usage of the 'Hands On' system will ensure that these mental barriers will not crop up at unwanted times. Back to the 300 lb (or aspiring to 300 lb) bencher, and let's take him through a typical Estep-Frenn bench workout.  

Warmup: 135 x 10 x 2 sets.
The lifter should not be afraid of extra warmups as the system in the initial phases can be quite strenuous. Make sure the shoulder/pec area is warm and loose.

Initial Work Sets: 225 x 5, 250 x 3, 270 x 1.
Notice the lack of reps in this initial phase. Not to worry, people, the real work ain't started yet! The 270 x 1 should be a cakewalk set, something along the lines of an opening attempt under any condition.

Heavy Core Sets: 285 x 1, 295 x 1.
Naturally for a 300 lb (or close to it) bencher, these two sets should be tough, but workable.

Hands On Sets: 305 x 1, 315 x 1, 330 x 1.
How about that! Now we are really sailing on uncharted waters, but there is a right and a wrong way to perform the 'Hands On' technique of bench pressing (as there are with the other two powerlifts). Roger likes to place the first two fingers of each hand on the bar when he's spotting an attempt and HOLD THEM THERE THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE LIFT. This is important because a lot of people literally 'dump' the weight on a lifter and then come to their rescue with the forced reps. From my experience training with Roger, it is very important for the lifter to feel that he or she is in CONTROL throughout the whole lift. The eccentric or negative phase of the lift is, therefore, important. Another method we can use can  be called the 'fist' method where the spotter lifts the weight off with the fists close together so that when the lifter comes down the spotter's fists actually make contact with the lifters chest. I like this method because it imparts an even greater sense of psychological confidence in the area of 'uncharted waters'. As Roger is fond of saying, "Don't let the weight control you . . . be aggressive at the bottom."

The proper interaction between spotter and athlete is very intricate. I doubt very seriously if one could grab the usual gym mullet and expect him to give you proper 'Hands On' with a 380 pound bench. In most instances the uninitiated will treat this as an Olympic lifting High Pull and the lifter loses about 90% of the benefit. LET THE LIFTER DO THE WORK. One has to be very careful or the Hands On system could be a giant ego lift and nothing more.

Warm Down: 290 x 1 paused, 240 x 10.
The 290 should be without 'hands' and the 240 should be touch and go. This system should be worked once per week. Naturally during the early phases of training, extreme muscular soreness will occur. Do not be overly concerned as this is the manner in which the body acclimates itself to stress.

On the second bench day do several sets of 5 reps, and if you feel strongly do a triple.

Yes, you can cycle the Hands On system. Suppose you start with a 300 pause and a 340 hands on. As your Hands On lifts increase, so should your paused attempts. Naturally the inevitable plateaus will come and go. One can not, in my estimation, use the Hands On method for 365 days of the year and certainly not for 465 days a year, except in rare cases involving mirrors, reality cracks and/or long, late-night mental battles with tortured terrorists posing as people made of provolone. 

So, not to be used every session, but still playing a major role in the lifter's training. In the squat, the same principles can apply, but the spotter has the option of holding the bar or the waist of the lifter. Many times we will go to a normal single with say, 560-580 and then pile on 20-30 more pounds for a Hands On treatment. Again, the spotters for the squat in a Hands On situation should be damn proficient, especially the 'anchor' (the spotter immediately behind), or the local orthopedic surgeon will get lots of business and be able to pay off that new Porsche of his. Many times if you use the same anchor spotter in the meet as you do in training you 'sense' that his hands are still on the bar! Strange though it may sound, this constant conditioning can literally play a trick on your mind and almost eliminate the resultant fear when going down into a full squat.

In the deadlift, I feel that this method has the most applicability. Spotting for the big pull is a bit trickier, so careful attention to detail is important. Regardless of which style (sumo or regular) the athlete assumes, the spotter should stand behind, literally crowding the lifter. By placing the hands - one at the base of the sternum and the other at the tailbone - an extreme feeling of tightness is imparted. However, the lifter will be doing the pulling. Additionally, this will keep the lifter in the groove and prevent any old injury from cropping up if the body gets out of place. If one feels really brave, don a pair of straps and try the Hands On with the deadlift. I guarantee that you will pull weights beyond your wildest expectations.

In closing, you should remember to use the Hands On approach like you would use Tabasco - a little goes a long way. Give it a try for six to eight weeks.



Light Squat - 
135 x 10
225 x 8
315 x 5 x 5

Bench (assuming 300 max) -
135 x 10 x 2 sets
225 x 5
250 x 3
270 x 1
285 x 1
295 x 1
305, 315, 330 x 1 (Hands On)
290 x 1 (pause)
240 x 10


Deadlift (assuming 520 max) - 
135 x 10
245 x 8
335 x 5
415 x 1
465 x 1
495 x 1
525, 545, 560 x 1 (Hands On)


Squat (assuming 500 max) - 
135 x 10
225 x 8
315 x 5
375 x 3
405 x 1
445 x 1
475 x 1
505, 525, 540 x 1 (Hands On)

Light Bench - 
135 x 10
225 x 5 x 5 or 
250 x 5 x 3.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spinal Erector Training - Bill Mason (1972)

Vasily Kolotov

During the last year of so several photos of Soviet lifter Vasily Kolotov's back have appeared in Iron Man. With each new photo, the American weight-man fraternity has both marveled at such thick development and wondered how to attain such impressive musculature.

My first impulse was that if I could snatch 350 and clean and jerk 450, then I, too, would have such development. However, close observation of several champion lifters has shown me that they all have comparatively thick erectors, but nothing like Kolotov's. So, the obvious conclusion is that something else is needed to attain such development.

After several months of unsuccessfully experimenting with high pulls, good mornings, deadlifts and the like, United States and Pan American heavyweight champion Gary Deal returned from the World Championships. After talking with him at length, it became apparent that the Soviet team was doing a large amount of hyperextensions with heavy weights. A couple of months of experimenting with hyperextensions has given me enough proof to say that this is THE BEST exercise for super-thick erector development.


On the hyperextension bench, hang your body down at a right angle to your legs (and to the floor). Place your hands behind your neck and do a reverse situp. Don't over-arch the back at the top position. Do one set of 15-20 reps for a warmup and then start adding weight. For the first one or two workouts do just the warmup set. The easiest way to use extra weight is to hold a barbell of heavy plate behind the neck. I have gotten best results from doing 15 reps to warm up and then doing 12-10-8-6 reps with increasingly heavier poundages as the reps decrease. This workout will leave your back so fatigued that further training on almost all body parts will be difficult if not impossible. So, be sure to do the hyperextensions last in your training schedule.

One other exercise also strongly influences the erectors, particularly the middle section of the back. This is a variation of the bentover rowing motion with heavy weights. For maximum stimulation of the erectors, row with a narrow grip (hands no farther apart than six inches) and pull the bar to the bottom of the rib cage. Start each repetition from the floor and finish with a pronounced arch of the back. If you are doing this movement correctly, you will feel a slight cramping effect in the middle of your back with each repetition.

Do the rowing exercise early in your workout so you have lots of energy to devote to the movement. Most bodybuilders I know get best results from a light warmup set of 10-12 reps, followed by a heavier set of 8, and three very heavy sets of 5.

The complete erector workout I have given is 10 sets. This particular workout is for a very advanced man. Beginners would do well on one or two sets of each exercise, and intermediates should gain berst on two or three sets of each movement. 

At this stage you may be asking what good it is to have big erectors. Well, first of all, size can mean strength. And, strength can mean health and invulnerability to injury and debilitating lower back pain. Millions of Americans would be overjoyed at this prospect. If you are a bodybuilder, powerful looking erectors will often make the difference between your back poses looking good and looking great. Large erectors really round out the lower back and make it look powerfully ridged instead of flat and uninteresting. 

If you are a lifter and have to ask if big, strong erectors will help, I think you may be better off shooting pool or swimming. Erectors are where the record lifts are won or lost. Gary Deal has been doing hypers by the hundreds lately. His lower back is getting impossibly thick and his lifts are soaring.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Eight- Norman Zale (1977)

In The Meat Racket, investigative reporter Christopher Leonard delivers the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. He shows how they built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the greatest capitalist country in the world has an oligarchy controlling much of the food we eat and a high-tech sharecropping system to make that possible.

A historical, yet humorous account of the cereal industry. Find out how Cap'n Crunch came into being, as well as Coo-Coo Bird and Tony the Tiger. Learn about the different impacts that J.H. Kellogg, W.K. Kellogg and C.W. Post had on forming the cereal industry. Find which competitors' cereals came into being and are still around, as well as those that were successful, but are no longer here. This book is a complete story of an industry that has impacted all of our lives as Americans as a part of pop culture. 

For Weak Stomachs Only

Is there a tiger growling in your tank? Perhaps it is a rodent that gnaws away at your insides until you think he will drive you into giving up your training. If this is so, then there is something radically wrong with your eating habits and all the information contained in this book is valueless to you because much of the foot you eat is not doing you any good and may be doing you harm. If you are suffering from growling and gnawing, you may be eating wrong and it will be necessary to cast out as quickly as possible the tigers and rodents so that you can get going on a better diet plan.

Recognizing that most stomach problems result from overeating, eating of wrong food combinations, and the eating of condiments and other substances that produce stomach irritation, you will have to examine your eating habits and make suitable changes. Many men know what is causing their digestive upsets, yet they do nothing to overcome their problems. Despite their knowledge of the physiology of digestion and of the principles of good eating, they continue to follow a poor diet or poor eating habits. Consequently they they suffer from lack of progress with their weight training program simply because they refuse to recognize the effects of wrong eating habits. They eat to fill their stomachs rather than eating in such a manner that the food eaten will be well digested and absorbed so that it can be converted to muscle tissue.

Rule number one for those with weak digestion - DON'T OVEREAT.

When your digestive limitations are overstepped various waste products are formed in the digestive system. These result in putrefaction and the resulting formation of gas, which is accompanied by growling.

Another rule to remember is - DO NOT EAT BETWEEN MEALS.

While this may quiet the tigers in your tank, it increases your problems in the exact proportion to the amount you eat. You may not realize that eating four or five meals or snacking all day instead of eating two or three meals is hard on the digestive process, but it is.

It is not possible to have good digestion when eating too frequently. If the small intestine is not ready to receive food, reflex action will cause a slower emptying time of the stomach, holding the present meal in the stomach longer than ordinary,  thus favoring bacterial decomposition instead of normal digestion. Furthermore, when the stomach is filled before the previous meal has been completely digested in the small intestines, peristalsis increases in the intestines, hurrying along the previous meal to make way for the present meal. Consequently, the previous meal will not remain in the small intestines long enough for perfect digestion or absorption. When you eat all day long, much of the food is just passed through the intestinal tract undigested and unabsorbed.

Eating too often seems to prevent the storage of pepsinogen which is a pre-enzyme necessary for the digestion of protein. Pepsin, the enzyme in the stomach which begins the digestion of protein, is stored as pepsinogen in the cells of the stomach. Thus, eating too often causes a constant secretion of the enzymes necessary for protein digestion and may create a scarcity of the enzyme when needed at mealtime, due to the wasting of them between meals.

We sometimes fail to recognize the fact that digestion is muscular work, just like curling a barbell, and that eating all day long keeps the muscles of the intestines contracting so frequently that fatigue is a possibility, and future contractions may be weaker, causing stasis of the food in the digestive system. Think about it - how long could you keep curling your barbell if you were forced to work at maximum efficiency for half an hour, five or six times a day, every day, seven days a week? You would soon work yourself into a state of exhaustion, like maybe after the first half hour of curling. But most people expect the muscles of the digestive system to react in a favorable manner even though they are abused constantly. Eating after your regular evening meal means that you are taking in more food than actually required, and that means overwork. But, if your late meal is a part of your regular two- or three-a-day, or it is a light snack after a workout, then it is necessary and the nutritive value received compensates for the work of digestion.

Some men may be bothered by gastric acidity and they resort to antacids, not realizing that these types of drugs all cause increased acidity of the stomach due to a rebound effect. Your stomach contains a certain amount of acid, or it should, for the purpose of digestion of proteins and certain minerals. When this acid is neutralized by the use of antacids the body immediately attempts to compensate for the loss of acid by producing more than was originally in the stomach to make up for that lost as a result of neutralizing drugs. More prudent eating and less overeating will usually remedy the situation.

Those who have gastrointestinal problems may find that they have difficulty with certain fruits, usually causing gas. Many times these individuals will do well with eating lettuce with their fruit. The silicon in the salad leaves is thought to help prevent fermentation. Eating lettuce, celery or cucumber with fruit helps the peristalsis action of the intestines, moving the fruit along at a fairly fast rate so that the sugar in the fruit does not have an opportunity to ferment and produce gas.

There are a number of factors which determine how fast the stomach is emptied. For instance, a meal composed of carbohydrates has a tendency to be emptied from the stomach more quickly than those foods rich in protein. This is because there is no digestion of carbohydrates in the stomach, only protein is digested in the stomach. Carbohydrates are digested in the mouth and the small intestine which is the section of the gastrointestinal tract adjacent to the stomach. If you have digestive upsets it might be wise not to eat carbohydrate and protein foods at the same meal. The protein may cause the sugars and starches to be held in the stomach too long, and these foods have a tendency to ferment if not emptied at the regular or normal rate.

The consistency of the food eaten also has a bearing on the time required for it to be evacuated from the stomach. Juicy foods leave the stomach the quickest; semi-solids moderately quick, and solid foods the slowest. This is the basic reason for masticating your food thoroughly and not swallowing it until it has been ground up into a soft, mushy consistency. Digestive enzymes cannot reach the interior of chunks of food material, so gastrointestinal bacteria are served a hearty meal. Bernarr MacFadden once said, "Chew your food well, your stomach has no teeth," and he was so right. As was Winston Churchill when he stated that, ""The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

"How about milk?" is a common question. To prevent you from getting the wrong idea that because milk is a fluid it empties from the stomach rapidly, we must remind you that upon contact with gastric juices in the stomach milk curdles, forming a semisolid material. If you notice an uncomfortable feeling when drinking milk with meals, it may be because the curds have a tendency to surround other food masses, preventing the digestive enzymes from reaching them, favoring indigestion. Try drinking your milk between meals or at least two or three hours before or after meals if you feel that it is an essential part of your training table, though it might be well to point out here that very few top physique men drink any milk at all. They find that it is too difficult to maintain muscularity and clean-cut lines if they drink milk.

The Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations has a point to add. "A meal exclusively of, or mainly of starch, tends to empty more rapidly, though stimulating less secretion, than does a protein meal. Thus, other factors being equal, a person may expect to be hungry sooner after a breakfast of fruit juice, cereal and toast, than after one of bacon and eggs. The amount of total secretion of acid content is highest with the ingestion of proteins. However, there are great individual variations as well as variations in a single individual under different conditions.

Unfortunately, there are so many opportunities to eat that very few men give themselves a chance to get hungry. Many hard trainers are afraid of not getting sufficient nutrients so they constantly stuff themselves though they could eat a lot less if they were more selective in their choice of foods. Consequently, poor digestion is quite common among weight trainers.

If you eat when you are not genuinely hungry, your system is not ready to accept food and it just lays in your stomach and ferments. It is a cardinal sin to put food in a stomach that is not ready for it. It is the same as stoking a furnace when there is already enough fuel. You crowd both systems, and in the furnace complete combustion does not take place and in the body, complete digestion is not possible.

When meals are eaten when you are truly hungry, stomach and intestinal contractions and secretions are much stronger and food is more fully digested, and only digested food can be absorbed and make a contribution toward greater strength and muscular development.

Bad eating habits have a tendency to sneak in without you realizing it. Sometimes it may be bolting your food because you are in a hurry to go some place after your meal, or it may be eating between meals that creeps into your daily schedule. Whatever bad habits are causing your digestive upsets, it is time to rid yourself of them before they unleash a whole zoo full of rodents and tigers to gnaw and growl away at your insides and destroy one of life's most pleasant activities, eating . . . next to flexing a pumped muscle, that is.      


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Unique Movements and Training Variety - Frank Zane (2005)


I have previously described a method called the Weight Star Method which I use as a growth technique. Whenever I use a heavier weight for the same amount of reps as my last workout on an exercise - or if I do more reps with the same weight - I put a star beside the exercise. This applies only to my last set, and I've learned that if I'm going to use more weight than I did before - and I don't use much more, maybe 5 lbs - I employ three sets of each exercise, especially at the beginning of the workout session, to properly warm up the muscles and get a good pump for each exercise movement. Two sets sometimes aren't enough when you are using heavier weights. I stretch longer between sets and rest longer too, to enable me to handle the heavier load.

When I employed the weight star method in the past I usually exceeded my previous poundages on about one third of the exercises I'd perform in one workout. These weren't my all time greatest performances, but my most recent best efforts, usually compared to to the last time I did the exercise. Instead of constantly skipping around with new exercises every workout, I keep the exercises I've found to work best for me, that give me a pump in the desired area and don't aggravate injury. Over my almost 50 years of consecutive weight training there are quite a few exercises I can no longer perform because they hurt. My rule is "If it hurts, don't do it." Sort of the antithesis of "No pain, no gain," a maxim religiously adhered to by younger bodybuilders inexperienced with injuries. Not that I'm that smart, the longer I train the more I realize how much I still don't know, and I'm still learning. So I stick with the exercises that feel good, give me a good pump exactly where I want it, and don't cause joint pain. Naturally, these exercises are determined by what equipment yo have access to in your training facility. I have just about everything in my 600 square foot Zane Experience Gym and I hate to train anywhere else. And from time to time I "invent" new exercises.

As part of an innate natural curiosity, I've always been interested in discovering new movements, exercise pathways, the groove which resistance moves through, the pattern it traces out in three dimensions. It's very interesting to find new movements on an exercise machine as well as more standardized basic equipment. Here are a few variations I've been using lately in my workouts and how they can be helpful. [You can, of course, adapt these ideas to the equipment you have available, or use these ideas to create your own ideas on various training movements.]

Using the Hoist V-1 Machine
Preacher cable curl, rope preacher cable reverse curl, overhead press lying flat on my back, and decline press in vertical position.

Hoist Hyperextension Bench
I've  been doing hyperextensions supersetted with leg curls, and barbell curls leaning over the hyperextension bench.  

I'll explain more about these movements in the context of my current workout routine. I'm going to describe my 3 way split workout and give the poundages I've worked up to compared to what I was using a few months ago.

As I continued to grow stronger each workout I wondered just how strong I would become, when would it be time to cut back the poundages and go for more reps with less rest between sets. This is how ti always worked for me in the past: build up the weights over several months, usually during the spring and early summer, then late summer and early autumn keep the poundages I've grown accustomed to and do more reps with less rest between sets. I got my answer to this question in early June, but first things first.

My torso workout consisted of 10 exercises. I'll list each one with my best weights and reps and compare this to what I was doing previously.

Front Pulldown -
Now: 150 x 12, 165 x 10, 180 x 8 reps.
Before: 135 x 12, 145 x 10, 155 x 8.

Low Cable Row -
Now: 165 x 10, 180 x 8.
Before: 120 x 12, 130 x 10.

Shrug on Panatta Curl Machine -
Now: 168 x 12, 178 x 10.
Before: I was not doing any shrugs.

Rear Deltoid Machine -
Now: 120 x 12, 130 x 10.
Before: 70 x 12, 80 x 10.

One Arm Dumbbell Row -
Now: 70 x 10, 85 x 8.
Before: 40 x 10, 50 x 8.

One Arm Rear Deltoid Machine -
Now: 195 x 12, 220 x 10.
Before: I was not doing this exercise.

V-1 Incline Press -
Now: 100 x 12, 110 x 10.
Before: I was doing front press on a Soloflex Machine with springs and 20, then 30 lbs added resistence. Both movements are arc presses where front delts and upper pecs are worked. But the V-1 allows me a neutral grip and feels a lot like the Arnold Press we did with dumbbells in the 1970s.

V-1 Decline Press -
Now: 110 x 13, 120 x 11.
Before: Low incline dumbbell press: 40 x 10, 45 x 8.

Pec Deck -
Now: 145 x 10, 165 x 6.
Before: 115 x 12, 130 x 10.

Pullover Machine -
Now: 160 x 10, 170 x 8.
Before: 140 x 10, 150 x 8.

This was during my initial 2005 experiments with nanotechnology patches [Building the Body, Spring 2005]. The results were quite dramatic. My strength increased rapidly, and I also noticed something interesting from using these heavier weights in the more recent workouts. Not only was I stronger but I felt like training heavier. I was being motivated by the strength of my new success. Previously I felt resigned to never using more than 50 lbs on one dumbbell rows; now I had to make up a new 85 lb dumbbell to do this exercise. Following the dumbbell row with one arm rear delt machine where I push the roller back with one elbow, sort of like a one arm row but not involving the biceps, gave me an incredible pump after each superset. I felt huge and wide, and my lats were hanging way out to each side.

Along with my new training drive was a difference in soreness latency. I didn't get sore the day following the workout, the main soreness effect hit home two days after the workout. I reasoned it was that the heavier weights penetrated down deeper into the muscles and the resulting micro trauma took longer to heal. Given adequate rest, I found myself growing and went from 178 to 186 lbs with a slightly smaller waist.

I'd been applying the nanotechnology patches to the shoulder points at 8 a.m. and removing them 15 hours later. I did feel more energy throughout the day, but the main effect I noticed was increased strength in my workout, requiring more time for recuperation in order to grow.

It was the same story on legs. After a day of rest, I'd apply the patches in the morning on each calf an inch below the outer part of my knees, and several hours later do the following workout:

Leg Curl -
Now: 90 x 12, 100 x 10.
Before: 70 x 12, 80 x 10.

I was getting as strong as I had been while training for the Olympia on this one. Immediately after each set of leg curls I'd superset hyperextensions for 15 reps, on my new Hoist angled hyperextension bench. My hamstrings got a maximum pump; even my calves got pumped. After adequate one leg up stretching I'd move on to -

Leg Extension -
Now: 160 x 12, 180 x 9, 200 x 6.
Before: 150 x 12, 160 x 10.
I supersetted this with -

Leg Press -
Now: 200 x 12, 220 x 10, 240 x 8.
Before: 140 x 12, 150 x 10, 160 x 8.
This method of doing leg presses immediately after leg extensions is really demanding, making me breathless, as well as giving a tremendous quad pump. I needed a good 3 to 4 minutes rest between each of these supersets.

Then it was time for Leg Blaster squats. I changed my foot position by moving them all the way forward, put on my lifting belt for this one to keep my lower back warm.
Now: 160 x 12, 170 x 10, 180 x 8, compared to
Strict Sissy Squat: 80 x 12, 100 x 10 then.
My new form wasn't as strict as the former sissy squat but it wasn't cheating either - I was going deep into the squat keeping my upper body erect, not sticking my butt out in back as in the case of conventional barbell squatting.

I was actually becoming too strong for my own good.

Wondering how long these new strength increases would continue, I plodded ahead using heavier weights in most exercises each workout. I should have known better from past experience that there is a limit to strength gains. If you keep using heavier and heavier weights you find your limit and it is accompanied by injury.

The clue I should have paid attention to was the fact that my calves had been getting very sore and I wasn't even doing that much calf work, usually donkey calf raises on the Nautilus Multi Purpose machine, 20 reps with 200, 15 with 220, then a drop set on seated calf raises doing 120 x 5, 110 x 5, 100 x 4, 90 x 4.

On May 12th I decided to go for reps with 110 in the leg curl after having completed 10 with 110. My lower hamstrings were tight and after a few reps with 110 I let the weight stretch down a little too far and felt a sharp pain in the back of my left knee. So much for heavy leg curls, I thought, at least I could train everything else heavy, I'd just back off the weight on leg curls. Next leg workout, which was almost a week later, I used 40 then 50 lbs in the leg curl and subsequently worked up to 70 for 10 reps without any pain. Everything seemed to be okay, or at least so I thought.

After my trip to Venice Beach to receive the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award - I'd walked around a lot with a 30-lb back pack containing all my gear for the trip - I went through a two day sequence of workouts with a client. We did upper body work one day, and legs the next day. I only did one set of calf raises, 18 reps with 220 lbs in the donkey calf raise and the next day my calves were really sore. The following day I was shopping at a local health food store with Christine when my left calf went into severe spasm. Limping back to my car, I took off my jeans when I got home to discover my left calf had swollen up at least an inch.

This calf has always been a little smaller than my right one, now I had made it bigger! Not exactly what I had in mind, it was so sore I couldn't walk for two days, and then began limping around, applying brief ultra sound once a day, DMSO at night and ice before bed. Christine finally persuaded me to see a doctor, so we drove to Kaiser Permanente clinic a few days later. The doctor wasn't very encouraging, he said I may have torn my gastrocnemius or soleus and not to work out for 8 weeks! I told him I had to train, but I'd take it easy and not do any leg work until the swelling and soreness went away.

The next day I spent the afternoon getting X-rays, blood tests, and ultra-sound on the calf and thigh to see if a clot had developed. The blood test showed that clotting factors were in my blood so I had the ultra sound test done and it showed no clot. So I took my pain medication and went home, staying off my feet as much as possible.

As I write this, almost two weeks later, I'm walking normally, doing ultra sound and ice every day, still not training legs, but working torso one day, resting two days, then hitting arms. What I learned from the hospital diagnosis is that I had developed a 'Baker's Cyst' caused by a slight tear in my upper calf insertion in the back of my knee from the heavy leg curls. The cyst was a small mass on the back of the knee filled with sinusoidal fluid and the stress of the trip to Venice Beach and subsequent calf work afterwards caused the cyst to rupture, the fluid leaked out and the calf swelled up. It's slowed me down but hasn't stopped me. Leg work is out for now, probably not for much longer, as soon as the leg gets back to normal I'll start light stuff again. Upper body workouts are undeterred, I'm just not going heavier for now. Here's my arm workout -

Close Grip Bench Press on Smith Machine -
110 x 20, 130 x 12.
I've always noticed more growth in my triceps when I do close grip bench presses with the hands 12 inches apart. You can do this with a barbell or an EZ curl bar, but I prefer the isolation of a Smith Machine.

After I complete my several sets of close grip benches on my Smith machine, doing very slow negatives and not quite locking out at the top, holding the arms back stretch with both arms for 15 seconds after each set, I start on the mainstay of my triceps routine:

Dip Machine:
165 x 12, 175 x 10, supersetted with
Triceps Extension/Pressdown:
45 x 12, 50 x 10
to a burn.

This superset for triceps gives me an incredible pump. The idea is to do a compound exercise that works large muscle groups and triceps as well, then without any rest go right to a triceps isolation exercise movement and just keep doing reps until a burn comes on. I hold the lockout position on the pressdown/extension for a second and bring the bar back to my forehead with a slow negative. Right afterwards I do the one arm shoulder stretch, then wait a good three minutes before I repeat it with heavier weights.

I've found it much more productive and time saving to train arms like this, with no rest between the 2 exercises of the superset. Go for a burn and you won't need to do endless sets. Of course, once I  get rolling with my summer workouts I'll add another superset to this combo.

Sometimes I do a few sets of one arm dumbbell extension at the end of my triceps workout to isolate the rear long head of the triceps, stretching really low with the dumbbell each rep. I lean slightly backward when doing this to get as deep as possible and don't lock out at the top of the movement. Between sets I do the one arm shoulder stretch.

Then it's time for biceps work. I usually start with 2 sets of one arm curls on my Panatta Machine (if you don't have access to one of these, one arm dumbbell concentration curls are an excellent substitute). I use 55 lbs for 12 reps, then 66 for 10 reps.

Next it's face down incline bench curls on the hyperextension bench.
60 x 12, 70 x 10.
Another variation of this exercise I like doing is with 20 to 25 lb dumbbells, leaning forward on a 70-degree incline bench. This peaks the biceps when I curl the dumbbells all the way up.

I finish off biceps with preacher cable curls.
100 x 10, drop to 80 x 8, rest 3 minutes, 110 x 8, drop to 90 x 6. I get an incredible burn doing these two drop sets and I'm convinced my biceps will grow this summer by continuing this treatment. That takes care of biceps, only 3 more exercises for forearms to go.

Preacher bench rope reverse curl -
80 x 10, drop to 70 x 6 then
Barbell wrist curl -
80 x 30 fast reps then
Gripper for 20 reps and that's it for arms.

I've been doing leg raises, hanging knee ups, crunches, and seated twists a the end of upper body workouts. I still have to take time off before I start serious leg work again, so I've been training torso, resting 2 days, then training arms and resting 2 days, then training arms and resting 2 days. I'd started treadmill and stationary bike (along with my archery training - I'm getting the hand of shooting left handed, and getting more accurate), but now this will have to wait until the calf heals completely. I plan to increase the ab work to 500 or more reps per workout (I keep telling myself this but it hasn't happened yet). In the past my serious training starts after my birthday the end of June, as I suspect it will this year. I plan on reaching a peak before Thanksgiving this year so I'll have something specific to be thankful for.     


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Staggered Set Deadlifts - Joe Weider (1967)

Pat Casey


Joe Weider 

 Although not everyone is constructed with leverage that will enable him to become a champion performer in the dead lift, it's probably safe to state that anyone can handle more weight in this lift than he can in any other that could be called a 'full-range movement'. 

What does championship dead lift performance require? Primarily strength, especially in the back and hands, and it also requires great determination to exert force against what often feels like an immovable object. But to really reach the heights, a man with favorable leverage always has an advantage. The most obvious bone structure advantage is possession of relatively long arms.

Proportionately long arms have been the hallmark of just about every dead lifter whose performance in the lift was disproportionately good. Examples: Bob Peoples, who dead lifted more than 700 lbs while weighing about 190, and John Terry, who dead lifted more than 600 while weighing about 140.

Both these men did their best dead lifting back in the 1940s. Terry actually hit a peak in the late '30s that he held for several years while he was also featherweight champ on the three Olympic lifts. Terry did his best dead lifts, in terms of absolute poundage raised, e a few pounds over the 132-lb limit. The dead lift really wasn't generally popular even 20 years ago, and its popularity, if anything, has only increased slightly since then.

Peoples never had much interest, or ability, in the three quick lifts as Terry, but he was a capable performer by the standards of the time. Peoples could clean and jerk in the vicinity of 300 lbs. Terry was actually very good at the three lifts, setting what was then a record for the snatch  with 215 lbs. But his three-lift ability never approached his dead lift performance. There are plenty of men, and there were even then, who could clean and jerk more than Peoples could, but who couldn't come within 200 lbs of him in the dead lift. And Terry, though he could clean and jerk about double his weight, was dead lifting more than most heavyweights, a much more impressive feat.

Peoples and Terry had unusually long arms for their heights, and t hey also had impressive ridges of muscle running from buttocks to shoulder blades. These are not just the 'showy' muscles that produce an impressive looking back spread, but really vital muscles that can move hundreds of pounds. People was slightly long-legged relative to this trunk length - but not relative to the length of his arms. Terry probably had a slight leverage advantage even over Peoples in that he had the leg structure that makes for good squatting position in addition to long arms. This meant that he could grasp the bar comfortably and start in the recommended flat-backed, fairly erect position that is most efficient for beginning a lift from the floor.

To perform a correct dead lift, you should grasp the bar as you would for a clean, with your feet a comfortable distance apart (about hip width), hips lower than your shoulders, and your back flat. To aid your grip, you may find it more efficient to lift with one palm front and one back; that is, one hand grasping the bar as though to clean it, and the other grasping it as though to curl it.

Ideally - and you should always lift this way when exercising - you should raise the barbell smoothly (keeping your back as flat as possible) and continuously until you are standing completely erect with your head up and shoulders back. At this point, the barbell will be across your upper thighs.

In regular training, you should always find it possible to maintain this position, but on those occasions when you want to try a limit single, you may not. Most personal record deadlifts are not made with a perfect flat-back position. The dead lifter going all out usually winds up rounding his back considerably as he drags the weight past his knees. Pictures of Peoples in action indicate that that he lifted strongly with a round back. For this reason, it is a good idea never to try a limit dead lift unless you are in first-rate condition and are sure your back is both strong and flexible.

Most modern weight trainers neglect the dead lift as an exercise, even though it is a good one for developing all-around strength, and specifically good for developing back and grip strength. This is probably because its practice calls for unusual mental concentration and stamina, as well as a prodigious output of energy.

Because the exercise is a tough one - producing real fatigue as well as sore back muscles on occasion - is no reason to avoid it. This is especially true if you employ a tested tested Weider principle in your dead lift training - Staggered Sets. By using Staggered Sets you can train on dead lifts more effectively and a bit less 'painfully'.

The staggered set system violates the body building principle of working the same or closely related muscle groups repeatedly in order to flush the area with blood, but when you are tackling so demanding an exercise it is necessary to break the routine with other exercises that will permit you to recuperate and return refreshed for another set of dead lifts.

You do it this way: load the barbell to a weight you can handle for 5 repetitions and do the lifts with as good position and smooth performance as possible. Then rest briefly and perform a set of a different exercise, such as the rise-on-toes - which does not involve the back and grip as does the deadlift - rest again and load the bar to a heavier poundage for a second set of dead lifts. To quote Dr. Peter Karpovich, in the book Weight Training in Athletics, [Karpovich, Murray] - "Not everyone . . . knows that while one group of muscles is resting and other groups are exercising, the strength of the resting muscles may not only return to normal but actually become greater than at the beginning of the exercise."

To take advantage of this physiologic fact, you must remember to sandwich in with your dead lifts other exercises that do not make strong demands on the same muscles as the dead lifts. The rise-on-toes, involving the calves almost exclusively, is one of the best exercises to stagger between sets of dead lifts. Another good one is the sit-up with bent knees- but not the sit-up with straight legs. Still another is either the deep-breathing pullover or bent-arm laterals with dumbbells, both done lying down, primarily as chest-expanding exercises. The breathing exercises - done after any demanding exercise, such as dead lifts, squats or cleans - are always a good way to speed recovery for the next set of tough exercises.

After working up to fairly heavy poundages on your third or fourth set (you may have to cut back from 5 to 3 or 2 reps as you work up with the weight), drop back for a set with a lighter weight - about the same amount that you used for the first set. This tapering off set will help prevent muscular soreness.

Occasionally do some stiff-legged dead lifts to strengthen your back against strain at times when you do get out of correct lifting position. With straight legs, you should use considerably less weight than when you lift with bent legs. A man who can dead lift 400 lbs will get a good workout in the stiff-legged deadlift with half that amount. It is possible, however, to work up to very heavy poundages with straight legs - providing you train up gradually over an extended period of time. Ludwig Shusterich could dead lift almost as much with straight legs as with bent legs, actually working up to 600 lbs without bending his knees. Lud, incidentally, is another man with relatively long arms, though they do not look long because they are so large and muscular.

Row 4 - right

How much should a strong man dead lift? We can't all match Terry, Peoples and Shusterich. Some strong, weight trained football players weighing over 200 lbs are happy to dead lift 400 or more, so 400 can't be considered a 'light' dead lift. One former light-heavyweight weightlifting champion, who could clean and jerk well over 300 lbs, had a best dead lift of 440, so the man who does 400 should be considered much stronger than average.

Smaller men might set their sights on double-bodyweight, then 200 more than bodyweight. Anyone who can dead lift 300 lbs more than his own weight is certain to be the possessor of strong back muscles and a grip that won't quit.         



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Squat and Deadlift Singles Routine (1995)

Click Pics to ENLARGE

Combining the squat and deadlift on the same training day works well for the average lifter. Lifters with superior genetics will not need as long to recover from hip and low back training and can squat and deadlift heavy on different training days during the week.  Average lifters or athletes with significant stress in their lives (i.e. career, family, etc.) will need at least a week to recover from a hard leg and low back workout. It only makes sense then to combine squats and deadlifts on the same day. We must assume a thoughtful training routine that will take into account the fact that your deadlift is pre-exhausted by your  squat routine. Squatting immediately before deadlifting will force you to be ready for a contest situation for your workouts will be more difficult to survive than a contest. In a contest you will bench before deadlifting and this will rest your hips and low back.

In this workout you will only rest long enough to break down the bar and stands you used for the squat and set up a bar on the floor for the deadlift. Your hips and low back will be fatigues forcing you to stabilize through your back and create greater endurance in your primary hip and leg muscle groups. You will not pull as much in your training as you will in a contest but your technical skill and ability to perform though fatigue will increase rapidly.

For case of explanation for routine will assume a 400 lb squat and a 400 lb deadlift max going into the routine. To convert your max numbers simply divide your max by 400 and multiply all the numbers on the chart by the figure you get when you divided your max by 400.

We will use full gear for this 10-week routine. This routine is performed once per week and is your primary (Heavy) squat and deadlift training day. Any assistance work you perform during the week should be light enough to allow you to focus your efforts on this routine. You want to squat each set as if it was a contest with proper setup and timing.

DON'T GET LAZY! All deadlifts should focus on speed. You should be able to pull these deadlifts faster from set to set and faster each week.

Power is a combination of speed and strength. Peaking cycles like this one are the time when you should train for speed and timing. Work with proper technique and focus on every set. Warmup as you would in a contest and follow the chart for your working sets.

Week 1:

Squat -
5 sets of 1 rep at 315
Deadlift -
5 sets of 1 rep at 255

Week 2:

Squat -
5 sets of 1 rep at260
Deadlift -
5 sets of 1 rep at300

Week 3:

Squat -
4 x 1 at 325
Deadlift -
5 x 1 at 265

Week 4:

Squat -
5 x 1 at 265
Deadlift -
4 x 1 at 315

Week 5:

Squat -
4 x 1 at 340
Deadlift -
5 x 1 at 240

Week 6:
Squat -
5 x 1 at 280
Deadlift - 
3 x 1 at 345

Week 7:
Squat -
5 x 1 at 305
Deadlift -
5 x 1 at 225

Week 8:

Squat -
4 x 1 at 335
Deadlift -
5 x 1 at 225

Week 9:

Squat -
3 x 1 at 355
Deadlift -
5 x 1 at 225

Week 10:

Squat -
open at 365
2nd at 395
3rd at 420

Deadlift -
open at 360
2nd at 390
3rd at 420

The Two-Arm Clean and Jerk - Charles A. Smith (1949)

Norbert Schemansky

In preparing yourself mentally, it is best to adopt a positive outlook. To tell yourself that a weight is too heavy is to defeat yourself 50% before you even attempt the lift. Develop a contempt for limit poundages, and remember the famous remark of Steve Stanko who once referred to a 380-lb odd clean as 'light'.

Earlier in this series, we mentioned that of the three Olympic lifts the Clean and Jerk held the greatest possibilities for improvement. But now we are going to qualify that statement and add a 'but'. The Clean and Jerk is a two stage lift, and of those stages, the Clean has less room for improvement than the Jerk. An examination of the greatest poundages put over head will show that a weight has been jerked that has never been cleaned. In the heavyweight class this is true. as in the light heavy and middleweight classes, in fact in all of the bodyweight divisions the poundage cleaned is lagging behind the poundage jerked.

The very great majority of lifters are much better jerkers than they are cleaners - we refer here to the training lifter. A man is POORLY trained if he can Clean more than he can Jerk. Right now I can hear some one yelling "taint so." I am well aware that there are prominent exceptions, so don't all of you go asking me about Shams.

Ibrahim Shams cleaning 331.25 while weighing 140.
Note the wide split, position of feet, high elbows, head up and a slight lean back.

Unless you improve your Clean, you are not only limiting yourself on the entire lift, but you are also affecting your total. It is MOST IMPORTANT that you spend more time practicing your Clean than your Jerk, because it is not only necessary to that you are able to level your Clean with your Jerk poundage, but also because it is easier for you to acquire bad habits of style in the Clean section of the lift. It is also harder to learn to be a good cleaner than a GOOD jerker.

First we have the approach to the bar. I always get a great deal of amusement out of the lifter's approach to the weight. Some peep around the curtain or corner section of the audience to see if the bar happens to be looking their way. If it isn't, they pounce on it with tigerish fury. Others walk past the, eying it from the corner of the optic, trying to convey the notion that they have absolutely no interest in lifting the weight and then suddenly altering their minds, take the weight unawares. Others stand over the bar for minutes at a time, indulging in a war of nerves and trying to cause the bar to become alarmed and despondent. Some make all sorts of weird noises and dramatic gestures and after an hour or two has passed, decide not to make the attempt after all.

There is only one way to approach the bar, and that is as if you mean business, which of course you do. Before you make the attempt, you may walk around a little at the rear of the platform and chalk your hands. Some trainers hold that this is not necessary. They are right in one respect. It isn't necessary to use chalk. Resin is much better. The walking around and the chalking up gives the lifter time to mentally prepare for his attempt. He should at this stage visualize himself making the attempt and successfully concluding it. He should tell himself that he can and he WILL make that lift. That he has made it before and he will make it again. Then when he is sure he is ready, he should go to it and hesitate not. Once up to the bar he should take care to see that the correct weight is on the bar. Well before the meet starts, he should find out how much the collars weigh, how much the bar weighs, if it is in kilos or pounds - a rare occurrence this last. He should make sure that all plates are on evenly, that one is not near the outside end of the bar, but up against the inside collars. He should always insist on collars if he feels they are needed, and I feel that they are always needed, for he can be sure that the club members will take a very poor view if their barbell plates are cracked or broken, due to falling off the bar. Note that the above advice pertains to the other lifts as well.

Now you satisfied that the right poundage is on and everything is according to Hoyle, you make the attempt proper. Stand well up to the bar, shins touching or nearly touching. Bend the back and legs together and take the grip. Don't use the dive style in the clean. Remember that the poundage is much greater than in the Snatch and the likelihood of injury due to a weight tilting to one side or falling forward onto the knee. You have flattened the back and bent the thighs. Your grip has been taken - you may hook if you like, for some claim that it gives them a better pull. The grip should be no wider than your pressing grip. An inch wider than shoulder width, half an inch on each side, is ideal. A grip which is too wide places too much strain on the lower back and the shoulder blades when the weight is jerked. The position of the legs and back should be that of commencement in the two hands dead lift, so that the maximum power of thighs and back can be combined.

Start your pull and put all you have into it. Don't bend the elbows until the weight is well off the ground, then boost the power supplied by the back and thighs with the power supplied by the arms and shoulders. From the very commencement of the pull make it an all out effort. The lifter has doubtless heard of the terms 'first' and 'second' pull. Actually it is not possible for the lifter to divide the lift into sections of pulls of varying strength. As pointed out previously, the lift must be an all out effort, but it will be observed that the weight will come slowly off the ground at first and will then speed up as greater power is exerted from the back and thighs and as the output is helped by the arms and shoulders.

Don't swing the weight away from the body. The direction of the weight should be straight up the front of the body with the elbows gaining height until they point at a slight upward angle. At this stage, the bar will be on a level with the sternum, depending on the amount of weight on the bar and the force of pull. Your split will start right at this stage and will be governed by the amount of weight you have on the bar. At this stage as the bar arrives at the height required for jerking and the split is started, the elbows are whipped under and the bar arrives at the jerking position. Combined, the motions of splitting, whipping the elbows, and pulling the bar high bring the weight into jerking position. A point here to remember is that the bar must be jerked from the position at which it arrives. It may not be shifted to the shoulder level if it has arrived at a point between the line of the nipples and sternum. A lifter should train himself to clean the weight so that it arrives right in at the clavicles and across them and is thus all ready for jerking.

A common fault in pulling the weight up from the deck is to make with a sort of back hand curl. This fault is a beginner's fault and is seldom seen in the seasoned lifter. It is more responsible for swinging the bar away from the body than any other factor. A good exercise to correct this fault is the upright rowing motion.

Leo Stern shows a strong jerking position
with a relatively wide grip.

Now for the split.

We mentioned above that the weight should be pulled straight up the front of the body and should not be swung out or away from the body. Another cardinal point to remember is this - do not step away from the weight. When the split is commenced, the front foot does the splitting. Split forward into the weight. Make sure that your feet are not on the same line, but wind up when front and rear are about six to eight inches apart. Why do I stress the importance of splitting into the weight? The reason is pretty obvious. In your split away from the weight, or to the rear, you will find it necessary to pull the weight backwards into the shoulders, or else you will have to rock forward into the weight again - both of these motions are unnecessary and lost energy. In splitting to the rear and pulling the weight backward, there is a tendency to lean back in order to retain the weight to the shoulders, and in consequence there is a great strain on the lower spine. In pulling the weight to the rear - splitting to the rear - and rocking forward to catch the weight in at jerking position, the trunk is inclined forward and if you think it is easy to keep a weight at the shoulders in this position, you will eventually learn the hard way. The weight is, nine times out of ten, lost forward when this lifting style is adopted. Again I repeat, keep the trunk absolutely upright and split forward.

A good method of inducing this forward split is the one which I use on all my pupils and with very good results. Draw two chalk lines three feet apart. The lines should be about two feet long and not less than one foot. Place the bar on one line and stand so that your foot which splits forward is in the center of the line. Keep your other foot across the line. When you clean the weight, do not move the rear foot, but split diagonally with the front foot so that it lands two or three inches to either the right or left of the forward line. If your left foot splits forward then it will go to the left of center, and if the right foot then to the right of the line center. This will mean that you recovery will be firm and secure and you will be untroubled with tilting to one side or the other. Make every effort to keep your rear foot still on the line until you are firmly established in the habit of splitting forward.

Harold Sakata with 314 at the shoulders and ready for the Jerk.
Note position of high held elbows and weight resting solidly on the shoulders. 
This is the ideal position from which to Jerk but not possible for all men
because of long forearms and short upper arms as well as narrow shoulders. 

Now the recovery.

Always recover forward. Never recover to the rear. When recovering to the rear, you are stepping away from the weight. When recovering forward, into the weight.

Khadr El-Touni making a good Clean with a heavy weight.
Note how he has stepped ahead under the weight with the back arched and the head back.
This enables him to catch the bar high on chest and gives him a firm and powerful foundation
for holding the weight and getting up with it.

As soon as your position is secure, then do not hesitate, give a slight push on the ball of the front foot and then at once bring the rear foot up alongside. The recovery should be fast, the two foot movements making a sharp bang, bang. Again I would stress that throughout the entire clean and recovery the trunk should be upright. It will be seen that an erect trunk is almost impossible if a rear split is used and the loss of the weight is certain if a rock into weight is used in conjunction with a rear split. A forward recovery means that the chances of losing the weight from the jerking position are less.

Before going on to the jerk portion of the lift, I will give some exercises which will help in increasing cleaning power. Please note that these exercises are merely to assist in developing the Clean. The only way to improve your Clean is to Clean.

Pull Developers

The various forms of rowing motion are all good for increasing the strength and power of the pulling muscles. An exceedingly important point to remember is that the one quality to strive for is speed. Do not sacrifice quickness for the amount of poundage you are able to handle in the various assistance exercises. The late Ronald Walker  -

October 25, 1948
Click Pic to ENLARGE

The late Ronald Walker, one of the greatest lifters the world has ever seen, rarely used a heavy weight during his training sessions. He developed a tremendous explosive power in the pull which, while providing the necessary resistance, allowed him to exercise fast. Any movements which tend to slow you up must be discarded.

The upright rowing motion is excellent for developing the trapezius and deltoids, and the other muscle groups which pull the weight upwards in conjunction with the two groups mentioned above. The weight used should be one which you are easily able to handle for 5 reps. There should be no pause between the reps, but the weight should be kept going and as fast as possible. The width of the grip should be the same as that used for cleaning. The body must not move. No sway backwards or leaning forward must be allowed. The entire power raising the weight must come from the arms and shoulders and upper back. The body must not assist at any time. Work up to 3 sets of 8 reps before increasing the weight, and then increase only by 2.5 lbs, that is a 1.25 lb plate on each end of the bar. Do not pull the weight out or away from the body but concentrate on keeping the weight in as close as you can to the trunk. The weight should be pulled as high as possible. Do not stop at the chin if you feel you are able to pull the bar head high.

The stiff legged dead lift is another key exercise to a more powerful Clean. The following method of performance is to be recommended, not only as a safe method, but as one which will produce results. Many years ago, one of the most valuable pieces of apparatus ever to be developed made its bow in the world of weights. I refer to the Hise Hopper. It is, with the exception of the Harvey Maxime bar, only original piece of weight mechanism to be developed within the last 20 years. The great value of the hopper is that it teaches a lifter to get used to moving fast with an extremely heavy weight. The Hopper has only one drawback. It is an extremely noisy piece of apparatus. So noisy in fact, that it if you use one the neighbors are likely to get the impression that World War III has broken out ahead of schedule. I have introduced the following modification to my pupils with gratifying results. Take a weight 10 lbs more than your best Clean. Place the bar across a box or bench at such a height that the trunk forms a right angle with the thighs. Grasp the bar and start your dead lifts from the box and return to the box once the body is upright. Do not allow the knees to bend, but keep the thighs locked at the knees throughout the exercise. Never use a weight which will not allow you to move quickly. You will find that with the above method, you will be able to develop a heap of power and speed. Start off with 5 reps and progress to no more than 8. 3 sets is sufficient for the average lifter's needs. Thrusting the buttocks back and pushing the head back will also help to place the resistance on the lower spinae. If the box is too low, adjust the height by means of plates under it so that the right angle of the thighs and trunk is formed.

Box cleans are good for increasing the power of the so-called 'second pull'. It is best to use an International bar in this exercise. Take two boxes and load the bar up to 80% or your best clean. Place the bar so that the revolving ends rest up on the boxes. Take your usual grip for the Clean and pull the bar up to the sternum. Every effort to pull the bar as high as possible should be made. A series of sets of no more than 5 reps is best. As soon as 4 sets of 5 reps are possible, the weight should be increased by 10 lbs and the exerciser or lifter should drop down to 2 reps and gradually work up to 4 sets of the 2 reps before gradually adds another rep to the sets. Start off with 2 reps, 4 sets. Increase up to 5 reps, 4 sets.

The old standby shoulder shrugs are very good as an aid to improved cleaning power. Take a weight which represents your best Clean and from the set position take it to that of the hang. From here the only portion of the body which moves is the shoulders. The effort should be to try to make your shoulders touch your ears. No bending forward or leaning backward must assist you in this exercise. Only the shoulders move. A most important point is to keep the elbows locked. Bending the elbows takes away a great deal of efficiency. It makes the exercise a lot less effective. Do not bend the elbows but keep the entire arm stiff. The lifter can start off with 5 reps and work up to 10 with 3 sets of each number or reps.

The two hands dead lift has been truly called 'the key to strength'. I would however, again point out that every effort must be made to cultivate speed not only in this assistance exercise but in all the others which the lifter uses in the hopes of increasing his cleaning powers. Take a weight equal to the maximum clean to your credit. Make your first dead lift in the orthodox manner. That is, pull the weight from the floor to the hang position. From there on, each attempt is made from, and returned to the hang position. For your second rep, and all subsequent ones, drop from the hang position and bounce the weight on the floor. The rebound will be slight, but you must endeavor to catch the weight on the rebound and return to the hang position. As each rep is made, the shoulders should be shrugged and a rock forward onto the toes should be made before bouncing the weight down on the deck again and returning to the hang. A high number of reps can be used in this exercise. Start from 8 reps and work up to 3 sets of 15.

Still another exercise which assists in the development of a powerful clean is the seated high pull up. Seat yourself on a chair and place the bar right in front of you. A weight should be taken which you use for practicing the two hands snatch. Reach down and grasp the bar, and with back and arm power alone, pull the bar into the clean position. Note that you remain seated all the time you practice this lift. If you use a  weight which you can snatch 5 reps, you will find this ideal for the high pull ups/clean. Work up from 5 to 8 reps, for 3 sets.

Pete George demonstrates perfect style in the Jerk with 330 lbs. 
Note the position of legs, trunk, head and arms.

Continued, Part Two (The Jerk) is here:  


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Seven - Norman Zale (1977)

Part 1 The Underpinning Science

1 Human Nutrition, 3
david a. bender
2 Exercise Physiology, 20
w. larry kenney, robert murray
3 Biochemistry of Exercise, 36
michael gleeson

Part 2 Energy and Macronutrients

4 How to Assess the Energy Costs of Exercise and Sport, 61
barbara e. ainsworth
5 Energy Balance and Energy Availability, 72
anne b. loucks
6 Assessing Body Composition, 88
timothy r. ackland, arthur d. stewart
7 Carbohydrate Needs of Athletes in Training, 102
louise m. burke
8 The Regulation and Synthesis of Muscle Glycogen by Means of Nutrient Intervention, 113
john l. ivy
9 Carbohydrate Ingestion During Exercise, 126
asker jeukendrup
10 Defining Optimum Protein Intakes for Athletes, 136
stuart m. phillips
11 Dietary Protein as a Trigger for Metabolic Adaptation, 147
luc j.c. van loon
12 Fat Metabolism During and After Exercise, 156
bente kiens, jacob jeppesen
13 Metabolic Adaptations to a High-Fat Diet, 166
john a. hawley, wee kian yeo
14 Water and Electrolyte Loss and Replacement in Training and Competition, 174
ronald j. maughan
15 Performance Effects of Dehydration, 185
eric d.b. goulet
16 Rehydration and Recovery After Exercise, 199
susan m. shirreffs
17 Nutritional Effects on Central Fatigue, 206
bart roelands, romain meeusen

Part 3 Micronutrients and Dietary Supplements

18 Vitamins, Minerals, and Sport Performance, 217
stella l. volpe, ha nguyen
19 Iron Requirements and Iron Status of Athletes, 229
giovanni lombardi, giuseppe lippi, giuseppe banfi
20 Calcium and Vitamin D, 242
enette larson-meyer
21 Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Are Supplemental Antioxidants Warranted?, 263
john c. quindry, andreas kavazis, scott k. powers
22 Dietary Phytochemicals, 277
j. mark davis, benjamin gordon, e. angela murphy, martin d. carmichael
23 Risks and Rewards of Dietary Supplement Use by Athletes, 291
ronald j. maughan
24 Creatine, 301
francis b. stephens, paul l. greenhaff
25 Caffeine and Exercise Performance, 313
lawrence l. spriet
26 Buffering Agents, 324
craig sale, roger c. harris
27 Alcohol, Exercise, and Sport, 336
ronald j. maughan, susan m. shirreffs

Part 4 Practical Issues

28 The Female Athlete, 347
susan i. barr
29 The Young Athlete, 359
flavia meyer, brian w. timmons
30 The Aging Athlete, 369
christine a. rosenbloom
31 The Vegetarian Athlete, 382
jacqueline r. berning
32 The Special Needs Athlete, 392
elizabeth broad
33 Overreaching and Unexplained Underperformance Syndrome: Nutritional Interventions, 404
paula robson-ansley, ricardo costa
34 The Traveling Athlete, 415
susie parker-simmons, kylie andrew
35 Environment and Exercise, 425
samuel n. cheuvront, brett r. ely, randall l. wilber
36 Food and Nutrition Considerations at Major Competitions, 439
fiona pelly

Part 5 Health-Related and Clinical Sports Nutrition

37 Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health, 455
barry braun, benjamin f. miller
38 Exercise, Nutrition, and Inflammation, 466
michael j. kraakman, martin whitham, mark a. febbraio
39 Exercise, Nutrition, and Immune Function, 478
david c. nieman
40 The Diabetic Athlete, 490
gurjit bhogal, nicholas peirce
41 The Overweight Athlete, 503
helen o’connor
42 Eating Disorders in Male and Female Athletes, 513
monica k. torstveit, jorunn sundgot-borgen
43 Importance of Gastrointestinal Function to Athletic Performance and Health, 526
nancy j. rehrer, john mclaughlin, lucy k. wasse
44 Hyponatremia of Exercise, 539
timothy d. noakes

Part 6 Sport-Specific Nutrition: Practical Issues

45 Strength and Power Events, 551
eric s. rawson, charles e. brightbill, michael j. stec
46 Sprinting: Optimizing Dietary Intake, 561
gary slater, helen o’connor, bethanie allanson
47 Distance Running, 572
trent stellingwerff
48 Cycling, 584
peter hespel
49 Gymnastics, 596
dan benardot
50 Swimming, 607
louise m. burke, gregory shaw
51 Winter Sports, 619
nanna l. meyer
52 Team Sports, 629
francis holway
53 Weight-Category Sports, 639
hattie h. wright, ina garthe

Continuing . . .

In the Raw

Most men, with little nutritional knowledge, seek out high protein foods in the meat, poultry and fish families, unaware of the fact that once these products have been exposed to the heat of cooking, much of their muscle-building properties have been lost. Does this surprise you? It shouldn't. You are well aware that a raw carrot is more nutritious than a cooked one; the same principle applies to meat. Baking, roasting, broiling or frying meat distorts its amino acid pattern, so that it is less than desirable. If you have ever been to the zoo at feeding time, you will note that the animals are fed only raw food. The reason, of course, being that raw food has all of the elements necessary to sustain life. "Eat raw meat - he must be daft," I can hear you muttering. No, you are not expected to sit down to a plate of raw steak or fish and attempt to consume it, but you should include much raw food - just about everything except meat, should be consumed raw.

Civilized people have gotten away from the basics of good nutrition because of their reliance on convenience foods. Everything they eat is either precooked, overcooked or prepared. They fail to realize that these types of foods make no contribution to health and muscle but merely fill the stomach until the next meal. Raw food nourishes better, contributes to increased strength, revives weak or ailing organs and even eliminates bacteria and poisons from the body. Most men on a diet of exclusively cooked foods dose themselves with all kinds of supplements, when all they may require is an increase in the amount of raw foods eaten. Food supplements definitely have a place in the diet of the weightman but they should be subservient to good, wholesome raw foods. 

The energy to provide life and muscular growth comes from the sun, and green plants alone have the ability to capture this solar energy and pass it on to man and beast. Chlorophyll, the coloring matter of leaves, bears a striking resemblance to hemoglobin, the red pigment in human blood. Hemoglobin is composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and iron while chlorophyll contains all of the same elements except iron, which is replaced by magnesium. If you want to be successful in the iron game, get in the habit of eating raw, green leafy vegetables a couple of times a day. They contain valuable enzymes, easy to assimilate vitamins and minerals and rare and hard to get amino acids which complete the amino acid pattern of the distorted pattern of heated proteins, such as milk, meat and eggs.

Being alkaline in reaction in the body, green leafy vegetables help to balance out a too-heavy diet of acid-forming protein foods. When you get that heavy, all pooped, achy feeling after a workout, start eating greens like they're going out of style. They will help you return to a normal state, which is more conducive to muscle growth and development. Raw greens also contain bulk or fiber, which becomes highly magnetized in its passage through the intestines, drawing from the body used-up tissues and cell wastes, acting like a broom and a vacuum cleaner. When cooked, the green leaves act more like a slimy slop, so it is obvious why the raw greens are greatly desirable to cooked ones. The chlorophyll in green leaves is reputed to aid in the stimulation of tissue growth and affect the heart beat in a positive nature.

How about a green drink after a workout? Place one cup raw or frozen (unsweetened) pineapple juice in your blender and add a mixture of two or more greens - first wash and remove course leaves and woody stems - collards, dandelion, alfalfa, parsley, lettuce, spinach or mint. Blend until finely ground; add two cups more of juice and strain after five minutes if you desire. This gives the enzymes time to release the chlorophyll. Avoid entirely or use only small quantities of the strong tasting greens such as water cress, radish or carrot tops.

Fresh fruit in season should be a regular part of your training table. A piece of fresh fruit at the end of a meal satisfies even the most voracious of appetites and is a perfect desert. Keep plenty of fresh fruit around the house and use it whenever you are inclined to nibble on something which you know is no good for you.

Seeds and nuts should also be a part of your new raw eating regime. They are tasty and provide much of the essential oils necessary for muscle growth, but they must be raw and kept under refrigeration else their oils turn rancid. Raw seeds (sunflower, sesame and pumpkin) and nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, filberts, Brazils and peanuts) have a delightful flavor and provide greater food values than when roasted. If you are sold on toasted nuts, you can fool your taste buds. Place one-third cup fresh raw nuts on a cookie sheet in oven at 250 degrees. Toast to golden brown. Place at once in a  covered jar with two-thirds cup raw nuts; all nuts will taste toasted. Another delicious way of eating raw nuts is to soak them for 24 hours in pineapple juice or milk in the refrigerator.

You may have difficulty including a great amount of raw food in your diet due to bad eating habits. Careful chewing and salivating may be skills that you have completely forgotten about.


You probably gobble your food, most people do. Eating in this way can perhaps be practiced with cooked food - at least trouble does not follow immediately - but it is impossible with raw food. Weak digestive organs cannot properly assimilate and use such food which has not been carefully broken up. Fermentation easily takes place in the intestines, gas and digestive upsets follow, and diarrhea is not at all uncommon, particularly in the case of those men who include little if any raw food in their daily diets.

If you have already had unfortunate experiences from eating raw fresh fruit, cucumbers, figs, etc., and have been warned by well-meaning friends and relatives against eating raw food, then such digestive troubles are, in your eyes, a confirmation of all your doubts and other people's warnings. You are convinced, no doubt, that your stomach cannot stand raw food. You then, who suffer from indigestion, need raw food and your digestive system will be able to handle it without any difficulty or discomfort if you just take it slow and easy.

If you smoke you may also have difficulty accustoming yourself to raw foods. It has been proven in numerous experiments that smoking causes an interference with the actions of the taste buds. The smoker may therefore not be able to discern the delicate flavors of the raw foods and may not enjoy them. Most cooked foods are prepared with sugar and salt, which totally overwhelm the taste buds and make them insensitive to natural flavors, which the smoker is unaware of because he generally salts and sugars his foods without even tasting them to see if they need seasoning. Most raw foods are eaten without seasoning and the smoker will find that his sense of taste returns shortly after giving up his addiction.

When it is possible, a diet consisting exclusively of raw fruit, vegetables and nuts should be arranged for a day or a number of days. The super feeling that you get on a diet of this type is astonishing and unfortunately practiced too little. Try setting aside one day each week in which you eat only raw fruit and/or vegetables and watch the difference it makes in your workouts and appearance.

By using a little intelligence many varied raw food dishes may be prepared with a minimum of bother and a maximum of nutritional value. They are remarkable for their pleasant taste and you will make them a daily part of your menu once you have tried them. Here is a favorite throughout the world. It is called Bircher Muesli. Grate one large apple, including the skin, core and seeds. Add on tablespoon ground nuts, one tablespoon wheat germ or rolled oats, juice of one lemon and one tablespoon of condensed milk or half and half. Stir and eat immediately. You can vary the basic fruit by using banana, dried fruit which has been soaked in water overnight, prunes or strawberries.

Muesli will make a perfect food around which to build your raw fruit day. If you find the quantities too small, merely increase them to meet your needs.

For breakfast have muesli, fresh fruit and a handful of cashews.

Lunch should consist of a raw salad, more fresh fruit and peanuts or almonds.

Dinner - have muesli again, a dish of raw vegetables and your choice of fruit.

We realize that this is a lot different from what you have been used to eating, but you have to think things out for yourself. There is so much false information and hypocrisy in the field of nutrition that no one knows who to believe anymore. Try this diet once in a while, you have much to gain and nothing to lose, and remember,

You are the final testing ground for all you read and hear about weight training and nutrition; it may work for someone else, but if after a fair trial it doesn't work for you, dump it and try something else. 

Many researchers believe that it is enzymes in raw food which make them so valuable. Enzymes are found in all living substances, plants, animals and soil life, and are destroyed by temperatures which exceed 120 degrees, that is approximately the point at which milk is maintained in order to pasteurize it. Each enzyme, and you have hundreds of thousands of them in your body, is an organized substance which contains vitamins, minerals and protein. Enzymes are intimately connected with all healing and regeneration. They aid digestive functions, in turn aiding assimilation and elimination. They break down complex foods into simple substances which can be absorbed by the body. No one knows how enzymes work, but fortunately, all that is necessary is for us to give the body the proper materials with which to work and it will do the rest.

Raw proteins are particularly important in enzyme systems, and magnesium is an important mineral because it activates more of the enzyme systems of the body than all other minerals combined. Magnesium is found only in unrefined foods and enzymes, which are only found in raw foods, are stored in the body for only short periods of time, thus requiring a regular and steady intake. To insure your intake of enzymes is adequate, try to eat over 50% of all your food raw. Increase that proportion, slowly, to 80 or 85%. Meat, dairy products and eggs should be your only cooked foods, everything else can be very easily eaten raw.

Next: For Weak Stomachs Only

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