Thursday, September 30, 2010

Developing Greater Strength - John Grimek

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Developing Greater Strength
by John Grimek (1958)

Physical strength is a masculine characteristic. It is admired by all men, women and children – at least certain aspects of it. On the whole, most men not only admire great strength, but secretly desire it as well.

It is a fact, however, that while only a small percentage of people possess some type of unusual strength, which may have been acquired through heredity or from specialized training, it is possible to acquire this attribute through progressive weight training or heavy lifting. Records in our files show that numerous individuals have doubled their strength after several months of training, and tripled it within a year’s time. It must be admitted, however, that not everyone can achieve such remarkable results in such a short length of time, although anyone can increase his strength to an amazing degree with proper training.

There are some men who are naturally strong in certain regions, as, for example, the legs and lower back which are considered important strength zones. Other men have great strength in their arms and shoulders, but only a comparative few seem to possess all-round strength, which, of course, is the best and ideal combination. This combination of strength is not easy to obtain and may only be acquired through heavy training and supporting feats.

Physical strength that is greater than average depends on a number of factors and not only upon the size and shape of muscles. Nevertheless, THE FEWER “WEAK LINKS” THE BODY HAS, THE GREATER THE POSSIBILITY OF ACHIEVING ALL-ROUND STRENGTH. Individuals having strength only in certain regions, such as the arms, shoulders, back or legs, cannot be considered strong in the strict sense of the word. Regional strength, therefore, should not be sought after except where one part is weaker in comparison to another; then, additional effort is required to increase the power in those weaker parts.

How then is all-round strength acquired? There are several avenues possible. Strength will result only when the muscles are pushed beyond their normal activity. In fact, muscles MUST BE FORCED against progressively heavier resistance in order to increase their contractile capacity. Heavy training of this nature activates all the muscular fibers and packs power into them. Moreover, the tendons, those cable-like structures which branch out from the muscles and attach to the bones, also grow thicker and stronger from this training. The supporting of heavy weights in various positions is particularly beneficial to the tendons and ligaments, which grow thicker and stronger from this practice.

Of course, whenever strength is discussed, leverage should not be overlooked. Few people indeed realize the importance of good leverage in connection with strength. But the fact remains, whenever this leverage is favorable, strength is easier to acquire. Good leverage makes it easier for muscles to contract, allowing heavier poundages to be used in all movements, and this in turn results in greater strength.

I’m certain the above statement is bound to bring in a flood of correspondence if I don’t explain in detail how this leverage can be improved. Therefore, let me explain the basic principles here and now. Improvement of muscle leverage, in some cases, lies in the thickening of certain fleshy parts that will shorten the actual movement of the muscle. For example, if the shoulders, arms, trapezius and other adjacent groups become thicker, certain movements that involve the arms and shoulders become easier because of this increased mass. Naturally the basic condition cannot be altered since much of this is due to skeletal formation and upon the insertion of the muscles themselves. Nevertheless, by thickening the fleshy areas, improvement is possible.

Let’s discuss, for example, the case of a “poor” presser, and show how improvement in this lift is possible through specialized training. There are numerous fellows who say that they can’t press a heavy weight because they have poor leverage. In some cases this complaint is fully justified, but in others this leverage business is merely an excuse which can be blamed on the individual for not knowing how to press, or because he doesn’t practice the lift enough. If poor leverage is the cause and prevents improvement on this lift, then specialized training should be employed to increase the arm and shoulder mass, which generally helps to improve pressing leverage. This should explain why a large percentage of all bulky lifters are generally the best pressers. Many of our champion lifters have improved their pressing ability by this combination of bulking up and doing more pressing.

There are three fundamental rules to observe for acquiring all-round strength:

(1) Employing maximum resistance.
(2) Employing minimum repetitions.
(3) Lifting and supporting heavy poundages.

Persistence in training is a must where greater strength is desired. Once or twice a week a heavy all-out training program for power should be employed. Too frequent heavy training, especially if prolonged in nature, may weaken rather than increase strength.

There is another fallacy that seems to persist among some people whenever strength is mentioned. They have the opinion that only short fellows are strong and make the best lifters. This opinion is based on the knowledge that there are more shorter fellows than taller men lifting in competition. They further contend that the shorter fellow doesn’t have to lift the weights as high. This deduction is plain humbug. Anyone will admit that the taller man does lift his weights higher, but in most cases his skeletal leverage is better to accomplish this. By way of contrast let me illustrate the handicap shorter men like Dave Moyer and Joe DiPietro have when they lift on a regulation barbell. This, as anyone who has ever lifted weights off knee-high supports knows, is awkward and a disadvantage. Because, when the body and legs are almost straight it is harder to exert a strong pull that sends the weight upwards. A clearer illustration might be had by having both men, the tall and the short, do an ordinary deadlift with a weight they can easily clean. Notice how much higher the taller man lifts his weight in this position compared to the shorter fellow? Now visualize for a moment the impetus the taller man can obtain with his longer arms and legs and his shorter back as he crouches, almost doubled up, then straightens up pulling the weight. In contrast, visualize the efforts of the shorter man, whose legs and back are almost straight as he begins the lift, making it impossible for him to utilize the full use of his back and legs unless he uses the smaller, lower plates. I’m sure you’ll agree that the tall man has certain advantages even though he has to lift his weights higher . . . but he has better leverage to do this, especially if he bulks up in the right places.

For curious people who ask why there aren’t more tall men lifting in competition, I’d say that there are more taller men in competition today than ever before. But it is also true that a large percentage never go into lifting competition because they feel they haven’t got a chance against the shorter, stronger fellow. More bosh! Let me cite another example along this line.

Some years ago we conducted an experiment here in York with one Jack Cooper, a man of imposing altitude (well over six feet) and weighing 200 pounds. In spite of his bodyweight he still looked underweight. His arms, though not heavy were long, as were his legs. But his shoulders were considered broad for his size. This fellow acquired the ability to lift some terrific poundages, and believe me, he lifted them HIGHER than any other lifter! He was convincing proof that tallness, even without great bulk, is not a handicap if one has the interest to excel in this game. Jack was especially adept on the quick lifts, and while his press wasn’t exceptional, he did press an impressive weight. He would have done much better had he bulked up his frame, especially around the arms, shoulders and upper back.

One of the problems of strength most lifters and bodybuilders have is improving their press. I’d like to use this lift as an example and show how additional strength can be acquired in this lift. Assuming you already know how to press but lack the necessary power to make a heavy lift, the following training schedule should be helpful.

Start with a weight you can just press five or six times easily . . . just as a warm up. For your next attempt increase the weight to within 75% of your best pressing poundage. Press this three times. Always rest a few minutes after each set of presses. Now, increase your next weight to about 85% of your max and press it two or three times. Continue to increase the weight in five or ten pound jumps and press only in single attempts. Repeat until your limit in this lift has been reached. This, however, does not conclude the program by any means. Increase the weight by 20 pounds beyond your best press and perform two or three push presses with it. In this exercise be sure your arms and shoulders do most of the work after the legs provide the impetus. Keep increasing the weight until you are unable to do any more without using a full dip or split position to get the weight overhead.

Upon reaching a poundage that you must jerk instead of pushing it overhead, the next exercise is to hold this weight (or more) at your chest, but instead of resting it across your shoulders make an effort as if you were going to press it. Hold it in this position for several seconds or until you are unable to sustain it any longer. Replace it back on the rack and again add more weight to the bar. Take a rest, after which you should support it again in the same manner. You shouldn’t have any trouble, once you get used to supporting more weight than you can jerk in this style. This exercise will strengthen you for the press, and when you become strong enough to support twice as much weight as your press, your press will have greatly benefitted. All supporting feats are particularly good for strengthening and thickening the tendons and ligaments, the true source power.

Another excellent power builder for pressing is to lie in a supine position and support a heavy weight. While in this position and holding a heavy weight, the arms are allowed to bend a few inches and then locked out again. Repeat for about five or six consecutive repetitions. How much weight to use? About 50 to 100 pounds more than you can military press. Increase the weight as rapidly as you safely can. Your arms, shoulders, and the adjacent muscle groups will develop greater power from this exercise.

By now you must realize that nothing packs so much power into the muscles as heavy supporting feats, especially in holding weights overhead. You should construct a device that enables you to get under the bar with only a slight split or dip with your arms extended and elbows locked. In this supporting feat all the muscles contract to sustain the overhead load, while every joint, tendon and ligament strains to keep the body balanced. This supporting feat is one of the best means of increasing body power. It helps a lifter to secure a strong arm and shoulder lock. The back, hips and legs all combine to hold the body in a strong, steady position. As an exercise, a heavy weight should be supported overhead for several seconds. After a brief rest more weight should be added and the exercise repeated until six to eight attempts have been completed. Begin by holding about 50 pounds more than your best jerk in this one. Increase the weight as rapidly as you safely can. And once more, be sure that your supporting rack or chains are high enough for you to get under the bar without bending your knees too much. The more you bend your knees the more difficulty you will have in supporting the weight.

Another one for the arms and shoulders. Take a weight, about what you can military press, and hold it at your side as if you were going to do a one-arm side press, holding the elbow off the hip. Hold this position for as long as you can, then replace the weight back on the supports and repeat with your other hand. Use alternate hands and support the weight with each arm about four times. Continue to increase the weight.

For lower back. Use knee-high supports for this one and use about 150 pounds more than you can jerk. Grip the weight securely and move slightly away from the supports. Now bend forward as in a regular deadlift, but only until a slight strain is felt in the lower back. Straighten up and again repeat five to six times. Increase weight with each set by 20 to 30 pounds and do at least six sets. Use the heaviest weights safely possible but do not overdo it until your back has been thoroughly accustomed to this exercise. Poundage increases can be made rapidly with all these partial and supporting movements, and failure to exercise caution can result in some very real stiffness and strain.

For legs. Legs can be packed with power by including heavy partial squats (bending the legs only slightly), BUT ONLY AFTER SOME COMPLETE SQUATS HAVE BEEN DONE. Here again, heavy poundages should be used to impart spring and strength to the legs. Five to six repetitions should be used. Repeat for at least five sets . . . more if desired. By now you should be starting to realize exactly how hard one must work to increase his strength.

All of the exercises and supporting feats mentioned here will give you greater strength if you practice them at least once a week. However, let me emphasize one fact – you cannot obtain great strength by using light poundages or by training only once in a while. Training must be a regular habit, and HEAVY, ALL-OUT TRAINING should be done at least once a week.

In conclusion, I’d like to say a word to the younger fellows who do not fully appreciate the importance of all-round physical strength. Just remember, as you grow older your back (lower region) and legs will be the first to show signs of weakening unless you train regularly. It is advisable, therefore, to keep these parts strong and flexible through a variety of exercises that will keep them youthful. Older persons need not do heavy training, at least not too severe (unless they so desire and are capable), but an occasional heavier than usual routine should still be done.

Keeping your strength once you have acquired it is more difficult than maintaining physical fitness . . . because it requires heavy training. Keep this in mind and you will have solved the problem.

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Bench Press Part Twelve

Regular Deadlift, bar approaching knee height

Sumo Deadlift, bar approaching knee height.
Note back positions.

3.4 – Training the Shoulder

Everyone knows how to train the shoulders, or so most powerlifters, bodybuilders, and weight trainers think. After all, the classic “hand me down” exercises for shoulder training are there to see in nearly every weight room in the country. Classic pressing movements (military, behind the neck, incline, dumbbell, etc.), as well as dumbbell raises (front, back, etc.) usually constitute the majority of the typical shoulder training “menu” of exercises. The question here is whether shoulder training is as simple as it seems.

If we all know the total story on shoulder training, then logically one would expect there to be no serious problems where shoulder development, shoulder pain, and shoulder injury are concerned. Is this the case today? I would argue strongly that it is quite the contrary. I have begun to realize in recent years that the shoulder is a key problem area. Probably no area requires more thoughtful training and “injury proofing” than the shoulder.

It is amazing to me how many powerlifters and weight trainers whom I’ve talked to have sore or injured shoulders. Typically, the shoulder problems they have are related to a variety of activities, including bench presses, throwing and racquet sports, classic shoulder weight training exercises, etc. It is evident that not many people in or outside powerlifting are really doing the job when it comes to shoulder training. Maybe we all need to do a bit of reevaluation of our classic shoulder training “menu” of exercises after all. Let’s briefly look at what’s involved.

Specifically, for the shoulder complex, there are three bones involved: the scapula, clavicle, and humerus; eight ligaments: coraco-humeral, sterno clavicular, etc.; seven joints: acromio-clavicular, etc.; and believe it or not, 17 muscles, including deltoid, pectoralis major (both sternal and clavicular portions), the four rotator cuff muscles, teres major, latissimus dorsi, biceps, triceps (long head), serratus interior, pectoralis minor, levator scapula, rhomboids, subclavicus, and trapezius. For more information, as always, refer to a good anatomy text.

If is easy to see that the shoulder complex structurally is by far one of the most complicated parts of the body. As a direct result we also have a much greater range of motion possible in the shoulder than in any other joint of the body. Unfortunately, however, this very complex range of motion possible at the shoulder joint makes detailed quantitative biomechanical analysis incredibly difficult. Indeed, methodologically the biomechanical estimation of shoulder muscle activity is so complex that the research that does exist necessarily involves only estimates for the motions and forces involved with the shoulder.

One important point to be made here about the shoulders is that the important muscles and ligaments crossing the shoulder joint are key to shoulder stability. Unlike many other joints of the body (like the hip, for example) the shoulder must heavily rely on muscle and ligament activity rather than skeletal strength for its stability. Therefore, development of the important muscles of the shoulder complex is extremely crucial for preventing problems in activities involving the shoulder. Let’s examine the shoulder musculature more closely.

By now you have no doubt guessed, there is nothing simple about the shoulder muscular system. In fact, there are a number of very unusual features that characterize the muscle action of the shoulder. First of all, there is an unusually high amount of contraction where two or more muscles are contracting simultaneously. Since the shoulder joint lacks stability without muscle action, any muscle that acts to move the arm must work harmoniously with other muscles in order to avoid causing a dislocation. In other words, a large number of shoulder muscles are involved in probably every shoulder motion. Classic references like Inman et al (reference 2) point to this fact.

The second point distinguishing shoulder muscle activity is the number of two-joint muscles. Depending on the position of the arm, scapula, and clavicle, these two-joint muscles will have different effects on shoulder motion. As the position of the bones changes in exercise, for example, muscle activity changes dramatically. This has been demonstrated in several “classic” studies of shoulder biomechanics (for example, references 1 and 2). In other words, small changes in arm of shoulder positions will have significant effect on which shoulder muscles are involved and when and how much these muscles work in a given weight training exercise or a sport motion.

While it is beyond the scope here to try to explore all aspects of the shoulder muscle activity, a few points can be made concerning the deltoids and “rotator cuff” muscles. The three major muscle fiber populations of the deltoid muscle (most often referred to as anterior, lateral, and posterior “heads” of the deltoid) are apparently each capable of contracting fairly independently of the other heads. In other words, bench presses conceivably involve the anterior “head” while the other two heads are largely inactive. It is, however, overly simplistic to view the activity of the deltoids only in this sense (by saying, for example, that front lateral raises work only the anterior head of the deltoid, lateral raises work only the lateral head, etc.). What really happens is much more involved and probably not remotely as clear cut. Many muscles of the shoulder are involved in any shoulder exercise. As for the four “rotator cuff” muscles, the major action of these small muscles is to pull the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) into the glenoid (the shoulder). In doing this, the deltoid muscle has better leverage and is able to elevate and move the arm more efficiently.

First of all, my personal feeling about shoulder training is that until a more detailed biomechanical study is done and completed on the shoulder, “variety” and “instinct” should be the two key words. By variety I mean that one should experiment with a greater number of exercises for shoulder motion than simply the “classical” menu. One suggestion is to visit a good physical therapist or anyone knowledgeable in shoulder exercises to see the type of exercise they use for shoulder training. Some excellent “non-classical” exercises are available to try out. By “instinct” I mean you should attempt to “tune-in” as much as possible to the body’s response to shoulder movements and exercises. Most top powerlifters have a great knack of evaluating exercises in this manner. This is something we all need to at least try to be aware of in our training.

The results of our research (see Section 3.1) on anterior deltoid involvement during bench pressing showed that:

(1) The anterior deltoid was very heavily involved in all styles of bench pressing, although somewhat more in wide benches;

(2) The timing of peak activity of the anterior deltoid is (along with the other muscles) when the bar is first coming up off the chest in the bench press; and

(3) Increases in bench press weight only cause modest increases in deltoid activity, presumably since this muscle is already so maximally involved.

Let me finish by giving a short list of observations that I hope will serve as “food for thought” regarding shoulder training for the bench press:

(1) I personally am fond of dumbbell presses. This motion seems to activate, at least to some extent, most parts of the deltoid muscle and unquestionably brings into play other parts of the shoulder musculature. Dumbbell presses also reduce the excessive low-back loading associated with normal barbell bench presses;

(2) We have found in our research that the anterior deltoid is massively involved in all types of bench presses. Until we can do further work it is hard to identify exactly which type of bench press works the anterior deltoid most, but the anterior deltoid is unquestionably used a lot in bench presses of all types. It is an interesting question whether the anterior part of the deltoid needs any extra auxiliary work above and beyond bench presses. I tend to think that many powerlifters and bench pressers seriously overtrain it;

(3) I don’t recommend pressing while seated, since the stress in the low back region tends to be higher sitting than when standing;

(4) When and if you experiment with new exercises for the shoulder, use light weights. Don’t be overly ambitious and pack on the weight. The proportional increase is much higher when you try to increase your weight in dumbbell work. Be sure also that you are able to maintain proper motion pattern whenever you add weight;

(5) Machine training for the shoulder region should be treated very cautiously. Generally some of the muscles that stabilize the shoulder probably eliminated in activity (or reduced significantly) since the degrees of freedom are limited by machines. Thus, shoulder exercises when done on machines can often lead to incomplete development of shoulder joint musculature. I strongly recommend that one use primarily free weight motions for a complex region like the shoulder.

Well, I hope that I have provided some food for thought regarding shoulder training. Above all, don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from your own body’s responses to training. Shoulder training, like weight training in general, is anything but “simplistic”. Instead of blindly copying everyone you see, try to “tune-in” to your own body’s responses to exercises. The rewards are well worth it.


(1) Deluca, C., Forest, W., “Force analysis of individual muscles acting simultaneously on the shoulder joints during isometric abduction”, Journal of Biomechanics, 6: 385, 1973.

(2) Inman, D, Saunders, J., “Abbott, L., “Observations on the function of the shoulder”. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 26A: No. 1, 1944.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Power Building - Harry Paschall

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Power Building
by Harry Paschall (1951)

In approaching the serious problem of a strength-building schedule we must realize that each individual will require individual handling, and it is impossible to lump all trainees into one classification and prescribe a perfect, foolproof course of instruction that will work in exactly the same manner for everyone. You, therefore, will have to make your own adjustments in the schedules we are about to give you.

Let us begin by stating our aims. First, our principal object is to build strength. Second, realizing that strength and physical fitness must go hand in hand, we are also concerned in giving you a routine that will improve your organic physical condition and promote stamina. Third, believing that a strong man should look strong, we should like to include in our training sufficient shape-building exercises to insure a well-muscled, shapely body.

This leads us to consideration of the various exercises by classification, and perhaps we may clarify our future choice of exercises in our schedules by arranging these various movements under three general headings, viz., SHAPING Exercises, CONDITIONING Exercises, and STRENGTH-BUILDING Exercises.

(1) Shaping Exercises
Leg Raises
Side Bends

(2) Conditioning Exercises
Squats (high repetitions)
Bouncing Split
Stiff-Legged Deadlift and Shrug
Squat While Pressing From Behind Neck
Overhead Squat

(3) Strength-Building Exercises
All Supporting Lifts
Shoulder Shrug
Dead Lift
Leg Press
Heavy Squat
Handstand Pushup
Dumbbell Press

In concocting our various schedules we have tried to apportion these various exercises so that in each routine we have at least one conditioning exercise, two or three shaping movements, and five or six strength-builders.

Having now cautioned you in the official manner that all I am about to say may be used against me, let us blithely leap in where angels fear to tread:

Schedule No. 1

(a) Warm Up – 5 or 6 fast Pull-Up-and-Press, or Flip Snatches without moving feet.

(1) Stiff-Legged Dead Lift and Shrug – 10 reps. This exercise is a bit tricky in performance. You bend forward and pick up a bar with overgrip, just as if you were going to perform a stiff-legged dead lift. As you come erect, shrug the trapezius muscles high, then leaning back slightly you rotate the shoulders and transfer the pressure from the shoulders to the latissimus muscles of the back. At this point, by practice, you will able to achieve a latissimus “lock” – spreading the shoulder blades and widening the back to its utmost. While keeping these muscles spread, you bend forward to lower bell almost to floor while maintaining the “pull” on the back muscles all the way. Start light, and remember, “feel” is important in muscle-moulding exercises such as this.

(2) Squat – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
(3) Pullover – 15 reps.
(4) Support Exercise – Barbell hangs from ceiling suspended on chain at about shoulder height. Get under in split or squat position with arms locked and braced, then raise weight to full arms’ length above head with legs straight and in finishing jerk position. Stand erect for several seconds. Lower and repeat. Breathe in just before lifting movement, and breathe out with weight overhead. Breathe in shallowly again and lower. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

(5) Side Bend – 10 reps each side.
(6) Clean, without moving feet – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
(7) Leg Raise – 20 reps.

(8) Overhead Squat – Squatting with the bar held overhead in the snatch position is one of the very finest exercises for the back, legs and waist region, as well as promoting bodily poise and coordination. A combination conditioning and strength builder. Snatch the weight to overhead and squat low. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

(9) Alternate Dumbbell Press (see-saw) – If you have difficulty in cleaning two dumbbells to shoulders it may help to load the bells 5 or 10 pounds heavier to the back, as is done with a one-dumbbell swing. Lock the legs and buttocks and keep the back straight and firm when pressing. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

(10) Swingbar Seated Curl – 3 sets of 10 reps.

This schedule is intended for three workouts per week, with a day of rest between each exercise day. The technique might be called the “Work up and work down” method. Weight progression: Calculate backwards from a new personal best in the last week. To the starting weights, add 5 pounds to weight of barbell, 2½ to dumbbells each week following the first, except in the case of Exercise 4, where 10 pounds may be added. Continue this schedule for six weeks, then rest one week (complete rest from all weight training), then proceed with Schedule 2.

In undertaking Schedule 2, after this week of rest, we back-cycle somewhat in amount of weight handled in order to get a running start. The technique is changed to that of the “Heavy and Light” method.

Schedule No. 2

(a) Warm Up – Pull-Up-and-Press, or Flip Snatch without moving feet.
(1) Overhead Squat – 10 reps.

(2) Dead Lift (on blocks) – The bar should cross the legs just below the knees. Lean down with very little forward bend, so that lifting is done with mainly legs instead of the back. Start the upward movement easily and add power and speed as you come erect. 3 reps, 5 reps, 3 sets of 5 reps.

(3) Side Bend – 10 reps.
(4) Support – same as exercise 4, schedule 1 – 3 reps, 5 reps, 3 sets of 5 reps.
(5) Leg Raise – 20 reps.
(6) Pull-up to Chin – 3 reps, 5 reps, 3 sets of 5 reps.

(7) Shoulder Shrug (From Hanging Below Shoulder-High Supports or from Below Shoulder Height in Rack) – Well, well, well! Look who’s here! Is that Joe Hise doing all the puffing? Here is a shoulder shrug exercise devised to take the pain out of high rep bodybuilding squats. In this instance we are using it as a wonderful power builder. Take the bar from a rack (or suspension) several inches below shoulder level. A very heavy weight may be employed and progression is very fast. Remember this when planning the starting weights for your 6-week progression. Get your whole body firmly placed, feet apart and in line, legs braced, back strongly erect and lift weight from supports. Now breathe in strongly and attempt to lift the weight up and back by shrugging the trapezius muscles. Breathe out as the weight lowers (IT ONLY RISES AN INCH OR TWO) then breathe in and repeat. As a straight power-building exercise, one breath is sufficient. 3, 5, 3 sets of 5.

(8) Bent Arm Pullover – 3, 5, 3 sets of 5.

(9) Handstand Pushup – If you cannot balance, position yourself about 18 inches from a wall and let your feet rest slightly against it. Later, use two boxes so that the body may be lowered for a full movement. A pair of low parallel bars can be handy for this. 3 sets of as many as possible.

(10) Swingbar Seated Curl – 3, 5, 3 sets of 5 reps.

Same progression as Schedule No. 1. Add 5 pounds to barbell each week, 2½ pounds to swingbell, 10 pounds to barbell in exercises 4 and 7. Train for six weeks, then rest one week.

Schedule 3 typifies another exercise technique, employing the set or series system. Here, too, go back slightly after our rest period in order to gain momentum.

Schedule No. 3

(a) Warm Up – Pull-Up-and-Press, or Flip Snatch without moving feet.

(1) Squat and Press Behind Neck – Place bar behind neck, then as you bend the knees and go into the deep squat position you press the barbell overhead at the same time. As you come erect you lower the bar back to starting position behind neck. This exercise demands perfect muscular coordination. 10 reps.

(2) Press Out – This exercise is designed to promote strength in the back, shoulders and arms. It is, simply, a limited press-out motion, and sheer push and power are necessary. Use a weight slightly higher than your best press poundage, and have the bar suspended (or racked) at about the height of the forehead. Brace yourself firmly under the weight with the shoulders back and the entire body tight and locked (your regular pressing position). Breathe in deeply, then push the weight to the finish position at full arms’ length. Breathe out as you lower, and repeat. 5 sets of 3 reps, all sets with the same weight after warmups.

(3) Leg Raise – 20 reps.
(4) Leg Press, or Front Squat – 5 sets of 5, all sets with the same weight.

(5) Bent Arm Pullover – The bouncing pullover is a fine chest, shoulder, and arm developer. We have found the use of a six-inch box under the upper back a decided advantage. When using the box or padded support, the hips should be flattened firmly to the floor. The movement consists of a half-circle. Starting with the bar resting on the upper thighs, you carry it back over the head until it hits and bounces from the floor behind head. For strength work this should be done with the arms bent.

(6) Clean, without moving feet – 5 sets of 3 reps.
(7) Sit-Ups – 10 reps.
(8) Overhead Squat – 5 sets of 3, all sets with the same weight.
(9) Dumbbell Press (together) – 5 sets of 3 reps, all sets with the same weight after warmups.
(10) Swingbar Curl – 3 sets of 10 reps.

Weight Progression – the same as Schedules 1 and 2. This is also a six-week routine, after which you rest one full week, and then go into Schedule 4, which employs the “Single Repetition” method.

Schedule No. 4.

(a) Warm Up – Pull-Up-and-Press, or Flip Snatch without moving feet.

(1) Bouncing Split – Place a light bar on your shoulders. Grip the bar strongly and pull down to fix it so it will not bounce. Now split forward strongly and speedily with the right leg, going down into the deep split position until the knee of the left leg touches the floor. Now BOUNCE up and immediately reverse the leg action, placing the left foot forward, and go down until the right knee touches. The best performance we know of this novel exercise is Fraysher Ferguson. He is a very good all-round athlete, and very fast in action. He does 20 reps with 150 pounds, completing them in 20 seconds. 10 reps each leg.

(2) Front Squat Supports – This is a heavy movement, with a suspended (or power-racked) bar. The idea is to build explosive energy in the back and thighs to add drive to your heavy jerks. Bar should be positioned so that it must be lifted about 6 to 8 inches. It is best to KEEP THE ELBOWS UP. Get the bar and your body firmly set, breathe in, lower by bending the knees abut 6 or 8 inches ( ¼ squat) and drive strongly up to erect position. 8 to 12 progressively heavier single repetitions.

(3) Side Bend – 10 reps each side.
(4) Squat – 8 to 12 progressively heavier single reps.
(5) Pullover – 15 reps.
(6) Pullup to Chin – 8 to 12 progressively heavier single reps with added weight.
(7) Leg Raise – 20 reps.
(8) Dumbell Press – 8 to 12 single reps.
(9) Barbell Curl – 8 to 12 single reps.

Again, calculate your starting poundages backward from a personal best at week six, and add weight progressively.

During the course of these schedules you may have discovered a few things about your body. Perhaps there were too many exercises, and that you had to cut down on repetitions. Perhaps, too, you found that the method employed in a certain schedule better suited your particular needs, i.e., you may be better geared to the Heavy and Light System than to the Single Rep approach.

As you go into higher and higher poundages you will also find that you may need more rest, and that twice-a-week workouts are preferable. Also, at higher levels, you may need to cut down the number of exercises which you can do with safety.


Dave Thomas

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quintessential Jock

Muscle Jock of the Day






Service Game

Cable Crossovers


Feats of Overhead Strength - Jules Bacon

Clevio Massimo

Gary Cleveland

Al Beinart, Detroit Michigan,
bent press record holder.
330 pounds.

Feats of Overhead Strength
by Jules Bacon (1958)

The list of men who lifted 400 pounds and more overhead is growing. Arthur Saxon was the first with his two-hands-anyhow of 448. Karl Swoboda became second with his jerk of 448, and Charles Rigoulot became the third when he clean & jerked 402. In our present era, made by amateurs and lifting under official conditions, those who succeeded are:

John Davis, Norbert Schemansky, Dave Sheppard, Paul Anderson, Clyde Emrich, Medvedev, Novikov, Dave Ashman, Doug Hepburn and Umberto Selvetti.

The first man in the world to make an Olympic total of over 1,000 pounds on the three lifts was Steve Stanko. This took place in 1941 at the Middle Atlantic championships in York. Stanko pushed the clean & jerk record then held by Luhaar of Estonia from 369 to 382. In training he clean and jerked 390 many times.

The first American to make a world’s record on one of the International Five lifts (one hand snatch, one hand jerk, plus the three Olympic lifts, then the basis for lifting competition the world over) was Dick Bachtell. In 1931 at the Penn A.C. in Philadelphia he made a left hand snatch of 155 pounds while weighing 132.

At least eight men are credited with having officially lifted 300 pounds overhead with one hand. Arthur Saxon is credited with a bent press of 371, the highest on record. Then Thomas Inch, Edward Aston, Joe Nordquest, Lionel Strongfort, Harold Ansorge, Paul Baillargeon and Al Beinert, who recently took the record away from Baillargeon by making 330 pounds. Both Wally Zagurski and John Grimek have pressed over 300 pounds to arm’s length, but neither came up to an erect position. Wally was by far the lightest man ever to get 300 to straight-arm’s length. Years ago we had the most exclusive club in the world, the 300 pound club, which was opened to any athlete who lifted 300 pounds overhead in any manner. Now the 300 press club is becoming common. Long ago the continental style of pressing was used, which permitted any degree of back bending, but today a military style is being enforced, altho’ not always successfully. The press record then was held by Schilberg from Austria with 292, but was increased by Josef Manger of Germany to 319, then taken by John Davis and now being held by Paul Anderson in excess of 400 pounds.

Henry “Milo” Steinborn, for many years known as the Strongest Man in Wrestling, made a record in 1921 with a 552 deep knee bend. The amazing thing about this record is that Henry got the weight on his shoulders unassisted, by way of rocking it onto his shoulders. The record seemed to stay until Doug Hepburn, Canadian strongman, exceeded it with over 600 and later made over 700 pounds on this lift, taking the weight from supports. Anderson then assaulted this record by doing over a half ton currently holds it without any takers.

Art Levan became the first American to continental & jerk double bodyweight. This feat was performed at one of the contests staged by the York Barbell Club. Doing double bodyweight on the clean & jerk has long been considered one of the greatest feats of any sport, and Tony Terlazzo became the first to accomplish this feat, clean & jerking 275 while weighing 137½ in 1933.

Norb Schemansky was, for a long time, the heaviest man to succeed in this feat when he made 399½ while weighing 196 pounds. Clyde Emrich, in making 409 at a bodyweight of 198, lifted 13 pounds more than double bodyweight. Chuck Vinci clean and jerked 296 at 122, 52 pounds more than double bodyweight. Now Isaac Berger is the first man, in practice, to press double bodyweight. At 135 he pressed 270 at Muscle Beach.

The late John Y. Smith, at the age of 60 and weighing less than 160 pounds, possessed a phenomenal grip and dead lifted 520, also making remarkable poundages in other lifts to win the title of New England’s Strongest Man.

In 1933 Weldon Bullock became the first 17 year old boy in the world to clean & jerk over 300 pounds. This record was then surpassed by Danny Fornataro with a lift of 300 at age 16. Pete George, who clean & jerked 300 pounds while weighing 145 at 15 years of age, became the lightest and youngest to accomplish this feat. In winning the World’s Championship in Phila. in 1947 at age 17 he made 319 pounds.

Steve Stanko, the first American to snatch 300 pounds, was quickly followed by Louis Abele and then by John Davis. In totaling 1002, Stanko snatched 310. Davis made 317 in winning the 1941 Nationals, which was 24½ higher than the accepted record held by the late Ron Walker.

Steve Gob, professional wrestler, pressed 270 before the Second World War and thus exceeded the accepted record at that time by 17 pounds.

Watch Your Back


Competitive Edge Lab's Alpha-One is the most powerful pro-hormone of any of the Competitive Edge range. Alpha-One was designed to deliver massive gains in size and strength but shouldn't be taken on your first cycle because it's too much for the body, the receptors haven't adapted and fully opened yet.

The options we do recommend for a first time cycle are Competitive Edge Labs E-Stane or H-Drol. You shouldn't use any pro-hormones if you're female or under the age of 21 as it will mess with your hormone levels too much.

Because Alpha-One delivers such explosive and large gains in strength and muscle size, at such a rapid pace, it is recommended only for short cycles. Alpha-One is also a good option for front-loading into other products.

Ideally, you would use Alpha-One for bulking because it delivers the gains you want but some fluid retention too. This is only a mild amount of fluid retention however, so you can still use Alpha-One to great effect in lean bulking cycles. Alpha-One is a very potent option of pro-hormone that should only really be taken by advanced or experienced users who need results fast.

A typical cycle of Alpha-One will take 3 weeks. During this period you would have to consume 2-3 capsules of Alpha-One every day.

If you're looking to stack Alpha-One with any other supplement then CEL Formestane is the way to go. Taking these both at the same time delivers the gains of two pro-hormones with the side effects of one. The side effects being that you your liver will take in water to help filter all the chemicals moving around your body along with the extra ingredients that come with taking a pro-hormone.

You can take Alpha-One if you're loading up to take other products later. Don't ever use Alpha-One to bridge into M-Drol because doing this puts a huge amount of excessive strain on your liver and kidneys.

It's recommended that you use post cycle assist during your cycle of Alpha-One, to support your health overall. You can take cycle assist at the beginning of your cycle but we recommend that you start taking it 2-3 weeks before your Alpha-One cycle begins so that it has already built up in your system.

If you are going to stack Alpha-One with Formestane then it's recommended that you take a dose of 100mg per day, then follow that with a two week overlap into post cycle therapy at 100mg during your first week of PCT and then finally 50mg per day during the second week of PCT.

It's absolutely critical you use a PCT of some sort following your cycle, especially after taking something like Alpha-One, these are your hormones after all, the consequences for not getting these right can be a big hazard to your health.

Supplement Facts:

Serving Size: 1 Cap

Servings Per Container: 60

Amount Per Serving: Methyl-1-Etiocholenolol-Epietiocholanolone - 20mg

Other Ingredients:

Cellulose, Gelatin


As a dietary supplement, take 1 to 3 capsules per day. For best results space the dosage out evenly throughout the day. Do not take this product for more than 3 weeks. Use proper PCT afterwards and follow it up by at least an 8 week break before using this product again.


Do not use this product if you are under 21 years of age. This product should not be used by women. Do not use this product if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other physical and / or psychiatric condition. Keep stored in a cool, dry place away from children.