Training

Why Do Some Lifters GRIND on Maximum Lifts When Others Don't - I.E. Grinders Versus NonGrinders

You ever heard the expression, in lifting circles, "It was a real grinder?" This usually refers to a deadlift and it is when someone tries a very heavy lift, presumably a 1RM or thereabouts, and he really struggles with the load and completes the lift very slowly with a lot of hitches and adjustment, etc. So a grinder means a painstakingly difficult and slow lift that does not go from the floor to the waist in one easy shot. You will probably see a lot of fits, jiggles, and other manner of evidence that the lifter is at his absolute force output.

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Exercise Selection and Workload

Practical training involves balancing exercises and how much of your workload is dedicated to training them. If you look at most of the powerlifting, strength training or other such routines floating around the web, you’re going to notice all of them focusing on the big compound movements, but then listing a ton of supplementary, assistance, or accessory lifts after them. Typically, you'll see someone recommending a few sets of heavy Bench Press followed by a total of 15-20 sets of other pressing work, pull-ups, rows, and other exercises for reps. You meet someone at the gym and you ask them what they’re training that day and they’ll tell you that they’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats followed by 10 sets of other leg exercises. Does this seem reasonable? I mean, if you’re doing 2-3 sets of Squats and then 10 sets of some other leg exercises that doesn’t make it a “squat” day, does it? The bulk of the workload is utilized on these supplementary exercises.

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Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete Ever? How Do We Compare This to Lifting?

There is a lot of talk about Michael Phelps and his many, many medals. Is he the greatest Olympian ever? Well, it depends on your perspective. As has been said already a thousand times, a case can be made that he is the greatest Olympian ever. But what is true of athletics in general is true of the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics is a case study in athletes with a capital A.

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How To Use Speed Work For Maximal Strength Gains

I’m writing this article to shed some more light on Speed Work and to suggest some other ways it can be used in your training. Using Speed Work for Strength Training has become exceedingly popular. Strength & Conditioning Certifications list it as a mandatory part of Maximal Strength Training and almost all powerlifting programs have a whole day dedicated to "Speed Training".

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Double Progressive System

The Double Progressive System is a resistance training method that attempts to vary the stimulus by changing the number of repetitions and the resistance used. At first the resistance is kept the same and the number of repetitions is increased with each consecutive workout, until a certain per-arranged number of reps is reached. At this point, various scenarios are given as to how to continue, but all of them involve decreasing the reps and increasing the resistance. A common scenario would have the lifter simply increase the load by 5% and reduce the number of reps back down to the initial low starting point, and then repeating the process.

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If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter

Oh my, so very, very, wrong. And yet it is a commonly stated idea. If you never need a spotter then it is fair to say you never truly train for strength. Strength training involves lifting very heavy weights and sometimes weights that exceed those you've lifted before. This isn't rocket surgery. You want to get strong you have to venture into uncharted territory and you can never be sure. Therefore there are always times in strength training where a spotter, or at least safety catches of some kind, are needed. This has nothing to do with just whether you train to failure or not. Anybody who is around strength training even a moderate amount of time will see lifters failing at lifts where a spotter should have been present, or, again, where the lifter at least should have been within a power rack with spotter bars. So, if someone says you never need a spotter unless you train to "failure," you're talking to someone who is twiddling around with strength training but that doesn't really know anything about it.

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Are Weight Training Images 'Picture Perfect'? - Can You Really Use Them to Learn the Lifts?

A while back I made a post called Asinine Expectations. In one I said that it is a false assumption to expect your "form" to perfectly match someone else's form on a given complex movement. This is something I've come across with trainees again and again. They look at other people lifting, or worse, look at STILL IMAGES and think they are doing it wrong if they don't "match" when they do the exercise pictured.

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Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)

I once wished that strongman was a more popular sport. Well, I am beginning to get what I wished for. However, I failed to foresee the unfortunate side-effect of this popularity: Trendy "Strongman fitness" programs thrown together in slapdash fashion for mass consumption. Case in point, this news program from NBC Today showing a Strongman circuit program for women.

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Deadlifts and Muscle Mass: Myths that Sell

Somebody recently implied that I try to sell pure strength training to everybody. The idea being, I suppose, that I want to convince everybody to engage in maximum strength training and think it is "bad" if they don't, or, by extension, fail to follow my advice. Well, those who have read my blog extensively, of course, know better, since the "selling of strength" training is something I adamantly oppose and often complain about.

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Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?

Why? I've always wondered about this. Are you such an Adonis but at the same time so weak that you need to work your butt off so that you can become as strong as you look? Even pro bodybuilders are pretty darn strong compared to the average Joe. But let's just stick with the average Joe, not the pro. Let me ask again, why would you want to get strong without adding any muscle?

I wonder this because at least once a month I see a new article explaining how to do this. Why is this concept so popular? Is it because:

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What Is Force?

Training for maximal strength is essentially training to exert maximum muscular force. So what is force? The easiest way to think of a force is as a simple push or pull. When you push or pull on a barbell or other implement you are exerting a force. The pull of the Earth's gravity on an object is a force. Friction is a force. To be more precise, then, a force is something that causes or tends to cause a change in the motion or the shape of an object.

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Do Not Have a Huge List of Absolutely Essential Exercises

One big problem that trainees have in designing strength training templates is the Exercise List. These tend to be lists of 35 to 40 exercises that the trainee is attached to for some reason and if he or she is not working hard on all of them then the program is just not right. But that is wrong.

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Gripping the Bar for Deadlifts: Correct Grip, Supporting Strength, and Calluses

This post is meant to discuss three basic propositions about training the deadlift. The first concerns a statement that we frequently read or hear concerning the development of supporting grip strength for deadlifts: Deadlifting is all you need to train your grip for deadlifts. I'm going to explain to you why this false assumption is made and how it is not true for everyone. The second has to do with the correct way to grip the bar. I am not sure that many people even know there is a correct method to grip the bar that results in a more secure grip and more protection against ripping the skin, and ripping off calluses. The third concerns calluses themselves. So here goes.

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Easily Convert Kg to Pounds (Lbs) in Your Head

I was in the gym this morning and trying to convert kilograms to pounds. I asked around until someone told me about an ancient powerlifting formula. Okay, the truth is I asked my father how to do a quick conversion. He is retired now but still hits the gym. Since he was a butcher he worked with lbs for years and only recently had to use KG's when the UK switched. He told me a quick and easy way to convert Kgs to Lbs in your head that I thought I would share with you all.

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Quantitative Measurements and Quality Evaluations: The Difference Between Numbers and Performance

My post on rest periods for strength training makes fun of that old bodybuilding forum question "what's your stats?" You know the one when you ask any question and you always get the same response asking you your weight and how much you can squat, deadlift, and bench press. The idea is that the respondent is doing some quick and dirty calculations based on your "stats" and this will lead them to the correct answer to your particular question. In reality they don't know what the hell they are doing and are just trying to sound like they are about to give you 'individualized' answers.

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