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.
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.
Continue Reading » Exercise Selection and Workload
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.
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".
Continue Reading » How To Use Speed Work For Maximal Strength Gains
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.
Continue Reading » Double Progressive System
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.
Continue Reading » If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter
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.
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.
Continue Reading » Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)
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.
Continue Reading » Deadlifts and Muscle Mass: Myths that Sell
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:
Continue Reading » Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?
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.
Continue Reading » What Is Force?
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.
Continue Reading » Do Not Have a Huge List of Absolutely Essential Exercises
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.
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.
Continue Reading » Easily Convert Kg to Pounds (Lbs) in Your Head
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.
Page Tree Navigation
- A Bit About Specificity and Transfer Of Training Effect
- Are Machines Safer Than Free Weights?
- Are Strength Training Stalls or Plateaus Inevitable?
- Asinine Expectations in Strength Training
- Being A Maximal Strength Trainee
- Bodyweight Exercises: The Wide Eyed Effect
- Bruce Lee Strength Training Myths
- Choosing Exercises For Aggressive Progression
- Core Strength And Stability
- Corrective Exercise: What I'm Really Tired Of
- Crossfit Training
- Dangerous Strongman Circuits for Women (or Men!)
- Detraining and Deconditioning
- Double Progressive System
- Easily Convert Kg to Pounds (Lbs) in Your Head
- Elite Athletes
- Banded Deadlifts
- Bench Press
- Biceps Tears from Deadlifts?
- Clean Style Deadlift versus Powerlifting Deadlift
- Deadlifts and Muscle Mass: Myths that Sell
- Hook Grip Versus Alternated Grip for Deadlifts
- How to Deadlift with Standard Plates
- How to do Deadlifts: Hips Too High, Too Low, or Just Right
- One Legged Deadlift? What is That? And What Does it Do for your Strength Training?
- Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
- Romanian Versus Stiff Legged Deadlifts
- Should I Push or Pull for Deadlifts?
- Slow Versus Fast Pulls: Why is the Deadlift a Slow Pull and the Olympic Lifts Fast Pulls?
- Snatch Grip Deadlifts
- Suitcase Deadlifts
- The Deadlift is not a Deadlift and Other Infectious Aphorisms
- Top 10 Rules For Deadlift Training
- What Muscle Should I Feel Working When I Do Deadlifts and Why Do I Feel It Mostly in My Back?
- Do Not Have a Huge List of Absolutely Essential Exercises
- Deadlifts: Don't Jerk the Weight off The Floor - Well Meaning But Confusing Advice
- Having Trouble Breathing and Bracing Your Core During Overhead Press?
- Little Tweaks for Big Lifts? Another Strength Training Myth Goes Down, plus the Big Deadlift and Squat Tweaks
- Overhead Squat Do's
- Performing the Powerlifting Squat for Raw Lifters
- The Deadlift is an Anything-Goes Lift? Plus, Were the Old Time Strongmen Really Stronger?
- Front Planks
- How to Perform the Military Press (Standing Overhead Barbell Press)
- Olympic Lifts
- Overhead Press And Weighted Pull-Ups
- Pull-Throughs (Hip Pulls) Exercise
- Single Leg Exercises
- Anderson Half Squat
- Anderson Squats
- Can I Squat without a Squat Rack?
- Fixing the Buttwink on Squats
- Front Squats
- Front Squats and Back Squats
- Front Squats Versus Back Squats
- Impressive Overhead Squat
- Kneeling Squats
- The Four Squat Workout
- The 'Wrong' Way To Squat
- Tweaking the Overhead Squat: Dislocates, Reaching Back, Grip Width and Mobility Drills
- The Cook Hip Lift
- The Dynamic Barbell Row: A Semantic Exercise
- The Functional Big Three
- Exercise Selection and Workload
- Five Tips for a Better Strength Training Workout
- Giant Sets
Grip and Hand Strength Training
- Beginner Grip Training
- Gripper Info and Gripper Training
- Gripping the Bar for Deadlifts: Correct Grip, Supporting Strength, and Calluses
- Grip Strength Training Equipment: Using A Blob For Pinch Strength
- Hands Like Vise Grips
- If You Can't Grip It, You Can't Rip It
- Pinch Grip Dumbbell Deadlifts
- Rubber Band Hand Extensions
- The Crosswise Brick Exercise
- Homemade Equipment
- How To Choose A Weight Training Routine
- How To Deload - Some Practical Suggestions
- How to Perform Your Specific Exercise Warm Ups
- If you Don't Train to Failure, You'll Never Need a Spotter
- In Strength Training, Do You Always Progress in a Linear Fashion?
- Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete Ever? How Do We Compare This to Lifting?
- Lean And Toned from Bodyweight Training but Big and Bulky from Weight Training?
- Learning The Lifts
- Maxing Out Every Day
Mobility and Flexibility
- Dynamic Mobility Videos
- Mobility and Flexibility
Mobility Exercises and Drills
- 4-Point Thoracic Mobilization
- Bird Dog Exercise (4-point to 2-point Kneeling Spinal Stability Exercise)
- Cat Stretch (aka Cat Camel)
- Cook Deep Squat Mobility Progression with Video Demonstration
- Scapular Push-Up (Push-Up Plus)
- Scapular Wall Slides Exercise
- Side Lying Thoracic Rotations
- Static Spiderman Stretch (Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch)
- Supine Bridge Exercise for Glute Activation and Dynamic Warm Up
- Thoracic Extensions on Foam Roller
- Warrior Lunge
- Static Stretching Effects On Force Production and Performance
- The Stretching Handbook
- The Stretching Handbook 2
- The Stretching Handbook 3
- The Stretching Handbook 4
- The Stretching Handbook 5
- The Stretching Handbook 7
- The Stretching Handbook 8
- The Stretching Handbook 9
- What Is Dynamic Mobility?
- Overtraining Doesn't Always Produce a Decline in Maximum Strength
- Personal Trainers and Personal Training
- Pistols: What have you done for me lately?
- Planks: Fitness Fad or Truth?
- Andrey Malanichev
- Bad Attitude Gym
- Big Iron Gym
- Bob Gaynor: 63 Year Old Deadlifts 672 Pounds
- Brad Gillingham
- Brad Gillingham 400 kg Deadlift Record
- Chase Kiser Prepares for APF Senior Nationals
- Crazy Deadlifting by Konstantine Konstantinovs and Andy Bolton
- Dave Tate Talking Trash
- Donnie Thompson Squat Record
- George Leggett Deadlifts 396 @ 165
- Ian Bell Breaks Three American Records
- John Bostick Deadlifts 710
- Konstantine Konstantinovs Interview
- Lance Karabel 1008 Lbs Squat
- Mike Ross Deadlifts 730 @ 218
- Mike Tuchscherer
- Shane Hammock Breaks APF Jr Record!!!!
- Stan Efferding
- Super Cup Of The Titans 2011
- Tom Martin 350 kg Deadlift Record
- Vincent Urbank 846 Deadlift
- Programs and Methods Versus Principles: Wave Loading and Interval Training
- Quality Volume Training (QVT) - Lift BIG Video and Article
- Quantitative Measurements and Quality Evaluations: The Difference Between Numbers and Performance
- Rest Periods
- Should I Lift Fast or Slow? Training to Failure, Single Sets versus Multiple Sets, Non Sequitors and False Dilemmas
- Should You Switch Exercises to Keep Your Muscles from Adapting?
- Single Double Triple Progression: SDT FAQ
- Speed Training (Speed Work, Dynamic Effort, DE)
- Strength and Exercise Myth: Skills are Always Developed in a Sequence
- Strength Consolidation: An Example
- Strength Consolidation For Deadlifts
- Strength: Simple But Difficult?
- Strength Training Rep And Set Range
- Strength Training with Single, Double and Triple Progression
- The Perfect Strength Training Program
- The Problem with Reactive Training
- The Reality of Using Lifting Videos for Exercise Form Checks
- The Singles Scene - Your Guide to Single Rep Strength Training
- Training Equipment
Training To Fail Series
- Training to Fail Part 2: Intensity Cycling and High Intensity Overtraining
- Training to Fail Part 3: The Failure of Intensity Cycling
- Training to Fail Part 4: Optimal Training
- Training to Fail Part 5: Focus and Pick A Program
- Training to Fail Part 6: Biomechanics, Injury Prevention, and Performance
- Training To Fail: The Failurists
- Valsalva Maneuver
- Want to Increase Strength without Adding Muscle?
- What are Cheating Reps (aka Cheating Method, Cheating System)?
- What is Fitness-Fatigue?
- Why Do Some Lifters GRIND on Maximum Lifts When Others Don't - I.E. Grinders Versus NonGrinders
- Wobble Boards, Bosu Balls, or Foam: What's The Difference?