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Join the 300lbs Overhead Press Club


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The Locust

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Interessant artikel volgens mij. Die "partial push press" lijkt mij echt zwoegen... En ik wil in z'n club geraken.


Join the 300lbs Overhead Press Club
by Keith Wassung (lifetime drugfree strength enthusiast)

The overhead press has always been the premiere shoulder exercise for strength and development. Few exercises are as satisfying as the overhead press. I believe that if you could find a remote, primitive island in the world and left a loaded barbell on the beach in the middle of the night, within a week, the men of the island would be trying to lift it over their heads. The heaviest recorded weight that has been pressed in an overhead manner was 535lbs by Ken Patera, in the early 1970’s. Patera, who became famous as a professional wrestler, may have been the strongest man ever to compete in Olympic lifting, but he lacked the technical proficiency of his competitors

Pressing big weights is a real kick and it is rare to see in most gyms. Many years ago, I visited the original Golds Gym in Santa Monica with some friends. We were dressed in street clothes and were wandering around, watching all of the bodybuilders train. We came to a seated press unit and my friends coaxed me to do some overhead presses. I did not want to do this knowing that I was amongst people who routinely pressed 300lbs for 8-10 reps, or at least that is what I was led to believe by reading the various magazines. I started warming up and as I added weight, I began drawing on-lookers. By the time I had 315lbs on the bar, about three-fourths of the gym members had gathered around to watch (talk about pressure) I did 4 hard reps with the crowd enthusiastically cheering me on.

One of the most common questions that I am asked is what is the best combination of sets and reps to do in order to achieve increased strength and development. My answer has always been that it really does not matter as long as you are training in a progressive manner. Progression and overload are two very important principles that must be followed, yet are often overlooked in many people’s training program. Strength and development is as much of an art, as it is a science. You have to experiment, keep track of your numbers in a training log and make adjustments as necessary. I have always believed that the best way to make consistent, long-term progress is to do a wide range of repetitions in your training,

In order to increase your standing overhead press, you have to develop near perfect technique, strengthen your weak points and get your body physically and mentally prepared to lift heavy weights over your head.

Technique

The body has to work in harmony with itself as a unit. Each muscle or set of contracting muscles has an opposite set of muscles, which are referred to as the antagonistic muscles. For example, the triceps are antagonistic to the biceps when doing barbell curls. To maximize your training, the antagonistic muscles need to be set or balanced against the contractor muscles. When standing in the traditional upright stance, there is little balance and once the lifting begins, the antagonistic muscles actually begin draining the contractor (the ones used in the exercise) muscles of strength and energy. To place yourself in the strongest standing position, you should place one foot approximately 3-4 inches in front of the other in a staggered stance. This will place you in a much stronger stance permitting more work to be performed. Boxers, martial artists, baseball players and track and field athletes also use the staggered stance. If you ever see pictures of past Olympic lifters such as Vasily Alexeev or Paul Anderson, you will notice that their feet are staggered when elevating weights overhead.

Practice with a somewhat narrower grip-many people use the same grip on their overheads that they do on the bench press but bringing your grip in just a bit will give you a stronger and faster press. Take the barbell from the uprights and get set into your stance, maintaining tightness in the mid-section and lower back. When you begin pressing the bar, you want to be looking at a very slight up angle. This will take your head slightly back and will allow the bar to pass in front of your face without having to change the trajectory of the bar. As the bar clears the top of your head, you will want to push the bar up and slightly back in a straight line so that you end up with the bar directly over the center of your head.

You would be surprised how many people perform this movement incorrectly. Instead of pressing so that the weight ends up overhead, it ends up actually in front of the head. The leverage that your shoulders have to work against when you’re in this adverse position can really put undue and unnecessary stress on your shoulders-the joints, not the muscles, and will inhibit you from pressing the maximum amount of weight in this exercise.

Lock the bar out, lower back to your shoulders and repeat for the desired number of reps. It is important to start each press from a stopped position. It is easy to develop a habit of lowering the weight and then rebounding off the shoulders to start the next rep. By starting each rep from a “dead” position, you might initially have to reduce the weight you are lifting, but you will be much stronger in the end, especially when performing maximum singles.

Strengthening Weak Points

One of the limiting factors in the overhead press is the strength and flexibility of the lower back and mid-section. Train your mid-section as hard as you train anything else. Mid-section weakness is very common among lifters. It is not that the mid-section is weak, but it is weak in comparison to other parts of the body that are worked in a progressive manner. If your goal is strength and power, then traditional abdominal isolation exercises, such as crunches and leg raises will only take you so far in your quest for optimal strength and development.

The purpose of the mid-section is primarily for stabilization and therefore this area needs to be worked in a static manner. Do as much of your mid-section training as you can while standing on your feet. Perform overhead lockouts, overhead shrugs and learn to do overhead squats ( Use a search engine and type in overhead squats, Dan John to learn this valuable exercise from the master himself) I like to elevate objects such as dumbbells or a keg over my head and then go for a walk around the neighborhood or up and down the stairs. I walk until I cannot keep the weight overhead, then I place it on the ground, rest for 20 seconds and then keep moving again. These types of exercises will build your mid-section and have a tremendous impact on your overall strength and physical preparedness.

If you have been working hard on basic exercises such as squats, dead lifts or rows, you have no doubt experienced either a stiff back or overworked lumbar muscles to the point where you cannot relax or tighten them completely. Your back can become as "stiff as a board" with the lumbar muscles so hard to the touch or so fatigued that they are like a steel spring that has been overstretched. It is essential to have the back properly stretched and warmed up prior to performing any type of overhead presses. Hanging from a chinning bar for a minute or two each day will decompress the lumbar spine and increase flexibility. I also like to do some hyperextensions and some very light bent leg dead lifts in order to prepare the lumbar spine for overhead presses.

Overload & Adjunct Exercises

Marathon runners traditionally trained by running in excess of one hundred miles each week always at or near marathon pace and speed. The legendary running caoch, Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand was one of the first coaches who realized that long distance runners could improve their race times by performing sprint training in their workouts. He used to have his marathon runners compete in the sprint events at the club level. All of his runners hated sprinting but they all loved setting records and winning world and Olympic championships. caoch Lydiard improved his runner’s performance by employing a form of overload. The first principle of weight training is overload. Overload refers to placing greater than usual demands on the muscle group being worked. In essence, to increase muscular performance, a muscle group must be worked harder than it usually works to complete everyday activities. As muscle strength and/or endurance increase, the amount of resistance or repetitions necessary for overload must increase as well. The Overload Principle is a concept based on "overloading" the muscles by lifting more than it is use to doing.

The primary method of overload for the overhead press is the seated overhead press. This exercise will allow you to work the pressing muscles of the upper body, while minimizing the stress on the lower back. I have found that by alternating the standing press with the seated press, I can use heavier weight and train with a much greater frequency that if I were to only perform standing presses.

When performing the seated MAKE SURE that you do this with the back braced-do not do this movement sitting on the end of a flat bench or on a stool as this places a great deal of stress on the lumbar spine, which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place. The design of the seated press machine if very important.

You don’t want the back of the unit to come up in higher than your shoulders-if it does, you can’t get your head out of the way of the bar. You also want to be sure that you can brace your feet against something in order to drive the low back solidly against the backboard of the unit. If you do not have the ideal apparatus as your gym, then might have to mix and match some equipment pieces in order to achieve the desired effect. This is why you should always keep a roll of duct tape in your gym bag!

I also suggest doing the seated presses starting from the bottom position (in the rack, from pins) and not where someone hands it to you from the overhead position, and then you bring it down and back up-you want to mimic the mechanics of the standing overhead press as much as possible. For some variety, you can do a seated 80-degree incline press as a core exercise. This also takes the lower back out of it and really allows you to get used to lifting heavy weights overhead. I believe that if I had never done the seated presses and the 80-degree presses, I would have never exceeded 300lbs in the standing overhead press.

The next movement is a heavy partial push press done in the power rack. Use a weight that is roughly equivalent to your best single rep in the standing overhead press. You put the pins 4-5 inches below the starting position. squat down and get set with the bar, explode up elevate the bar to just over the top of your head, and then slowly count to 4 on the way down, set it on the pins, explode and repeat for 6 total reps-this is the most brutal thing I have ever done for the upper body-you will likely need a spotter (just to yell at you, rather than for safety reasons) and if you feel like or want to do a second set, then you did not use enough weight on your first set. This will do as much to improve your overhead strength capacity as anything I know.

If you need to improve the strength of your triceps then consider doing some overhead presses while using a narrow grip. I use the same grip that I would for a narrow grip bench press with the index fingers being on the smooth part of the bar and the middle finger on the knurling. You will find that your arms may prevent you from lowering the bar all the way down to the upper chest/shoulder region. Use whatever range of motion works for you. As an added twist, you can use this same grip to do overhead lockouts. Place the pins in the power rack so that the bar is even with the top of the head and then press the weight to lockout.

Barbell bent over rows are an excellent adjunct movement for the overhead press. It is safe to say that barbell rows are an excellent adjunct movement for just about every lift. Work this movement hard and don't be surprised if you see increases in all of your lifts as well an increases in muscular development. One of the great aspects of the bent-over row is that there is a wide variety of techniques and variations to chose from which means that just about anyone can find a method of performing this movement regardless of their body structure. The important thing is to ensure that your technique is consistent so that increased poundage is the result of strength gains, not in favorable advantages in the biomechanics of the lift.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The frequency in which you train the overhead press is entirely an individual decision. If you are focused on improving the bench press, then consider adding in the overhead press about once a week. If you want to specialize on the overhead press, then you can do it as much as twice per week. I personally always did best training the overhead press about three times every two weeks. I would suggest doing nothing but standing overhead presses during one workout, then the seated presses and the adjunct work on the second workout. Make sure you are keeping your shoulders healthy with proper warm-ups and rotator cuff training. Best of luck on your quest to 300 and beyond.


It's not the best athlete who wins, but the best prepared."
- Arthur Lydiard,
 

Adema

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Interesting!
 

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Damn, Keith heeft goede artikelen zeg! Iemand al meer van hem gelezen?
 

The Locust

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Unregistered,

Keith heeft tal van dergelijke goede artikels. De meeste ervan heeft hij gepost op de power&bulk forums en op physicalculture.us, maar onlangs met de ez-board crash is het grootste gedeelte ervan verloren gegaan. Hopelijk post hij ze binnenkort opnieuw, want ze worden altijd enorm gesmaakt.

Ik mag die gast wel. Geen bekende lifter of zo, maar een gewone arts/chiropracticus ergens uit een gat in de VS die na z'n uren graag traint zoals het hoort en daar ook heel goed over schrijft. Zijn prestaties als lifetime drugfree zijn ronduit uitstekend. Heb er een paar keer mee over en weer gemaild, en heb goede tips gekregen.

Ik had dit nog staan van hem op m'n computer :


Developing Near Perfect Exercise Technique
by Keith W. Wassung


Remember Grandpa Gustafson? He was the character that Burgess Meredith played in the movie Grumpy Old Men. He was 90 plus years old, and each day he smoked 2 packs of cigarettes, drank a 12 pack of beer, ate bacon for most of his meals and was never sick a day in his life. It seems that most everyone knows someone like this yet nobody in their right mind would want to emulate their lifestyle habits in hopes of achieving the same record of health and longevity. However, this is the exact same mentality that the majority of people use when following the workout habits of others and especially when copying exercise form and technique.

I don't believe that the average person fully appreciates the skill and discipline that it takes to correctly perform most weight training exercises, particularly compound movements and especially when those exercises are pushed to the very limit. Swinging a golf club, tennis racquet or a baseball bat requires coordinated motor skills which take time and practice to develop. An Olympic weight lifter and a shot-putter require intense coaching and many years of practice in order to perfect their movements. Weight training exercises are no different. Some are more difficult to master then others, but all require some degree of skill to perform and this takes practice, time, discipline and attention to detail. I say this because often people make a decision to add an exercise to their program. The trainee performs the lift and it feels uncomfortable or even painful and as a result they either discard the movement or they adopt a very sloppy technique when exercising. In either case, there are virtually no benefits and if the movement is included and performed incorrectly, it often leads to injury. In my early years of training I made this error repeatedly, but I eventually learned from my mistakes.

Several months ago, I decided to add the standing dumbbell press to my training program. The first workout, I decided to start with a pair of 75lbers. I cleaned the bells and performed a total of 8 repetitions, but they were 8 of the sloppiest reps you could imagine. I felt nothing in my shoulders and my lower back and forearms ached and in disgust, I threw the dumbbells down on the mat. The first thought that went through my head was "This is a stupid and worthless exercise and I will never do it again" After getting over my pity party, I re-evaluated my approach to this particular exercise. Though I had been pressing barbells overhead for many years, this was the first time I had tried it with dumbbells and I had to learn how to do it correctly. I read everything I could on proper performance. I sought the advice of those who were proficient in overhead dumbbell pressing, I broke the exercise down into various parts and worked at improving each of those parts, including foot position, hand position, breathing, and the concentric and eccentric phases. I spent hours at home with a pair of 15lbs dumbbells, doing correct overhead presses, over and over again. Two weeks after my first experience with the 75lb dumbbells, I returned to the gym and did the same 75lbs for 15 solid and easy reps. I quickly progressed to using 100+ pounds for my overhead dumbbell pressing. But I am still learning and still working at perfecting this and many other exercises. Often the exercises that seem to be the most difficult for us to perform are exactly the ones we need to master in order to realize our individual potential.

It is beyond the scope of this article to describe specific exercise technique. You can learn that from books, videos, this web site, personal coaching and strength and conditioning seminars. You might be thinking that exercise technique is an individual matter and that there is too much disagreement on what constitutes proper technique. Although there is some difference of opinion on certain exercises and topics such as cadence and range of motion, for the most part, there is a general consensus on correct technique. You may have to make minor modifications to suit your individual needs, but the general principles apply to just about everyone. Walk into any bookstore or library and select any ten weight training instruction books off the shelf and I would wager that 95% of the exercise techniques would be described in a very similar manner. The trouble is that very few people actually do the movements the way they are described. Visit most commercial gyms or health clubs and it's a safe bet that almost no one is lifting with correct form. You see partial movements, bouncing, severe body english, fast slamming movements, cheating movements and a total lack of concentration. It's no wonder that so many people are frustrated with their lack of progress. If you want to maximize your own strength and development, then it is important to develop near perfect technique in all of the exercises in your program.

I believe most people would be best served by selecting 6-7 core exercises and sticking with them for their entire lives. When you feel you need to change your program, simply vary the repetition scheme or even vary the style of the core exercise, but if you are constantly changing exercises, then it is difficult to get really good at performing them. Write down all of the exercises you use in your program and then create a list of "check-points" that are important for each lift. Develop a habit of mentally referring to those checkpoints on each and every repetition and eventually they will become second nature to you. Larry Bird used to do this when shooting free throws. He had a mental list of things to do when shooting and he would go through them over and over in his mind until he could make long strings of consecutive shots. There is a story that when Larry was playing still an NBA pro, he was hired to appear in some commercials for McDonalds. The first commercial called for him to shoot and miss a free throw in practice. The first 22 takes were failures because he was unable to miss the free throw. This is a good example of proper mental conditioning and discipline.

If your progress on a particular lift has stalled or reached a plateau, or if an exercise is causing some non-growth related discomfort, then consider analyzing and working to improve your form. Break down the lift into smaller parts and analyze any weaknesses or trouble spots and then work to improve them. This can be done via adjunct exercises, power rack training or simply fine-tuning the technique involved. You may have to experiment with variations of each movement in order to find what works best for you.

Even when you have developed extremely good form, it is very easy to fall into minor habits that cause form deterioration. A little bounce here, a slight heave there, you don't notice them at first because they are subtle and because you are adding weight to the bar, but eventually it catches up with you either in the form on injuries or halted progress. The wise lifter is constantly checking and re-checking their form.

You can make a tremendous amount of progress by routinely having your workouts videotaped and then reviewing them later, either alone, or with someone that has the experience to critique your performance. You will always spot things on the tape that you just don't see in the mirror during the actual performance. We can all learn from anyone with wisdom and experience, but I have always learned the most about exercise technique from individuals with whom I share a similar structure with.

When you are working at improving your technique or are adding a new movement, it is always best to work with a weight that is far below what you are capable of lifting. Remember, the idea is to improve technical performance, so that you can eventually make strength and development gains. When you are lifting, think of each set as a series of single repetitions, so that instead of "1x8", you think of "8 sets of 1" this will help you to focus on performing each repetition with precision. The competitive powerlifter should always strive to perform each repetition as close to contest rules as possible. I have often watched guys who claimed to have deadlifted a certain number, say 500x5 in the gym, and then end up with only 505 or 510 in the contest. The five repetitions they performed in the gym were nowhere near being close to a contest repetition. I have not competed in powerlifting in over ten years and yet I still walk my squats out, set up, mentally hear the judges command to squat, perform the lift, mentally wait for the judges command to rack, and then walk the squat back in. I did this for so many years when I was competing, that I cannot get out of the habit of doing it.

Focusing on proper exercise technique gives you the best chance of avoiding injuries which allows you to train longer and without forced layoffs. This will enable you to move towards progression faster and more consistently. Proper technique also enables your body to develop a balanced muscular structure so that you can not only lift weights safely and consistently, but will eventually allows you to lift more weight in a way that will be safe and productive.

Keith Wassung
 

GoHeavyLifter

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goede artikels!

het eerste is voor mij alvast zeer interessant, ik ben net meer bezig met overhead presses/ overhead squats. allemaal oefeningen die ik tot voor kort nooit gedaan heb...

Bij het tweede artikel moest ik glimlachen met dit zinnetje, omdat het wéér zo waar is...
'Often the exercises that seem to be the most difficult for us to perform are exactly the ones we need to master in order to realize our individual potential.'

meestal zijn die oefeningen dus ook gewoon de zwakke schakel in andere lifts :)
 

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En nu ik :

Double Barbell overhead press:

One of my favorite "every now and then" moves for the shoulders is an overhead press done with a barbell in each hand.

To do this exercise, you need to set the pins in the power rack so that they are just below shoulder level. Place (2) olympic bars across the pins and then get between them so that you are facing the side of the power rack, rather than the front.

You will have to experiment with your grip to find just the right spot to have the barbells level-this is very important. Use one hand at a time to test which spot works best. Grip the bars so that they are resting on your shoulders parallel to one another. In the starting position, the bars are resting on the pins and your legs are slightly bent. Stand up with the bars across the shoulders and give the bars a chance to level off.

Press the bars overhead to a locked out position-The reason this is an effective movement is that you must do it slowly and with a great deal of control. If you try to "power" the weight up, you will quickly find the bars whipping up and down and out of control. This will force you to do the press slowly, which is perfect for deltoid and upper back stimulation.

The length of the bars and the nature of this exercise will also have a positive effect on the stablizers of your torso.

Start with the bar-believe me a 45lb bar will feel a lot heavier than a 45lb dumbbell. Work on slowly adding reps in a smooth, "near perfect" fashion. The legendary Tommy Kono (and if you dont know who Mr. Kono is, you should) was able to press 135lbs for one rep in each hand at a bodyweight of 175lbs. I was able to duplicate Mr. Kono's feat last summer, but then I found he that he did it without any ANY COLLARS---back to the drawing board. This is an excellent adjunct move to any pressing program or it can be used for a couple of weeks to give your shoulder joints a break from heavy presses. In addition,
it will draw the confused stares of your fellow gym members, which makes it a perfect exercise to perform.

Keith Wassung
 

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some notes on barbell rows



Bent over rowing is an excellent movement for the upper body. Work this movement hard and don't be surprised if you see increases in the squat, bench press and deadlift as well an increases in muscular development. One of the great aspects of the bent-over row is that there is a wide variety of techniques and variations to chose from which means that just about anyone can find a method of performing this movement regardless of their body structure. The important thing is to ensure that your technique is fairly consistent so that increased poundages are the result of strength gains, not in favorable advantages in the biomechanics of the lift.

The width of your hand spacing should be slightly wider than your shoulders, but this will vary with each individual. Your hand spacing and grip should put you into a position where you can strictly row with the greatest amount of weight. You can use either a pronated or supinated grip. The pronated or overhand grip tends to hit the upper back harder, while the supinated grip tends to work the lower lats a bit more. Experiment with both variations and see which one works best for you, or even use both grips in an alternating fashion. I have found that the supinated grip works best when using an E-Z curl bar to take the strain off the wrists. Use plenty of chalk and or resin on your hands to ensure a firm grip. If you happen to train at a commercial gym that does not allow chalk (somebody should really invent flesh colored chalk) then purchase some resin bags and place them in a large colored sandwich zip-lock bag. You can dip your hands into the bag and get plenty of resin and there will be no waste at all.

Take a good solid stance, with the feet about shoulder width. Lean forward and bend the knees just slightly so that you nearly settle your abdomen onto your thighs with the hips being the center of gravity. The angle of your upper body can be anywhere from parallel to about 45 degrees though I believe that you should try and get as close to parallel as you can. People with a longer torso tend to do a bit better with a higher angle than an individual with a shorter torso. Make sure the back is flat and stable keeping a slight arch in the lumbar region before the weight is pulled off the floor. There are numerous opinions on the exact part of the torso that you try to pull the bar into. This will vary from individual, but somewhere in the upper abdominal region, just below the sternum is a good reference point. If you are using a supinated grip, you might get want to pull just a bit lower into the abdominal region.

Because you are pulling a barbell from a position in which you are bent at the hips, considerable stress is placed on the lower back muscles. You should not attempt to add momentum to the lift by yanking or jerking upward with the lower back muscles and extending the body. Lack of proper form means the targeted area does not receive maximum stimulation and can often lead to lower back injury. Heaving and cheating the weight up is very easy to do as the movement is not very natural to start with and the position makes it difficult to use a mirror to monitor and correct your form. There are a couple of things that you can do to eliminate the heaving aspect of the row. First of all, many books and magazines advise that when the bar is lowered to get as much as stretch as possible-it sounds like good advice, but what happens is that once your arms are straightened, in an attempt to get even more of a stretch, you relax and begin dropping the upper body downwards which causes rounding of the back. This places the body into a weakened condition, so that when you attempt to pull the next repetition, you are forced into performing a body swing in order to compensate for the inadequate position. Just lower the body to arms length and pull it back up. Another way to teach yourself to do the movement correctly is to have a training partner place their hands on your upper back along each side of the spine. Have them hold their hands steady and you will be able to gauge whether you are keeping your back stable or not.

I will throw another little tip in here that Marty Gallagher taught me, use straps, but DO NOT wrap your thumbs around the bar---the contraction in the back is incredible and it takes the arms/biceps out of the movement as much as possible. I do 1-2 sets without straps, and then 1-2 with, so this is a "finishing" movement for me.

keith
 

The Locust

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Dat artikel over rowing had ik nog niet gelezen, thanx.

Is waar wat hij zegt : als je hard werkt op rowing dan helpt dat zowat alle andere compounds omhoog. Tenminste, dat heb ik toch ondervonden.
 

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JOE VERSUS THE SQUAT RACK

By Keith Wassung

Joe Myers anxiously glanced at the clock on his office wall. The hands read 4:40pm, which meant another twenty minutes until the workday was over. Though it was a crisp Thursday in late October, and though the Dow Jones was up today and prime interest rates were down by a quarter percentage, the only fact that mattered was this was a training day and in less than an hour, Joe would be standing in front of the squat rack, ready to do battle with the steel king of the gym. Joe was 26, a loan officer for a prestigious bank and also an avid lifter. He had begun training in college, 6 years earlier and had made much progress, transforming himself from a 170lb guy with barely an athletic build to a solid and well developed 215lbs.

There were three main places to train in Joe?s city. Duke?s Hardcore Iron Gym was on the edge of town, wedged in between an automobile repo yard and a factory. The gym advertised itself as catering to the ?hardcore? lifter. Joe had trained there a few times and was not impressed. The place was filthy, the equipment was not maintained and after all, any gym that had to refer to itself as ?hardcore? probably was not that hardcore. The gym also had a lot of chemical commerce transactions, something Joe wanted no part of. The second gym in town was a bright, upscale fitness center that had all the trappings of a 21st century health club including countless exercise classes, fancy machines and personal trainers, all of which catered to the white collar business types. Joe had trained there for a month on a free pass. It was an ok place to train, but very annoying?especially the swarm of the personal trainers who resided there. Most personal trainers were like telephone psychics, you paid them a lot of money, they told you what you wanted to hear and all you got for your money was a temporary ego boost.

Joe currently trained at the Coldwell Recreation Center, an athletic and recreation facility that had an indoor basketball gym, a softball field, a pool, tennis courts and a free standing building that housed the gym. The gym was divided into a weight training area, a cardio room and an aerobics class that was also used by a couple of marital arts classes. The place was run down and understaffed, but the price was affordable and it was a fairly good group of people who used the facilities. The weight room was mostly frequented by guys sporting either a ?Big Dawg? tattoo or a ?Big Dawg? logo on their lifting belt.

Joe had a goal of squatting 375 for ten reps tonight. During his last leg workout he had squatted 370 for ten reps, but it taken just about everything he had to complete the set. His goal was to squat 405 for 10 reps by Christmas, so if he could hit the 375x10 reps tonight, he would be on track to reach his yearly goal. He alternated his leg workouts by performing sets in the 10-20 rep range on some days and other times he did reps in the 3-7 range. The type of squats he performed were full ?ass to grass? squats. He had only begun doing full squats instead of parallel squats about 18 months earlier upon the advice of Rex, a powerfully built 55 year veteran lifter that he had met at a banking convention. Full squats had done more for his overall strength and development than anything else he had ever done. He loved doing them at the fitness center which always invoked the personal trainers to warn him about knee trauma. As Rex had explained it, when the squat is performed to a parallel depth, it is the knees which take the majority of the stress involved in stopping the downward momentum of the squat. When the squat is performed to a full depth, this same ?braking? stress is transferred to the larger, powerful muscles of the hips, hamstrings and buttocks. It is obvious that the squat must be performed with a great deal of control and that any type of rapid ?rebounding?, whether it is done at parallel or at full depth will be detrimental to the knees.

Joe pulled into the facility and was glad to see that the parking lot was nearly full. It was not that he wanted to show off when lifting, but having a bunch of people around always provided extra incentive and tonight Joe needed all the help he could get. He opened the door and was met by the blaring sound of the stereo. The room was full, but not crowded. Joe quickly walked to the locker room and began changing into his workout clothes. Walking out into the cardio area he found a quiet corner and began ten minutes of stretching and mental rehearsal. From his vantage point, he was unable to see the squat rack in the next room, but he knew it would be there waiting for him. Following the stretching was 5 minutes on the exercise bike which produced a mild sweat. Ready to commence his lifting, Joe walked into the weight room and was greeted by several people. He looked over at the dumbbell rack and bench press station and saw the same group of 4-5 guys who always train together. They loved bodybuilding exercises, using bodybuilding terminology and they avoided heavy back and leg work like the plague. All of their workouts were the same, 5 sets of every conceivable type of press, dumbbell fly or curl interspersed with boastful tales of their previous night of bar hopping and partying. The weight that they use in their exercises never changed and the only benefit they get is a temporary muscle pump. Similar groups are present in just about every gym and though they are decent guys, they have a tendency to draw others into their group, which kills any type of training progress.

Off in the corner stood the power rack where Joe would perform his squats. The rack spoke to him as he looked over at it. ?Hello Joe, I bet your going to try to exceed your last squat workout?.it?s not going to be easy?..you look a little tired??.you probably haven?t recovered from your heavy deadlifts earlier this week?.why don?t you wait a few more days?.get some rest and it will be a lot easier then.? The squat rack could not stand to be challenged and it hated to be beaten. It kept most members from ever taking the challenge merely by the thought of the pain and discomfort of the squat. Those who did challenge the rack were quietly discouraged by the constant planting of seeds of fear and doubt. Joe glared at the rack and silently proclaimed ? 375 for ten solid reps?..TODAY.?

Joe began his workout with incline presses and followed that with narrow grip bench presses, standing overhead presses and dips. The reps were hard, but solid and Joe felt strong. Finishing his last set of dips, he walked over and stood directly in front of the squat rack and began stretching out his hamstrings. His heart began to beat faster in anticipation of the upcoming sets. The gym was abuzz with activity. The rack whispered ?Hey Joe, look who?s in the cardio room? Joe turned around and saw Ashley, an attractive brunette walking on the treadmill? She was a customer at the bank and Joe had talked to her a few times and even considered asking her out. ?Go talk to her?she likes you?..ask her out.? Joe wanted to get a drink of water and the fountain just happened to be near the treadmill, so he figured he would get a drink and say hi to Ashley. .Joe started in her direction but then caught himself and turned back towards the rack. Nothing was going to distract his focus on the squats. He loaded the bar to 135lbs for his first warm-up set. He positioned himself under the bar, backed out of the rack and began squatting. 135 always felt strange, almost too light to really get into the proper groove. His right knee made a slight creaking noise on his 3rd and 4th rep. ?Knees bothering you a bit Joe?.......its probably from that time you injured your knee playing baseball in high school?it probably never healed properly??..some tight knee wraps would take care of that??you should hold off on your squats today and go buy some?..come back on Monday and do your squats then. The rack knew that if it could install just enough fear and doubt into a challenger to get them to postpone their squats, then it would be much easier to get them to postpone it again the next time. ?375 for ten full reps?no matter what it takes? replied Joe. He loaded 225 and did 5 smooth reps followed by 275 for a solid triple. His technique was precise, just like a well maintained piston.

?Joe, you are really looking buff these days??. you know that squats destroy the aesthetics of your body, you would get much better development from super-setting some leg extensions with leg presses.? Joe did not even respond, he knew that the rack was getting desperate to try to throw him off with that lame excuse. He loaded the bar to 315lbs for a warm-up single. He often judged his upcoming set by how the 315 felt. Joe squatted the weight powerfully, but it did not feel quite as light as he had mentally pictured. ?See, I TOLD you that you were not ready?..its those deadlifts you did, your fatigued, over-trained?..do go some isolation movements and come back and squat next week? Joe gritted his teeth, trying hard to ignore the goading whispers of the squat rack. He added a 10lb plate to each side for his last warm-up single with 335lbs. He paced back and forth in front of the rack, his rage growing. He gripped the bar tightly even shaking the bar and plates a few times. Stepping under the bar, he un-racked the bar and stepped back. He heard someone exclaim ?Watch this guy squat. He?s an animal!? He descended into a full squat and stood back up with as if there was no weight at all on the bar. He triumphantly returned the bar to the rack, slamming it down with a loud bang. He was now ready for the big set. Nothing was going to stop him from reaching his goal. Joe pulled off the ten lb plates and replaced them with a pair of twenty-fives. He then added a 5lb collar to each side bring the total weight on the bar to 375lbs. He centered the bar on the pins and then went and sat down on a flat bench to tighten up the laces on his high top shoes. His mind was totally focused on doing these ten reps and he began mentally rehearsing the set. This set would be very difficult, it would be a tremendous battle, but he would win. All of a sudden, Joe realized that the gym had become very quiet, had everyone stopped their training just to watch him squat? He turned around and realized that the gym was empty, apparently everyone had just up and left in a mass exodus. Crap, thought Joe, there goes my added motivation. ?Joe, this just isn?t your day??.even if you succeed with this weight, no one will see it??.come back Monday??? it?s not safe to try that weight all alone in a gym??put it off for a few days? the rack suggested. Joe stood and marched towards the rack with fire and determination in his eyes and in his heart. ?STEEL ON TARGET? he yelled in a determined voice, borrowing a favorite phrase from his Uncle Jack who was an army artillery officer. Taking several deep breaths, Joe charged the steel cage, un-racked the ponderous barbell and stepped back into his squatting stance. The rack tried made one final attempt to thwart Joe?s goal, ?Hey Joe, why bother with those full squats, do what everyone else does and just go to parallel??why, if you did that, you could already hit the 405 for ten with no problem.

Joe ignored the voice and began the first rep. ONE?.whew that was tough, but the first rep in a set of ten is always tough, just focus on getting the next two in the bag, TWO?..THREE. Ok, now I?m in the groove, one-third of the way there, FOUR?.FIVE, half-way done?take a few deep breaths, get mad??.SIX?.that was the toughest one yet. Only four reps to go, the last rep is the hardest, but you know if you get nine, you will get ten, so don?t worry about the last one, just get these next three. SEVEN?..damn that was tough, ok, stay tight, and focus on the technique checkpoints. The next repetition stalled at about 30 degrees above parallel. Joe stayed tight and fought the weight through the sticking point. EIGHT. He took several breaths, growled and muttered a few choice words. Just two more reps, I?ve gone this far, no turning back, here we go. NINE?..the 9th rep was extremely tough. If he had been listening he would have heard the rack gently try to talk him out of attempting the 10th rep. He was far too focused and determined to think about anything other than the completion of the last rep. A low, guttural sound escaped from his mouth that was a cross between a growl, a snarl and a caveman scream. Just like the previous nine reps, he squatted all the way down and came up with every bit of effort he could muster. He fought through two sticking points just below the parallel position and then in the blink of an eye, he stood up, completing the tenth and final rep. He let out a triumphant yell. No one had witnessed the set, it would not be on ESPN sports center, it would not be in any magazine or even the local paper, but Joe had just beaten the squat rack by achieving his all time personal record for ten rep squats and the feeling was absolutely euphoric!

He replaced the bar back into the rack which remained silent as it sulked in defeat. Joe took a few steps back and then the physical effort of the set caught up with him as his legs buckled, his chest pounded and he felt dizzy. After walking around the gym to clear his head, Joe returned to the rack where he reduced the weight to 315lbs. Ignoring the desperate suggestions of the rack to skip his remaining sets, he squeezed out 16 reps. He reduced the weight to 295 and ground out 20 reps. Those two sets were physically harder than the set with 375, but mentally they were a breeze. Once you have conquered mental fear and doubt, you barely notice the physical demands that are required. Joe reduced the weight down to 245lbs and performed a set of front squats for 10 reps, then immediately went to 225lbs and squeezed out another 9 reps. When the bar went back on the rack, Joe knew his workout was completed. His legs felt heavy, as if they each weighed 500lbs. He knew that upon waking the following morning, they would be tight and painful and would remain so for at least 2-3 days, the pain being a constant reminder of his victory. Joe showered and changed his clothes, eager to get home to a 16oz T-bone steak with all the trimmings. Maybe he would even give Ashley a call. As he walked out of the gym, he passed the squat rack. ?Nice workout Joe?..but your going to have a tough time doing any better next time??after such a tough workout you should take a few weeks off from squats? Joe smiled and confidently said ? I will see you next week?


Keith Wassung
 

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ik heb een andere thread gemaakt, waar alle links van artikels of artikels zelf in gezet knn worden van Keith Wassung.

das mss overzichtelijker, het zijn er al 14 die daar staan, echt de moeite om te lezen!
 

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The hise Shrug

The Hise shrug, invented by Joseph Curtis Hise, who was often referred to as the "Father of American weight training" was a staple movement for strength athletes in the past. Today, it is seldom, if ever performed. In my 26 years of training, I have never seen anyone other than myself perform this movement which is unfortunate because it's an incredible exercise for upper back and even overall strength and development. To perform the Hise shrug, get into the exact position that you would for performing a back squat, with the bar high up on your traps. Stand erect and simply shrug your shoulders as high as possible to your ears. Pause as the top for a least a full second, lower and repeat. Coordinate your breathing so that you inhale as you shrug upwards and exhale as you let the shoulders back down. Start with moderate weights to get the form down, but eventually the goal is to use very heavy weights for very repetitions in the 20-25 range. This exercise will hurt-I can promise you that-but you will be rewarded with increased growth in your upper back and traps. I have also found that it also helps to establish a solid base for positioning the bar when doing squats.

Another version of this movement is to get into a standing calf machine with a solid foot placement and do shrugs with the yoke of the machine across the top of the shoulders. Use the same formula as the traditional Hise Shrugs-one heavy set of 20- 25 reps. I would perform the Hise Shrug at the end of the back workout as it can be quite taxing. As is true with life and in the gym-if you are willing to pay the price that others will not-you will reap the benefits that others will not"

Keith
 

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Full Squats for Strength & Development

By Keith Wassung

When you hear the word SQUATS do you think of an early eighties Dutch punk rock band, or of one of the most demanding, resulting producing exercises known to man. Hopefully you associate with the latter, but in any case the full squat is one of the best overall movements for producing both strength and development not only in the legs, but for the overall body.

Full Squats are something that you must learn to do with the mind as well as the body. A proper combination of mental and physical energies will ensure that you will be able to squat using a total effort and nothing less. I often look back at my training log of 25 years and I observe an exact correlation between squat progress and overall progress, meaning that I made the best overall gains in strength and development when my squat was progressing the most. Another thing I have always found to be true about squats is that you can almost always make increases, for example, I have often gone into the gym, totally confident and ready for my session--and I load the bar to do upper body work, such as bench presses--and there are some days, when no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I push, the reps that I am attempting to make just wont happen. But with the squat the desired reps almost always came. I think that is because the legs are so much stronger than we even imagine and there is always some reserve strength to get another repetition.

Squats and Systemic Growth

You may be wondering, "Just exactly how do squats promote growth throughout the body?" To begin with, the squat involves multiple joints and muscles which in turn increase the level at which the nervous system must coordinate movement in conjunction with the lifter's muscle-skeletal system. In the squat there are numerous muscles of the body working simultaneously to provide the stability and mobility needed for this exercise. It has been estimated that there are up to 200 muscles involved in the squat.

The hormonal or endocrine system combined with the nervous system makes up what is known as "neuroendocrinology". This term describes the relationship of chemical substances that have both neural and hormonal functions. The endocrine glands are stimulated to release hormones by a chemical signal received by the receptors on the gland or by neural stimulation, which is what occurs during weight training. Ever wonder why you feel particularly upbeat and euphoric after a hard workout, even if you are physically drained? Its because of the increased presence of hormones in your body, hormones that also influence our moods. This is similar to the runners high
experienced by long distance runners.





The increase in anabolic hormone levels observed after a hard workout can increase hormonal interactions with various cellular mechanisms and enhance the development of muscle protein contractile units. On neural stimulation from an alpha motor neuron to initiate a muscle action, various signals (electrical, chemical, and hormonal) are sent from the brain and from activated muscles to a number of endocrine glands. Hormones are secreted during and after the workout in response to the physiological stress of resistance exercise. This simply means that the nervous, muscle-skeletal, and hormonal systems are responsible for the effects promoted by exercises like the squat.
There are various hormones, which produce this effect, and the one that most people are familiar with is testosterone. It's been demonstrated that testosterone serum concentrations can increase with exercises such as the squat.

Squats can increase growth throughout the entire body because they use numerous muscles and this means they stimulate more muscle fibers than say an exercise such as a leg extension or a leg press. The greater the fiber recruitment, the greater the process for potential growth and development in the muscle. Only muscle fibers that are recruited by resistance training are subject to adaptation and the more muscles used in an exercise like the squat the more the muscle fibers are stimulated.

Preparations

Your squat workout should begin about an hour after the completion of your most recent squat workout. Take the time to sit down with your training log and some good post workout nutrition, and enter your last workouts sets and reps into the log, along with any particular training notes for that day. Then, begin outlining some training goals for the next workout. You have to set specific goals and have a game plan to achieve them. Once your next workout outline is done, write it on a post-it note, stick it on your day planner or your bathroom mirror, any place where you can glance at it a couple of times each day and by the time your next workout arrives, you will be mentally prepared to complete the required sets and reps. Try to eat a high complex carbohydrate meal the night before a squat workout whole-wheat pasta with a ground turkey and marinara sauce works very well. Take the time to properly warm-up, which can consist of some stretching and mobility exercises such as five minutes on a stationary bike pedaling at a moderate pace.


Equipment

If you are going to make decent progress in the squat, you have to be properly equipped and probably the most important gear is a decent set of shoes. I often see people lifting in shoes that provide little in the way of support for the foot and ankle, in fact most running shoes are mushy and cause the ankles to buckle slightly inward as the lifter is descending with the bar. Buy a pair of high-topped training shoes, preferably with the ability to tighten the lace around the ankle. If you use the shoes only for your training, they should last for years. Using a lifting belt is a personal decision, though it should be used sparingly and mostly with heavy weights/low rep type sets. The last vital piece of lifting equipment is a strong abdominal region. Having a strong, well-developed trunk region will do wonders for your overall strength. Train the abs in order to make them functionally stronger by doing exercises such as weighted crunches, side bends and frog kicks.





SQUAT TECHNIQUE

Squatting is a very natural movement; In most of the world especially Asia and Africa people squat to rest, to eliminate, and to perform many tasks including giving birth. I was in the gym last week and a guy approached me and told me he was frustrated with his lifting, etc. I asked him about squats and he told me that he was unable to squat. I told him that must be really tough when you have to have a bowel movement! Human bodies are designed to squat! Having said that, there is a certain learning curve associated with the full squat and its very important to learn and implement the technique correctly. There is an abundance of squatting technique information available in books, videotapes and websites, but the best way to learn is in person. If you need to improve your squat form, find an experienced lifter somewhere near you and ask them for help and advice. You may have to drive several hours to find someone, but it will be time well spent. The experienced lifter does not have to be a world-class athlete to give you quality instruction. You will find that the majority of experienced lifters are very generous with their time and will gladly help someone who truly has the desire to learn. Be sure you listen and take notes on the instruction you receive. You may even want to offer to pay for a steak dinner afterwards.





I advocate the full barbell squat as one of the core exercises in most any weight-training program. If you are an aspiring powerlifter, then you will need to spend some time performing squats in a powerlifting style in order to prepare for competition. I believe that the full squat will be of tremendous value in laying down a proper strength foundation. There are individuals who may have structural problems (knees, back, etc) which prevent them from squatting at the present time. If this is the case, then those problems need to be properly evaluated and some type of corrective or rehabilitative action taken. When it comes to your health, dont be afraid to get a second or even third opinion. I dont have a whole lot of confidence in health care professionals whose only advice is to avoid exercise or activities as I fail to see the positive benefits of physical atrophy of the human body.

Many fitness experts warn against performing squats past the point of parallel for fear of potentially damaging the knees. As a general rule I disagree with those experts though there are certainly individual exceptions. When the full squat is performed correctly and with total control through a complete range of motion, the knees are strengthened, not weakened. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, an estimated 50 million North Americans have suffered or are suffering knee pain or injuries and six million of them will visit a doctor for knee problems each year. The majority of these problems are degenerative in nature and are the result of disuse of the knee joint. Squatting keeps the knee joints mobile and free of pain. There are several joint facets on the inside of the kneecap that are all used only when an individual squats.

When the squat is performed to a parallel depth, it is the knees, which take the majority of the stress involved in stopping the downward momentum of the squat. When the squat is performed to a full depth, this same braking stress is transferred to the larger, powerful muscles of the hips, hamstrings and buttocks. It is obvious that the squat must be performed with a great deal of control and that any type of rapid rebounding, whether it is done at parallel or at full depth will be detrimental to the knees.

The full squat is very similar to the way a baseball catcher squats down to receive a pitch, with the exception that your feet are flat on the floor, rather than on your toes. I keep a baseball mitt in my gym bag and I often take it out and have people practice the catchers squat when instructing on squat technique. To perform the squat, take a medium stance with your toes pointed slightly outward. Place your hands on the bar at approximately shoulder width, get underneath the bar, take a deep breath and expand the chest and stand up with the bar. Take small steps backwards until you reach the place that you wish to squat. Your head should be looking straight ahead with your eyes fixed on a point directly in front of you. If you begin by bending at the knees, your knees will go beyond your toes, which can put them at risk. Sit back, keeping your upper body as upright as you comfortably can, and keep your knees over, but not beyond your toes. Descend into a full squat, staying tight and controlling the weight all the way down without bouncing at the bottom. Then stand up strongly, pushing against the weight and exhaling as you rise. . Keep your abdominal muscles and lower back tight and contracted throughout the movement. Whether you are doing 5, or 20 reps, think about doing 5 sets of perfect singles or 20 sets of perfect singles? this will help you maintain proper form throughout the entire set.




One final technique tip: The toughest part of the squat is from about 30 degrees to the bottom. One method to help get through this is the use of your arms to assist the lower body in driving the legs past this sticking point. As you are descending with the bar and reach approximately the 30 degree point, begin pressing upwards with your arms just as if you were doing a behind the neck press. Continue to push upwards as you reach the bottom and begin driving upwards. At about the 30 degree mark (this will vary from one person to another) you can relax the pressure as you feel yourself getting past the sticking point. I only use this on the last few reps of a heavy set or when I was squatting in competition. I know this sounds a little odd but give it a try.

Squats and Flexibility

The primary reason for problems with squatting is lack of flexibility in the hips, knees, soleus, calves and ankles. This can easily be resolved by performing high repetition deep knee bends (another word for squats) with bodyweight only. When I began incorporating high repetition bodyweight squats into my training regime, I immediately noticed a difference in my lower body training. I recovered more quickly from leg workouts, all of those little pops and cricks that have been with me for years disappeared and I was able to run and play sports without discomfort in my knees, ankles and feet.

The second thing you can do is to develop a habit of squatting instead of sitting whenever you can. Obviously, you cannot do this at a business meeting or at church, but you can work it into daily habits such as petting the dog or picking up something from the ground. Do this a dozen times a day for about two months and you should notice a marked increase in your comfort and confidence in the bottom portion of the squat.



High Repetition Squats

I first became aware of the value of high repetition squats (20 or more reps) when I was serving aboard a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine. We had very limited space and my workout area was in the missile compartment, between two ICBM tubes and a set of forward storage lockers. There was just enough room for a loaded Olympic barbell with perhaps four inches of clearance in the front and in the back. There was no room for any kind of squat racks, so I would round up 2-4 guys to work as spotters and would deadlift a loaded barbell to lockout, then would have my spotters grab hold of the ends, then I would let go of the bar, crawl underneath it, assume the squat position at the bottom, stand up with the weight-then do my set of squats, then reverse the procedure to set the bar back on the deck. This process obviously limited the amount of weight I could use, so I had to settle for high repetitions. At the time, I figured that although the high reps were better than nothing I would still lose ground in terms of strength and development. Much to my surprise I found that my legs, my overall strength and my overall body grew like they never had before. From that moment on, high rep squats became a staple in my training program






20 rep squats are tough and demanding, both physically and mentally. They require total focus and concentration and an all out effort. When I am doing 20 rep squats, I find that when I hit number 13 or 14, it is impossible to think about doing another 6-7 reps. I can only focus on getting just one more rep, then one more, then just another one until all of the reps are completed. You may have to use certain mental tricks such as counting the reps backwards or mentally grouping the reps in twos or threes to complete the entire set. As tough as they are, your body will eventually grow accustomed to them and will actually thrive on them. I have found that when people can break through the pain barrier on 20 rep squats, they are then able to train harder on other exercises probably because they finally are aware of what hard work and intensity is all about.

You can perform high repetition squats alone or you can combine them with low and medium rep programs. Just about any routine will work provided you work hard and give it time. The key to growth is progression and overload. I dont care how a workout makes you feel?, how pumped you get, how much your thighs burned, etc. if you are not adding weight and reps to the exercise over a period of time then you will make little if any progress. My first recorded squat workout was 65lbs for eight reps and it was hard and heavy. A little over thirteen years later, I did 600 for eight reps and it was just as hard and heavy weight is a relative issue.

The majority of people reading this could probably take their best squat for 4-5 reps and with some goal planning, hard work and determination, squat the same weight for 20 reps by the end of the year. This would be more geared to the beginner to intermediate lifter. This will change your entire body, and not just the legs--this will of course take adequate food, water and rest. A 160lb guy could easily add 10-15 SOLID, lean pounds of muscle after a year, and there is a HUGE difference between gaining 10-15 pounds and gaining 10-15 lean pounds. You will also find that 20 rep squats will change your base metabolic rate, which should allow you to burn fat more efficiently 24/7. There are not many people who are willing to do this, but the rewards will be worth it.

You have to develop and maintain the proper mental toughness and discipline which is necessary for you to reach your own potential. This toughness is largely the ability to deal with pain, fatigue and discomfort associated with hard and progressive training. There are tens of thousands of people who want better strength, development and conditioning and they are totally committed to spending two or more hours a day, six days a week in training, they are willing to buy supplements, equipment, they are willing to do just about anything except to include and embrace pain, fatigue and discomfort as necessary in their training. In fact, everything they do, everything they buy, every excuse they make is to avoid pain, fatigue and discomfort at all costs. The closest thing that I know to a "lifting secret" is this: Once you are willing to be uncomfortable at times in your workout, it does not take long for you to get used to it, in fact you may look forward to it and thrive on it. This is when you will embark on the journey to achieving the potential that lies within you.

I hope a few people take this challenge.

TOM HANKS: Why are you quitting

GEENA DAVIS: because it just got too hard

TOM HANKS: Its supposed to be hard, if it was easy, everybody would do itit? the hard that makes it great

A League of their Own



Keith Wassung
 

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GoHeavy & Unregistered, thanx a million om dit allemaal te helpen verzamelen, het zijn stuk voor stuk pareltjes !!!
 

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Ik weet niet of deze al gepost is:

Good and Bad Workouts

by Keith W. Wassung


Ever have one of those workouts that exceed all expectations. On just about every exercise, you break your personal record for weights and reps used. The feeling is absolutely exhilarating and you leave the gym completely invigorated. On the flip side, you have those workouts where nothing seems to go right. Instead of gaining you actually lose ground and you leave the gym, tired, sore and frustrated. If you do not have a long range game plan, that frustration can lead to a search for new program, a new supplement etc, and the cycle repeats itself over and over.

Workouts are a lot like the kick-off return team in football. You line up for each kick, stay in your lanes, and block your assignments and the kick returner runs as hard as he can. In most cases, you end up around the 20 yard line. Occasionally you reach midfield and once in a great while everything falls into place and the return man finds the seam and runs 100 yards for a touchdown. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you end up on the 8 yard line or even fumble and lose the ball.

I believe that progress is often a matter of working hard and smart on a consistent basis long enough for most of the workouts to be productive (20 yard returns) have a few really good ones (30-50 yard returns) the even rarer outstanding ones (touchdowns) and realizing that the bad workouts (8 yard returns and fumbles) are all part of the game. It is important to always keep in mind that progress is almost never linear and or constant except perhaps in the first year or so of training after which gains often come in isolated batches and often at unexpected times. This reminds me of when I was a boy and had to split logs into firewood. I would place the steel wedge into a seam in the log and then begin pounding it with a sledgehammer. After approximately 14 hard blows there was absolutely no visible evidence that the wedge had penetrated the log in any way. But the 15th blow would result in the wedge cleanly splitting the log into two or more pieces. The first 14 strikes did not appear to do much, but they were slowly breaking down the resistance of the wood.

I have done some reading on biorhythms and athletic performance and though I am not sure of the validity of everything I have read, it would difficult to deny that there is a certain cyclic element which can affect strength and athletic performance. This is one of the problems with many of the 12-16 week programs, where each workout is calculated based on a set percentage of your starting maximum weight -you end up being locked into lifting what the paper says, rather than in following the natural strength fluctuations of your body. You have to be patient and work for long term results, rather than in judging performance on a workout to workout basis.

As a general rule, an occasional bad workout is nothing to be concerned about. Bad workouts have a way of making the good ones seem even better by comparison. Anthony Ditillo, a noted strength author, once said that a bad workout is a sign that your body is in the process of rebuilding and repairing and there may be some truth to this. The worse thing about a bad workout is that is can cause you to question and doubt your program. You must have confidence and certainty in your program or you are destined for a lot of frustration and stalled progress. If you have a string of consecutive bad workouts, or have just hit a sticking point in your training, then there are several steps you can take to get back on the track to progress.

The first step is to analyze your workout recovery. Have you been getting enough quality rest, enough quality food and water? Adding some high quality protein and fresh vegetables, an extra hour of sleep each night or even performing some extra flexibility work will often be enough to get you back on the right track to progress. Remember that all recovery days are not equal, meaning that just because three days have passed since your last workout does not necessarily mean you have recovered. Those days might have been filled with extra physical and mental stress such as sick children which keep you up half the night, family matters, travel, eating on the run, final exams, all of which impede your recovery. Never be afraid to take some extra days of rest. Make the necessary adjustments as needed and when ready-attack the weights with renewed physical and mental energy.

The second step is to analyze and improve your exercise technique which I covered in my article entitled "Developing Near Perfect Exercise Technique"

The third step is to modify your training program-notice that I said modify, not change. If you have a decent program, based largely on the fundamentals, then chances are you just need to mix-up either your repetition scheme or the order of your basic movements. If you have been doing mostly low-medium reps, then perform higher reps for 4-5 sessions. If you have been doing nothing but high reps, then consider working in the lower rep range for a couple of weeks. Try rest pause training, the total tonnage system, power rack training, or timed sets for a couple of weeks to break the plateau, and then resume your normal routine. You may need to change the priority or order of your exercises. For example, if you have been stuck on the overhead press, and you always perform them after bench presses, try putting them first in your program for a month or two. All of us are somewhat greedy in that we want all of our lifts to be going up simultaneously. Many of the lifters of the past, such as Louis Abele would often spend 3 months at a time focusing on just one lift or one area of the body hammering it with reckless abandon, over and over again, making tremendous gains and them moving onto another area. I have done this on numerous occasions with great results and will share one example. When I was a competitive powerlifter, my deadlift was always the weakest of the three lifts. Having short arms, I was structurally at a dis-advantage for the deadlift (or so I was told and I believed it and used this as excuse to have a poor deadlift.) Since my deadlift was the poorest, it received the least attention in my program. I trained it, but never with the enthusiasm of the squat and bench. After growing tired of losing close competitions, I spent just over 5 months specializing and focusing on deadlift and back training. I really did not train it with any greater frequency then I had previously, but it became the top priority in my training. I broke down and analyzed my technique and worked hard at my weakest portions of the lift and they soon became my strong points! My number one assistance lift became the barbell row and I attacked this movement as if it were a lift itself. After five months of focused training, I gained a tremendous amount of back development and added 70lbs to my best deadlift single, which was more than I had gained in the previous three years combined. The strength and development also laid down a foundation for increases in my squat and bench press in the following year.

The fourth step is to intensify your leg and mid-section training. Lower body workouts, and more specifically, squats will do wonders for your overall strength and development and are an excellent way of breaking plateaus. If you can squat, then you should squat, hard and heavy with a variety of repetitions and a solid and precise technique. If you need do perform something other than squats, then do so with an all-out approach. All force generated by the musculoskeletal system in the upper and lower body originates, is stabilized by, or is transferred through the trunk and the lower torso. Given this fact, if you are going to develop your full strength potential, then this area must be worked. Intense abdominal training is a great way to break plateaus for the simple reason that it is very easy to neglect it in the first place. There a wide variety of exercises to choose from and virtually all are effective if performed correctly.

The last area is your mental attitude and preparation towards your training. I believe that your attitude, enthusiasm and expectations towards your workouts pretty much dictate the results you achieve. Henry Ford summed it up when he said, "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, either way you will be right." This has pretty much been demonstrated and reinforced by just about every great human achievement in history. The good news is that you can control your attitude and expectations to a large degree. The mental preparation and expectation begins shortly after a workout is completed. Take a few minutes to evaluate the training session and then jot down some specific goals you wish to accomplish in the next session. I continue to be amazed by how few people will take the time to use written goals in their training program. Write the goals on an index card or a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator or some other place where you will frequently see it. The human mind cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined so it's important to spend some time mentally rehearsing your workout. When you enter the gym, you must expect and literally demand a good workout, rather than in just hoping and wishing for one. You have to develop and maintain the proper mental toughness and discipline which is necessary for you to reach your own potential. This toughness is largely the ability to deal with pain, fatigue and discomfort associated with hard and progressive training. There are tens of thousands of people who want better strength, development and conditioning and they are totally committed to spending two or more hours a day, six days a week in training, they are willing to buy supplements, equipment, they are willing to do just about anything……except to include and embrace pain, fatigue and discomfort as necessary in their training. In fact, everything they do, everything they buy, every excuse they make is to avoid pain, fatigue and discomfort at all costs. The closest thing that I know to a "lifting secret" is this: Once you are willing to be uncomfortable at times in your workout, it does not take long for you to get used to it, in fact you may look forward to it and thrive on it. This is when you will embark on the journey to achieving the potential that lies within you.

Keith Wassung
 

(Soulfly)

Competitive Bodybuilder
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hier moet ik es even een weekendje voor gaan zitten:D
 

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