Saturday, November 30, 2013

Base Building - Paul Carter

Every great structure has to have a foundation. "Base Building" is about all the facets that to into building that foundation. Building strength, mass, and the reinforcing of technique through structured volume are all covered.

This is the book that can help you stack up productive training cycles. one after the other while keeping plateaus at bay and progress oncoming.

Table of Contents

Building Your Own Masterpiece

Training Definitions

You Cannot Lose Your Way, Until You Have First Found It

Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) and Coasting

Working Efficiently 

What Base Building is Not

S.A.I.D. Principle

High Level Overview of Training Phases - Why You Will Need Each One

Rating Training Sessions

Dealing With +10% and -10% Sessions

EDM - The Everyday Max - What Base Building is Programmed Around

Momentum: Getting It In Your Training and Keeping It as Long as Possible,
By Not Falling Off The Cliff

The Sliding Scale of Intensity and Volume - Prilepin's Table

Back Work and the Barbell Row - The True Big #4

Base Building Models - I, II, III

Base Building Bench Press Models

Base Building Squat Models

Base Building Deadlift Models

Becoming a Better Scientist and Knowing What Phase You Should Transition Into

Fatigue Singles

Three Components That Are Key To Making Progress:
Deloading, Tapering, Waving

Beginner Base Building

Base Building Splits

The Mental Side of Training

Why Testing In The Gym Can Be Your Biggest Enemy

Never Quit . . . Never Give Up  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your Key to Broad Shoulders - Bill Pearl (1965)

Shoulder Development Intro
by Leo Stern

Broad shoulders are admired and sought by everyone interested in bodybuilding. Deep, broad shoulders are a symbol of strength and masculinity. Ever since man became interested in physical culture, he has desired to enhance his appearance with strong, broad shoulders.

One does not have to be born with a wide shoulder girdle to possess them. Hard work and sensible training will develop large shoulder muscles. I know two of the all time greats who structurally did not have broad shoulders, but through concentrated training created for themselves wide shoulders and won top place in the strength and physique world.

Bill Pearl is one who has excellent skeletal structure and possesses extremely wide shoulders, but he has worked to increase their width and depth by the exercises and courses outlined on the following pages.

Do not improvise. Follow closely the recommended way to do each exercise. You can improve. Give forth the effort and reap the fruits of your work.


 Broad shoulders are something that can add s much to a person's physical appearance as any other part of the anatomy. Regardless of how the person is dressed, broad shoulders are hard to hide and will automatically, even if subconsciously, make an impression on any person who is interested in the physical aspects of the human body.

Throughout the years that I have acted as an instructor in health studios and the many years I have spent training myself, I can say that it is much easier for most people to talk about someone with broad shoulders than it is to build a set for themselves. I have also found that very few people really know exactly what to do to improve their shoulders, except for a few standard exercises.

The width of the shoulders is generally governed by the length of the clavicle bones. If you are fortunate to have exceptionally long clavicles, your shoulders will be broader than normal and the progress will be even more impressive. We cannot concern ourselves too much about how long or how short a person's clavicle bones are. A person can still improve his shoulder width by proper weight training and this is the reason for writing this book.

This book is designed to help you improve your shoulders as quickly and completely as it is possibly known today. we have not left out any muscle group and have concerned ourselves with the small muscles as well as the large muscle groups of the shoulders.

I strongly suggest that you follow the courses outlined as they are written. Do not deviate from them, if at all possible. All of the courses are written exactly as we feel they should be done and are placed as they are for a particular reason. If you find that one exercise seems to bother your shoulders, I suggest you stop the exercise and supplement it with another that does not bother you.

Concentration while you are doing an exercise is extremely important and will speed the progress of the muscle. Be sure that you do not get in the habit of handling too much weight as to do the exercise improperly. Always train within your limits. Keep a positive attitude towards your workouts and think even more positively about the muscle group that you are trying to bring along a little faster and you will be sure to show remarkable improvement. Train hard and be consistent.

Training Advice

Shoulders can be developed. Even though one does not have the bone structure for broad shoulders, muscles can be developed to broaden and give the desired width to your shoulders. If you are fortunate enough to have the natural wide shoulders which every bodybuilder desires you can still improve them by working these exercises along with your regular training program. If you are going to specialize, do the schedules outlined at the beginning of your workout schedule, and then continue with the balance of your exercises, working your arms, chest, midsection and legs. It is possible to improve your shoulders and continue with your overall body workout.

To get the most from this type of program emphasize strict adherence to the instructions. Do not get sloppy on the execution of the exercises. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Use the prescribed series for at least a period of six weeks and then change and work on series 2-3-4-5. When you are in a balanced condition, work on any weak portion of the deltoids that you feel requires improvement. 

It is best to start with the basic movements, then advance to the more difficult forms of shoulder or deltoid work. Bear in mind we are only interested in muscle, and nothing else.

Training Hints

Remember, you must analyze for yourself and decide which part of your deltoids need the most work, then reduce the sets on the strong or better-developed part. Add more sets for the weak part of the shoulders. There is a limit and when excessive sets are done the muscle does not grow, so there is a normal and reasonable amount of work to bring about the best results. To eliminate confusion follow this procedure. Do not add sets if the back part of your deltoid is weak and the side is not. Instead of doing five sets of an exercise for building the side portion of the deltoid, cut it down to two to three sets and work harder on the exercises which work and build the rear deltoid. Now, as stated before, overworking a muscle will tend to hold its growth back. It is a matter of the muscle never being able to fully recuperate and build in size and strength.

One must find the normal output for themselves. We have given you what we feel is the right number of sets and you can either increase or reduce the amount, whatever fits your particular physical makeup.

Training Programs

Follow each program for three days per week for a period of six weeks. The programs below are for individuals who have been training for a period of years. Beginners should do only one set of each exercise on Routine One. After completing the six week period, start Routine Two and do two sets of each exercise. Do not do more than three sets of each exercise until you have been working out for at least a year or more.

Work within your own limit.

Routine One

 1) Military Press  3 x 8-10.
This is the standard military press. Clean the weight to the chest, or take the weight from stands. Lock the legs and hips solidly. This will give you a solid platform from which to push. Keep the elbows in slightly under the bar, press the weight overhead, lock the arms out. When lowering the barbell to the chest, be sure it rests on the chest and is not held with the arms. If the chest is held high it will give a you a nice shelf on which to place the barbell and to push from. Inhale before the press and exhale when lowering the bar.

2) Upright Rowing 3 x 8-10
This is an excellent trapezius and deltoid exercise. Place hands on the barbell at roughly shoulder width. Keep the body erect and stationary and pull the weight to the top position at or above nipple height. Keep the barbell in close and pause momentarily at the top. Concentrate as you slowly lower the bar to starting position. Inhale up and exhale down.

3) Seated Dumbbell Press  3 x 8-10
Clean dumbbells to shoulders and sit on bench, placing one foot slightly ahead of the other to form a stable base. With the palms facing each other press the bells to arms' length overhead. Be sure to completely straighten the arms. Inhale before pressing overhead, exhale when lowering back to the shoulders.

4) Bentover Deltoid Raise 3 x 8
Lock the elbows and keep the arms straight. Bring the dumbbells to the top position and hold and contract the muscles. Do not swing the dumbbells up, keep the body rigid and strongly work the muscles of the deltoids and upper back. Be sure to bring the dumbbells straight out to the sides, inhaling up and exhaling down.

Routine Two

1) Standing Press Behind Neck 4 x 8-10
Stand with feet placed a comfortable distance apart. Use quite a wide grip, wider than shoulder width on the bar. Keep the elbows directly under the bar. Press the barbell overhead to lockout. Inhale as you press overhead and exhale as you lower to your shoulders. Maintain a solid foundation by keeping the legs straight and the hips flexed. Pause at the shoulder before pressing the barbell overhead. Make a full movement of the exercise by touching the barbell to the shoulders each time it is lowered and locking the elbows each time it is pressed overhead.

2) Bentover Barbell Row 4 x 8
Use a wide grip on the bar and a wide foot spacing. you can bend the knees or keep the legs straight. The important thing is to bend forward at the waist and maintain a straight back. Keep the arms straight, pull he barbell up to the chest and make a definite pause. Lower the bar back to arms' length. Be sure to work the muscle both ways when pulling up and letting the weight down. Do your repetitions slowly and smoothly. Do not drop the shoulders or round the back. Inhale on the upward pull to the chest. By keeping the waist drawn in and the chest out, it will be easier to touch your chest with the bar and maintain a flat back position. Exhale when lowering the bar back to arms' length.

3) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Press 3 x 8
Clean dumbbells and sit down. Start with bells at shoulders. Press dumbbell in right hand to arms' length overhead, keeping dumbbell in left hand at the shoulder. Lower right dumbbell back to shoulder and press right dumbbell overhead. Maintain a rigid body position doing all the work with the shoulder and arm. Do not lean from side to side while pressing. Inhale up, exhale down.

4) Barbell Forward Raise 3 x 8-10
Use a shoulder width grip on barbell and stand with it at arms' length. Rest bar on thighs. Keeping elbows locked and arms straight, raise barbell over head. Slowly lower bar back to thighs, keeping arms straight. Inhale at starting position and exhale as bar is returned from overhead.

Routine Three

1) Wide Grip Upright Row 3 x 6-8
This is a more difficult type of upright rowing exercise. The deltoids are worked more and much concentration is required to perform it correctly. Start with the barbell at arms' length, resting on the thighs, but with a wider than shoulder-width hand spacing. Pull barbell up to a position at or above the nipples. Pause while contracting strongly, then lower to starting position. Inhale up, exhale down. 

2) Seated Press Behind Neck 4 x 6-8
This is performed as the regular standing press behind neck, only in a seated position. Rest the bar on your shoulders between each rep and set yourself for the press.

3) Crucifix 3 x 6-8
To handle a substantial poundage, stand in a solid position and press two dumbbells to arms' length overhead. Slowly lower them with straight arms and locked elbows to the sides at shoulder height. Attempt to hold arms in position for a count of 5 to 10. The purpose of the crucifix is to use the deltoids as a support and this places a stress of a different nature upon the muscles. Inhale while pressing the dumbbells overhead and exhale as they are lowered.

4) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Sit with dumbbells held at arms' length at sides. With dumbbell in left hand in down position, raise dumbbell in right hand to arm's length overhead. Lower right arm to position hanging straight at side, raise the left arm. Inhale upward and exhale when lowering dumbbell.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10

Assume the position shown above. Inhale as you raise the dumbbell, exhale as you lower. 

Routine Four

1) One Arm Military Press 3 x 5-8
Using a dumbbell when pressing can allow you to get a lower position and fuller range of movement. Clean the bell to the shoulder. Keep the heels together and extend other arm for balance. Keep the body straight, press dumbbell to arm's length overhead. Work should be done entirely with shoulder and arm. Inhale and press overhead, exhale as you lower it to shoulder.

2) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 8-10

3) Seated Military Press 4 x 5-8
This exercise is done exactly as standing military press, only in a sitting position, and in a stricter fashion. First, clean the barbell to the shoulders, sit down, and place the feet in evenly. Do not stagger the position of the feet in this exercise. Keep the chest high and back straight and press the barbell to arms' length overhead. Do the press slowly and steadily, keeping tension on the muscles at all times, except when barbell is resting on chest. Breathe the same as the regular military press.

4) Alternate Standing Dumbbell Raise 3 x 8
Assume a solid stance with a dumbbell in each hand. Inhale and raise the right arm overhead and to the front, keeping arm straight. Exhale as you lower the bell back to starting position. Raise left arm, keeping position stationary. Do not lean forward or backwards. Do the work with deltoid muscle and work each arm, one repetition at a time.

5) Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 x 8
Sit erect with arms extended by the sides. Raise them to just above shoulder height. The angle of the raise should be between the position of the regular lateral raise and the forward raise. Inhale before raising the bells, exhale as they are lowered under control.

Routine Five

1) Seated Press in Front and Behind Neck 4 x 8
This is one of the very best shoulder exercises. It must be done properly to obtain the full results. First, clean a barbell to your shoulders and sit down on a bench. Press to arms' length. Lower barbell to behind neck to the shoulders. Do not relax or rest at the shoulder, press the bar back to arms' length, lower it to the chest and repeat again. Keep the bar in motion throughout the exercise. This is a compound exercise and four presses to front and four to back are performed. Inhale up, exhale down. 

2) Standing Lateral Raise 4 x 8
In a comfortable stance, start with dumbbells at arms' length, palms facing in toward the thighs. Slowly raise dumbbells to a position a little above shoulder height, pause and contract the deltoid, then lower back to starting position. Keep the arms straight and elbows locked throughout the execution of this exercise. Inhale when raising, exhale when lowering.

3) One Arm Rowing 4 x 8
Use a bench, placing one hand on the bench for support and spreading the feet wide. This will give you balance. Keep the back straight and extend the arm fully. Next, pull the dumbbell to the chest, keeping the elbow pointed outwards which will allow you to pull the bell higher and work the latissimus more fully. The dumbbell is pulled in a straight line. There is no rotating motion. Inhale on the upward pull and exhale when extending the arm to a straight position. 

4) Bent Arm Lateral Raise 3 x 6-8
This is a standing version of the seated dumbbell lateral raise, exercise number 5 in routine 4.

5) Incline One Arm Lateral Raise 2 x 8-10

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recovering with the Weight - David Webster

Asked about the weights today, Schemansky gave it a few seconds thought, then twirled a finger around his temple. Crazy. Lifting became an opiate.

"Once you're hooked on it," he said simply, "you're hooked on it."

In the snatch the recovery presents no difficulty for splitters and little difficulty for squatters unless they have very tight shoulders. Splitters are advised to recover by extending the legs and thrusting on the front leg to move the foot back and then bringing the rear foot forwards to place the feet in line for the referee's signal.

In squat snatching the weight must be kept settled back safely to prevent it going forwards and out of control as the hips are raised; it is for this reason that good shoulder mobility is essential. Avoid raising the hips much faster than the shoulders otherwise you will find a tendency to 'dislocate' by rotation of the shoulder which will cause you to lose the weight backwards.

In both styles the recovery should be affected without delay. As soon as the weight is correctly received the legs are straightened, taking advantage of any rebound.

In the clean it must be admitted that the splitters have (or had) an easier time in the recovery phase. Very seldom have splitters failed to stand up with a weight they have pulled in. The favorable mechanics allow the splitter to overcome inertia by pushing on the front foot in a backward and upward direction. With the weight moving upwards towards the center or a very wide front-to-back base the back leg acts as a pivot and lever, making the front foot recovery comparatively simple. This is followed by a small step forward as described for the snatch.

In the squat clean the situation is very different.

The weight is often pulled in very well but the lifter cannot stand up with it, being unable to straighten his legs. The 'sticking point' is well known and all sorts of maneuvers are used to combat this. First let me say that you must at all costs avoid stopping at the sticking point, for once the weight stops its upward journey, failure is almost certain. Bouncing several times as some lifters do to gain momentum is very hard on the knee joints, but catching the weight on the bounce and profiting by the rebound of thigh on calf is a legitimate and valid device which can and should be used.

Many lifters who settle in the low position begin their recovery by tipping the hips backwards and upwards and then drive strongly with the legs. Those who employ this style must be very careful that they keep the elbows well up or else the weight will be lost forward.

Yet another method is to drive strongly upwards and as the hardest point is reached the hips are tipped backwards with little, if any, forward displacement of the bar. This device increases the angle between the bones of the upper leg and those of the lower leg thus overcoming the infamous sticking point. Having done this, however, the lifter must readjust his balance forcing head and shoulders upwards and hips forward and upwards.

While some shifting of balance is often permissable, and often advantageous in the recovery, excessive rounding of the back or other unorthodox movements will bring a danger of injury.

It is not unusual to see lifters trying to get through the sticking point by forcing their knees inwards at the crucial stage, but this is extremely wearing on the knees and should be discouraged. I much prefer a straightforward 'power' recovery and advise lifters to practice front squats using exactly the same foot spacing and hand positions as they do in the clean, duplicating the position as closely as possible.  However, if adjustments have to be made, these should be kept to the minimum and re-adjustment made as quickly as possible. Obviously, economy of effort in the recovery is of prime importance because the lift is far from finished. It must still be jerked overhead and a difficult clean is psychologically bad. Aim at easy cleans and a good recovery but train yourself to accept difficulties in the early stages. You should be confident that if you can get the weight to thet chest you will be able to ram it overhead in good style.

As you reach the final upright position make sure you have the bar in a good position from which to jerk from the shoulders.

We have now covered the all-important techniques for the snatch and for the clean, considering the split style and the squat style. The recovery in the snatch and the clean have also been reviewed and now our attention is turned to the second part of the clean and jerk - the jerk itself. In this we will ignore variations of no-split and half-split techniques which have from time to time appeared on the scene. These have little significance in a book aimed at showing the way to maximize performance. We will deal only with the orthodox split technique which is the best and quickest way to success.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mountain Dog Leg Training - Cory Crow

Cory Crow Training Articles:

Hard Copy:

Mark Dugdale

Wheels, pegs, pins, legs. In modern bodybuilding the sin of having underdeveloped legs is viewed as unforgivable, an act of heresy not tolerated by the masses any more than it is by judges. Having a great upper body and a set of narrow legs is akin to building a beautiful multi-million dollar mansion of a foundation of wet newspaper stock. 

As training advances have exploded onto the scene, acceptable size and shape standards for leg development have exploded as well. As great as they were, old-school bodybuilders like Arnold and Lou Ferrigno just would not be competitive in the sport today because their legs just wouldn't match up to the gargantuan lower bodies of Branch Warren, Jay Cutler and company.

Whether that's a positive or negative development I will leave to those who enjoy debating such issues. If you're reading this article, you are likely a dedicated weight trainer who's concerned about what you can do to increase your own leg size. More important, you're probably looking for tips that will enable you to reach your genetic potential, to bust through plateaus and build a pair of legs that will require you to buy baggy-fit jeans.

One of the first problems that all trainees must overcome is the dreaded plateau. How to avoid that
monstrous roadblock that has vexed trainers and athletes for decades. Nothing is worse than heading to the gym, performing a gut-busting workout of squats, leg extensions and other lower-body moves only to see no progress in either strength or size. It can lead to frustration or, worse,resignation and training stagnation. So I thought it might be good to discuss the issue with someone who has been working in the industry for some time. A bodybuilder who’s competed at the highest level and done well, succeeding on the biggest stages in the game. He also happens to have a full-time job managing a fresh-produce grocery business as well as a wife and three beautiful daughters.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about Mark Dugdale - one of the most respected competitors in the IFBB 212-pound division and a bodybuilder who’s been a pro (and a fan favorite) since receiving his card after taking the overall at the ’04 NPC USA. Mark has competed consistently, taking second at the ’07 IRON MAN Pro and ultimately flexing in the ’07 Mr. Olympia before making the shift to the 202-and-under - now 212 - division, where he’s been a fixture in the top five.

Mark’s leg-building methods are right on the cutting edge of training science. For one thing, he rounds
into contest shape without having to endure the endless drudgery of cardio. During his prep for the recent New York and Toronto Pro competitions - where he took third and second, respectively - Mark did no cardio at all during contest prep. He has found that with a proper diet and a very intense workout program, he doesn't need to spend hours on the treadmill chasing a news anchor on the TV monitor in front of him.

Mark's leg workouts themselves are also slightly outside of the norm. His diet and training are coordinated by John Meadows of Mountain Dog Diet, who believes in using more than one method of upping the intensity. By combining progressive resistance and higher volume training in a periodization plan, he creates 'magic'. In terms of leg training,  that means steady consistent progress toward your goals. More by John Meadows here, website, and a pile of fine articles ----

The first key point about Meadows' training philosophy and the routine that Dugdale uses is that there is no routine. A few years  ago  that would have been heresy in the bodybuilding world. For example, in many gyms you can set your watch by the time the local pro hits the squat rack. In Meadows' world, however, the basics, like sets, reps and speed, and advanced techniques, such as drop sets and other workout intensifiers are changed every week.

As a matter of fact, the only semi-constant is squats. As Mark said, "It is a very, very rare occasion when squats are absent from a leg workout."

To fully illustrate the re of leg workouts that Meadows can include in Mark's schedule, it's instructive to visit his website and check out his training page, where you can find video examples of more than 15 exercises for legs with a note at the bottom of the list stating that you should check back often for more. You'll also find info on intensity-increasing techniques such as partials, drop sets, pause reps, chains and bands, etc.

Another area where Meadows training theory is unusual is workout structure. Here's Dugdale's weekly schedule:

Monday a.m. - 60 minutes hot yoga.
Monday p.m. - Heavy intense legs.
Tuesday a.m. - Abs and calves.
Tuesday p.m. - Heavy intense chest and shoulders.
Wednesday a.m. - 60 minutes hot yoga.
Wednesday p.m. - Heavy intense back.
Thursday p.m. - Recovery pump, explosive legs.
Friday a.m. - 60 minutes hot yoga.
Friday p.m. - Recovery pump, explosive chest and shoulders.
Saturday a.m. - Biceps, triceps, abs, calves.
Sunday a.m. - Recovery pump, explosive back.

As you can see, Meadows has Mark training legs twice per week. The first workout, Monday p.m., is just what it says, a heavy intense workout that is designed to go to failure on almost every movement. As an example, here's a recent leg routine that Meadows sent to Mark. 

Seated Leg Curls (pyramid up) 
4 x 15, 12, 10, 8.  
Do plenty of warm-up sets; then proceed to pyramid up in weight using the given rep scheme. On all four sets tack on 10 partials out of the extended position. Your hams should be loaded with blood from this. Four total work sets. Goal: Activate and pump hams.

Leg Extension (top half of stroke only)
3 x 30.
Do plenty of warm-up sets here again. This is going to sting a bit. Do three sets of 30. You’re only doing the top half of the movement, and you are flexing hard on each rep. Turn your toes in toward each other some and really feel your vastus lateralis contract. Picture striations running along the muscle. No matter how badly these burn, get your reps.
Four total work sets. Goal: a supramax pump.

Front Squat/Back Squat Combo
Work your way up doing sets of eight here. You do eight reps on front squats, then, immediately after, eight on back squats. That’s one set. I want you to do these explosively. Go until you almost hit failure, and then rack the bar, get back in there, and crank out more reps in normal back-squat style. We will count this as three work sets.
Goal: Activate and pump quads.
One example:
95 x 8 front/8 back
135 x 8/8
185 x8/8
225 x 8/8
challenge work set - 245 x 12/9

Leg Presses (1)
One big set—doing sets of six reps. Do six, then have partners (or you) immediately add a plate on
each side, and do six more, repeating until you can barely get your six. One total-work set like this will be enough!
Goal: a supramax pump.

Leg Presses (2)
Now start where you left off, and do a drop set with the same reps, removing a plate or two for each set.
Goal: a supramax pump.

Barbell stiff-legged deadlifts
Use 25-pound (11 kg) plates on these, and get a nice, full range of motion. Stand all the way up, and flex your glutes on each set. Do three sets of eight.
Goal: Work a pumped muscle.

Mark performed these movements using very high poundages, incorporating Meadows' techniques to increase intensity.

The second leg workout - Thursday p.m. - has a slightly different focus. Said Mark, "For some of the workouts we'll cut back to 60% of normal weight with lower reps, six or so, but performed as explosively as possible. Think about moving the weight on the concentric portion as quickly as possible. Other exercises may be 50% of the weight with double the weights. Basically, that just means that no high-intensity techniques are used - no sets to failure; no drop sets, supersets, etc. - so you always have two or so reps in the tank when you stop an exercise.

The idea is to keep the body in a perpetual state of muscle confusion with the two workouts. It is a fairly advanced leg-training routine - so advanced that it is not recommended for beginners or early-intermediate trainees. If you're an advanced trainee looking to avoid plateaus, Meadows' theories may be worth seriously looking into.

The next week the philosophy stayed the same, but the list of movements and intensity techniques was totally different. What did not - does not - change, is the idea of training to failure and constantly increasing intensity.

One final oddity in Dugdale's weekly routine is the inclusion of hot yoga. While that sounds like the lead-in to a bodybuilding joke (two bodybuilders and a fitness competitor walk into a yoga studio), it shouldn't be treated as one. Yoga performed under hot, humid conditions is increasingly being viewed as a great way to increase core balance and flexibility and a tool for injury prevention.

One of the biggest problems competitive bodybuilders face is the reality that, quite often, bodybuilding exercises do not lend themselves to real-world range of motion. Incorporating yoga or Pilates into your weekly routine can go a long way toward remedying that. Mark summed it up as follows:

"When I prepared for and competed in the New York and Toronto pro shows this past season, I performed zero cardiovascular work. I found that by timing my nutrition just right and training seven days a week, I did not need cardio. Post-contest I did some Bikram hot yoga and fell in love with it. It obviously burns calories, and I've had to adjust my calories to accommodate it. I primarily do it for the health benefits and to improve my balance and flexibility. I think of re as an investment in injury prevention and my health."


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Train for Strength - Doug Hepburn/Jim Murray (1954)

Doug Hepburn says "Train for Strength"
as told to Jim Murray

"If a man's temperament is suited to it, I believe he will make better success in weightlifting by training for strength primarily and style secondarily than if he puts great emphasis on learning form," says 1953 World Heavyweight Lifting Champion Doug Hepburn. The giant Canadian's own rise to international fame indicates that his theory has paid off, and he also bases his conclusion on the career of U.S.A. heavyweight Paul Anderson.

Hepburn is today without peer in pressing heavy weights overhead and his Olympic total of 1,040 pounds ranks among the five best aggregates on record. To attain the eminence at which he is a leading contender for the mythical title World's Strongest Man, Doug Hepburn has had to overcome the handicap of a deformed right calf and foot. That he has risen above his handicap makes his performances on the standard competition lifts especially commendable and is mute testimony to his courage and determination.

In his training routines, Canada's modern Cyr varies his workouts according to his immediate goal. Heavy squatting has always been a favorite exercise with him and is almost invariably a part of his training. Regular readers will remember that Doug originally gained prominence for becoming the first man to squat with 600 pounds.

Pressing movements, especially the regular overhead press with barbell, and the supine press on bench are other favorites. Doug usually does his presses from the shoulders, taking the barbell from chest-high stands. Perhaps his most amazing training performance has been four repetition presses from the shoulders with 400 pounds!

To give readers an idea of how the 1953 world champion and 1954 British Empire Games heavyweight winner prepares for a regulation contest, an outline of his training prior to the '53 meet in Stockholm follows:


280x2/300x2/320x2x6-8 sets. The first clean is made from the floor and the second is from the hang.

Press on bench, regular grip.
350x5 for warmup/400x2/430x5x 2 sets.

Squat, heels raised on board.
475x5 for warmup/520x3/550x3x5 sets.


200x4 for warmup/240x2/260x2x6-8 sets. The first from the floor, second from the hang.

Press on bench.
Same as Monday.

Same as Monday.


Entire workout the same as Monday.

Note the limited number of exercises used, and that they were practiced in low repetitions for several sets. Doug lifted a  total of 20 cleans or 22 snatches in a single training period. He limited his squats to a total of 23 and his bench presses to 17. It is interesting to learn that he relied on bench pressing to keep up his pressing power during this period. His press so far exceeded his clean that it was necessary for him to emphasize pulling movements in his pre-contest training. His official lifts at the championships were:

371.25 Press
297.25 Snatch
363.75 Clean and Jerk

In preparing for the bench press and squat championships sponsored by Ed Yarick a year ago, Doug worked on the two lifts to be contested. He sometimes trained on both exercises the same day, and sometimes practiced them on alternate days. The poundages and repetitions he used were as follows:

Bench Press - 
380x3/400x3/450x2-3. Worked to limit single when 'in the mood'.

Squat - 
500x3/550x3/600x2/singles with 630-640 when in the mood. 
Finished with 3-4 sets of 8, with 500 pounds.


At the Yarick Big Show Doug also pressed a pair of 157-lb. dumbbells overhead after they were handed to him at the shoulders. He made little formal preparation for this, but when he did his dumbbell pressing he worked one arm at a time in sets of 2 or 3 repetitions, working as high as possible in poundage. At the contest he officially bench pressed 450 and squatted with 665.

A list of Doug's best official and unofficial strength feats indicates superhuman all-around power, and a clear-cut superiority over every other iron game great of past or present in pressing and pushing heavy weights overhead:


Clean and Press - 381 pounds.
Snatch - 312.
Clean and Jerk - 372.
Bench press - 502 (2-second pause at chest).
Squat - 665.


Clean and Press - 390.
Dumbbell Clean and Press - 155's.
Press from Shoulders - 430.
Dumbbell Press from Shoulders - 175's.
Squat - 730.
Deadlift - 740 (with straps).
Bench Press - 560.
One Arm Press - 195 (standing straight).
One Arm Press - 240 (lean to side).
Crucifix with Dumbbells - 105's.
Hold Out to Side - 110 (one arm).


Normal Chest - 57.5 inches.
Waist - 47.5.
Neck - 19.5.
Thighs - 32.
Flexed Upper Arm - 21.25.
Wrist - 9.
Forearm - 15.5 (straight).

Click Pics to ENLARGE

Prior to the British Empire Games at which he lifted 370 press, 300 snatch, and 370 clean and jerk for 1,040 total, Doug placed great emphasis on heavy pulls to waist height and attempted to learn the squat clean and squat snatch. In the pulls he copied the Paul Anderson method of strapping his hands to the bar and worked up to the point of pulling 500 pounds waist high for a single. During one training session in which he warmed up and just worked to his limit in the squat snatch, Doug succeeded with 320 pounds. Although unofficial, this is one of the best snatch lifts ever made. It is 18 pounds more than he has been able to lift in the split style. At the tryouts for the British Empire Games, however, (May 8, 1954;  the occasion of Doug's world record 381 clean and press), he found the squat style uncertain and was only able to snatch 270 pounds. With this weight he depended almost entirely on pull, using very little knee dip to get under the bar. Because he felt unsure of  the squat style, he returned to the split for the Empire Games in Vancouver. Incidentally, Doug used the squat clean for his 381 press at the tryout meet. It is quite possible that Doug might have scored more than 1,040 total if he had used the squat style clean and snatch, or if he had practice the split style more extensively before the Vancouver lifting. 

Doug has two ambitions in weighting, to clean and press 400 pounds, and to jerk (push) 500 pounds overhead without moving his feet. He has already shoved 490 to arms' length overhead. It is possible, however, that if Doug retains his interest and  reaches these goals they may be claimed as professional marks instead of amateur records. Having won major amateur championships, including the world title, Doug may decide to capitalize on his fame and become a professional athlete. Being rugged as well as strong, he has considered entering professional wrestling or Canadian football.

Whatever his future may be, Doug Hepburn deserves to be ranked in the all-time iron game hall of fame for his record-breaking strength feats. He also rates great credit for his courageous uphill march to physical success while faced with a handicap which would have prevented weaker men from even trying, much less succeeding.



Leg Training Clusters - Jeb Roberts

When a well-timed blow floors a boxer the fight isn't always over. More often than not, he'll come to his senses, stagger to his feet and steady himself for another bout of giving and taking punishment. And depending on the organization governing the fight, he'll often get a 10-second grace period or a standing eight count, giving him just enough time to compose himself and come back swinging.

Okay, so maybe you've never gone toe-to-toe with 12-ounce gloves on. But if you've stood with a loaded barbell on your back and squatted below parallel for rep after rep until you couldn't force yourself back up out of the hole, you have some idea of what it's like to handle a Tyson-like pummeling. What you may have noticed - particularly if you've experimented with the rest-pause intensity technique, in which you take a very short break during your set only to continue right back on - is that even though a heavy set of squats can leave your legs as shaky as those of a clock-cleaned prizefighter, your ability to lift heavy returns fairly quickly. In fact, after just a few seconds of rest you're often able to continue a set well past the initial point of failure. And while rest-pause is a great way to take advantage of this restored potential, a similar method, called cluster training, lets you embark on a significantly heavier set from the first rep and extend it into rep ranges that would normally be out of your reach to maximize your neural response and encourage greater growth. The trick is simply a matter of timing.

Extend Your Set

"Cluster training is simply using non-traditional set-and-rep schemes that contain built-in pauses," says Bret Contreras, who trains both bodybuilders and strength athletes in Scottsdale, Arizona. The idea, of course, is to lift a heavier weight - about 85% of your 1 rep maximum - for more reps than you normally would when following a typical hypertrophy routine. Whereas a standard rep count for hypertrophy tends to fall between 8-12 reps per set with a weight that forces failure somewhere within that range, cluster training lets you use a heavier weight (typically one that you'd be able to lift for no more than 5 reps) and pushes each set into a hypertrophy rep range (meaning you're doing 8-12 reps with a weight that's so heavy you'd normally fail in just 5). In short, you're doing more reps - far more - with a heavy weight to place significantly more stress on your target muscles.

The concept of cluster training is fairly straightforward, but the sheer number of available cluster variations - from antagonistic clusters to Mike Mentzer's cluster method - could easily sway some bodybuilders from incorporating them into their routines. So to focus your energy on lifting heavy instead of wasting time deciphering obscure training science, we're going to stick with one cluster method in particular that's especially promising. It's a variation called Extended 5's, developed by Christian Thibaudeau.

The goal behind an Extended 5's cluster is to perform a set of 10 reps with a weight that you would normally lift for only 5 reps. The method is similar to rest-pause, an intensity technique in which you complete a set and then, after a very brief rest, continue to perform reps until you reach failure a second and third time, extending the set beyond your usual point of failure. This way, you'll more effectively tax the target muscle group and encourage growth. The main difference between cluster training and rest-pause, however, is that rest-pause is often used at the end of a standard set performed with a moderate weight (e.g., a set of 5-6 reps using a lifter's 8-10 rep maximum), and the initial rest period is undertaken without going to muscle failure. Cluster training has pauses built in throughout the set, allowing you to use significantly heavier weights, which ensures you'll reach muscle failure on each one.

The science behind cluster training isn't anecdotal; in fact, it relies on the body's normal physiological response of swiftly restoring adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that the body uses to transport every activity you undertake, but it plays an especially prominent role in heavy, short bursts of resistance training, where it combines with creatine phosphate to provide short-term energy for high-intensity work. The beauty of cluster training, as with rest-pause, is that the built-in 7-12 second rest provides just enough time for you to restore enough ATP to continue on with your heavy set, effectively increasing both the intensity and the volume of your workout.

By the Numbers

A typical set in Extended 5's cluster training would go as follows:

 - Load the bar with your 5RM (that's a weight with which you can perform only 5 reps, typically about 85% of your 1RM) and do 5 reps.

  - Rack the bar and rest for no more than 7-12 seconds.

 - Immediately get back under the bar and do another 2-3 reps.

 - Rack and repeat the 7-12 second rest.

 - Complete a final 2-3 reps to finish the cluster set.

So, it's
5RM x 5, 7-12 second rest, 2-3 reps, 7-12 sec. rest, 2-3 reps. 

When you're finished you'll have done 10 reps (and hit the exact center of the typical hypertrophy rep range) with a weight that you could usually lift for only 5 reps. Form there, rest for 3-5 minutes before starting your next cluster set.

To get cluster training right, you'll need to be precise when you load the bar. Go too heavy and even if you manage to make it to 5 reps, that 7-12 second pause won't allow enough ATP recovery for you to finish the set. Pick a weight that's too light and you'll be sacrificing the intensity component of cluster training. Generally, if you can make it past those first 5 reps without pausing, you've gone too light. To estimate your 5RM on just about any exercise refer to one of the multitude of max calculators online.

Whenever you're lifting within ranges that optimize strength (anywhere from 85-100% of your 1RM, or more simply when you can do just six or fewer reps), you'll need to be vigilant about overworking - especially when you're applying cluster training or other intensity methods to a compound, big-stress movement like the squat. For this reason, I recommend you hit legs only once a week, with the focus switching from anterior-dominant (quadriceps) movements to posterior-dominant (hamstrings and glutes) movements each week for four weeks before deloading. While some bodybuilders prefer to separate their leg training over two days, that isn't recommended for cluster training. When you're aiming for intensity, a "less is more" approach is often best. Hit it hard and then head home. After the fourth week, you should scale back your intensity and take at least a week off from cluster training to give yourself a chance to recover, refresh, and reload. Deload to reload.

In Your Workout

Now that you understand the basic mechanics behind cluster training, let's consider how it fits into your leg-day routine. As Contreras points out, "All leg exercises can be clustered, but since you're aiming for neural adaptations it makes sense to use heavy compound movements rather than lighter isolation movements." For that reason your cluster training will revolve around the front and back barbell squat, two of the best lower-body mass-builders. Because you'll have to quickly rack and un-rack the bar to take full advantage of your brief rest periods, be sure you're set up to do so - and be sure to take precautions covering the possibility of missing a target rep.

Contreras insists that individuals should "always do clusters first in a workout, right after a general dynamic warmup and a specific warmup on the exercise at hand." The reasoning here is simple: You'll be able to lift the most weight and create a maximal neural response while you're still fresh. And it should come as no surprise that your 5RM on the squat will be significantly less after you've performed other multi-joint or isolation exercises than it would if you did squats at the beginning of your workout.

You also shouldn't be applying clusters to more than one exercise. "Clusters should be reserved for just one movement per workout," Contreras says. "Then you can add exercises that focus more on metabolic stress and cellular swelling," otherwise known as hypertrophy-focused single-joint movements. For these accessory lifts (see the routine layout at end of article) you'll follow basic set-and-rep schemes with standard breaks of about two minutes between each working set.

In Your Corner

As with any hardcore training method, safety should be first on your list when you're hitting heavy clusters. To avoid injury, always squat with a competent squatter or in a rack with properly adjusted catchers. As mentioned earlier, efficiency in racking and un-racking the bar will be key to fully utilizing on this method.

When training for either strength of hypertrophy (or, in the case of cluster training, both), intensity is your best friend. But always remember that your goal should be to find a balance between training intensity and injury prevention and avoidance. Listen closely to your body and be vigilant about keeping perfect form even when the going gets tough.

The Best of the Rest

The squat may be the king of full-body mass builders, but it's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cluster-ready movements. To break though plateaus in other stagnant bodyparts, try applying the same cluster-training template to the following heavy compound movements, each of which allows for quick, convenient rest periods.

Legs: deadlift, Romanian deadlift, leg press.
Back: weighted pullup, lat pulldown.
Chest: bench press, incline bench press.
Triceps: weighted dip close grip bench press.

Sample Leg Training Cluster Routine

Week 1 - Rear Thigh Focus

Back Squat
3x5 warmup (40%, 50%, 60% of 1 RM) with 1 min. rests.
3x10 (85%) 3-5 min. rests. Perform as a cluster set by doing 5 reps, racking the bar and resting for 7-12 seconds, performing 2-3 more reps, racking and resting again for 7-12 seconds, and then completing a final 2-3 reps for 10 reps total. Rest and complete the sequence three more times.

Reverse Hack Squat
3x10, regular reps, 2 min. rests.

Leg Press

One Leg Lying Leg Curl

Week 2 - Front Thigh Focus

Barbell Front Squat
3x5 warmup (40%, 50%, 60% of 1 RM) with 1 min. rests.
3x10 (85%) 3-5 min. rests. Perform as a cluster set by doing 5 reps, racking the bar and resting for 7-12 seconds, performing 2-3 more reps, racking and resting again for 7-12 seconds, and then completing a final 2-3 reps for 10 reps total. Rest and complete the sequence three more times.

Leg Press

Walking Barbell Lunge

Leg Extension

Week 3 - Rear Thigh Focus
Repeat Week 1.

Week 4 - Front Thigh Focus
Repeat Week 2.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Training for Women - Louie Simmons (1996)

I have been fortunate to have trained some of the greatest women powerlifters of all time. Five of these women have squatted or deadlifted 500 pounds or more. Three have benched well over 300 pounds.

Women are taken for granted and overlooked many times, but the fact remains that women are just as dedicated as men, and sometimes more so. Not much training information is available to them. They are taught the basics, which yields mediocre results. I have trained a group of women who have amassed a total of more than 25 open world titles. Here are some insights into how this was achieved.

First, the women train by percents, just as the men do. In the bench press, they use 55% for 8-10 sets of 3 reps. By doing this, the barbell volume is controlled to prevent over or undertraining. Percent training also develops explosive strength. Women are just as able to develop explosive strength as men, if they train correctly. Percent training will also perfect form.

The same holds true in the squat, only the percentage is different. It ranges from 50 to 60% of their contest best. Squatting is done off a box  that is slightly below parallel. Box squatting is very important for women. It develops tremendous hip strength. Although women seem to have broader hips than male lifters, they lack the muscle mass in  that area. Our women train the deadlift just like the men: they don't deadlift. The only exception is the extra-wide sumo. This is done by placing a set of collars on an empty bar before the weights are added. This will allow for a very wide deadlift, placing tremendous tension on the hips. Sue White went from a 265 to a 468 deadlift in under two years at 148 by doing wide deadlifts every third rotation, or about every nine weeks.

Special exercises play a major role for our women champions. For the deadlift, Amy Weisberger does a lot of front squats on a 6 inch box. Her best is 215 for 3 reps. After doing this in the gym, she pulled an easy 402 after squatting 390, to total 1031 at 123. 

She also rotates walking lunges with 50-lb. dumbbells for two or three weeks. She walks up and down a steep grade. Walking downhill works the quads and hips; walking uphill works the the glutes and hips. This is also great for flexibility. For the next two weeks Amy will do static squats. These are done by staying in a squat position with your back against a wall at two or  three positions above parallel for 3-5 sets of 30 seconds each. Hold dumbbells, as heavy as possible. 

For the third rotation on deadlift day, one-legged squats are done: place the back leg on a box that is 12-20 inches high with the front leg as far from the box as possible. After you can do 15 reps for a couple of sets, start adding weight with dumbbells. 

Of course, reverse hypers are done 4 times a week, lat work 3 times a week, and lots of ab work. Amy uses all types of special exercises to raise her work capacity, which increases her deadlift.

Vanessa Schwenker has been with us for only 18 months, yet has raised her total from 795 at her first meet to 1123 at 132. Her bench press has gone from 180 to 253 also. How did she do this? At present, she trains the bench on percent day with 135 for 10 sets. All sets are done with the hands inside the power ring, first with the little finger touching the ring, then moving closer by 2 inches, and then with the index finger on the smooth part of the bar. These lifts are not intended to build absolute strength, but rather explosive, or starting strength as well as accelerating strength. It is one thing to be strong, but another to display it.

After benches, Vanessa does triceps extensions with a barbell to the throat or forehead or with dumbbells, palms facing in, on the floor or on a bench. When doing extensions on the floor, the bar or dumbbells is/are rested on the floor on each rep to break the eccentric/concentric chain. This builds explosive strength in the triceps. Next are dumbbell power cleans while seated or inverted flyes. Either one will build the forearms, upper back, and rear and side delts at the same time. Then it's on to 4-5 sets of lats and some hammer curls.

The percent work is done on Sunday. The second day is Wednesday; this is where the heavy weights come in. It is known as the maximum effort day. Vanessa will do board press for 2 or 3 weeks. Then she will switch to floor press for the next 2 or 3 weeks. After that, she will do rack lockouts with a close grip, never moving the bar more than 9 inches or less than 5 inches to lockout.

She will sometimes do steep inclines with a close grip or dumbbell floor press for a rep record at a certain weight. When a dumbbell record is attempted, it is very important to go to complete failure. This type of training is very taxing and can be done for only 2 or 3 weeks. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do this type of training. Incidentally, it is known as the repetition method.

Exercises that are done after the main exercise on maximum effort day are similar to those done on dynamic, or percent day: triceps extensions, upper back work, lat work, some side delt and front delt raises, and a few hammer curls.

Vanessa is just starting to reach her potential.

Doris Simmons, a 6-time world champion, has made a 341 squat at 105 and 363 at 114. All her squats are done on a box 1 inch below parallel. The weights are 50-60% of her best contest squat, or 185-235. 10 to 12 sets are done with 45 seconds rest between sets. 20 squats out of 200 are heavier than 60%, that is, any weight from 240 to a max single, which is 320.

After box squatting, she will do arched back good mornings, 3-5 sets of 5 reps. The weight ranges from 135 to 205. Then walking lunges, static squats, or one-leg squats are performed. Doris will pick one of these exercises and do it for 2 weeks before switching to a different exercise. She warms up with calf/ham/glute raises before squatting and after squatting does reverse hypers, lots of abs, and more calf/ham/glute raises.

On maximum effort day, Doris will do several types of squats, such as safety squat bar, Manta Ray, belt squats, or front squats, all on any one of six different height boxes. These are rotated every 2 weeks with one of five different forms of good mornings. Sometimes she does a max rack deadlift or a max half-squat off pins. After a major barbell exercise, Doris will again do reverse hypers, calf/ham/glute raises, abs, and some type of leg work. Sometimes she will do light deadlifts 4 times a week with 135-185 for 2 sets of 20 reps.

This type of training has helped Doris make the all-time total record of 887 at 105.

Dave Tate asked me if I could help his wife, Traci, with her bad back. When Traci came to Westside, she could not pick up the bar without pain. We had our hands full. Traci did some stretching and ab work. Her lower back was extremely weak, so reverse hypers were done 4 times a week, along with 12 minutes of ab work each day.

It wasn't long until Traci was able to start squatting and doing several back exercises, such as lat pulldowns, chest-supported rows, back raises, and walking lunges, first with no weight and then with light weight. Once she became physically fit, she started doing the same squat and deadlift training as the others at Westside, only scaled down as far as sets go.

Her first full meet was a disaster. She injured her right knee in the squat, the result of an old injury. She was unable to finish the meet, but she did bench 180. More determined than ever, Traci started training as soon as her knee would allow.

At Billy Master's Northcoast APF Open, Traci totaled 785 at 123, an Elite total. Next at the 1996 APF Nationals in Atlanta she totaled 821 at 123, not bad for someone who couldn't lift an Olympic bar without pain one year earlier. By raising Traci's work capacity and perfecting her form, she accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time.

As  that famous philosopher Mick Jagger said, "Time waits for no one," so let's get going, girls, and show the guys. But most of all . . . show yourself that anything is possible if you try.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting Under the Bar - David Webster

Alan Winterbourne. The unsupported phase:
Alan pulls himself quickly under the bar in the more efficient squat style.

Julian Creus of Great Britain,
going under the bar in the less effective split style.

In modern lifting, getting under the bar usually means dropping into a squat rather than a split, but both styles will be covered here. As well as pulling hard with the arms, the lifter must thrust the hips down and forward under the bar. It is not enough to simply drop downwards - there must be thrust and drive, getting low as quickly as possible. The feet should be off the floor for the minimum length of time.

The actions involved at the top of the pull and in getting under the bar puts a little hook on the trajectory of the bar and the end result is largely predetermined by this; the smaller the hook (i.e., the less displacement there is to the bar) the easier it will be to reach a correct balanced low position. A big hook will mean the bar is traveling backwards; experienced lifters will know how difficult it is to hold a bar which is traveling backwards at this point. The correct finish to your pull will help eliminate this fault - that is why leg and trunk position in the pull is so important. Many coaches also stress that the elbows should be sideways as the arms bend, rather than backwards, as backwards-pointing elbows often lead to backward pulls.

Lifters who have hooking problems should check on their hand and wrist action at this stage of the lift. The bar is heavier and less mobile than the body, and you are aiming at minimal bar displacement, so the hands and arms should rotate around the axis of the bar rather than the hands flicking/hooking the bar backwards.

The pulling up of the legs by the lifter as he 'dives' under the bar has long been taught by successful Eastern Bloc coaches. Obviously there is a need for some 'braking' after this, as the lifter sinks to the lowest position. The feet should move to slightly more than shoulder width apart and turn out to 20 to 25 degrees. if the feet are turned out more than this, the size of the base (on a forward/backward plane) will be reduced and this is most detrimental. If the feet go wider apart it will be hard to rise with the weights. Aim to have the feet land in line with the starting position but take into account that with maximum weights the feet may move back a trifle as you go into the squat. Significant backward movement of the feet indicates as inefficient backward pull.
A good position, back fairly upright. The 68 degree angle illustrated is the sort of position lifters with normal mobility can attain. The 60 degree angle would indicate a dislocation style. 70 degrees shows above average mobility.

In the most effective low position the feet move apart a little without moving backwards and the lifter gets his hips as close as possible to his heels, the knees going forwards and sideways pointing in the same direction as his toes. Squatting in a low position like this allows the lifter to sit fairly upright. The upper back and arms must be quite vertical. This is in complete contrast to the dislocation styles widely taught in America not so long ago. The theory there was that with the high bottom position the hips should be raised and the head lowered if the bar had a tendency to drop back. 'To counter the weight when caught too far forward, the hips may be lowered and the head raised.' This technique is not recommended. The low hip, vertical arm position is the one I prefer.

Nunez (above) and Vardanyan (below) show good low positions
in the snatch with hip and knee joints well flexed.

There is a school of thought which advocates going down only as low as necessary, i.e., if the weight is light you do not need to go so low, while with heavy weights you will be forced into a low position. I do not subscribe to this view. The lifter must go down faster than the bar in order that he can be in the correct position to receive it. The way to do this is to keep pulling with the arms and make a conscious effort to get your legs moving into the receiving position. To emphasize the different character of the pull and the drop under the weight, I used to advise my lifters to 'pull like a strongman and drop like a ballet dancer'. Alas, too many pull like ballet dancers and drop like strongmen.

The camel hop and high jumping styles of the past are outmoded now for the simple reason that power comes from the ground. It is the pressure exerted on the ground which gives you the drive and getting the feet back on the ground quickly after the split or squat gives you the control you need. Once again the squat cleaner has the advantage over the splitter as he has less distance to move his feet. This poses the question, 'Why move the feet at all,' which throws up the possibilities of interesting compromises to evolve a new technique, but the answer is that first the feet must be placed to allow maximum leg drive then changed to the best position in which to successfully receive the bar while in the low position. That is not the end of the story. The feet must be in the right position to produce a good recovery and bring the body upright - and this is particularly important in the heaviest cleans where every bit of leg strength is necessary.

Placing the feet for the snatch.
a) Recommended position for squat style.
b) Faulty position caused by backwards pull

When Louis Martin was encountering problems in rising with maximum poundages, to try to improve the situation measurements were taken of  feet spacings in scores of his snatches, cleans, and squats. As a result of this, modifications of technique were made to give him better foot spacings for his recovery, which worked well. He eventually cleaned and recovered with more than he could jerk.


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