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December 30, 2013 4:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This week we are going to take a look at a couple of the most popular newsletters of the year!  2013 was a huge year for us. Next week’s newsletter will be an in-depth look at occlusion training and an unarmed fighting symposium video with Rich The Terminator Herron.

Neck Training
By: Josh Bryant


Mike Bruce Hitting Some Heavy Harness Work



Four Score and seven years ago any serious strength training regimen included neck work.  As things “advanced” or self-castrated, neck work in a training program was a likely as a Liberace performance at a Jerry Falwell rally.

Is it any wonder that study after study show men’s testosterone levels plummeting?

Some of us old heads won’t let it go that easy.  I am inviting you to join the last of a dying breed.

Powerful Neck Epiphany

When I was a junior in high school, my best friend Adam benShea and I really wanted to go to a bar after watching the movie Roadhouse for the umpteenth time.
Being in Southern California, Mexican bars were a dime a dozen especially in Oxnard…..we decided to head down to the “Nard” to this little Mexican kick and stab called the Roadhouse (yes, the name influenced us).

We had been working out at the Gold’s Gym in the Nard with our lifting mentor Steve Holl, to our astonishment we recognized a wannabe bodybuilder from the gym, the typical all show no go pec and bi warrior, didn’t train legs and sported a neck like a stack of dimes. Straight on in his skin tight shirt from a distance he looked impressive, but turning around he disappeared.

Some sort of argument irrupted with the wannabe bodybuilder and a bouncer rushed out of the back sporting traps like a silver back gorilla and one of the thickest, most imposing necks I had ever seen.  This look screamed raw power, a precluding silence irradiated an energy that knew those muscles could coil into combat ready weapons at the drop of a hat.

The end result: the bouncer walked up to the puffed up pretty boy and proceeded to put his hands behind his back  in a crossed style and walked right up in his face and told him to leave immediately followed by some other words that would have poor Dale Carnegie rolling over in his grave.
The pretty boy could have taken a cheap shot, with the bouncers hands behind his back, he knew better.  The bouncer demonstrated power from a passive position, very impressive to watch.
When push came to shove the pretty boy was looking for the back door!

Adam looked at me and said “it’s the neck.” I knew it was, if for nothing else this alone was reason to train the neck.

Functional Benefits of a Strong Neck

“When a warrior goes to battle, he must have a sword and a shield. The neck is the fighter’s shield.” Says former Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu world champion  Adam benShea.  A strong, muscular neck will reduce the fighters chance of getting knocked or even choked out.  Any physical collision whether in automobile or on the football field your likelihood of neck injuries and/or head injuries will be reduced with a strong neck .

Gotta love the football “sports performance specialists” that do ladder drills ‘til the cows come home but neglect neck work.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint a muscular neck screams bad ass and training the neck can help chisel that sagging jaw line into the classically handsome grant masterpiece it once was.
I know you military guys that have to make “the tape” body fat requirement can benefit from some added neck work.

 Big Lifts=Big Neck?

I don’t think I am going to have to convince any readers that compound movements are the most efficient movements and need to be at the core of any program geared toward strength, size or fat loss.

Some believe that performing just a few big lifts, will equal big gains all over.  While the average serious weight trainer has a more developed neck than the lay public pencil neck…… to truly maximize neck strength and size you will have to directly train the neck.

The European Journal of Applied Phisiology and Occupational Physiology confirmed this from a landmark study published in 1997 entitled “Specificity of resistance training responses in neck muscle size and strength.”

The study consisted of 3 groups: a resistance training group that trained performing squats, deadlifts, push presses, high pulls and barbell rows.  A second resistance training that performed the same strength training movements in addition to neck extensions with a harness three times a week and a third group that did not workout at all.

The resistance training that did not train neck extension did not increase neck strength contrasted to subjects that performed neck extension work that increased neck extension strength by a whopping 34% over the 12 week duration of the study.  The Group that performed neck worked increased the cross sectional area of neck musculature by 13% compared to no increase for subjects that did not directly work the neck.

Bottom line want a big strong neck, you have to train your neck!

Conley, M. S., Stone, M. H., Nimmons, M. M., & Dudley, G. A. (1997). Specificity of resistance training responses in neck muscle size and strength. European Journal Of Applied Physiology & Occupational Physiology, 75(5), 443-448.

How Quickly Can this Happen?

The Naval Health Research Center demonstrated in a 2006 published study that significant increases in neck strength were evident in both static and dynamic strength assessments with a month of neck resistance training.  Total Neck size increased by 13%, this can be the difference between average and projecting a persona of power.

The study also showed that military personnel that regularly trained the neck had fewer injuries and far less sick days, I’d venture to say the same for the linebacker to the clergymen to the gypsy bareknuckle prize fighter.

So significant increases in neck strength and size can be realized in as little as 1-3 months according to scientific literature.

How Do I train My Neck?

For help with this routine consulted my good friend and Texas Powerlifting Legend Jim Voronin, At 380 pounds Jim measured a 25.5 inch neck!

Together we pieced together this two day routine.

Jim was arguably the most dominant super heavy weight powerlifter of the 1990’s, also a successful strongman competitor.  Today Jim is a Powerlifting referee and Vice Principal.  Jim gives back to the sport more than anyone.  Having dazzled crowds with his amazing size and strength from Juarez, Mexico to Paris, France.

 
Day 1
 

Week 1REPSSETS
Neck Harness104
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 2REPSSETS
Neck Harness104
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 3REPSSETS
Neck Harness94
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 4REPSSETS
Neck Harness94
Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 5REPSSETS
Neck Harness84
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 6REPSSETS
Neck Harness74
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 7REPSSETS
Neck Harness54
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Week 8REPSSETS
Neck Harness64
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)202
Barbell Shrugs (FULL ROM, Controlled)15-401
Day 2
 
Week 1REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs153
One Armed Barbell shrugs123
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)153
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 2REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs153
One Armed Barbell shrugs123
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)153
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 3REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs153
One Armed Barbell shrugs153
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 4REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs153
One Armed Barbell shrugs153
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 5REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs153
One Armed Barbell shrugs153
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 6REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs123
One Armed Barbell shrugs103
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 7REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs123
One Armed Barbell shrugs103
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16
Week 8REPSSETS
Neck Harness203
Overhead Shrugs123
One Armed Barbell shrugs103
Lateral Flexion Neck(against a band or on a four way neck….in other words bend neck to side)123
Neck Flexion Isometrics (push head downward against immovable resistance for ten seconds, if you have a four way neck machine that is okay to substitute flexion for 3 sets of 10-15)16

 

Final Thoughts

Ask not what your neck can you for you but what you can for your neck.
Time to build it and decrease your chance of real life injury and build an aura of power that garners respect anywhere from Penn State to the state pen!

For a training book with an entire chapter on Neck get Jailhouse StrongBlast your bi’s and tri’s from end to end with these fiber-splitting methods.

by Josh Bryant
HERE

joshstrength| Biceps Training 101| publish|1| 12/25/2013 12:15:00 PM|


by Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS

Few things are a truer representation of masculinity and strength than a pair of mountainous, sleeve bursting biceps. Symbolism in its simplest sense, muscular biceps epitomize the hallmark alpha male characteristics of strength and masculinity.

As early as junior high, kids begin taking notice of their rapidly morphing bodies. A surge of hormonal production during adolescence ignites a cascade of physiological changes. Among the many transpiring changes, is muscle growth. During puberty, sex hormones and growth factors feed muscular hypertrophy and hyperplasia without having to touch a weight, much less glance at one.

Those experiencing precocious puberty are gifted with muscular development which provides the foundation for brief athletic superiority, until the rest of their peers catch up to them.

Aside from the preciously pubescent domination of athletic feats and the popularity gained via budding facial scruff which is utilized to buy smut, beer, and tobacco at the local corner store, they are usually the first to intimidate peers and impress girls when they roll up their sleeves and flex their arms.

Life is unfair, albeit briefly, that is, until the baby faced ectos and endos discover how to manufacture their own musculoskeletal armor and optimizing hormone production through lifting weights.

Merely lifting weights sparks a volley of physiological changes due to the ample osteogenic and myogenic stimuli. Resulting adaptations include stronger bones, muscles, and of enhanced hormonal firepower.

One of the first exercises, kids and novice lifters perform is a biceps curl. However, more often than not, the simple act of curling a weight is butchered so badly, it ends up resembling a WOD on PCP.

Intermediate lifters and athletes fall in the trap of beating their biceps into oblivion with the hopes of exploding through developmental lulls. This bro science training fallacy will be soon debunked by an accomplished bodybuilder, who achieved his greatest gains adhering to somewhat of a minimalist training approach.

Anatomy Primer

Any training article would be remiss without a brief anatomy review.

The biceps brachii consists of two aspects, or heads – short and long. Both heads originate from different regions of the scapula with the short head stemming from the coracoid process and the long head originating from the supraglenoid tubercle. Both heads attach to the radial tuberosity and the aponeurosis, which shield a bundle of nerves and veins below them. Collectively, both heads flex the elbow and supinate the forearm, while the short head assists in flexing the shoulder.

The Importance of the Biceps

Biceps serve prominent assistive roles in each powerlifting movement. During the squat, they help harness tension by keeping the elbows flexed and pulled down. In the bench press, they help stabilize the bar during the eccentric. In the deadlift, strong biceps protect tendons from snapping off the bone during the pull from the floor.

In football, biceps serve as one of the five points of pressure when carrying the ball. Ball carriers who protect the pigskin, cradle the ball tightly against their biceps, forearms, and chest, all of which involve the key actions of both heads of the biceps – supination, elbow flexion, and shoulder flexion.

Stronger biceps equals fewer fumbles. Larger cross-sectional area of the biceps may also contribute to ball protection.

In throwing and punching motions, the biceps help protect the elbow from dangerously hyperextending during follow through.

And as we’ll soon see, in well-developed physiques, a pair of shapely biceps serve as a metaphorical icing on the cake.

While training to achieve strength and performance oriented goals may differ from hypetrophic driven ones, athletes, lifters, and bodybuilders must be cognizant of how much they’re using their biceps when: they perform rowing and pulling movements, which include back and shoulder exercises and activities of sport and daily living.

Considerations on Cheat Curls

The adage of cheaters never prospering doesn’t hold completely true during training. Arnold championed cheat curls during his heyday. Brian Dobson, owner of Metroflex, who’s worked with his share of pros, endorses them for serious lifters. “Whenever I train a person who is not into bodybuilding or powerbuilding, they act as if it is wrong to heave up heavy iron on the cheat curl, usually citing how their last trainer at Pansy Inc. Fitness said to stay perfectly straight and not to lean back. These trainees usually have arms that are less than 14 inches and the trainers’ arms are usually less than 15 inches.”

While quarter squats, invisible board presses, and hitched deadlifts will draw more red lights at a meet than Manhattan at rush hour, some cheating is beneficial as recent research highlighted.

Cheating enhances muscle growth through increased stimulation of working muscles (1). The authors of the study cautioned that excessive cheating may inhibit gains in strength and hypertrophy due to reduced time under tension.

Vic Tringali, MS, CSCS, Drexel University’s Executive Director of University Wellness and founder of Team Vic Exercise Science, once a nationally ranked heavyweight bodybuilder, who’s worked with a host
of top bodybuilders during his career, chimed in with a few tenets of sagacious training advice.

Invest your energy in compound lifts
 

“In my opinion, those seeking maximum biceps hypertrophy and strength should employ a comprehensive plan that is mainly focused on overall strength in compound lifts. The likely byproduct of which, will be increased biceps size and strength. For example, the biceps will receive significant loading during heavy compound pulling movements like rowing and pulling exercises,” says Tringali.

Train them with biceps

 “Biceps training in conjunction with or following an antagonistic muscle (i.e. triceps) may be ideal to enhance intensity and strength of contraction and improve blood flow and cell swelling,” continues Tringali. Research indicates that alternating agonist and antagonist muscle exercises during training increases muscle activation and power output during a complex training session (2).

Pay attention to hand and grip positioning

“Because the main functions of the biceps are to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm, performing flexion exercises with a fully supinated hand position is ideal as it will produce maximum stress and tension on the bicep,” concluded Tringali.

Vic also provided a snapshot of his biceps training which yielded considerable gains in development during his competitive days.

Exercise

Sets

Repetitions

Machine Bicep Curls

*2

8-10

Standing Straight Bar Curl

2

8-10

Reverse Preacher Bench Dumbbell Curl

2

8-10

*Followed by two warm-up sets of 12-15 repetitions.


“This is one of my more popular routines during my competitive career. This was typically performed in conjunction with triceps training in superset fashion. (i.e. alternate biceps and triceps exercises). However, biceps training was also incorporated in other muscle groupings from time to time. For example: following chest or back training.”

References
Arandjelović, O. (2013). Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113(1), 135-145.

Baker, D. & Newton, R.U. (2005). Acute effect on power output of alternating an agonist and antagonist muscle exercise during complex training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 19(1):202-205.


joshstrength| Jailhouse Strong is a great last minute Christmas Giftsee what the greatest strength training writer of all-time Dr. Fred Hatfield has to say| publish|1| 12/22/2013 2:14:51 AM|


Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Inventiveness and ingenuity are stimulated by difficulty.  The first prisoner to tie together bedsheets to escape knew that necessity was the mother of invention. This proverb first appeared in English in 1519 in slightly different form, Need taught him wit, and exists in many other languages aswell.

Getting back to those prisoners, yes, being incarcerated does tend to heighten the need for things once taken for granted.   This is especially true of those things upon which one’s very survival is linked.  Y’know, food, protection, fighting skill, muscle…muscle?  Yes, MUSCLE, and the more the better!  Few prisons nowadays have anything akin to fancy weight training equipment, so how does one get that life-saving muscle and fighting ability so desperately valued among at-risk inmates? 

Let me tell you, authors Josh Bryant (World Records in Powerlifting and American Champion Strongman) and Adam benShea (World Champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), both accomplished aficionados of strength in their own right, saw the tremendous strength and powerful physiques of inmates, and asked the obvious questions.  They traveled far and wide asking prison guards, inmates and former inmates how they acquired their Herculean proportions of mass and strength.  The answers are written in their great training book, Jail House Strong.

What does any of this have to do with you?  First, the workouts can be done anywhere, in a cell, living room, hotel room, wherever.  They’re functional as hell (they work), and little or no equipment is required.  You do the math!  The take-home lesson is that now you have no excuse to get yourself in fantastic shape!

 Buy the #1 Amazon Seller Jailhouse Strong in Paperback or Ebook.


joshstrength| The 5 Beyond Method| publish|1| 12/19/2013 11:09:00 AM|
By Josh Bryant


BJ Whitehead


 
Whether you’re working as a doorman at one of the roughest opium dens in Calcutta’s notorious China town, or you just want to build a physique that terrorizes tailors and garners prolonged feminine stares at the local community pool, you need more muscle!
I am going to share a strategy that will accomplish just that.

We will combine cheating, forced reps, and eccentric overload—all during the same exercise, set and rep.

Cheating

The European Journal of Applied Physiology concluded, “A moderate use of external momentum increases both the per-repetition peak torque and the total hypertrophy stimulus in a set.”

 In layman’s terms, the target muscles receive more stimulation with moderate cheating, which leads to greater muscle growth *(The authors warned excessive cheating results in lower demands on the target muscles, and decreases time under tension).

Arandjelović, O. (2013). Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise. European Journal Of Applied Physiology, 113(1), 135-14
 
Anecdote after anecdote shows the effect of bodybuilding champions and their strength sport counter parts effectively using cheating with rows, curls, shoulder raises and other movements.

Brian Dobson, owner of Metroflex gym, had this to say about cheat curls,
“Whenever I train a person who is not into bodybuilding or powerbuilding, they act as if it is wrong to heave up heavy iron on the cheat curl, usually citing how their last trainer at Pansy Inc. Fitness said to stay perfectly straight and not to lean back. These trainees usually have arms that are less than 14 inches and the trainers’ arms are usually less than 15 inches.”
 
Cheating is the poor man’s forced reps—no spotter needed to take you past concentric failure.
 
Forced Reps

World-renowned researcher William J. Kraemer has this to say about forced reps, in a Muscle & Fitness interview,

“During a set, as a muscle is trained, it produces force. Motor units (muscle fibers activated by nerve impulses) are recruited, starting with the smaller ones. With each succeeding repetition, progressively larger fibers—which take more stimulation to activate—come into play. By the time you reach positive failure, theoretically all of the fibers of a muscle have been recruited.”

Kraemer went on to say,

“In the past, it was thought that the use of forced reps would provide continued use of the already-activated motor units. This is called “continued activation.” But what we’ve found is that certain large muscle fibers cannot be re-activated without rest, and forced reps don’t continue to activate these fibers. Instead, forced reps challenge smaller motor units, which have “recycled” during the set.”

Forced reps can produce three times the growth hormone response as training to momentary muscle failure (MMF).

Forced reps and training to failure and can be grossly abused; we will save direct application of just forced reps for another piece.

Eccentric Overloads

Studies show you can handle as much as 160 percent more eccentrically than you can concentrically—that means if you can curl 100 pounds you can lower 160 pounds.

Because of preferential fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment, greater muscle damage, and mechanical tension, your muscles will grow.
Not to mention, you have the ability to do more work, ultimately leading to greater amounts of metabolic stress. Eccentric muscle contractions ignite muscle growth better than concentric or isometric contractions.
To maximize muscular development, you have to include eccentric overload in your training.

The 5 Beyond Method

So what exactly is the 5 beyond method?                                      
          

In a nutshell, when performing an exercise with strict form and reaching Momentary Muscular Failure on the concentric, you continue by cheating up the concentric or having a partner assist you with forced concentric reps.
Here’s the kicker, you do the eccentric by yourself for a five second tempo for five reps after failure; hence the name, 5 Beyond Method.

The 5 Beyond Method takes intensity to a whole new level by overloading the eccentric and prolonging time under tension.

Here are a few of my favorite exercise to use this method with:

Shoulders—Seated Machine Lateral Raises (Partner assisted forced reps)
Biceps-Any Barbell or Dumbbell curl (Cheating concentric)
Hamstrings-Leg Curls (Partner assisted forced reps)
Quads-Leg Extensions (Partner Assisted Forced Reps)
Back-Seated Rows (Cheating concentric)

Final Thoughts

The 5 Beyond Method combines scientifically validated muscle building methods which lead to greater metabolic stress, mechanical tension and muscle damage leading to hypertrophy.
Competitive lifters do not do this on lifts you compete in; besides potentially overtraining, it is not wise to continually fail at a motor pattern you are trying to master.

Avoid this on squats and deadlifts; although with some old heads, we have used this on the Pit Shark Belt Squat.

Use this method sparingly, not every workout, not every set or ever on deloads.
This is an advanced method and not for beginners.

When all fails, when trying to build muscle, it comes back to intensity and heavy pig iron, summarizing the 5 Beyond Method.

joshstrength| Triceps Training Tips| publish|1| 12/18/2013 1:06:00 PM|

By: Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS

 
 
 If your bench hasn’t budged since Ford was in office or if your quest to add arm mass has stalled, read on.

Triceps Training Mistakes

The role of triceps is commonly overlooked by performance minded lifters, who underestimate its importance in pressing exercises. Aesthetically driven individuals mistakenly devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy on biceps training in the hopes of building big arms, not knowing that the triceps comprise 2/3rds of the upper arm. Then there’s the sect of overzealous lifters who insist to overzealously blast a muscle group that’s called upon during chest, shoulder, and to a lesser degree, back training.
 
To better understand the function of the triceps, here’s an obligatory anatomy refresher.
The Triceps Brachii consists of three distinct aspects: the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. The long head, the largest triceps brachii group, originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula; the lateral head originates from the posterior humerus above the spiral grove, and the medial head, also originates from the posterior humerus, but below the spiral groove. Collectively, the three aspects of the triceps insert into the posterior region of the olecrannon process of the ulna and posterior capsule.

The primary role of the long head is to stabilize the shoulder and extends the humerus. The long head really comes into play during presses, where scapular stability is crucial, given its attachment point to the scapula. The lateral head is involved with elbow extension during any overhead or over-the-torso extension movements, such as overhead dumbbell and rope extensions and skull crushers. The medial head retracts the capsule of the elbow joint, thus permitting a greater degree of elbow extension.
Identifying Weak Points

Attempts to enhance bench pressing prowess are often sabotaged by faulty experimentation practices. Many struggling with their bench erroneously tack on needless volume and exercises in an attempt to improve their performance prior to identifying weak points. Extra sets of bench, pressdowns, and kickbacks won’t boost your bench, especially if you don’t know where you are missing the lift.

Athletes, including powerlifters, both geared and raw, struggle with the lockout.

Throughout the course of the lift, recruitment patterns change as do the length-tension relationships of the involved muscles. In order to understand the biomechanics of the bench press, we need to examine the phases which are involved in the lift.

Acceleration Phase

This phase begins with the initiation of the lift from the chest (concentric) and continues until a noticeable decrease of velocity is encountered. During this phase, the summation of muscular force highest than in the remaining phases.
Sticking Point

The sticking point of a given lift (in this case, the bench press), begins as bar speed decreases. The sticking point is encountered as involvement of muscle groups shifts to other muscle groups. It is during this phase in which most lifts fail. Muscular force production is lowest in this phase than all subsequent phases.  For instance, in the bench press, once the bar is successfully moved from the chest, the triceps begin taking over in locking out the bar.

Maximum Strength Phase

If the lift survives the sticking point, it enters the maximum strength phase. High muscular forces are reached during this phase as leverages improve closer to lockout.

Deceleration Phase

A brief deceleration phase is encountered following the maximum strength phase, which concludes with the conclusion of the lift.

Training Tips

Sticking points which are encountered close to 90 degrees of elbow flexion are indicative of weak triceps. The triceps are responsible for producing elbow extension torque, which occurs near 90 degrees of elbow flexion. At 90 degrees of elbow flexion the long head of the triceps doesn’t possess good leverage, meaning that the lateral head must be strong enough to produce elbow extension torque almost by itself.
 
The lateral head is the aspect of the triceps which is most involved with the bench press lockout, which is why from a strength training perspective, must be targeted with exercises such as close grip bench presses, board presses, and direct elbow extension work.

If more triceps work is warranted, you could bring your bench press grip in a little closer earlier in your training session and move it out further as fatigue sets in. Alternatively, you may substitute your regular bench presses with close grip benches for a training cycle.

Victor Tringali, Drexel University’s Executive Director of University Wellness and founder of Team Vic Exercise Science, who enjoyed a decorated bodybuilding career, chimed in with a few valuable perspectives on triceps training.

“Triceps training should be included as a component of a more comprehensive program that focuses on larger muscle groups,” says Tringali.

Tringali also sees value in training triceps along with biceps in antagonistic pairings, but prefers if triceps training follows biceps training to “enhance the triceps contraction.”. He also pointed out that since the triceps are utilized in a number of compound pressing movements, volume and frequency can be kept relatively low.

According to Tringali, exercise selection is governed by a constellation of factors.

“In my opinion, it’s important to choose exercises that feel comfortable to the individual’s joints and unique biomechanics, allow for the use of heavier loads and also provide great pumps to catalyze desirable metabolic responses.

Watch Ryan Messer hit 335 for a triple on the Close Grip Bench Press


joshstrength| Intuitive Training inside the Institution| publish|1| 12/17/2013 10:04:00 AM|
            By Adam benShea



From backyards to prison yards, rugged individuals are developing the broad-backed, lean-waisted look that any chain gym would gladly adopt for a promo marketing picture.  In contrast, workout center members are following all the precepts of the fitness establishment only to find that they cannot drop below 15% body fat, or break through a 275 pound bench press plateau. 

Why does this happen?

Perhaps, it is because one adheres to the rules of the institution, while the other is attune to the will of the intuition.  Although iPhone campaigns confuse intuition for simplicity, intuition is that which you instinctually know but you don’t know why. 

It is out of human intuition that there develops the initial charismatic spark of an idea that develops into the great religious movements, business trends, and communal social actions.  However, over time the entity shifts away from the primary goal of the intuitive initial spark and the movement develops into an institution whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of its existence.  As a consequence, the initial problem or question addressed by human intuition gets buried under layers of institutional bureaucracy. 
There are few places that offer a better example of the stark contrast between institution and intuition than incarceration in the penal system.  Initially developed to rehabilitate criminals, prisons have developed into institutions whose goals revolve around a strict adherence to their systems of rules and correct procedure.  Behind bars, the realities of the institution require that prisoners place the goals of the establishment before many of their individual requirements.  One is left with few opportunities for intuitive expressions and its subsequent rehabilitative benefits. 

Interestingly, it is through rigorous physical training that many jailhouse denizens are able to offer an expression of instinctual ingenuity.  With limited space, prisoners devise ingenious variations of bodyweight movements.  With limited weight in the iron pit, jail yard lifters find new methods to create resistance training.  Most importantly, with limited access to a comprehensive, or a ‘scientifically sound,’ training program, inmates listen to their intuition and make incredible gains!

Intuitive training means moving beyond the strict rules of any establishment and listening to the needs of your body.  This can mean flying in the face of commonly held views about overtraining and growth cycles.  It means training hard because you believe in your body and your body’s ability to handle the workload.  It means devising unorthodox movements because they can shock muscles into growing.  It means training with movement intention, or intentionally focusing on how your muscles become stronger with each rep.  It is also means getting excited for each workout because you know that training strengthens your resolve against the onslaught of looming institutional pressures.
Whether you are faced with the intuitional realities of life in a steel cell or the seemingly endless paperwork of an administrative assistant, make the intuitive turn to rigorous training.            

Scrap the institution, get Jailhouse Strong HERE

joshstrength| Dumbbell Pullovers for a Big Chest| publish|1| 12/16/2013 11:03:00 AM|
By: Josh Bryant
 
 
“You will not believe the ache in the sternum that this movement will produce! It literally forces your chest apart and forces it into new growth,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger in regards to the dumbbell pullover.
 
The dumbbell pullover was a favorite of some of the greatest chests of all-time, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reg Park, and virtually any old-timer. This exercise works not only the chest but also the lats and the intercostal serratus anterior (the muscles of the ribcage).
 
Maximally-developed intercostal muscles will give the illusion of a bigger rib cage when taking a deep breath and holding a pose because the ribs are pulled up by the intercostal muscles. I believe one of the reasons chest development hasn’t caught up with other body part development is because of the elimination of any pullover variations.
 
How to correctly perform a dumbbell pullover:
·       Lie perpendicular to the bench press, with only your shoulders supported
·       Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart
·       Your head and neck should hang over the bench
·       Your hips should ideally be at a slightly lower angle than your shoulders
·       Place the dumbbell between your hands that should be in a diamond shape using your thumbs and pointer fingers (palms should be facing the ceiling)
·       The movement starts with the dumbbell over your chest, elbows bent 10–15 degrees (do not let this angle change throughout the entire movement)
·       Slowly lower the weight backward over your head until the upper arms are in line with the torso
·       The weight travels in an arc-like motion toward the floor
·       Pull the dumbbell back over your chest, purposely squeezing the chest
·       Hold for a second, and then repeat the exercise

Important notes: Do this in a movement-intention style, focusing on the stretch and feeling the movement while keeping reps in the 12+ range.
If you have a history of shoulder problems, be careful when introducing this exercise. You may need to avoid it.

I had many questions on the inclusion of pullovers in the Jailhouse Strong chest specialization routine. I just wanted to share the rationale. You can purchase the book HERE.
 
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Cory Mathews Performing Dumbbell Pullovers



joshstrength| Building a Strong Backside through Hamstring Training| publish|1| 12/15/2013 11:02:00 AM|
by Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS


 
Glute training has grown ragingly popular over the past few years and articles on how to target the glutes have hijacked print magazines and internet forums alike. While directly training the glutes boasts many benefits, glute training tunnel vision as I call it, often neglects their powerful posterior chain counterparts to the south – the hamstrings.
 
The hamstrings consist of distinct parts – the lateral hamstrings, which include the long and short heads of the biceps femoris, and the medial hamstrings, which are composed of the semimebranosis and semitendinosis.
 
The fibers of the hamstrings originate from the ischial tuberosity and the linea aspera of the femur. The fibers fan out and attach at multiple sites.The biceps femoris attaches to the lateral aspect of the fibular head. The semimembranosis attaches to the posterior medial tibial condyle. The semitendinosis attaches to the anterior proximal tibial shaft.
 
As you can see the biceps femoris extends from the hip, where it crosses the knee, which allows it to flex the knee. Its attachmenton the fibular head permits it to contribute to lateral rotation of the flexed knee, which is important in athletic movements such as planting, cutting, pivoting, and playing an integral roles in keeping your knees from collapsing during squatting and providing you the static strength necessary to stabilize your hips and lower leg when initiating a deadlift.
 
Given their origin and attachment sites, spanning from the hip to below the knee, the semimembranosis and semitendinosis are major players in hip extension. These muscles provide us the power we need to achieve maximal hip extension which occurs during sprinting and jumping activities while securing the knees in proper alignment during those

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