Tag: Powerlifting

The History of the Cambered Bar

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Cambered bars, that is bars with a slight or pronounced bend, are one of the more niche elements of the gym floor. While many of us will be familiar with the EZ Bar, undoubtedly the most popular form of cambered bars, far fewer will have used Safety Squat, Buffalo or straight Cambered Bars as part of our routines. Somewhat unluckily for me, a recent shoulder problem has forced me to use safety bar squats as part of my routine.

Normally the preserve, at least in my mind, of the powerlifting community, the Safety Bar squat has allowed me to continue training my legs at a time when the traditional squat set up of pining the shoulders back is nothing short of agony. Aside from facilitating my obsessive need to squat, the Safety Bar provides the subject for today’s post. Who invented these bars? What advantages do they provide and how can we effectively use them? These are just some of the questions dealt with in today’s post.

Bradley J. Steiner, ‘Diet And Rest’, Powerlifting (1972)

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Aside from your mental state, which is entirely within your capacity to control, there are two other items that you can fully regulate most of the time as well: your diet and the amount of rest you obtain. Both are as essential in building strength and size as is exercise.

Strength is built on solid foods. Meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Milk and cheese. Thick hearty soups. Whole grain bread. Fruits and vegetables. All sorts of nuts, beans, peas. That’s good eating. That’swhat you need to build strong, solid, healthy muscles! Two nice-sized meals a day are usually enough for most mature people who train. Many people can easily do with three big meals a day, plus one or two healthy snacks if they train hard and try to couple it with a full-time job and family responsibilities.

Marvin Eder and the Four Hundred Pound Dip

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Few bodybuilders and weight trainers are unfamiliar with the dip exercise. A favourite of Vince Gironda, albeit with some modifications, the exercise is a prime builder for the chest and tricep muscles. Done correctly, the exercise is for my money, up there with the bench press. Done incorrectly, you’re just flopping up and down.

While records on the Dip exercise are few and far between, I wanted to write a short post about Marvin Eder’s incredible feat in the early 1970s, which saw him parallel dip over four hundred pounds!

Peary Rader’s Magic Circle

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Loved and despised in equal measure, the squat has long been the iron game’s go to exercise for maximum leg development. A cornerstone of most trainee’s leg routines, there is certainly no doubting the exercise’s popularity.

Yet despite the fact that the back squat in particular has enjoyed a decades long dominance amongst gym rats, this does not mean that it’s position has not been challenged. Indeed for every man and woman who swear by the traditional squat, chances are you’ll find many more who curse it.

Owing to individual body mechanics, many individuals have found it difficult to perform the back squat with the form necessary to produce maximum development. This is not a new problem either as today’s post attests.

John Christy, ‘The Art of Concentration, Part Two: The Workout’, Hardgainer Magazine 14: 2 (2002), 14-15

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In the first part of this article I explained how to concentrate before your workout so that you can transition from your everyday responsibilities and challenges, to the necessary mental state needed for your workout. I discussed why I feel it’s absolutely necessary, and how I do it. In the second part of the article I want to continue to emphasize the importance of concentrating on the task at hand, and how I do it during a workout.

The History of the Zercher Squat

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Mentioned at various points on this particular site, the Zercher Squat has been described by many as one of the most effective but painful methods of building big quads. Uncomfortable to the nth degree, this lift isn’t exactly the most popular amongst gym goers. A point which leads us into today’s post. Why invent such a painful method of lifting? When did it come about and why has it remained with us today?

Dr. Ken Leistner, ‘Hip and Thigh Power’, The Steel Tip, Vol. 1, No. 12 (1985).

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Heavy training for the hips and thighs gives the trainee the most return for the effort expended, but is usually not at the top of the list of “Favorite Modes of Training” due to the discomfort one is subjected to if the training is intensive enough to stimulate gains. The earliest lifting advice I received as an aspiring football player was to train the hips and thighs heavy, hard and consistently, even if it meant reducing the work done for the other body areas. Great gains in “overall body strength” come not from bench press specialization programs but from thigh, hip and lower back work. The proviso is that one train in a meaningful and productive manner, truly taking each set of each exercise to the limits of one’s momentary ability.

Dave Waddington and the Thousand Pound Squat

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It was a timely moment for powerlifters. Anabolic steroids were by then de rigour. Weightlifting shoes, straps and suits had all evolved and greater attention was being paid to training and nutrition. Official powerlifting meets had been running for over two decades and the poundages were increasing with every competition it seemed.

Just as the Americans had rushed to the moon the previous decade, the 1970s and 80s in the powerlifting community were concerned with the race to the thousand pound squat. In today’s article we examine the first recorded effort at the thousand pound squat, undertaken by the American lifter, Dave Waddington.