Recently, there has been a revival of interest in the overhead press. And not just as an auxiliary movement in a fitness routine, but rather in trying to make this lift extremely strong. As it was when I first got interested in weight training, which in turn led me to the sport of Olympic lifting where the overhead press was one of the contested lifts. At that point in time, everyone who trained with weights
did overhead presses as a primary exercise: Olympic lifters, of course, and bodybuilders, strength athletes and those who trained for overall fitness.
Continue reading “The Quest for a Stronger Overhead Press”
Injuries to the rotator cuff have risen significantly over the past few decades. Nowadays it seems that everyone who’s trained seriously for more than half a dozen years suffers from some degree of rotator cuff problems or has pain in the shoulder itself. The severity ranges from nagging aches during the night to sharp pains that prevent you from doing any physical activity that involves your arm.
Continue reading “Only the Strong Shall Survive Tough Cuff: Bullet-proof Your Rotators for Pain-free Power”
There are a great many strength coaches, personal trainers and fitness instructors in this country who do not include singles in their athletes’ programs. They feel that singles are too risky and that their charges and clients might sustain a serious injury by attempting a max single. It’s just not worth it.
Continue reading “Singles for New Strength Increases”
The very first exercise I teach all my strength athletes is the full squat. That one movement strengthens all the groups in the hips and legs: the glutes, quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors. In addition, all parts of the back and even the shoulder girdle are involved. It forms the foundation that they will build on.
Continue reading “Maintaining Balanced Strength: The Adductors”
The majority of requests for information I receive deal with back injuries and programming. This month I present what I believe to be one of the best beginning routines for strength training, but it also holds special interest for anyone who includes high-skill exercises in his or her program. While I like to think that I’ve come up with some original programming concepts over the years, this isn’t one of them. This came from Sid Henry of Dallas.
Continue reading “An Ideal Beginning Strength Program”
While some authorities believe that there’s but one way to perform full squats, they’re wrong. This basic, core exercise has many variations–many more than most imagine.
Continue reading “You Don’t Know Squat”
When I tell athletes at the start of an off-season strength program that I expect them to never miss a workout and that I want them to break a personal record at every session in the weight room, they look at me as if I were crazy. I know they’re thinking, ‘What about the bad days? And what if I get hurt or sick?’
All of my wacky ideas are based on experience. The reason I know that it’s possible to break a P.R. at every workout for an extended period of time is that I’ve done it. It was during a time when I wasn’t actively coaching. I was training for strength fitness, usually alone. I wanted something to make my workouts more interesting’a motivational gimmick. I came up with the P.R.-at-every-workout idea and put it to the test to see if it was feasible. For 12 straight months I set at least one P.R. at every session, lifting four times a week.
Continue reading “A P.R. at Every Workout”
One of the biggest problems that strength athletes have is determining how many sets and reps they should do on the exercises in their programs. Naturally, what they do will depend to a large degree on their strength level. Those just getting started on a strength routine would not use the same set-and-rep formula as someone who’s been strength training for several years, although many basic principles apply to both.
Continue reading “Power Surge”
One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “How can I fit all the exercises I want to do into my program?” Sometimes their lists take up most of the page. If they did all those movements in a week their workouts would last three hours or more, which is certainly not a wise approach.
Continue reading “Variation”
One of the basic keys to continually gaining strength is to avoid injuries. Nothing, and I mean nothing, deters progress like a severe injury. Smaller problems can also be quite irritating, but in most cases you can work around them successfully until they’re healed. Most people, when they embark on a strength-training routine, worry about hurting their backs. In truth, however, the most frequently injured area is the shoulder girdle. Injuries occur in that area primarily for two reasons: 1) People overtrain it, and 2) they use faulty form on shoulder girdle exercises.
Continue reading “Stabilizing The Shoulder Girdle”