Results matching “Bird”

Simplicity - Test articles

DeadliftWith support from the Cowboys from Hell, Pantera, I began work on my favourite lift; the beautifully simple deadlift. For a movement that is really no more complicated than picking a heavy object off the ground, it seems to induce more sweat than just about anything else.

With the intention of refining my form for this deceptively simple lift, I recorded a few of the pulls today for critical review. Or my own future amusement when I start working with serious weights. Hopefully both.

Weighing in at a hefty 6MB (larger than I'd like, but no doubt the process will be gradually refined with future offerings), the video [.wmv, 4m25s ] also includes the first set of the other exercises from this afternoon's session.

Certainly enough to ensure a good night's sleep.

Deadlift 2×5@20kg, 3@40kg, 3@60kg, 2@90kg, 2@110kg, 1@120kg, 1@130kg, 0@135kg (failed attempt)
Romanian deadlift (platform) 4×6@85kg
Good morning (seated) 4×6@40kg
Good morning 4×6@50kg
Hanging knee raise 20,20,17@bw

Total time : 69 mins (plenty of video replay action)

Flat out - Test articles

Floor PressA glance through my workout notes for the last few weeks shows that I'm changing exercises perhaps a little too often. Whilst variation is certainly a good thing, performing the same exercises (at least the openers for each session) for a couple of consecutive weeks also has its benefits.

With this in mind I hit the floor once again, leading in with the same sets of Floor presses as last week, washing them down with a few of the close-grip variety.

On the subject of grip, I tried a slightly wider grip for the standard Floor presses; partly as it's easier to see the alignment of forearms when you're already flat on the floor. This puts the spacing at 86cm/34" - slightly outside the allowed range.

The close-grip width remained unchanged from last week, and following a quick glance at a medical dictionary (prompted by a comment from Kris) I remeasured the distance between acromion processes at 36cm/14".

Now to go and have a few words with the elbows which were enjoying a nice bit of flaring again today.

Floor press (explosive) 2×5@20kg, 6×3@40kg, 4×3@50kg
Close-grip floor press 2×6@50kg, 6,3@52.5
Seated triceps extension 4×6@32.5kg
Bradford press 6,1@30kg
Chin-up/Pull-up (supersetted x 2) 18/4/8/2

Total time : 48 mins

Zercher DeadliftIt seems that the unadulterated fun of the Zercher Deadlift cannot be restricted to a single week, and I sampled their delights again today. If last week is any indication, I can expect to spend the next two days walking around as if I've been riding a horse just a bit too often.

Whilst performing the Zerchers - which are somewhere between a Zercher Squat and a Zercher Good Morning - I realised that I was lifting a much heavier weight than with a traditional Good Morning. Will have to think about that one. Perhaps the lack of fear (as far as the Zerchers is concerned) may be playing a part; I don't know of anyone with a Zercher Deadlift injury.

The ab work came in the form of another new lift (new to my routines at least) - single-handed rack pulls. These were done using a barbell at the side, and each lift included a static hold at the top. This showed up a disparity in my grip strength, with the right hand being a little stronger; although lifting the weight itself was fairly similar. Another call for a bit of grip work - with a definite left hand focus it seems.

Zercher deadlift 2×5@20kg,
Romanian deadlift (platform) 3×6@85kg
Standing calf raise 4×6@85kg
Single-handed rack pull (high) 4×6@60kg
Ab crunch 4×20@bw+10kg

Total time : 51 mins

How close is close? - Test articles

Close gripAfter noticing that Kris is using a somewhat wider grip than I am for close-grip bench work (or floor work as the case may be) I had another look at the grip width used in my own lifts.

The standard grip I use is around 28"/71cm, which is still comfortably within the allowable maximum of 32"/81cm. The close grip was somewhere around 12"/30cm, and has been pushed out to 17"/43cm. This allows the forearms to remain vertical; assuming there's no elbow flaring as in the photograph. Something to keep an eye on next week.

There seems to be quite of range of widths that people favour when doing close-grip work. In part these are determined by the grip used for a standard bench press; a lifter with a chest-width grip may consider a narrow grip to be a mere 8-10 inches (20-25cm). Someone used to a 32" grip could well consider chest-width as narrow.

When working out the ideal width, consider this quote from Rob Wagner, writing in the June 2003 issue of USA Powerlifting :

'Let me define a narrow and wide grip. In two separate studies, researchers determined narrow grip as the distance between your acromion processes (slide your hand down your trap and the bony bump you hit is the acromion). They then applied this measurement to the hand spacing (distance between index fingers) on the bar. Wide grip was two times the narrow grip distance. Both groups of researchers found that grips that were 1.65 to 2 times their narrow grip were the most effective strength wise. The way you can determine your grip is to measure the distance between your acromion processes. Now measure the distance between your index fingers when you bench. Divide the bench distance by the acromion distance and if your number is between 1.65 and 2.00 you are in an optimal position (Clemons, J. & Aaron, C, 1997; Wagner, et. al, 1992).'

According to this advice my adjusted close-grip width of 17"/43cm is within the optimal range (9"/23cm between acromion processes, which gives 43/23=1.87). Unfortunately a few sets with a this new grip wasn't enough to really notice a difference; which I suspect had more than a little to do with the flaring elbows.

Return of the Quads - Test articles

Hack SquatWith my hamstrings and adductors still a little tender from Friday's Zercher Deadlifts, it seemed like a good time to put a bit more focus on the quads. This began with an exercise that always seems to be relegated to the 'overlooked' pile, the Hack Squat.

It's been a while since I've done these (the last time with a barbell was back in August, a modified variety appeared on the home gym setup at my parents' house in September) and I was quite happy to see the max increase by 10kg. Still, I'd be happier with a somewhat stronger grip - that always seems to fail before the quads reach exhaustion.

Also making a return after a brief vacation were lunges and step-ups; both great exercises that seem to be overlooked as much as the Hack. The step-ups were done on a fairly low box (more from a lack of choice than anything else), which called the hamstrings in for a bit of a helping hand. I'll have to keep my eyes open for higher (strong and stable) platforms; just to increase the quad focus.

Following a few sets of Good Mornings I closed with a brief ab workout; having increased the reps for all movements. I suspect this had something to do with the Van Halen I was listening to at the time.

Hack squat 2×3@20kg,
Barbell lunge 4×6@40kg (each side)
Step-up (low) 4×6@40kg (each side)
Good Morning 4×6@40kg
Kneeling plate twist 4×20@10kg
V-up 4×20@bw
Ab crunch 4×20@bw

Total time : 74 mins

Floored - Test articles

Upright RowAfter a couple of days spent walking like John Wayne, I was quite happy to engage in an upper body workout that avoided anything resembling the Zercher Deadlift. Evil, evil things.

After a bit of floor pressing - always enjoyable - it was again time to grab the recently acquired dumbells. These enable a number of exercises that have been absent from my routines for some time, as well as a few new ones that will undoubtedly make an appearance in coming weeks.

Two exercises that will get a regular chance to shine are the Dumbell Fly, and the brilliant Tate Curl. In addition to these - both of which made a brief appearance in this evening's session - are movements such as the Dumbell Press, which makes an interesting change from a standard bench press. It's also good for quickly identifying weak points in individual arms.

Floor press (explosive) 2×5@20kg, 6×3@40kg, 4×3@50kg
Dumbell fly 4×6@11.5kg
Seated triceps extension 4×6@30kg
Tate curl 4×6@11.5kg
Upright row 4×6@50kg

Total time : 64 mins

The Zercher Deadlift - Test articles

Zercher DeadliftWow.

For some serious thigh-burning fun, look no further than the Zercher Deadlift. I first came across a mention of this lift some time ago, but lacked the flexibility to execute the lift correctly. This evening - whilst considering the merits of both Zercher Squats and conventional Deadlifts - the Zercher Deadlift once again came to mind.

The lift itself begins with the bar on the floor (or on pins/blocks if you can't get down low enough), and is executed by squatting down and hooking the arms beneath the bar in Zercher Squat style. With the weight held further forward than in a conventional deadlift, and with the mandatory wide stance (it's the only way to squat down deep enough) this was a fantastic hamstring-ripper. A fact I only realised when I took a few steps afterward, and which will no doubt become even clearer tomorrow.

For a bit more of a rundown on this bizarre looking hamstring killer, check out this post on the ABC Bodybuilding forum.

Zercher deadlift 2×5@20kg,
Romanian deadlift (platform) 4×6@80kg
Standing calf raise 4×6@80kg
Hanging knee raise 4×10@bw
V-up 4×10@bw
Ab crunch 4×10@bw

Total time : a very sweaty 42 mins

Quick update (16/10/04) : Ouch. Something I forgot to mention yesterday was the terrific inclusion of the adductors in the Zercher Deadlift.

Great if you want to spend the following day walking as if you've spent several days riding a horse.

Dumbell special - Test articles

Dumbbells handlesLast night on returning home I was pleasantly surprised to find two Olympic dumbell handles awaiting my workout pleasure. Weighing in at a respectable 13.2kg (with collars), and measuring a healthy 20", these should last me a very long time indeed.

Eager to test them out - and with a sneaking suspicion that the weights being hoisted would be somewhat less than for equivalent barbell work - I set about sampling some Dumbell bench presses, Flyes, Tate curls and a bit of work on the preacher bench.

Fun all 'round.

Once again I followed the session with a contrast shower; they're certainly growing on me.

Dumbell bench press 2×5@11.5kg,
Dumbell flye 2×6@6kg, 2×6@11.5kg
Chin-up/Pull-up (supersetted) 10/5/8/5
Tate curl 4×6@11.5kg
V-up 4×10@bw
Dumbell preacher curl (each side) 6@11.5kg, 3×6@16.5kg

Total time : 71 mins

Cooling down - Test articles

Box squatOver the past few days the temperature has gradually fallen, and a longer-than-usual warmup was called for. Always a fine line between being ready for action and pre-exhaustion.

Today's session (actually a somewhat delayed ME SQ/DL workout) followed pretty much the same pattern as last week, with the switch from the deadlift back to box squats. These never felt quite right, and I worked up to the previous max but elected not to try and push it any further. Plenty of future opportunities for that.

With the exception of a slight weight increase on the seated good mornings, the remainder of the routine (including the weights) was left unchanged. Despite the lack of inspirational lifting, it was good to get a bit of a sweat going on a cool evening.

Following the workout I decided to sample the delights of a contrast shower, having recently been reminded of their therapeutic benefits whilst reading Barz-a-Bending. Not bad - think I may have to make that a regular thing.

Box squat 2×3@60kg,
Romanian deadlift 4×6@80kg
Good Morning (seated) 4×6@37.5kg
Hanging knee raise 4×10@bw
V-up 4×10@bw
Ab crunch 4×10@bw

Total time : a leisurely 63 mins

Catching up (slowly) - Test articles

BenchAfter a good night's rest it was time to get back into the swing of things. I decided to shift the usual Sunday/Monday routines to Monday/Tuesday; with the dual aims of granting another day's rest for the still slightly-whinging hamstrings, and hitting the bench for a bit of explosive pressing. I was in the right frame of mind for that.

Today also seemed as good a time as any to bring back the Bradford press, which has been sadly absent for some time. As much as I dislike any of the deltoid exercises (mainly due to a lack of strength in that department), without a set of dumbells handy my options were somewhat limited. New handles have been ordered.

Bench press (explosive) 3×3@40kg, 6×3@50kg
Bench press (close grip) 4×6@50kg
Seated triceps extension 4×6@30kg
Bent-over row 4×6@60kg
Bradford press 4×6@25kg

Total time : 41 mins
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