Results matching “Bird”

Meet the Neider Press - Test articles

Neider PressFor the third time in as many weeks the Sunday afternoon sun provided a temptation only narrowly beaten by a bit of pressing. Thoughts of soft grass in the nearby park were quickly put aside with some flat bench pressing of the explosive variety, washed down with some close-grip benches to get the triceps nicely warmed up. A few sets of dips helped move them a little closer to exhaustion.

A bit of back work followed in the form of pull-ups and chin-ups (using varying grip widths), before it was time to try out the Neider Press.

I'm a little unsure of the origins of the Neider Press, however the first person that springs to mind is strong-shouldered Bill Neider, who won the gold medal for the Shot Put at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. As I'm a little reluctant to start throwing heavy objects around the room, the Neider Press seems like a perfect alternative.

This movement is similar to doing a bench press whilst standing up, with the bar moving horizontally from the top of the chest to arms' length in front of you. Needless to say, gravity is not your friend whilst doing these.


Dynamic stretching

Bench press (explosive) 3×3@40kg, 6×3@45kg

Bench press (close grip) 4×10@45kg

Dip 4×10@bw

Pull-up (wide grip) / pull-up (medium grip) / chin-up (medium grip) / chin-up (narrow grip) - supersetted 10,8,6,6

Neider press 2×10@20kg

Isometric stretching

Total time : 47 mins

Flick of the wrist - Test articles

040731_zottman.jpgFollowing yesterday's hamstring battering session I am acutely aware of the reasons for the popularity (or lack of it) of hamstring training. Ouch.

As anything more strenuous than reading a book was acting as a none-too-subtle reminder of the festivities, a quick forearm/grip workout was in order.

After warming up with a few sets of Zottman curls came three of the usual players - wrist rolling, plate curling and pinch gripping of plates.

Fun all 'round.


Zottman curl 10@5kg, 3×10@10kg

Wrist roller 3×5@10kg

Plate curl 3×5@7.5kg

Plate pinch 2×10kg plates, 5 reps (each hand)

Total time : 28 mins

String those hams! - Test articles

Seated Good MorningToday seemed like the right time to begin an all-out assault on the muscle group I've been happily ignoring for the past 30 or so years - the hamstrings.

Following an intense warm-up (the bike is still good for something) I launched into a few short sets of box squats, using the 50cm box - the low box will just have to wait its turn. I immediately traded the box for a somewhat lower (16cm) platform for Romanian deadlifts. The platform simply extended the reach, and I dropped the weight slightly to compensate.

With the hams nicely warmed up it was time to attack them with the almighty GHR. I'm still searching for the best way to do these without a proper GHR bench; the most effective so far is to put a weighted bar on the ground at the back of a power rack, hook the heels under the bar and use the front verticals of the rack to push back as needed.

Rounding off the ham attack were seated Good Mornings, done on the floor, not seated on a bench. This gives the hamstrings a good workout as well as hitting the lower back. Coach Davies (of Renegade Training fame) calls this one 'a sickening, nauseating version of the standing good morning' - I can't say I disagree with him. Having said that, I actually quite enjoy it, although after a few sets of the torturous glute ham raise I'd probably say that about anything.

Finished off the workout with a bit of ab work in the way of hanging knee raises and hanging knee twists. This duo afforded the joint benefits of giving the abs a play and stretching the lower back after the seated good mornings. A perfect cooldown exercise combination.


Dynamic stretching

Box squat (50cm) 5@50kg, 3×5@60kg

Romanian deadlift (platform - 16cm) 5×5@60kg

Glute-ham raise (push-up assisted) 5×5@bw

Good morning (seated) 5×5@20kg

Hanging knee raise (with medicine ball) 5×10@bw+2kg

Hanging knee twist (with medicine ball) 5×20@bw+2kg

Isometric stretching

Total time : 70 mins

Further reading :

Hamstring paradigm
Charles Poliquin

This pair of articles (part 1, part 2) briefly look at the kinesiology of the hamstrings, and how this knowledge can be used to create an effective workout.

Hamstrings from Hell
Coach John Davies

A look at several exercises for the hamstrings, which don't require any unusual equipment or suffering strange looks as you drag heavy objects through the streets. Simple, and nauseatingly painful.

Hang CleanTo make up for Sunday's inadvertent max, I switched to a dynamic workout today. Dynamic it certainly was.

I started out with a bit of decline benching - which has never managed to excite me greatly - and blasted out a few quick sets before getting into the real fun.

The fun came in the form of Olympic-style Hang Cleans, and doing these relatively slowly with just the bar was taxing enough. The last couple of sets were a little faster, and managed to get the sweat hitting the floor. Having said that, it's going to take a long, long time to get hang of these.

The cleans managed to get the traps working nicely, and I followed them with a combination of shrugs and armpit rows (sometimes called Monkey Rows - for reasons that become obvious once you do them). With the armpit rows a dumbell is held at each side, and lifted to the armpit. Monkey noises and dance are optional.

Having warmed up the upper back I finished the session with a combination of pull-ups and chin-ups, followed by the obligatory moment of lying on the floor recycling the air in the room. Phew.


Dynamic stretching

Decline bench press (explosive) 4×10@20kg

Hang clean 4×10@20kg

Shrug - barbell / armpit row - dumbells (supersetted) 10@80kg, 3×10@90kg / 2×5kg

Pull-up / chin-up (supersetted) 3×5@bw

Isometric stretching

Total time : 48 mins

Dead again - Test articles

DeadliftLast night I stumbled across an article wherein Louie Simmons (of Westside Barbell fame) asks renowned deadlifter Vince Anello what he did to increase his deadlift. His answer: anything made his deadlift go up. Having not done any normal deadlifts for a couple of months, this was enough to pique my curiosity.

I started today's session with a slow climb up to my current deadlift max, which has increased by 40kg over the past couple of months to a healthy 120kg. Whilst I certainly don't expect the same rate of increase to continue, it's quite satisfying for now. The next major challenge will be to bring my squat to a similar level.

The deadlifts were followed by a few heavy sets of the Romanian variety. It seems that I've increased flexibility a little over the past couple of months, and it's probably a good time to extend the RDLs and deadlifts slightly by doing them from a low step. Swapping a bit of weight for increased ROM always seems like a good deal.

Closing the session was a bit of ab work in the shape of hanging knee raises (I always like these) and V-ups. Once again the temptation to remain on the bench (which is surprisingly comfortable at the end of a workout) was only narrowly beaten by the presence of evening sun and a cool breeze.
Dynamic stretching
Deadlift 2×5@40kg,
Romanian deadlift 4×5@80kg
Hanging knee raise 4×10@bw
V-up 4×10@bw
Isometric stretching

Total time : 64 mins

Closing in again - Test articles

Close GripToday's tricep-battering began with an inadvertent max (this was supposed to be a DE day, but after the first few sets I wasn't about to change things), this time of the incline close-grip bench press. Accompanied by a bit of Black Sabbath I worked up to 50kg, which was enough incentive to give the triceps something else to chew on.

The incline benching was followed by a combination of seated triceps extensions and dips, the pair of them conspiring to make sure that a reasonable pump took place. The chin-ups and pull-ups which came next made quite sure there was no shortage of sweat hitting the floor, and by the time the barbell curls and seated military presses came along I was considering the possibility of remaining seated on the bench for the rest of the afternoon.

Fortunately the summer sun, cool breeze and soft grass of the nearby park were enough to drag me outside for a luxurious afternoon nap amidst seagulls and tourists.


Dynamic stretching

Incline bench press (close grip) 2×5@20kg,







Seated triceps extension 4×10@20kg

Dips 4×10@bw
Chin-up/pull-up (supersetted) 10,5,3,2

Barbell curl 4×10@20kg

Seated Military press 4×10@20kg
Isometric stretching

Total time : 65 mins

Back to the Hack - Test articles

040723_hack.jpgFollowing a bit of reading over the past few days I decided to add a couple of exercises to the DE SQ/DL routine, as well as shifting the emphasis of the routine slightly. Only time will tell if the changes make any significant difference.

Before the new entries came squats, and performing these without a box felt surprisingly good. Judging from the video I shot of the first couple of sets, the depth was about the same as when a box was there, so using a slightly lower box in the future may be interesting.

The first of the two additionals is the simple Barbell Step-up, where the bar is shouldered as if a squat is about to be performed and a step is taken up onto a box (the higher the box, the more emphasis is placed on hamstrings; a low box hits the quads) and off again. As there is a bit more balancing involved, as well as a reasonable time with all the weight on one leg, less weight is required than with the almighty squat. Whilst there are some who claim that this is actually a more effective exercise than the squat - reducing stress on the lower back for starters - I see no reason to limit the fun to just one of the two.

The second new entry (actually one movement I tried several months ago and subsequently overlooked) is the George Hackenschmidt classic, the Hack Squat. This one certainly doesn't hold back when it comes to giving the quads a nice burn, and by the end of the 4th set I was quite glad I was only using a modest weight.

The abs got their moment to shine with a few sets of V-ups (no relation to the vegetable juice of the same name) which didn't feel as bad as I'd anticipated. This was partly the result of joy at performing at least one exercise today that involved straight legs.

Finished up with a bit of calf work in the form of the ever-popular seated and standing calf raises. Not exactly inspiring exercises, but the idea of doing anything more explosive for them didn't present itself until much later. Will have to wait until next time.

The shifting emphasis I mentioned earlier : I am looking to a) increase the volume slightly for DE workouts, and b) immediately follow the main exercise with a couple of exercises for either hams or quads. I've also had a bit of a rethink on warming up, but will save that for another entry.


Dynamic stretching

Squat 4×10@40kg

Step-up 1×10@20kg, 3×10@30kg

Hack squat 4×10@40kg

V-up 4×10@bw

Seated calf raise 4×10@60kg

Standing calf raise 4×10@60kg

Isometric stretching

Total time : 79 mins

george_zottman.jpgGeorge Zottman (pictured at left) was a Philadelphia strongman in the 1880s/1890s. In this photo Zottman, aged 57, still had massive forearms by any standard - measuring 16 1/2 " here. Relaxed they were still a suitably impressive 14 1/2 ".

It's fitting then that the movement he is most famous for - the one that to this day carries his name - is the Zottman Curl.

This is a dumbell bicep curl with a twist - quite literally. The weight is curled using the standard supinated (palm facing up) grip, with the wrist angled back slightly so as to make the bicep do all the heavy lifting. At the top of the curl the wrist is straightened and the hand rotated 180 degrees, before being slowly lowered to the start position. The hand is then rotated 180 degrees and the cycle begins again.

This movement succeeds in working both the biceps and forearms, and is a great way to warm up the entire arm.

An uncommon, but highly effective, movement.

Long before I had a chance to try out the Zottman Curls, today's session began with some wide-grip incline benching. This combination doesn't exactly rank high on the list of exercises I look forward to, as it focuses the attention on the upper and outer pecs whilst reducing involvement from the triceps.

Worked my way up to a double at 40kg, and that set was enough to tell me that today was not a day for breaking records. Will just have to wait a bit for that.

Followed the benching with a bit of back work in the form of wide-grip pull-ups, T-bar rows and shrugs. That combination definitely got the blood pumping.

Finally it was time for the Zottman curls, and the light weight I decided to start with (at least until happy with the technique) was still enough to get the arms nice and warm. This seems like the perfect movement for days when forearm/grip work immediately follows a bench session.


Dynamic stretching

Bench press - incline, wide grip 2×5@20kg,




Pull-up - wide grip 4×5@bw+10kg

T-bar row 4×10@70kg

Shrug 4×10@80kg

Zottman curl 4×10@5kg (each side)

Total time : 87 mins

Getting a few Zs - Test articles

Zercher SquatsAfter doing a few Zercher squats the other day I decided to do them again as a max exercise, starting with the bar a little lower this time - about knee height. This also gave me an opportunity to test out a few different ways of holding the bar after seeing a little variation recently.

The way I have been doing these up until now is with the arms perpendicular to the bar, and palms (or fists) facing up. Rotating the wrists so that the palms are facing each other seems to tighten the grip a little (presumably from bringing the brachialis into play), and this is the grip I ended up using for the majority of today's lifts. Additionally I have seen people clasping hands together or crossing their forearms; both of which require the arms to be a little closer together than I find comfortable.

Despite the experimentation I worked up to a semi-respectable 75kg, which equals previous Zercher max attempts from a higher starting point.I gave the quads a bit of a break with the Ball Ham Raise, just one of many GHR alternatives for those of us unfortunate enough to lack the dedicated GHR machine. The stability ball offers just enough resistance to make the movement useful, without the feeling that your thighs are about to explode. I followed these with some Romanian deadlifts, just to make sure the hamstrings were getting the attention they deserve.

Next up were the Good Mornings, which are still following the 'easy does it' routine as I gradually increase the weight. This is one exercise where I only feel the effects afterwards, and I'm more than happy to keep it relatively light for now.

Followed the Good Mornings with a couple of sets of single-handed deadlifts, and when done using an Olympic bar at the side they seem to be a great way to tear great holes in your hands as you try to steady the bar. Great if you're into that sort of thing.

Finished up with a little ab work in the form of crunches and hanging knee raises, and after working the obliques a little with the side deadlifts I was quite happy to stop there.


Dynamic stretching

Zercher squat2×5@20kg,






Ball Ham Raise 4×10@bw

Romanian deadlift 4×5@75kg

Good Morning 4×10@30kg

Single-handed deadlift (side - olympic bar) 2×5@45kg (each side)

Ab crunch 4×10@bw

Hanging knee raise 4×10@bw

Total time : 84 mins (much better)

Bring in the Gorilla - Test articles

Gorilla ChinsOnce again it was far too nice a day here to spend too much of it indoors. With a cool breeze streaming in from an open window it was time to hit the bench.

Today's session began with a bit of explosive flat benching, although it took several sets to really get into a good groove, and on all but the last few sets the bar was moving in anything but a straight line.

I followed these with a combination of close-grip benches and dips to give the triceps a bit of a burn. As much fun as these are, I suspect may head back to dumbbell movements here in order to work the arms separately.

In order to get the upper back and shoulders warmed up a bit for some scheduled upright rowing, I once again approached the chin-up bar - this time to have a go at some Gorilla Chins. These are nothing more complex than a combination of knee raises and chinups, although they are somewhat tiring. They proved to be a nice warm-up for the rows; the fact I stopped after 3 sets probably means I should cut back on the chins a bit next time. They are fun though.

The planned Bradford presses went the same way as the final set of upright rows - another one for next week. For now, it's a sunny Sunday afternoon and there's 650 acres of national park just outside the front door. Time to go and do absolutely nothing for a while.


Dynamic stretching

Flat bench press (explosive) 2×5@20kg,


Close grip bench press 15@45kg

Dip 4×10@bw

Gorilla chin 25@bw

Upright row 3×10@45kg

Total time : 44 mins (sun-induced quickness)
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