Category Archives: Strength Training

Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter

Your Own Personal World Records Are The Only Thing That Matter
By Charles Staley

When I was still relatively new to lifting, I can remember thinking how incredible it must be to break a World record in sport. I remember in particular watching former Soviet weightlifter Leonid Taranenko break the clean & jerk World record in the late ‘80’s with a monstrous 586-pound effort.

Fast forward to today, and despite decades in the gym, I’ve come nowhere close to breaking any kind of World (or even National) record in any sport, but I can tell you that I have achieved things that I never would have thought possible for myself, and these achievements have brought me tremendous satisfaction, as well as continued motivation to continue my favorite pastime. A big part of why I’ve done as well as I have is that I’ve always been laser-focused on bettering my own “PR’s” (personal records) in the gym.

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Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation

Change the Tune: Accommodation & Stagnation
By Will Vatcher

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is a delicate balance between the correct blend of specificity and the correct amount of variation to progress
  • You can continue to progress if you change your exercises regularly
  • A process of elimination is useful to discover where you are stuck

During the late 1960’s, a Soviet scientist named U. I. Ivanov performed and published results from an interesting experiment. Ivanov used three similar groups of people and had them perform strength training exercises twice a week for a period of three months.

  • Group 1 performed (concentric) dynamic weight exercises
  • Group 2 performed static strength exercises (isometric) with maximal tension
  • Group 3 performed yielding (eccentric) exercises using weights exceeding 10-40% of what they were capable of lifting in an ordinary (concentric) manner.

After the period was concluded, the results were very interesting. Compared to their previous personal performances:

  • Group 1 managed to lift on average 8.5 kg more in the squat and 5.5 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 3.7 cm higher and could pull with 14.6 kg more force in a back strength test.
  • Group 2 managed to lift on average 9.2 kg more in the squat and 12.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 5.4 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 30.0 kg of increased force in a back strength test.
  • Group 3 managed to lift on average 15.0 kg more in the squat and 9.7 kg more in the clean. They also managed to jump 1.6 cm lower than before the training period and pulled with 19.1 kg more force in a back strength test.

What did and does this experiment reveal? The athletes tested strongest in the motor skills and tasks that were the most similar to the exercises they did in the experiment.

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Partial vs. Full Reps… or Both?

Partial vs. Full Reps…or Both?
By Menno Henselmans

A potentially game changing study has just been published. It may change how you perform your exercises forever. Or it may not. Let’s have a look.

The study titled “the efficacy of incorporating partial squats in maximal strength training” is about combining partial and full reps in your training. The debate on whether training with a partial range of motion (ROM) has any benefits compared to training with a full ROM has been going on for decades.

One reason many people have trouble understanding the effects of ROM is because they think ROM is equal to the distance a weight or body part travels. It’s not. ROM is equal to the amount of degrees a joint flexes. Look at the illustration of elbow flexion ROM below.

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Hip Thrusts Helped Me Deadlift 705 lbs (Over 3.5 Times Bodyweight)

The following is a guest article from powerlifter Quinten Cody. 

The glutes and neck are often ignored, with trainees relying on the core exercises to work them. I used to reside in this camp. I’m glad I no longer do.

My redemption from such simple thinking began with my purchase of a neck machine – the kind that works it from all sides. And when the muscles on the sides of my neck – just behind the lower portion of the ears – were mistaken for large lymph nodes, my curiosity turned to my backside.

I knew I had to turn my cheeks into studs.

I began researching relentlessly – as I often do – and came upon articles by Contreras. I had read his work before. It was controversial. Why I did not incorporate the humpty-humps years ago I’ll never know. But, I do use them now, and that is what I call them, probably because it’s just the name that sticks.

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