Bodybuilding Training Article from

Weight Lifting and Weight Training - Chapter 23

Home Gym Equipment

Individual Stations

Folding Bench Press

Adjustable Combo Bench

Flat Bench

Heavy Flat Bench

Adjustable Spotter Bench

Bench Press Spotter

Basic Bench Press

Self Spotter Rack

Power Cage

Hip Sled

Dumbbell Bench

Smith Machine Bench

Jones Machine

Back & Arm Machine

Cable Crossover Machine

Squat Rack

Preacher Curl Bench

Roman Chair

Hyperextension Bench

Seated Calf Machine

Vertical Knee Raise

Hack Squat Machine

Power Rack

Power Rack Bench Combo

Power Rack Lat Attachment

Leg Extension Curl

Ab Crunch Board

Dumbbell Rack

Flat Incline Decline Bench

Utility Bench

Smith Machine

Smith Lat Attachment

Plate Loaded Gym

150 lb. Weight Stack

Selectorized Home Gym

Preacher Curl Attachment

Bench Squat Combo

Lat Machines

Phys-X Free-Standing Lat Tower

Olympic Weight Tree

Standard Weight Tree

Ab Crunch Machine


Home Gyms

Home Gyms

Performance Trainer

Biangular Gym

Two Stack Gym

4-in-1 Free Weight Gym

All-in-1 Free Weight Gym

Smith Gym


Cardio Equipment

Elliptical Trainer


Miscellaneous Items

Body Solid Miscellaneous

Bodybuilding Accessories

Gravity Inversion Boots

Ab Blaster Slings

Olympic Adapter Sleeves

Rubber Floor Protector

Olympic Shrug Bar

Push-Up Bars


Chapter Twenty-Three

Advanced training and assistance exercises

Building Great Strength
The first few months of training on the beginner's schedule will have brought noticeable gains in both technique and strength.

Now it is time to move on to something of a more advanced nature, making a gradual change over to heavier poundages in lower repetitions and incorporating more power building exercises into your schedules. The quest for greater and greater strength must be the major and constant aim of the ambitious Olympic weight lifter.

The practice of the Olympic lifts themselves will develop greater strength, but I do not believe that one's maximum strength potential can be reached by training solely on the three Olympic movements. Eventually there will be a limit to progress and for maximum results one must include other exercises in the training program to give added boost.

Experience of the world's greatest lifters supports this contention. All of them use a wide variety of other exercises to build maximum strength.

Generally the best movements are those which work the largest and strongest muscle groups and movements similar to the Olympic lifts in which greater weights can be handled.

Here is a selection of the best strength-building and assistance exercises:

The Squat
One of the finest of all strength-building movements is the Squat, or Deep Knees Bend.

The legs play a major part in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk, particularly when using the squat style of lifting. And regular progressive practice of the Squat is recognized as one of the greatest of all power builders.

All the great strong men -- past and present -- have used the Squat as the key movement in building power.

The best method is to practice half and quarter Squats -- both with the weight held behind the shoulders and in front.

You will need plenty of weight -- as in these partial movements a lot can be handled. The full Squat shouldn't be neglected, of course, especially for those lifters who use the squat style for the Clean and the Snatch, but for real power you need to use half and quarter squats, performed with as much weight as you can handle in sets of low repetitions.

You will need to use squat stands. Make sure that they are strong and solid. If you train at a club, you will most likely find it equipped with suitable stands. If at home, ensure that your stands are safe and in a convenient position in your room. You will be handling very heavy poundages and must ensure safety at all times.

Here is a suitable squatting program:
Warm-up with one set of full Squats with a moderate poundage - from 7 to 10 repetitions. Rest a few moments, the load up to a poundage in excess of your best Clean and Jerk.

Perform 6 repetitions, squatting to a point where the top of the thighs are parallel with the floor. Lower steadily and without hesitation, resisting the weight to avoid a too-rapid descent. As soon as the parallel position is reached, return to the starting position. Take one or two deep breaths, then repeat until your repetitions are complete.

In order to ensure that the legs are doing the major part of the work, keep the back as flat and as upright as possible, with the head held up.

Repeat 6 repetitions after a breather. Now add 20 lb. and perform 5 repetitions for 2 sets.

Add another 20 lb. and perform 4 repetitions for 2 sets.

Take a breather now for four or five minutes, but make sure to keep warm.

Add another 20 lb. and perform 6 repetitions of the quarter Squat -- that is, lowering to a point midway between the upright position and the half Squat position.

Add another 20 lb. and perform 5 repetitions to complete the schedule.

Bench Press
Many of the world's greatest Olympic pressers use the Bench Press as a supplementary exercise and have obtained great benefit from it.

In the competition Bench Press, a fairly-wide handgrip is generally used. But when using this movement as an aid to Olympic lifting, it is advisable to use the same width grip as that for the Olympic Press -- approximately shoulders' width. A description of the movement is given in Chapter Six.

If you have access to a bench fitted with stands for this movement you will avoid having to use tow assistants to hand you the weight each time.

Here is a useful schedule:

Warm up with one set of 8 repetitions with a moderate poundage -- approximately 10-20 lb. less than your best Olympic Press.

Add 20-30 lb. and perform 5 repetitions. Repeat another 5repetitions.

Add 10 lb. and perform 4 repetitions. Repeat another 4 repetitions. Do not bounce the barbell off the chest each time. Lower steadily to touch the chest in the region of the nipples, hold for one second, then press vigorously and steadily to full locked arms.

If you have an inclined bench available, practice the press on this as a variation, using different angles from time to time.

As another variation, the press can be performed with two dumbbells.

High Pulls
The ability to pull heavy weights high and fast is one of the greatest assets of an Olympic lifter. And constant and regular practice of high pulling movements is a must in order to develop fully this essential quality.

This high pull as an assistance movement for the Clean and Jerk resembles a fast Deadlift, but with the weight pulled higher - to at least the level of the waistline.

Use the same width grip as for the Clean and Jerk and start the movement in exactly the same way. Pull up the weight fast to waist level, rising on the toes and thrusting the hips forward as the barbell approaches waist height. Keep the head well up.

Lower barbell to the floor, resume starting position and repeat.

Warm-up with a weight about 40 lb. less than your best Clean and perform 6 repetitions.

Add 20 lb. and perform 4 repetitions. Repeat 4 repetitions.

Add 20 lb. and perform 3 repetitions. Repeat 3 repetitions.

Add 10 lb. and perform 2 repetitions. Repeat 2 repetitions.

The high pull as an aid to the Snatch should be performed in a similar way, using the same width grip as in the Snatch.

Pull the bell as high as possible towards the chest, keeping the elbows well up and rising on toes to get maximum height.

Poundages, repetitions and sets should be employed on the same basis as above.

When performing the high pulls, it will be found that the strength of your grip is often a deciding factor as to the weight and repetitions handled - and it is advisable to us the much stronger hook grip.

Some lifters use wrist straps to ease the tension on the grip. This enables them to handle heavier poundages.

This strap is usually made of webbing or similar strong material, is wound round the barbell and then tightly round the wrists.

A useful aid to the Olympic Press, in which the first stage of the Press is started similarity to the Olympic Jerk, lowering the barbell by a dip of the legs, then vigorously re-straightening them to thrust the barbell off the shoulders.

The leg drive will take the weight to just above eyes' level as the legs straighten - with little assistance from the pressing muscles - and from that position the barbell is pressed to full arms' length with the legs braced.

Here is a suitable schedule:

Warm-up with a poundage about 30 lb. below your best Press.

Add 20 lb. and perform 4 repetitions. Repeat 4 repetitions.

Add 20 lb. and perform 3 repetitions. Repeat 3 repetitions.

Add 10 lb. and perform 2 repetitions. Repeat 2 repetitions.

One of the best tests of bodily strength and the movement in which the greatest weight can be lifted.

Regular practice will strengthen the back, thighs and grip, essential for the development of greater Olympic power.

High pulls, described earlier, are the nearest approach to the Olympic cleaning movement, without actually moving into the split or squat position -- and the fact that the barbell is pulled to waist height cuts down on the poundage that can be handled.

In the Deadlift the barbell isn't lifted any higher than the position in which the trunk is erect, legs braced and the barbell held on locked arms, lying across the thighs.

Use the same width handgrip and the same feet spacing as for the Clean and Jerk. Grasp the barbell with a reverse hand-grip -- one hand with knuckles to the front, the other with knuckles to the rear.

Keep the back as straight as possible and pull the barbell up in a steady, continuous pull to the erect position, using the full power of the legs to start the movement.

Warm-up with a weight that can be handled comfortably for 6 repetitions -- approximately 50-60 lb. more than your best Clean -- replacing the barbell on the floor each time, adjusting your body to the correct starting position, pausing just a second or so, then repeating the lift.

Add 50 lb. and perform 4 repetitions. Rest, the repeat 4 repetitions.

Add 20 lb. and perform 2 repetitions. Rest, the repeat 2 repetitions.

Occasionally -- about every three or four weeks -- work up to a limit poundage, starting with about 80-100 lb. above your best Clean and Jerk and perform 3 repetitions. Add 20 lb. for 2 single lifts, then 10 lb. stages in single lifts until your limit is reached.

Power Clean and Jerk
One of the most popular and effective training movements is cleaning and jerking without any feet movement.

Clean the barbell, using just a shallow dip of the body to receive the weight at the shoulders. Make full use of the legs' drive to start the cleaning movement, which should be speeded up by strong pulling power for the arms.

Straighten up and assume the starting position for the jerk as described in Chapter Seven. To perform the power jerk, start as for the Clean and jerk proper by making a preliminary dip of the body, lowering about 4 in. or so, then vigorously straightening the legs to thrust the barbell upwards from the shoulders. Facilitate this thrust by bringing in the power of the arms.

As the barbell nears arms' length quickly bend the legs again to enable the body to be lowered under the weight as the arms lock.

The movement is a partial jerk - as distinct from the power press, in which the weight is pressed to locked arms after the initial leg thrust.

Here is a suitable schedule:

Warm up with a poundage about 10-20 lb. below your best Press. Perform 4 cleans first, replacing the barbell on the floor after each repetition. Then perform 4 power jerks form the shoulders.

Add 20 lb. and perform 3 cleans as before. Then 3 power jerks from the shoulders.

Add 10 lb. and perform 2 cleans as before. Then 2 power jerks from the shoulders.

Add 10 lb. and perform 5 single complete lifts. This poundage should be approximately 10-20 lb. below your limit. If felt to be well within your power, add further weight so that a good amount of effort is put into these final single lifts

Seated Press
In the ordinary Olympic Press, a lot of the work is done by the bracing and supporting muscles of the thighs, buttocks and back.

Pressing in the seated position prohibits the use of the thighs and buttocks and puts more direct stress on the pressing muscles of the deltoids and triceps.

Stand just in front of a chair or bench with the barbell on the floor close up in front of you. Clean the barbell and immediately sit down. Place your feet in the best position to stabilize you and to minimize the possibility of overbalancing during the pressing movement.

Warm-up with a poundage about 50 lb. below your best standing Press and perform 5 repetitions.

Add 10 lb. and perform 3 repetitions. Rest and repeat 3 repetitions.

Add 10 lb. and perform 2 repetitions. Rest and repeat 4 sets of 2 repetitions.

Leg Press
A leg press machine is the ideal apparatus to use for this movement - but not many clubs possess them. Such a machine can be constructed in various ways.

The best ones usually have a square or rectangular platform that slides up and down in a steel framework. The trainee takes up his position underneath, lying on his back with his feet under the platform, which is loaded with weights.

The platform can be lowered only so far as a safety point, at a height so that the trainee can get his feet underneath with his legs doubled up ready to press the weight upwards until the legs are straightened. It is best to have the buttocks raised a little when performing the movement, resting them on a cushion or something similar -- unless you are using a machine that already has something built in to allow the trainee to adopt a position with raised buttocks.

Very heavy weights can be used in this movement -- 500 lb. and upwards in many instances.

If a machine is not available, one can perform the leg pressing movement by balancing a barbell on the soles of the feet, which should be approximately hips' width apart. Good, strong heels are essential to avoid the possibility of the barbell slipping off the feet. Care must be taken, too, that the barbell is kept even, not allowing one end to dip lower than the other. Assistants are necessary to place the barbell on the feet and standing by ready to take the barbell immediately if necessary.

Practicing the leg pressing this way demands a very good sense of balance and plenty of confidence. Personally, I have never used a leg press machine (never having the facilities) but have use the leg press with the barbell on feet without any difficulty at all.

It is wise to practice first with a very light weight until a reasonable sense of balance is achieved.

The movement is similar to a Press on bench or back, but using the legs instead of the arms.

(Note from Eric's Gym: Always use a machine to do leg presses for safety sake; a barbell can slip off of your feet and seriously injure you. Since this book was written leg press machines of all types have become readily available to almost anyone for home and gym use.)

Warm-up with 8 to 10 repetitions with moderate poundage with moderate poundage, then step up the weight and perform several sets of 6 repetitions.

Once you are used to the movement you will find that weight can be added fairly often and you will soon be using several hundred pounds if you practice on a proper leg press machine.

Using the method of balancing the barbell on your feet will still get invaluable results from this movement.

Snatching and Cleaning from Chairs
A very effective exercise for improving the Snatch and Clean is to practice the lifts with the ends of the barbell resting on two chairs or benches about knee's height.

Stand close up to the barbell so that the knees are almost touching it, take a normal grip and snatch or clean from this position.

This movement helps to build up that important part of the pull from knees' height to the position when the legs are moved into the split or squat, with the barbell approximately at chest height. Also, this movement is useful in forcing you to split either from lack of confidence or complete joint mobility do not normally lower the body to a sufficient depth.

Warm-up up with a light to moderate poundage, replacing the barbell on the chairs after each repetition. Then perform 4 sets or 2 repetitions, and finally 6 single lifts with a poundage that you can just manage.

Balance and Strength Builders
Other excellent movements designed to give a better sense of balance in the Snatch and Clean are as follows:

Other excellent movements designed to give a better sense of balance in the Snatch and Clean are as follows:

For the Snatch, start from a position where a split Snatch has been made -- with the barbell held overhead. From this position come straight upwards, fully straightening both legs, but do not move the feet. Hold this position for a second or two then lower again to the low split position. Come straight up again and carry on your repetitions in this manner.

Use a similar movement in the split position for the Clean. This is even more effective as a strength builder, owing to the heavier weight handled. It is, in effect a form of squat, with the added advantage that the leg muscles are exercised through the exact range of the clean movement.

From the low clean position, straighten the legs so that you rise with the barbell as high as possible, then lower again to the split position. With heavy weights it will be advisable - and, in fact, necessary when the weight approaches or exceeds your limit clean - to take the weight off stands, or have it handed in to you by training partners.

In both these movements, warm-up first with 5 or 6 repetitions with a light weight. Then add weight and perform 3 sets of 3 repetitions, finally dong 4 sets of 2 repetitions.

Both movements will give greater confidence in splitting very low, plus the necessary power to rise from the low split position without undue difficulty when performing the Snatch and Clean in competition.

These strength-building movements should be incorporated into your program as convenient, perhaps using three or four of them after working out on the three Olympic lifts -- or, at times, dropping the Olympics for a period and using 5 or 6 or the power movements.

Aim to balance your training by concentrating on adjusting any weakness that shows up in your competition performances.

If speed and technique is lacking, work on the Olympic movements exclusively, performing plenty of single lifts with moderate-to-heavy poundages after first warming up with light weights.

When you feel more solid power is needed, then work on the power movements, with just an occasional training spell on the Olympics.

Bodyweight Control
It is inevitable that many lifters will have bodyweight problems, as there are bound to be plenty whose normal bodyweight falls midway between the limits of two class weights. Thus, a man weighing normally 156 pounds is too heavy for lightweight and too light to get the best out of himself as a middleweight.

He might be able to reduce to the lightweight limit of 148 lb. but will most likely lose an appreciable amount of strength and stamina. In this case, the wisest course is to build up to the full middleweight limit, using plenty of the heavy exercises and adopting a weight-gaining diet.

Anyone whose normal bodyweight is just tow or three pounds above a class weight limit probably won't have any great difficulty in reducing to the limit for competition.

When making such a reduction to the limit probably won't have any great difficulty in reducing to the limit for competition.

When making such a reduction, slightly reduce the normal diet two or three days before the contest, particularly liquids, watching your weight each day so that too much reduction is not made.

If you are within a pound of the bodyweight limit on the day before the contest there will not, normally, be much to worry about. Take no liquid on the day of the event until the weigh-in.

The lighter men -- bantamweights and featherweights -- will naturally find it harder to reduce than the heavier men. Sometimes, losing a pound or so can be a difficult task for a man weighing only about 124 lb., especially if he has little surplus fat and perhaps already reduce a few pounds on the few days before a contest.

This might mean some last-minute reduction by vigorous exercise if still above the bodyweight limit just before the weigh-in. Fast skipping, wearing some very warm clothing, is useful, also vigorous massage of the more fleshy parts to the body.

The whole question of bodyweight reduction without losing strength if possible, is largely a mater for the individual to watch himself by experiment and experience.

If is is found to be constantly difficult to reduce, then I advise building up to the next class weight, particularly in the case of older men, when constant reduction made with difficulty can eventually be a threat to health.

More chapters from this book below...
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