Results matching “Bird”

Full Throttle Conditioning - Test articles

Full Throttle ConditioningVia LAHF : This looks superb - Full Throttle Conditioning by Ross Enamait. I've just ordered a copy; I'll post a review once it arrives.

Given the high standards of his other packages however, it should be fantastic.

Reclaiming the Rounded Back - Test articles

Twisting ChairHave years of tweaks left you with a slightly rounded back? Scott Sonnon takes a brief look at this all-too-common situation.

Super Strength BooksThis month's collaboration with Run to Win's Blaine Moore - Great sources of training information - continues with a look at the many superb old strength-training books. Love them.

For as long as I can remember I've been surrounded by books and periodicals - shelf after shelf of hardcovers, paperbacks, magazines and newspapers. When it came time to learn a few things about the world of strength training; the starting point was clear.

Before I go any further, there is just one thing I'd like to point out : as important as it is to learn about something, it's always secondary to actually doing it. Spending time under the bar is absolutely critical.

With that in mind, back to books. These can generally be sorted into a few categories, according to both the content and their availability. These are :

Old-time strength

When it comes to the process of getting stronger, very little has changed over the past few centuries. Sure, exercises have come in to and gone out of favour (think of the barbell squat and the overhead press in Olympic Weightlifting); but the underlying mechanics are, of course, the same. After all, we're still talking about people lifting a variety of heavy objects to become bigger, stronger and faster.

Many of the books that have been written over the past century or so (any older than this, and they're a little difficult to find - although often still quite relevant) have been reprinted numerous times, are still available and still make excellent reading. A few personal favourites :

Where do you get them?

Online : the best sources are Amazon and suppliers such as Bill Hinbern's superb Super Strength Books site.

Offline : Although they're a little difficult to find in the offline world, larger bookstores (particularly Borders) occasionally carry them.

The golden era - 1970s

Although some people may dispute my claim that the 1970s encompassed 'the golden era', it certainly did for me. After all, it's when Arnold Schwarzenegger was making a real name for himself. Bruce Lee was fighting athletes such as Chuck Norris. Arthur Jones was creating a stir with his Nautilus machines.

And - most importantly - people the world over began to join gyms. To become big, to become strong; or simply to get into shape. Very little has changed.

One of the greatest by-products of this period can be seen at a glance of my bookshelves. Catering to the throngs of new gymgoers were a number of great books, including :

The magazines of this time - notably those which focussed on bodybuilding - were actually worthwhile reading in many cases (ah, the days when magazines had more content than advertising); containing specific routines, interviews with strength athletes from a variety of sports (not just bodybuilders) and simple nutritional information. The good stuff.

Where do you get them?

Online : Once again, Amazon is a great place to start. For the magazines, eBay is your friend. There are always plenty of them on there.

Offline : As you may have guessed, I love wandering around second-hand book stores. For books such as these - particularly the heavier, hardback varieties - second-hand shops are a great resource. Definitely a good place to start.

1980s - now

Although things have definitely started to settle down in the few decades since the 'golden era', there have been several great books to add to the shelves. Among these are a few which stand out for all the right reasons, including :

Where do you get them?

Online : Many of these books are now available through the websites of their authors or publishers; although Amazon is still a good bet. For slightly older volumes, eBay often comes in handy.

Offline : For some reason, many of the larger bookstores shy away from recent strength-training books. Notable exceptions are stores attached to universities or colleges; and those catering largely to students.

Other recommendations

Of course, I'm not exactly alone in my love of strength-training books. To get an idea of those which other Straight to the Bar writers hold in high regard, take a wander over to Good Reads. There are several excellent volumes there.

Final thoughts

With so many great strength-training books and magazines available, it's almost assured that I've overlooked something along the way. What are your own recommendations for the 'perfect' strength-training book?

Jamie Eason - Daily Curves

34661_jamie_big07_122_379lo.jpgThe incredibly sexy Jamie Eason.

In part one of this series, I introduced you to the Inch Replica Dumbbell, a 172-pound cast iron dumbbell with a 2.38-inch diameter handle that literally tries to rip your fingers out of their sockets when you try to pick it up.

These Inch Dumbbells are lurking around the countryside, so you must begin preparing now so that when you are confronted with the challenge of lifting the Inch, you will be ready. Here are some of the ways I have prepared to lift the Inch in the past.


The SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands) states that the body will respond specifically to how it is trained. With that in mind, in order to train specifically to lift the Inch, I knew I would have to try to replicate the conditions of the Inch dumbbell in my training. Since the handle of the Inch is so large, I knew I needed to include thick-handled implements in my training.

Home Made Inch Loader

When I began training for the Inch, I was on a very limited budget. There were many companies making thick handled loadable dumbbells at the time, but I just didn’t have the money lying around to get one. I also did not have the skills to weld myself one, so I made one out of PVC pipe and duct tape.

I took a piece of 2-inch outside diameter PVC pipe about 18 inches long and found the center. There, I began wrapping duct tape around it until it was about 2.5 inches thick. I wrapped 3 of these coils, side-by-side, to make the handle surface. I worked slowly and was very deliberate when I applied the duct tape, and made sure the layers were very smooth – just like the Inch Dumbbell handle itself. These days, I no longer use my original PVC Inch Loader. One day in training I dropped it with about 150 pounds on it and the pipe cracked the sleeves where I load the plates.

inchduct.jpgAs you can see in the picture, the duct tape gripping surface ended up being longer than the inch replica’s handle. A longer handle can make a dumbbell much easier to lift, especially if you grip the dumbbell off center, allow it to tilt, and brace the edge of the inside plate against your arm. I always tried to grab it right in the center and keep it as level as possible.

To qualify for the Inch Dumbbell Lift on the Gripboard Records List, you must lift the Inch Dumbbell without excessive tilt. The reason behind this is when the Inch tilts, the globe bell can be braced against the heel of the hand, or even the wrist. By initiating this contact, the athlete can reduce how much the Inch rotates, making the lift easier. To preserve the genuineness of the feat, the rules were modified so that the athlete had to lift it as level as possible. inchtilt.jpgThe picture at the left shows the inch being tilted too much to count for an official lift.

ductroll.jpgYou can also make a lift with the duct tape handle easier by placing your thumb or fingertips on the edge of the duct tape, especially if the ends of the tape become rolled. This is not going to do anything for you in the long run, so I suggest being careful when placing your hand on the handle, and making sure you are not getting any assistance from the end of the tape coil.

This inch trainer proved to be a pretty accurate training aid. In fact, the slick duct tape handle, combined with the fact that I wrapped it a bit thicker than the actual Inch handle, has led me to believe that lifting 172 on the loadable would have been tougher than lifting the actual Inch Dumbbell. The beauty of this home-made device was that I could train specifically for the feat at a fraction of the cost.

Steel Thick Loadable Dumbbell

Once I dropped and cracked the PVC inch-loader, I decided it was time to get myself one made out of steel that would hold up to the beatings I would be putting it through.

2.5.jpgI recommend getting your Inch-trainer loadable handles from John Beatty at Fat Bastard Barbell Company. His equipment is excellent, his turn-round time is fantastic and he supports and sponsors just about every Grip Contest in the United States and abroad. You can get them right from his website, or you can get them from APT Pro Wrist Straps. The loadables APT sells are made by John Beatty and by getting them from APT, you can support two perennial sponsors of the Diesel Crew’s Global Grip Challenge.

Rolling Thunder

rt.jpgThe Rolling Thunder Revolving Deadlift Handle is a product sold by IronMind Enterprises, Inc, another of our dedicated GGC sponsors.

What makes the Rolling Thunder so vicious is the rotating gripping surface. When you pull, the rotating action forces your hand so that the space between your fingers and thumb end up pointing down toward the floor. rthand.jpg
This is the weakest point of your grasp on the implement, and you must have tremendous finger tip and thumb strength in order to pull the weight stack to lockout. You can pick yourself up a Rolling Thunder at IronMind's Store.

Shot Loadable Replicas

Another option for replicating the Inch Dumbbell without actually purchasing one is a Shot Loadable version. These dumbbells are hollow and have holes in the bells through which steel shot can be poured to gradually increase the weight of the implement. You can see an example of a Shot Loadable Dumbbell at PDA's site.

These are some the most common implements athletes use to train specifically to lift the Inch Dumbbell. All of these are great options for preparing for battle with the Inch.

Next time, we're going to dig a little deeper with some of this equipment and see the lifting techniques we can use to get the most out of these implements.

Be sure to sign up for the Straight to the Bar feed Newsletter, in the right-hand corner at the top of the page so you never miss a post.

Thanks for reading,

Napalm's Blog

Card Tearing Anyone? - Test articles

Torn cards.
This is a guest post by kettlebell instructor and gym owner Chuck Halbakken - Card Tearing Anyone? Enjoy.
I don't care if you tear a stack of paper, a deck of playing cards, or a stack of bills you don`t want to pay. Tearing is good fun. Tearing can have some advantages over other types of destructive training/enjoyment as the technique I will describe is significantly easier on the elbows than short steel bending. Additionally, everyone thinks they know someone who can tear a deck of cards. That someone should and will be you!

I tear because I can, and tearing gives me a sense of accomplishment and finality that other forms of resistance training don`t provide. There are not many other activities that combine a high level of mental toughness, explosive strength, brute strength, a bit of strength endurance and last but not least complete and utter VICTORY. If you pull or press a weight for a PR the weight looks at you as if to say you won that one, what have you got now? (no weights don't speak to me, well at least not too often) When you tear or bend the job is DONE. The only thing left is to decide if you want to tear the halves into quarters.

The purpose of this article is tearing and I will stick to two areas of tearing that I have had some success. Mind you, I do not consider myself a guru or any such nonsense. I am simply a fairly strong man who has found pleasure in tearing and bending and feel a need to share these old time strong man exercises with others.

Technique and mind-set are critical to your success in tearing. Mind-set is more important initially in the sense that if you are truly focused and concentrate on generating tension in the proper sequence, then you have a shot at delivering the necessary power to complete your task. The quality of your technique will determine how efficiently you are able to deliver that power. The way to increase your skill level is to practice. Keep in mind I'm referring to quality practice, do not mindlessly crank out repetitions to say you are done.

Remember, practice does not make perfect, "perfect practice makes perfect".

Healing the Hips - Test articles

HipsEric Cressey has a sensible solution for dealing with the most common form of hip pain. And no, it doesn't include taking any time off training.

Daniel IlabacaThe insanity continues - definitely time for a bit of the heavy stuff. Clawing their way through :

Dynamic Stretching - Test articles

Dynamic StretchingA quick Dynamic Stretching demonstration over at the Ice Chamber. Yet another reason to set up some rings here.

$25,000 Dessert - Test articles

$25,000 DessertVia LIFT : I enjoy a bowl of ice-cream every now and then, but $25,000 worth?

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