Saturday, September 3, 2011

Really hard stuff to do with embarassingly little weight

So, now that I've got a barbell set, and presumably the keys to the ultimate in strength training so I can finally look like a strong guy, I can pile on some massive weight and get to work, right?

By now, you've got to know that I don't work like that. Even as I collect more stuff, I still keep my minimalistic mindset about things (even if it's not needed anymore) and ask myself how I can do more with less stuff? I do this for two reasons. First, It's always easier to work with more than less. That mentality has served me well over the years as I've moved to places that put restrictions on training. Second, I find some very interesting stuff stuff to do.
Disclaimer time: once again, I didn't come up with any of this stuff. I'm just passing along information. again.

Besides, in a subculture so constantly obsessed with how much iron they can make defy gravity, it's kind of fun to take a bitchy amount of weight and struggle like it was 500 lbs. I find that it's a good reminder not to rely on one method of my face winces in pain.

Saxon Bend
This one doesn't use the bar, only a plate. It's pretty simple to explain: put the weight overhead and bend at the spine. The trick is to keep thyself from shortening the movement... REALLY BEND TO THE SIDE. I do this with a 22.5 plate from my Ironmaster KB or a 25 lbs olympic plate. Either way, that long lever really makes that measly, little piece of iron really hurt muscle and ego alike. A nice combination with the Saxon bend is to squat with that plate arms-straight length away from the body, followed by a Saxon bend in each direction. You'll never be so happy to drop a single plate!

One Arm Barbell Curl(OABBC)
I would have never conceived that I would ever enjoy doing what is probably the most vain exercise in existence. I just wasn't trying the right variation. Lots of people do barbell curls with two hands. I got the idea from T-nation to try it with only one. All single-arm barbell stuff is kind of funky and this one is no exception. What's humbling about OABBC that the bar alone is plenty hard!

What makes this so nasty is the same thing that makes a lot of unilateral work suck so hard: everything's got to be tight. There's a lot of muscles that work with your arm in order to curl a weight, namely your Traps, upper-rear shoulder muscles, abs and glutes. Cheating is simply a way of moving the body so you don't have to use these supports as they fatigue.

You can kiss that goodbye on this one. You can't cheat it nearly as much as the two handed version. If you do, chances are good one end of the bar will hit the floor. At the very least, it will torque the shit out of the grip. Either option should be avoided. Stay tight and curl. Oh, and do I need to mention that this variant is hell on your forearms? Also, chalk is very, VERY helpful with this one!

Squatting Press
I saw this one a while ago, back when I started bent pressing. Anthony DiLuglio from Art of Strength put out the best tutorial (<---That's a hint, BTW) on how to do that lift that I've seen on Youtube. In that video, he showed how to do the squatting press too. It's a weird-ass thing to try. Start out with the bar at your chest and squat underneath it until your arms are straight. From that point, you've got two options: stand up with the weight overhead or keep the weight stationary while standing back up.

Have you been using the mirror to admire all of the muscles that attach to bottom of your scapula, obsessing over how to make them sexier so you can get girls? Well, if you haven't, and you try this one out, you're definitely going to regret that decision. While I can do more weight with this one than I can the other two, bitch-making movements, this one makes me feel like a complete loser. It's just really, fucking hard! I don't even dare to embarrass myself by putting out a picture of myself doing it with shitty form and such a small amount of weight I squat press with! This is along the lines of exercising in the nude: best kept to yourself until you look really good! Even then, it's not a great idea anyway.

So, if you've been walking around, flexing in front of mirrors excessively, thinking about how awesome you are because you can do 20 crossfit pull-ups and can bench press...whatever... lbs of iron then I've got news for you: YOU'RE NOT AWESOME! In fact, you probably downright suck!

What you need to do is cleanse the douchbag out of yourself and give one, or all, of these lifts a try!


Trainer Matt said...

I love the idea of using less to get more. It inspired the one and only tattoo I have and my entire fitness program.

garagegorilla said...

I do saxon side bends with a 10# plate in each hand MAX. Such a tough exercise.

Bob Macc said...

As soon as I saw the title of the article I thought of the Saxon - no surprise to see it here! Great exercise.