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13 January 2010

**5 Fucking Essential Lifts

Everyone's got their pet lifts. For most, these lifts are comprised of the bench press in all of its permutations, and curls, in all of their variations. For me... well, I recently had a bodybuilder retort, after having me break his balls about his endless arm workouts, "What are YOU doing today? Shrugs and front squats?"

The best part? Yup, I fucking was, haha.

As such, I think it behooves you fuckers to discover what I consider to be the most effective lifts on planet Earth, in order of awesomeness.



1) The Behind the Neck Push Press/Jerk.
I still haven't decided what the official name of this fucking exercise is, but no matter, it fucking rocks. In case you're one of the sad motherfuckers who has not yet attempted this gem, allow me to list all of the shit that it hits, in order of stress applied by the movement.
  • Shoulders
  • Traps
  • Upper Back
  • Midsection (No, it's not your fucking core, unless you're reading a shitty book by a useless trainer, you're on a swiss ball, or you're in a pilates class. It's your fucking midsection- all of it component parts). This exercise will make you into a goddamned abdominal and lower back Tyrannosaurus, especially if you hold the weight at lockout for a couple of counts.
  • Triceps
  • Thighs
  • Calves
Yes. It literally works your entire body. You need this exercise in your workout, desperately.

Now, I know a few of you have asked me if you should even bother doing this exercise if you have no access to bumper plates and you cannot ditch the weight. The answer, unequivocally, is yes. If you cannot dump the weight, work with an increased rep range (6x5, for instance), or cut the rest periods down to virtually nothing and go 10x3, fast. Additionally, you can occasionally see how many reps you can do with your bodyweight in 30 mins, or a percentage of your bodyweight. I did that once as part of a DragonDoor challenge, and every single part of my body hurt for days, including the arches of my feet. Super brutal.

In case you've missed my previous blogs about this exercise, you start with the bar on your back, as if you were starting a squat. You then drop to a quarter squat and explosively drive with your legs, THROWING the bar off your back overhead. Hold the lockout for a second, and then drop it back to your traps.


2) The Front Squat
An amazing exercise, the front squat contributes mightily to both leg and abdominal strength. I can attribute the following to my recent focus on the front squat:
  • increased back squat. This came as a direct result of using the improved leverages of the front squat and a departure from constant hammering on the back squat. I defeated staleness and got far stronger simultaneously.
  • increased deadlift. Because the front squat necessarily uses a closer stance than the powerlifting back squat, I found a better crossover to conventional deadlifting and saw a marked jump in my pulls as I got stronger in the front squat.
  • better leg development. Look at any Olympic weightlifter. Their legs are fucking sick, and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts it has to do with the fact that they front squat on the regular. The front squat shifts the focus of the movement onto your quads, rather than your glutes and hamstrings in the PL squat, due to the closer stance and altered leverages. Thus, you get better quad separation and development out of the movement.
  • better shoulder strength. This is due to the fact that I do them crossed-arms bodybuilder style, owing to the fact that I have some of the worst wrist flexibility in history.
  • better abs. Once you get lean enough, you'll see what I mean. My abs look like fucking bricks, and I do a hell of a lot more front squatting than ab work.
video
3) The Power Clean
I know, most of you are probably silently cursing me for this, but I like it more than the deadlift. Why? Because I can do it all the fucking time, with no ill effects. Deadlifting more than once a week, or once every two weeks, completely fucks my mid back, crippling me for the front squat and btn push press. Thus, I focus more on the power clean. Doing the quick pulls in the power clean, in conjunction with ultra-heavy shrugs, grants me the ability to pull 605 literally whenever I want, with wiggle room if I feel like going up some. As such, I'm going to keep pounding the power cleans and shrugs as often as I can, and throw in deadlifts as an occasional change of pace. Additionally, the use of 90-95% of my 1RM for a ton of reps leaves me pretty much fresh as a daisy, whereas just a few reps with 95% of my 1RM on deads has me pretty much fucking crippled thereafter.
4) The Ab Wheel.
Ross Enamait ushered in the resurrection of the single best piece of abdominal equipment on the planet, and for that, he's the man. Just do the fucking things with good form, and you'll know what I'm talking about. Check out his website to see what good form looks like.
I'd typically go a bit closer than this, but it's close for him, apparently. And fucking HEAVY.

5) Close Grip Bench Press
No, not the regular bench. I like hand position wherein my index finger is on the edge of the knurling, or over it. I then suck in my elbows to my sides, and my hands are just over my elbows if viewed from the top.

In my opinion, the close grip bench press is superior to the regular flat bench press for a couple of reasons:
  1. it stresses the triceps more than the regular bench, which means that it will have more crossover than the traditional flat bench press.
  2. the weighted dip is a superior chest exercise to the flat bench press in any event, so it stands to reason that the exercise with the most crossover should be the one you choose.
There you have it. These are, in my opinion, the five most essential lifts in any workout. With just these 5, you can build a brutal physique worthy of the admiration of guys and the lust of women. In other words, using these exercises, you can be the balls, just like Ron Burgundy.
He has very little time to get to the gym, so he has to sculpt his guns at work.

Get after it, motherfuckers.

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Now playing: All Out War - Condemned To Suffer
via FoxyTunes

32 comments :

  1. Fucking spot on as always mate. Back when i was involved in shitty high rep bodypart shit i always avoided BTN presses due to the 'danger' involved but since adding them in my shoulders have exploded and it completely rid me of posture issues. Also really been digging front squats lately, i never trained them seriously but hit 315 for a single last week and i'm gonna continue plowing away on them.

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  2. It must suck to kill yourself in the gym with all these CNS demanding exercises yet still get passed over by actually hot females because you are 5 foot 5.

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  3. I'm only 5'7" and it's not uncommon for me to plough a woman taller than me. They're all roughly the same height on their hands and knees anyway.

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  4. Do you really think women go out of their way to avoid fucking guys under 6 foot? I'm confident in the fact i could out any day of the week and get laid and i'm 5`8. You either have it or you don't and by the jealous tone of your post you clearly get as much ass as stephen hawking.

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  5. He's a dickless troll from the Irongarm forums. Given that he's spectacularly unintelligent and weak, he's forced to go with second-grade putdowns about height, in an effort to assert a modicum of masculinity. Best part- he posted anonymously, hahaha. Fucking internet toughguys.

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  6. I've never looked at irongarm, but I it's probably one of those forums where weak guys use quotes from strong guys to back up their arguments while they fight over shit that none of them have any actual experience in. I've learned more from Internet porn than I have from Internet forums.

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  7. They're not even that intelligent. It's all baseless claims and shit-talking.

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  8. You are a breath of fresh air, C & P, love the blog and your comments over at IGx are great!

    (a 40+ dude who is not afraid to go heavy, often)

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  9. Go get 'em: http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2274090

    Uneducated fools trying to tear down your program bit by bit ...

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  10. I think I'm using a touch too little leg in the BTN push press, and not holding it long enough. I'll make the adjustment next time I do them. The ab roller still doesn't do much for me, I keep playing with the form, watching videos, etc. Then again, I never got anything out of planks either (tried them ages ago) other than tired shoulders. I think I just am not focusing on the ab muscles, and allowing my body to do what come naturally (pull with the back and push with the arms). I hate to admit this in public (especially here), but crunches on a dorky stability ball annihilate my abs, and help me focus on pulling with them, not my hips. I also dig cable crunches and will often use them plus rope pulldowns. I've never done power cleans, they've been on my list of things to try for a while. Maybe I will do them today in lieu of my deadlift motion; my hams are still destroyed anyways from squatting yesterday.

    One thing to keep in mind, regarding the comments on close grip bench press, is that everyone's geometry is different. I've got retardedly long arms for my frame (I should be well over 6' by by arm length), so CGBP barely touches my chest due to the amount of leverage it puts on my arms; if I keep my elbows tucked in, it's a skullcrusher or tricep extension movement, not a chest press movement. I have the same problem to a lesser degree on the normal bench press, so I throw my hands wide and my weak point is really the lower tricep. The last time I tried benching two times in one week, I had to have someone pull a barbell off of me because I got stuck "in the hole" on a rep that I was able to hit no problems a few weeks before that.

    But I'm sure not going to complain, because my goofy long arms make deadlift a cinch for me. While I can't do 95% of 1RM all day long, I can go heavy on deadlift multiple times in a week (as long as I keep my sets to 3 reps or lower); my ROM is so small that it doesn't totally blow me out for days and days like it might do for others. This is why I don't bother with rack pulls, there is so little motion involved it doesn't do anything for me other than tear up my hands. I'd rather use that time for full deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, or the back extension bench with big dumbbells in my hands. Who needs leg curls?

    J.Ja

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  11. I think J.Ja should start his own blog just for his comments ...

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  12. Us short guys are like fat broads in the sack. We make up for it.

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  13. In re the wannabebig thread, amusing. Their litany of excuses and random accusations of aas in spite of me having won a tested comp are a good time.

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  14. Anonymous -

    I've already got a number of blogs (business related) and I post my training logs elsewhere, really no interest in starting another one... I've thought of doing a full training specific blog, but it would be a headache and not get updated too often. I simply do better at responded to the content of others than I do at generated topics from scratch for some topics. But I *do* have something in mind to give back to this little community a bit.

    J.Ja

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  15. Please tell me how this blog gets better and better! Nice job, Jamie.

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  16. Hey,

    Im not trolling or anything like that. Im just curious what your best total is and what your 1 rm are.

    Thanks

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  17. I've only done one full meet and the results are in the interview. Currently, I'm hitting a 535 front squat, a 625 back squat, a 335 OH press, and a 625 dead. My best bench is a 405 reverse grip bench press, and I recently hit a 375 close grip bench press with no spot. All of those were done at a ~185 lb bodyweight. Last Halloween I hit an easy (beltless) 615 dead at 181 lbs, after missing 615 horribly with a belt on. I cannot dead for shit with a belt on.

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  18. Thanks man. I appreciate the info. I saw your Blog and I was curious. Keep lifting heavy.

    Take it easy

    A.C.

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  19. Jamie- any reason why you think the BTN Push press is superior to a push press with the bar on the front of your shoulders? Or is it the same shit?

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  20. Hey man loving the blog. Now that i'm no longer playing rugby i'll be focusing my energies into weights. Thus i'll be something of a human guinea pig and use the advice you gave in your interview regarding beginner training. I was just wondering when you say keep the volume fairly low, what kind of sets/reps you'd recommend? I'll keep you updated with pics and stats thus making me a kind of testimonial i guess.

    Cheers.

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  21. I personally find that BTN works the whole of the shoulders and traps more efficiently due to the arm placement and bar path and i also find i can push press more weight this way also due to the straighter nature of the bar path and shoulder alignment.

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  22. I agree wholeheartedly. Additionally, it places a greater load on the medial and posterior delts, as opposed to the front delts, which reduces the amount of shoulder impingement issues you will encounter. I've never met a bodybuilder who didn't have some kind of shoulder issue, and I'm convinced that it's from their reliance on seated shoulder presses to the front, and the unbelievable amount of bench pressing that they do.

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  23. My theory on the joint problems, is that *any* exercise where being "in the hole" puts a joint under a heavy, static load and past a "neutral effort" position (ie: one in which you would need to exert muscle force or have it under load for the joint to get into that position) is going to wreck it. That's why squats are OK (your knees can bend quite a bit if you relax), and deep bench presses and shoulder presses are bad.

    What the BTN push press does, is allow you to *not* attempt to move a heavy weight from a dead stop with the shoulder in a negative position. Because the legs are the major force for the bottom portion of the movement and cushion on the bottom, the stress is off the joint/tendons/ligaments at the most vulnerable parts of the lift.

    J.Ja

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  24. Interesting. A big part of the issue, in my opinion, is that if you're at a biomechanically (read "structurally") disadvantageous position at any part of the movement, the natural thing to do is dump it, as you will know you're out of position and that fighting the weight is futile. Seated presses, on the other hand, are naturally awkward, so the additional awkwardness placed on your shoulders by stressing them structurally will go unnoticed.

    I really need to get my ass in gear on getting a full site so we can have forums, haha.

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  25. Forums wold be awesome

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  26. Yes forums would be great, I'm sick of all the fucking morons on BB.com. I recently got negged for saying side laterals are a waste of time.

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  27. The fuking ab wheel.....I just purchased this gem for $11 at Target. Holy fuck. I did this for about 15 minutes on Saturday and it hurts to fuking laugh today. It hurts to do anything. I thought it was some dumb gimmiky bullshit..I was wrong.

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  29. Hey C&P, would you mind elaborating what you mean by this regarding the CG Bench?:
    it stresses the triceps more than the regular bench, which means that it will have more crossover than the traditional flat bench press.

    I do CG Bench on the regular but I've always thought of it as a supplementary lift to further fatigue the triceps since the normal bench press utilizes a lot of lats, chest and anterior delts. But in terms of carry over, wouldn't the CG Bench only be very helpful in the lockout portion where the triceps are most engaged? Usually I would only recommend it for a lifter who has issues with the lockout portion.

    On a side note, I absolutely love that you placed BTN Push Press as #1, as I have inadequate wrist mobility as well, so conventional push presses place a lot of stress on them. BTN Push Press is definitely in my top 3 favorite lifts. Mainly cause it's the baddest looking shit hahaha.
    Felt pretty damn fulfilling when I read this and realized I do every single one of these on a regular basis.

    Good stuff right there.
    T

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  30. The fact that the deadlift isn't even on this list is a fucking joke. Hence, this list can go fuck itself.

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    Replies
    1. Only problem with deads is that they take SO MUCH out of the back, one can't really train them often enough to build tons of muscle, imo. I know how you feel though!

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  31. My 5:

    Weighted chins
    Standing strict barbell press with heavy band tension
    One legged squats
    Ab wheel
    Deadlift stance GMs

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