Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Support? Who Needs It...?

Recently, doing some research, I discovered that bodybuilding legend, John Grimek, attributed his great strength and bodybuilding success to "heavy power training." Included in that training was the use of heavy "support" work--that is, holding heavy loads for given periods of time. Apparently, he supported 800lbs (!) overhead and over 1000lbs in the straddle lift (a combo deadlift/squat) with straps and could've done more if the straps had been stronger (!). All this from a guy who was 5'9" and approximately 210lbs.

Anyway, I've decided to incorporate some of this into my training. Not so I can win a Mr. America title or anything like that, but to re-accustom my body to the heavy weights. So far it feels pretty good. In fact, I'm doing some different things that I'm not necessarily used to or have don before.

Last Thursday, I decided to do some partial deadlifts from mid-thigh. I worked up to 675lbs with a 10 second hold. It felt great! I didn't concentrate on just holding it, but actually pushing back against it--feeling my feet flatten and press through the floor and really trying to extend by body under the load. It felt exhilarating! I could feel every muscle in my body contract! It has been a long time since I've done anything like that. After that, I dropped the weight to 495lbs and hit 8 sets of 3 with about 60 seconds of rest between sets. Felt great. This has inspired me to work on some progressive movement training as developed by the late great Paul Anderson. Essentially, using the same load, you add a little greater range of motion to a movement and your body adapts to the load over the course of time. So the "progressive overload" is the range of motion and the load remains constant. I think there are about 15 more pin holes until the floor in the rack I was using, so I have plenty of time to get to the floor. I just have to be patient.

Tonight, in a similar vein, I performed overhead supports. I worked up to 405lbs. Hardly Grimek weights. But the interesting thing about support work is you definitely find your weaknesses.

My training template then is something along these lines:

Heavy support work (isometric) --> RM work (maximum effort) --> 70-80% of RM for 18-30 reps (submax work for hypertrophy).

Tonight's work looked like this:

A. Overhead supports, 10s: 405lbs (135lbs/225lbs/275lbs/315lbs)

B. Military Press, 3RM: 195lbs (shoulders were a bit tired after the support work), followed by 90% (175lbs) for (3,2,1) x3; 60s rest. I hit the same 3RM last week, but without the support work. Last week I used 155lbs as my back down weight for (5,4,3,2,1) x2; 60s rest.

C1. Underhand Barbell Rows, 145lbs/8, 10, 7 supersetted with
C2. Parallel Dips w/ Scap. Depression, 10, 10, 7; rest 60s

D. 45 Degree Hypers: Bodweight/10 x2 sets; 60s rest
My hammies have been screaming at me from this exercise, so I thought I would skip what I had planned and hit a recovery day just to get rid of some of the intense soreness...

Regarding the platform: I'm staying off it right now until I get my strength back. Many of the patterns are already grooved. I always maintain my speed and my lack of strength is my limiting factor. I'll jump back on at the end of the month.

Here's an interesting article on some of John Grimek's training: http://www.fitflex.com/johngrimek.html


Blogger Franz Snideman said...

Love the idea of including some heavy loads like that. Been over a decade since I've done any rack deadlifts......time to try them again.

I will let you know how they go. When is your next RKC weekend Geoff?

5:11 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Franz--yeah, let me know how they go. For me they are very psychologically rewarding. No RKC weekends scheduled for 2009 yet.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Iron Tamer said...

GBA all the way.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

Keep us updated on how the heavy support work goes for you. It will be interesting to see.
Rock on
Mike N

8:33 AM  
Blogger Franz Snideman said...

I will be attending RKC II along with Yoana as Students. Should be fun. If we don't see you there hopefully we can see you at another RKC sometime in the near future!

11:38 PM  
Blogger Max Shank said...

I feel like any time you touch a heavy (heavier) weight, all the lighter weights seem...well, lighter.

This line of thinking has led me to believe that a really heavy rack pull could be a supplemental exercise to any lift. Support strength would be a good way to use ridiculously heavy weight, which would, I think, allow you to lift other, lighter weights (even in different lifts), uninhibited.

So, just handling a heavier weight, in any way, will make all of your other lifts seem easier.
Right? Thoughts?

7:24 PM  

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