by Armand Tanny (1966)
Power lifters have now established the fact that two days of training a week fully satisfy the work requirement for ultimate gains. Daily training doesn’t work. Not yet, at least, not at this stage of the game. They certainly tried daily training, but where the mind willing, the flesh was usually weak. Desire became an overrated virtue. What they wanted and what they got were two different things. In daily training, either the mind was out of focus or the strength was off. They found it took time, several days of rest between workouts, to generate enthusiasm and strength in a way that they would converge, both of them fully developed and ready.
Furthermore, full movements on the power lifts comprise one of these workouts; whereas the second workout of the week consists in a large part of assist movements and supplemental exercises. Partial movements with heavy weights is now a growing choice among power lifters who find that a reserve of energy exists in an area that formerly was of only marginal interest. The developmental of the power rack followed. It opened the gate of a whole new reservoir of strength. The fearsome grind of full movements is not easy on the joints of power lifters who mush work in that “no man’s land” of heavy weights and single reps. A change of pace is necessary. Let the deeper areas recover while you occupy the muscles with short movements. The incline bench press off the power rack not only flanks the bench press itself, but offers a nice diversionary tactic as well. A brief recap of a weekly power lifting program goes like this:
Saturday- all the lifts in regular style starting each lift with about four sets of low repetition warmups followed by five heavy singles and concluded with one flush set of ten reps.
Tuesday- Change of pace training. Bench press and/or incline bench press. Bench squat. High dead lifts – off blocks
The same system of reps is used in power rack training as on the regular day.+
First of all you must have a moveable incline bench to place under the power rack. Set the incline at 45 degrees. There are three positions, or sticking points if you will, to work from. In the first position the bar is at chin level, in the second position at nose level, and in their position at the level of the hair line. The workout follows (the weight designated weight is arbitrary):
Position 1. Chin level
135 10 reps
270 singles – 2
Position 2. Nose level
Position 3. Hairline level.
Back to position 1 with the bench adjusted to 80 degrees.
170 10 – *elbows forward
*Notice that on this last set the elbows are brought forward placing all the resistance on the front deltoid.
This offers an additional change of pace and will give the delts a nice pump. Also notice the regression of weight in the last exercise. The high reps are muscle builders and they act as a digestive aid for the heavy low reps of the previous positions.In all the other sets the elbows are in the same vertical plane as the bar. They are wide out away from the body. This is the most advantageous position for them, where the arms can exert the greatest power, where both the delts and the pecs are in action, a necessity at the 45 degree incline.
The pins that support the bar should not be used to bounce the bar during repetitions. Each rep must be done from a dead stop, which is the whole purpose of power rack lifting. The power rack gives muscles a chance to fully exert themselves in positions that the full movements never get. Very heavy weights can be used. These short movements lend the priority principle to power lifting. Muscles are extremely strong in the partially extended position. Partial movements from this point to the fully extended position can contain a heavier than normal weight even though momentum is lacking. Sticking points usually develop from fast starts in full regular movements. The muscle becomes dependent on momentum, and its real potential is forgotten. The power rack makes a muscle a dynamic force through an entire range of motion.
The power rack has established this fact: Partial power movements have trapped hidden sources of energy in muscle groups. That is why a power rack program once a week fills in an energy vacancy that formerly didn’t seem to exist. Although you may be too tired for full movements, you will find the power rack and shorter movements brining you back to life. It is the reason why heavyweight Pat Casey bench presses 570, and 198-pound Bill West Squats with 600.
Weightlifter Bill March and bodybuilder Vern Weaver use the power rack extensively in their respective training. Heavy full movements, they reason, done continuously soon become impossible. March at 210, can press 375. At the West Side Barbell Club in Venice, California incline bench pressing is a highly developed lift practiced by some of the mightiest weight tossers in sports. Dave Davis does 390, Dallas Long 430, and Perry O’Brien, 345. The unpassable power lifter Pat Casey has done three reps with 220 pound dumbbells on a 40 degree incline. He has also done seven reps with a pair of 200’s.
On a steep incline at about 80 degrees, Casey has done 385. John Gourgott, primarily a bodybuilder, has pressed 325 from the No. 1 position off the power rack on the 80 degree incline. Gourgott also practiced an extremely heavy tri-sets system which includes inclines. He did 10 repetition curls with 80 pound dumbbells, followed by 10 reps double dumbbell presses standing with the 100s. This high quality training accounts for his great strength and development. He can also clean and press a pair of 135s.
When Zabo Koszweski resumed training after a shoulder operation, he went directly to power rack incline presses. It offered limited, safe movements, the only ones he could have done. These movements hastened his rehabilitation, and what might have taken a year or two for someone else, took only a few months for him to fully recover.
It is fully apparent now that short movements have become an indispensable part of training for power. The power rack has made short movements possible for every exercise. Also it facilitates solo training. You can handle big poundages without assistance. Above all, the rack offers a change of pace in training that gives joints and tendons a chance to recover while the muscle itself is occupied with overcoming the very sticky sticking points. Use the power rack once a week for your incline presses and watch your poundages increase.
Article courtesy of Adrian Gomez
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