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Old 04-17-2012, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default The Southwood Program

Good reading and a beginners program that looks very good to me

Welcome to Southwood

After eight years at St. Veronica's School, I transferred to Southwood Junior High to begin junior high. It was a helluva transition. From Irish nuns to public school is big enough, but I was also going to play football. At 118 pounds of pure nothing, it was obvious to everyone that I needed to lift weights.

It was at this time that I was introduced to Southwood's lifting program. In a portable building, the school had outlaid about fifteen of those cement-filled weightlifting sets that everyone from my generation remembers as their first bar.

Mr. Freeman spent little time explaining the "rep-set" system of 8-6-4 because everybody, except me, knew what to do. That's part of the brilliance of the program. You learn it once and then you lift. Not exactly rocket science, but who needs rocket science on the football field?

The program was very simple. First, groups of four boys were given a bar. The bars ranged from very light, maybe 25 pounds, up to nearly a hundred pounds. Each cohort of boys would lift one at a time, put the bar down, and then the next boy would lift. The four would constantly move from lifter to watcher — the bar never stopped. The three sets (explained in just a moment) wouldn't take very long. In fact, sometimes it was hard to catch your breath in time for your next set.

The reps were very simple:

First set: 8 repetitions

Second set: 6 repetitions

Third set: 4 repetitions

The goal was also clear-cut: When you got all 18 reps, you added weight. If you started with a bar that was too light, you'd be bumped up to the next weight and a stronger group in the next workout. Of course, actual variations could include making an entirely new group with more weight, too — whatever was necessary to make the group work together.

The program involved four lifts:

1) Power clean

2) Military press

3) Front squat

4) Bench press

Each lift was done in the 8-6-4 rep format. The bar was cleaned (once) for the set of military presses, and the bar was also cleaned (once) for the front squats. So, each workout the athlete cleaned the bar from the ground to their chest 22 times. If, as some people believe, the power clean is the "king of the exercises," that's a lot of reps with the king!

Lift with the king.

To "hurry up" the training (as if necessary) there were times when Mr.

Freeman recommended combining the power clean and military presses. One clean and one press, repeated for a total of eight reps. This was done with a lighter weight. One could also do the front squats after the clean and presses, too. I've only done this once, and it was an amazing cardiovascular workout.

Each day to warm-up, we had to run two laps and an obstacle course. The two laps were about 600 meters. The obstacle course had a wall, various upper body challenges, and some balance walking. All in all, this wasn't a bad program.

Here it is in table format:

The Southwood Program

To be performed three days a week in the weightroom:

Power clean
8-6-4 reps

Military press
8-6-4 reps

Front squat
8-6-4 reps

Bench press
8-6-4 reps
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