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Compound MovementsEdit

Squat VariationsEdit

Athletic SquatEdit

The athletic squat is a back squat performed with the feet at a width that is generally just slightly wider than the shoulders. The feet are angled out in line with the knees. This foot positioning will be the one with the most carryover to the majority of athletic endeavors, and does the best job at ensuring full thigh development, both in the front of the thigh (the quadriceps) and the rear of the thigh (the hamstrings and glutes). It is the squat variation that is performed in the basic Starting Strength program. Read more about the Athletic Squat here

Olympic SquatEdit

The olympic squat is a back squat where the foot positioning is closer than shoulder width and the toes typically point nearly straight forward. These tend to be more quadriceps-dominant, and are very useful for Olympic lifters (hence the name). This is an excellent exercise as well, but it will not be used until the trainee advances further and chooses to specialize in Olympic lifting or physique competition.

Sumo SquatEdit

The sumo squat refers to the extremely wide "sumo" stance that powerlifters favor while performing the squat. It generally allows them to use more weight, but this is due to mechanical advantage rather than even, overall muscular stimulation of the thighs. This variation is not used in the program.

Box SquatEdit

The box squat is a phenomenal exercise for an aspiring powerlifter. Details of this exercise and its execution are outside the scope of this program. Box squats are not to be used in this program. They are outstanding, but not appropriate for the purposes of this discussion.

Front SquatEdit

The front squat is an outstanding variation of the squat, except that it is performed with the barbell resting across the FRONT of the shoulders, in front of the neck. It is a variation which will maximally stress the quadriceps, but can be very difficult to perform from a mechanical perspective. If possible, front squats are added in the Wednesday workout once more advanced periodization and exercise selection is necessary for the trainee.

Barbell Position

Overhead SquatEdit

Here is a very good description of the Overhead Squat

Watch Coach Rippetoe teaching The Overhead Squat Here

Deadlift VariationsEdit

Conventional DeadliftEdit

Read about the Conventional Deadlift here

Romanian DeadliftEdit

The How and Why of The Romanian Deadlift by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore

Here is a very good description of the Romanian Deadlift here

Stiff-Legged DeadliftEdit

Here is a very good description of the Stiff-Legged Deadlift here

Press VariationsEdit

Standing PressEdit

Read about The Standing Press here

Military PressEdit

Seated PressEdit

Bench PressEdit

Read about The Bench Press here

Row VariationsEdit

Bentover RowEdit

How do I properly perform the barbell row?Edit

YOU WILL MAINTAIN THE NATURAL LUMBAR ARCH THROUGHOUT THIS EXERCISE. At NO TIME will your lower back round for ANY reason.

Here it is, step-by-step.

1) You maintain your lumbar arch, bend your knees, and lean over at the hips, not the lower back, so that you can grasp the bar. When you lean over, you MAINTAIN YOUR NATURAL LUMBAR (lower back) ARCH/CURVATURE. Yes, this means your bootie sticks up in the air. Deal with it.

2) You reach to the bar and grasp it with a "medium-wide grip". Don't belabor this point. Your hands should be outside of shoulder width. Exactly how far is up to you, I personally extend my thumbs to the smooth, and use that for grip width. Reaching for the bar without allowing your lower back to round will require your shoulder blades to rotate forward, which will round the shoulders forward (protraction). This is natural and normal. At this point, ENSURE YOUR LOWER BACK/LUMBAR ARCH IS STILL BEING MAINTAINED.

3) Suck in a deep breath of air, check to ensure your abs and lower back are tight, which maintains the natural lumbar arch, and EXPLOSIVELY arch your SHOULDER BLADES backward and upward while yanking your elbows up behind your body. Of course, your lumbar arch is maintained throughout, and there is NO motion at the hips. that is, hip extension (the motion you would use to stand upward from this position) does NOT occur during the rep.

4) The bar should hit in the upper abdomen and you should try to pull it through your body, while squeezing your shoulder blades together hard and arching your lats. The "arched lats" effect can be seen in runway models or swimsuit models who arch the lats. This brings the shoulders back (retraction) and it shoves their boobies up in the air (elevates the chest). This is the same action that should occur when you are readying yourself to perform the bench press, but of course, you'll be supine on a bench rather than bent over.

5) Control the weight as it returns to the ground while maintaining your lumbar arch. At this time, learn to control the weight using your lats and upper/midback muscles as much as possible, and your elbow flexors (biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis) as little as possible.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Note - You must "deload" between *every* repetition. That is, you actually put the bar down and release (or simply relax) your grip so that you remove any type of static tension in the muscles at that time. DO THIS! It is almost counter-intuitive, and I resisted doing this for quite some time. After all, I have lifted 20 years and never deloaded between reps, why should I start now? It will be annoying at first, because you can't use as much weight.

Of course, you can't use as much weight when you do a full squat, nor can you use as much weight when you DON'T bounce the bar off your chest in a bench press. More weight isn't better if the technique isn't proper.

If you are able to row more than 135 with this exercise and you have longer arms, you may need to use 35s so that you can get a better range of motion while pulling from more of a stretch position. Stand on a low, wide box if need be. Do not, however, allow the lower back to round, and do not squat down to reach the bar.

Use less weight on this exercise than on normal 45 degree rows. Reduction in weight, increase in lat stimulation.

Do I have to deweight between repetitions of the row? What about continuous tension?Edit

Continuous tension is a term widely used in bodybuilding circles. It is associated with hypertrophy and muscle mass accumulation. It is, however, only one part of the equation.

The purpose of deweighting (i.e. allowing the barbell to rest the entirety of its weight on the ground for a brief moment between repetitions, a la the deadlift) is to develop the ability to produce force rapidly and explosively in the upper back muscles. Remember, this is an exercise which isn't just a "lighter pull from the floor", like the power clean is, it is an exercise to develop explosiveness.

Continuous tension is a fine concept, and a barbell row is going to be an incredibly effective strength and mass producer with or without the deweight. The deweight is a better teaching tool for explosiveness, and also makes the somewhat vague technique of the basic barbell row a bit more concrete. It also significantly reduces the amount of stress and strain on the somewhat vulnerable lower back. With training frequency being what it is, and since the rows follow squats in this program, giving the lower back a rest can be rather desirable.

I use a lot less weight on these than on normal barbell rows. I'd rather do them with more weightEdit

Far be it from me to stand in the way of a fellow and his ego. You want to use more weight, then go for it. I won't stop you.

While you're at it, go ahead, load up an extra 45 on either side of the bar, and do partial squats. Stick an extra couple of 10s on either side and bounce the bar off your chest while benching.

Here's one that should hit home...stick 45s and some change on the end of a barbell and see how well you do the reverse-grip power clean a.k.a. "the power curl"

Anyway, i'm being facetious here. You use less weight on these than with regular rows because the perfectly parallel position keeps your traps out of the motion. Your traps are an enormously powerful muscle, and they have a tendency to overwhelm the lats in a variety of exercises. You will see some people with seemingly perfect technique on bent rows doing some pretty tremendous weights, yet their lats are "fair", whereas their traps are bulging.

If this describes you, then stay away from the regular "45 degree" barbell rows and especially from the yates rows, as they tend to incorporate a lot of trapezius action if you're not careful. It took me FOREVER to learn how to do these suckers properly. Yes, my traps were always big. Yes, my lats sucked for years. :)

Seriously though, no one is telling you to do bent rows this way FOREVER. You will, however, receive payback for your diligence in this exercise by developing a very powerful set of lats.

Do I have to deweight between repetitions of the row? What about continuous tension?Edit

Continuous tension is a term widely used in bodybuilding circles. It is associated with hypertrophy and muscle mass accumulation. It is, however, only one part of the equation.

The purpose of deweighting (i.e. allowing the barbell to rest the entirety of its weight on the ground for a brief moment between repetitions, a la the deadlift) is to develop the ability to produce force rapidly and explosively in the upper back muscles. Remember, this is an exercise which isn't just a "lighter pull from the floor", like the power clean is, it is an exercise to develop explosiveness.

Continuous tension is a fine concept, and a barbell row is going to be an incredibly effective strength and mass producer with or without the deweight. The deweight is a better teaching tool for explosiveness, and also makes the somewhat vague technique of the basic barbell row a bit more concrete. It also significantly reduces the amount of stress and strain on the somewhat vulnerable lower back. With training frequency being what it is, and since the rows follow squats in this program, giving the lower back a rest can be rather desirable.

I use a lot less weight on these than on normal barbell rows. I'd rather do them with more weightEdit

Far be it from me to stand in the way of a fellow and his ego. You want to use more weight, then go for it. I won't stop you.

While you're at it, go ahead, load up an extra 45 on either side of the bar, and do partial squats. Stick an extra couple of 10s on either side and bounce the bar off your chest while benching.

Here's one that should hit home...stick 45s and some change on the end of a barbell and see how well you do the reverse-grip power clean a.k.a. "the power curl"

Anyway, I'm being facetious here. You use less weight on these than with regular rows because the perfectly parallel position keeps your traps out of the motion. Your traps are an enormously powerful muscle, and they have a tendency to overwhelm the lats in a variety of exercises. You will see some people with seemingly perfect technique on bent rows doing some pretty tremendous weights, yet their lats are "fair", whereas their traps are bulging.

If this describes you, then stay away from the regular "45 degree" barbell rows and especially from the yates rows, as they tend to incorporate a lot of trapezius action if you're not careful. It took me FOREVER to learn how to do these suckers properly. Yes, my traps were always big. Yes, my lats sucked for years. :)

Seriously though, no one is telling you to do bent rows this way FOREVER. You will, however, receive payback for your diligence in this exercise by developing a very powerful set of lats.

Pull-Up VariationsEdit

Chin-UpsEdit

AKA supinated pull-ups.

Pull-UpsEdit

AKA pronated pull-ups

Kipping Pull-UpsEdit

Power MovementsEdit

The CleanEdit

Clean and JerkEdit

The Clean and Jerk is the second event held in Official Weightlifting meets. It is a Squat Clean followed by a Split Jerk.

Here is a very good explanation of the Clean and Jerk here

Step by Step instructions on performing The Clean and Jerk

Squat CleanEdit

The squat clean or "full" clean is where you drop into a full squat to assist in racking the bar across the front of your shoulders. The most weight can be cleaned in this fashion.

Power CleanEdit

Read about the Power Clean here

Hang CleanEdit

Both power cleans and hang cleans are outstanding exercises for bodybuilders, athletes, powerlifters and, of course, O-lifters alike. Hang cleans can be used to fill one (or more) of several different purposes

1) They can be "assistance" work for an O-lifter or football player 2) They can be outstanding trap/delt developers for a bodybuilder 3) They can develop excellent explosiveness for powerlifters, especially when done seated

The hanging clean is essentially a clean done from knee level instead of the floor. You stand up with the bar, bend your knees, keep your torso upright. You bend your knees and allow the bar to travel downward just to your knees, then you explosively straighten your legs, perform a power shrug/upright row, and flip your arms underneath the bar, just like in a regular clean. From there, you can use a bit of leg drive and push-press the weight overhead. Then control the weight back down. At the intermediate level, the "HCP" (hanging clean and press) can be used as a double-substitute for the power clean and the standing overhead press. It makes for a serious conditioning workout as well as an incredible developer of the delt and trap areas.

Continental CleanEdit

The SnatchEdit

Here is a very good explanation of the Snatch here

Step by Step instructions on performing The Snatch

Full SnatchEdit

Power SnatchEdit

Power PressesEdit

Push PressEdit

Here is a very good explanation of the Push Jerk here

Split JerkEdit

Push JerkEdit

Here is a very good explanation of the Push Jerk here

Isolation MovementsEdit

Abdominal ExercisesEdit

Abdominal Intensity by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore



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