Just the other day I wrote about how you could improve your bench press by doing overhead work whilst you may not have access to your full gym. If you have a barbell, chin up bar, and some dumbbells then there is no reason why you can’t continue to make progress.
When you look at old time lifters and body builders, there programs were very basic but the still had great results. Most of us would love to be able to lift some of their numbers and physique wise they looked rock hard. The best part is, most were as strong as they looked and were still very athletic.
I am biased, as that is how I like to train but I think even if you have different goals, doing a couple of months’ worth of work like the old timers will serve you well.
Reg Park, Arnold's idol, Mr. Universe 1951, 1958, 1965, and the man who popularised the 5 x 5 method would do a lot of barbell work such as prone hyperextensions, squats, deadlifts, clean pulls, power cleans, lunges, calf raises, bench press, shoulder press, behind the neck press, bent over rows, lying triceps extensions, and barbell curls for example. So, as you can see you can do a lot of lifts with just a barbell and some plates.
He would suggest people start with a simple program as follows:
Prone hyperextension 3 set of 10 reps
Full squat 5 x 5
Bench press 5 x 5
Deadlift 5 x 5
The first two sets were considered warm up sets of each exercise and then the last 3 sets were your 5RM for that day. So, it worked out to be roughly 80%, 90%, 100%. Once you could complete all 5 reps for those last 3 sets you would increase the weight by about 2.5kg.
This would depend on your strength levels but that would be a decent guide. You then repeat the process before increasing the weight again.
The rest period was 3-5 minutes between the working sets (last 3 of each exercise).
Reg recommended you do this program 3 days per week for 3 months before moving on to a more advanced program.
That is when the volume really increased. For body builders he would do prone hyperextensions, front squat, regular squat, bench press, press off stands, high pull ups, deadlift, and heel raises with 2 mins rest between sets. Again this was done 3 times per week.
The point is, you don’t need a lot of equipment. Hard work is the most important thing.
There has been mass panic about training at the moment due to coronavirus. One of the concerns I am hearing most about is losing strength on the bench press. "I have a bar, some plates, and some dumbbells, so I can't bench, it's gonna go down massively".
You can use this time to work on your overhead strength. This will more than likely help you come back with a better bench then if you just kept hammering away on it at the gym as you normally do.
This is something that Ed Coan has spoken about for a long time. When his bench stalled, he said he would work on behind the neck presses as he felt the weakness in his shoulders were limiting his bench press.
Charles Poliquin said that based on the normative data he collected over the years there was a strong correlation between shoulder pain and a lack of overhead strength. He also explained that training only the bench press pathway often causes the subscapularis muscle to shorten and unbalance the shoulder joint.
Charles would often say that the ability to be able to behind the neck press was a sign of a healthy shoulder. To perform the behind the neck press we start the weight from a deadstop on the traps, using a full range of motion. This is how you would assess your shoulder integrity using that lift, not a little half rep lockout type thing barely reaching the top of your head, that I see in most commercial gyms.
So, spending some time focusing on your overhead strength may also help reduce your risk of injury as you may correct some imbalances that you would not have otherwise addressed.
Overhead presses will also increase the strength of the long head of your triceps which will also help carry over to a stronger bench when you get back to it.
Pair your pressing work with a chin up variation, then move on to some form of row, and external rotator work and you will keep, if not increase, the strength on the bench press. Remember to vary the type of press and chin up every 4 -6 workouts and do the same for your assistance work.
The change will more than likely help you break a few plateaus.
Has everything from daily reports, fact checkers, to why soap helps kill the corona virus.
I also received this email from Jay Campbell which I think people could benefit from:
As a man of service and action, I'm going to honor my commitment to inform you when necessary.
This message comes from a Doctor on the frontlines in Italy battling Covid-19.
I just wanted to pass on this information.
It was sent to me by a colleague who has a friend that works at Dr. Negreen(?), which is the main hospital on our island.
It’s obviously in Spanish, so I’m just going to read it and translate it for you. This is what it says.
The Chinese now understand the behavior of the COVID-19 virus, thanks to autopsies they have carried out.
This virus is characterized by obstructing the respiratory pathways with thick mucus that solidifies and blocks the airways and lungs.
They have discovered that in order to be able to apply a medicine, you have to open and unblock these airways so the treatment can be used to take effect.
However, all of this takes a number of days.
Their recommendations for what you can do to safeguard yourself are:
Number 1: Drink lots of hot liquids. Coffee, soups, teas, warm water. In addition, take a sip of warm water every 20 minutes because this keeps your mouth moist and washes any of the virus that’s entered your mouth into your stomach, where the gastric juices will neutralize it before it can get to the lungs.
Number 2: Gargle with an antiseptic in warm water, like vinegar or salt or lemon, every day if possible.
Number 3: The virus attaches itself to hair and clothes. Any detergent or soap kills it, but you must take a bath or shower when you get in from the street. Avoid sitting down anywhere and go straight to the bathroom or shower. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in direct sunlight, which also neutralizes the virus.
Number 4: Wash metallic surfaces very carefully because the virus can remain viral on these for up to 9 days. Take note and be vigilant about touching handrails and door handles, etc. I guess within your own house as well, you can make sure that you are keeping those clean and wiping them down regularly.
Number 5: Don’t smoke.
Number 6: Wash your hands every 20 minutes using any soap that foams. Do this for 20 seconds and wash your hands thoroughly.
Number 7: Eat fruits and vegetables. Try to elevate your zinc levels, not just your vitamin C levels.
Number 8: Animals do not spread the virus to people. This is person-to-person transmission.
Number 9: Try to avoid getting the common flu. I guess because this just already weakens your system. And try to avoid eating and drinking cold things.
Number 10: If you feel any discomfort in your throat or a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the immune system this way and remains for 3 or 4 days within the throat before it passes into the lungs.