Tuesday, April 22, 2014

STRONG IN THE MIDDLE - By Howard Liviskie

The middle of your body is the most important part of you body to train. It must be strong because without the middle it will crumble. I have seen many guys whose mid-section is lacking and they either take a beating on the field or they are always getting hurt. I am not just talking abs alone. I am talking bacj, neck, traps, and butt. These are the areas most people seem to forget because they are not glamour muscles like the chest, arms, and shoulders. I have never heard anyone say "Hey, I want a strong butt." or "Hey, I want to do some extra lower back work." It just does not happen, but these middle muscle groups are where all the strength and power start and they need to be developed to be a good athlete. Here are a few exercises I feel are great to build the middle.

First, lets start with the neck. I love to train my neck and have tried a great number of exercises. I found that a neck strap and heavy weight is great. I do this twice a week, only 3 sets, 10 reps, always adding weight with each set. Neck crunches are also good. These are done by hanging your head over the edge of the bench and taking a towel across your forehead. Place the plate on the towel and raise your head.

Traps are next. And I love traps because there are so many exercises to do. Cleans, power pulls, snatch pulls, rack dead lifts, dumbbell swings, or any variation of these lifts. Then there is my favorite and the one I feel packs the most punch, shrugs! I love good old barbell squeeze your shoulder to your ears shrugs. I also believe in heavy, heavy, heavy trap work.

Hips and butt are the areas that mosy shy away from. I say No Way!! This is the power center, the area everything starts at. Squats are the number one exercise for these areas. Heck, everyone knows this and that's why some sissies who say "I don't want a big butt so I leg press and do extensions." Well, tough, to be strong you must work the hips and butt.

Last but not least, are the lower back and abs. These are the most neglected parts by trainees. I have, after 14 years of training, learned the hard way that you must train these areas hard and often, at least twice a week. I don't mean kill yourself every workout, but you must train to build strength and these two areas need to be strong. Great exercises for your lower back are good mornings, stiff-legged dead lifts, and reverse hyperextension. These three are great and I have employed all three at one time or another. Abs are next and last because I feel that most athletes train them wronge. You see, abs are muscle just like bi, tri, and quads, so you have to train them jusy like any other muscle group. if you want them to be strong, you have to train them for strength. So thousands of reps will not feed the bulldog. You must do weighted exercises and do them heavy. Weighted sit-ups, leg raises with weight attached, and crunches with weight are all good for the abs. I also think medicine ball abs work is great.

Please remember, the middle is the power center, the place where it all starts. To reach your full potential, you must start in the middle. Good Luck!

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on August 2, 2000
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SHORT BUT SWEET - By Howard Liviskie

This workout is short, but brought me great gains in size and strength. It is heavy and does not take but 45 min each time. Using this workout I put 50 pounds on my squatted 35 on my deadlift 2 months of following this program. My family grew by one so time became precious, so I just focused on the basics.

First I bottom squatted 10 singles, first 3 warm up sets, last seven work sets with one min rest between sets. I moved up ten pounds on each set making sure I was 5 pounds heavier then the week before. next was power pulls from the floor, 5 sets 5 singles, start with about half of your best clean and work up from there, I like to add 5 to 10 pound jumps because I like to increase ever work out. Next came press any kind of presses. SometimesI did military, next time I did push jerk, what ever I felt like. Some times I would start with one and with another (normally did this when I went really heavy).these again were singles done with just enough tine to catch a short breathe and load plates. The final thing was weighted sit-ups 2 sets, then done for day.
Second workout of week started with dead lifts done same manner as the squat work out on first day. Then incline bench press 3 singles after 2 warm up sets of 5 again 5 pound increases every week. Shrugs 5 sets 5 reps is next; I love doing these so I spent a little more time on these. Neck strap followed, I did one set 20 reps, and then finished off with 2 sets bent knee sit-ups for 40 reps.

I feel this program is great if you are pressed for time and have a lot of other responsibilities. I was working 60 hours and training my high school kids who lift in my club. My time with my family is very important also; so with a new baby, short and sweet was the way to go. This workout kept me training for those 2 months, but as I said my squat went from 510 to 560 , and my deadlift went up to 525, so it also made me stronger. It is tough because of the workload in the small amount of time. But it will raise you strength and endurance. good luck.        

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on July 24, 2000

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