Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What 4 weeks of being coached by Bob Whelan on Web Strength Coach.com did for me

After 4 weeks with Coach Whelan's training routine and nutritional guidance, I was able to pack on 11 pounds and progress 10-20 pounds in most of my work sets. After our first talk, Coach Whelan laid out a specific training routine and nutrition plan to reach my goals. Coach Whelan was there every step of the way to give me encouragement, as well as to critique and make the right adjustments for me to move forward. The mentoring I received, between the phone consultations and suggested reading lists, have given me the confidence that I now have the tools to continue to move forward in my training. Thank you coach for making my goals your goal and staying on top of me to see them through. I highly recommend coach Whelan, (WebStrengthCoach.com), to anyone who is serious about strength training without the excuses.
Very Respectfully,
R.J. Hicks

Editors note: Thanks you RJ, it was a pleasure. You worked hard and deserve the results.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

OLD BUT STRONG - By Ian Duckett ... A great book!

Thanks again Ian for sending me a copy of your great book OLD BUT STRONG. I just finished reading it and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. I love your approach to training and life. My favorite parts were the image of you running ten miles on the beach before school ... and your quote: "If you eat clean and train hard - that is what you will look like you do!" ... true dedication and very motivating! This is an awesome book... a truthful top quality guide book to successful bodybuilding, (and living), for all ages! I highly recommend this great book. - Bob Whelan

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Training To Improve Your Bench Press - By Jim Duggan

The Bench Press is probably the most popular exercise among people who train with weights. Just about everybody who trains has been asked the inevitable question: "How much do you Bench?" You can possess a world-class Squat or Deadlift, but most people who train in commercial gyms only want to know about your Bench Press. Which is a shame because directing all your energies to only one competitive lift will make you an incomplete lifter. Imagine a tennis player only focusing on his/her backhand. Or a boxer only learning to throw a left hook. The goal of any trainee is to develop all-around body strength. Any powerlifter reading this should strive for balanced strength in all three competitive lifts. And while it's not possible to be equally good in each lift, you should try as hard as possible to not have any weaknesses.

If you are a competitive powerlifter, and are interested in improving your Bench Press, you should develop a systematic plan for increasing your maximum lift. Even if you do not compete, but would simply like to get stronger, you must still develop a program that will lead to an increase in your poundages. And most people will not need a pep talk to get into a program of heavy Bench Pressing. The Bench Press is an excellent test of upper-body strength. I have heard it described as "pure, unadulterated power," from the motionless beginning on the chest, to the completion of the lift. Of course, if you are going to perform the lift, it should be done correctly. When I talk about a Bench Press, I do NOT mean taking a weight, letting bouce off your chest and allowing your spotter(s) to help you complete the movement. A true Bench Press should be done as close as possible to contest rules. Feet flat on the floor, lowering the bar under control, pause at the chest, drive up the bar and lock out both arms evenly. During the performance of the lift, the butt should not come off the bench. The feet should remain motionless (no kicking),and, of course, your spotter should not touch the bar at all. This is how we trained at Bruno's Health Club. And, like most gyms of that time, Larry Licandro, the owner, had a "300 Lb. Bench Press" Club. To get your name on the plaque, you had to perform a perfect Bench Press, in strict form and witnessed by Larry. We used to wonder about how many so-called 300 Lb. benchers from other gyms would be able to get their names on Larry's plaque.The point of all this is to emphasize that there is no sense in performing any lift in sloppy form. 

The first, and most important consideration, when designing a program is to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest. You want to devise a plan for turning your weaknesses into strengths, which will ultimately improve your lift. The Bench Press consists of three parts:

1) Lowering the bar.
2) The initial push off the chest.
3) The lock-out.

Lowering the bar may sound simple, but it is important to control the bar, and not have it control you. Lowering the bar will affect the initial push off the chest. If the bar is lowered too high, or too low on the chest, it can the difference between success and failure. Inhale as the bar is being lowered, and try to lower it slowly- under control. If you are a competitive lifter, remember, you will receive the referee's signal until the bar is motionless. A slow descent will bring the signal more quickly. ( I will refrain from making any comments about some federations and their, shall we say, lack of strict judging.)

The initial push off the chest involves the pectorals, and, to a lesser extent, the lats. One of the best ways to improve your initial push- or "blast-off"- is to always train with a pause. Do NOT bounce the bar off your chest. You will develop good habits which will only help you at a contest. Plus, your shoulders will thank you years from now. If you want to take your pauses to another level, you can train with a three to five second pause with each rep. Of course, as is the case whenever you're bench pressing, you should always train with a spotter. 

Completing the lift from the mid-point to lockout involves a great deal of triceps and shoulder strength. This is an example of determining your strengths and weaknesses. If you are strong off the chest, but you can't quite lock out the weight, then that is a sign that you should strengthen your triceps, and perform assistance exercises to improve your lockout. There are several exercises that you can do, and I will detail them in a future article. As for your shoulders, it is important to strengthen this important area of your body. Not only to improve your Bench Press, but to also prevent injury. 

When it comes to training the Bench Press, you must also determine the optimum number of days to perform the movement. Many lifters will find two days per week sufficient to develop strength. However, there will be some people who might find this too much. Again, be honest. If you find that you are not recovering sufficiently between workouts, or if you are perpetually sore, then you might benefit from less work. If you are training twice per week, you might find that your body responds best by incorporating higher reps in one of your workouts. High reps will provide for a nice change of pace, especially during the "off season." However, you must remember to train with low reps and heavier weights if you are actively preparing for a contest. It would be foolish to train with lighter weights and high reps when you are preparing for a contest. On the other hand, do not become a slave to heavy, near-limit poundages. This is a sure way to become over-trained and/or injured. While heavy, low-rep sets are crucial in preparing for a contest, you can build a lot of strength by utilizing moderate weights and training to a point of momentary fatigue/failure. 

As drug-free athletes, we have to be especially careful not to overtrain, while still trying to make progress. This extends to all facets of training: Diet, sufficient sleep/rest, and the actual training. By training smarter, you will make steady progress. In a future article, I will discuss assistance exercises for the Bench Press, and the best way to utilize them.
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Nice Message From Jeff "T-Rex" Bankens

As a professional performing strongman and World Record Holder, I rely heavily on my training to keep me in top physical shape. What I learned, however was that as I approached 38 years old, I began to feel as though I was falling apart. To be more specific, I have tendinitis in my right wrist and pectoral muscle, a "funny click" in my right knee, and a sore area deep under one of my traps. I began to feel as though my training AND performances were working against me. To still be so far from my "golden years", I wondered how my body would survive the trek. After all, I plan to train and perform for many decades to come. I was at my wits' end and had begun to contemplate quitting or drastically changing programs as a last resort. That is, until I was put it contact with "Maximum" Bob Whelan, THE Web Strength Coach. Bob, at: WebStrengthCoach.com ... got my compass heading North again! Not only am I nearly in the best shape of my life in only 5 months, I am making tremendous drug-free gains in strength and conditioning. This is all happening at 38 years old to a guy who's trained since he was 14 years old! Besides all of the gains, my dings and dents are much less significant than before. On top of all of this, I have more family time than before, which is a big plus when you have a wife and kids.

Bob is the real deal, and he is 4 Star TRex approved!

Editors Note: Jeff, thanks so much! I appreciate this but YOU did the work. Thanks again! -Bob

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Brotherhood of Iron - Bio- RJ Hicks

RJ Hicks has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from Liberty University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from The Citadel. He is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. RJ has coaching experience both at the high school and college level, coaching a myriad of different athletes. He was formerly an intern strength coach with The Citadel basketball and Football team. He has trained clients of all age groups and backgrounds at Excellence in Fitness, a 1 on 1 strength training studio. An avid competitor himself, RJ has competed in wrestling at the Division 1 level and for the U.S. Air Force, where he is currently an officer in the United States Air Force. Read some of his hard hitting articles on NaturalStrength.com (Contact:richardjhicks1@gmail.com)

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Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me: bobwhelan@naturalstrength.com

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