Thursday, December 17, 2020

Power Rack Training Without A Power Rack - By Jim Duggan

      " Nothing will work you as thoroughly as power rack training."  

     "I have never witnessed physical decline or defeat when a trainee incorporates power rack work into his training routine."

     These two quotes are from "The Development of Physical Strength," by Anthony Ditillo, written in 1982.  Power Rack Training has been around for a long time, and has been used by just about every serious lifter at one time or another.  A Power Rack allows for the use of partial movements in complete safety.  The heavy poundages that partials allow you to use will stimulate strength gains not only in the muscles, but also in the ligaments and tendons.  In order to build great strength you must you must use heavy weights, and partial movements are a great way to utilize heavier poundages.  Powerlifters, Olympic Weightlifters, and serious strength athletes from all walks of the Iron Game have benefited from using heavy partials.  

     What if you don't have access to a power rack?  Most serious gyms, while few and far between, usually have at least one heavy-duty power rack.  Even some of the "chain gyms" have a rack, although few of the clientele use it correctly.  But in these challenging times, when many gyms have been forced to close, many lifters no longer have access to a power rack.  Therefore, the use of partial rep training is out of the question, right?

     The answer to the above question is a resounding "No!" There is a solution to every problem. As Clint Eastwood told us in "Heartbreak Ridge" the solution is simple:  Improvise, adapt, and overcome. 

     A while back, while training with my friend, Steve Weiner, we did partial Trap Bar Deadlifts. The interesting part of this was that we didn't use his power rack.  Instead, Steve had two large manhole covers ( over 200 Lbs. each) with 2" holes drilled into the center to fit onto an olympic bar.  This was the first time I had tried partials with a trap bar, but it would not be the last.  Incidentally, it was the first time I had ever used manhole covers as exercise equipment.  I don't suppose that I will ever see them in any other gym.  Mr. Weiner is one of the few for whom manhole covers are considered exercise plates. On an unrelated note, for any persons reading this who were raised in the City, I use the term "manhole covers" advisedly.  "Sewer caps" is the vernacular used by city residents.  My apologies for any confusion!

     Since March of this year, I have done most of my training at home.  Since I have neither a basement, nor a garage, I have had to become "creative" with my workouts.  In a previous article, I wrote about the thick-handled trap bar that I purchased from eliteFTS.  It is one of the best training investments I've made.  It combines two great things:  thick-bar training with a trap bar.  However, lacking a power rack, as well as manhole covers, I couldn't do partials.  But, again thanks to Steve, I found a solution to the problem.  There is a way to do partial reps without a power rack, all in the comfort of my living room:  Wagon Wheel Pulling Blocks.  I recently purchased a pair from Titan Fitness.  These plates weigh 45 Lbs. each, and are 26" in diameter, which means that the bar will be starting from just below the knee.  Because of their height, they allow you to do partial  Deadlifts, and other pulling movements.  Shrugs are also much easier from the increased height.  They can even be used for partial Bench Presses off the floor.  I've only had these plates for a couple months, so I have only just begun to these plates to their fullest potential.  In short, you can do a variety of power rack movements, with the exception of Squats, of course.  

     As for my own personal training, I am currently Deadlifting once every eight days.  Obviously,  this is not engraved in stone, as sometimes the interval between Deadlift workouts can be less, or more, than eight days.  Depending on my work schedule ( which varies every week), or, more importantly, how I feel, being flexible plays a big part in training success.  It is increasingly important to recover sufficiently between workouts as you get older.  Even younger trainees can benefit from listening to their bodies when it comes to trainjjng frequency.  Adequate recuperation is crucial for drug-free lifters.  

     The bane of drug-free trainees is overtraining.  This is why so many people who try to follow the bogus routines of the so-called champions fall flat on their faces.  If they don't overtrain physically, they will surely burn out mentally.  Too much volume, and not enough recuperation between workouts have caused many beginners to lose interest and quit.  Two, or at most three, full-body workouts per week are more than enough to get bigger and stronger.  

     If, for whatever reason, you are unable to get to the gym, there are options available to enable you to train at home.  While there might have been shortages of home exercise equipment at one point, the general public doesn't like to be pointed in the direction of heavy workouts. There is good, heavy-duty equipment available out there.  Combine that with a solid training routine, and a determination to succeed,  and you will be able to get bigger and stronger in the face of adversity. And in the comfort of your home!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

We Lost One Of The Best in Bradley J. Steiner - By Bob Whelan

Way back in my early years of training, I had a framed article written by Bradley J. Steiner on the wall. I bought several of his books and always loved reading anything he wrote. He was one of my earliest inspirations, a role model and a mentor. He always preached truthful, sensible training. No gimmicks. He was strongly against the use of steroids. It was a thrill for me to have one of my earliest inspirations to eventually become my friend. He was a guest on my podcast twice and he contributed a chapter to IRON NATION too. He also contributed several articles to

Brad was a world-renowned expert in two separate fields: strength training and the martial arts. (Especially self-defense and close combat.) He wrote over 30 published books in these areas of study. Brad was a tenth degree black belt and Founder and Grandmaster of American Combato. Professor Steiner was President and CEO of the International Combat Martial Arts Federation, an elite and prestigious organization of internationally recognized close combat, self-defense, and martial arts authorities. He awarded me a Physical Training Instructor (strength & conditioning) Certification from his organization.

He was one of the greatest strength training writers ever and has helped thousands of people with his truthful advice. He was one of the few writers left with the balls to be strongly against the use of PEDs.

I will miss his legendary email rants that he sent to his inner circle of friends. Brad was a truth finder and a truth teller. He was passionate about his beliefs and was an articulate speaker and writer. I'm gonna miss him. This one hit me hard personally, but all of us who knew Brad are better people from knowing him. Thanks for everything Brad and rest in peace.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Remembering Bradley Steiner - By Jim Duggan

      Several days ago, when I learned of the passing of Bradley Steiner, two thoughts came to mind.  First, was that the Iron Game has lost another iconic figure. Second, was the sad fact that the majority of people who lift weights today probably have never heard of Brad Steiner.  What a shame.

     My first introduction to Mr. Steiner was through the pages of Peary Reader's Ironman magazine.  Back "in the day" Ironman was considered to be the least biased of all the muscle magazines.  Peary Rader put out a magazine that covered all facets of the Iron Game. He did it in a straightforward style utilizing the talents of many gifted writers.  Whether you were an experienced lifter, or just starting out, Ironman had something for everyone.

     Brad Steiner was one of the contributors to Ironman.  His column "Answers to your Problems" answered questions from readers.  There was a great deal of valuable  training information disseminated through his column over the years.  There were a few that stand out in my recollection. 

     In the May 1984 edition, Mr. Steiner received a question about how to train.  In addressing the question, Mr. Steiner hit the nail right on the head.  "Training is simple.  Hard work and perseverance" are the keys.  I've often stated that valuable training information is timeless.  Hard work and perseverance have been building stronger bodies long before his article first appeared.  And, decades later, most successful trainees recognize the importance of hard work. 

     In the March 1982 issue, Mr. Steiner addresses the problem of setbacks, slumps, and difficulties.  Any person who has ever hoisted the steel has had to deal with plateaus, injuries, and other obstacles.  We've all had our share of training ruts.  The answer, according to Mr. Steiner, was persistence.  "If you keep trying, keep working, keep thinking about your struggles with whatever problems you experience, you will ultimately win."  This advice goes far beyond lifting weights.  Think about any struggles you may be experiencing in your life, and how to solve them. Then go back to the words of Mr. Steiner.  

     In the May 1982 issue, a reader asked Mr. Steiner about training at home versus working out at a gym.  The answer was short, sweet, and tithe point:  Where you train has little effect. JUST TRAIN."  During the past year, with gym closings, shutdowns and other obstacles, his words are a simple reminder of what really matters.

     Brad Steiner authored two classic books that should be required reading for any person who wants to lift weights. "A Complete Guide to Effective Barbell Training," and "The Hardgainers Bible."  Both books promoted the idea of hard work on the basic movements.  If you can get your hands on these two books, by all means do so.

     Looking back at the works of Brad Steiner, and his contributions to the Iron Game, it occurs to me that there have been a great deal of gifted, talented writers that have contributed to the advancement of Physical Culture. Dr. Ken Leistner, Bob Whelan, Brooks Kubik are but a few.  Bradley Steiner ranks up there with the great Iron Game writers and teachers.  Rest in Peace.

Editor's Note: Great Article Jim. You also belong in that group of writers too. Brad will be missed. There are only a handful of writers left who have the balls to be openly AGAINST steroids. Now we have one less. Brad was one of the best. 

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Monday, December 7, 2020

Tribute to Bradley J Steiner - By David Sedunary

As I sit in my office I look up at Bradley J Steiner’s portrait drawn by his student and great and loyal friend Brian Snoddy.

To me Brad was a strong physical, mental and knowledgeable human being, one that I was privileged to meet and will never forget.

He has been my mentor and idol for 45 years and Iam now 68 .

I was fortunate to have fulfilled my dreams by training under him in Seattle for 2 weeks in 2014, in his self defence system of American Combato, meeting and loving Brad and his wonderful students.

I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honourable, and to be compassionate. It is after all, to matter: to have made some difference that you lived at all.

Brad Steiner has passed with honours in all of the above qualities, I will miss his emails and talks on the phone , as well as reading his magnificent and true to life articles and books which are of many.

Iam sad , but Iam also happy and privileged to have met and trained under a man such as Bradley Steiner, who even after his death he keeps me knowledgeable and self-defence ready.

Brad once said to me “David the only thing you have to worry about is dying ,and when you are dead you don’t worry”

Rest in peace my mentor and friend Bradley J Steiner, I will miss and never forget you.

Yours Sincerely David Sedunary Student and friend Australia
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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Rest In Peace Bradley J. Steiner - Message from David Sedunary

 Hello Bob

I was informed by my good  friend Brian Snoddy ( a student of Brad’s for 17 years ) that  Bradley J Steiner died this morning in Seattle.


It saddened me and I will never forget one of the best if not best men I ever met and trained under.


He will be with me forever in my heart and mind.


Regards David Sedunary

Editor's Note: Thanks for informing me David. I'm shocked and saddened to hear this. Brad was one of the all time best writers and coaches for both weight training and self defense. He was one of my earliest influences when I was just starting out in training. I will have a lot more to say about this soon. Rest in peace Brad my friend and mentor.

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