The COLOSSAL Guide to Strength and Power, Vol. I

Colossus

Master Don Juan
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#1
I noticed H&F has a lot of articles about mass and cutting, but very little on strength and power. I’m going to post these in a series of installments—because there are different considerations for different experience levels and backgrounds, and it’s wayyy too much to put in one post.


A little bit about me: I’ve been lifting for about 7.5 years. When I started lifting I was about 5’11’’ tall, 160 lbs; today I am 6’ and close to 230 lbs---lean. I always had an interest in massive feats of strength and superhero-like power, but like most I got my start in bodybuilding training.
After several years of lifting consistently and learning, I was drawn to powerlifting by a friend at the gym who saw me benching and suggested I try it. My first meet I set a state record, and placed 1st, 2nd, and 1st in my next three meets. Soon I went to college, and while I stopped powerlifting I kept training and more or less maintained my mass.
After college I began to regain my fire for competing, and recently joined a Strength and power gym to prepare for Strongman. I’ve hit a 365 raw bench, a 520 raw dead, a 255 overhead press for 5 reps, and a 445 deep raw squat for a triple. Not world class, but not bad for a former 98 lb weakling.

Now on to the good stuff.

So you want to be strong?? You want to hit that mythical 315 bench, or squat 4 plates for reps?? You want to be able to tear phone books in half and lift 300-lb stones like you own the muthaf*cka?? Well read on.

Believe it or not, most men have far more potential for amazing strength than they would ever guess. They just never see that potential, either because they don’t like hard work, they can’t stay consistent or they are more concerned with rippling sexy beach-abs and biceps that look like apples. Well those things are great, but if you’re more concerned with aesthetics than savage power this might not be for you. We all want to look good, and trust me strength training can give you a look of power that sets you apart from the puffers and pumpers, but no one ever got strong doing endless sets of concentration curls and taking ab classes with all the daisies at the health club.

Strength training is centered on the 5 most basic of exercises: Bench, Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press, and the Clean. I know what you’re thinking: “Great, another meathead telling me I need to bench, squat, and deadlift. Pfffft.” You’re right, Nancy, that’s what I’m telling you. But that’s what I’m telling you FIRST for a reason. Every strong man of modern times had these lifts in his repertoire, in some capacity. These are the foundation of strength and power, and they will continue to pay dividends in your other endeavors if you have the right form and are always progressing. You hear these lifts preached often for a reason.

So, first things first, let’s talk about FORM.

I know, I bet you think you already have perfect form. Got news for you---You probably don’t. I can’t tell you how many new or even seasoned lifters I see who have form discrepancies or outright horrendous form on their big lifts. I even get corrected from time to time on form technicalities from pros, and I’ve been at it for a while!! So, if your form sucks, don’t take it personally. Bad form not only impedes gains, but it also opens you up to serious injury the more weight you use.
Weight is the great equalizer. If you have any form issues at all, they WILL come out with near-maximal weight, which is why it is critical to establish that neuromuscular “groove” with weight you can lift with moderate effort.

So what exactly is proper form? Well, I could fill up 5 pages with stuff about form; but I’m not gonna do that. One, because you wanna read about HOW to get big and strong, and two, form talk is f*cking boring. So I’ll direct you to some videos you can use as a starting point that I would use myself. Keep in mind your form will differ considerably between RAW and equipped lifting, so what I will give is for RAW lifting only.

Bench: Dave Tate tells it like it is---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh3t6T-nqP0

Squat: There are several different ways to squat. There is the Olympic high-bar squat, where your feet are closer together and the knees are over the shins; there is the Power squat, where your feet are wider apart and you ‘sit back’ into it with the bar lower on your traps, knees perpendicular to the floor; and there is the ‘bodybuilding’ style squat, which is similar to an Olympic squat but you don’t go as low, because most bodybuilders are pussies.

For all intents and purposes, this video outlines good squat form for any gym lifter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRnGI3c5Jjs&feature=related

Deadlift: There are two different ways to deadlift: Sumo and Conventional. This will depend on your body proportions and personal preference. I use Conventional form, because it feels much better and biomechanically speaking you have a much stronger power curve, allowing you to pull more effectively throughout the lift. There are some Sumo-style lifters who have great deadlifts, however.
You can grip with an overhand grip, or with the alternate grip, which is more stable and almost always used for max effort lifts. Best to stick with one grip for all your deadlifting.

Conventional:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-O_MT72rck
Good step-by-step breakdown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOkiMNxdirs
(Note: there is a slight bit of rounding to his back, but this is acceptable as long as the form is consistent throughout the lift.)

Sumo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r--etdWUmc0&feature=related

Cleans are tough to learn. I don’t even have perfect clean form, so I’m not going to sit here and write about how to clean. In strongman clean form doesn’t matter; as long as you can hoist that weight up to your chest. There are a number of videos on YouTube that can show you how to clean properly, as in Olympic-style.

Overhead pressing has its variations. I recommend ALWAYS doing the standing OHP for all your heavy training. You can throw in DB presses and other variations after your big lift.

Several ways: You can clean the weight and press it, or you can take the bar from the rack at chest height and press. I do both, but for max effort pressing I take it from the rack so my focus is all on the press.

-You can do a strict OHP, with no ‘push’ from the legs;

-You can do a Push-Press, with a forceful thrust from your legs to “jump start” the weight;

-You can do a Push-Jerk, which is a cross between a Push Press and a Jerk;

-Or you can do an Olympic-style split jerk.

All of these are acceptable, and all can be found on YouTube.


That’s it for this installment. Next, I’ll talk about some actual TRAINING; as in what methods you can use to get that savage power you dream of. I’ll discuss Westside Training, Dinosaur Training, and some Strongman Training methods---with sample templates for the lifter new to strength training.

I’ll also discuss grip training, nutrition, and assistance exercise in the next volumes.

Stay strong, and PM me with any questions.


Colossus
 

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Quagmire911

Master Don Juan
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#2
Damn 255x5 overhead press, I think that's your most impressive lift.

You mention this in regards to conventional/sumo, "biomechanically speaking you have a much stronger power curve". You wouldn't have any more info on that would you?

Great post, look forward to reading the others.
 

Kerpal

Master Don Juan
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#3
Colossus said:
We all want to look good, and trust me strength training can give you a look of power that sets you apart from the puffers and pumpers, but no one ever got strong doing endless sets of concentration curls and taking ab classes with all the daisies at the health club.
+1

I see guys who follow typical bodybuilder routines and while a few of them are large and very symmetrical, I find the physiques of (non heavyweight) powerlifters and weightlifters to be much more impressive (no homo). They just look much more "realistic" and athletic than bodybuilders. Bodybuilders just look bizarre in my opinion.

Examples:

http://www.bustedcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/1410872951_27bc2c3002.jpg
http://www.tmuscle.com/img/photos/2008/08-122-training/image002.jpg

vs:

http://www.bodybuilder-photos.com/g...-grand-prix/images/bodybuilder_b-IMG_0017.jpg
http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/body_builder_21sfw.gif
 

Colossus

Master Don Juan
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#4
Quagmire911 said:
Damn 255x5 overhead press, I think that's your most impressive lift.

You mention this in regards to conventional/sumo, "biomechanically speaking you have a much stronger power curve". You wouldn't have any more info on that would you?

Great post, look forward to reading the others.
Here's a few links that are packed with deadlift info:

http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_...raining_performance_repair/deadlift_diagnosis

http://hubpages.com/hub/Deadlift

I did some searching, and it appears the power curve (or more aptly strength curve) in regards to style depends on the individual lifter's build.

I pull better conventional, because I have longer legs and a shorter torso, but there is a 198 lb lifter at my gym who pulls near 600 sumo, with a suit. He's a shorter guy.

Also, just anecdotally Ive noticed the best pullers in the world pull conventional. Poundstone, Konstantinovs, Kevin Nee---all 900+ deads with conventional form.
 

Colossus

Master Don Juan
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#5
Kerpal said:
+1

I see guys who follow typical bodybuilder routines and while a few of them are large and very symmetrical, I find the physiques of (non heavyweight) powerlifters and weightlifters to be much more impressive (no homo). They just look much more "realistic" and athletic than bodybuilders. Bodybuilders just look bizarre in my opinion.

Examples:

http://www.bustedcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/1410872951_27bc2c3002.jpg
http://www.tmuscle.com/img/photos/2008/08-122-training/image002.jpg

vs:

http://www.bodybuilder-photos.com/g...-grand-prix/images/bodybuilder_b-IMG_0017.jpg
http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/body_builder_21sfw.gif
Great links.

As much as I love the art of bodybuilding, the sport is so f*cking ridiculous. Who finds that look attractive??? Other bodybuilders??

In regards to women, VERY few like that look. They are usually jacked themselves, lol. :eek:
 

EFFORT

Master Don Juan
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#6
Great post, these should go in the vault.
 

EFFORT

Master Don Juan
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#7
Kerpal said:
+1

I see guys who follow typical bodybuilder routines and while a few of them are large and very symmetrical, I find the physiques of (non heavyweight) powerlifters and weightlifters to be much more impressive (no homo). They just look much more "realistic" and athletic than bodybuilders. Bodybuilders just look bizarre in my opinion.

Examples:

http://www.bustedcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/1410872951_27bc2c3002.jpg
http://www.tmuscle.com/img/photos/2008/08-122-training/image002.jpg

vs:

http://www.bodybuilder-photos.com/g...-grand-prix/images/bodybuilder_b-IMG_0017.jpg
http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/body_builder_21sfw.gif

In fairness to BBers you used general standard looking strength/powerlifting bodies vs the most extreme of bodybuilder bodies as if someone choose the bodybuilding route thats the body they would get.
 

Kerpal

Master Don Juan
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#8
EFFORT said:
In fairness to BBers you used general standard looking strength/powerlifting bodies vs the most extreme of bodybuilder bodies as if someone choose the bodybuilding route thats the body they would get.
The first picture is a weightlifter who has competed in the Olympics, I can't remember his name. I don't know who the other guy is, but he's wearing a suit and belt and looks like a pretty serious powerlifter. However, I'm pretty sure all the best bodybuilders used powerlifting principles to build their "base".
 

Drum&Bass

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#9
were you on gear to get your numbers ? or were they legitimately RAW lifts without any type of steroid or hormone ?
 

EFFORT

Master Don Juan
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#10
Kerpal said:
However, I'm pretty sure all the best bodybuilders used powerlifting principles to build their "base".
Yeah I agree with you on all that, all I'm saying is the pic comparisons aren't the best....its like when a BB finds a pic of the fattest powerlifter and shows that as the norm powerlifting body.
 

Colossus

Master Don Juan
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#11
Drum&Bass said:
were you on gear to get your numbers ? or were they legitimately RAW lifts without any type of steroid or hormone ?
Those were all legit RAW lifts, I was taking nothing more than good ol' protein and creatine at the time.

My experience with steroids is limited to a 5 wk cycle of M1T, an oral that was available OTC a few years ago. It's not what you'd call a de facto steroid like Test or Deca, but it did work--I gained sustainable mass and strength. So, I cant really say I'm lifetime 'natural'.

FWIW, my numbers might look great to most lifters, but in the powerlifting world they are nothing special. Strength is relative....which is good because you can think you're the sh!t and then go train with someone SERIOUSLY strong, and get pulled back to earth. :eek:

Kerpal said:
The first picture is a weightlifter who has competed in the Olympics, I can't remember his name. I don't know who the other guy is, but he's wearing a suit and belt and looks like a pretty serious powerlifter. However, I'm pretty sure all the best bodybuilders used powerlifting principles to build their "base".

The second pic is of Matt Kroczaleski, an insanely strong powerlifter.
 

Quagmire911

Master Don Juan
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#12
Ahh, ok Colossus.

Kerpal, the first I can't remember, but the second is Matt Kroczaleski. His log can be found on www.elitefts.com, along with Jim Wendler I might add. Dave Tate founded the company.

As regards to physique, there was a big discussion on ironaddicts about this, and the general consensus was that the bodybuilders of the 70's, 80's, ie Schwarzenegger and Zane had more of a body that people wanted. It talks about how back then it was symmetry etc. Now its just get as big as possible with that weird distended abdomen. There was another thread on IA's about the massive amount of drugs these guys are on, and the huge number of side effects that they get as a result.

Quagmire
 

kickureface

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#14
Kerpal said:
The first picture is a weightlifter who has competed in the Olympics, I can't remember his name. I don't know who the other guy is, but he's wearing a suit and belt and looks like a pretty serious powerlifter. However, I'm pretty sure all the best bodybuilders used powerlifting principles to build their "base".
the oly lifter is ivan stoitsov (sp?)
the powerlifter is the monster matt kroc
 

teagan

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#15
Yeh, the first guy is Ivan Stoitsov. I was reading somewhere that his bodyfat % in the pic was about 10% but his abs are so developed that they appear more than the even the average olympic weightlifter.
 
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