Archives For traps

I experimented with power cleaning the bar for over head press and front squats this week.

I felt way more explosive doing the press & front squat AFTER I cleaned the bar as opposed to lifting it off the rack. It actually felt a lot easier. And for a couple of days, my traps were sore as hell.

I got this idea from Zach Even-Esh's blog. He wrote:

I remember when I trained at Diamond Gym & began power cleaning the bar from the ground before every set of military presses and my back, traps, shoulders and arms got seriously THICK in a very short time period.

That sound's like a pretty damn good idea! It also seems like a manlier way to lift weights.

Cleaning the Bar for the Front Squat


front squat

Elbows Pointed Forward

For the front squat, getting the bar in position is the same as a regular power clean. ie. the bar will be racked on your front deltoids with your elbows raised & pointed forward.

Cleaning the Bar for the Over Head Press

Cleaning the bar to press

Elbows Pointed Down

Cleaning the bar for the over head press is different compared to cleaning the bar for the front squat (at least for me). My press my grip is wider than I normally use for power cleans, so I needed to clean the bar with a wider grip.

Also, because I'm pressing it up, I don't rack with my elbows up. I rack it with my elbows down, and I'm in a position where I'm ready to press the bar over my head.

It looks something like this (note this is not me; it's some strong dude from Singapore):

I won't be cleaning the bar for overhead presses during intensity days (where I try to hit a 1,2 or 3 rep max). But for volume (5x5) & recover days (3x5) I will.

Anyways, enough about cleaning and check out these links:

Keep lifting, keep progressing & have a great weekend!



Jet Lag

I'm feeling a lot weaker since coming back to Canada. It's probably a combination of jet lag, eating less (lost about 3lbs already), and inconsistent sleep (sometimes I would sleep for 2 hours in the afternoon, wake up and eat, and then sleep for 3 more hours before I wake up again).

And since it's my first week of training, and I haven't settled down at a gym yet. I tried out Goodlife Fitness with my brother this week. It's alright, however there's only 1 squat rack and 1 power rack, which seems to be in use all the time. The men's washroom is quite tiny as well...there's only 1 sink from what I saw.

Going to try out Columbia Lake Health Club next week. I really hope they have squat racks and power racks that nobody uses!

Anyway, check out these articles worth reading from the strength training blogosphere this week:

  1. Lee Hayward examines high repetitions to build muscle. I've heard good things about the 20 rep squat program (you might even see Jesus)
  2. Charles Poliquin explains how to get bigger traps and prevent neck pain by strengthening the much neglected neck muscles
  3. Poliquin also gives me some good reasons to start adding power snatch & front squats to my workout
  4. An article on Fitjerk's website shows 7 exercises that are a waste of your time (and some good alternatives)
  5. Chad Waterbury explains 3 ways to improve your pull-up performance (IMO pull-ups/chin-ups are a staple upper body exercise that should be in everyone's program)

Keep lifting, keep progressing & have a great weekend!