The Ten Best Exercises for Power Factor Training

This chapter describes ten exercises that are well suited to Power Factor Training. These exercises all involve heavy compound movements that will tax a muscle or muscle group to its maximum ability. In short, these exercises require the highest Power Factor. When you first switch to strongest-range training, you will note that you can lift heavier weight and, because you lift it a shorter distance, more reps per unit of time.

Also, this type of training will require a few workouts in order to establish what you are actually capable of lifting with this new method. So do not be overly impressed with the first big increase in your numbers, as it is more likely due to your improved technique and your selection of more appropriate weights as you adjust.

Important Note: To perform strong-range exercises safely, it is mandatory to use either a Power Rack or a Smith Machine in order to physically limit the range of motion. By def inition, strong-range

To perform strong-range exercises safely, it is mandatory to use either a Power Rack (pictured) or a Smith Mac/line in order to physically limit the range of motion of the weight.

training involves lifting weights that you are incapable of lifting in your weak range. Consequently, if the weight should be permitted to descend into your weak range, you will be powerless to move it and could suffer great injury. Use a Power Rack or Smith Machine, or do not perform these exercises.

THE WORKOUT

Frequency: One of the most important things to remember is that using a fixed training frequency with progressive overload training will lead to eventual stagnation in 100 percent of cases. It's a metabolic law. You can begin this program on a three-day-a-week schedule of, for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but don't expect to keep that schedule for more than three or four weeks. Soon (as dictated by your numbers) you will need to train on, say, Monday and Thursday only. Next you will need to adjust it to Mondays only and finally to workouts that are eight, ten, twelve, or more days apart. This is the only way to ensure consistent progress on a workout-to-workout basis.

Rotation: Perform Workouts A and B on alternate workout days. For example, during Week 1, do A on Monday, B on Wednesday, and A on Friday. During Week 2, do B on Monday, A on Wednesday, and B on Friday. Never perform the same workout twice in a row.

Rest Periods: Ninety percent of trainees require a rest of 15 to 90 seconds between sets of an exercise. However, we do not specify an exact rest time because it is so variable among trainees. Take the time you need to catch your breath and get some of the lactic acid out of your muscles, but don't waste time—the clock is ticking.

Rep Speed: By definition, the speed of reps using par-tials is much quicker than for full-range movements. Your cadence will be comparatively fast. As a result your sets will also contain more reps (20, 30, 40, or possibly more per set).

Reps and Sets: Ik-gin this program by performing 2 sets of 20 reps for each exercise. This will permit you to gauge the correct weights to use and number of reps to perform. However, to ensure increases in overload, you should adjust your sets, reps, and weights as your training progresses.

Beginning Weights: Whether you realize it or not, you are already capable of lifting weights in strongest-range training that are far heavier than you use in conventional training. However, as a starting point you should use 70 to 90 percent of your maximum full-range weight when beginning this program. The fact is, where you begin is really not very important, since you will very soon be engineering workouts that will tax your maximum strength. Look upon the first three or four workouts as a learning process that helps you zero in on your sweet spot and maximum strongest-range output.

Timekeeping: Time your individual exercises with a stopwatch so that you have exact times for each exercise. Time your entire workout with the clock on the wall. During an exercise keep the stopwatch running even when you are getting a drink of water, reading the gym bulletin board, or answering the phone. But in no event should you include the time you spend warming up in your exercise time. Doing so provides an incentive to increase weights for warm-ups and essentially turns your warm-up into part of your workout, so don't do it.

Consistency is the key to having meaningful comparisons. For example, if you always perform two light sets to warm up just before bench presses, then that time will always he included in your overall time (the clock on the wall). But since it's the same amount of time every workout, it just factors our of comparisons. The rule is, Keep time the same way every- workout.

Warm-up: The warm-up you use is up to your judgment. We cannot specify a one-size-fits-all warm-up, as there are so many human variables (age, past injuries, innate flexibility, etc.) and even environmental ones like the gym temperature. You may warm up entirely before a workout or just warm up individual muscles and joints before each exercise. You are the judge of when you have warmed up adequately to begin your workout.

Range of Motion: The more we learn about the role of range of motion in stimulating new muscle growth, the more we realize its lack of importance. As it stands, it is safe to say that the range of motion that you move a weight has an importance somewhere between very little and none. The first edition of Power Factor Training counseled ranges that were about double and in some cases triple what we are now recommending. The actual experience of thousands of trainees has proved that ranges can be greatly reduced with improved, not diminished, results. In fact, the authors recently conducted a study in which subjects used zero range of motion (static holds) and stimulated very substantial new muscle growth. So don't be tempted to increase the ranges of motion because you feel guilty for "cheating." Let the other guys feel guilty for wasting time and motion.

WORKOUT A Standing Barbell Press

The first exercise you'll be performing in Workout A is standing barbell presses performed in either a Power Rack or, preferably, a Smith Machine. The standing barbell press is a movement that will build extremely powerful muscles in your deltoids, traps, and upper back.

The Power Factor Training method of performing this exercise is as follows:

Power Factor Training

Standing barbell press—start position

Standing barbell press—finish position

Standing barbell press—start position

Standing barbell press—finish position

Adjust the height of your support (whether in a Power Rack or on a Smith Machine) so that the bar is about two to four inches below the height of a fully extended rep. As soon as you develop a feel for the movement and are able to hoist some appreciable poundages, shorten up on your range with a two-inch maximum in the distance the bar travels. From a standing position, with your hands approximately three inches wider on each side than your shoulders, press the bar upward until your elbows are locked.

Lower the bar slightly, just enough to break the lock in your elbows, and simultaneously dip your legs in a simulated split position (one knee just slightly forward and unlocked while the back leg remains slightly bent as well).

The standing barbell press is a movement r/uir will build extremely powerful muscles in your deltoids, traps, and upper back.

4. From this lower position, push/press the weight to the fully extended position, using some slight assistance from your calves and quads. This is really just a slight dipping movement, designed to assist you pressing that heavy weight upward.

It is important to get a good, quick cadence going with your reps, in order to increase your work output in a unit of time, so don't be afraid to bang them out fast until you've reached 15 to 20 repetitions. If you still have plenty of gas left in your tank, head for 30 or 40.

Rest as long as you feel you need to. Don't restrict yourself to 60 seconds or, worse still, 30 seconds, just because someone somewhere said that that is the right amount of time between sets. Your individual response to exercise, and the degree of systemic fatigue you experience from it, are highly individualized. Your recovery ability from an all-out set of strongest-range standing presses could well be closer to 3 minutes—or more! So train at your own pace as dictated by your Power Factor and Power Index numbers.

Barbell Shrug

This exercise directly involves the trapezius muscles of your upper back as well as your entire shoulder structure, so the combined muscular effect will enable you to move some tremendous poundages. You will need to perform this movement in a Power Rack for total safety and confidence. It is strongly advisable to get yourself a pair of heavy-duty lifting hooks to be used during the performance of this exercise, as the tonnage you'll be hoisting in this movement will mount up very quickly.

Barbell shrug—.vrart position

Barbell shrug—finish position

Barbell shrug—.vrart position

Barbell shrug—finish position

The barbell shrug directly involves the trapezius muscles of your upper back, as well as jour entire shoulder structure.

1. To begin this movement, place the safety bars of the Power Rack in a position that allows the bar to rest two to four inches below your hands if you arc standing up straight inside the Power Rack. Take an overhand grip on a barbell and, after establishing that your grip and footing is secure, stand erect inside the Power Rack, thereby pulling the weight up off the pins. Your hands should be slightly wider apart than your shoulders.

2. Once you're standing upright, begin to shrug your shoulders upward as quickly as possible with no pause at either the top or the bottom of the move-

ment. Use a range of motion that is one-half, or slightly less, than your full range.

Again, get that nice, quick cadence going. Remember, the more work or reps you perform in a given set, the greater your muscle growth stimulation. Make the movement like a sprint with weights. Keep it going until you cannot draw the weight up even a fraction of an inch. Make sure to keep your arms straight at all times to ensure that your traps alone, not your biceps, are doing the work.

It is strongly advisable to get yourself a pair of heavy-duty lifting hooks to use during the per-formance of this exercise The tonnage you'll be hoisting in this movement will mount up very quickly.

Close-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press imparts tremendous overload on the triceps as well as pectorals and anterior deltoids, thereby stimulating phenomenal upper-body muscle growth.

Close-grip bench press—start position Note how the trainee is positioned on the floor instead of on a bench This technique is useful when the edges of a bench "pinch" your back during the movement. It is done for comfort, not to generate additional overload

Close-grip bench press—finish position

Close-grip bench press—start position Note how the trainee is positioned on the floor instead of on a bench This technique is useful when the edges of a bench "pinch" your back during the movement. It is done for comfort, not to generate additional overload

Close-grip bench press—finish position

1. To start, place the safety bars of the Power Rack in a position that allows the bar to rest two to four inches below- your full reach. When you are a newcomer to strongest-range training, you can place the bar a full six inches under your fully extended reach. Once you're comfortable handling the heavier poundages, decrease the distance of travel to two to rhree inches.

2. Take a narrow overhand grip in the middle of a barbell (with the outside of your palms just touching the inside of the knurling). Lying on your back on a flat bench inside the Power Rack, raise the barbell off the pins and extend your arms upward until they are completely locked out.

The close-grip bench press predominately stimulates the triceps muscles of your upper arm

3. From this fully extended position, bend your elbows slightly, just lowering the barbell an inch or two downward, then push it back up to the starting position.

Again, it's important to get a good cadence going with this exercise until you're at the upper limits your individual Power Factor will allow.

Preacher Curl

Partial-range barbell Preacher curls will provide tremendous overload to the biceps muscles of your upper arms primarily and your brachialis and forearm muscles secondarily.

1. To begin, take a shoulder-width underhanded grip on either a cambered or regular barbell. Anchor your elbows firmly onto the pad on the top of the Preacher bench and keep them there throughout

Preacher curl—start position

Preacher curl—finish position

Preacher curl—start position

Preacher curl—finish position the duration of the exercise. The hench itself should he at a ninety-degree angle to the floor (if possible) in order to ensure maximum resistance in the fully contracted position. Lean back slightly to generate even more power.

2. Either clean the barbell via "cheat curl" to your shoulders or, hetter yet, have a training partner or assistant help you lift the barbell up into the fully contracted position tor you.

3. Lower the barbell slightly, about three inches, then immediately reverse the procedure and, pulling with biceps power alone, bring the barbell back up to the fully contracted position.

As with all these exercises, pyramid your weight for each set until you have performed the last set to failure with the heaviest weight.

Preacher curls will provide tremendous overload to the biceps must le v of your upper arms

Weighted Crunch

Crunches are the best abdominal-specific exercise. Your abs will get considerable use through their supporting role in the other exercises like standing barbell presses, but if you really want to specifically target them, this is the exercise.

1. To begin, lie on your back on the floor, with your hands behind your head and your feet on top of a bench. Take hold of the crunch strap, which should be attached to a low pulley.

2. Trying to keep your chin on your chest, slowly curl your trunk upward toward a sitting position. Make sure you hold onto the strap tightly so that your abdominals are contracting maximally against the resistance. You'll find that you can only curl up a third of the range you would if performing a normal

Weighted crunch—start position

Weighted crunch—finish position Note that the weight stack has moved three to four inches.

Weighted crunch—start position

Weighted crunch—finish position Note that the weight stack has moved three to four inches.

sit-up. This is fine because that is all the range of motion that your abdominals require to be stimulated into maximum growth. 3. Once you have ascended to a fully contracted position, hold the position for a two count and then lower yourself slowly back to the starting position. Repeat for the required number of repetitions.

That's the end of Workout A. You will notice with Power Factor Training a sense of deep tissue fatigue, as opposed to a superficial pump. This fatigue indicates that your muscles and the nervous system that supplies them have been called upon to perform tasks that heretofore have never been attempted. You will also notice an increase in appetite and, when you go to bed, a deep and sound sleep pattern. When it comes time to repeat this

Weighted crunches are the best abdominal-specific exercise that we have measured. They deliver great results.

workout, you will, if you took enough time off between training sessions, be stronger. In fact, your strength—as measured by your Power Factor and Power Index—should be increasing dramatically with every workout.

Spartans Routine

Spartans Routine

Fitness is the biggest issue of todays society because technology has improvised our lives so much that people do not move a lot and this lazy working routine and tiring mind works make people unfit physically.

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Responses

  • Kai
    Does power factor training work?
    7 months ago

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