Leverage lifts: A Reverse Engineering Problem Turned to a Breakthrough in Power


DeadliftWebster defines Leverage as :

The mechanical advantage or power gained by using a lever

With these lifts, we will work backwards, and take away the advantage gained by using proper levers with a lift.

Look at this monstrous deadlift : perfect feet-knee-hip-back alignment. This lift is going up. If his hips were farther back, or the bar was off his body during the lift, he would have a significant disadvantage to this pull. He is applying proper leverage.

Most of your training should be done in the maximum advantage position. This is almost always the safest position to move the weight, and safe training equals productive training.

Most maximum strength or strength endurance events will require the athlete to achieve perfect leverage over the implement, or the effort will fail. This is clearly evident when you examine sports such as Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, the Kettlebell biathlon and arm wrestling. The problem is most events in life do not allow you to display maximum leverage because the external resistance is fighting you - football, wrestling, arm wrestling; or the size/shape of the object puts you in an awkward position - Strongman events, strength feats such as very short bends or odd objects such as horseshoes or wrenches.

To build power in these positions, you must learn to work with in them. Isometrics Cables, and odd objects such as kettlebells will fill in some gaps. To get an unusual level of strength, you must cross from the familiar to the strange: you must use unusual drills.

During my personal quest to increase my braced bending abilities I began to examine exactly how to generate the most leverage upon different objects. Learning to bend wrenches, tear cards with my arms over head, or pick up heavy clubs led to this conclusion - You have to train outside the 'Safe zone' or proper leverage and position. You have to make the movements awkward, and as you do you will find additional stability.


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Enter leverage lifting. Its not new at all, but I will bet most of it is new to you. Reverse engineer the best angle to the most inefficient and work from there. The first example we will compare.

The standing one arm press. Easily one of the most productive exercises one can do for their upper body strength. We will look at three levels.

Leverage lifts allow you to lift light weights, but get maximum difficulty. A 20 pound Indian club is very easy to transport, but incredibly effective at working the whole body. Try getting a good work out with a 20lbs dumbbell, good luck at that.

I have filmed several videos of some of my favorite leverage drills. This list is far from complete. There are hundreds of productive exercises you can use to increase your power for your chosen sport.

Here are some drills which have been very beneficial to my work as a strongman. I am working on a project with Top Grip Athlete Jedd Johnson of the Diesel Crew, and we will include many more lifts in that volume.

The Lever Side Bend. I learned this drill from Powerlifter and strength athlete Rick Walker. This is a top movement to build a powerful injury resistant core. You are at a distinct disadvantage, and the disadvantage of the bar will turn your sides in to hydraulic pylons, capable of generating massive force and sustaining that effort.


The Lever Press or Torch Press. Massive wrist and grip commitment, especially if you use a gripper in the bar as I demonstrate. This drill is a typical movement from Scott Sonnon's Circular Strength training.



The Fulcrum barbell press. Extremely deceptive lift. Courtesy of Smitty and Jedds 'The Sh*t You've Never Seen'. You will not be prepared for the difficulty of this extreme barbell lift. Massive work on the sides and triceps. Try it out.


The Flag Press. This is a great drill, a standing horizontal press motion. Very functional.



Crush lift. This is a type of squatting motion, using inside pressure to hold out the weight in front of you. It is an extreme core workout.



Dennis Rogers Wrist Curl. This is one of Dennis's highest recommended arm drills. By off setting the weight on one side, your wrist must fight to keep the bar level as you wrist curl it.


Two Hands plate curls. Great way to work both the arms and wrist at once. It is better to use a longer plate and sandwich smaller plates at your thumb than to use small plates.
So there are seven drills to take your upper body power to new levels. As I said earlier, we have a comprehensive list in the works, so stay tuned.

I will bet you, add these drills and watch your grip, wrist and upper body power explode. Slim the Hammerman made Leverage lifting his #1 objective, and there has been no one who as equaled or bested his amazing feats of power and strength. Use these techniques!


'Unbreakable' Adam Glass

'Unbreakable' Adam Glass is an author for Straight to the Bar, and one of the nicest, most helpful, and freakishly strong guys you'll ever meet.

Find out more about his training through DVDs such as Industrial Strength Grip, and catch him on Twitter & Facebook.



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