In The Investments part I, I talked about the use of Zerchers and Suitcase Pulls to strengthen the back and hips. In part II I touched on the Turkish Get-up and the Halo Drill. I want to continue with my work of bringing back exercises that do not get enough mainstream attention these days. These are drills that will be of value to any athlete, weekend warrior, bodybuilder or strongman.
So I see it every day, in every gym in every country. If you ask the average person if they lift weights, they immediately in their mind jump to the Bench Press and the Curl. Without a doubt the world’s favorite muscle groups to train are the chest and the biceps. And there is nothing wrong with that, no one will ever change it. I am not going ask anyone to abandon the beloved Bench Press or Barbell Curl. I simply want to suggest another exercise to add to your arsenal for the chest and arms. I would like to present a drill I have used for the last few years in my own training.
I do not want to get into the talk about what style of press works best, or best types of resistance for the curl – I will leave that to others. Look around and you see amazing records set in the different press styles – arches, flat, reverse grip, decline, incline – the addition of benching shirts has allowed man to push to the true upper limits of bench press potential. Regardless of someone’s personal opinion of what PL gear does for the lifter – these 750lbs-1,000lbs+ Bench Presses are nothing to sneeze at.
My own training is centered on training movement patterns for increased strength, so I am always looking for ways to make a groove easier or harder to increase performance. I have been limited on my ability to flat press for the last 10 years because of a stupid shoulder injury I incurred when I was 16 years old trying to be the tough guy in a Power House Gym. Looking back it was simply too much teenage posturing and not enough attention to the fine points. I paid my price with interest over the years with that mistake until I discovered the Turkish Get-up and its great rehab potential for the shoulders and upper back – thanks again Steve Maxwell!
In my search to find assistance drills for short steel bending, I have used this chest drill more and more along with heavy torsion spring crush downs and of course bending serious steel.
Enter the Jump Stretch Band Crush Lift
The first version of this drill I ever saw was listed in grip master John Brookfield’s “Grip Master’s Manual“. John presents the drill in a straightforward way; very little equipment is needed to get started. I worked this version for a while, and came up with a new monster through trial and error. I wanted a drill that would work the chest, shoulders, triceps, grip, abdominals and back. I wanted a drill that allowed me generate inside pressure for the chest and arms and worked my core. I also did not want to have to use several drills to accomplish this goal; this Frankenstein’s monster is what answered the question of “how?”
For this particular set up you need two kettlebells, a piece of welded chain 3′-4′ long, and two stretch bands. I recommend using a 24kg bell for the top as it seems to be optimal hand placement for all the people who have tried my rig. I place the bigger bell at the bottom. I loop a Mini Monster or a light band on through the handle on the top bell and a light or medium band through the bottom bell. By moving the feet around you get more or less resistance.
This drill is useful to many people. Grapplers will enjoy the challenge of fighting the resistance of the bands and the instability of the chained bells. They can take it a step further and move around with the setup fully loaded. Arm wrestlers will find this a fine assistance drill for their chest, arms and back. For bodybuilders this drill is a great warm up for a heavy load of chest and shoulders and will help balance out your stabilizers. Overall I believe strongly this is a winner no matter how you look at it. Look for a future piece where I will show several other variations of this total body drill to challenge and strengthen you entire body.
This concludes Part III. You now have several very innovative and challenging drills to add to your arsenal. Don’t just skim through these articles and watch the awesome videos – get out there and try this stuff for a few weeks. I will bet you will impress yourself, team mates, coaches and friends with your new found power, strength, and endurance.