Pendulum Rack System Loudoun County High School
Gabriel Harrington was the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Colgate University. In his final season as a coach the Raiders became the Patriot League Champions. Gabe retired after the season from Colgate to pursue other endeavors. Gabe shares with us his progression that he used in teaching athletes the barbell squat.
Gabe explains ....The post season is the perfect time to take a couple of weeks to revisit your squat technique. Ironing out bad habits and reinforcing fundamentals will pay back tenfold. This is the teaching progression I used with my players.
PROGRESSION #1: STANCE BASICS
• Begin with feet slightly wider than shoulder width – toes pointed slightly out
• “Spread the Floor” with your feet: if you were on ice, you would do the splits – this helps to keep your knees from buckling in during the movement
• Push through the heels, falling forward can put unnecessary strain on your spine – keeping your weight back keeps your center of gravity from falling forward and helps keep your knees behind your toes (more on this later)… try lifting your big toes slightly just before performing the movement
PROGRESSION #2: BREATHING
• Always breath into your belly, not your chest – this helps promote internal stability around the spine
• Breath in at the top – now hold your breath on the way down and in the bottom position for a split second (unless you have high blood pressure)
• Once upward movement is initiated breath out as you stand up
PROGRESSION #3: WALL SQUAT (BOX)
• This series will help you learn to sit back rather than down when you squat as well as to keep your knees behind your toes
• Begin by setting an adjustable platform or low box near a wall – make sure it is sturdy enough to support your bodyweight!
• Set the platform such that as you sit on it the tops of your thighs are parallel with the floor
• From the seated position place your toes against the wall and assume your squat stance
• Take a breath into the belly, Spread the floor, lift your big toes and stand
• Try to sit back onto the platform without “plopping” down onto it and return to the standing position once again
• Once you can repeat this 2-3 times in a row without “plopping” down you are ready to move onto the next progression
PROGRESSION #4: WALL SQUAT (PARTNER)
• This time begin standing with your toes against the wall in your squat stance
• Breath into the belly, spread the floor, lift the big toes, push your hips back and maintain a good arch in your spine
• You will notice that at ¾ of the way down you will have to use your hip flexor muscles to pull you down
• This is where it gets tough! Your partner will have to spot you from behind and keep you from falling backwards – your partner’s job is to push you forward enough so that you can pull yourself down to parallel… you want to get used to your hip flexors working hard here!
PROGRESSION #5: WALL SQUAT (SOLO)
• Once you feel comfortable enough, try this without your partner
• Note that this is the exact form you will use with the bar on your back – you must master this exercise before moving on!
• You may pick this up right away, or you may have to practice 2 sets of 3 reps on this each day for as long as a couple of weeks to master it – either way, stay with it because it will pay you back down the road!
PROGRESSION #6: MODIFIED FRONT SQUAT
• Once you have mastered the wall squat place an empty barbell across your shoulders and extend your arms out straight with your thumbs up to the ceiling and at eye level
• Now squat like you’ve been practicing against the wall: breath into the belly, spread the floor, lift the toes, push the hips back and maintain a great spinal arch
• The purpose of the bar here is to give you some feedback as to whether you are falling forward or not – if the bar rolls off your shoulders you are falling forward – check your weight distribution and keep working on it!
• Once you can do this for a set of 2-3 reps in a row you are ready to back squat!
PROGRESSION #7: HOLDING THE BAR ON YOUR BACK
• For the back squat, we want a “low bar position”
• To achieve this, squeeze your shoulder blades together hard – this will create a natural “shelf” for the bar to sit on... The “shelf” is your trapezius and rear deltoid muscles contracting – the bar ill sit here comfortably without feeling like you are rubbing your spine with the bar
• Grip the bar firmly – experiment with the width of your hands for comfort – try to turn your wrists in… they won’t move very much, but by contracting your wrist muscles your wrists will hurt less from the awkwardness of the position
• Keep your eyes up and push your head back into the bar (like when you try to make your neck look bigger in your team photo)
• Note that this may feel uncomfortable at first… your wrists and upper back may not be strong enough initially to support much weight in this fashion, but STICK WITH IT, your upper back will grow thick with muscle from supporting weight in this manner – not to mention this is the most advantageous way to hold the bar (in time your spine will thank you)
PROGRESSION #8: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
• At this point, having mastered the previous progressions, the back squat should be a breeze
• Perform your practice sets with no more than 2 reps at a time with light weight until you get the hang of it (have a partner watch you!) and add weight slowly – in time you will have a healthy and impressive physique from all of your hard work!
Breath into the belly
Spread the floor
Lift the toes
Drive through the heels... and.... Get Strong
A Series of Pendulum 5-Way Neck Machines in the Colgate Weight Room
Sunir Jossan has a Masters Degree in Exercise and over 20 years of fitness programming, much of it for the United States Government. He has written numerous fitness articles and is certified as a SWAT Fitness Specialist. He resides in the Washington, DC area.
Pendulum Shoulder Incline
A while back I wrote a little review of the Pendulum Shoulder Incline, after I put it through the paces at the Rogers Plant before attending the annual Michigan State Strength Clinic. I was blown away with the versatility and raved about the unique training tool that it is. I pretty much wanted to purchase it on the spot, but I had no room in my training facility, and had an original Pendulum Shoulder Press. Eventually I settled my enthusiasm, and kept the original, always eyeing the Shoulder Incline at the clinics that I attended. As fate might have it, fast forward to today and the Shoulder Incline has just recently replaced my original Pendulum Shoulder Press.
The original shoulder press was no slouch, a great strength curve, spot on unloading of the shoulder joint, and built like a tank. Now I am sure there are lots of you that will say “how could you get rid of such a great tool ?” Well, I found a better one. In fact, I do not know of any other tool built that even comes close to what you can do with the Pendulum Shoulder Incline.
If you like to overhead press, front delt press, press at a slight incline, incline press, incline with a chest emphasis, use one arm or two, with the click of a seat manipulation, change of a movement arm and off you go. If the exercise does not feel quite right, no problem slide the seat back or a little forward or change the seat angle slightly. It’s endless, I think in time this might go down as one of the best training tools Tyler has ever built, and he has built some great ones, the reason is the versatility.
One-arm or Two-arm Exercise
I have heard the argument that it is s better to have a machine for each bodypart being exercised, hence chest press for chest and shoulder press for shoulder, incline for upper chest and shoulder, but I disagree. Most of the time we fit a client into a machine, and rarely do we get the chance to manipulate the variables to tailor the machine to the individual.
Case in point, one of my clients could not do the upright position in the shoulder press – as he had hurt his shoulder. He had pretty much given up on any shoulder pressing, with any other machine we are done. No shoulder press, go find something else. Not with the Shoulder Incline, with a quick seat change we are back in business. Above the head pressing once again and no pain.
Just like an adjustable dumbbell bench by setting the bench in an upright position –more shoulder, lower it to flat – more chest with the ability to have greater shoulder or greater chest by varying the angle. The shoulder incline is similar with many many more degrees of adjustability including forward and back to fine tune things. Add in a great strength curve built to all of the three major movements: Shoulder, Incline and Chest. It is truly amazing, and truly endless. Every facility should have one of these just for the rehabilitative capabilities and the versatility. Hats off to Tyler and Rogers for building this, and Tyler I think this is your new masterpiece!!
Get Strong With Pendulum Strength Training Equipment
Training with Pendulum Equipment will Get you Strong. Dressing in Pendulum gear helps.
The skeletal muscular system is involved in much more than locomotion; it is also a complex organ system. Skeletal muscles are enmeshed in heat regulation, blood movement, balance, and the health of the entire anatomical system.
An indicator of overall muscle strength and how much muscle mass an individual has acquired historically has been assessed through grip strength. Scientists, physical therapists and physicians have used hand-held dynamometers to measures overall muscle power fairly accurately. Having more muscle in the upper body means there is probably more in your lower body as well. If muscle strength is abnormally low it can be predicted that an individual is further down the road to frailty later in life. The American Medical Association indicates that men with good hand grip strength in "midlife" report much less disability related to muscle strength twenty years later.
Measuring the gripping strength of the hands is also an indicator of nutritional status, bone mineral content, and functional integrity of the upper extremity. Low handgrip strength has been consistently linked to health complications, symptoms of depression, obesity, cervical spinal cord lesions, and even premature mortality. Getting Strong and staying strong throughout life has tremendous benefits.
The Pendulum Gripper
Trying to administer a three day per week percentage based bench press program around a student-athletes schedule is daunting. During the academic year, for a variety of reasons, the school week may only be four days or less. There is Labor Day, teachers workshops, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving vacation, the winter holidays, spring break, in Northern America winter snow days, all of which may disrupt a lifting schedule. Athletes also have competition, midterms, finals, religious concerns, special school events and there is often late travel during the competitive season that causes limited rest for the participant and all alter the best-laid plans.
A Bench Press Program that always works regardless of schedule:
Day #1 - Bench Press - 3 sets of 5 reps
Warm up any way you choose, but once you have selected your warm up method the method should never vary. When you can accomplish 3 sets of 5 repetitions add 10 pounds the next Day #1 workout, also add 10 pounds to your warm up weights.
Every Day #1 you must total 15 repetitions. If you achieve 5, 3, 2 repetitions in your sets this means you are down 6 reps from your 15 rep total of 3 sets of 5 repetitions. Continue performing additional sets making up the 6 missed reps.
Day #2 - Bench Press 4 Sets, your goal is 40 reps in 4 sets
Warm up any way you choose, but once you have selected your warm up method the method should never vary.
When you begin this program start the first workout with a weight you can do 15 reps with the greatest effort. Your goal is ultimately to get a total of 40 reps in 4 sets with the chosen weight. When you accomplish this add 10 pounds the next training session.
Every Day #2 you must total 40 repetitions. If you achieve 15, 8, 6, 5 repetitions in your 4 sets this means you are down 6 reps from your 40 rep goal total. Continue performing additional sets making up the 6 missed reps. When you can accomplish 40 reps in 4 sets add 10 pounds.
Day #3 - Bench Press 4 Sets with the Day #2 weight
Warm up exactly how you did on Day #2. Do 4 sets of maximum repetitions with the Day #2 weight. When the 4th set is finished regardless of the total number of repetitions accomplished the Day #3 bench press is completed.
This same program can be used in-season with this adjustment:
Day # 1 - 3 sets of 6 reps for a total of 18 reps
Day #2 - Bench Press 4 Sets, with the goal of 40 reps in 4 sets, always making up the reps that were not accomplished in 4 tries.
Day # 3 - You will only bench press 2 days per week and resume the three day per week program when the season is over.
If you have a short week out of season and can only fit in two days of training choose Day #1 and Day #2.
If you can only fit in one day of training, in or out of season, choose Day #2.
A simple program that will always Get you Strong. The only catch is that it does require EFFORT!
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