Get Strong

Who Is The Strongest Strength Coach In The World?

Vernon Smith is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has had been a part of 28 Championships, which include 2 National Championships in Football and 2 National Championships in Women's Basketball. Vernon has had an amazing career coaching, but there is something more amazing.... and that is his strength. Vernon Smith squats and deadlifts over 900, benches over 600 and can power clean 500 pounds.

These numbers require pause, yet are really only a reflection into Vernon's ability to move weight. Recently he visited the Pendulum factory in Clare, Michigan. Like all who love training he did not want to miss a weight lifting session as well as was motivated to train on the Pendulum equipment.

Understanding Coach Smith was strong, we took photos so others could get an idea how powerful this man really is. Hopefully the images and the following explanation will give you an idea about one of the strongest men on this planet.

Vernon doesn't use a lifting belt, wraps or a suit. He didn't ask for or require a spotter. The whole workout he did at Rogers Athletic was as casual as if you were to go to the gym with some friends and enjoy their company while you trained and socialized. This statement is important as it reflects how easily he lifts enormous weights without giving his best effort.

Vernon started with a warm-up of some rather large weights (around 400 and 500 pounds) then filled the bar with all the plates he could which was a little over 600 pounds. He easily did a set of 5 repetition deep squats pausing the last movement as if the weight was a little light and he needed to get more out of the set.  Vernon did not breath hard or have to sit down he just unloaded the bar and asked to try the Pendulum Seated Squat Pro. The Seated Squat Pro ended up loaded to 720 pounds where he did a couple sets of 10 with two legs and then some work using one leg at a time.

Following this Coach Smith went to the Pendulum Hip Press, which ended up loaded with the same 720 pounds and he performed two sets of two reps each at a pace of out on a 15 count back on a 30 count to get a real feel for the machine and what it offered.

Now as Vernon Smith casually talked he loaded the Pendulum Squat Pro tried it (800, 900,1000) and kept trying and adding plates until it was set at 1,260 pounds in which he did two sets of 3.

Because Vernon worked out with 600 on the Bench Press the previous day he just lightly trained on the Vertical Chest Press and some of the other Pendulum upper torso machines.

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Someone somewhere may be as strong or stronger than Coach Smith - someone somewhere, some place, maybe!

 

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Announcements, Pendulum Rack System, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum Squat Pro, Pendulum Vertical Chest Press, Muscular Strength, World's Strongest Man

The Dumbbell And The Utility Bench

Using the Adjustable Utility Bench

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Dumbbells come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Using heavy dumbbells to Get Strong is not without its issues, whether it be getting the weight into a starting position, safely pressing the weight (especially the last few reps) or lowering heavy dumbbells to the floor upon completion of a movement. Carrying and returning hefty loads to the storage rack and even spotting can become problematic. Grab a pair of 200 pound dumbbells and the above statements will be telling.

The following is a way to lighten the load and get more out of the dumbbell bench press and the adjustable utility bench.

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Start with the dumbbells on the adjustable bench in the flat position. Call this position level one. The goal is to achieve 10 reps. Each rep must be paused at the top of the movement and the weight descended under control.

Upon completion of the 10th repetition the bench should be quickly adjusted to the next setting which is a slight incline.  Get 10 more reps immediately at this new adjustment which is called level two.

The rule is simple, four levels and 40 reps. The object is to achieve 10-10-10-10 continuous repetitions, quickly changing bench press positions and beginning each first rep of the set at a selected 'timed interval'. Example: selected 'timed interval' is 30 seconds...upon completion of the first level the lifter has 30 seconds to set the dumbbells down change the bench height and begin the next set of repetitions.  

Once the 10-10-10-10 rule is matched, raise the weight the following workout. 

It should be obvious that the weight of the dumbbells to be utilized is much lower than one would use if they were doing a dumbbell bench press staying only at the first level.

There are many strategies that can be used after executing a desired 10-10-10-10 sequence. Whether it be starting the sequence in a reverse order first level 4 then 3-2-1 or adding levels (1-2-3-5 skipping level 4).  You may even decide to change level sequences (ie. 4-2-4-1) or start or finish a sequence with a seated dumbbell press (seated press-4-3-1)..... (1-2-3-seated press). You can also adjust the time you are allowed to switch levels and begin the next 10 rep set. Example: Start the 10-10-10-10 routine with 40 seconds rest when the rule is matched change the rest interval to 35 seconds with the same weight.

The definition of utility is "the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial"  Get the most out of your 'utility bench' to Get Strong.

Topics: Muscular Strength, Pendulum Utility Bench

Up-To-Date

The following are a list of references on the importance of training the head, neck and jaw. Great information and great reasons to Get Strong.

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Sports Health. 2017 Mar/Apr;9(2):168-173. Epub 2016 Nov 15. Sex Differences in Anthropometrics and Heading Kinematics Among Division I Soccer Athletes. Bretzin, Mansell, Tierney, McDevitt.

Sports Med. 2016 Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print] Neck Muscular Strength, Training, Performance and Sport Injury Risk: A Review. Hrysomallis.

Am J Sports Med. 2014 Mar;42(3):566-76. Epub 2014 Jan 31. Effect of neck muscle strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation on the kinematic response of the head to impulsive loads. Eckner JT1, Oh YK, Joshi MS, Richardson JK, Ashton-Miller JA.

Sports Med. 2016 May 3. [Epub ahead of print] Minimizing Head Acceleration in Soccer: A Review of the Literature. Caccese, Kaminski.

Am J Sports Med. 1979 Jul-Aug;7(4):231-3.Neck motion in the high school football player. Observations and suggestions for diminishing stresses on the neck. Pearl AJ, Mayer PW.

J Prim Prev. 2014 Neck strength: a protective factor reducing risk for concussion in high school sports. Collins CL, Fletcher EN, Fields SK, Kluchurosky L, Rohrkemper MK, Comstock RD, Cantu RC.

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2014 Feb;26(1):33-40. Epub 2013 Oct 2.The relationship between impact force, neck strength, and neurocognitive performance in soccer heading in adolescent females. Gutierrez GM1, Conte C, Lightbourne K.

Sports Health. 2013 Jul;5(4):320-6. Neck strength imbalance correlates with increased head acceleration in soccer heading

Laryngorhinootologie. 2015 Jul 17. [Epub ahead of print] [Electromyographic Analysis of Neck Muscles at a Simulated Rear-end Impact in Healthy Subjects]. [Article in German] Raven , Volk GF, Stadler J, Graßme, Anders , Guntinas-Lichius.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Jun 8. [Epub ahead of print] Acute Lower Extremity Injury Rates Increase following Concussion in College Athletes. Lynall RC, Mauntel TC, Padua DA, Mihalik JP. 

Cortical hypoexcitability persists beyond the symptomatic phase of a concussion. Powers KC, Cinelli ME, Kalmar JM

Am J Sports Med. 2016 Mar;44(3):742-7.  Epub 2016 Jan 19. Concussion Increases Odds of Sustaining a Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Injury After Return to Play Among Collegiate Athletes.

Sean Gregory, Neck Strength Predicts Concussion Risk, Study Says Time Sports 02.21.2013.

Robert Nash, Angus Barnett, Sally Burrows, Warren Andrews, Brendyn Appleby, Can a specific neck strengthening routine reduce cervical spine injuries in a Men’s Professional Rugby union team? A retrospective analysis Journal of Sports Medicine  2013 12,542-550

Paul Steinbach Sports Injury Expert Dawn Comstock Talks Concussion Prevention Athletic Business; Apr 2013, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p11

Beeman SM, Kemper AR, Madigan ML, Duma SM Effects of bracing on human kinematics in low-speed frontal sled tests. Ann Biomed Eng. 2011 Dec;39(12):2998-3010

Bose D, Crandall JR., Influence of active muscle contribution on the injury response of restrained car occupants. Ann Adv Automot Med. 2008 Oct; 52:61-72.

Vaccaro AR, Klein GR, Ciccoti M, Pfaff WL, Moulton MJ, Hilibrand AJ Watkins Return to play criteria for the athlete with cervical spine injuries resulting in stinger and transient quadriplegia/paresis.Spine J. 2002 Sep-Oct;2(5):351-6.

Anita N. Vasavada, Barry W. Peterson, Scott L. Delp, Three-dimensional spatial tuning of neck muscle activation in humans Exp Brain Res (2002) 147:437–448.

Thomas J. Roberts and Emanuel Azizi The series-elastic shock absorber: tendons attenuate muscle power during eccentric actions, Journal of Applied Physiology August 1, 2010 vol. 109 no. 2 396-404.

Armstrong B, McNair P, Taylor D., Head and neck position sense. Sports Med. 2008; 38(2):101-17. 

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Apr 13. Neck strength and self-reported neck dysfunction: what is the impact of a season of rugby union? Salmon, Sullivan, Handcock, Rehrer, Niven.

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Mar 13. Can Neck Strength be Measured Using a Single Maximal Contraction in a Simulated Contact Position? Salmon, Handcock, John Sullivan, Reherer, Niven.

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Announcements, Muscular Strength

Weight Charts To Get Strong

Weightlifting percentage charts are used by coaches throughout the country.  They provide guidance in selecting loads to place on the bar for training.  Percentage tables can be chosen from multiple authors Stone & Bryant, Epley, Bryzcki, Prilepin, Mann, Westside, NSCA, and direction from Tendo, GymAware, Push, and others.  Based upon your beliefs, training style or who you may deem as the most credible source, the selection is up to each coach or indvidual. You may use 'standard weight lifting percentage charts' or 'velocity based percentage charts for training. 'Velocity charts' are based upon the relationship between the percentage of one's maximum lift (1RM) and the corresponding velocity of the bar or machine's work arm - meaning when the individual was tested for their 1RM, their velocity was tracked, and percentages of this velocity then are used to select training loads and speeds. Velocity based training requires the use of an accelerometer to measure the vector quantity of a bar, dumbbell, or other object of choice. 

Standard weight lifting percentage charts are derived in many ways. The following is an example of derivation of weight lifting percentage chart without a accelerometer:

First a population is tested in a single maximum repetition (1RM) of a given exercise.  Once the values are obtained the group is tested in maximum endurance at a percentage of their obtained 1RM.  A formula is gleaned that assigns a numerical value to each repetition.

Example :

A population of people found to have a max of 300 pounds on the bench press are further tested at 75% (225 Pounds) of their maximum .  The average result is 10 repetitions for the test.  The value of each rep is therefore 0.0333 or 7.5 pounds a rep.

0.0333 x 225 pounds = 7.5 pounds per rep.

7.5 pounds x 10= 75 pounds

225 pounds + 75 pounds = 300 pound max

Once a value is assigned to the repetition based upon the study, in this case 0.0333,  a 'Weight Lifting Percentage Chart' is constructed for the general population.

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To use a chart a weightlifter simply finds his or her maximum along the left side.  The load to workout with is selected based on the percentage and repetitions forthcoming from their workout plan.

Sample of an athletes instructions from a Coach...

Today we are going to use 75% of our maximum for 10 reps, then 85% of our maximum for 6 reps and 90% for 4 on the bench press.  The above chart tells you the weight you should be working out with based on your individual max to Get Strong.

The athlete with a 270 max chooses...

75% - 205 x 10

85% - 230 x 6

90% - 245 x 4

Exactly what these percentages really mean to the muscle tissue is a an ongoing question that has required continual research. 

Try this to explore the percentage chart that you may be using...

Find your one repetition maximum in a multi-joint exercise such as a free weight barbell squat or bench press.  Select a percentage such as 65%, 75% or 85% of that maximum and do as many repetitions as possible with that percentage and record your repetitions.

Now select a 'single-joint' exercise such as barbell curl and repeat the test.  Whether trained or untrained you will find you achieve fewer repetitions at the same percentage of 1RM with a single-joint movement and more repetitions with a multi-joint movement.   In other-words multi -joint and single-joint exercises have different values of a repetition.  The amount of muscle mass involved in a multi-joint exercise and the neural system alter the outcome.

If this same test is done with a large group of athletes, say a team, you will get a similar result.  You will also find a great deal of variability from athlete to athlete in the data. 

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Try this also......

Take all your athletes who's maximum is the same in a particular exercise.  Let's say their maximum is 270 pounds on the bench press.  Using 75% of their max in the above chart (205), test the maximum amount of repetitions they can do.

In general, most may achieve 10 reps as indicated on the chart, but you may find an athlete who can only do 6 reps or another who can do 15.  Very normal stuff, as we all have different neurological efficiencies and muscle-tendon invagination surface areas.

Charts are charts, they set a course.  They give direction. Understand that there are many many variables that affect each athlete each day. Numerically charted recommended weights and repetitions, as well as recommended repetition velocities are only guides.

The best chart to hang in your weight room is the 'Effort Chart'.  When you go to it, it says.... give a 100%  effort to any weight you choose........to Get Strong.

Topics: Pendulum Rack System, Muscular Strength

Food For Thought

The human brain utilizes more energy than any other organ in the body. About 1/3 of its energy is used for maintaining cellular health and 2/3rds to provide energy to fuel neurons so they can communicate with one another. This energy needed represents about 20% of our resting metabolic rate.

Using some of the brains energy to think about gaining and losing weight, it is understood if you eat more calories then you expend you will gain weight. If you create a negative caloric balance or deficit your body will burn it's stored fat for energy and ultimately you will lose the desired poundage that you wish. Counting calories is certainly away to track what is happening when you diet, using dietary software, dietary programs, exercise wrist watches all help. Even with technology and professional dietary programs science says the relationship of counting calories and managing body weight is not as simple as one may think adding to what we already know, that diets, even with the appropriate caloric balance are frustrating.

Let's say, at the time you are 'moderately active' and begin precisely monitoring calories as you up your activity level to 'very active'. The goal is to increase energy expenditure by exercising more while keeping your food intake consistent. This should cause you to lose pounds. Having a new high energy level and watching your diet may initially give you your desired weight reduction, but other things begin to occur. Becoming more fit causes you to relax more completely, you also may nap and sleep through the night soundly. These positive outcomes of becoming in better shape and conserving more energy through rest, can reduce caloric needs. Suddenly the amount of calories from the food that you are taking in is reflective of the caloric needs of being 'moderately active' and the new activity adjustment no longer reduces your weight. The good news is that what is occurring fitness wise is certainly a plus. 

There is another caloric expenditure occurrence that happens as you become more fit that changes energy requirements. Becoming more active leads to becoming stronger and more skilled in movements which gives you what is deemed better economy of motion. This new economy of motion decreases your energy expenditure to perform the athletic skills that you are doing and also decreases the total caloric needs for daily tasks such as stair climbing, walking and a host of other normal activities above your basal metabolism.

Once you begin adding muscle due to your new 'activity level' change - caloric needs once again are modified. Gaining muscle requires additional calories each day to gain and maintain mass. Keeping the number of calories consistent to lose body fat becomes tricky as muscular gains are also an important part of fitness and require a caloric increase that you are trying to avoid.

The bottom line is - all diets have their ups and downs and require adjustments, patience, determination and consistency which are a must if you want to Get Lean and Get Strong.

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Topics: Muscular Growth, Muscular Strength

Hand Grip Strength

A study to improve the reliability and validity of hand strength evaluations and establish clinical norms for adults aged 20 to 75+ years was published in 1985. The normative clinical data for hand grip and pinch strength has continued to be examined and compared, based on these results, since then.  When the data in 1985 was collected one of the concerns for the researchers and a limitation in their study was that stronger volunteers might be more likely to participate than those who thought they may do poorly. "This could cause a biased sample in favor of higher hand strength scores."  What should, in fact, give us all pause is that regardless of gender, power grip and lateral pinch grip strength has declined in millennials (age 20-34 years) since the original findings!

The National Center for Health Statistics just released that there has also been a "drop in overall life expectancy for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65." Are these two statistics related? 

The American Heart Journal published, "The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study: Examining the impact of societal influences on chronic noncommunicable diseases in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Researchers measured the grip strength of 140,000 adults in 17 countries and followed their health for four years, their findings suggested "weaker muscle strength makes it more likely that a person will die sooner if he or she develops a chronic medical problem, compared with those who have more muscle strength."

As we have become more mechanized in agriculture, robotic in our manufacturing and automated in our lives we cannot forget the importance of exercise. Our musculature is the largest organ in our bodies and must remain strong and vibrant throughout one's life. Keeping strong and Getting Strong must always be a priority in healthful living.

 

 

The Pendulum Grip Cart custom designed for all your Gripping Tools

 

 

Topics: Grip Cart, Grip training, Announcements, Muscular Strength, Storage Cart

The Problem Is Not The Problem. It Is The Symptom.

The knee cap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur) form the patellofemoral joint. Seldom do individuals make it through life without experiencing patellofemoral pain making it one of the most common lower extremity issues seen by clinicians. 
 
When there is patellofemoral pain there is usually a loss of muscular strength of the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) a quadricep muscle above the knee on the front of the thigh. If muscle strength is lost exercises like straight-leg raises, quad sets and short-arc leg extensions are often recommended.
 
Current research in the 2016 Manual Therapy Journal, "The outcome of hip exercise in patellofemoral pain: A systematic review." , indicates that the addition of hip strengthening exercises and in some cases hip exercise alone can have a positive effect on reducing knee pain.
 
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The Pendulum Hip Press was designed to specifically target the hip region, as well as, improve flexibility in the low position.
 
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If you top load the Pendulum Squat Pro the athlete strengthens their hips in the low position. If you do this movement with the knees always over the heel, keeping the shin perpendicular to the floor, their is less stress on the patellofemoral joint. 
 
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The Pendulum Reverse Glute/Ham can be used to directly target the hips.
 
Three great machines to Get the hips Strong.
 

Topics: Pendulum Reverse Glute/Ham, Strength Training, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum Squat Pro, Muscular Strength

Increasing Chin-up Repetitions

Kinematic analysis is used to find the range of motion and muscle activity of a given mechanical movement. When comparing a chin-up with a lat-pull down exercise you find there is variability to the response of the latissimus dorsi, bicep brachii, tricep brachii, pectoralis major, rectus abdominus and erector spinae muscles during the concentric and eccentric phases of the action. Because of this variability inclusion of an exercise such as the Pendulum Lat Combo Pull as part of a chin-up program will be complementary and you will quickly find the number of chin-ups that can be done will increase rapidly. A great way to Get Strong.

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Pendulum Lat Combo Pull

Topics: Strength Training, Muscular Strength, Pendulum Combo Lat Pull

Improving Bench Press Testing

Maximum barbell bench press repetition testing is used in sports to look at and compare or predict the strength of athletes. Athletes are commonly tested at particular standard weight such as 95, 115, 135, 185, 225, 275, 315 or a percentage of their body weight such as 1/2 or 1/3. In some procedures once a test is completed the athlete is given a particular rest interval and asked to repeat a test again to solidify results.

Tyler1-web-resized-600.gifIn scientific studies it is unequivocal that task-specific strength training produces the best task-specific results. In other words, if you are testing for maximum repetitions at 225 pounds on a bench press then practicing with the exact poundage will produce the best results.  Tyler Hobson, the inventor of Pendulum knew that by using modern technology he could replicate the strength curve of a barbell bench press and improve upon the movement.

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Tyler built the Pendulum Vertical Chest Press so that if you did the exact bench press routine on the Vertical Chest you would be able to achieve approximately the same number of repetitions when tested with a barbell. Hobson then added S.E.T. 'Set Extension Technology', to be able to do drop sets, effect ranges of motion (ie. accelerating the bar off the chest, locking out) and added independent work arms for strength deficits so neither arm would be favored during training.

Pendulum_Vertical_Chest_Press1.jpgThe Vertical Chest Press has lived up to Tyler's expectations and proved the value of using a high tech training device. If you want to test well on a barbell bench press try using the Pendulum Vertical Chest Press, but do not be surprised when you surpass your expectations to Get Strong.

Topics: Pendulum Vertical Chest Press, Muscular Strength

Concussions And The Lower Body

The  American Journal of Sports Medicine recently published, "Concussion Increases Odds of Sustaining a Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Injury After Return to Play Among Collegiate Athletes."  Approximately one year prior to this article Medicine Science and Sports published, "Acute Lower Extremity Injury Rates Increase after Concussion in College Athletes."  Both of the above studies found that their is an increased risk of a lower extremity musculoskeletal injury after a concussion.  A lower extremity injury can be considered anything from an ankle sprain, muscle pull, meniscus or knee. The risk is approximately 2 - 2 1/2 times greater than the controls in the studies who were without a history of being concussed.  This rise in incidence of injury was indicated to extend months post concussion regardless of whether playing football, soccer, hockey, softball, basketball, wrestling, or volleyball.

It is apparent that abnormalities in motor functioning after head trauma persist. These abnormalities are twice the norm.  In other words, it could be said that an athlete that has been concussed has a 100% greater chance of a lower extremity musculoskeletal injury after a concussion. Having a higher possibility is a signal to the coach that a particular athlete's injury may not be attributed to atypical outcome of cause and effect and this significantly affects program design.  

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In a recent paper featured in the 2016 edition of Sports Health "Full-Contact Practice and Injuries in College Football," researchers looked at athletic injuries, and correlated them with the weekly exposures to full-contact practices, total practices, formal scrimmages, and games. The pre-season injury rate was much higher than in-season, and the game injury rate was over six times greater than the practice rate; which for most coaches is understood without substantiation from the literature. What is of concern, and backs up the aforementioned studies is --"Concussions constituted 14.5% of all injuries, and the incidence of concussions correlated with the incidence of all injuries."

Strength training the head, neck and jaw is an important addition in every sport. Concussive forces must be lowered to protect each athlete. Having a strength component as an integral part of the athletic trainers and physicians return-to-play protocol is not just to protect the concussed individual against further head trauma, but to guard against all types of athletic injuries.

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 Train the neck.....Get Strong.

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training, Muscular Strength