Written by Team Juggernaut
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Q: How can I build up my back strength for loading heavy atlas stones?
A: Kalle Beck- All types of rows, stiff leg deadlifts are very helpful as well, good mornings, also sets of 3-4 and 8-12 reps with a “stone trainer”.
A: Brandon Lilly- I always enjoyed lighter stones with a larger circumference for time or set reps. And vice versa a smaller circumference heavy stone to accommodate to the weight.
A: Chad Wesley Smith- The most important thing to do is to train stones for sure. Bentover rows (particularly with a log) I think are particularly effective. I do most of my stone training with light stones and just work speed and try to launch the stone over the bar. I trained with mainly a 320 stone before Nationals, besides a few reps with 360, and then did 390×6 at the contest.
Q: I have trouble falling forward in the squat, how can I fix this? Also, how can I strengthen my back so max effort weights don’t feel so heavy?
A: Courtney Gould- Make sure you’re bending the bar over your back (lats and back on tight and hard) Falling forward has been a bit of an issue for me and this has helped.
A: Kalle Beck-Most likely a technique issue, make sure to keep your elbows underneath you and not chicken winging it to keep your chest high. One arm db rows, bb rows, etc are great for building up the upper back as well as some heavy abdominal work would be beneficial for you.
A: Brandon Lilly-Lots of upright rows, and moderate weight moderate rep Goodmornings will help greatly. Arch hard and just before your arch gives way reverse the bar.
A: Chad Wesley Smith-Safety Squat Bar squats will help correct that for sure, if you don’t have that bar, Front Squats will also do a great job. Make sure you are training your upper back hard with all sorts of rowing variations, are try holding the last rep of each set in an isometric contraction for 5-10 seconds. Make sure your setup is TIGHT and you are pushing your head back into the bar as your begin your ascent. Rotate your elbows forward to flex your lats. Try heavy walkouts with 100-110% of your 1rm, just walkout and hold the weight for 10 seconds to accomodate to heavy weight, or do reverse band squats.
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Q: I don’t have a GHR, how can I train my hamstrings hard without taxing my back too much?
A: Matt Vincent-Good mornings have always been a staple for me, just don’t turn them into a bastardized squat. Keep the movement strict and focus on accelerating the bar with your hamstrings, hips and low back.
A: Brandon Lilly-Lunges, stiff leg deads, leg curls for time, and ass to grass squats.
A: Chad Wesley Smith-I don’t do too much direct hamstring work personally, but as far as being easy on the low back and getting good work on the hamstrings, single leg DB RDLs will be good, upright forward sled walks and band hamstring curls are all good options. Glute bridges will be a good option too, especially if you do a glute bridge laying on the ground and then from that bridged position, slowly walk your feet out so you finish laying flat with your legs straight out. You could load this by laying chains across your lap.
Q: How do I build a huge yoke?
A: Kalle Beck- I am not as yoked out as Brandon or Chad but I do have an 18″ neck at 180ish lbs. High rep deadlifts, farmers walks, 1 arm db rows, All sorts of strongman lifts and HAMMERING the rear delts. My favorite rear delt exercise is reverse ring flies.
A: Chad Wesley Smith- 1) My main yoke building tip is to have a giant head from birth. That helped me, I had to adapt or die an elephant man-esque death. If you aren’t fortunate enough for that option, then heavy deads, hang cleans, farmers walks will blow it up.
A: Brandon Lilly- I have a 23″ neck and massive traps I love deads, shrugs, and upright rows.
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Check out this great video from Brandon Lilly on redefining your expectations of strength and what is possible…