Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This week we introduced some new exercises to the group. Previously, they’d been using dumbbells for their free weight workouts, so I wanted them to have an opportunity to try some new things with the straight bar.

The best known straight bar movements are the bench press, rear squat and dead-lift. The bench press is the best known movement that develops the chest, and also works the shoulders and triceps.

The rear squat is an overall lower body movement that emphasizes the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), gluteals (your bottom), and adductor muscles that run inside the thigh.

The dead-lift primarily works your lower back, gluteals and hamstrings. These three exercises are the most popular free weight movements of all time, and are the basis for any serious strength and conditioning programs.

Because they’re compound movements that require a great deal of stabilizer muscle involvement, they’re also important for anyone wanting to improve their overall functional fitness.

We also introduced several other straight bar movements: Front Squat, Thrusters (Rear Squat with a shoulder press), Cleans, Clean, Jerk & Press, and floor-wipers. When combined with other exercises such as pull-ups, you can create some very challenging workouts like this nationally known CrossFit workout known by the nickname “Fran.”

Do a set of 21 Thrusters followed by 21 Pull-ups, then 15 Thrusters and 15 Pull-ups, and finally 9 Thrusters and 9 Pull-ups, as fast as possible without any breaks. Compare your time to others. The best time I’ve ever had was 4:45. Most people starting out will take a couple more minutes. The record for this nationally is right around 2:00! Amazing.

The standard weights are 95 lbs for men (45 lb bar with two 25 lb plates ), and 65 lbs for women (45 lb bar plus two 10 lb plates). I’d suggest guys start out with 65 lbs, and women try it with 40 lbs (30 lb bar with two 5 lb plates). Most people will also need to use a chair to help cheat out the pull-ups.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Brittany Cline again, who lost 2.6% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs. Second place went to T. J. Johnson, who lost 1.3% and 3.0 lbs.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

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