Thursday, December 06, 2012


This week I introduced the group to another type of circuit training that uses some traditional power training moves. They used a straight bar which comes in two sizes: 30 lbs for the ladies, and the traditional 45 lb bar for the guys. The ladies started with the bar and 5 lbs on each side (40 lbs total) while the guys started with the bar and 10 lbs on each side (65 lbs total).

They did four basic movements. The first is a Bent Leg Dead-Lift: Bend over, grabbing the bar with both hands in an overhand grip. With knees slightly bent, use your hips and lower back to straighten your body up so you are standing straight, and the bar is hanging down around thigh level. Don’t use your arms at all, except to hold the bar. Once you straighten up, bend back over, lowering the bar to the ground. People lifting heavy weights will often use a reverse grip in one hand, switching hands in each subsequent set. On the last rep, don’t put the bar back down on the floor.

The second movement is the Hanging Clean: This movement starts with you standing up straight, with the bar in both arms hanging down in front of you with an overhand grip (where you ended above). Drop your knees just a little bit, and then accelerate your hips up while pulling up on the bar in a straight line up to eye level. At the top of the movement, drop your arms a little bit so you can get your hands under the bar and let the bar settle in front of your shoulders on your upper chest. Release the bar so it hangs at arm level again and then repeat. On the last rep, leave the bar up on your chest.

The third movement is the Front Squat: With the bar up on your chest, and keeping your body as erect as possible, bend your knees into a squat position. Try to avoid letting your knees move forward, instead pushing your hips back behind you with most of your weight on your heels. Some people find it better to balance with their shoes off, since tennis shoes tend to lift you up and tilt you forward a bit. Again, try to keep your upper body as straight as possible, with a good natural arch in your back. It might also be helpful to tilt your head back, looking upward. You definitely don’t want to bend forward as that puts too much stress on your lower back. Once you’ve reached a 90 degree angle at the knee joint, use your legs and hips to stand back up to the starting position. On the last rep, don’t put the bar down.

The fourth movement is the Push Press: Starting in the last position, slightly bend your knees, and then explode upward using your hips to get the bar moving. Using that momentum, use your arms and shoulders to press the bar up overhead into a locked position. Keep your back straight and try to avoid leaning backward. If it’s too heavy, use a lighter weight. Once the bar is overhead, you should be able to pause there for just a split second before lowering the bar back to your chest and repeating the movement. On the last rep, put the bar back down on the floor by dropping your arms so the bar is hanging down, and then lowering the bar by squatting and bending at the waist. Again, use your legs, and not just your back when lowering the bar.

After completing all four movements (40 reps total), they took “a break” by doing 5 assorted Ab exercises: Toes-2-Bar, Leg Raises, Sit-Ups, Crunches, and Leg Lifts. After doing about a minutes worth of abs, they started another set with the bar, for 5 rounds total!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 3.1% of his body weight and another 6.8 lbs. His ten week total is an amazing 55.2 lbs total. Second place went to Betty Payne, who lost 1.3% and 1.8 lbs. Carla Duke placed third, losing about 1.0% and 1.4 lbs.

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