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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Size Increases With The


Rack - Anthony Ditillo

Anthony Ditillo

Size Increases With The Power Rack,


Parts One and Two
by Anthony Ditillo

Part One

When mentioning power rack training and


its relationship to the increasing of
muscular bodyweight and muscular size,
we must mention the discretionary habits
necessary for success in this type of
training venture. Since power rack training
uses the deepest lying fibers in its
functioning training scope, it stands to
reason that it will be very easy to overtrain
while using the rack. To avoid this is not
as easy as at first it may seem. There is
something contagious about power rack
work which invades your soul and you are
apt to go overboard while working on the
rack with the end result being a decrease
of performance potential and a lack of
bodyweight and muscular size increase.
You simply cannot overtrain on the power
rack and expect to continue to make
gains. You will have to learn to meter out
your training enthusiasm when working on
the rack if additional muscle size is what
you are going after. Also, the generally
accepted theory of working the sticking
point, the hardest position of any exercise
you do. does NOT apply in this case,
since we are not particularly interested in
the sole acquisition of power, but more
into gaining than much desired powerful,
bulky physique with body size and
massiveness being paramount in our
considerations.

One method used in the rack for the


acquisition of size and strength is the
Theory of Maximum Fatigue. For lifters, it
aids them quite quickly to increase their
lifting performances. For the bulk fanatic,
such a training method will aid you in
gaining additional size throughout the
entire body. You would have to go a long
way to find a more effective method for
gaining useful muscle size. This Theory of
Maximum Fatigue will enable you to utilize
and develop the size of the deepest set
muscle fibers, which would otherwise lay
dormant with the sole training
methodology used being basically
accepted exercise performances.

Since you will be training to gain in


muscle size, the set and repetition
scheme will have to be updated for the
use of a size seeker, not merely a power
seeker. This means that the repetitions
will be somewhat higher than previously
accepted. Let us use a repetition scheme
of between six and eight repetitions. The
number of sets for each section of each
movement will depend upon many factors.
Take into consideration the total workload
and evaluate the amount of rack training
from that point. Naturally, if you are going
to depend solely on the rack work, then
you will be able to stand more volume of
work done in the rack. If, however, you
wish to combine rack work with regular
movements, then the overall amount of the
rack work will have to be reduced in order
not to overtrain yourself to a point of
nervous exhaustion. This can, and has
happened to many an overenthusiastic
trainee. It is very easy to overdo this kind
of training due to the likeability of the
performance of basic movements with
extremely heavy weights. Finally, we must
take into consideration the previous
experience of the trainee before assuming
this training methodology. Naturally, the
more experienced the trainee, the more
he will be able to handle without
becoming completely exhausted.

What I would advise you to do is surmise


just how much work you will be able to
realistically handle and formulate your
training routine around this fact. As time
goes by, you will be able to add a set here
and a set there, and as long as the gains
are coming your way you will know you
are on the right path. With a little patience
and some thinking on your part you will
find the right amount of work which will
work for you personally. In this and my
next article I will outline for you various
schemes utilizing the power rack for size
increases.

The first rack routine I am going to outline


for you will be a basic, three-day-per-
week training plan with emphasis on the
power rack. This fundamental routine will
allow the majority of you fellows to begin
to get used to rack work and will allow you
to also begin to grow from its application.
Further on down the line, as it becomes
harder and harder for you to continue to
gain in both size and strength, I will
outline more advanced methods of using
the power rack which will require greater
effort and training time, but which will aid
you in continuing your aims and goals of
increasing size and strength.

With this first routine we will have to be


interested in the amount of work as well
and the intensity of this work, since we do
not want the intermediate trainee to
become overtrained for this is a real
consideration in the beginning of any
intense weight training program. Later on,
after the trainee has become used to such
workloads, he will be better able to adjust
his volume suitable to his training energy
and level of recuperative ability, which is
as it should be for continued progress. Up
until this point, however, do not deviate
from the foregoing introductory routine.
Try to be regular in your training habits
and in your living habits, for these play a
major part in achieving your goal of
adding muscular bodyweight. Also, do not
add anything to this routine, save some
calf or abdominal work done for a few sets
at the end of each workout, but not to any
great extent.

Here then is your primary three-day power


rack routine:

Monday
Full Movements –

Bench Press:
One set of ten repetitions for a warmup,
then a set of seven with heavier weights,
then a set of three and finally three to five
single attempts with around 90% of your
one repetition limit. Finish up with four
sets of four to six repetitions using all
weight possible.
Bentover Row:
One set of ten for a warmup, then jump to
five of so sets of four to six repetitions
with a heavy weight.
Parallel Squat:
One set of ten for a warmup, one set of
seven, then work with a weight hard for
five sets of five repetitions.

Wednesday
Power Rack –

Bench Press:
Use three positions. From the chest,
midway, and lockout. Perform three sets
of between six and eight reps for each of
these positions. On the last rep of each
set, old and push against the top pin for
around six seconds. This will activate the
deeper muscle fibers, and the higher rep
scheme will cause greater muscle pump.
Power Squat:
Use three positions. Form the bottom,
midway, and from a quarter squat
position. Perform two sets of between six
and eight reps from each position and be
sure to push against the top pins on the
last reps of each of these sets. Your
parallel squat will surely improve from
going this route!
Deadlift From Below The Knees:
Go for six or seven sets and work up to a
maximum set of three with all the weight
you can properly handle. This movement
will greatly strengthen your lower back as
well as building great deadlifting power
and confidence.

Friday
Power Rack Work Combined With Full
Movements -

Incline Press:
Five sets of between five and seven
repetitions using a fairly heavy weight.
Bench Press:
Press from the sticking point in a power
rack using five sets of threes and working
up to a maximum set of three repetitions.
This movement will immediately increase
your bench pressing ability.
Leg Presses or Front Squats:
Four sets of six to eight repetitions. Use a
heavy weight, one which makes you work,
and work hard!
Power Rack Squat:
Place the bar at your sticking point and
stand up with the weight from a deadstop
for each and every repetition. Go for five
sets of threes, working to a maximum
triple.
Shoulder Shrug:
Five sets of eight to twelve reps, using a
very heavy weight, pulling the bar as high
and as fast as you possibly can. The
weight should be so heavy that you MUST
use straps.

With this first routine we have been


interested in coupling full movements with
partial movements in order to maintain a
necessary maintenance of lifting ability as
well as well-roundedness of muscle
structure and flexibility. While the brunt of
the work will be done in the rack, there
are also corresponding movements used
in which standard barbell exercises have
been utilized to bring about the desired
results. The combination of these two
types of training procedures should
enable you to gain in an all-around way
without losing any basic muscular
qualities which were originally developed
through standard exercise methodology.
As you can see, if you look over this
routine most carefully, it is quite complete
in its training volume and intensity, yet it is
not as severe as some of the other rack
programs which I will be outlining for you
in my next article, which you will be able
to incorporate with time and persistence. I
have coupled the full movements with the
rack work so as to incorporate the good
points of both systems of exercise, and to
utilize the best that both have to offer.
This is a most complete way to fulfill your
aims.

Upon further consideration you will


discover that the smaller muscle groups
have been given adequate work to carry
them through this intensive training
period, yet the brunt of the work has been
placed on the large muscles of the
shoulder girdle, legs and hips. This is so
that the amount of size gained will be put
in the right places with the bodyweight
going all over the entire body, giving it a
well-rounded look with symmetrical
development being the end product. This
workload is also suited for increasing
body power and this is another basic
requirement of any weight gaining routine
– for it makes no sense to gain additional
size if this size is not accompanied by
additional power. By working the major
muscle structures of the body quite hard
you are guaranteed to build usable power
along with your increased physical size.
The arms and calves will grow somewhat,
from the intensity and volume of work
placed on the larger muscle structures.
As long as we work the basic muscle
group exercises the hardest with the most
consideration, the smaller groups will
coast along and go for the ride, so to
speak.

In my next installment I will endeavor to


outline for you a few of these more
complicated, more demanding power rack
routines.

Until then – work, and work hard!

Part Two

Of all the types of training available to the


trainee today, to me, none is more
important and beneficial than work done
in a power rack. If the same trainee is
trying to gain muscular bodyweight while
working in the rack, gains will come to him
all the faster. This is due to a multifaceted
situation which encompasses rack work in
general. First of all, the use of the rack for
heavy partial repetitions is just about the
most severe form of overload possible.
Also, this severe overload training will
force the trainee to gain useful
bodyweight, due to the stimulation of the
deeper muscle fibres and the overall
stimulation to the muscular system and
the metabolic system such heavy
workloads bring with them.

I have never met a man who trained on


the power rack for any length of time who
has not gained greatly in size and
strength and since this article deals with
just this same goal and situation, you can
be sure power rack training will aid you
greatly in your quest for additional size
and strength. This goes along with the
theory that the proper diet will be followed
during this training scheme. Without the
proper diet, size will just not be possible to
develop. You need the proper diet to
maintain a positive nitrogen balance to
stimulate bodyweight gain.

Just as there are a multitude of


movements you can perform on the rack,
so too there are quite a few different
methods of using the rack for best results
in gaining bodyweight. It would seem at
first that the basic training theories which
powermen follow for gaining power would
also help you in gaining size, but this is
not always the case. If it were, we would
have no smaller men in the lighter
classes, since they all would have
outgrown themselves before they were
through competition. Gaining bodyweight
and size with a power rack will require
somewhat of a different repetition and set
scheme than what is customarily used for
gaining power in the body. For one thing,
the set scheme is decreased somewhat
and the repetitions are increased to
stimulate more muscle fibers into growth
contraction.

We should also mention at this time the


ability to couple various movements
together for he pumping effect, and the
growth effect such a coupling will
produce. For regular power rack work, this
would be out of the question, since the
main idea would be to gain in strength,
not bodyweight. However, in this situation,
you will be trying to cause the muscle
groups to respond with additional growth
and so the inclusion of two or more
movements for the same bodypart, both
full and partial, will be of utmost
helpfulness and availability.

It is possible to combine various partial


movements in a rack with full movements
done in the standard way, with the end
result being a thoroughly congested, fully
worked and pumped up muscle. Another
way of combining these two distinct types
of training is to work in the rack once or
twice weekly and for the other workout do
full movements. This way both types of
work will be adequately used with enough
training time and volume of workload to
produce most favorable results, given
enough time and sweat.

The following routine is advanced and will


be performed in four days per week
training. It will require a sound nutritional
basis for complete success. You are going
to be expanding immense amounts of
nervous and physical energy and the end
product is meant to be increased
bodyweight as well as increased power,
so be sure to maintain a sound diet. If at
all possible, try to find the time each day
for a half-hour nap, or a few fifteen minute
breaks throughout the day. Also, try to
maintain a tranquil mind, a positive mental
attitude toward the amount of work you
are going to have to do, because there is
going to be plenty of it to get used to.

We are going to couple the movements so


as to maintain a fine balance between
partial movement proficiency and actual
lifting finesse, but in this routine the rack
work will be of optimum importance. The
free movements will be only for muscle
stimulation and not for the acquisition of
strength. For this, we will depend on the
power rack. I would also advise additional
stomach work on the off days when you
are not training on the rack, so as to
strengthen the abdomen and maintain a
trim waistline while gaining in size and
power. I would not advise any additional
barbell work beyond the amount of work I
advise here in this routine. If given a
chance, it will prove to be most complete
within itself. Here then, is your four day
routine:

Monday and Thursday

Partial Standing Press:


from below the chin to the top of the head.
Perform 8 sets of 5 to 7 repetitions,
working up to a maximum of 5 repetitions.
On the final rep of each set, push against
the top pin for 6 to 8 seconds.
Bench Press Lockouts:
from three-quarters off the chest to
lockout. Perform 6 to 8 sets of 4 to 6
repetitions with the last set being the
heaviest weight you can handle for 6 reps.
On the last repetition of every set push
against the top pin for an additional six to
eight seconds.
Deadlift:
from below the knees. Perform six to eight
sets of three repetitions working up to a
maximum set of three repetitions on the
last set.
Hyperextension:
five to seven sets of eight to twelve
repetitions using bodyweight as
resistance and later adding weight behind
the neck.

As you can see, this first half of our four


day routine is quite complete in the
amount of work performed for the chest
and shoulders with additional work being
included for the lower back region.

Tuesday and Friday

Partial Squat:
position the bar at your sticking point and
work up to eight sets of three to five
repetitions, using all the weight possible
for the final set of five.
Front Squat:
perform between five and seven sets of
three to five repetitions with the final set
being the heaviest weight you can
properly handle in strict Olympic style.
Bentover Row:
perform five to seven sets of six to eight
repetitions using all the weight you can
properly handle.
Cheat Barbell Curl:
five to seven sets of six to eight
repetitions using all the weight possible,
slowly lowering the bar on the lowering
part of each repetition.
Close Grip Bench Press:
perform five to seven sets of five to seven
repetitions using all the weight possible
for each and every set after warming up
for the first set or two with a somewhat
lighter weight.

What we have tried to do within this


routine is to activate the deepest fibers
with an overbalance of rack work, while at
the same time adequate amounts of work
are included for the adjacent muscle
groups so that muscle shape is
maintained. We have made sure that this
power work in the rack would be sure to
carry itself over to the regularly performed
movements, so we have even included
the close-grip bench press to maintain a
certain amount of bench pressing
familiarity. Coupling this with the heavy
partial bench presses in the rack should
cause not only size gains but a carrying
over power effect as well. For the squat,
while we have not included the actual full
squat, we have concentrated on the
sticking point of the movement in the rack,
and it would take a very short time to
acquaint our muscles back to the
competitive manner of squatting with the
back log of work which we have
performed here in this routine. Let us not
forget that the front squat is quite a leg
developer, and I am sure by including this
movement along with the sticking point
squat the effect on the power squat
should more than make itself felt. Since
the sticking point in the deadlift for most
people is just below the knee, we have
concentrated on this position for our rack
work on the deadlift. To be sure, your
deadlift will increase with enough training
time and patience. If you check out the
routine more closely, you will see that the
number of sets have been increased in
comparison to the first routine I listed for
you earlier, and it is just this increase in
workload which will make you more
advanced and better conditioned by the
time you have fully adapted to this routine.

Upon graduation of this routine you will be


ready for an advanced power rack routine.
When this conversion time comes around
I want you to first and foremost get
yourself set for the most demanding and
severe type of work you have ever asked
your body to perform. Be sure that the
dietary end of your lifestyle is most
complete, for you will need all possible
energy at your disposal to enable you to
further yourself along the goals and aims
of this article. The kind of work you will be
doing will be the hardest and most tiring of
all.

This routine will require five training days


per week. Before undertaking this routine,
reread my past articles concerning rack
work and the theory of maximum fatigue.
Most men will shy away from this routine
saying it is too intense and voluminous for
the average man to make gains on. THEY
ARE RIGHT! This routine is not for the
mediocre lifter, but until you allow yourself
an honest attempt at such a routine you
will never know just how far your
particular potential will take you. Besides,
you will be trying to gain weight and
eating in quantity with this routine, so it
will not be as hard as it may seem at first.
Just give it a solid try and see how your
progress comes along after the first six
weeks or so.

Monday

Partial Press in Rack:


press from he clavicle to eye level.
Perform ten sets of three to six
repetitions, using the heaviest weights
possible and pressing against the top pin
for six seconds on the last rep of every
set.
Eye-Level Press in Rack:
press from eye-level to completion. Five
sets of five to seven repetition
Steep Seated Press:
place a deeply inclined bench in the rack
and press from pins set at clavicle height.
Perform five to seven sets of five to seven
repetitions
Seated Press Behind Neck
Perform five to seven sets of between five
and seven reps.

Tuesday
Half Squats in the Rack:
perform eight sets of three to five
repetitions from halfway to completion. Do
each rep from a dead stop off the pins.
Work up to very heavy weight.
Quarter Squats in the Rack
perform five or so sets of three to five
repetitions with extremely heavy weight.
Many years ago I handled over 1.000
pounds in these for a few repetitions while
weighing around 230. No wraps. Place
the bar at the midpoint between parallel
and upright. This is the quarter squat
position
Olympic Back Squat:
perform five to seven sets of five to seven
repetitions working up to a max set of five
each workout. These are done outside the
rack wearing no belt and no knee wraps.
Front Squat:
five to seven sets of five to seven reps
just as in the back squat above.

Wednesday
Upright Row:
five sets of five to eight repetitions done
outside the rack.
Shrug Pulls:
perform these in a rack and place the bar
just above the knees. Use a shoulder
width grip and use lifting straps. Work for
eight to ten sets of six to eight repetitions
using very heavy weights.
Deadlift Below Knee:
once again you are in the rack. Perform
five of so sets of three to five repetitions
working up in weight.
Stiff-Legged Deadlift:
do these outside the rack. Five or so sets
of three to five repetitions working up in
weight.

Thursday

Bench Press:
outside the rack, work up to eight to ten
sets of four to ten reps working to heavy
weight with repetitions done slowly and
strictly.
Close-Grip Benches:
outside the rack, place two fingers inside
the knurling and perform five or so sets of
four to six repetitions.
Dumbell Bench Press:
work for five sets of five to seven reps
with the heaviest weight you can possibly
handle.
Bench Lockouts:
these are done in the rack, using a rep
scheme of three to five and working for
five sets with a heavy weight. The bar is
placed on pins just above the halfway
point and pressed from here to
completion.

Friday
Dips:
eight to ten sets between eight and twelve
repetitions, adding weight whenever
possible.
Chins:
the same as the dips above.
Full Squats:
no wraps and no belt, five sets of eight to
twelve repetitions.
Deadlift:
five sets of three to five reps working up to
a heavy triple.

As I mentioned earlier, this is quite a


routine! Do not be afraid of it, nor become
too complacent in your attitude towards it.
It WILL work if it is coupled with intensive
dietary consideration, rest, proper mental
attitude and TRAINING BELLIGERENCE.
Work your way into it very gradually and
see what you can do with it.

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