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Thread: Upper body strength and stability

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    Upper body strength and stability

    Forget the squats, snatch, clean, jerk and deadlifts, back extensions and abs.

    Share some thoughts on upper body strength, minimum amount of training needed, your experiences, what exercises, pro team anecdotal information, what the Chinese and Russians do, and what the Americans do.

    Judas need not apply

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    Personally I prefer light and high rep pressing work for hypertrophying the stabilizing muscles. The longer I lift weights the more I realize it is pretty futile to do strength work for the upper body. The deltoid muscles are often more than 50% slow twitch fibers and the rotator cuff/upper back/serratus are largely postural in life and lifting, therefore they are going to respond best to more time under tension.

    I also like overhead carries, bear crawling, and traversing pull-up or monkey bars as well. Same idea as pressing, I like to try to go for longer durations or distances for these types of movements.

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    I like to do a lot of goofy shit for upper body strength. I've lately been doing some strict gymnastics work like front levers, strict muscle ups, handstand push ups from a deficit, and straddle presses. Also like weighted reverse planks and l-sits for core and upper back work. I'll throw in some plate (pizza) presses and those side raises Lu does with 10kg bumpers. Serves the dual purpose of not being on the barbell and giving me some other skill to work on if my lifts aren't feeling great that day.

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    I did:

    Jerk
    Push Jerk
    Push Press
    Overhead Supports
    Lockouts (press from forehead in power rack)

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    I recently did this myself:

    Week 1:
    M- overhead press x 10 x 3
    W- bench press x 10 x 3
    F- overhead press x 10 x 3
    Week 2: repeat but do 4 sets
    Week 3: repeat but increase to 5 sets
    Week 4: Deload

    Clean and Jerk lockout has never felt stronger or more stable. I think the bench press was the biggest culprit as I haven’t benched for many years prior to this.

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    I do presses twice a week just for fun, presses with a snatch grip, behind the neck, front, and with dumbbells. Do them at the end of training, super setting them with rowing or (my god!!) curls. Intensity varies depending on how I feel at the moment.

    For overhead stability that is most useful for jerking, nothing beats doing split and power jerks. Not a fan of push presses as, for me anyhow, as they tend to reinforce pressing rather than "punching" the weight overhead.

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    I will agree with Gary that PP tend to move just too slow. I think once my next competition comes up, I'll swap them out for PJ instead. OTOH, PP like presses because of their slower speed should be better for hypertrophy.

    I like doing DB MuSn and DB Curl&Press for 10-15 reps. I keep the DB MuSn pretty strict but have worked them from a bit of a hang to get some momentum. Still, I try to keep the DB moving fast enough they aren't a grindfest.

    I like doing dips again on LSUS but sometimes my triceps are just too fried from jerks and pushpresses.

    Muscle Snatches from the hang are another exercise I think are good for the entire shoulder but they had been irritating something in my right shoulder so I had to cut them out. My right shoulder isn't aggravated MuSn anymore so I'm going to try to bring them back.

    While I did try benching a few weeks ago, it irritated my shoulder with #105 using small jumps. Maybe that 105# tore an adhesion but it did not feel good at all and some downsets barely happened. I may just use strict shoulder presses instead because BP with less than PP weights probably will be useless.

    Getting lighter these days, I'll probably be doing some HS work on off days. HSPU rarely happen like dips because I'm just too swamped from Jerks and PP.

    I do like rows a lot and figured awhile back to do pullups instead of pulldowns because pullups should be more load and even when chunky could still do them. I was using the seated unilateral row a lot this year but a buddy mentioned the unilateral nature may not add up even when both arms are used at the same time. I do like those Tian trapi rows but the bar speed with 5-10reps is much slower than pulls so I will see about doing them on a separate day when I don't do pulls. I do enjoy DB rows for 10 where the DB is still moving well. The chinese seem to still prefer the movement moving fast even in their accessory work.

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    If you watch the Russians train, it doesn't seem they do that much non barbell accessories unless one lifter decides to. I'd guess their hypertrophy has more to do with AAS and GH/insulin so it matters less they don't. Or that base is built in their early years or they just don't a give a damn to post about it.

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    Overhead presses from a variety of positions, narrow grip benching and direct tricep work less regularly and only in the general phase.

    I have almost entirely discontinued pull ups from my lifters as the effect on the downward-rotators of the scapular are too great as a cost-benefit.

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    Great replies so far guys, pretty interesting stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinZybach View Post
    I recently did this myself:

    Week 1:
    M- overhead press x 10 x 3
    W- bench press x 10 x 3
    F- overhead press x 10 x 3
    Week 2: repeat but do 4 sets
    Week 3: repeat but increase to 5 sets
    Week 4: Deload

    Clean and Jerk lockout has never felt stronger or more stable. I think the bench press was the biggest culprit as I haven’t benched for many years prior to this.
    I can't remembre where but I have seen this exact type of rep/set/progression somewhere before, possibly Arnold's book. Great!

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