We had a very enjoyable class reunion dinner about a weeks ago, and when a dear classmate, Tuğrul Bornovalı, told me that he had started doing “Super Slow” training as I had suggested, I was thrilled.
A few days later, my beautiful daughter, Çiğdem, said that she had started “Intermittent fasting”; wow, two good reasons to continue with the blog.
Anyway, I decided to give my readers/friends an alternative to going to a super slow “salon”. Maybe, they don’t have aces to the machines shown in my post “Super Slow” dated February 16, 2015, or they just want to work out with free weights in their gym.
The below picture shows how to do the Leg Press exercise in the normal super slow version. The free weight version, the Squat will be pictured and explained below.
Having said that, I still think going to a super slow facility is optimal. No music, cool temperature, one-on-one with the trainer is ideal. As explained in the above post the weight has to be heavy enough that you cannot do the 6threp. Even though, I consider myself well disciplined, there have been occasions when I’ve quit after 5 reps, even though I should have attempted the 6th.
A Free-Weight Big Five
Here goes the “Big Five” workout performed with free weights.
- Bent Over Barbell Row
Bending over at the waist, take hold of a barbell with a shoulder-width grip. Keep a slight bend in your knees so as not to strain your lower back. Slowly draw your arms upward until the bar touches your upper abdomen. Pause briefly in this fully contracted position, and then lower the barbell slowly back to the starting position.
- Standing Overhead Press
Take hold of a barbell with a shoulder-width grip, and pull it up until you are holding it with your palms facing forward at the front of your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, slowly press the barbell overhead. Unlike with the barbell row, do not pause at the position of full contraction with this exercise, as your arms would be fully locked out, allowing the load to come off the muscles and onto the bone-on-bone tower. Slowly lower the barbell down to your shoulders.
- Dead Lift
Keeping your back straight, bend your legs as if you’re sitting down in a chair. Your arms should be kept perfectly straight throughout the performance of this exercise. Take hold of the barbell with a shoulder-width grip. You can grip the barbell either with both hands facing your shins or with an “over/under” grip in which one hand is facing your shin and the other is facing forward. Now, using the strength of your leg muscles, slowly stand up straight so that you are perfectly vertical. Do not rest in this position, but slowly reverse direction, making sure to keep your back straight and your head up, until the bar returns to the starting position.
I suggest that the squeeze your but cheeks together during this exercise and the squat as this will keep your back straight and prevent hemorrhoids.
- Bench Press
To perform this exercise, you will need a flat bench with supporters – and, ideally, a power rack. The advantage to using a power rack is that you can set the supports so that when you reach muscle failure, you will not be pinned underneath the barbell. Lying on your back, lift the barbell from the supports and press it up above your chest until your arms are locked out. Do not pause in this position; if you do, as would happen with the overhead press, the load will be transferred onto the bone-on-bone tower that results from locking out your arms, rather than being placed on the musculature responsible for moving your arms into this position. Slowly lower the barbell until it reaches the safety bar on the power rack, and then slowly press it back up to the locked-out position once again.
You can also do the bench press with a spotter.
Barbell squats are an excellent lower-body exercise, but the fact that the bar is placed on the nape of one’s neck can lead to compression problems. Moreover, hitting a point of muscular failure can be difficult, owing to the fact that unless you are in a power rack or a Smith machine, you could end up pinned and possibly injured.
To perform this exercise, set the safety pins in the power rack at a point that corresponds to a 90-degree bend to your knees. This will represent the bottom position of the movement. Now step under the barbell so that the bar is resting on your trapezius muscle at the base of the neck but not directly on your neck. Straighten your legs so that the barbell is lifted free of the support pins on the top of the rack, that are holding it, and step back.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your back should be straight. Slowly bend your knees, keeping your back straight, until the bar on your shoulder lightly touches the safety pins you have set for 90 degrees. Descend with control, not rapidly. As soon as you lightly touch the safety pins, slowly reverse direction and straighten your legs until you each the starting position.
Rep Speed and Number of Reps
Given that free weighs don’t provide the convenience of machines, we have to be very careful.
Again, aim for 10 seconds concentric, 10 seconds eccentric and 5 reps. However, you can use less time lifting and lowering to make sure you don’t injure yourself, and make sure you don’t get pinned under the weight when you cannot do another rep.
Give it a try my friends.
That’s it for now; see you all the next time.