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Weight Training and Powerlifting Questions

2005 - 2006

Since I started this Fitness for One and All Web site, I have received many emails from people on a variety of subjects. On this page I will present some of these dealing with lifting weights. The emailers' comments are printed in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

>Subject: Explosive weight training


I would like to know what the best lifting exercises are for explosive athletic training? For example, best for offensive and defensive lineman, track athletes, basketball players and baseball as well.

Also, will these exercises transcend gender - are exercises that are good for the men good for the women as well?


The classic exercise for developing explosiveness is the power clean. The reason it is considered ideal is because by its nature it is a very quick movement. However, if not done correctly, it can be a dangerous exercise. So power cleans should only be done if proper coaching is available. However, any weightlifting move will help to develop explosiveness by strengthening the involved muscles.

Particularly, helpful are the powerlifts (squats, bench presses, and deadlifts). These can be done in an explosive fashion. For instance, pause on the chest on benches, then press the weight as quickly as possible. Adding bands will prevent the bar from "getting away from you." Bands for such a use are available from APT 800-272-0051.

Note also, that exercises like wind sprints, jump squats, and the like are also invaluable for developing explosiveness. See my article on Speed Work for further details.

As for your other question, there is really no difference in how men and women should weight train. The same principles apply to both.

>Subject: Re: Explosive weight training


Thanks for your input. I appreciate the time!

Is there a good book(s) to get and read regarding technique on all the big power lifts (squat, dead, bench, clean & jerk and snatch)?


I don't know of any one book that covers all five lifts. You'd probably have to get separate books on powerlifting and Olympic lifting. For instance, I'm currently reading Ricky Dale Crain's Book on Xtreme Squatting. It details how to properly perform the squat. Ricky also has other books on lifting available that might provide you what you want, so you might want to contact him at Crain's Muscle World.

>Subject: Teenage Weightlifting/ Growth + Diet (need help)

One quick question about hormones that's been bothering me. If you eat a high glycemic index carbohydrate does the insulin that's released influence the body's IGF-1 levels? Or is IGF-1 only controlled by GH [growth hormone]?

Thanks in advance,

IGF-1 is produced by a combination of insulin and GH. However, insulin and GH exist in a "see-saw" fashion, when insulin rises, GH drops. So high glycemic carbs would elevate insulin but lower GH. OTOH, a strict low carb diet would elevate GH but keep insulin perpetually low. So either a high carb or low carb diet could lower IGF-1.

A good compromise would be to consume a moderate amount of low to moderate glycemic carbs. Then you'd get some insulin response but not enough to significantly blunt GH release. That would probably give the best IGF-1 response.

Note: I will be addressing the relationship of diet and hormones in detail in my forthcoming book God-given Foods Eating Plan: For Lifelong Health, Hormone Optimization, and Improved Athletic Performance.

>Subject: Re: Teenage Weightlifting/ Growth + Diet (need help)

Thanks a lot for you help. Just one final question. I read that distance running decreases testosterone levels. Is there any way I can keep my testosterone levels up and still be able to run?


That depends on why you're doing the long distance running. If you're training for cross-country/ track, then you have no choice but to do what is necessary for that training and just accept the drop in T levels.

However, if you're just running for general fitness, there's no reason to run for more than 30-60 minutes, 3x/week. And keep it to a moderate (not intense) pace. Ideally, you should strength train 3x/week (M.W.F) at a high intensity for 60-90 minutes, including warm-up sets. Then low to moderate intense aerobics on three off days (Tu, Th, Sa) will be a form of "active recovery." (Sundays off). That is the best prescription for optimal T levels and is the pattern I'm following.

Note: I address in greater detail the relationship of exercise and hormones in my book, which is now available.

The above emails originally appeared in the free FitTips for One and All email newsletter.
They were posted on this site December 28, 2006.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Weight Training Questions

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