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Grissim Connery
04-30-2010, 12:10 AM
Over the past couple months I've been considering doing some isolation exercises again for some strength issues i'd felt were lacking (outside of injury prevention/rehab issues). my biggest problem was actually my own self-consciousness with being seen doing isolation exercises. that probably sounds ridiculous, but it took greg's recent article to really get me confident to just do what i thought needed to be done again.

with that being said, i'm curious what isolation exercises are necessary for some of your particular goals.

for example, i've started shrugging again because i feel that my upper back is lagging behind. this is becoming apparent with a wide variety of motions that are not flowing. i've also started doing more basic crunches because my hip flexors are too tight and dominant, and this is causing my abs and gluts to shut down.

anybody else have particular examples?

Don Stevenson
04-30-2010, 01:30 AM
I have a strongman comp coming up where thick bar grip is going to be a major factor so my plan for the next few weeks includes thick bar curls, reverse curls and direct wrist work.

There is also a crucifix hold event so i'll be forced to do some static holds in that position which is something i'd never normally do.

I've also identified a lack of grip strength for the stones and one way to train that is to do some flye/pushups on wide rings so i'll be doing those, another exercise I'd never normally touch.

I say if you identify a need for a specific drill then do it and don't worry what other people think

Steve Shafley
04-30-2010, 05:40 AM
I know Greg covered a lot of these, but.

1. Direct biceps work. The rash of biceps tears the last few years among the amateur strongman competitors I know is directly related to not doing curls.

2. Knee pain: I know 3-4 olympic lifters and throwers who've discovered that doing leg extensions on a good machine has significantly eased their knee pain. A few more discover doing 1 leg work helps.

3. Chest flies: Seems to help keep the pecs flexible when done in concunction with heavy benching. I've had flyes recommended to me by about 25 different people over the last 10 years with regards to helping keep the shoulders healthy.

4. Shrugs: Shrugs are awesome. Traps are awesome. These have only gone out of style if you drank deeply of the Koolaid or the functional strength juice.

Steven Low
04-30-2010, 05:45 AM
I definitely need some biceps work and chest work for rings.

Although I don't like it (isolations in general) if you got a weak point you should fix it in general. That said I wouldn't recommend much isolation work if someone is below "intermediate" level strength.

Garrett Smith
04-30-2010, 06:37 AM
4. Shrugs: Shrugs are awesome. Traps are awesome.
This is true. Power cleans do this well, or you could do some power shrugs (aka clean pulls from a hang position).

Garrett Smith
04-30-2010, 06:42 AM
i've also started doing more basic crunches because my hip flexors are too tight and dominant, and this is causing my abs and gluts to shut down.

anybody else have particular examples?
I'm wondering if you feel like your hip flexors could possibly feel like they are tight and "dominant" because of a lack of stretching them combined with a lack of heavy training of the posterior chain.

For rehabbing the pelvic girdle muscles, you might take some things from this:
http://www.jumphigherin4weeks.com/7dayjumpcurefinal.pdf

Mike ODonnell
04-30-2010, 08:44 AM
my hip flexors are too tight and dominant, and this is causing my abs and gluts to shut down.

Try adding in walking lunges to increase hip flexor ROM....and hold something heavy overhead (esp using 1 arm), that will activate your abs plenty. Do them going up a hill and your glutes will be pissed at you for days after too!

Close grip chin-ups will also work those biceps too....and work the ROM as you extend all the way down.

Dave Van Skike
04-30-2010, 10:16 AM
Try adding in walking lunges to increase hip flexor ROM....and hold something heavy overhead (esp using 1 arm), that will activate your abs plenty. Do them going up a hill and your glutes will be pissed at you for days after too!

Close grip chin-ups will also work those biceps too....and work the ROM as you extend all the way down.


here's my recent experience having jacked up my elbows and wrists and shoulders. 80/20 rule applies, if 80% of your energy is going int squats, presses and pulls, don't try to add another 80% of full body accessory things. accessories shouldn't be the hardest part of the day, they should be the 20% fluff... pump blood, add size size, make tendons healthy and be low stress.

lighter is better, more reps is better.


Biceps. Yes. do these. chins are good. curls are better. when your training day looks like: axle press to a 90% double, DL for reps, followed by front squats 10x3
the last thing you want to do is a full body set of chins, band assist or no. hammer curls.. light for sets of 20-30 work great, good ole tricep pressdowns with bands and very light thick bar holds or the olde wrist roller.. all make the arms feel better. neglecting these has been a major mistake of mine.

Upper back. It is impossible to do too much upper back work. the best is rows. i think. BB rows, yes, strict or sloppy but for these accesory rehab purposes strict. ....DB rows (because of the internet, these will be forever called kroc rows) face pulls, cable rows, scap rows, kelso cable shrigs, hammer strength machine rows...(fave). Reps. lots. weight. lots. with straps if needed...I'm working on the assumption that adding the approximate thickness of a 5 pound pot roast to my upper back will have a postive impact on my press. is has worked so far.

for legs and hips all i care about is mobility. for knees, TKE's are the shit i think. abs? meh. don't care for "isolation", light one handed farmers walk works fine. ab wheel is fine, rotational stuff is better i think. for low back. banded GM's one metric shit ton of them seems to help a lot of people.

Shafley's suggestion of chest flys makes sense. I'd add, laterals and reverse flys as well. again, light and for many reps.

Steve Shafley
04-30-2010, 10:20 AM
I can't tell if you're poking fun at the topic or not, Steve. I have started some basic gymnastics based work, by the way....l

Mike: I really feel that there's an appropriate load for this sort of thing. The issue with close grip chins is that the load on the biceps and the connective tissue is still bodyweight, which, in the case of doing them to make your elbows feel better and your connective tissue more resilient, perhaps, defeats the purpose.

That's a messed up sentence right there.

Steven Low
04-30-2010, 03:05 PM
I can't tell if you're poking fun at the topic or not, Steve. I have started some basic gymnastics based work, by the way....l

Mike: I really feel that there's an appropriate load for this sort of thing. The issue with close grip chins is that the load on the biceps and the connective tissue is still bodyweight, which, in the case of doing them to make your elbows feel better and your connective tissue more resilient, perhaps, defeats the purpose.

That's a messed up sentence right there.
I am.. and I am not.

I admit I do need the biceps/chest work (comparitively my lats and triceps are super dominant).

Let us know how the gymnastics work goes. :)

Grissim Connery
05-03-2010, 07:23 PM
Garrett: I think i do a fair amount of post. chain work, but i think some sort of coordination issue is off. thus my gluts aren't doing what they should be doing (those bastards). i've been reading more of kelly baggett's stuff recently, so i'd like to check that book out.

Dan: why the TKE's? i had to look them up. is that for glut activation mainly?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2ySioXL05M


in terms of shrugs, i'm finding that behind the back seems to get more stuff moving. behind the back shrugs with supinated and pronated grips get my shoulder blades to move in different ways, and i'm doing both until i find that one seems to offer more benefits.

this is my goal with the behind the back pulling:
http://www.youtube.com/user/geoffcraft#p/u/3/mrkiSXL4GiY
I eventually want this to help with a back roll to support on the rings.
i like a lot of this guy's videos. he does these around the world muscle-ups that are pretty legit.
http://www.youtube.com/user/geoffcraft#p/u/6/RL9wdlONHec

part of the reason that i think i need more upper back development is because i have better progress with front and back levers by raising in concentric fashion as opposed to lowering eccentrically from inverted hangs. it's like as long as i can use my lats more for the FL, then the FL is more sturdy. once i recruit more upper back, then it all falls apart.

Steven Low
05-03-2010, 07:56 PM
TKE's target vastus medialis/VM obliquus mostly. Very good if your vastus lateralis/IT band are dominant which is most people.

Will help stop knees from collapsing in during squats and other valgus related disorders.


Interesting you have more concentric success with FL than eccentric. I'd like to see a video of your attempts on both concentric, isometric, and eccentric to see if you're doing anything wrong.

Grissim Connery
05-03-2010, 08:47 PM
i'll see if i can get a video on wednesday or thursday once finals are over.