By: Louie Simmons
has become one of the premier middleweights in the world. The sky
was the limit for Angelo, having made an elite total as a teen. But
by 1993 he was stuck, not in the clouds but at a 1620 total. While
many would die to have a total like that, Angelo knew he had not touched
his potential. He would tell us of the big gym lifts, but at meets
he did much less, always asking, 'what happened?'
waving of the total work volume is achieved with arched back good mornings
and by rotating pullthrough's, reverse hyperextensions, back raises, walking
lunges, pulling a weight sled, and so forth. When an important meet
is coming up, Angelo will push up the abs and increase his reverse hyperextensions,
both in weight and in volume. The
results? A 755 squat in less than 3 years, a 215 pound increase.
Not bad for a 640 squatter.
Angelo uses short rest
periods between sets; 45 seconds is best. The squats are done on
a slightly below parallel box. He will sit back, not down, until
he is sitting fully on the box with his shins past a perpendicular position.
This places all the work on the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and abs, and
of course lower back. This is impossible to do without a box.
I kept telling
Angelo what was wrong with his training: training with weights above 90%
too long and dropping his special work long before meet time. If
special exercises serve a valid purpose, why drop them at the most critical
time, close to a meet? All who look at or keep records of training
will testify that after 4 or 5 weeks at 90% or more your training goes
backward. This is because the central nervous system starts
to fail and your coordination diminishes greatly.
Angelo to try the most scientific training and get out of his 3 year rut.
Not wanting to speak those terrible words 'what happened ever again, he
came to train at Westside.
thing we did was start him on box squats, on a slightly below parallel
box. At that time his best contest squat was 640, so we had him wave
his squat from 320, or 50%, up to 385, or 60%. Twelve sets of 2 reps
are used for the 50, 52.5, and 55% weeks, and 10 sets of 2 reps are done
at 57.5 and 60%. By doing this, the barbell volume stays constant,
but the total volume is waved up and down throughout a 5 week mini-cycle.
is very wide, somewhat wider than his contest squat, and his feet are pointing
straight ahead, not turned out. With the feet straight, it works
the hips the best. It is harder to squat down this way but much easier
to come up because more muscles can be recruited.
are Chuck Taylor's. He had been wearing shoes with a heel, which
would throw him forward, causing bad form . The flat shoes fixed that problem
for good. You can have million dollar shoes and a 10 cent squat.
is designed to build explosive and accelerating strength. Don't go
heavier than the top 60%. Rather, concentrate on more speed.
Angelo never takes a heavy box squat. He tests his strength on arched
back good mornings: 500 is still the most weight used. Billy Masters
uses the same method and, like Angelo, will push up his reverse hyperextensions
and ab work, and he invariably squats more than 900.
Angelo's bench press was OK at 363 but,
like the squat, hadn't increased for some time. Angelo is certainly
built to bench, but he was training too heavy and not addressing
his weaknesses. He could not understand why he could triple 325 yet
bench only 363. The reason is lack of speed. It's apparent
that he was not producing more than 363 pounds of force, or he would be
benching more, right?
We had him
do his 8 sets of 3 reps with 205. This started his bench going up.
In less than 3 years, he made 470 in a full meet with three WPC judges.
Right before he did the 470, he had worked his way up to using 245 for
4 sets and 255 for 4 sets. This is about 55% of a one rep max.
The key was again speed and the development of explosive strength.
We all like
to lift heavy, so Angelo followed our lead and tried the floor press, board
press, J.M. press, incline press, and heavy dumbbell press on a stability
ball. He would rotate one of these every 2 weeks, followed by tricep
extensions, delt raises, and a lot of lat and upper back work.
method of training, a rotating of core exercises every 2 weeks, led to
an increase in Angelo's bench press of 107 pounds in less than 3 years.
have a secret up our sleeves, and this time it came from Mario Civalleri,
a friend from Italy. He works with Yuri Kecchi the Olympic and world
champion on the rings in gymnastics. Mario suggested we try a form
of ring work. Like the stability ball, the rings are another apparatus
that is unstable and that builds stability. We had Angelo do pushups
in the rings, with the rings hanging close to the floor and his feet on
the floor. As he got better, he would raise his feet until he was
doing a handstand pushup. This increases muscle mass and strength.
I want to mention Mario because he is an unsung hero, one who has never
laid eyes on Westside yet contributed greatly to our success.
about Angelo's deadlift, a sore spot, to say the least, at 562. The 562
came with a 705 squat, a 143 pound difference. Angelo has brought
his deadlift up to an easy 640, this after a 755 squat. That's a
115 pound difference. How? With a training system out of the
had a method of training the deadlift in a rack where he would lift a certain
weight, let's say 850, off a pin that held the plates 8 inches off the
floor. He would do this 8 weeks away from the meet. Each week
he would lower the bar I inch until the meet, and he would then pull it
at the meet.
the same thing, but he would lower the bar 1 inch for 2 weeks and then
rotate to squatting on a 6 inch box for 2 weeks and then back to the rack
pull. Sure enough, he got a big PR - 640 - and an 1865 total with
3 WPC judges in the chairs. Again reverse hyperextensions, heavy
ab work, and a lot of lat work played a large role in his success.
Here is a man that
was stuck for 3-1/2 years at a 1640 total, who was able to increase to
1865 by using this method of training. I am very proud of Angelo.
He is our best all-time lifter with the Schwartz formula. This is just
the beginning for Angelo, and this we are sure of.
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