by John McKean
During the 60s renowned York Barbell Club weightlifter Bill March set national and world press records, won major Olympic lifting championships, took a Mr. Universe title, and was even invited to pro football tryouts. At his most efficient, Bill completed his actual daily power rack lifting in 24 SECONDS! His York teammate, Lou Riecke, did similar isometric routines, total training time of less than a minute, to break a world snatch record. Later, Lou took his methods to the NFL as one of the first pro strength coaches – he helped a then mediocre little team known as – AHEM – the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl rings! In this same time period, a rather large teenage track & field star named Gary Gubner used short range rack moves to build such phenomenal strength that he established world indoor records in the shot put AND earned himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team.
Unfortunately power rack routines didn’t quite stick. Sessions seemed over before they began, movement range was too short, lifts were way too intense when done correctly, and, for the vain, no “pump” created. Well, they did work very well for me, but even I got bored (and you guys know what a slug I am!). So, some years ago (long after my original heavy weight power rack experiments) I started placing rubber flex bands over the barbell, did full range all round lifts thus “handicapped,” and termed them “moving isometrics.” Like Bill March’s short range isos, momentum and acceleration were thwarted to yield solid, pure push through every inch of an exercise. Yet the bands encouraged more SPEED and finish (actually, “pushing through” the top rather than “braking,” which somewhat discourages total effort). Best of all, maximum results came from band/bar lifts that were NOT total, all out, explode-your-arteries, max weight killers. In fact, from my findings, these work best with a comfortable barbell weight of 60-70% of one’s best single. Even now, as “early middle age” (65!!!) approaches, these moving isos are giving me substantial gains on most lifts.
Part 2 of the All-Round Approach of properly using band resistance in your training.