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Daily Archives: July 1, 2014

Bench Press Backtalk!


Three years ago our family moved from a gang-influenced blue collar neighborhood to a safe, quiet, blue collar neighborhood. In both instances, our neighbors, for the most part, were and are hard-working individuals that included tradesmen, firefighters, police officers, manual laborers, and landscapers of mixed ethnicity. In our current area, there are a large number of bay men and dock workers as our 1.1 square mile village sits on the water. In both locales there are expressions heard on the street, offered by every racial and ethnic group, somewhat unique to the area, but phrases that immediately sum up what might take five sentences to express elsewhere. Any backlash, backtalk, or general hassle that has come from my “challenging” the concept, exercise, and “cottage industry” of the bench press, as they say here, goes into the category of “I brought this ‘stuff’ on my ownself!”

Specialization Part Three


With what is my consistent and ongoing complaint about the state of affairs in the game of football, I utilized the installment of two month’s ago to begin another foray into a heated area of powerlifting discussion.

Specialization Part Two


One doesn’t have to go back to the leather helmet era to find the requirement that players participate on both offense and defense. This made playing and watching football more enjoyable than today’s highly specialized game. The well conditioned players understood and practiced the fundamentals. Strength training and powerlifting have also gone to very specialized “niches” where few if any compete at more than one aspect of the iron game sports and often, only focus upon but one of the competitive lifts.


Powerlifting USA


In late April of 2012, Mike Lambert announced that POWERLIFTING USA MAGAZINE would cease print publication after the May issue. A final issue of PLUSA was perhaps the last thing I had ever considered as a possibility. Everything changes or ends, everyone grows older and often, just old, but this is a change that my emotional attachment would not allow me to see on the near horizon. Mike and I have known each other as friends for many decades and as wonderful as it has been to watch his children grow to adulthood and have their own families, it was almost as rewarding to watch his magazine grow and both become and remain the stabilizing influence in the sport of powerlifting. In the first few years of PLUSA, Mike would crank up the mimeograph machine in the basement of his mother’s house, turning out a hand-stapled grouping of pages. These early issues often flattered my abundantly lacking writing abilities, as up to one-third of the articles and columns were written by yours truly. For me, having sat on the floor in Mike’s living room while my wife and I helped stuff early copies of the magazine into large mailbags, it truly is as if a member of the family has passed away.

Commentary on Specialization


I had given consideration to discussing the “specialized” equipment and apparel that has been associated with the sport of powerlifting for decades and realized that an age of specialization now spans a number of generations. I have always described myself as it relates to my profession, my interests, my daily and weekly activities, and my focus as a “football guy.” I initially began to train at the age of twelve in order to “be a better football player.” I wasn’t certain what that truly meant but after seeing my first in-person high school football game in 1957 and thinking that the guys on the field were the biggest, strongest, and most exciting athletes I could imagine, my path was very much set in stone. I of course grew up in an era where it could be said of most activities, that there was little specialization. Watching my grandfather and father at their jobs as iron workers had me convinced that it would take too many years to ever master the ability to measure, cut with a torch, weld, heat, throw, and pound rivets, properly use a hoist, drill press, punch-and-chop Pels Ironworker machine, and then enter the blacksmith shop to heat, shape, and work metal into intricate horseshoes, railings, gates, and ornamental staircase fittings as the men in my family did. They truly could and in fact, “did it all” and I understood that it took many years to master the craft of iron working and blacksmithing if only because there were so many aspects that were incorporated into a day’s work.

More Troubling and True


I would like to begin this installment with an e mail I received, one that brings up a legitimate question that I would like to provide an answer to:

“Dear Dr. Ken,

I have a question that I would like to ask in a respectful way. I have read and enjoyed your articles in different publications and on line for years. You are always straight forward and honest about things. In the old PLUSA Magazines you stayed out of the politics and commented honestly about the state of the sport. The series here at this site has been very informative. Here is my question, the main purpose so far has been about your personal history in the sport and equipment. This is a site for Eleiko barbells and plates and you have written positively about these. Lately you have mainly mentioned Ivanko. Is this a conflict of interest? Why isn’t it a problem for the site if it is Eleiko? I hope you don’t mind the question, it just seems strange to me. Thank you.

A Lifter In Ohio”

Troubling and true


It pleases Pete Alaniz, founder and President of Titan Support Systems, to receive feedback on the series of articles I have written for Titan. We both wanted to provide information and a monthly “enjoyable read” to the many customers and potential customers of Titan, and powerlifters who stumbled upon the site. While almost every male or female who has lifted weights for a number of years, has humorous or unusual stories related to the activity we enjoy so much, there have been questions about some of the statements I have made regarding accidents resulting from faulty barbell equipment. Unfortunately, the stories relayed within this column have been true and I suggest that every lifter go to the Ivanko Barbell Company site and read Tom Lincir’s very informative articles.

Great Solution


With the past three-and-one-half years’ worth of discussion about the use and changes in training equipment, barbells, squat racks, and more, the use of the Olympic or power bar for competitive or non-competitive lifters has definitely provoked the most response. In my own case, I have achieved the “best of both worlds” with a combination of two terrific products. Remember the past few months’ columns please. I believe I established a viable opinion if not fact, that a barbell with rotating sleeves is not a necessity for those interested in squatting, bench pressing, and deadlifting the most weight possible. Just as clearly, I believe I made the point that a “good” barbell that could withstand the constant exposure to the heaviest of weights was a necessity. Steel that has been treated to maintain its shape and integrity is a must if one is to lift safely and efficiently.

Entering the Modern Age

I admit that I have enjoyed the responses that the most recent articles in this series have evoked (or provoked) as much as I have enjoyed writing the articles. For those readers new to this column which now includes forty-three monthly installments, the past few months have been spent explaining why it isn’t necessary to use what the lifting community refers to as a “power bar” or “Olympic barbell” for training if one is a competitive powerlifter. This stance is viewed as heresy by some or beyond the understanding of others because they were “raised” on the assumption that it is in fact a requirement to squat, bench press, and deadlift on a bar with rotating sleeves.

More on Rotating Sleeves

After the publication of Part 41 of this series of articles, the title of this month’s piece could have been “Let The Debate Begin.” There was an overwhelming response to my comments that there was no true advantage to utilizing a barbell with rotating sleeves when performing the squat, bench press, or deadlift. To some, this was the equivalent of attacking the Pope, noting that Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick produces a lot of statistics but few clutch victories, or that the Nautilus machines designed and produced in the early 1970’s brought better overall results than the end product of today’s training even with lots of friction in the mechanical components and some strength curves that needed modification.

Family Owned


The Alaniz family are true American pioneers in the field of innovating and manufacturing Powerlifting and Strength products.

Since 1981, they have played a leading role in the development of equipment and the growth of the sport through sponsorships and contributions.

Pete Alaniz was awarded the prestigious Brother Bennett award from the USAPL in 2006. ×

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