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Monthly Archives: September 2013

  • Regular or Decaf

    Morning Coffee at Atomic Athletic, with R2 D2 Morning Coffee at Atomic Athletic, with R2 D2

    I know you have been there too. I was moving kind of slowly this morning, the reasons are for an entirely different article. So, on the way into work, I stopped at Starbucks. Honestly, even their largest option isn't big enough today.

    Like many coffee shops, the local Bowling Green Starbucks is full of happy and very perky baristas who are quick to answer a question. I assume they get as much free coffee as they want. Anyway, the guy behind me asked for decaf...

    Silence. All movement, even time itself, seemed to stop.

    If you had beaned the girl at the cash register in the back of the head with a brick, she wouldn't have looked more stunned! It was a real “deer in the headlights” look. Amazing.

    Well, presented with that look, Mr. Decaf cheerfully asked how many people had gotten decaf coffee this morning.

    She yells to the drive-up window guy, “Joe, how many decafs this morning?”

    Joe didn't miss a beat, “None. But Steve had one at the counter.”

    To sum up, at 8:25 this morning, the BG Starbucks had sold two cups of decaf coffee. Which begs

    Barbell Hack Lift Barbell Hack Lift

    the question, why was that guy, or anybody, buying decaf coffee. I have heard all kinds of reasons for decaf over the years and they all sound wishy-washy to me. This is not where I ask, you, the reader for a good reason for decaf. I don't care. Don't send me your personal justification. I am an “All-In” kind of guy. Odds are, if you are an Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletin reader, then you are also the “All-In” type. Don't change. Embrace it.

    If you also wonder about Decaf Coffee people, then here is a workout for you. I call it the “Giant Bucket o'Coffee” Workout.

    Giant Bucket o'Coffee Workout
    Jog to the Gym
    Stretch & Swing Some Indian Clubs
    Hit the Heavy Bag for a few rounds.
    Snatch (Up to 80%) 5 x 3

    Giant Set – Go through this sequence 3 times.
    Over Head Squat 50% 10 Reps (Off the floor, not the rack)

    Barbell Hack Lift Barbell Hack Lift


    Barbell Hack Lift 5 Reps
    Trap Bar Deadlift 3 Reps

    Iron Boot Thai Knee Kicks 3 x 10
    Hanging Frog Kicks (off the chinning bar) 3 x 10

    Jog Home

    Get the first compiled Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletins in printed form: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/book-atomic-athletic-bomb-proof-bulletins-compiled-volume-1.html

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

  • Cheap & Easy

    “Cheap and easy” is rarely a good thing.

    “Cheap and easy” are the only two positive descriptive terms for spring collars. Because they are cheap, they seem to be the favorites of most gym owners. Clearly, it is not because they work well. This is how they work. When they actually fit on a barbell end, you merely have to squeeze them

    Standard Size Allen Collar & Short Dumbell Bar Set Standard Allen Collar & Short Dumbell Bars

    and they slide right on. The benefits end there.

    As you may have guessed, this Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletin is about barbell and dumbbell collars. It's true, I am a little obsessive compulsive about the collars I use. Like many terms in this industry, it is easy to come up with innuendo, but I will try to keep things serious. Barbell and dumbbell collars have a genuine and serious purpose. They are meant to hold the plates on the end of your bar. Because of the ways barbells are used, relative to the ways dumbbells are used, I feel the issue is typically most serious for dumbbells.

    Two Types of Collars
    There are two types of collars: screw type collars and compression collars. Screw collars have what is called a set screw that is pressed into the bar end. Compression collars reduce the inside diameter of collar to hold the bar. There are several ways this can be accomplished.

    Spring Collars are a perfect example of a compression collar. Generally, I highly recommend a compression collar, except when it is a spring. Spring collars do not have a flat face, so your plates are always going to be floppy and loose. More than that, their springiness reduces over time and they eventually become so loose that they simply don't hold. Of course, that plays right into the other reason I hate them. I also dislike them from a business perspective. When I worked for York Barbell, we got them in loose shipments in giant wooden crates. I found that about thirty percent of them were so loose, right from the factory, that they had to be discarded. Someone had to stand there and try out every one, otherwise the customer would get bad collars. I really don't like spring collars.

    Spin-Lock Collars
    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/collars-olympic-2-spin-locks-from-york-barbell-pair.html

    I like Spin-Lock Collars. The spin-lock collars most people are familiar with are used on Olympic bar

    York Barbell Spin-Lock Olympic Collars

    ends, have wing nuts, weigh about 5 pounds each and are easily identified by the large “star” shaped part. I sell the ones made by York Canada. I had one customer pissed off at me because York USA shows a crappy Chinese version on their web site. The photo in this bulletin is of the ones we sell. Anyway, they are lined with leather and the wing nuts compress the collar onto the bar. The spinning star shaped end is threaded on the inside and used for tightening the plates down. In an ideal world, this is the very best type of collar to use. In fact, it is the only type of collar I will use on Olympic Dumbbell Handles, especially for lifts like Dumbbell Cleans, the One Hand Dumbbell Snatch and most importantly on the One Hand Dumbbell Swing. I don't want plates that are loose, flopping around, or worse yet, sliding off. Any of those scenarios smack of danger, if you pardon the pun.

    Allen Collars
    I also have some awesome Stainless Steel Standard Size Allen Type Spin-Lock Collars. These

    Stainless Steel Super Allen Collars Stainless Steel Super Allen Collars

    are over kill and I love them.  Each collar has a double set (that's 4, if you're counting) of allen screws.  So, not only do these spin-lock, but you can anchor the spin-lock with a pair of allen screws.  These are now my favorite for the One Hand Dumbbell Swing.  For that lift, I actually use a proto-type pair of pro-style dumbbell bars, with steel end plates.  The way I set it up is with the end plate on the end that is sitting on the ground, then the other end gets the collar.  I have an old, as in antique, knurled dumbbell handle like you would get with the old York Barbell Aristocrat Set.  This is my spacer for grip.  Then the collar tightens everything down, so there is no slop or rotation.  You can see the lift at this link:

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/long-dumbbell-bar-collars.html

    Regular Allen Collars
    Our regular Standard Size Allen Collars are significantly cheaper than the ones above, but they are also compression type collars that hold like crazy. I use these all the time. For standard size bars, they have become my “go to” collars when I am making up a dumbbell, odd-ball barbell, leverage/mace set-up, you name it. They are really narrow with a single allen type counter-sunk screw that actually closes the ring size of the collar. The allen screw is very low profile, so it does not seem to catch on your clothes, like wrenchless screws can.

    Little Allen Collar Story
    Our Standard Size Allen Collars are made in the USA out of real spring steel. Back in 2007, the price went up on these, so I tried out a knock-off version that was made in India. My analysis was “total crap”. I know, not very scientific, but they had the size off by a couple thousandths... too small. I figured, I would just pry them open, maybe the spring steel had compressed in shipping. Wrong. They just broke. End of the knock-off test. I went back to my trusted American made steel and good old American machine shop and raised the price. There really is no substitute. Lesson learned.

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/collars-allen-collar-set-of-4.html

    Set Screw Collars
    We have many more collar types that fit into the set-screw category: Classic Red Wrenchless Screw Collars, Heavy Duty 3/4 Pound Wrenchless Screw Collars, Chrome Standard Barbell Collars, Olympic Allen Collars and many more.

    Once you use the right collars for the right job and then have to go to a buddy's place and use the wrong collars, you will suddenly understand the importance of getting it right. Use the right tool for the right job, or lift, as the case may be. Beware of “Cheap and Easy”.

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

  • Stone Sphere Lifting

    Atlas Stone Lift Sequence PHoto 1 EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 1 - Roger LaPointe

    Stone lifting is such an ancient sport that the ancient Egyptians made record it. I have a small course on stone sphere lifting from India that was printed in the early 1950s, but that is apparently a reprint from a much earlier physical culture article, date unknown. There is clearly much older recorded stone ball lifting from the Basques, Greeks, Celts and Chinese. Basically, this is not new stuff, but it is also enduring.

    Of course, real stone will stay around for thousands of years. More than that, it is a form of sport that ties us to the past. You can go to Scotland and lift manhood stones that have been lifted by generations of athletes. Even when you don't lift a known lifting stone, there is still that primitive tie to the past. It is a basic movement that is appealing on its own merit, both for fitness purposes and because it is simply enjoyable. Talk to anyone who has played with real stones and you will see it in their eyes.

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 2 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 2 - Roger LaPointe

     

    Stone Sphere Lifting Technique

    There are really two different ways to lift a stone ball and the methodology you use will be highly dependent on your goal and the type of lifting in your background.  My formal lifting training is as an Olympic lifter, which fits with the fast, explosive style of the Basques.

     

    Many people have tried to pin the Basque Weightlifters in to lifting categories, stones are merely another type of weight in their culture, but that is a real disservice.  Instead, one needs to think of the object and the objective.  For stone balls, they typically lift only one, but they do it for repetitions in a fixed time period, for example: 1, 2, or 3 minutes.  A 100 Kg granite ball would be typical.

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 3 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 3 - Roger LaPointe

    Their style, for this type of contest would be like an Olympic weightlifter doing power cleans with a barbell, for repetitions.  It's all about speed with a relatively easy weight.

     

    The second style of stone sphere lifting is more slow strength than speed oriented.  Think of the Olympic weightlifter who cleans a barbell and sits in the bottom, readjusts then easily stands up with it for the jerk.  You can almost think of the clean as a two part movement.  With a stone ball, most guys would re-adjust the arms while the stone is sitting in the lap.  Sometimes, you will hear a stone lifter say that a guy lapped the ball, but couldn't stand up with it.  In the Basque style, there is no "lapping" the ball.  It goes straight to the shoulder.

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/poster-a-gathering-of-stone-lifters.html

    Stones are not made for pushing records. Even

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 4 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 4 - Roger LaPointe

    stones that have been cut and shaped by man are simple basic shapes. As much as I like Olympic lifting, barbells are made to be efficiently lifted for the purpose of pushing record attempts. There are no needle bearings for a granite ball. It is simply a spherically cut piece of granite. The Greek stone mason who first carved a granite ball and picked it up is doing the same thing that we did last weekend at Atomic Athletic's “A Gathering of Stone Lifters”.

    The Poster for “A Gathering of Stone Lifters” is available with FREE Shipping right now. Get your copy here: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/poster-a-gathering-of-stone-lifters.html

    All the best,Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

    PS. When you go to the BLOG make sure to check out the upper left column and check out the new VIDEO BLOG section.

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