Years ago when I read articles I used to read every word. I'd try to devour it all.
After years of reading, I discovered most of the article's were just filler and there were usually just a a few good points worth absorbing. While these points were often very good, I really didn't need the other crap.
I'm sure many readers love that stuff, but I no longer have time to sit and read like I used to and would rather just have the article get to the point. Then I'll decide if I can use it or not.
When I sat down to write this my intention was to have zero filler and just get right to the point, tip, or meat of the article. I also found when I didn't have to try and support and build up everything, it was easier to compile the stuff people wanted to read.
What you have here is a list of things I've picked up from many different people over the years. As I went back and read this list I also realized that most of these tips came from people I trained or competed with. In short, this was all learned in the gym. So if you need support and references, then here's my reference:
It is what it is...
1. When you bench, try to push your body away from the bar, not the bar away from you.
2. When training your lats for the bench, keep your grip medium to wide and focus on pulling with your elbows (not your hands).
3. If you're training your lats for the bench press, train with a full grip (straps or not, grab and squeeze with all fingers).
4. Number three is not the case if you're training for muscle mass. In this case, it may be best to use straps (keep the focus on the lats) and relax the forefinger and middle finger. Try to pull with the last two fingers, and yes, still pull by leading with your elbows.
5. A close grip (not so close you tear up your wrists or elbows) for triceps work will always work your bench better than a wide grip. The closer grip will have more effect on the muscles that actually press the bar.
6. For total triceps mass, you'll need to work both close and wide.
7. Close-stance safety bar low box squats will solve the majority (but not all) of falling-forward problems in the squat.
8. Grip work is very hard to recover from (more so for beginners), so keep it to one or two times per week. Once every four days is a better option.
9. When aiming for a bigger bench press, try "pulling the bar apart" as you press.
10. Keep your head back when you squat. There's no need to look for the great power gods in the sky. Just make sure your head is up and driven back into the bar. This will help keep the chest up.
11. When setting up for a conventional deadlift, line the bar up with the top of the quads. If you have bigger quads, the bar will be further from your shins. Keep in mind that this is a general guideline. Pull how you feel best.
12. If you don't know your foot position for a conventional deadlift and need a place to start from, try hanging from a chin bar and simply drop to the floor. Normally, where your feet land is your best pulling stance.
13. To develop full biceps, make sure to use both wide and close grips.
14. If you're trying to develop a stronger squat and deadlift, train your abs standing up.
15. If you need more power out of the bottom of your squat, push your knees out harder when hitting the hole.
16. For most bench shirts, put your arms in with your palms up.
17. Try to hold the top position of a reverse hyper. You'll never be able to do it, but try.
18. When setting up for a sumo deadlift, break your hips back some before you bend over. This will help your body weight to fall backwards.
19. Regardless of how you pull, try to get your body weight to fall backwards.
20. There's no use trying to find collars for a safety squat or cambered squat bar (they won't fit). Get a large pair of battery clips from the hardware store. They're quick and easy to use and work perfectly.
21. Try doing alternate dumbbell triceps extensions while keeping one dumbbell in the locked out position instead of at the bottom. This is one way to still work the triceps hard while using less weight and putting less strain on the elbows.
22. There are very few things that I've seen work when it comes to help with dropped deadlifts due to grip. Dumbbell holds, however, are one movement that's shown great results. Grab the top of a hex dumbbell, making sure that you don't touch the numbers. Grab, stand, and hold for as long as you can. If you can go over 20 seconds, up the weight.
23. Another movement that will help your grip for pulling is to use binder clips. These are the big paper clips that have a black end on them (and other colors). Use these like you would use grippers, but only use your thumb and little finger. You can work all fingers, but the little guy is the first to go. Ed Coan told me this one a few years ago at the SWIS conference.
24. The last thing for dropped pulls is very simple — get stronger! Let's say you always drop 700 lbs, but can pull 650 lbs easy and pulling 700 lbs with straps is no problem. Well, get strong enough to pull 750 lbs with straps and 700 lbs will feel like 650 lbs.
25. Here's another simple one. Get your head right. Training isn't easy and won't always be a walk in the park. There's more to getting strong than just lifting the weights. You have to get an attitude with the weights and bust your ass. Louie once told me he would NEVER train with anyone who didn't scare him in one way or another. This is some of the best advice I've ever heard. I'm not saying that you should be a dick, but there's a HUGE difference between "training" and "working out."
26. If you can't flex it then DON'T ISOLATE IT. You need to have control of your body if you're going to do isolation movements. If I asked you to flex your pecs, it'd probably be easy. You can make those boobies bounce with pride. Now what if I asked you to do the same with your triceps, delts, hamstrings, or lats? If you can't, why in the hell are you doing tight isolation bodybuilding cable work? Hmm... never thought of that one, did you? Stick with the presses and rows and build muscle first. You can't flex bone.
27. If you're dead set on overhead pressing but your shoulders hurt when you do them, try it with a reverse grip.
28. When benching, think of pushing through, pushing past the lock out.
29. For a max attempt (single), try to keep your air. By this I mean hold your breath, but first pull in as much air as you can.
30. If you think your set up is tight, you're wrong. Get tighter. The set up and start of the lift is the most important. Watch any advanced lifter and notice how precise they are in getting set.
31. When board-pressing for max bench strength, try to bring the board to the bar as you lower. You do this my making your body bigger as you lower. Think expand. This is a habit you want to master for benching without the board.
32. You may not be ready to do what you need to address your weakness. Example: You fall forward 3/4 of the way up in the squat. This is best addressed with safety squat bar good mornings or arch back good mornings. BUT, if you don't know how to round and flex your upper back while keeping your torso tight, then you have a problem and can't do this. You first need to build a strong base, then master good mornings, and build your upper back. Then you'll be ready. For most intermediates there'll be a sequence that should be followed that addresses weak points with special exercises.
33. If you have a hard time keeping your chest up in the squat, try moving your hands in and pulling your shoulder blades together.
34. If you always fall forward at the bottom of the squat, try box squatting and counting 1001 while on the box and before you come up, make sure your chest is up and your back arched.
35. One of the best things to do when coming back from a strained or torn pec is floor presses with chains. I've seen this one work more than anything else.
36. If you can't "feel" your lats when you bench press and have problems with stability at the top, try doing your speed work with your legs straight in front of you with your heels on a milk crate. This is also very good for bottom end raw strength.
That's it. Almost no filler. Almost no crap.