August 24, 2007

Dave Liepman: Strong man tire flip

Dave Liepman demonstrates technique for the World's strongest man tire flip compettion. Successfully executing the movement requires that one maximize leverage as well as strength.

Abs | Back | Biceps | Chest | Legs | Shoulders | Strong Man

In this podcast (download iPod compatible, 40MB), Dave Liepman demonstrates the strong man tire flip on his driveway. As we learned in his initial podcast, Dave has gone through quite an experience gathering training implements. Here we see that he has a 658 lb. tire with lots of wear and tear, including holes to let the rain drain out.

The tire flip is not just about brute strength. Dave notes the following factors:

  • Grip is important. Dave demonstrates both three and four tread grips. If your grip gives out, you're done for.
  • Leverage is important. As can be seen in the photo above, Dave uses his knee as part of the final thrust. The knee is well positioned for effective leverage.
  • Surface is important. Dave makes the point that the tire tends to slide on sandy surfaces allowing you to get considerable distance without having to fully lift the tire.

In our next segment, we'll look at the keg carry.

May 21, 2007

Hua Jin Hong demonstrates Tai Chi

You might call bodybuilding a philosophy built around consumption and power projection. Tai Chi is very different. It focuses much more on managing forces projected onto the person vs. seeking to project force.

Body Weight

Hua Jin Hong
Hua Jin Hong
Hua Jin Hong
Hua Jin Hong

In this video analysis (Quicktime ipod compatible, 38MB; Google streaming flash video), we see Hua Jin Hong demonstrating Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a defensive martial art that many Chinese engage in as a sort of meditative practice. The demonstration takes place at Tianjin University of Commerce on the East Coast of China. Hua Jin Hong speaks in Chinese, and there is translation in the background.

As shown in the strip of pictures on the left, Tai Chi involves a set of precisely defined movements. Focus is on body positioning and precise execution. In the video, Jin Hong (in chinese names the surname is first and the given name second) deconstructs the sequence and explains the imagery practitioners might use to help them execute.

I decided to publish this video in Muscle Ventures because, as I have traveled in China, I've been struck by how much weight lifting and bodybuilding depend on cultural constructions. Much of bodybuilding is about creating a body image using precise nutrition control and various weight training regimens. In some ways, you might call it a philosophy built around consumption and power projection.

Tai Chi is very different in its underlying philosophy. It focuses much more on managing forces projected onto the person vs. seeking to project force. However, like bodybuilding, the notion of control is very important. One can't help but remark that during much of China's history since 1949, survival not consumption, has been the issue for much of the populace with average people sometimes resorting to foraging for food during lean times.

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April 20, 2007

Weighted Triceps Dip

Bryce Dettloff demonstrates the weighted triceps dip. He is moving a total of 265 lbs. including body weight. This exercise targets the triceps brachii with synergistic participation from chest, back, and shoulder muscles.

Belt | Body Weight | Gold's Gym, Ann Arbor | Life Fitness | Plate | Triceps

Triceps Brachii
Bryce Dettloff, fully descended
Bryce Dettloff, midway extended
Bryce Dettloff, fully extended

In this brief exercise analysis (Quicktime ipod compatible, 6MB, Google streaming flash video), Bryce Dettloff demonstrates the weighted triceps dip on a Life Fitness dip and chin machine at Gold's Gym, Ann Arbor.  As its name implies, this exercise targets the triceps brachii highlighted in the first photo at left.  Additionally, muscles in the upper back, chest, and shoulders play a synergistic role stabilizing and controlling the movement.  With 90 lbs. of plates in addition to his own 175, Bryce notes that the upper back plays a significant role in helping him control the exercise.

As shown at the start of the video, Bryce prepares for the exercise by putting on a dip belt and then attaching two forty five lbs. plates to it.  He then mounts the machine and starts with his triceps fully flexed.  He then descends to the point where his triceps is fully stretched as shown in the second picture at left.  In our discussion afterward, it's at this point that Bryce most notices the role of his back muscles in controlling the movement.

By comparing Bryce's posture with the grid in photos two through four, you can see that he keeps his torso fairly erect.  This posture keeps the main focus of the exercise on the triceps.  Were Bryce to incline his body forward, emphasis would be moved to the pectorals.

Once in the fully descended position, Bryce begins the positive movement by flexing his triceps.  The third picture on the right shows Bryce about half way through the movement.  Careful examination indicates that Bryces' shoulders have begun to roll forward.  This roll indicates that the anterior deltoid is potentially playing a role in the movement.

Finally, in the fourth photo, we see Bryce complete the movement.  His triceps are fully flexed and his arms are straight.  He has kept his back straight throughout the movement to support the 90 lbs. of weight hanging from his waist.  This extra weight places extra emphasis on the role of the back muscles in controlling the movement.

Note also in the fourth photo, that Bryce's shoulders are now fully forward.  The shoulder movement is natural and just indicates the important role of the shoulders in helping control the movement.  If you have trick shoulders like I do, this exercise may not be for you.  You can minimize strain on the shoulders by limiting the depth of your descent so that your upper arms do not move past parallel with the floor.

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