January 17, 2012 by Mike Westerdal
Filed under Bench Press, Bodybuilding and Muscle Building, Muscle Building, Powerlifting, Recent Posts, Reviews, Strength Training, Strength Training Reviews, Training
Ask most anyone that lifts weights what the three most critical lifts are and I can almost guarantee that he will say the bench press, the deadlift and the squat. Of the three, the squat is arguably the most important compound exercise you can perform because it not only works all of the major leg muscles but it strengthens the core and supports muscle growth throughout the body too.
Each of these three exercises is a compound movement that simultaneously recruits multiple muscle groups, making them all critical to explosive gains in strength and mass.
Even more important, all three movements push the body’s endocrine system into overdrive, triggering the release of powerful hormones such as testosterone that drive strength gains and muscle growth.
A guy named Andy Bolton understands this concept better than just about anybody. He’s spent more than 20 years figuring out what works and what doesn’t and has gotten really good at it. Andy is a 7-time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, a 2-time WPO Champion and the first man ever to pull a 1000 lbs Deadlift in competition. In fact, he’s squatted an unbelievable 1214 pounds, benched an incredible 755 pounds and deadlifted more than 1,000 pounds, not once–but twice!
His “Explode” books (one for squats, one for the bench press and one for the deadlift) outline Andy’s techniques for making these critical moves the foundation of a training routine that will blast out more size and strength gains than you ever thought possible.
Although each book covers a different topic, the overall layout of each is very similar. In all three the first couple chapters offer some interesting and useful background information. First, in each book Andy starts out by discussing the spotlighted movement, providing a historical overview of his strength gains in each movement over the years–it’s pretty impressive.
In the Squat and Bench Press books he then moves into a discussion of raw movements, which means that you’re not using any equipment other than a lifting belt, knee wraps or wrist wraps. In the next chapter he moves on to talking about doing the movements equipped. In both cases, this chapter is primarily geared towards competitive powerlifters.
In the Deadlift book, he talks about what to wear and then points out the differences between a “Sumo Deadlift” and a “Conventional Deadlift.” This is excellent information because it enables you to determine which of the two is best suited to you. Some trainers favor one style over the other and try and force their beliefs on everyone, which can lead to injuries.
After these discussions, in all three volumes Andy launches into the heart of the matter, starting with proper set-up. Here he talks about how setting up is the most fundamental element of a solid movement. Obviously, if you aren’t on-target with this critical step from the start, you won’t get the results you want and more important, you set yourself up for failure and even serious injury. In all cases, Andy includes clear descriptions and a photo to demonstrate proper set-up.
In the subsequent chapters, he walks you through all of the various phases that make up the movements. I like the fact that his descriptions are clear, providing enough information so you can perfect the movement, but not so much that it’s distracting. Pictures help you to make sure you’re performing the movements properly. Throughout all three books he offers tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of each exercise.
Afterwards, he shifts to a discussion that to me, is one of the most important chapters in the book and a personal favorite of mine. Here, Andy talks about the importance of having the proper mindset. While yes, proper form and executive are both absolutely critical, if you don’t have the mindset of a champion, you’ll never see the results you want to see. It’s not a very lengthy chapter but Andy does provide his most important tips and suggestions for mentally positioning yourself to explode your squat.
One look at his incredibly impressive record of triumphs and it becomes very apparent that Andy Bolton knows what he’s talking about. Here’s your opportunity to learn from one of the best. So if you are really looking to experience explosive gains in size and strength like never before, check out Explode Your Squat, Explode Your Benchpress or Explode Your Deadlift (or all three) for yourself and see just how far you can go–you might be surprised!