Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 7 - (Part A) - Splendid Arms and How to Have Them - By Earle E. Liederman


From the early schoolboy days, the arms seem to be one part of the body in which everyone takes pride. As a boy we all can recall the enthusiasm with which we rolled up our sleeves to show the lump on our upper arm. When I was a boy, the one who had the biggest biceps was the boy to command the greatest respect. No thought was given to any other muscle of the arm, but the whole attention was centered of the little lump that formed when the fist was brought to the shoulder.

I also recall what interest and admiration was aroused in me when I went to the circus and saw the strong man there break chains that were wrapped around his arms. My admiration was not tampered with, but I discovered in later years, that the chains had been tampered with. How discouraged I felt upon my return home when I beheld my own skinny arms in the mirror. The pair of arms that I then owned, measured but 9 1/2 inches. I remember later how envious I was of a husky chap, while attending high school, whose arm measured, when flexed, 14 inches. My own arm measured about 12 1/2 inches then. I think, however, that by envying as I did, it had considerable effect upon my progress, for it made me work harder to reach my goal. And it wasn't very many years before the arms I had envied were soon much smaller and less developed than my own.

I realized then that the biceps was only one of the muscles of the arm, and that by proper application of exercises, the girth of my arms could be increased rapidly. I learned that the triceps, the muscles behind or underneath the arms, constituted the bigger bulk of the upper arms and, therefore, realized that special attention must be paid to these muscles. The average individual (unless he is a thorough student of anatomy and physical culture) sadly neglects the triceps, which, when properly developed, give a pleasing curve to the back of the arms. These muscles are developed by constantly pushing, when it be downward, sideways, or upwards. You must push against a strong resistance of some kind in order to develop these muscles to their maximum.

The Triceps is Perhaps the Most Important Muscle in the Upper Arm The reason I am beginning this chapter on the arms with the triceps muscles is that this is the strongest and largest and most important muscle of the upper arm. It is called triceps because it has three heads. Its origin is from the border of the scapula or shoulder blade to the posterior or back surface of the humerus bone of the upper arm. Its insertion is in the olecranon process of the ulna, one of the two bones in the forearm.

Although the origin and insertion of the muscles are the same in everyone, still the triceps differ in appearance, just as much as other muscles are differently developed in various individuals.

The variations in appearance of this muscle depend somewhat upon the size of the bones, in the first place, and then again, upon the different exercises that each student uses toward development. Some people have what be termed a "flat" triceps, while others have a "round" triceps. The difference is that a "flat" triceps has the internal head more highly developed than the external head, thereby giving the arms a wide appearance and great fullness in the back, when viewed from the side. When the external head is more highly developed than the internal head, the arm will not look as wide when viewed from the side, but will look thicker when viewed from the front or from the back.

It is very difficult to set a standard as to the proper degrees of development of the internal head and of the external head, but in my opinion, considerable attention should be paid to both heads of this muscle, for when both are highly developed the arm will have a width as well as thickness.

When the hands are placed on the hips, you will undoubtedly notice in many athletes and strong men the curve of the upper arm will vary in appearance. Some athletes have a very pronounced curve, while in others, the arm is smoother. This is caused by the different degrees of the external head of the triceps development.

I have also noticed in a number of cases, the triceps development varies greatly where the internal head breaks or protrudes up on the arm. I have seen remarkably developed athletes whose internal head of the triceps when flexed began slightly above the back of the elbow and gradually slanted outwards, until it reached its bulk about midway on the upper arm. Then I have seen equally well developed athletes whose triceps were practically straight from the back of the elbow until they reached the middle of the upper arm. Then the internal head gave a sudden break, or raise, until the muscle knotted up to its bulk a little above the middle of the upper arm.

Judging from the ability and strength of these two different types of athletes, I have found that when the triceps does not make so abrupt a break, but when the internal head extends downward with a pleasing slant toward the back of the elbow, the man has much more strength and endurance than when the internal head breaks sharply above the middle of the upper arm. Weight lifters, gymnasts, and apparatus workers, as a rule, have the internal head of the triceps longer than those who have developed this muscle by individual arm work.

Therefore, it can readily be seen that it is to the best advantage of the student to work the muscles in groups, if he desires not of coordination, but strength as well. Tensing or resisting exercises are excellent for bringing out the internal heads of the triceps muscle. But if the muscle is developed purely by such methods, it will be good for boxing or display, but for nothing else, and when put to a test in any kind of competition for strength, it will be found wanting.

When the internal head of the triceps is well developed, and when the arm is held at the height of the shoulder and stretched sideways, a full, pleasing curve will be seen in underneath the arm. The greater the internal triceps development, the rounder the muscle appears. If the student possesses muscles that are supple, by the slightest quiver of his hand and forearm he can cause the triceps to move back and forth while holding the arm in this position, for when the triceps muscle is relaxed, it should be exceedingly soft.

The external head of the triceps is developed by pushing, especially in performing overhead work, such as lifting a dumb-bell one hand overhead, or pushing the hand overhead, while working against some artificial resistance. It also can be brought out to a marked degree by assisting the deltoid in raising the arm sideways, while working against a strong resistance. Hand balancing also is of great value to his external head.

A highly developed external head of the triceps muscle will show a pronounced cord running from the external head downwards in the middle of the arm, towards the supinator longus muscle of the forearm. This part of the triceps can only be seen in highly developed arms, and arms where all superfluous flesh is lacking.

I am obliged to call the reader's attention to Simon Javierto, who is undoubtedly a remarkable example of development in this muscle. This picture of his arm held straight will give you idea of a perfect triceps development.

George Hackenschmidt's Triceps

One of the largest triceps muscles I have ever seen, or felt, for that matter, was owned by George Hackenschmidt, formerly the world's champion wrestler. The internal head of his triceps was more powerfully developed than the external head, while the break or slant of the internal head of his triceps was over two inches in length. While taking into consideration the size of his upper arm when flexed, over 19 inches, there is little wonder at his remarkable triceps.

Hand balancers almost always have triceps development equaled, that is, both heads of this muscle are harmoniously developed. If you will notice the back of their arms the next time you attend one of their performances, you will have a better conception of this important arm muscle.

The muscle in front of the upper arm is a two-headed muscle, called the biceps. This muscle arises from a tuberosity of the scapula or shoulder blade and is inserted in the upper part of the radius bone of the forearm. The development in this muscle differs in various athletes. Sometimes the muscle has a long appearance, even when flexed, and in other cases, it has an egg-like appearance. Even though the biceps is the best-known muscle in the body, it very seldom attains its maximum development unless the student devotes special attention to its use. The length of the arm and the size of the bones also affect the appearance of this muscle, as they do other parts of the body. Nevertheless, the pupil can attain biceps that are not only huge in appearance, but strong as well.

How to Develop the Biceps

Any sort of curling exercise will develop the biceps, as also will chinning, rope-climbing, etc. The biceps should be exercised not only individually, but in coordination with other parts of the body as well, for if the student devotes individual attention to the biceps, to the exclusion of other muscles throughout the same exercise, his biceps will knot up, but they will not be of a strong character.

Most gymnasts, weight lifters, and apparatus workers have very strong biceps, owing to the nature of the work they do, although the biceps development in many of these cases is not up to the standard. This simply shows that special attention must be devoted to this muscle, if the student desires bulk and height to the muscle.

The biceps muscle varies considerably in formation on different individuals, as you no doubt have noticed when bathing or in gym work with other men, or even among your office or shop mates. Some men have a knotted, egg-shaped muscle, others have a knotted and exceedingly high biceps, which has a pointed effect at the top or belly, while others have biceps that do not know up, but are much longer in appearance.

Long biceps undoubtedly have better contour when the arm is relaxed, but they are not as strong as biceps that know up into a huge pointed lump on the belly of this muscle. There is also another shape to the biceps muscle, which on a large, heavily-muscled arm has the appearance of a baseball, that is, round from the every point of view. This kind of a biceps muscle is much thicker as a rule than the pointed and long biceps, and is generally much stronger. Such a formation can be seen on weight lifters, ring artists, etc. The biceps that knot up in egg-shaped appearance usually are best for posing purposes and for muscular display.

I have often noticed a common fault with the biceps among athletes. In a number of cases the lower head breaks or ends too soon, and does not extend as far downward toward the bend in the elbow as it should. This is caused by developing the belly of the biceps to a higher degree than the upper or lower parts of this muscle. Great care should be taken in exercising the biceps by starting the movement with the arm absolutely straight and stiff. The arm should be brought upward toward the shoulder, as high as it will go. If the student neglects the complete contractions and extensions of this muscle, and stops the movement the arm is straightened, he will develop the belly of the muscle to a greater degree, and also shorten the break in the lower part of the biceps. This, unfortunately, will give him a muscles that is not only inferior in appearance, but which will also be lacking considerably in competitive strength work.

Another example of how this can be brought about is shown in the common chinning exercise. You hang from the bar with the hands and endeavor to pull yourself upward, until your chin touches the bar. While performing this exercise, if you do not lower yourself until your arms are absolutely straight each time, you will shorten the biceps muscle.

A very common fault among beginners, especially those who start their physical career with light three-or-five pound dumb-bell exercises, is to never make a complete extension while performing biceps work, especially when the dumb-bells are held in front of them. In my opinion, complete extensions and contractions are of more importance than the number of repetitions. However, I will take this up later, in another chapter.

You should attach just as much importance to complete extensions of the triceps muscles as you do the biceps muscles, in order to secure the best results. If the student neglects this, he will fail to develop either the internal or external head of the triceps as thoroughly as he would if he extended his arm to his limit while performing each exercise.

Whether you are dipping on the floor or lifting weights overhead, or pushing an object away from you, you are doing it for exercise and development. Therefore, make sure the arm is straightened to its limit during each count.

You Can't Pay Too Much Attention to the Upper Arm

It is almost impossible for you to pay too much attention to the upper arms, for it is practically impossible to exercise or move the upper arms without working the shoulder, chest, or back muscles. In my idea of standard development, it is hardly possible for an athlete to over-develop his arms. You see so many highly developed athletes whose legs are splendid and whose torso is remarkable, yet they lack the professional finish to their development, owing to the fact that their arms are one or two inches too small, in proportion to their other muscles. This can be clearly shown to the student of anatomy, if you observe carefully the various kinds of physiques on the bathing beaches or in gymnasiums. You very seldom see a professional boxer whose arms are proportionately developed, in harmony with his body; whereas wrestlers, as a rule, possess arms that are fairly well in proportion, although in most cases the arms are not as highly developed as they could be. Weight lifters as a rule, have large arms. I am convinced that anyone can secure arms in proportion to his other muscles if he will only work to develop them.

It is not necessary to become a wrestler. It is not even necessary to become a weight lifter as long as the student will exercise scientifically and work against a strong resistance, whether it be the weight of his body, or some artificial appliance. The main factor about arm development is that the student must do progressive work. He must increase the resistance more and more as his arms become larger and stronger, otherwise he will simply stand still.

How You Can Acquire a Big Arm

It is an easy matter to acquire a 14-inch flexed upper arm. It is quite difficult for the average-sized man to reach 15 inches, and it is even more difficult for him to attain 16 inches. However, inasmuch as small-boned men have exceeded 16-inch upper arms, time and time again, it shows it can be done. The writer has proof of this, not only upon his own person, but upon thousands of others whom he has trained, and who have reached their maximum proportions.

When attempting arm development, it is folly for anyone to perform endless repetitions of movements, if he desires muscular tissue. For continuous light movements, they will give the pupil endurance, will never get him anywhere, as far as bulk and strength are concerned. The arms, in my opinion, should be tired in less than fifteen repetitions. If anyone can perform an exercise more than fifteen times, that exercise is too light for him. He should immediately adopt heavier progressive work.

It is essential, therefore, that the student employ artificial means for further arm development. Even in the ordinary chinning and dipping exercises, if the student can perform these more than fifteen counts, he must tie, or pick up weights with his feet, or else have an adjustable elastic resistance that could be more and more progressive, if he expects to reach the maximum in the muscles he is using.

Vigorous attention to the biceps not only hardens them, but it brings a greater supply of blood to his muscle, thereby causing it to swell upon completion of the exercise. The student will soon learn that by swelling the muscles up to their maximum size within fifteen counts he will accomplish better results than by working against a resistance light enough for a school boy.

It is this constant swelling up of the muscles that increases their size. Therefore, if the pupil will give his triceps and biceps vigorous work, tiring both of them thoroughly, until they are fairly aching, he will discover his arms will be from 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger when flexed than they were before, depending greatly, of course, upon his development.

Would You Like to Gain an Inch Next Month ?

The student who is desirous of gaining around his upper arm during the next month will find that this is not difficult by scientifically applied exercise to his biceps and triceps. All he need do is to exercise these muscles sufficiently every day to swell them to their limit. If the arm swells up 1/2 inch after exercising, it does not stay that way the rest of the day, but diminishes at least 15/32 of an inch, retaining 1/32 of an increase.

The first two weeks the student will undoubtedly gain 5/8 of an inch, whereas the next two weeks he should expect to gain more than 3/8 of an inch. The pupil will find that he will make more progress the first six months of the year than he will for the last six months. For as the muscles become hardened and more developed, the will find it more difficult to increase their size. This simply verifies what I said before; that it is not so easy to attain a 16-inch arm. It means patience and hard work. In weight lifting, a pupil can very easily in a very short space of time and without any previous experience, lift 100 pounds overhead with two hands, but he cannot expect to lift 200 pounds with two hands during the next equal period. If he lifts 125 pounds he will be very fortunate. The same thing applies to muscles.

A beginner who has never had any experience with training at all, and whose arm measures, for example, 12 inches when flexed, can attain, within three months, a 13 1/2 inch arm. During the next three month his arm will measure 14 to 14 1/2 inches. But during the next six months he will be very fortunate if his arm increases to 15 inches in size. The larger the upper arm becomes, the shorter it appears. Therefore, an athlete whose upper arm measures 15 1/2 to 16 1/2 inches, providing he is of average height, generally gives the impression that his arms are short, when, in reality, his reach is just as long as it was when he started. This, as a rule, equals the height.

Don't Expect to Develop Large Biceps from Ordinary Calisthenics Work

A student of average height who endeavors to develop his arms by light calisthenics work, can never expect to attain more that a 14 1/2-inch upper arm when flexed. Whereas the student who adopts progressive work, making the resistance stronger and stronger as he progresses, will not only save considerable time and energy, but he will develop muscles that are both huge in appearance and will be equal to any test of strength.

The individual with large bones again has the advantage over his small-boned competitor. A large-boned man develops his upper arms, that are not only stronger than his small-boned competitor, but arms that are more massive in appearance. On the other hand, the small-boned man may develop much finer looking arms; arms more suitable for photographing, owing to his small joints, than a large-boned man.

The small-boned individual, however, should not feel discouraged, for a 16-inch upper arm on a small-boned man looks much larger than a 17-inch arm on a big-boned individual, assuming, of course, that the individual has reached his maximum development.

Size of the arm counts little if the development is not there, and many fleshy people who have large arms do not present the appearance of a thinner type individual whose arms are well-trained. I have noticed in a number of cases that a well-developed 14-inch or 14 1/12 inch upper arm looks a great deal larger than a 15 1/2 inch upper arm, if the larger arm is not fully developed, even though both individuals are of the same height.

The forearm has considerable to do with the appearance of the upper arm, especially if the supinator longus muscle is thoroughly developed. The supinator longus muscles covering the upper and outer part of the forearm, pleasingly blend with the biceps, and if the pronator muscles on the inside of the forearm are roundly developed, it will set off the upper arm considerably.

Don't Neglect Your Forearm If You Want Symmetry

It is a difficult thing to develop the upper arm without developing the forearm, although if the student desires exceptionally developed forearms, he must devote special attention to them. I have seen athletes who are an exception to this rule. One strong man, in particular, whom I know, has remarkable upper arms, measuring over 16 inches, whereas his forearm measured less than 12 inches. There is a reverse to this. I have seen athletes with remarkable forearms whose upper arms seemed small in comparison, although they were above average measurement. This is commonly noticed on individuals whose bones are unusually large. The small-boned man, as a rule, has small forearms, thereby exaggerating his upper arms and making them look even larger than they really are.

It is exceedingly difficult to set a standard for the forearm and the upper arm development as to ideal measurements, but my idea as to pleasing proportions is a 16 inch upper arm and a 12 1/2 forearm; the forearm measurement, of course, being taken with arms straight. In order to find out the largest measurement of the forearm, the arm should be almost fully bent at the elbow, the fist clenched and the wrist turned down, and the tape passed around the largest part.

A well-developed forearm will show a difference of from two to three inches from a relaxed state in this manner. A well-developed forearm looks even more developed when the muscles of the wrist are pronounced. The student will find that the muscles above the wrist will increase the measurement of the wrist slightly when thoroughly developed, especially the extensor muscle which covers it.

Bending and turning the wrist, either with a weight or against a strong resistance is undoubtedly the best possible means for the development of the forearm. The repetitions of this group of muscles should not exceed fifteen or twenty counts. If the student can perform a greater number than this, he should increase the weight or resistance, so as to bring about maximum development in the shortest possible time.

Iron Nation

Monday, May 30, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 6 - The Massive Chest and How to Build It - By Earle E. Liederman


The muscles that contribute to the girth of the chest, as mentioned before, are the latissimus dorsi muscles of the back. For when this muscle is contracted, the chest measurement can be increased a great many inches. Nevertheless, attention should be paid to pectoral muscles, which cover the upper part of the chest, as well-rounded and thick pectorals are rare even in splendidly developed athletes. Every devotee to physical culture has well-developed pectoral muscles, but very few have all the contour and thickness that can be obtained by scientifically applied exercise to these muscles.

A great many people have the erroneous idea that the pectoral muscles constitute the major girth of the chest. This is a mistake. Thick pectorals, however, will increase the size of the chest a couple of inches. But the principal point in their development is to obtain the maximum strength and coordination in your development, and at the same time attain a striking appearance, characterized by the splendid contour of perfect pectoral development. Thick pectorals will add greatly to the height of your chest, and strong pectorals will come in mighty handy in the performance of feats of strength.

How Push Up Exercises Develop the Pectoral Muscles

The well-known push up exercise from the floor, sometimes called the "floor dip," will bring out the pectorals to a splendid degree, as will dipping on the parallel bars, or between chairs. These exercises are about the best to be had for this purpose. Yet additional resistance must be applied as the student progresses, and eventually, as his muscles become stronger and stronger, the number of repetitions will increase, until eventually he will be compelled to perform one hundred or more repetitions in order to tire the muscles used.

The pectorals should be tired within twenty-five counts, if possible. If further repetitions are called into play, the exercise becomes too light and considerable energy is lost. The push up from the floor will not affect the pectoral muscles as directly as will dipping on parallel bars, owing to the fact that in this exercise the body is lowered further down between parallel bars than in the case of pushing up from the floor.

If the student prefers floor dipping, I suggest that he elevate his feet on a chair or stool, and that he perform his dipping between two low boxes or stools, so as to enable his chest to be lowered as far downward as possible, until he feels a great strain placed upon the pectoral muscles. In performing push ups, whether it be on the floor, or between chairs, you cannot develop the pectoral muscles without developing the triceps and abdominal muscles as well, for all these groups are brought into play.

Direct Pectoral Exercise

If the student is desirous of putting direct application on the pectoral muscles, this can be done by clasping the hands in front of the chest and while resisting, pushing one hand as far as possible to the right, then pushing the other hand upon the return count as far as possible to the left, continuing this until both pectorals begin to ache.

I would not advise the student, however, to adhere strictly to this exercise, unless he is exceedingly deficient in pectoral development. For, as previously stated, when the muscles are exercised in groups, much better results can be obtained, as far as strength and coordination are concerned. When the student can perform more than twenty-five repetitions in a floor dip, or when dipping between chairs or bars, he should use some method of adding resistance. When exercising between the bars, he should utilize an adjustable weight tied to his feet. When this exercise is performed on the floor, he should have some elastic resistance, pulling against his body.

Having an adjustable weight with the loop arrangement, so as to loop it over the foot when dipping between the parallel bars, will compel you to lessen the repetitions and enable you to obtain all the strain you want, depending , of course, upon the amount of weight used.

The ambitious student can very easily secure elastic cables and manufacture a crude home-made harness to fit over his head or around the back of his neck, and with the cables attached to two screws on the floor, he can perform the push-up from the floor or between boxes, with the feet elevated on a chair, and thereby obtain much better results than if he performed the movement without any artificial resistance.

Of course, the use of a weight or elastic cables is not absolutely essential, as far as development is concerned, for the student will eventually obtain almost as good results by lifting the mere weight of his own body. However, it will take him longer to reach his maximum development.

Don't Neglect Your Light Exercises

Although I am an enthusiastic advocate of heavy work in physical culture, nevertheless, I am a firm believer in doing light exercises in conjunction with the heavy work, for if anyone does heavy work exclusively, he will eventually become slow in movement. Therefore, light work is essential if you desire speed, combined with great strength and development.

You should not perform the light work, however, until you have first finished your drill with the heavy work, because light endurance work will consume your energy, and prevent you from the continuance of muscle-building exercise. You have just so much energy to expand at each drill, and no more. Therefore, when the point of fatigue is reached, it is the sign to stop. Light endurance work should be done as relaxation or play. Therefore, it is better to perform such work some other part of the day or evening, during your period of relaxation.

I suggest also that the student adopt handball, swimming, skating, tennis and similar competitive sports, in order to develop speed and endurance. Such pastimes, not being muscle-building work, will not develop you to any extent, so do not depend wholly upon these sports for benefiting your muscular system. The are of more benefit to your internal organs and lungs than anything else.

The student might also performing floor dipping without any artificial resistance, as a limbering -up exercise, to precede his muscle-building drill. In that case he would do well to continue the repetitions until the muscles begin to ache, whether these counts total twenty-five or one hundred and twenty-five, for this exercise, even though a strenuous one for the beginners, is really a light one for the advanced pupil. Those who have not as yet reached their maximum degree of strength and development, will realize this as they progress. However, as stated for development, the student must arrange this floor-dipping exercise progressively and tire the muscles before the twenty-fifth count, otherwise it becomes a warming-up movement.

Don't Forget Your Deep Breathing Exercises

I am an enthusiast on deep breathing and highly recommend the student to take at least ten or fifteen deep inhalations after each muscle-building exercise, while he is resting for the next movement, even though he may be considerably out of breath. Indeed, when you are out of breath, deep breathing is of special benefit.

Practice deep breathing at all times, whenever you think of it during the day, for you really cannot get too much fresh air in your lungs. Deep breathing is excellent for the expansion of the rib box and for stretching the cartilage of the ribs and sternum, thereby deepening and widening the chest. Several inches can be gained in chest measurement by increasing the lung capacity.

An individual with a narrow rib box cannot expect to acquire the depth and size of the chest of his wide rib boxed competitor. Nevertheless, deep breathing can change the shape of his rib box considerably. Inhale through the nose always and always exhale through the mouth, when performing breathing exercises.

The lifting of a weight while lying on your back on the floor also benefits the pectoral muscles, but does not offer as complete a movement as dipping between parallel bars or chairs. Chinning the bar also brings into play the pectoral muscles to some extent, but not as strongly as dipping.

Building Health by Deep Breathing

One of the finest developed chest I ever saw was build up largely through deep breathing exercises. This young fellow, only a few years before, had been advised to give up his work and go out on a ranch to live, for the doctor thought that he was far advanced in tuberculosis.

Circumstances were such with him at the time, however, that he could not possibly get away, as he would lose the result of several years' hard work in a little business he had built up in the East.

When he came to see me, and asked what I would suggest, under the circumstances, I told him that, to my mind, there wasn't any reason in the world why he couldn't develop his lung power, increase his health and his vital resistance, and maybe even overcome, to a very great extent, the ravages of his disease, and still remain in New York.

Under my instructions he started to breathe properly. His progress was nothing short of remarkable. For within three months, he had gained two inches in lung expansion. I then put him on carefully selected exercised, calculated to develop his pectoral muscles and his lung capacity, and today, two years after he first came to me, he is entirely free from his tubercular condition. In fact, this same doctor now says: "He is the very picture of ruddy health." And he didn't have to go away or give up his business to get this either, as he had been warned to do.

I don't tell you this for the purpose of creating any distrust in your doctor, or what your doctor tells you. I only tell you what any well qualified doctor will tell you; that is, that a good part of any cure of lung trouble must come from deep breathing exercises and the better nutrition which these exercises help to bring about.

You Can Enlarge Your Chest Four or Five Inches

Now, natural deep breathing will enlarge anyone's chest several inches in a remarkably short space of time. Yet you will find that nine people out of ten are actually too lazy to inhale to the fullest extent. In fact, the deepest inhalation of most cigarette smokers is when they inhale the poisonous smoke of cigarettes. If the reader will try and form the habit of taking at least fifty deep, long breaths every day, he will be amply paid for these efforts, not only in the increased size of his chest, but in the better supply of blood and increased vitality that he will gain from doing this. Continual deep inhalations expand the rib box, for every rib is joined together by cartilage, and these expand or contract with each inhalation. The sternum or breast bone also consists of cartilage, and this expands in unison.

In conjunction with the deep breathing, if you will apply systematic exercising to the pectoral muscles, which cover the upper chest, you can add another couple of inches to the size of your chest. If you will also apply systematic exercising to the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back, you will add many more inches to the size of the chest.

Don't Depend on Your Tailor for a Deep Chest

After reading this, how can anyone remain satisfied with a chest that is undersized, and not up the standard. With a deep, full chest, you won't have to depend upon the tailor to give you an athletic appearance. And you will also find that the increased blood supply in circulation, and the greater supply of oxygen, will give you the vitality and energy that only a well-trained athlete knows.

The pectoral muscles can be developed by numerous methods, but., after all, it is all based on one principle; that is , of cramping the muscles together, or contracting them. The student should be considerate and give more attention to the muscles of the back than to the pectoral muscles, for too much pectoral muscle has a tendency to bring the shoulders forward and give you a round-shouldered appearance. However, if the deltoid and back muscles are exercised in conjunction with the pectorals, no one need fear becoming round-shouldered.

A deep, full, well-developed chest is admired by all, and looks especially well under a top light when being photographed. The, again, a good chest, gives the owner a fine appearance when in bathing, especially when the sun is overhead, and deep shadows are cast under the pectoral muscles.

It is not uncommon for anyone who has practiced deep breathing and systematic chest exercises, including exercises for the muscles of the back, which help to increase the size of the chest, to have an expansion of over a foot. I myself can show a difference of 14 inches between contraction and expansion, and I have seen and measured a professional strong man whose expansion was over 18 inches. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for a well-trained athlete to be able to place a cup and saucer on top of his expanded chest, without it falling off.

Of Course, the Big-boned Man Again Has the Advantage

The big-boned man naturally has the advantage again over his small-boned neighbor. For the small-framed individual cannot and must not expect as broad a chest as one who possesses a wide, bony structure, and who has exceptionally wide shoulders. However, the small-boned athlete can develop a chest that he can be proud of, for he can increase his pectoral muscles to a thickness of several inches, and then undoubtedly have more depth to his chest than his broad-boned competitor. The broad-boned man, however, can have a much wider and broader chest, if he trains for it, and of course, could attain much larger measurements.

There is another set of very pleasant looking muscles of the chest called the serratus magnus, which consists of nine fleshy digitations, of which only five can be seen. These muscles are located on each side of the rib box, and have the appearance of ribs to the general public who do not know anatomy. These muscles look especially well on a well-trained athlete, and are developed chiefly by pushing overhead.

How to find the True Lung Expansion

To find the true lung expansion the measurement should be taken at the ninth rib. Then the student will find, much to his surprise, that he will not be able to expand more than one to three inches, depending upon the size of his rib box. The rib box must be taken into consideration in estimating chest development. Some people are fortunate in possessing ribs that are wide apart in the front, while others have a framework that shows the ribs almost parallel with each other.

A person whose ribs are far apart generally has more endurance, more reserve energy and greater lung capacity than the person whose ribs are narrow. However, everyone's rib box can be enlarged, as I have stated. If you are not among the fortunate ones, there is no reason why you should not improve yourself to your limit and become stronger, more energetic and better developed than the average calisthenics student.

It was only a few years ago that a thin, sickly, flat-chested young man called on me. I examined him. He stood before me, and I carefully noticed his numerous defects. He had a narrow rib box, a rather deep hollow in the center of his chest. His back protruded from his round shoulders in a way that, if the same curve had been in front of him, would have given him a very high chest. If I recall rightly, his chest measured normal, about 32 inches. The other parts of his body were in no better proportion. He weighed about 115 pounds and was of average height.

For the first three months, all I had him do was systematic deep breathing - nothing else. No exercise in any form, except walking. After that I slowly progressed with scientific exercises. Before one year was up, this chap had an all-round development and a chest that was his most prominent feature. He told me his friends called him "Chesty." This man continued progressive exercising and deep breathing, and after three years, has become one of the finest developed athletes America has ever produced.

His arms and shoulders and chest reached massive dimensions in spite of his small rib box. His legs have rounded out into wonderful proportions, while his strength has become more than six times greater than it was the day I first met him. I am simply quoting this as an example to show what anyone can do if he so desires.

So there is no need for anyone to continue to own a chest that he is not satisfied with. It is only a matter of making up your mind to build it up, and then, "going to it."

Iron Nation

Sunday, May 29, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 5 - The Perfect Back and How to Develop It - By Earle E. Liederman


The muscles of the back are undoubtedly the most interesting sets of muscles in he body, owing both to their remarkable formation and to their great number. Even though everyone's muscles have the same origin and insertion, still the formation of back developments differ greatly. The majority of backs not only have a stoop-shouldered effect, but they are practically flat in appearance, owing to the lack of proper muscular development. A well-muscled back should have quite a cavity running from the base of the neck downward towards the hips, and this cavity is harmoniously situated between well-rounded muscles.

It is almost impossible to neglect the shoulders and back if you perform arm work, and if the proper exercises are indulged in, the back and shoulders are worked in coordination with the arms. This is the way a person should exercise the muscles--in groups. With proper attention paid to the back muscles, the student need have little fear of ever becoming stoop-shouldered, although if the back is over-developed, there will be a tendency to round shoulders.

This can be eliminated by devoting a little time after each drill to straightening up exercises, such as clasping the hands behind the hips with warms stiff, and forcing the shoulders back as far as possible, until the shoulder blades touch. This should be performed after each drill, and repeated quite a number of times, as it will shorten the back muscles and lengthen the pectorals of the chest, which draw the shoulders forward.

The most prominent muscle of the back is the latissimus dorsi. This muscle covers almost the entire sides and the back, from the waist to the armpits, and inserts itself along the spinous processes of the fifth and sixth thoracic and the lumbar vertebrae. This muscle can be developed to enormous proportions. The greater it is developed the more slant the individual possesses from the arm pits to the waist, and the broader his back becomes, not to speak of the pleasing appearance it presents in the form of beautiful, rolling muscles.

How the Back Muscles Are Developed

The latissimus dorsi muscle is developed by the constant pulling of the arms from an overhead position downward, whether this is accomplished in a forward movement or a side movement. Chinning the bar is another great exercise for this muscle. Any movement is helpful that tends to bring the arms downward, whether lifting a heavy weight from the floor while stooping forward and coming to an erect position, or whether the arms are worked against a strong resistance from an overhead start. The action is practically the same in either case.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is usually of great prominence in professional athletes, for no one is satisfied with his appearance until he has attained somewhere near the maximum proportions in this muscle. Until this muscle has been highly developed, the pupil must not expect to be as powerful or as symmetrically developed as he will become after devoting consistent attention to his back. I have seen almost unbelievable proportions in this muscle on some prominent strong men. When the muscle has been developed to its maximum equally on each side, it can be tensed so as to make the back broader in appearance than the entire width of the shoulders.

The trapezius muscle, covering the upper back on each side of the neck and giving the slant from the neck to the shoulders, is another important muscle that requires considerable attention. When highly developed it greatly improves the athlete's appearance. This muscle is used in shrugging the shoulders. It also assists in raising the shoulders and arms upward, after they pass a horizontal position.

It is one of the first muscles of a weak individual which tires as a result of carrying a heavy suitcase. The constant lifting of heavy objects from the floor in standing erect with the arms at the sides will develop this muscle. When properly developed and when the muscles of the back are tensed for display, these muscles have the appearance of a W in the center of the back. These muscles are also developed by the constant contraction of the shoulders when the pupil endeavors to swing the arms backwards, working against a resistance, such as a heavy tensioned chest expander. If these two major muscles of the back work in coordination, not only an interesting muscular display can be accomplished, but the owner will be able to perform feats of strength that will be impossible for the average properly trained athlete.

The Center of Your Nervous Energy

The center of the nervous system which contains most of your energy, lies in the small of the back. Therefore, if you are constantly bending and stooping forward, backward and sideways, preferably against a strong resistance of some kind, you will acquire a powerful back that will stimulate the nervous system, as well as eliminate all backaches and tired felling that usually manifest themselves in this region.

The first signs of weakness and run-down condition usually appear in the small of the back. This causes pain or stiffness in that portion of the body. However, a well-trained athlete need have little fear of these common ailments. For, if the student who is past middle age and is beginning to slip backwards, will devote a little attention to this part of his body, not only will he find his health improving, but also his vitality will be ever on the increase, instead of on the down-hill grade.

How to Get the Best Results with Back Muscle Concentration

Although it is difficult to exercise the arms and shoulders without giving the back plenty of work at the same time, still the exercise that the back receives when the movements are applied directly to the arms or shoulders, does not influence the back muscles as directly as if the pupil concentrated only upon the muscle or groups of muscles he desires to develop. Therefore, in order to produce the best results and the most rapid progress for the muscles of the back, concentration and direct application must be placed on this part.

As the latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle of the back, naturally the student will notice the progress of this muscle sooner than other muscles of the back. Although swimming is about the best exercise calling into play the latissimus dorsi muscle, still the lightness of the movements will not produce as quick results for this muscle as heavier exercise. Chinning the bar is a much heavier exercise for this muscle than is swimming. Consequently the student will progress more rapidly and obtain more of a slant from his armpits to his waist through the practice of chinning than he will from swimming. Rope climbing is of special benefit to this latissimus dorsi muscle, as also is the lifting of a heavy weight from the floor. This latter should be done while stooping forward and keeping the knees stiff, and raising the weight to the height of the waistline and lowering it again.

And, again, the arms may be brought downward and backward from a forward position, or brought downward from a side position, as both movements hit this muscle directly. The greater the resistance in this movement, the quicker the results.

Contracting the Latissimus Dorsi Muscles for Show Purposes

Most athletes are quite conscious of this latissimus dorsi muscle and as a result they usually keep it contracted when they are appearing before the public. Although contraction of this muscle show its size to advantage, nevertheless, the muscle is more pleasing to the eye when relaxed, for it is in this condition that the harmonious curves express themselves.

I have found from experience and observation that the latissimus dorsi muscle is about the easiest muscle to develop, excepting perhaps, the neck muscles. Therefore, if the student will devote systematic exercise to the betterment of this splendid muscle of the back, he will very soon appreciate more fully the values of scientifically applied physical culture. With this muscle developed to the maximum degree, the differences in chest measurement from contracted to expanded chest will startle the average person. Although this is not true of lung expansion, nevertheless the contraction of the muscles constitutes a standard in chest expanded measurements.

I have seen professional strong men whose expansion with the aid of the latissimus dorsi muscle and other muscles made a difference of over 20 inches from the contracted chest measurement. As a matter of curiosity, I measured my own chest, while writing this chapter, and found a difference of 14 1/2 inches from the contracted measurement to the complete inhalation combined with muscular expansion.

Some Exercises for the Latissimus Dorsi

Exercise 1. Pick up weight from the floor in front of you by stooping over without bending the knees. Raise the weight to the height of the waistline and lower.

Exercise 2. Chin the bar, first with the hands close together and later with the hands wide apart. Keep palms of hands facing you. Do the same exercise with the palms of the hands turned away from you.

Exercise 3. Stand sideways to the wall and hold the exerciser at arm's length. Bring the exerciser downward to the side while keeping arms stiff. Do the same with the other arm.

It is very difficult to find exercises that will tire the latissimus dorsi muscle within ten repetitions, for if the resistance is too strong, there is a tendency for the arms or shoulders to tire first. I have found that the best results are obtained by having sufficient resistance to tire this muscle in about fifteen counts. If you are able to perform more than twenty repetitions sin exercising this muscle, the work is too light for you and you must work against a stronger resistance, or use heavier weights, as with the deltoid and other muscles.

The Trapezius Muscle of the Back

If this muscle is over-developed, it will have a tendency to make the individual appear somewhat round-shouldered when viewed from the front or from the side, owing to the huge formation of the upper part, bulging on the upper back between the neck and the shoulders. The student should take great care in practicing straightening-up exercises after each period spent in training this muscle, to shorten it, and get it in the habit of assuming an erect carriage.

I am a great believer in exercising the muscles in groups as much as possible, especially those of the back, for if the pupil endeavors to exercise each muscle individually, he will soon tire from lack of vitality. You have only a certain amount of energy to expend at each drill; therefore, you should exercise systematically, so as to tire as many muscles with each movement as possible, thereby conserving your energy and saving time.

There is hardly any need for the pupil to devote special exercise to the small of the back, providing he performs the exercise of picking up weights from the floor to the height of the waist. This movement gives direct play upon the latissimus dorsi and at the same time hits the muscles of the small of the back directly. Therefore, in this movement, you are tiring both the latissimus dorsi muscles and the various muscles in the lumbar region. You also put great stress upon the trapezius muscle.

A similar example can be illustrated when applying exercise to this trapezius muscle. By moving the arms sideways or upwards, or from forward to backwards while the arms are parallel with the floor, and while working against a heavy resistance, the deltoid and trapezius muscles can be worked in unison, and thereby tired together.

I do not believe in the concentration of your work on individual muscles, unless the student is particularly desirous of developing a certain muscle at the expense of others. If, for example, the student is lacking in latissimus dorisi development and has good trapezius muscles, and good deltoids, then, in that case, it will be advisable for him to exercise the latissimus dorsi muscles individually, until they are developed in proportion with the surrounding muscles.

The Value of an Ideal

Many years ago I made the acquaintance of one of America's most highly developed athletes, by the name of Adolph Nordquest. I had seen this remarkable man perform on numerous occasions, and had always admired his amazing muscles and remarkable strength. I used to study him for hours, both in admiration and criticism, and I do not think I ever found a flaw in his make-up. I asked him once to tell what stimulated him to obtain his goal. Did anyone influence him, or what was his ideal in development.

He very quickly told me that Eugene Sandow always was his ideal, and he tried to resemble him in every way possible. He even adopted at one time the professional nom de plume of "Young Sandow," and I must say his physique greatly resembled the original Eugene Sandow's physique.

When in my youth, I , too, had ideals which I followed. Although I did not develop myself along the same lines as these men, nevertheless, I have succeeded far better than might have been expected. So, whether the student adopts an ideal from the person or from the photograph of any certain athlete or strong man, and even though he does not develop himself to this perfection and resemblance, he may obtain strength and muscles that will greatly exceed his expectations.

Observe Your Back Carefully

One of the most common tendencies on the part of the student of physical culture is to devote more attention to the front part of the body than to the back. This is perfectly natural, owing to the fact that a person cannot se his back, but is constantly looking at his front view in the mirror, and sees his defects and improvements in the front only. Systematically applied exercises must be done for the parts hidden from your face as well.

If you turn your back to the mirror and look through a small hand mirror placed in front of you, you will be able to get a better conception of the formation of the back muscles. If you stand under a good light it will enable you to study your body. I advise daily mirror gazing for this purpose. You need not make this period one of admiration, but simply study the formation and the movements of your muscles, and look wholly for defects - nothing else. Let the admiration come from others.

A Very Important Mirror Tip

While I am on this subject, I might mention that if you desire to see yourself as others see you, and at the same distance as others would be when looking at you, always remember that when you face a full-length mirror, your reflection is twice the distance between you and the mirror. Therefore, you see yourself as other would see you if standing that distance away from you.

To make things clearer; if you stand 10 feet away from your mirror, your reflection will be as it actually appears 20 feet away from you. Therefore, you see yourself as someone else would see you - 20 feet away. Naturally, in looking at your reflection, you endeavor to look your best. This is human nature. It is like being fitted for a suit of clothes. You have a tendency to stand erect, not mainly to help your tailor, but because you enjoy seeing yourself always at your best. Then when the clothes come from the tailor, they do not always fit you as perfectly as you expect them to, because unless you stand erect and assume your best posture, a few wrinkles in the material will develop.

The same thing applies when studying your body in the mirror. If you always look at yourself at your best, you will have to be continually self-conscious when appearing before others, whether in a gymnasium costume or bathing suit, in order to look the same as you last saw yourself. Therefore, simply stand straight, but relaxed, when studying your body in the mirror, for this is how others will see you. If you are anything but relaxed at all times, not only will you develop considerable self-consciousness, but you will find it a very tedious and tiresome undertaking.

The only thing you should be conscious of at all times is an erect posture. Therefore, it you will constantly assume this posture, so as to avoid a hollow chest and round shoulders, gradually you will form the habit of sitting, standing and walking erect at all times. It will even be difficult for you to assume anything except a proper position.

Iron Nation

Rolling Thunder 2011 - Annual Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally in Washington, DC

Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle rally that is held in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend. About 400,000 veterans will roar across Washington, DC on their motorcycles as a tribute to American war heroes.


Iron Nation

Saturday, May 28, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 4 - The Shoulders and their Development - By Earle E. Liederman


Some time ago a husky-looking chap came to me for physical examination and advice. I had the young fellow strip and put him through a few moderately severe exercises, to determine what condition he was in.

I found he was very well qualified in most of the strength tests, with the exception of the "push up" and certain other exercises that required superior development of the deltoids.

His arms, chest and legs were very well-developed, but it was evident to myself and my assistants that this man hadn't done any really conscientious work on his shoulders.

I pointed out his defect, and he put himself under my care, with the purpose of taking some special exercises for the muscles that were lacking in development. I took careful measurements, and also several photographs - front, back and side views - and filed them away for subsequent comparison.

The young fellow worked faithfully under my direction for several months. At the expiration of that time, he came back to see me and report progress. You wouldn't believe that such a change could be wrought in a chap who was originally a pretty husky, presentable looking individual. For the improvement was simply wonderful. He had muscles that weren't apparent at all when I first examined him. His tests showed about 58 percent increase in deltoid strength and endurance, and he was a perfect picture of manhood.

So, I say that the neglect of his one muscle often shows a lack of condition in an athlete, and this one muscle is the deltoid or shoulder muscle. When the deltoids are full, round , thick and bulging, it signifies the athlete is in splendid shape. But when they become flat and flabby, and the back becomes the broadest part of the body, then it is significant that the athlete is far from being in good condition.

The Deltoid Prime of Life

The deltoid or shoulder muscles are most prominent between the ages of twenty and thirty. It is then that the cords and inner fibers show themselves to best advantage. But as a rule, after thirty years of age, a man's shoulders, providing he keeps in good condition, become somewhat thicker and less prominent. After the age of forty, the shoulders can never again regain the same contour. Of course, if the individual has done but little training he can make wonderful gains after the age of forty, but I am referring in this paragraph to the already trained athlete who values his measurements and muscle contour.

One inch of muscle on the shoulder makes a vast difference in appearance in breadth. I want to make this point very emphatic, as I wish to impress upon young men, particularly, the dangers of delay and procrastination, if they ever want to really build themselves up.

Now, in order to develop the shoulders to a maximum degree, the anterior and the posterior deltoids must be exercised in cooperation with the external or side portion. The action of the deltoid muscle is to lift the arm from the side and bring it upwards until it is parallel with the ground. Beyond this point further action is assisted by the trapezius muscle. It is practically impossible for anyone to exercise the deltoid or shoulder muscle without getting the trapezius, back and arm muscles to work as well.

Well-developed deltoids are very pleasing to look at and set off the athlete off considerably. Boxing, bag-punching or any form of exercise that has a tendency to swing the shoulders, will develop the deltoid muscles. However, direct application can be had by systematic exercising including the raising of the arms forward, sideways or backwards with a resistance to work against. In this manner much heavier shoulder muscles can be developed than the mere swinging of the arms, as in boxing or bag-punching, and this was exactly what I developed in the young man of whom I spoke earlier in this chapter.

When the Tailor Made the Man

Years ago when men's styles featured broad shoulders, the weak individual depended entirely upon the tailor to make him broader. However, present day styles do not contemplate padding the shoulders. Therefore, to possess an athletic appearance, everyone must devote special training to the deltoid muscles, in order to broaden the shoulders and add to his general appearance.

The size of the bones again plays an important part in the general width of anyone's shoulders. The small-framed individual cannot expect to become as broad-shouldered as one who possesses a large framework, but, nevertheless, the small-boned man can broaden his shoulders a few inches by devoting attention to the deltoid muscle.

As a rule, horizontal bar and ring performers have exceptionally developed shoulder muscles. The same can be found in weight lifters. However, anyone can strengthen and develop the deltoid muscle to the maximum by scientifically and systematically applied exercise.

The shoulder muscles, as a rule, become tired quicker than any other part of your body when doing competitive work. This can be clearly illustrated when swimming. If your wind is in excellent condition, you will find the shoulders will usually be first affected by the continual efforts.

There is one other matter of which I wish to speak, and which I consider most important, especially to those wish to possess a really symmetrical development. I urgent recommend a great deal of attention to the posterior deltoid, as well as the external fibers. If too much effort is given to the anterior deltoid, it will have a tendency to make one appear somewhat round-shouldered. I have seen many an otherwise splendid physique marred by the failure to observe this little point.

How to Overcome Round Shoulders

Round shoulders may rightly be considered one of the worst handicaps to anyone who aspires to physical perfection. And they are quite inexcusable. Such a man is downright lazy or indifferent about his appearance.

One of the finest exercises for overcoming round shoulders is to bring the arms from a front position parallel with the floor to a position as far back as they are capable of going, keeping them parallel at all times, and working against a powerful resistance. Then, again, the shoulders should be brought back as far as possible after the completion of each exercise period, in order to shorten the muscles of the back. This will offset the tendency of the shoulders to drop forward after you have given them vigorous exercise.

Measuring the Shoulders

A person whose shoulders measure more than 18 inches can be considered quite broad. I have know in some cases, however, of remarkably developed athletes, where the shoulders measured more than 24 inches across. Perhaps you may not know the proper way of measuring the shoulders. I have yet to find many who do.

The simple method of measuring the shoulders is by having someone place two sticks, rods or rulers at the end of each shoulder, parallel with each other. Then the measurement should be taken in between these sticks. If you attempt to measure your shoulders by placing the tape across the front or behind the back, you will not get an accurate measurement. Instead, you may find yourself one or two inches broader than you really are.

How to Obtain Quickest Results

The larger the deltoids become the better they set off the arms. The best way to develop these muscles is to raise the arms forward, sideways, and backwards, to the height of the shoulder, all the while working against a resistance. Whether this resistance be in the form of adjustable dumb-bell, elastic exerciser, or other apparatus, the resistance should be progressive, and increased each week as the shoulders become stronger.

In order to obtain the quickest results, the repetitions should not exceed from ten to fifteen counts. If the student exercises so vigorously as to make it impossible for him to do more than five or six repetitions, he is using up his strength too rapidly and retards his development.

I have found from experience that the best results can be obtained for the shoulders by carrying the repetitions to over ten and less than fifteen counts. However, if the muscles do not begin to ache a little at the fifteenth repetition, the pupil should work against a stronger resistance. If you perform light work, and it takes, for example, thirty-five to fifty repetitions before the deltoids reach their aching point, you can tell the work is too light for you. Of course, some progress can be made, so far as endurance and development is concerned, by performing these lighter movements. But no great degree of deltoid development can be reached unless you work against resistance strong enough to tire the muscles within fifteen repetitions. You must progress each week by adding more resistance to the work, providing , of course, it becomes easier to do fifteen counts in the exercise than it did the previous week.

I am not an advocate of resistance movements, neither am I against them. Resistance movements are all right for bringing the muscles out for posing or photographic purposes, but they are inferior to movements where artificial resistance is used, because of the fact that while performing resistance work, the pupil is apt to resume the resistance with the mind wandering, and also by giving too much attention to his feelings. There is also a tendency to discover easier methods of performing the exercises, and such discoveries are fatal to physical progress.

Some Exercises for Your Shoulders

1. Stand erect; raise the arms with a weight or exerciser forward until they are parallel with the floor and at the height of the shoulder. Now lower and repeat. This will develop the anterior deltoid. If the palm of the hand is kept facing downward, the supinator muscles of the forearm are also benefited considerably.

2. Raise the arm sideways, until the arm is parallel with the floor, and at the height of the shoulders; keep palm down. This movement will develop the external head of the deltoid and broaden the shoulders, at he same time benefiting the external head of the triceps.

3.. Raise the arm backwards as far as possible. This movement is for the posterior deltoid and the upper muscles as well. If the arm is kept rigid while performing this movement, the internal head of the triceps receives considerable work. By paying attention to the anterior and the posterior parts of the deltoid muscle, the should will become thicker and will have more depth.

It is not uncommon to see individuals with wide shoulders whose external deltoids are remarkably developed, but who are sadly lacking in the anterior and posterior sections of this muscle, thus giving them a slim appearance.

When the deltoid is properly developed, there are a series of fibers or digitations faintly showing at the external portion. These fibers give an excellent appearance to the deltoids under proper lighting. With the posterior deltoid properly developed, the fleshy bumps will help greatly to make the back straight an set off the roundness of the back.

If you are really interested in bringing out all the fine points in your physique I strongly urge you to pay a great deal of attention to the development of your deltoids, for they certainly contribute in a great way toward making up the ideal figure of a man. And this is what we all want to do.

Iron Nation

Friday, May 27, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924) - Chapter 3 - The Structure and Development of the Neck - By Earle E. Liederman


A short time ago I was talking on physical development to a well-known athlete. This man had broken into the game as a hammer-thrower and shot-putter during is college career, but subsequently wound up as one the best mat artists in the country.

He had a magnificent development, which I admired very much, so we got to discussing the various things that go to build up a powerful physique that is "easy to look at."

In the course of the conversation this man said to me: "you can talk as you please, but I as an athlete judge a man's development more by the size and contour of his neck than by any other way. For what a man is, and what he has done, shows up in his neck, and in the full, firm contour of these muscles just as thought he had drawn a map for you."

What my friend said is true, for the neck is one part of the body that responds very rapidly to exercise, and a well-developed neck is not only pleasing to the eye, but helps greatly to convey a better blood supply to the brain. The, too, it has its advantages in the event of a fall, for a strong neck is not as apt to break as a weak one. In order to develop the neck to pleasing proportions, a great variety of movements must be gone through, for much finer results can be accomplished by varying the movements than if the student simply performed one or two exercises.

Don't Try to Choke Yourself

The wearing of tight collars retards neck development. Collars should be worn comfortably, not too loose so as to look untidy. Soft collars are much better to wear than stiffed starched collars, for they allow greater freedom of movement. If you observe people's necks, you will see hundreds of different sizes and shapes before you have looked very far. Some are so fleshy in the back that a great many wrinkles can be seen. Others are exceedingly fleshy in front, causing one to two extra chins. Necks that are stringy and appear to have two ugly cords running towards the top of the head in the back are not uncommon. Prominent "Adam's apples" and scrawny, cordy appearances are often seen in the front of the neck.

I have always contended that there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to have a scrawny or ungainly looking neck, when a few minutes devoted every day to the care and welfare of this part of the body would not only make the pupil feel better, but would change his appearance completely. Double chins can easily be removed with properly applied exercise.

It is not necessary for anyone to develop his neck to the huge proportions of a wrestler's, unless he so desires, but if properly applied exercises are devoted especially to the trapezius muscle in the back and also to the sterno-cleido-mastoid at the sides of the neck, symmetrical lines will make their appearance in a very short space of time.

When exercising the neck, care should be taken not to apply the resistance too vigorously, for sometimes the muscles are over-strained and a kink in the neck is a very unpleasant feeling and lasts for several days. Begin all neck movements slowly.

Neck Movements Should Be Done Slowly in Order to See the Greatest Possible Benefit

Do not perform any of them in a jerky manner, and be careful to avoid strain. The resistance applied behind the head for development of the head in the back should be done in an even steady manner. The first movement should be much lighter than the second, and second movement lighter than the third, until about the fifteenth or twentieth count, when the strongest pressure should be applied. By devoting special attention to the back of the neck, you straighten the appearance of your spine and eliminate the hollows between the occipital bone in the back of the head and upper dorsal vertebrae, which gives the appearance of round shoulders.

By having the neck developed straight in the back, the appearance of the student will be greatly improved, owing to his erect, military posture. By paying attention also to the sterno-cleido-mastoid muscles, at the sides of the neck it will help square out the neck and give the straight, athletic lines so commonly noticed in anyone who does a great amount of athletic work.

Modern fashions in collars tend to hide the defects in people's necks. Therefore, the time to look at the neck critically, is when people are in bathing suits. Then the real truth comes out. For instance, a neck may look fairly pleasing to the eye with a high collar on, but when the high collar comes off, the neck will be found very defective in the lower part, owing to the poor development of the trapezius muscle. Head-circling, turning and twisting, and bending from side to side are common movements for the neck and this light work will help greatly, when combined with scientifically applied neck movements, towards a symmetrical development. Performing the wrestler's bridge is also excellent for strength purposes, and will help greatly towards further development.

The Size of the Head Is an Important Factor

The size and shape of the head is an important factor in neck development, as I have said before. A person with a narrow face and a long, narrow head cannot and must not expect to obtain the same size neck as a person whose features are of a bull-dog type; that is, square or round. However, such people need not be discouraged, for their necks can be developed from 15 1/2 to 16 1/2 inches, depending, of course, upon the height of the individual. A person who has a large head and large features naturally requires a much larger neck to harmonize with the rest of his body than his narrow-type friend. Such individuals can acquire necks from 16 1/2 to 18 1/2 inches, depending again upon the height of the individual.

I have always been thankful that I have developed a strong, muscular neck, for I remember once while bathing in a swimming pool at Long Beach, California, I took a high dive, without any thought as to the depth of the water, and hit the bottom with such force that my arm was thrown against my shoulder and my head hit the bottom so hard and at such an angle, that not only did I have a lump on top of my head the size of a small apple, but my neck and shoulder pained me for many days thereafter. I am positive that if my neck had been weak at this time, it would have snapped. In fact, as every reader of these pages knows, it is not at all uncommon to hear of divers breaking their necks when hitting bottom.

Don't Stock Up Too Heavily on Collars and Shirts

To a person who is desirous of increasing the size of the neck, I suggest that he do not stock up too freely with shirts and collars, for you will find that every week or two you will have to get larger sizes. However, there is no need to fear developing your neck to enormous or ungainly proportions. For when your neck is large enough to suit yourself, all you have to do is stop development work, and just do light work, such as twisting or turning the neck. This will keep the neck in shape and it will not get any larger.

One of the first places which will tell the condition of an athlete is the back of his neck. When an athlete starts slipping backwards it is usually accompanied by the thinning out ot the posterior part of the neck.

One of the largest necks I have ever seen on any well-trained athlete was that of George Hackenschmidt, the former world's champion wrestler. Hackenschmidt weighed about 215 pounds, stripped, at the time, with an exceptionally large frame and head. His neck measured 22 1/2 inches. Stanislaus Zbyszko, the noted wrestler, also has a neck that measures well over 20 inches.

However, one of the most remarkable tests of strength I have ever seen put to the neck was when Joseph Vitole, a small, 150-pound athlete, lifted from the floor 550 pounds with his teeth alone. Think of the remarkable bull-dog grip this miniature Hercules possessed at he time of this lift. I particularly noticed the great strain and the manner in which the muscles of the neck bulged outward at the time I saw him make this world's record-breaking lift. Vitole has a neck measuring about 17 inches, but the muscles are of exceptionally fine quality.

Don't Let Your Hair Grow Too Far Down on Your Neck

Now, here's a little secret. If you want to add to the appearance of your neck, do not permit the hair to grow too far down the back, but always keep the hair neatly trimmed. This will not only give you a cleaner appearance from the rear, but it will enable your neck muscles to present their best appearance.

I also want to tell you that by properly applied exercises to the front of the neck, a prominent "Adam's apple" can be made to appear smaller, and all excess flesh under the chin can be eliminated. To my mind nothing is more pleasing to the eye than to see a well-set jaw and chin, backed up by a well-developed neck. You surely know that the way you carry your head makes a wonderful difference in your posture and in your personality. So do not allow your head to drop forward, but endeavor to keep it erect at all times. Remember, that constantly forcing the chin downward will cause wrinkles in the front of the neck, whereas, on the contrary, by constantly holding the chin high in the air, you will have a tendency to cause wrinkles in the back of the neck. My best advice is to study yourself in the mirror, not for the sake of vanity, but for the purpose of looking for improvement and benefiting your appearance.

I may say right here that one reason most singers develop two or more chins is that they are constantly exercising the neck muscles with the lower jaw abnormally relaxed. It's difficult for them to avoid this, for they really have to relax these jaw muscles, while at the same time they are putting a certain amount of tension on the neck muscles.

However, you or any other athlete can avoid this, if you will only bear the following instructions in mind.

Exercises for the Neck

l. Clasp your hands behind the head while sitting or standing erect. Now pull the head forward, strongly resisting at the same time with the muscles of the neck. Make as complete a movement as possible, beginning from an erect posture, and pull the head forward as far as the muscles will allow it to go. This will strengthen and develop the trapezius muscle and give straightness to the back of the neck. Variations on this exercise can be made by first holding the chin in, and again sticking the chin out while performing the movement.

2. Place your right hand on the right side of head, and push the head as far as you can to the left, resisting meanwhile with the muscles of the neck. This exercise will develop the sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle and give the neck a square appearance when viewed from the front. Do the same with left hand and push the head to the right.

Neither of the two above exercises should be performed less than fifteen counts nor more than twenty-five counts. If the pressure is applied too vigorously, and the muscles become tired in less than fifteen repetitions, there may be a tendency to strain some part of the muscle and cause a very unpleasant kink in the neck. If such a kink is ever experienced, massage the part thoroughly and give the muscle a rest for a few days.

Twisting the head from side to side, bending it forward and backward, bending it from right to left, are excellent movements for limbering up the muscles of the neck, before applying the resistance work mentioned. The neck is one part of the body that is very susceptible to exercise, and if the student is desirous of enlarging this part of the body, with the proper application of resistance, there is no reason why he should not be able to gain an inch or more around the neck in thirty days.

The wrestler's bridge, as I said before, is also of great benefit for strengthening the neck in general. This exercise consists of resting your entire weight on the head and feet alone while the back makes an arch. By raising and lowering the hips while in this position, and by walking a few inches towards the head and back again, the neck will experience quite a variation of movements. A few minutes' daily work in this bridging will greatly help the further progress of neck development.

I want to emphasize again that the neck presents a very interesting subject to the student of anatomy. The most ungainly looking necks are those lacking in development of the trapezius muscle in the back, causing two hideous cords to run upwards into the hair. This is more prominent in thin people when they bend the heads slightly forward. Such cords can be entirely eliminated with proper application to the back of the neck.

You will frequently find individuals with two or three chins, which can easily be removed by proper application of exercise to the front part of the neck. You will also find prominent "Adam's apple," which can be reduced considerably by developing the muscles of the neck. The person who has never exercised the neck does not have a pleasing contour, especially when without a collar, or when in a bathing or gymnasium costume. Instead of having well-formed, straight, pleasing contour to the muscles, the sterno-cleido-mastoid, and the trapezius seem to grow inward at the bottom of the neck, causing the neck to have a smaller appearance at he bottom than at the top, when on the contrary the neck should be larger at the bottom than at the top.

Professional wrestler's necks, although oftentimes over-developed, have excellent contour, and no matter which way their heads are turned, or carried, they present a pleasing appearance. Yet anyone can obtain the same contour in the neck which professional wrestlers have, without the over-development which gives the bull-like appearance. A well-developed neck means an increased blood supply to the brain.

This gives the owner a clearer thinking capacity, owning to the enlargement of the veins and arteries inside of the neck.

All neck exercises, as I said before, should be performed from fifteen to twenty-five counts. Any work that is more vigorous and tires the muscles with a less number of repetitions than this, will be apt to strain the ligaments and muscles, so that painful results might follow. You must not force the development of the neck as vigorously as you would the arms. Such strenuous measures, however, are unnecessary; for, as I have previously stated, the neck responds rapidly to properly applied activity. At about the twentieth count, the amount of resistance to the neck should cause the muscles to begin to ache, so that by the twenty-fifth repetition, the aching point should cause the student to naturally discontinue.

I wish to make it very clear that I consider the development of the neck of very great importance. So do not get the idea into your head that you should or specialize in the development of your arms, shoulders, and chest. In all my work I aim at a perfect, symmetrical development, and, in my opinion, there is nothing of greater importance in physical development than the development of the muscles of your neck.

Iron Nation

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 2 - The Ideal Measurements - By Earle E. Liederman


I was down in Florida one winter at a time when quite a bunch of motion picture stars and professional people were vacationing at the winter playground. A little crowd of us were gathered on the beach doing various athletic stunts--and believe me, some of those chaps were mighty clever. After we got tired of our sport, we sat around on the sand talking, and finally the subject came up as to what should be the ideal measurements for a man.

One of the party spoke up and said: "This is a subject that is hard to agree upon. The proportions of the old Greek sculptors for men varied a great deal. For instance, take the Farnese Hercules, the Apollo Belevedere, the Laocoon group--there's such a wide margin of variation that you have to accept measurements based on some given type.

"While all women can aspire, at some given age, to the Venus de Milo, or the Juno type, to classify a man for accurate measurements you have to picture him as one of three or four very distinct types. And naturally, his measurements will correspond with the ideal measurements of some particular type."

I then spoke up and said: "My ideal is not the man with the huge, abnormal muscles of a Hercules; nor is it the lithe, slender form of an Apollo, nor the somewhat better muscled Mercury. I like to see big, firm muscles, combined with speed and flexibility. The question goes even deeper than this. When holding up an ideal for scores of thousands to copy after, we set the following requisites:

"A man should look good from every angle. He should have curves and contour rather than great, disfiguring ridges of muscles. He should have a development which is possible for attainment by almost any average boy or young man, who will apply himself to development and cultivate strength, speed and perfect health."

This made quite an impression on the crowd, and suggested to me the title of this chapter.

The Ideal to Which You Should Aspire

Now, I want to say right here that it is exceedingly difficult to set any standard of measurements which the student can use as a guide for comparison in order to determine to what extent he should develop his muscles. When you take into consideration the different sizes of the bones of different individuals, and combine this with hereditary conditions, it is, in my opinion, practically impossible to set any standard of proportion where each part of the body will bear its proper relation to the others. Even though the student should not obtain these relative proportions, still there is no reason why he cannot possess a beautiful physique by approaching the following, which is my idea of how a man should be proportionately built:

Average Height - 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches Neck - 17 inches Biceps - 16 inches Calf - 15 inches Chest Normal - 44 inches Waist - 32 inches Thigh - 23 1/2 inches

My reason for mentioning the neck, upper arms and calves first is that the common conception of Grecian proportions stipulates the neck, upper arm flexed, and calf to be of the same size, with which I do not agree, If an individual possessed a 17 inch neck, and a 17 inch arm, he would undoubtedly possess a phenomenal development. But if he had a 17 inch calf, it would spoil his proportions, as it would make him look much too heavy in the legs.

I have found by observation and careful study that the athletes who taper down slightly are more pleasing to look upon than those whose legs are of huge dimension, like the Farnese Hercules, for instance. Therefore, in order to taper down, the neck should be a little larger than the arm, and the arm a little larger than the calf.

Now, if a person has a 16 inch neck, his arm should measure 15 inches, and his calf about 14 inches. If the individual has any smaller measurements than these, taking for granted that he is of average height, he would be too slim a type to attract attention in the physical culture world, as far as strength and development are concerned. A man with an 18 inch neck, and a 17 inch arm , and a 16 inch calf would be very gigantic in size and undoubtedly he would be exceptionally strong.

You very seldom see 17 inch arms and 18 inch necks or persons of average height, for athletes possessing these enormous measurements usually are in the neighborhood of a 6 feet tall. There are, of course, many exceptions to this, especially among wrestlers.

For instance, George Hackenschmidt had an enormous neck. I have seen measurements for this part of his body and therse measurements are given by different authorities all the way from 19 1/2 inches to 22 inches. Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of measuring Mr. Hackenschmidt, consequently I do not care to express my opinion of the actual size of his neck. However, I did have the pleasure of feeling his arm, and although my own hands are of medium size, still I could not span the breadth of his upper arm when I felt it. I have seen measurements of his upper arm given by different authorities as being anywhere from 18 inches to 19 1/2 inches. The reader will, therefore, note that no matter how Hackenschmidt's measurements may vary in accordance with different writers, still everyone mentions the difference between the neck and the upper arms.

Hackenschmidt was a rare exception in muscular development and strength, and I want to make it clear that no matter how diligently a person may work, there is not one athlete in ten thousand who would ever acquire Hackenschmidt's proportions and strength.

The Size of the Head Is an Important Factor

The size of the head is an important factor covering neck measurements. Therefore, if the individual has a long, narrow head, and is of a slender type, it will be a physical impossibility for him ever to attain s neck much over 17 inches, providing, of course, he is of average height. By average height, I mean people ranging from 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches. If the individual is near 6 feet, or even over, naturally he will have larger measurements than the individual of only average height. However, if he is below the average in height, say 5 feet 3 or 4 inches, he must not expect to attain the measurements of an individual of 5 feet 9 inches in height. In other words, the taller you are, the larger your measurements should be, providing, of course, that you adopt scientific progressive training and work faithfully to reach your goal.

Although I mentioned 44 inches normal chest measurement, yet it is exceedingly difficult to standardize any chest measurement to correspond with a 17 inch neck, for, owing to the different formation of everyone's torso, the measurement of the chest varies as much as 4 inches in the normal girth. Greater variation will be found in the expanded chest measurement. All I can say on the subject is that anyone with a 17 inch neck and a 16 inch upper arm when flexed, should have a chest normal of over 43 inches.

The waist also varies in size according to the frame and width of the hips, and also the muscular development of the individual. A student who has devoted considerable attention to his waist muscles, especially those at the sides of his waist and lower back, naturally will have at least an inch larger waist than a person who has neglected this part of his body, taking for granted, of course, that the waist is free of all superfluous flesh.

Again, the height of the individual is an important factor in the size of the waist measurement. A 6-foot man with a waist measuring less than 33 inches would, in my opinion, appear weak, while a man of average height, whose waist measured less than 31 inches, would also appear weak. On the other hand, if the individual was but 5 feet 3 or 4 inches in height, and if he possessed a waist of 27 or 28 inches, he would still be in splendid proportions.

I Failed to Reach My Earlier Ideal

I have often thought how discouraged a student must be who has exercised faithfully month after month, and even for several years, and failed to reach the measurements he had set in mind as his goal. I can only tell you the story of my own experience, which undoubtedly corresponds with thousand of others under similar circumstances. When I first became interested in physical education, I studied photographs and the measurements of all professional strong men whose data I could secure. I noted the enormous chest measurements given by some of these prominent strong men, many of them reaching almost 60 inches around the chest when expanded. I envied those whose normal chests measured anywhere from 47 to over 50 inches. I longed to possess a chest like theirs.

I have worked faithfully for many years; yet I fall far short of these measurements. Today my normal chest measurement is but 44 1/2 inches, and my chest measurements, expanded, reaches 48 1/2 inches. Many times during my period of body building I became discouraged because my measurements were so slow in reaching the goal I had set for them.

I was also always anxious to obtain flexed biceps measuring 17 1/2 or 18 inches, but again I fell short of these proportions. Today my flexed upper arms measures but 16 1/2 inches. If the reader should experience any similar discouragement, let me console him with the fact that 90 percent of the measurements given out by famous strong men are grossly exaggerated. I know personally several athletes prominent in the physical culture world who claim 49 inch normal chests and 17 inch upper arms, when, in reality, their chest normal is many inches less and their upper arms are not as large as my own.

Only a few months ago a crowd of us were gathered in the private gym of a well-known boxing trainer when this shy subject came up. The boxing instructor, one of the finest developed men in his class, and one of prominence as well, was telling us about of the famous athletes of a former generation, when he happened to mention Matsada Sarakichi.

Some of middle-aged readers may recall this Sarakicki, a Japanese wrestler of phenomenal development with the strength of an ox. The boxing master had a framed photo of the athlete hanging on the wall, near his deak. Pointing to the picture, he said, "How much would you boys say Matsada measured around the chest?"

The Jap was a about 5 feet 11 inches in height and he looked as though he weighed just about a pound less than a horse, so we guessed him - 50 to 54 inches.

"You're all wrong, said the old boxer. "He only measured 47 inches normal, but when he folded those great arms of his over his chest and puffed himself out, he looked as big as a whale."

And that's the answer. It isn't the size, so much as what the size looks like when it's photographed. I shall have something very important to say to you about this subject a little later on that may give you a lot of help in presenting yourself to the public in a more pleasing and convincing form. But I want to tell you something further about this question of measurements.

First and foremost I can't find it in my heart to blame a student for becoming discouraged if he does not obtain the proportions some men claim that they have. I became discouraged myself, and I know just how other conscientious men, who have been working hard on their physical development, would naturally feel about the matter.

Don't Fool Yourself in Your Measuring

I do not know whether the measurements given out by some professional strong men are magnified for the purpose of self-gratification, or whether they measured themselves and actually fooled themselves in taking their measurements.

If the latte should be the case, let me warn the student that when measuring any part of his body, he must the most strict attention to the tape and see that it does not sag in any part. For instance, if you are measuring your chest, it is the simplest thing to fool yourself when passing the tape around and under your armpits, and then taking a deep inhalation, to throw your shoulders back and expand yourself and expand your chest as much as possible. Of course you see the tape measure in front of you, but if could see the tape behind your back, you might observe that it is displaced many inches downward towards your waist.

Always measure yourself in front of a mirror, turning around so that you can see your back as well as your front. If you have the tape fitting snugly, with about two or three pounds pressure, you will obtain your actual measurements. If these measurements fall short of the measurements you see on paper concerning many strong men, do not be discouraged, for if you possess a well-developed physique, you may be almost as large as these strong men are themselves.

The same thing applies to feats of strength. I do not know at the present writing how many claimants there are to the title "Strongest man in the world," but there are more claimants to this title than there are feet in a mile. As soon as an athlete obtains a little publicity and is able to lift somewhere around 250 pounds, another "world's strongest man" is found, and naturally more discouraged would-be strong men.

The Story of the Champion Lifter

It was only recently, at a weight-lifting tournament, that a well-known lifter sent in his best lifts ahead of his appearance. I chanced to see his letter and his phenomenal records actually scared me, for I had contemplated entering the tournament myself, purely for the fun of it. However, I diplomatically kept out of it as I really was afraid of this entrant. I was asked to act as a judge in this contest, as long as I did not enter it.

I expected great things from this wonderful strong man. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when the best lift make at this open competition was only 220 pounds! In all fairness to the competitors, I am sure they could have done better, but the reader can imagine my consternation when a 220-pound lift secured a championship gold belt, when I myself had many times lifted in practice more than this. I simply mention his occurrence as it is a similar case to what I have to say on measurements.

It is a sad thing for me to tell the reader not to believe all he hears regarding feats of strength and measurements of prominent strong men. Do not misunderstand me, and think that I am including all strong men in this category. Such men as Arthur Saxon, George Hackenschmidt, Joe Nordquest, and many others, did not exaggerate their feats of strength nor the size of their measurements - they did not have to. There are hundreds of others, too, whose records and measurements are absolutely reliable.

Let the student continue diligently with his training and endeavor to secure as well-muscled proportions as possible. Even if he does not obtain measurements any larger than my own, do not let him feel discouraged. Any young man who is from 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches in height should have no difficulty in obtaining at least a 16 inch upper arm and a 17 inch neck, as well as a 46 or 47 inch expanded chest. If the student around 6 feet in height, he should have no difficulty in eventually obtaining a 17 1/2 inch neck, a 49 inch expanded chest and 16 1/2 inch upper arm.

If the student is but 5 feet 3 inches or 4 inches in height, he should have no difficulty in obtaining a 16 inch neck, a 15 inch upper arm and a 44 inch expanded chest. Of the three above-mentioned groups many obtain measurements even beyond the ones I have outlined, for it is not impossible. But hey should not expect to reach the Herculean proportions of a Hackenschmidt.

How to Measure Your Muscles

When measuring your muscles, the tape should be passed around the largest part. Let us begin with the neck. To obtain the proper measurement of the neck, the head should be held erect, chin to the front and the tape passed around the lower part of the neck, just above the point where the trapezius muscle begins to slope towards the shoulder. Place about two pounds pressure on the tape in taking these measurements.

If you bend the head back and throw out he muscles of the neck, the neck will increase about one to two inches in size. However, you will not be obtaining your actual neck measurements, but will be obtaining a measurement of your expanded neck. You should never consider the expanded back measurement, for in all measurement tables given of athletes, the normal neck measurement is always taken for granted. If you consider your expanded back measurement and develop your other muscles in proportion to this, your neck will never be properly developed, for you are utilizing your expanded measurements in your table of proportions.

In measuring the chest, the tape should always be passed under the armpits, in a straight line around the chest, about one inch above the nipples. By exhaling all the air from your lungs and relaxing your muscles, you obtain your contracted chest measurement. Now adjust the tape again to the previous position and stand perfectly normal, head erect, muscles relaxed and chest corresponding with your erect standing or walking posture. This will be your normal chest girth.

By inhaling as much air as you possibly can, and at the same time expanding your latissimus dorsi muscles and swelling your chest to its utmost, you will obtain your expanded chest measurement. These measurements, of course, will not be measurements of your actual lung expansion, because they are assisted by your muscles.

To obtain the actual measurement of your lung expansion, you should pass the tape around your lower chest at the ninth rib, which is a few inches below the nipples. The difference between your normal and expanded chest measurements at this point will be very slight. In fact, if you expand three or more inches, you have wonderful expansion. However, these lower chest measurements are rarely utilized in any table of measurements of athletes.

How to Measure the Index of Strength

Your upper arm may rightly be regarded as your index of strength. If a chap has any development worth talking about, it usually shows in the upper arm.

In measuring your upper arm, first pass the tape around the largest part of your upper arm when the arm is straight and held relaxed horizontally. Next, flex your arm by vigorously contracting the triceps and biceps, bring the fist as near the shoulder as possible, and turning the palm of your hand towards shoulder. By doing this, you will obtain the largest girth of your flexed upper arm, providing, of course, you pass the tape around your largest part.

In measuring your upper arm, in this case, do it before a mirror, so that you can see both the back and front, and note whether the tape is passed straight around the arm, or whether the tape is passed straight around the arm, or whether it is on a slant. By having the tape slanting, you only fool yourself. I am convinced that it is undoubtedly just such a slanting tape that produces the magnified measurements of a great many professional strong men.

The forearm should be measured also around the largest part with the arms straight and fist clenched. To obtain the contracted forearm measurement, bend your arm and pass the tape around the largest part as near the elbow as possible.

The waist should be measured when standing in an erect posture, not drawing in too much, neither should you allow your abdomen to protrude. By holding the chest up in a military carriage, you will obtain your normal waist measurement. The tape should be passed around the waist at about the height of the navel.

In measuring the hips, pass the tape around the largest part and apply about four pounds pressure, thus allowing for irregularities of this part of the body.

The measurement of the thighs should be taken around the largest part of the thigh, which in most cases is directly below the crotch. If your legs are exceptionally developed, with pronounced curves to the extensor muscles, perhaps your largest girth may be a little lower than this. However, this can be taken in a complete state of contraction; that is, when you stiffen the knee and tighten the muscles.

The calf should be measured around the largest part. By raising your toes off the floor and simply standing on your heels, you will obtain a slightly larger girth than if you stood flat footed, because you can get a slightly greater expansion of the muscles in this position.

The measurement of the wrist and ankle should be taken around the smallest girth.

You should, when you begin your development, take a complete set of these measurements, keeping them carefully, so as to see what progress you are making. In this way you'll be able to get a mental picture of yourself, at any time, just the way you were before you commenced your training, and surprise all your friends with the progress you are making.

Iron Nation
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me: bobwhelan@naturalstrength.com
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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