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
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