Friday, June 3, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING (Circa 1924 ) - Chapter 9 - Symmetrical Hips and How to Acquire Them - By Earle E. Liederman


Very little attention is generally paid to the hips by the average athlete in his course of training, owing to the fact that the formation of the male hips are of little consequence as far as personal pride is concerned.

If a boy or a young man should seem to show any particular interest in his hips, as an ordinary thing "the gang" would be inclined to kid the life out of him. This should not be so, because the hips are a very important element in the make-up of an athlete.

The hips vary greatly in appearance, and considerable attention should be devoted to them, because strong hips, with plenty of endurance, are a great asset to an individual. A person with wide hips naturally has a wide waist and a very strong framework and, therefore, is capable of great supporting and feats of strength in which strong hips play in important part.

The narrow-hipped individual, with a narrow waist, can never expect to be as strong, when it comes to displaying feats of strength and lifting, as his larger-framed competitor.

A person with wide hips usually has a good leg development, owing to the size and strength of his bones, and it is these individuals who, with proper scientific training, turn out to be not only the finest built athletes, but remarkably strong men as well.

Well-developed hips are essential, first, for endurance, as in running, walking, carrying heavy objects, climbing, etc., for it is this part of the body that the first signs of fatigue are manifested in performing any of these exercises. The gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of the hip, when properly developed, gives a pleasing curve to the lower back, which is much more desirable than to see flabby tissue covering this part.

A well-trained athlete's hips usually are slightly hollow at the sides, and when contracted the gluteus maximus muscle is clearly shown. Most of the men who and "understanders," or "bottom men," in hand-balancing acts have thoroughly developed hips. This comes naturally to them from the work they do, causing a great strain to be placed upon the hips in supporting their partner when doing hand-to-hand work.

The Powerful Hips of Arab Tumblers

Undoubtedly you have seen various troupes of tumbling Arabs or Japs. Possibly you have notice that one of them, during their act, is able to support the entire troupe, who climb and pile upon him and around him. I have seen one act in particular of this nature, where a single man supported the weight of nine other men, and still was able to take a few walking steps with the enormous weight. If this man did not have exceptionally strong hips, and if his hips were not wide enough to give him exceptionally good support, this tremendous weight would cause him to collapse.

A wide-hipped man, being a heavier-boned man, as a rule, naturally is inclined to be of a heavy type, and will weigh more when in his highly developed state than an individual whose muscles are equally as well-developed, but whose hips are narrow

Exercises for the Hips

Undoubtedly the finest exercise to strengthen the hips is to walk while carrying heavy objects, especially while climbing stairs.

This is a very severe exercise and should not be undertaken until after you have developed a considerable amount of muscles of the hips and thighs.

I would suggest that you first practice stair-climbing, without carrying any weights. Let the arms hang loosely at the side, and do not try to pull yourself upstairs by holding on the railing, or putting your hands against the wall.

After you have practiced this for a few weeks, and your strength and wind power are sufficiently developed, you might start carrying weights, commencing with a light weight of 10 or 15 pounds, and gradually working up to it, until you can carry 50 pounds up three or floor flights of stairs without any difficulty.

A great many movements can be performed for the hips, although the ones that have special merit are lateral work, such as lying on the floor on your side and raising first one leg, and then both legs, while keeping them stiff; also while lying on your stomach endeavor to raise both legs upward, keeping the legs stiff.

Leg Circling

While lying on your back, by performing double leg circling, you give the hips quite a play. These circles should be made as wide as possible; that is, starting from a reclining position on your back and keeping the legs stiff, bring both feet as far as you can to the left and then upward and backward over your head, and then as far as you can to the right, until they almost touch the floor. Then return to original position. All these movements should be reversed in order to work the muscles in the opposite direction. I mentioned all this in the chapter on the abdomen, but repeat it again here, for this circling exercise applies to the hips as well.

Another excellent exercise for developing the hips is to stand on both feet, then raise the right leg with the knee stiff to a horizontal position, where it will be at right angles out in front of the body. Swing your arms up level with your shoulders, in order to keep your balance. Then lower the leg slowly and bring it up again, as often as you can, until the hips are tired. You should not do this too quickly or with any evidence of a jerk, for it is the contraction and lift of the muscles, and not the momentum of the swing, that secures the results you are aiming at in this particular exercise.

Rest for a minute or two, and then repeat this exercise, using the left leg this time, until tired.

Then rest a while, and do this same exercise, extending the legs out to the side this time, instead of straight ahead. This is more difficult than the forward lift, and you will not be able to do it so often before becoming fatigued. However, it is very important, because it brings into play different hip muscles than are stressed in the preceding exercise. Use both legs alternately as before.

After a short rest, stand as before, and raise the legs straight backward, bringing each leg up as high as possible and holding the position a second or two, so as to get the greatest amount of good from it.

Good for the Fat and the Lean

These exercises are just as good for taking off excess fat as they are for building up solid muscle - in fact, you've got to get rid of your fat before you really can put solid muscle on.

So, if you are too fat, don't be surprised to see the size of your hips reduced within a month or so, possibly by several inches. This, however, is only preliminary to building up firm, well-developed muscle, that will be of great value to you in all feats of strength, and that will serve to give your entire body much better developed and more symmetrical lines.

If you are thin and underweight, on the other hand, you will find that, after a few weeks of these exercises, you'll be very conscious of a very definite increase in development.

I emphasize this matter very strongly because a great deal depends upon your hip development, if you are bring out the general contour of your figure, and have the symmetrical lines of a perfect athlete.

Iron Nation
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