Tuesday, July 12, 2011

THE WAY TO LIVE - (Circa 1908) - Chapter 9 - MUSCLE EXERCISES WITH WEIGHTS - By George Hackenschmidt

Any male reader who is normally of good physique, who has indulged in any form of athletics, or who has practised the series of exercises dealt with in the last chapter, for a period, say, of six months, should, however, devote his principal attention to muscular development. He may secure and maintain a condition of fair physical fitness by means of exercise without weights, such exercises have been detailed in Chapter VIII; but he cannot hope to become really strong unless he exercises with weights; for it is only by so doing that he can develop muscle of really good quality, and, as already hinted, it is important, both from the Health and the Strength points of view, that every muscular group throughout the body should be of the best quality attainable.

Every human being possesses about five hundred separate muscles, but it would be neither necessary nor useful to detail all these here.

For the purposes of development, of culture that is to say, it will be quite sufficient to classify them in groups, such as Neck Muscles, Shoulder muscles, Arm muscles, Chest muscles, Muscles of the Abdomen, Back, Legs, etc.

No one can afford to neglect any of these groups. All, in fact should be equally developed, those which are naturally weaker to greater extent than the others, until all are equally strong, when the object in view, should be that of equal all-round improvement.

To commence with the First Series for the Neck Muscles

Exercise 1. Repeat Exercise No. 1 in last chapter, i.e., place clasped hands on the back of the neck and press head downwards on chest, resisting this pressure by the exercise of the neck muscles. Commence with five repetitions, and increase gradually, say once with every third performance, up to finally twenty repetitions.

Exercise 2. Reverse the above exercise by pressing head back against hand resistance and perform as before.

Exercise 3. Exercise No. 2, dealt with in the last chapter. Stand erect and roll head in every direction by bending the neck as much as possible. Continue as directed in Exercise l.

Exercise 4.Place a bar-bell weighing from 30 lb. to 50 lb. with both hands into the hand bridge, as shown in sketch. Place a rather hard cushion under the head (a rolled up coat or the like, if nothing else is available). The body should rest on the heels and crown of the head only.

At first this exercise may not be found easy of accomplishment, in which case the bridge should be perfected before the bar-bell press is attempted. The higher the bridge, the easier will the press be found. Repeat three times to commence with and gradually increase, say, once every second week, up to ten repetitions, then add 5 lb. to bell and commence again with three repetitions and so on. A capital exercise for strengthening the muscles of the neck, nape and spine.

Exercise 5. Get down on hands and knees and hang, by a broad belt, a weight on the back of the head (at first 10 lb. would be sufficient). With this move the had up, down, and to both sides until tired, but not until exhausted.

Second Series for the Neck, Shoulder, Arm, and Chest Muscles

In most systems of Physical Culture I have observed the shoulder muscles to be sadly neglected, and that therefore many otherwise well-developed athletes have narrow and unshapely shoulders. I would therefore wish to see special attention devoted to these exercises in this section, which deal principally with the shoulders.

It will have been observed that Exercises 4 and 5 just dealt with exert a beneficial influence on the shoulder muscles (as well as many others), but this must on no account be considered as sufficient, and it is because the first three of the present series directly affect the shoulders that I would like to see them regularly practised.

Exercise 1. Stand erect as in sketch, holding a l0 lb. dumb-bell in each hand. Hunch shoulders as high as possible for ten repetitions, increasing by one with every third performance of exercise up to twenty repetitions; then increase weights by 5 lb. and commence afresh.

Exercise 2. Then holding arms bent at elbows roll the shoulders right round and repeat as in last exercise.

Exercise 3. Standing erect with 5 lb. dumb-bell in each hand, hanging at sides, raise same smartly to arm smartly to armpits, each hand alternately, as shown in sketch. Commence with five repetitions, adding one every week up to ten. Then add 1 lb. to each dumb-bell and commence afresh, and so on.

Exercise 4. Jerk with both arms from the shoulders a bar-bell of from 30 to 50 lb. in weight, using arm strength only. Jerk both with top and bottom holds, five times each to commence with, adding one repetition per week up to ten. Then add 10 lb. to the bell and commence afresh.

Top hold means with the back of the hand pointing upward, as against bottom hold when the back of the hand points downwards.

Note. For all these exercises where an approximate weight is given the following chapter on "Weights for Exercises" should be consulted.

Exercise 5. Pull up with both hands, top hold, a bar-bell of from 10 lb. to 15 lb., from the hang to the shoulders as shown in sketch. The elbows should be held firmly against the sides, the lift to be performed without any movement of the xbody. Repeat five times, increasing by one every week up to ten times. Then add 5 lb. and commence afresh.

This exercise should also be performed with bottom hold, beginning with from 20 lb. to 25 lb. for five repetitions and continuing as with top hold.

Exercise 6. Press a bar-bell of from 30 lb. to 50 lb. from shoulders to full arm's length above the xhead. Begin with five repetitions, increasing by one every week up to ten. Then add 5 lb. to weight and commence afresh.

This exercise to be performed with both top and bottom holds.

Exercise 7. Jerk a bar-bell of from 25 lb. to 40 lb. from the shoulder, erect above the head, with one arm. The elbow should rest firmly against the hip, thus transferring the whole weight of the bar-bell to the legs, principally to the one leg. Quickly bend the knees, and, at the same time, "throw" the weight upwards, while with the same quick movement you stretch the arm. You will find that the principal impetus of strength will be given by the legs. The movements have to be made very quickly.

This particular exercise requires a certain technique. It greatly furthers the preservation a perfect nimbleness and equilibrium, and develops at the same time the muscles of the legs, forearm, and triceps.

The exercise should be performed with both the right and left arm, at first five times, every second week increasing by one up to ten times, then increase weight by 5 lb. and start afresh.

Exercise 8. Parallel bar exercise between two chairs without weight.

This exercise can also be performed on the floor, but the body must be kept perfectly rigid. Thus, forearm, shoulder, and abdominal muscles are brought into play. Begin with five repetitions, and increase by one every week, up to twenty repetitions.

Exercise 9. Lying on the floor, press with both arms with top hold a bar-bell of from 30 lb. to 50 lb. for five repetitions when exercising. Increase by one every week up to ten times, then add l0 lb. and start afresh.

This exercise should also be done with bottom hold.

Exercise 10. Swing a bar-bell of from 15 lb. to 30 lb. with straight arms and top hold, from the thigh to full arms' length above the xhead. Repeat five times, increasing by one every week up to ten repetitions, then increase by 5 lb. and start afresh.

Exercise 11. Lying down full length on the floor, pull over the head with stretched arms to a line with the shoulders a bar-bell of from 10 lb. to 20 lb. Repeat five times, increasing by one repetition every week up to ten repetitions, and then increase weight by 5 lb. and start afresh.

Exercise 12. Lying down as before, with arms outstretched sideways, lift to arm's length in front of body a 10 lb. dumb-bell in each hand. Repeat five times, increasing by one repetition every week up to ten times, then increase weight of dumb-bells 1 lb. each week and start afresh.

Third Series of Exercises for Developing the Abdominal, Back and Hip Muscles Principally

Exercise l. Stoop down a pull in to the chest a bar-bell of, say, 30 lb. with top hold. Straighten the shoulders well during the movement. Repeat five times, increasing by one every week up to ten repetitions and then add 5 lb. and start afresh.

Exercise 2. Stoop down as before and pull in with each hand a 20 lb. dumb-bell, simultaneously. Repeat five times, increasing as before to ten times, then add 5 lb. to each bell and start afresh.

Exercise 3. Press a bar-bell of from 10 lb. to 20 lb. full reach above the head; then bend forward as shown in sketch. Repeat five times at first, increasing by one every week up to ten repetitions. Then increase weight by 5 lb. and start afresh. The hip, abdominal and back muscles are all well benefited by this exercise.

Exercise 4. Stoop down and pull up to "hang," as shown in sketch, a bar-bell of from 50 lb. to 70 lb. with both hands (top hold), arms and legs to be perfectly straight. See that the hip muscles alone are exercised. Commence with five repetitions, increasing gradually, say by one per week up to ten; then increase weight by 10 lb. and start afresh.

Exercise 5. Lie down full length on your back and raise both legs, forming a right angle with the xbody. Repeat five times, adding one repetition weekly up to ten repetitions. Then commence afresh, tying 5 lb. to each foot.

Exercise 6. Lie down full length as in last exercise and rise into sitting posture without moving the legs. At first it may be necessary to establish a counterpoise by laying a bar-bell over the feet or legs. Repeat five times, increasing as in last up to ten. Then hold a 5 lb. weight against forehead and commence afresh. This weight can afterwards be increased gradually by holding a dumb-bell in each hand close to the head.

A Grip Exercise for Developing the Strength of the Hands, Forearms, Etc. For Home Use

Get a round stick, a thick broom handle will do, although it should be from 1 in. to 1 1/2 in. thick. Pierce a hole through this and suspend by a cord a 5 lb. weight. Now stand on two chairs and, holding the bar waist high, roll it round with both hands, winding up the cord. Continue until the weight is wound close up and then unwind to full length. Both wind and unwind with continuous and also with reverse rollings. Continue until tired. The rolling movement to be always steady and gradual.

For Gymnasium Use

For use in gymnasia, schools, etc., a special stand may be constructed, as shown in sketch. In this instance, two weights should be used attached to each end of the bar. Five pounds' weight each will be found more than ample to commence with. The rollings to be performed as for Home use, but the bar is, of course, now supported.

Fourth Series of Exercises for Specially Developing the Leg Muscles

A note of warning should here be sounded, to the effect that, while everyone suffering from rupture, or with a tendency to rupture, should be very careful in all exercises, they must be particularly so with leg exercises. The would do well, in fact, to confine their leg movements to those without weights, and in any even to avoid altogether Exercise 5 set forth below. Nevertheless, if the reader be sound and fit and free from such local weakness as might possibly terminate in rupture, then should be on no account neglect any of the leg exercises; for it must be remembered that while walking, cycling, etc. are good exercises for the leg muscles, yet are they insufficient alone to develop them satisfactorily for the performance of weight-lifting feats or even of heavy weight-lifting exercises

Exercise 1. Hold a bar-bell of from 10 lb. to 20 lb. weight behind the back with arms crossed, heels together, toes pointed outwards. Now make a deep knee bend, rising on your toes, parting your knees, until almost squatting on your heels. Rise again to first position. Repeat five times, adding one repetition per week up to twenty repetitions, after which increase weight by 5 lb. and start afresh. (This exercise is called "Hacke" in Germany).

Exercise 2. Jumping. Take running and standing high and long jumps, but standing jumps particularly. Jump with and without weights and also practice hop, step and jump; three forward jumps, hop, cross and jump and all the Lancashire varieties.

Exercise 3. Skipping exercise, especially with long runs on the toes of one foot, which will be found particularly beneficial to the calf muscles.

Exercise 4. Hold a bar-bell of from 20 lb. to 40 lb. weight with both hands on the shoulders, behind the neck, feet together, and make the deep knee bend without raising the heels. This exercise will specially develop the muscles of the thighs and groin. Commence with three repetitions, increasing by one every week up to ten repetitions, after which add 5 lb. and commence afresh.

Exercise 5. Lying full length on the floor on your back, raise your legs well over to an acute angle with your body, bending both at your hips and knees. Pull over your head a bar-bell of from 20 lb. to 30 lb. and rest it across the soles of your feet. When this has been well balanced, push your legs straight, bend them in again, and again push straight. Repeat at first from three to five times according to ability, gradually increasing until ten repetitions can be made fairly easily, when add 5 lb. weight and start afresh. (N.B. The weight used and number of repetitions recommended for this exercise can only be approximate. The first essential is to secure and maintain a perfect balance, wherefor a very light bar-bell indeed may be used until a perfect equilibrium has been secured).


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