Monday, August 1, 2011

PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development - (circa 1930) - Introduction to the chapters that follow - By Mark H. Berry


A) Digestion and Diet. B) Respiration. C) Circulation. Also a Short Introductory Chapter

The physical culture enthusiast may be gravely informed by some of his friends that it is a natural impossibility to increase the size of one's muscles by means of exercise. Indeed, some physicians may even hold this view, while at the same time admitting the beneficial effect of regular exercise. A brief study of the essentials of physiology will bear out the theory of increasing muscular size by means of the proper sort of exercise, as well as creating additional strength and functional powers. Of course, we who have experienced a physical transformation, and have observed the effects of exercise and healthful living in countless other cases, do not need a scientific explanation to convince us of the truth. However, a great many things take place in the transformation of a weakling to an athlete by means of exercise. Providing the exercise is of a general nature and thoroughly vigorous (none other should be considered), the breaking down of the tissue cells incidental to increased exertion creates a demand for oxygen, which increases the functional activities of the lungs, heart, and blood vessels, and in order to repair the waste going on, a greater amount of nourishment is abstracted from the food taken into the stomach, thus we cause a more healthy condition of the respiratory, circulatory, and digestive powers. The muscle grows because of increased nourishment in the part.

Muscular growth and efficiency is likewise promoted through increased vascularity; that is, by enlargement and greater elasticity of the blood vessels supplying the muscles; a greater flow of blood is constantly passing through the muscles instead of lying stagnant in the abdomen or innermost parts of the body. It is also possible, in the body of the habitually inactive person, for the blood to circulate but weakly in the muscles, the greater amount of circulation taking place in the larger blood vessels. This condition is far from being conducive to health. The obese person has an accumulation of adipose tissue in excess in various parts of his body, representing so much waste matter; constricting the action of the blood vessels and internal organs. Healthful activity burns up the excess fat and renders the individual more efficient. Many persons eat large quantities of food with no apparent benefit to themselves. When the system has no demand for the entire quantity of food, a resulting clogging takes place in the internal organs and the individual suffers one form or another of disease.

Those who remain emaciated even when eating excessively suffer similarly but in a slightly different way. Due to no demand for nourishment on the part of the tissue cells, the system is taxed to take care of, and eliminate digested food matter, or possibly partly digested matter. A lack of proper assimilation is responsible for both the obese and emaciated conditions. Healthful exercise creates a demand for nourishment which appropriates the nutritive properties from the food; and, as we have shown, the entire system of life forces receives beneficial stimulation.

On the face of the matter, it must seem rather queer and somewhat mysterious in the mind of a deep thinking novice in physical culture to be told that a few months of regular exercise will cause an individual to gain weight. Think it over in a serious manner and see if you can actually link together a substantial chain of events which will bring about the accumulation of added healthy flesh. The theory of exercise attempts to establish that without changing the diet or amount of food taken into the stomach, the individual will gain from fifteen to fifty pounds within a period of time, varying from two to five or six months. And the only thing required of the individual is to perform a stipulated routine of movements known as physical exercise. That is the theory behind the propaganda of exercise; a theory which has been proven as practical in countless cases. A most mysterious and complicated system of vital functions is responsible for the enlargement of the human muscles, resulting in added bodyweight.

The real answer to this question would involve an endless train of facts and functions closely connected with the mystery of life itself. However, to come to a satisfactory understanding of the matter, we can trace this mystery by starting with the first circumstance which for the time will be considered responsible. You perform a physical movement known as exercise which consists of bending your arm. The biceps muscle of the upper arm is involved. The muscular bulk is interwoven with blood vessels, veins, and arteries; the activity of the muscle facilitates the passage of blood in its veins; that is, the contraction of the muscle squeezes the blood through its veins; as the veins contain small valves to prevent the blood flowing backwards, the blood is sent flowing with greater force towards the heart. The displaced blood must be augmented by fresh supply, which is drawn from the arteries through the capillaries. Thus the circulation of blood is stirred up to a certain extent beyond the normal rate. The smaller cells and tissues which compose the muscular bulk are broken down by the exertion, hence there is waste to be carried off by the venous blood, and the new material to replace it must be furnished by the blood from the capillaries.

Carbonic acid is formed by the breaking down of the tissues, which must be carried off by the venous blood; oxygen is required to repair the damage, which is carried to the tissues by the arterial blood drawn through the capillaries. Having established the improvement of muscles by constant activity interspersed with a proper amount of rest, we also find that veins of slightly larger size will permit a greater flow of blood to and from the muscles. Tissues generally develop in proportion to their vascularity, or the amount of blood which can be furnished when required.

We will show, later in this volume, that health cannot be maintained by eating alone, nor by breathing deeply without accompanying the breathing with strenuous exertions. Instead of telling one to eat carefully or to breathe deeply, to stir up the vital forces, we find that in order to cause one to be healthier and stronger we must change his physique to a better standard, stir up his sluggish circulation into a vital current of life; in that way alone may we succeed in making his internal vital organs stronger and capable of greater resistance to disease, a physically and mentally more efficient example of mankind.

After reading that which follows, you may be doubtful concerning the correctness of other theories and explanations you have read. There has been a terrible lot of foolish wild stuff propounded on the physical training question. A good deal of it wholly unfounded in fact. The basic principles of the conclusions given herein are purely physiological in the truest sense of the word.

Just how valuable this information may be to the average reader is rather difficult to state. A complete knowledge of the body processes should, it would seem, prove interesting as well as valuable to any serious minded physical culturist. Particularly so, the mysterious functions connected with the nutrition of the muscular fibres of the body. To begin with, let us ask ourselves a few questions dealing with the subject at hand. What happens to a muscle when you cause it to contract? Do tissues break down? If so, how are they built up again? Why do you get out of breath and why does your heart beat fast? Don't say that these are foolish questions and that the answers are quite obvious.

Iron Nation
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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