Sunday, August 28, 2011


Realizing the demand for a convenient apparatus with which strength enthusiasts might practice the gross lifts, such as the Back, Harness, and Thigh lifts, we offer the contrivance shown at Figure X. Ordinarily, a tremendous amount of weight is required in order to practice this class of lifts, and outside of the expense of acquiring sufficient weight, a great amount of time and labor is involved in loading and unloading the lifting apparatus. Lifters may be fond of exercise, but the expenditure of energy involved in the task of adjusting a ton or more of weights amounts to a waste of valuable strength which might be better employed in lifting practice. By means of the leverage device illustrated, you are enabled to train on these valuable lifts with no more weight than a regular bar bell outfit. A small investment is necessary in the beginning, to purchase the long beam and attachments, but the benefits derived in development, strength, and personal satisfaction will be well worth the initial trouble and expense of rigging it up. Having made the apparatus, consult the chart which follows: this tells you how to figure out the amount of weight you will be lifting.

To practice a Hand and Thigh lift will be most simple, as you will only need to stand above the lifting point with a "T" bar in your hands. The Harness lift may be practiced by standing in the same position, only it will be necessary to wear either shoulder or waist straps. By rigging up a Back Lift platform as illustrated, that famous lift may also be mastered, and most important of all, without danger of injury as there is nothing to fall on you.

The following scale is made up on the basis of a total length of twelve feet for the lifting beam; the notches spaced one foot apart, and one foot between the point of attachment and first notch.

The Back and Harness lifts should be practiced with the connection at the first notch; you can experiment on the second and third notches for practicing the Hand and Thigh, and the Jefferson and Kennedy lifts.

To equal a heavier poundage, use a heavier bar bell and multiply; as a 200 pound bell at notch 10 would be equal to 2000, 1000, and 666 2/3 respectively, with the lifting hook in notches 1, 2, or 3. Due to the varying weights of different woods, no attempt is made at accuracy in the figures mentioned for the approximate weight of the beam; assuming that your lifting beam is four inches square, we would suggest computing the weight of the beam as equal to fifteen pounds if the lifting hook is at the first notch, and twelve pounds if the hook is at the third notch. The use of a beam six inches in diameter would more than double the weight of the beam. The beam weight equivalent must be added to your computation of poundage, as shown on the chart; for instance, if you had a two hundred pound bar bell at notch No. 10, and the lifting hook was at the first notch, the two hundred pounds would equal two thousand, plus the beam weight equivalent of 15 pounds, making a total of 2015 pounds as your lift.

Mr. Warren Lincoln Travis trains for the Back lift on an apparatus to that illustrated by Figure Z. A regular platform beam scale is used to stand on, the back is pressed upwards against a stationary platform, thus causing the scale platform to be moved. You may easily compute the poundage by referring to the balance weights belonging to the scale; on some scales a one pound weight is equal to one hundred pounds, on others a two pound weight equals one hundred pounds, and so on; in case you are unfamiliar with the markings, you will find such figures as these on the balance weights:

The upper figure denotes the exact weight of the balance weight and the lower figure denotes the poundage it equals on the end of the scale beam.

Knowing the equality, you may then hang on bar bell plates to equal heavier counter balance poundage. For instance, if one pound was equal to one hundred on the scale beam, that is, if the scale registers a Back Lift of 3000 pounds and you weigh 175 pounds, your lift is really 2825 pounds. To be exact, the 175 pounds in this case, should represent your weight plus the weight of any blocks, stools, or boxes necessary on the platform to assist in the lift. A Harness Lift or a Hand and Thigh Lift may also be practiced on a platform scale, though instead of your back pressing against a framework, you must either grab hold of, or fasten your harness to cross bars which are firmly fastened to the floor. A little ingenuity will make it possible for you to practice these valuable lifts, but of course accurate records cannot be very well computed on such a contrivance.

To many who are accustomed to exercising in a gymnasium, the rowing machine is most valuable and no workout would be complete without several minutes in the rowing seat. We recognize the value of the rowing movement as an exercise, so in order to make our bar bell gymnasium complete, we exhibit a means of converting your weight outfit into a novel rowing machine. You many use two steel bars, or for that matter, a pair of broomsticks should answer the purpose. Your attention is drawn to illustrations A-A and B-B which give you an idea of the possibilities of making an apparatus which will assist in making a rowing machine of your bar bell outfit. The high apparatus makes possible a valuable variation of the rowing motion performed while standing erect. The low apparatus may be used with a stationary seat, placing the greatest amount of muscular work on the arms, shoulders, and torso; while the use of a moving seat, having either rollers or wheels and foot supports will bring the entire body into active play. At first, the use of the leverage principle as oars may seem awkward, however, a little practice and experimenting will prove the adaptability of a bar bell to the rowing exercises. At first, try extremely light weights on the end of your bars and gradually add more weight, also experiment with the plates at different distances from the fulcrum. The trick is to approximate the action of rowing as nearly as possible.

It is true that every requirement of developing and strengthening the human body is satisfied when a complete bar bell outfit is employed; we also recognize a value in certain supplemental exercises. If one goes about his work in the proper way, and takes a little trouble to learnthe fundamentals of muscular mechanics, the highest degree of physical perfection may be acquired and maintained. There is a certain value in adding novelty to your efforts, just as long as you serve the same purpose without a needless waste of either time or energy. The strength enthusiast who has a small space for a private gymnasium and the desire to rig up some apparatus for himself may rather easily build the sort of contraption to be found in Figure C-C.

Positively no claim is made to originality in offering this idea, though it is believed we are the first to present his form of apparatus to the public in connection with bar bells. It may seem a strange coincidence that just after we decided on adding this to the present book we received letters from two bar bell users, accompanied by sketches of apparatus similar to that which we are presenting. Exercising machines of this type were introduced at least forty or fifty years ago, proof of which we have in books in our possession. Of course, bar bells or kindred apparatus were not used for the counterweight. As you will see, our idea has been to offer a form of framework on which a regular long bar bell handle may be used to serve as a pulley. The possibilities of an arrangement of this sort will be limited only by the ingenuity of the enthusiast. However, we advise this class of exercise as nothing more than a supplement in your regular bar bell routine.

We show one way of making the wall brackets. You may devise any other scheme which will be more suitable to your requirements. This apparatus will prove particularly valuable for exercising the pectorals and the muscles of the broad of the back. If wall brackets are inconvenient, you may rig up a sort of carpenter's horse, as illustrated. Overhead pulleys are valuable, also for pectoral and latissimus development. Be certain to use strong ropes and couplings and there will be no cause for accident. One does not have to be so extra handy with tools to nail together such additions to the exercise equipment. To begin with, we might say that the larger and more complete the assortment of bar bell plates, handle bars, and so on, the better off the small lifting gym will be. That much can be taken for granted, but, although many beneficial exercises, lifts and feats may be performed with the ordinary bar bell outfit, certain other accessories have important uses. High grade advanced work of real value requires the use of certain other apparatus. On of the first essentials of any lifting gym, whether semi-private or for a small club, is to have a lifting platform, or a floor where weights may be dropped when necessary. Among a group working out together, occasion may at times arise when it will be necessary to drop a weight. It is different with the man working alone in his bedroom; he can be careful, an must be careful; furthermore, he is particular to use weights well within his limit at all times, so there is no reason to let go of any bell he is handling. But, in a group, rivalry is bound to exist to some extent, and someone is likely to fail or let a weight slip at times.

The lifting platform should be made of heavy pieces of lumber to withstand any poundage which may be dropped upon it. The rule should be enforced to have all actual lifting attempts performed upon the platform. Easy exercises, or difficult exercises at which the members are fairly well experienced may be performed on any floor. It is advisable to have a Roman Chair, and if any of the members understand a little carpentry, this should be easy to make.

A pair of rings will be found of great use for chinning practice. A bar, or piece of pole may be run through both rings to form a trapeze. Be sure to have a knob of some sort on each end of the bar to prevent the possibility of a fall.

A horizontal bar can be put up between two uprights, or the wall and one upright. Regulation parallel bars are quite expensive, whether bought or home made. But, you don’t need portable, adjustable uprights; run two bars between any form of stationary uprights, or between the wall and uprights. As the principal use for parallel bars in a club of this sort will consist of dipping tests, they need not be very long. For this purpose, we are suggesting the corner of a room as a suitable place to rig up parallel bars. When rigged up in this manner, the bars must be of uneven length, but this need not interfere with dipping tests and valuable exercises which may be practiced on this form of apparatus. Your bars, both horizontal and parallel, must be of very strong material to prevent the possibility of accident. Use either very hard wood or good steel. Wooden bars must be no less than l 1/2 inches in diameter, an it would be best to use a two-inch bar; one-inch or larger of good quality steel can be relied upon. A thin bar is easier to work on, as a thick bar will place a premium on the size of your hands.

I would say that stairs of some sort should be available for leg exercises. You can easily have a set of stairs, made of six wooden boxes nailed together. Be sure your boxes are good and strong. On a set of stairs like these you may practice walking up and down stairs while carrying heavy weights, both on the shoulders and in the hands. If the climbing is done on the toes, you have a wonderful calf exercise.

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Bob Whelan

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