Monday, August 29, 2011


The deep knee bend is one of the old reliables, and needs to be practiced by every strength fan. Many fellows do not use enough weight, as they have too much trouble getting the bell on and off their shoulders. There is a method of rocking a heavy bell on to the shoulders for a deep knee bend, but many fellows do not care to use this method. The hardest part of the exercise is getting up the first time, when the bell is rocked over to the shoulders. Some fellows are afraid of being forced to sit down hard with the weight, after rocking it over. To overcome these obstacles, you may rig up a stand such as we show. The stationary uprights may be about four or four and half feet in height (depending upon the average height of your club members); grooved blocks of varying sizes should be made to accommodate the height of each man who will use the stand; these blocks may be fitted on the tops of the uprights, and held in place by removable pins.

The bar bell is loaded on top of the uprights; the lifter steps under the bar; taking it upon his shoulders; he may then carry the bell clear of the stand and perform his deep knee bend exercises. The stand may also be used to become accustomed to holding heavy weights at the shoulders to strengthen the wrists, arms and shoulders for overhead lifting; as a word of caution, we advise you to be sure of the correct height at which you load the bar bell for deep knee bend practice. If the bell stands too high, you will be unable to lift it either off or on the uprights; but if it is a little low, you may easily lift it by proper use of the legs. An easy rule to follow would be to have the height of the bar, when placed across the uprights, about fifteen inches less than the height of the lifter, for use by real tall men, with a difference of a foot in height for short men. I would suggest making the stationary uprights four feet in height, cutting small grooves in the top of these uprights to hold the bar for a short man. Blocks may then the made of 3, 6, 9, and 12 inches in height, for a full range of adjustments.

A helmet for wrestler bridge practice is needed by the majority of bar bell men. Both as a lift and as an exercise, the wrestler bridge is uncomfortable to many, so a helmet will solve the problem of making neck exercise comfortable. I made one of sweater material, using several layers to insure protection of the scalp. The band which runs over the crown of the head should be thickly padded, while the hand which encircles the head need only be of one thickness. The crown bank should run to the bottom, otherwise you will be annoyed by the ridge were the bands cross. This helmet can be quickly slipped on and off with no trouble. It is worn with the top bank running from front to back.

Reference to the illustrations will give you a few ideas as to how supplementary exercises may be taken with the use of special contrivances. You may add very good ones for every part of the body. It is even possible to work out a complete system, using nothing but the counter-weights and other apparatus we have shown, although our intention was merely to suggest something which would add novelty to the bar bell training program.

Effective as we find the bar bell outfit and associated parts, it likewise has faults, as we might say of any other apparatus or idea, however ideal it may appear. The weakness in the use of the bar bell, dumb bell or kettle bells is a means of exercising the pectoral and latissimus muscles throughout their complete range of contraction in a direct exercise movement. We are convinced the said muscles are completely developed and strengthened during the practice of an all around bar bell training program, including a wide variety of exercises and lifts. However, a direct means of reaching these muscles is both desirable and ideal. Therefore we present the use of pulley exercises among the present collection of training methods. We are not so foolish to claim originality for something that has been commonly practiced by many muscle culturists; still, it is quite likely the majority of my readers have never had the idea introduced to them. This principle is best explained by referring to the Two Arm Pull Over. When practiced in the ordinary way, with a bar bell and a pair of dumb bells, this contractory action of the pectoral and latissimus muscles takes place during the first half of the movement arc only; for instance, you raise the bell from the floor to above the chest, keeping the arms straight; the muscles can contract to a further extent if the resistance can be applied from the half way position while moving the arms all the way down to the body, or in drawing the hand on down to the floor. If a pulley rope is used, the resistance can be applied all the way as shown in Illustration C-C. Likewise, as shown the arm may be moved from in back of the body in an overhead sweep and down in front of the body, much the same as in pitching a baseball overhead; in the drive of an overhead swimming stroke, or in certain tennis strokes.

Roman Column and Roman Chair work is practically identical, the only appreciable difference being in the style of apparatus employed. Among our illustrations we show a few movements on the Roman Board, an idea of Siegmund Klein's, and a couple of poses on the Roman Chair. To the highly advance bar bell man, this type of apparatus offers unlimited possibilities, both as a means of attaining the ultimate in development and in the demonstration of bodily strength. The beginner must use sense and proceed with caution so far as this class of exercise is concerned.

First, take a little trouble in properly adjusting yourself to the chair. The feet should be securely under either the wooden cross piece or straps fastened to the chair. The under side of the knees must fit in a comfortably snug manner over the top of the chair back. Wear shoes for the protection of the toes and insteps.

Be content at first to practice a few easy movements to get yourself accustomed to the exertions, then by easy steps you may progress to more difficult feats. We would suggest at first doing only a few repetitions of the preliminary stages for two or three days. After getting properly adjusted on the apparatus, sit back and then practice allowing the knees to bend, the buttocks dropping down as low as possible, still keeping the body upright. Practice several repetitions of this movement and let that suffice for the first few work outs on the Roman apparatus. Then, later accustom yourself to letting the body hang straight down as far as possible; on the column you may hang straight down, the weight of the body suspended from the knees; on the chair, you may hang back to the floor; on the board, lie back as far as possible.

Regain the sitting position by reversing the procedure; double the body up before attempting to raise to the sitting position. Practice that movement several times for the next couple of days. You should soon be ready to practice holding the position when the body is suspended straight out. Practice a couple of weeks at these preliminary exercises before advancing to the use of a weight, and you won't have to get over any feeling of soreness.

To handle a bar bell, place it on the floor where you can reach it. Pull the bell directly under your head, then raise it up close along the body till it rests across the upper part of your thighs. Double up and rise to the sitting position with the bell resting on your thighs. To replace the bell on the floor, hold it on the thighs, drop the buttocks as low as possible and lower the body till your head touches the floor. The weight may then be lowered. As you become stronger, the bell may be held on the chest throughout this movement both ways.

We would advise you to be fairly capable a the deep knee bend with good weights, and also have no trouble at repeating the abdominal raise across a chair several times before attempting Roman apparatus work. Once you have broken into this form of exercise, you may perform a wide variety of stunts and exercises. You will soon notice a decided improvement in thigh and torso development, as few forms of exercise can compare with it for this purpose. Probably the best feat we ever witnessed on the Roman Chair was performed by the vaudeville team of Mang and Snyder. The feat may, or many not have been originated by them, and we believe others have performed variations since. The larger member of the team took his position on a raised platform on the opposite side of the stage. A large paper hoop was midway between the two. The man on the platform dove through the paper hoop and landed on the hands of the man who was hanging from the chair. The big fellow rose to the sitting position, stood up, pushed his partner aloft, stepped off the chair, and walked from the stage carrying him at arm's length overhead.


A valuable addition to physical training apparatus has recently been made by the ingenuity of Siegmund Klein. He has given us the Roman Board, possessing all the developmental qualities of the Roman Chair and Roman Column, but far handier and thus more practical to the general bar bell physical culturist who trains in his home or in a small private gymnasium. Any fellow who is even slightly handy with a few tools can put a Roman Board together in a short time. No plans are required; simply pattern it after the photographs to be found on these pages. Mr. Klein had occasion a short while ago, to change the location of his studios. During the moving operations, the Roman Column lying on the floor happened to draw his attention. An idea entered his mind, to try exercising on the horizontal column. So pleased was he with the idea that the Roman Board was the result, and this apparatus is now used by his advanced pupils. By referring to the illustrations, you will see the proper manner of working on the Roman Board. Practically every Roman Chair and Roman Column exercise may be practiced upon it. When you first try it, assume the sitting position shown and merely perform a few easy squats. A valuable suggestion is to be content to practice leverage movements, using the suspended weight of the body as the resistance. Very light weights may be held in the hands after becoming well accustomed to this different variety of exercise.

Iron Nation

Super Natural Strength
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me:

Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

This site does not provide medical advice. We assume no liability for the information provided in NaturalStrength articles. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Copyright © 1999-2017 | All Rights Reserved.