Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It sounds pretty nice to propound a theory that one particular method of exercising will bring results to everyone. The proponents of every system of exercise, and every physical instructor can be said to be in the position of liking to make such a claim and the majority do give voice publicly to the claim of infallibility. Business reasons coupled with the gullibility of the public make it almost necessary for advertising instructors to make claims of this nature. Advertising competition is so keen that the proprietors of various systems and courses have continually trying to outdo each other in making outlandish and improbable claims. They are not wholly to blame, though, as the readers of physical culture journals are liable to consider a course worthless unless claims are make to change them from a weakling to a Hercules within a few weeks' time. An attitude of this sort is the height of senseless foolishness; a fellow who has never paid any attention to taking care of himself suddenly decides to improve the condition of his health by becoming strong and well developed. Why he should expect within a few weeks or months to equal athletes who have trained for years is entirely beyond reasoning.

The old maxim "anything worth having is worth working for" is a pretty good one when referring to strength and development. Any man who has really achieved a notable possession of these qualities will tell you that he had to work hard. And the truth is there is no other way to reach physical excellency.

As I mentioned a short while back, it is a pretty theory, that of maintaining that one particular method of living will produce like results in the case of any and every individual. But, as humans vary so greatly in the way of inherited tendencies toward slenderness, excess stoutness, extreme height or shortness, sluggish or nervous temperaments, and so on, the practical application of any definite method has numerous drawbacks to success. There are certain rules of health and physical efficiency, which, if followed consistently by the average person, will result in daily good health. However, each individual presents a problem, altogether separate and distinct, calling for intelligent study, if the expected results are to materialize. In prescribing a set of exercises to be followed by the average man of a certain bodyweight, several significant facts must be known and considered by the instructor. The age, present and past general conditions of health, the present strength of the individual, physical experience (including exercise and forms of work in which he has engaged) and the physical proportions; all of these must be given consideration, separately as well as in relation to each other; this general outline would include numerous minor details having a direct bearing upon the amount of exercise suitable to the needs of the pupil. If you were following the advise of an instructor through the medium of the mails, you could expect to get the most out of such instruction, if you regularly advised your instructor of your progress and requested constant revision suited to your aims and ambitions.

As the present book is designed to offer complete assistance to the student of physical culture in arranging a complete and satisfactory course of training, we shall endeavor to present certain basic principles and flexible rules which may be followed in the expectation of maximum results. Each chapter will be found to deal with an important phase of the science of complete physical education. Thorough study with the idea of memorization must be uppermost in your mind; in this way only, can maximum results be expected. Therefore, the reader must bear in mind that while certain routine programs of training and schedules of increasing repetitions and poundage may be recommended as ideal, circumstances may alter any such rules. The conscientious student will find it best to take each step as suggested in the earlier chapters, and t hen according to the progress he is making vary his program as indicated in the more advanced chapters. The student of body culture must vary his routine and schedule of increases from time to time in an attempt to determine the line of action which will most efficiently bring the desired results. We have, for the most part, advocated exercising three times weekly, while following a set schedule. For the first three to six months, a plan of such nature should prove best, but after a length of time the pupil may note a pause in his progress. It may first be wisest to experiment with repetitions and poundage as has been suggested. Failing in this, further plans will depend upon the physique strength, vitality and endurance of the subject. The plan now to be suggested may be referred to as the maximum repetition scheme. Presuming for purposes of example, that our student is interested mainly in arm development.

Having decided upon chinning the bar and dipping on the floor as the two most reliable forms of exercise for this purpose, our enthusiast might proceed in the following manner. He performs thirty floor dips; then practices an exercise for some other part of the body; he goes back to the arms and chins himself about ten more times; then an exercise for some other part of the body; and once again returns to arm exercise by making thirty more dips, some other non-arm exercise, then ten more repetitions of the chinning movement. This is kept up, practicing dipping and chinning each three times, and between times alternating on the legs, torso, etc. A program of this nature would constitute the height of repetition specialization for one part of the body. A like plan could be followed for any other part of the body instead of the arms, depending upon the aims of the culturist.

The bar bell user need not, of course, bother with dipping and chinning, as he has a better means of taking effective exercise. He could alternate curling and pressing movements with a bar bell, kettle bells, and dumb bells, along with heavy exercise for other parts of his physique. I would not recommend a program so strenuous unless the pupil had several months experience along general training lines. To those who are vigorous enough to stand an extra vigorous program, I might suggest a highly specialized program along the lines of the above description, practicing six days every week,

After putting in several weeks on such a program, the pupil should take a rest of from one week to a whole month, and then follow the same routine three or four days each week. Then gradually taper off our severe specialization till all parts of the body are receiving an equal amount of work. We might suggest a severe program for those who wish to give each part of the physique a highly specialized period of training. Begin on any part of the body and follow out the plan as outlined some few paragraphs back.

Let us suppose you start on the arms, spend eight or ten weeks on them, rest for one week, then specialize on the arms another period of eight or ten weeks, take a rest, concentrate on the abdomen, rest, concentrate on the neck, rest, the back or shoulders, rest; etc. Or, you could take the entire upper body at one time, then the entire lower body. The possibilities are unlimited. For instance, you could specialize one month on each part of the body, or just one or two weeks at a time.

A specialization plan for less experienced students could be arranged by exercising one or more parts of the body rather strenuously at two stages of each exercise period. Say, the neck was the part on which you wished to concentrate. This could be done by practicing a few neck exercises at the beginning of the program, then work out all the rest of the body, and finish up with the neck routine. Although we are never inclined toward advocating daily bar bell exercise for beginners, or in fact any others until they have had plenty of experience along heavy lines of exercise, we know that it is possible to get good results in developing unresponsive parts of the body by doing a certain amount of special work every day. Providing you have been exercising for several months, you may try this on any stubborn part of the anatomy. Exercise in a general way three times weekly, taking a really thorough workout, and on the alternate days practice a few exercises for the part on which you wish to specialize.

The strength enthusiast who is interested in exceptional lifting ability will welcome training schedules which might be followed to improve his ability along this line. The party who is only partly informed may hastily conclude that exceptional lifting ability results from pure science or as it is commonly called, "knack." This, however, is a poor definition and the implication is only partly true. Modern lifting science embraces the proper application of your strength combined with the best known methods of temporarily overcoming the force of gravity.

The science of lifting calls for the highest possible degree of peed and agility, or, as we might appropriately term it, "athletic ability of the highest degree." It is never wise to start at actual lifting until you are certain of having first built the necessary foundation of muscular development. Actual lifting practice with heavy weights will improve your development and bring out the best that is in you, providing you have first acquired a good degree of development. If you can start the actual lifting practice before developing you run the chance of making but slight progress in development through bringing about a toughened condition of the muscles.

When the muscles have been built up to a size and shapeliness corresponding to the structural type of the individual, that is the bony framework, the thoughts may be turned towards improving the quality of the muscles raising their efficiency to the natural limit by specializing in strength building movements. We must likewise differentiate between degrees of exceptional strength. You can train for special strength and high quality muscles without ever testing yourself on feats which require the limit of your abilities. This may be accomplished by performance movements identical to those practiced by the record lifter, though instead of trying yourself on each attempt, several repetitions are performed while keeping well inside the limit of our powers. Though, of course, the record attempting lifter acquires the acme of great strength, it is unwise to constantly try oneself to the limit, and even the record hungry lifter may realize greater success if the routine is split up between repetition work and record attempts.

We insist on our pupils putting in considerable time on repetition work with moderate weights until a satisfactory degree of development is attained. One could continue exercising along such lines indefinitely and acquire a good type of development, but when real strength is desired we must change the method of training. Some enthusiasts note this effect after developing muscles of huge size, as a result of patient effort in practicing the right sort of body building movements with graded weights; and, truthfully, it is possible to accomplish fairly good results by the correct application of various other means of resistance. Huge as such muscles might be, unless the scheme of progression had been followed throughout the advanced stage, wherein scientific principles of strength cultivation were employed, their efficiency would not be commensurate with their size.

The highest class of advanced work in the exercising field consists of movements calling for the combined use of large muscular groups. Indeed, the farther you progress in your developing work, the more muscles you bring into play in the performance of important exercises. All advanced overhead lifting movements work the muscles in this manner, likewise in the performance of high class hand to hand work; Roman apparatus work, and the advanced exercises given throughout this volume.

Varied are the schemes one might employ to specialize on the development of a particular part of the body. The most severe plan would consist of exercising twice on the same day, six or seven days a week; alternating at each period between special exercises for the part body in question and movements of a general nature; that is, supposing you were working on the calves; you would do a calf exercise, then a general exercise or something for another part of the body, then a calf exercise, and so on.

When progress seems slow on one particular lift or exercise, or if you desire to make certain of adding to your ability in the performance of any lift, the best plan to follow is herewith outlined. Drop the poundage considerably, or to a point where the lift or exercise is easily accomplished several times. Then follow a certain rate of increasing repetitions and poundage if an exercise, or poundage if a lift; and do not vary from the set schedule. Arrange the program so it will take several months to pass your present limit, and if you stick religiously to the schedule, results will be forthcoming.

About two years ago, I had occasion to conduct a three months' training program in the columns of the Mat Department of STRENGTH Magazine. The program proved so popular that I have often been tempted to republish it at frequent intervals, and believe I did mention it briefly since first it appeared. Believing many of my readers will welcome a proven program of this nature, I am outlining it herewith. Originally we had two groups; one on body developing exercises, and the other on regular lifts. The purpose of the programs, or rather of both programs, was to prepare interested STRENGTH enthusiasts for real heavy lifting, building, as it were, a good solid foundation of strength. For the first month those in the lifting group were asked to practice the Two Hands Dead Lift, Two Hands Snatch, Two Dumb Bells Clean and Military Press, One Hand Snatch - both right and left. Add 20 pounds per week to the Dead Lift, ten pounds to the Two Hand Snatch, five pounds to each dumb bell in the Military Press, and five pounds to the One Hand Snatch. Practice three days per week, for one month, or twelve practice periods in all.

For the second month, practice the Right Hand Dead Lift, Left Hand Dead Lift, Two Dumb Bells Clean and Jerk, Two Hands Clean and Jerk Behind Neck With Bar Bell, and One Hand Clean and Jerk with each hand. And 20 pounds each week to the dead lifts, 10 pounds to the two hands bar bells lifts, 5 pounds to each of the dumb bells, and 5 pounds to the weight of the bar bell in each of the single handed clean and jerk lifts. This program is likewise to be followed for four weeks, or twelve periods.

Iron Nation

Super Natural Strength
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Bob Whelan

Bob Whelan

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