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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Secrets of Strength (Circa 1925) - Chapter I - Inherited and Acquired Strength - By Earle E. Liederman

Is there a secret of strength, and if so, what is it? That is what puzzles most seekers after athletic ability and physical perfection. So well-known a writer as Robert Edgren says that "Strength is where you find it," thus virtually claiming that great physical strength is "a gift" - pure and simple; and that either on has it - or one has to do without it.

The author of these chapters, being personally acquainted with hundreds of "Strong Men," and having been instrumental in helping thousands of men to attain great physical strength, believes that there is no such thing as "one great secret"; but a number of factors, or causes, which account for the surprising strength of some individuals; and that furthermore those factors are within the control of the individual, thus rendering it possible for any one who desires strength to obtain it.

The thoroughbred horse, an animal which is frequently cited as a sample of physical perfection, is not a product of nature, but of intelligent selection, breeding, and training. Man is responsible for the development of the thoroughbred animal, and it is a queer commentary on our ideals that the creating, or development, of thoroughbred animals - horses, cattle and dogs - is in some quarters regarded as more important than the developing of thoroughbred human beings.

A racing horse is bred and trained for speed; and by means of intelligent mating of parents, of feeding, of exercise and care there has been developed an animal superbly shapely with steel-spring muscles, and of certain marked characteristics. Literally characteristics - elements of character such as dauntless courage, stamina, and eagerness for work. By molding the body and physical attributes of the animal to the highest degree of perfection, the horse breeders and trainers have automatically produced mental or "character" attributes of the same high standard.

The horse has been simply clay in the hands of the potter, a docile instrument in the hands of the guiding force - man. Left to themselves horses would change, improve or develop very slowly. Horses have neither the intelligence nor initiative of mankind. It has taken probably twenty generations to produce the modern thoroughbred racer; but it is my opinion that, given equal care, all men could be molded to the thoroughbred type in two or three generations.

I will go even further than that. I believe that it is in the power of every man to make a marked improvement in his physical attributes, providing he will spend on himself but a fraction of the care that is spent in developing a high-grade animal.

There are unquestionably some men of gigantic strength who inherit their physical powers. The famous Canadian, Louis Cyr, stated that he got his strength and size from his mother, who was a woman of great size and most unusual power.

I know a physical director in New York City, a man of great all-round strength - but particularly famous for the strength of his hands and wrists - who tells me that his mother had the most powerful hands and wrists of any woman he had ever seen, and that she had more strength and vigor than most men.

Another clear case of inheritance. Apollon, the great Frenchman, who rivaled Cyr in strength, came of a family of circus-performers and "Strong Men," but he was vastly stronger than either of his parents or grandparents.

Out in Ohio there is a family named Nordquest, which numbers among its members some of the strongest men in modern history. The father is tall and well-made, but not markedly above the average in strength. The mother is small. Of the six sons, three of them, Arthur, Adolph and Joe are veritable Vikings in build, and marvels of muscular power. The other three sons are all naturally well-built and above the average in strength, but lack the prodigious power of the three more famous brothers. Arthur, Adolph and Joe are enthusiastic devotees of athletics and trained with the idea of becoming supermen. The other three have just the same inheritance, the same possibilities, and given the same training might quite possible have become just as remarkable. All six had the possibilities; but the famous three voluntarily developed their possibilities; and their present power is unquestionably due to inheritance plus initiative - the will to be strong.

I could go on and tell you about dozens of other celebrities who frankly admit that their strength is inherited from one or both parents. I recall one present record-holding lifter who frankly says that while his own lifting power has been cultivated, that form his early boyhood he possessed great strength and that the male members of his family were always known as the strongest men in that particular part of Europe in which they lived. Consequently he was somewhat annoyed when one of our training concerns claimed that his strength was due to their system of exercises; although he admitted that he had cultivated and added to his inherited strength by following the same methods they advocated.

I know of an interesting case of another "muscle man" whose beautiful proportions and phenomenal strength are unquestionably due to his own efforts. His father and mother are far from being anything remarkable as physical specimens; and so far as his two brothers are concerned, one of them is short and stout, and the other short and thin. While the athlete himself is taller than the average, so strong that he created some amateur lifting records, and so beautifully shaped that he was in great demand as a sculptor's model; but then he was an "exercise devotee" and worked for his present physique, while his brothers were content to get along with such physique as they had inherited.

I am not attempting to minimize the value of a good inheritance. If your parents happen to be fine, straight, upstanding and vigorous physical specimens, and have passed on to you those desirable physical attributes, then you will find it just that much easier to develop a body that is the last word in physical perfection. But on the other hand you need not despair if it so happens that your parents are undersized or "just average." That makes it a little harder for you to become big and strong, but does not make it impossible. It will take you longer, that is all.

Everybody knows that certain families run true to a particular type. You may know a family of Joneses and whenever you speak of them you say, "All those Jones men are tall." In another family all the men may be stout, and in still other cases all the male members are very slender. In some powerful strains there are strongly marked characteristics which persist for generation after generation; as for example the Hapsburg lip, and the Bourbon nose.

There are people who are so impressed with the force of heredity that they can conceive of no other factor in the molding of the human body.

To them the Biblical query: "Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a Leopard his spots?" is the final word. They overlook the fact that there is a great difference between different Ethiopians and different Leopards. Of course, there are inherited characteristics which cannot be changed or altered in the individual. A blond Scandinavian cannot change himself into a brunet; nor can a round-headed man change himself into a long-headed man, for those are race characteristics. But when it comes to altering the form, or the appearance, or the strength of an individual, then use and environment are just as potent factors as heredity. Recently published statistics show that in Great Britain the average farm laborer is a couple of inches taller and nearly five pounds heavier than the average city mechanic; the superiority of the farm laborer being due to better food, more fresh air and more muscular work.

Charity-workers can furnish you with dozens of instances where puny, sickly, city children have made astonishing gains from even one month spent in the country, where they got plenty of food and outdoor play.

Hereditary physical characteristics persist only when generation after generation of the same family remain in the same environment and the same kind of employment. The sons of an undersized factory hand will grow big and strong if at an early age they are put at vigorous outdoor labor; and the sons of a husky farm-hand will remain weak and small if at an early age they are put to working twelve hours a day in a poorly ventilated mill or factory.

In his book "How to Get Strong," Wm. Blaikie unwittingly gave an illustration of such a case. He attempted to prove that many very famous men had been possessed of unusual physical strength. In some instances he made out a convincing case but in others failed to prove his point. As in his comment on Shakespeare, where he stated that Shakespeare had splendidly shaped legs; and all he had to go on was a recent statue of Shakespeare, where the sculptor had represented the poet as a man with a beautifully molded pair of lower limbs. All history proves that Shakespeare was a small and slight man.

Blaikie said, which is true, that Henry Ward Beecher was a man of imposing physique and great physical strength; and quoted Beecher himself to show that his size and strength were largely inherited. Mr. Beecher said that his father was so strong that he could lift a 400-pound barrel of cider a couple feet from the ground; and that his grandfather could lift the same barrel to arms-length overhead and hold it there while drinking from the bunghole. Beecher came from New England farm folk, and if he had himself been a farmer instead of a preacher, the vigorous outdoor work might have made him as strong as his forbears. He inherited the vigor and the possibilities of strength, but not the gigantic strength itself. It is undeniable that we - all of us - inherit some possibility of strength. It would be easy to reverse the Beecher case. A small undersized city worker might move to the country and breed big upstanding children and these children in turn would produce a still better third generation, if they lived under ideal conditions as to food and outdoor exercise, or labor.

Those who claim that physical strength can only be inherited are being continually confronted with cases which disprove their theory. A young man will say "Oh yes! I am pretty strong. But you ought to see my father. He is nearly fifty and is twice as strong as I am." And if the father hears this he will chuckle, and say "Bill never had to do the hard work that I did."

On the other hand, I can introduce you to hundreds of young men who greatly exceed their fathers in size and strength. Largely because their fathers entered sedentary business pursuits at an early age, and were youths at a period when athletics were unpopular, and systematic exercise was regarded as a foolish waste of time.

Now, I myself am taller, bigger and vastly stronger than any of my male relatives on either side of the family. All of which I ascribe to my devotion to exercise and my love of the open air. When I work I work hard, and when I play I play hard. For weeks at a stretch I will spend twelve hours a day at my office, keeping myself in trim by eating sparingly, and allowing fifteen minutes daily to exercise.

The only reason I speak of myself is because I consider that I am a pretty good argument against the hereditary strength theory. I positively know that my present strength and development are due not to inherited advantages, but to my own efforts at self-improvement.

Such men as Henry Steinborn, Arthur Saxon, Cyr, Apollon and dozens of others undoubtedly inherited strength. Saxon said, "In boyhood I was always very much stronger than the average." Cyr at fifteen was stronger than two ordinary full-grown men.

On the contrary, Sandow has always claimed that he literally made himself strong and well-built. And other noted strength athletes make the same statement. Matysek, who is one of the best of American lifters, owes his superb figure and great strength to his consistent training. Thomas Inch, England's greatest strong man, is another who built himself up "from strength to strength." Starting to exercise when a boy, he developed himself into a beautifully shaped middle-weight Samson; and then just to prove he could, turned himself into a heavy-weight Hercules, by a few weeks of special training.

It must be admitted that if you are passionately interested in making yourself into a physical marvel, it is very discouraging to run up against these fellows who do inherit strength and who do not seem to have the least interest in cultivating that strength.

Old Colonel Higginson, in his time one of the most enthusiastic advocates of vigorous exercise, brought up this subject half a century ago - saying: "It is very discouraging when you have first learned to 'put up' 75 pounds, to see some big husky young fellow who never before touched a dumb-bell, step forward and 'put up' 100 pounds at his first attempt." It disheartens you, if after exercising and doing gymnastic work for a couple of years, and getting your biceps up to 14 1/2 inches, you meet some splendidly built young fellow who carelessly displays a 16-inch arm, and when you ask how he got it, are told that "all his family have arms like that."

The son of a wealthy father, eventually inheriting the family wealth, rarely knows as much about the value of money, or how to make it, as did his father who earned it, or accumulated it. Similarly a man who inherits size and physical strength from his parents seldom realizes the value of his natural advantages, and almost never take the trouble to improve or cultivate them. That explains why few celebrated "Strong Men" have sons who equal them in strength. Apollon was stronger than his father, but in most cases the opposite is the case. Athleta, the strongest woman in France, has three daughters doing "Strong Acts" on the vaudeville stage; but none of them are as strong as she is. I cannot recall the name of any "Strong Man" who has a son of equal strength.

Those who inherit strength seem disinclined to do that particular kind of hard work which alone produces enormous strength. Perhaps they find their strength sufficient, and never having been weak, have never experienced the craving for the fullness of physical power. Just as the son of a "captain of industry," who has never known what it is to need money, will not strive and scheme and work unendingly to amass a fortune the way his father did.

In the world of affairs, a certain respect is accorded to the "self-made man"; to the individual whose position is due entirely to his own energy, initiative, and ability. Such a man is master of his own fate. Why then should we not regard with equal respect the man, who, starting with a small and weak body, builds himself up until he is a model of manly strength and symmetry; whose shoulders are broad because he made them broad, whose back is powerful, strong because he made it so, and who has in general not merely grown stronger, but has literally made himself stronger. In some quarters there is a disposition to sneer at the "made" "Strong Man," and to glorify the man who inherited strength; whereas it seems to me that the credit should properly go to the man who achieves great strength through his own efforts.

Building muscle is not only my business by also my hobby. Years ago a chance meeting with a famous "Strong Man" planted in my breast the desire to be as strong as he was; and since that time I have missed no chance, spared no work to make myself stronger and better built. I am still improving, and at 37 years of age am considerably stronger, and have far more "pep" and energy than I had when I was thirty. What I accomplished through toil and pains, you can do with less trouble and less effort. It took me years to find out just what was the best combination of exercise, and rest and food, for producing big results; but having acquired that knowledge I am ready to pass it on to you in the pages of my various books, and through the medium of my courses of instruction.

There are certain races or nations which seem to abound in strong men. One authority claims that the French-Canadians produce more giants of strength than any other race. Others claim that the Finns are physically the strongest nation.

The Balkan nations produce scores of natural "Strong Men," and for that matter so do the Turks, and the "Tartars" of Western Asia; the latter being known to neighboring tribes, by a word which means "The Strong Men." It should be noted that all of the foregoing inhabit countries in which most of the work is still done by man-power; where machinery is scarce, and few work in-doors; where men have to use their muscle of necessity. And there is the whole secret of strength. Use your muscles and they will grow continually stronger. A man who allows his body machinery to rust through lack of use, has no more chance of realizing his full strength than a tree has to grow if it is planted in a place which gets no sunlight.

But if work, muscular exertion, were the only requisite for producing strength then every day-laborer should be a Hercules; which, of course, is far from being the case. There are three principal reasons why the average work-man is not very strong. The first being that he has too much work, being forced to continue after he is tired, with the consequence that he destroys tissue faster than he can rebuild it. Second - That only few employments require the use of all the muscles, and all-round development is the prime requisite of great bodily strength. Third - It is but rarely that work or labor requires the extreme contractions and the vigorous effort which produce muscles of great size and high quality. A teamster, or truckman, who spends ten minutes in lifting, hauling and pushing into place immensely heavy bales and boxes, and then has an hour of comparative rest while he drives these boxes to their destination, will become very much stronger than the workman who handles comparatively light packages for hours without rest.

If strength, shapeliness and health could be obtained only by taking a job as a laborer, then very few would be willing to sacrifice their financial welfare for the sake of health and strength. Happily, it has been proved, that a short period of daily exercise, of the right sort, will give a man greater strength, a better shape and better health than he could possibly get by labor. In any well-thought-out exercise program, care is taken to provide developing and conditioning work for every part of the body; whereas in labor the work is apt to be done by comparatively few muscles. Also in an exercise program it is possible to include exercises which enlarge the lungs, which strengthen the heart, and which invigorate the digestive organs. Best of all, an exercise program provides against over-exertion, and helps one to build up a store of reserve energy - all of which subjects are dealt with in the following chapters.

There are so very few men who are extremely strong that it sort of knocks out the theory that great strength is an inherited attribute. There are big men by the thousands, heavy men by the tens of thousands, but really strong men are rare. Possibly not one man in a thousand is so strong as to be in a class far above the average; and great, or unusual strength is a possession that it is impossible to conceal. For people worship strength in a man even more than they admire beauty in a woman. You, who are reading these words, probably are acquainted with at least one hundred men and boys whom you meet in a business or social way. If you are inclined to athletics, or devoted to some outdoor sport, it is possible that you know a hundred athletes; men who are physically better than the average. And yet how many out of that hundred are distinguished for their strength? Probably not more than one or two. A big university may have five or six thousand students, including scores of oarsmen, football players and track athletes; and yet not more than five or six of these young men are strong enough to make really good records in such strength stunts as "putting the shot" and "throwing the hammer." If a youth while in college displays enormous strength, his feats and power will become a college tradition, and his name will be mentioned with awe; and it is but seldom that investigation develops that such an athlete is the son of a very strong father. If such were the rule, it would mean that strength was a monopoly of a very few individuals, and that a strong man who had inherited a fixed amount of strength from his father would in his turn pass on exactly that amount of strength to his sons. Fortunately for most of us, nature does not work in that way. What then would be the use of any one trying to improve himself in any way? These believers in the hereditary theory overlook the great constructive forces of environment, ambition, and initiative. Your father and grandfather may have been small and weak men; but that is no more reason for you to remain small and weak, than for you to remain poor because they happened to lack money. In the cultivation of the body there is no truer principal than "Nature helps him who helps himself."

I got so interested in this subject of heredity that I put the question to all the "Strong Men" whom I happen to know personally; and out of several dozen only a few of them could truthfully say that either, or both, of their parents had been very strong. Just as you could do, I can cite families where every law of heredity seems to be defied; where one daughter will be beautiful and another extremely homely; where two brothers are puny and two others are big and brawny; where all the children are taller than either parent; or where they are shorter. I know one case where the father is five feet eight inches tall and the mother only five feet two and they have a son who stands six feet four in his stocking feet. And I know a Herculean man - a former oarsman and football player - whose cross in life is that his full-grown son is one of these round-shouldered, flat-chested lounge-lizards.

Like everyone else I believe in the value of a good physical inheritance, but just the same I can find no conclusive evidence that physical strength is purely an inherited trait. Once I thought I had tracked down a case of inherited strength, but investigation found that I was mistaken.

At that time I lived in a residential district and hear me was quite a large church. I soon noticed the particular deference paid to the pastor of that church by the boys and young men of the neighborhood. If a crowd was hanging around a corner and this minister approached, the word would be passed around "Here he comes"; and every boy would brace himself up, step forward and try to catch the minister's eye. And if the minister, as he usually did, would give a friendly nod and greeting, they would be visibly proud at being remembered and would watch him until he was out of sight. Having seen this happen several times with different groups of young fellows, I got curious and asked one crowd whether they all belonged to that man's church. "No! none of them did." "Why, then," I asked, "did they make such a fuss over him? Was he a celebrated preacher or what?" Immediately I was overwhelmed with information. According to these youths the preacher was certainly the strongest man in the whole city. One of them had seen him break a three-inch stick of wood as though it were a walking stick; another had seen him carry a huge section of a steam-heater, and so on. He had a gymnasium in his parish house and once in a while he would join the boys and entertain them by joining in a "tug of war," and at one end of the rope would pull around a dozen youths at the other end.

This preacher (I cannot even remember his name or what denomination he belonged to) was a man of middle size, not over five feet eight inches in height and weighing probably 180 pounds. His shoulders were not very broad but were exceedingly thick; his chest was deep from front to back and his back was wide and even the clerical cut of his clothes could not conceal the fact that he had a tremendously powerful pair of legs. Here, I thought, is a man who must have inherited his strength, for certainly there is nothing a preacher's way of living to make a man as strong as that. So I asked for an interview and frankly explained my interest and curiosity.

He said "Yes, I suppose I am very strong, and sometimes I wish I wasn't, because it is not quite seemly for a minister of the gospel to be respected more for his muscles than for his preaching. But then, it gives me quite a lot of influence with the boys, and that is a good thing. Was my father strong? Oh no, not particularly so. He was a poor country doctor and I had to work my own way through divinity school. I supported myself and paid my college bills by working in a lumber yard. I made an arrangement so that I would be paid by piece-work. I worked hard and would earn as much in two or three hours as the ordinary workman could make in a day. The harder I worked the stronger I got, and after a while I got so that I could carry and stack pieces of lumber that two ordinary men could not even lift. Look at my hands, they will tell you the story." And sure enough, his hands were those of a man who had done hard work. Big and broad, and thick fingered; and I could believe him when he said he could crack black walnuts with his fingers and thumbs. And there the conversation ended because the man was obviously embarrassed at having to talk about his body. It was just one more case where strength was due to a man's own efforts and will power; and another proof of how vigorous work in regulated quantities produces a vigorous body. I dare say the man was a fine preacher and a good man and all that; but what made him such an influence among the youth of the district was his fearsome physical power. It would have been just the same if he had happened to be a lawyer or a store-keeper or a policeman.

The reason why people thus admire a "Strong Man" is that such strength is so very uncommon. Out of a thousand women, a couple of hundred will be noticeably good-looking and half a dozen will be real beauties, but not one man in a thousand has the tremendous strength that sets him apart, and above, his fellow men.

There were a lot of judges in Israel but the only one the average person can name was Samson; and while most people know that he killed a thousand men in one combat and pulled down a temple, few can tell you one thing he did in his professional capacity as a judge.

Iron Nation

Friday, April 29, 2011

Secrets of Strength (Circa 1925) - Introduction - By Earle E. Liederman

Originally posted on on 27 July 2002 *Illustrations are randomly selected from the book (too numerous to post them all) and are not necessarily from the same chapter.

Earle Liederman - America's Leading Director of Physical Education

To the average young man there is no subject quite so fascinating as a discussion of physical strength. You can prove this to yourself any time you care to start a discussion among your friends. All you have to do is to remark that a certain acquaintance of yours is certainly the strongest fellow in town. Immediately all your friends will want to know just how strong he is, and each man present will insist that he knows a fellow who is "terribly strong." Claims and counter-claims will be made, and before you know it, the discussion will have taken a new turn, and those present will be talking about the great "Strong Men" of past and present time. You will be told of feats of strength performed by unknown men which would put Samson and Hercules in the class of the "also-rans," and you will hear of men so prodigiously developed that that giant, the late Louis Cyr, would have seemed small by comparison. Eventually and inevitably the talk will veer around to the question of "What makes a man strong?" and then you will hear some of the most fantastic beliefs and theories that the mind of man can conceive.

Among the uninformed, the general consensus of opinion is that either a "Strong Man" is "born strong" or else that he is in possession of some mysterious secret, or secrets, which account for his phenomenal strength.

How do I know all this? Well, because I have "listened in" on many such a confab. Why, once while on tour, I went to get shaved in the barber-shop of a small-town hotel. The place being full I had to wait my turn. One of the other customers, while getting a hair-cut, was reading a copy of a well-known sporting paper and came across the picture of an amateur "Strong Man" lifting an apparently heavy weight. He showed the picture to his barber and soon all hands were engaged in the usual argument about strength and muscles. The names of great strength-athletes were mentioned, and, to my surprise I found that I had a champion. This lad said, "I tell you the strongest of the lot is that feller, Earle Liederman in New York." When pressed for his reasons he explained that he thought I had the "grandest arm" of them all.

Now, according to all the rules, that should have been the cue for me to step forward, roll up my sleeve so as to display the arm in question, and say, "Behold! I am he" - or something like that. Whereas what I actually did was to remain in the background and keep my mouth shut. For I know what these "Strong Man" fans are like. If I had butted into the conversation, they would have kept me there an hour answering their questions. There really is a tremendous curiosity about "Strong Men" - their lives, measurements, feats of strength, and particularly their methods of training.

A real "Strong Man" excites a great deal of interest and curiosity. When he is giving theatrical performances, there will always be a little crowd of young men who hang around the stage door and wait for him to come out, just so as to get a good look at him at close quarters. (Just the way that these girl music-students do to the famous prima-donnas.)

And if one chap picks up enough courage to accost the "Strong Man" and engage him in a few seconds' conversation, then that chap has something to brag about. In the future whenever the great athlete's name is mentioned, he will say, "Oh! I know him. Let's see! The last time I talked to him was when he was here at the _____ Theater."

But, really, any great "Strong Man" will tell you that when on the road, he holds a continued reception. In the towns he visits local physical-culturists will ask for introductions to him, seek interviews with him, and beg for signed photographs. If an interview is granted, the visitor, after the usual expressions of regard and admiration, will say, "Tell me, Mr. So-and-So, what did you do to get so strong?"

Just as if the athlete, who has probably spent years in perfecting his body, could, in a few sentences, tell a beginner how to become equally strong and well-built!

But there it is. Notwithstanding the fact that the average young fellow, will in conversation, loudly proclaim his belief that all "Strong Men" are "born that way," and at the same time express the opinion that he - the speaker - could never become very strong, nevertheless, he has a secret conviction that if he only "knew the inside" - could find out the trade secrets - that he could be just as strong as the strongest of them all.

It would be impossible for me to tell you how many scores of thousands of health-seekers I have trained, but I would be willing to bet that at least fifty thousand individuals have written me letters telling me to lay out their courses so as to make them as strong as possible. It is just as natural for a youth to wish to be powerfully developed and tremendously strong as it is for a girl to desire great beauty of face and form. But just the same it is impossible for me to describe the training of a "Strong Man" in one short letter, or in one brief interview, as it would be for a champion boxer to tell all the details of his art in a half hour's talk.

That was my main reason for writing this book. It gives me the opportunity to supplement the instructions I give in my courses. For when a man first starts his training, it is necessary to confine his work to definite exercises, which are designed to develop the individual muscles, to shape and strengthen the whole body, and to promote a feeling of health and well-being. The first few months of an exercise program are devoted to what you might call foundation work. Monotonous and tiresome (sometimes), but necessary if a structure of great strength is to be reared.

The acquisition of really great strength, that is to become as strong as yourself as two or three ordinary men, is a problem which requires special training, patience and knowledge, particularly knowledge. Remember, the first thing asked of an expert is, "What shall I do to become strong?"

In another book of mine I gave a description of the various exercises used by "Strong Men" to develop their tremendous muscles. But every one who has given the matter any thought, realizes that there is more to strength-building than just exercise alone. If your body is to grow steadily - to develop from the undeveloped state of the average man, to the beautifully shaped and terrifically powerful physique of the real strength-athlete, you must learn to regulate your training so as to get that proper balance between exercise, recuperation (sleep) and nourishment which makes for the greatest possible progress.

I have associated so much with "Strong Men" that I have had every opportunity to observe and study both their physical characteristics and their training methods. Much of what I have learned is told in the pages of this book. At that, I feel that I have not told the half of it, although if you will look at the chapter headings you will find that I have dealt with almost every factor relating to strength.

The fact of the matter is that these men most famous for their strength are not only immensely powerful, but are also what you might call "virtuosos" in the strength line. Most of them are experts (a) in the creation of muscle, (b) in the kind of training that at once creates and conserves energy, and (c) in the scientific application of power.

The amateur physical-culturist can, therefore, learn a great deal from the experience of the professional. I feel that I am qualified to speak with some authority on the methods of professionals because, in the first place, I was for several years before the public, doing a "strong-act" in vaudeville; in the second place because ever since my early manhood I have been intimately associated with many of the most famous "Strong Men" of modern times; and lastly, because I have been successful in the work of aiding thousands of men and boys to achieve the glory that goes with great physical strength.

It is quite natural that magazines devoted to physical training should be illustrated with pictures of finely developed men. But I can remember when, not so very many years ago, even the biggest magazines were lucky if in a single issue they could show pictures of even as many as half a dozen really well-built individuals. Nowadays the supply of such pictures is almost unlimited. Why, I myself issue periodically reports from my pupils, and each little folder shows the pictures of dozens of amateur pupils of mine; many of whom compare favorably in development and strength with the best professionals. In fact I have on hand enough unpublished pictures of fine physical specimens - contributed by my own pupils - to illustrate all the numbers of a magazine for years to come. Which, if it means anything, is some proof that I have had some success in handling strength cases, even if the bulk of my business is with individuals who are primarily health-seekers.

The seeker after great strength is necessarily in an advanced class. Usually he is a young fellow, who, having built up his body and increased his development rapidly through devotion to his daily exercise, comes to the point where he wishes to be able to exert the strength which is warranted by his big muscular body. He knows that his exercise has fully justified itself, because he feels better than ever before in his life. Besides that, his improved proportions have attracted a lot of attention and favorable comment. Especially, his muscles seem to excite curiosity; his friends remark on their size and shape; and usually wind up by expressing their belief that he must be very strong, and further asking him to display his strength. Quite naturally, the young athlete wishes to impress others by his strength as well as by his development. That is the stage which some of my ambitious pupils have reached when they write to me for further help and advice.

From their letters I can tell that what they expect is more and harder exercises. Whereas, what is really necessary is some tips on advanced methods of training. Such, for instance, as the necessity of building up great reserve energy through the avoidance of too much exercise. Or on the great importance of strengthening any weak links in the muscular chain. Or, perhaps, on the necessity of better (though not necessarily more) nourishment.

If, however, after diagnosing a pupil's needs, I were to sit down and write him a ten-page letter, dealing with any one of the three requirements above mentioned, he might be disappointed. For, instead of getting more exercises, he would be getting unexpected advice on just one phase of strength-creation. Because he would be getting only one angle he would be unable to see the whole picture - the subject in its entirety.

So, I decided to write a book in which I could present the whole subject; and give my pupils - and the public - a better understanding of the many details of muscular development, symmetry of body, quality of fibre, nerve force and athletic skill, which, when found or developed in one man, make him a physical super-man.

I have two great articles of belief, the first being that the average young man can become very much stronger than he has any idea of; and the second, that if an aspirant follows the advice given in the following pages he can attain great and permanent strength without any danger of overstrain, of staleness, or of loss of speed or energy.

I might even say that great strength is possible for any young fellow unless he happens to be hopelessly crippled. Even those who are lacking in size, in vigor, or who suffer from minor diseases, can first overcome their weaknesses by the medium of corrective, developing and invigorating exercises; and then, after the bodies have become properly shaped and muscled, can acquire that great strength which is the crowning glory of true manhood. I have seen so many weaklings become "Strong Men" that I have become convinced that the capability for possessing great strength is within all of us. And that any man, however weak, can become very strong if he has the ambition, the persistence and the knowledge. While I cannot give you the first two, I feel that I can help out on the information.

I know "Strong Men" of almost every conceivable size and shape; from big-boned, massive giants, down to little "five-footers," who, though small-boned, are masses of muscle and energy. And, between those two extremes, men of all the intermediate stages of size, whose one common possession is that distinctive beauty of form and high degree of muscular development which marks the true "Strong Man."

So, in conclusion, if you are one of that ever-growing army of strength-enthusiasts, I can assure you that physical power can be yours; but that the road to strength is easier, and can be traveled quicker if you avoid the stumbling blocks, and keep out of the ruts. Here is hoping that some of the information given in this book will make the road smoother for you.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011


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The Key to Might and Muscle - (Circa 1926) - Chapter 24 - (LAST CHAPTER) - Some Actual Results of Practical Exercise - By George F. Jowett

The quality of a system is always judged by the results that it has achieved, not so much in one or two isolated cases through a brief trail as over a period of time among a great number. The actual results in exercise are more important than the actual results in business, as judged by the fact that as long as you have health and strength you can recuperate from a business reverse, but when the body is badly impaired, the value of life and its achievements are both lost. Money cannot buy health and strength. Nature sets too high a value on these gifts and will not barter them for gold. In this she is worse than Shylock, exacting her due to the last fraction, even if it has to your life that is forfeited. However, to those who are willing to follow her promptings, she is wonderfully generous and bountiful. During my lifetime, I have watched thousands upon thousands of health seekers take up the reins of right living, and have seen the actual results achieved. Many have actually passed through my hands, and I am glad to know that I have helped to a certain extent, to place this glorious gospel of body culture in many places. It has a fascination for me, and I am justly proud of the products whose wonderful bodies and glorious achievements were the results of my efforts. Some of these examples I am going to bring before you, and show you in just what condition they were when they took up this great work, and I hope that the lesson their life provides will make some of you ashamed of yourselves, and all of you determined to go and do better.

My first example is going to be of one young man, who, while entirely unknown to any of my readers, or the athletic world, became one of cherished friends. It all happened like this. Some years ago I was standing in the doorway of my shop, after having taken an invigorating workout in the gymnasium that was on the floor above. I was happy and enjoying the fullness of good health. I always seemed to feel a greater gratitude and exhilaration as I felt the blood coursing quickly through my veins, and the muscles smoothly gliding under my skin after a workout. One of "God is Good" feelings. Approaching me, from the left side of the street, was a slim, young fellow, about five feet seven inches tall. He aroused my curiosity as I noticed he was not whistling. Of course, he had the privilege of not whistling for once if he liked and I suppose you might figure he was entitled to rest once in a while. That was not it. When you know a chap to have a definite habit, and to be always laughing or whistling, every hour of the day, there is something psychologically wrong when he makes an omission. Human nature does not work that way. The nearer he came the more my belief that something was wrong was confirmed. His eyes were fixed on the pavement, and a look of abject misery was pictured upon his face. His stride seemed to wilt under the serious oppression of his thoughts. Mental telepathy, if you want to call it such, signaled to me, and for the first time I spoke to him. He did not hear me; but I spoke again, asking him how he was. His face twitched as he mumbled a reply and his step faltered. I felt an awful pity for him, as I could plainly see that he was sick. I drew him inside and invited him to tell me what was wrong. It was a story that has been told before, but he was one of the exceptions, when he was reaping the harvest of his wild oats too early in life. He had always had weak lungs and a combination of the violent dissipation of youth and neglect had set their seal upon him. Tuberculosis. He had just come from the doctor, who had ordered him not to work for one year. The mountains and a sanatorium were prescribed, as usual, but the boy had no money and he had a home to help support. I talked to him for over an hour, and told him I was sure that I could help him if he would do as I told him. It was the straw to the drowning man's clutch, and he tearfully grabbed it. I got to him just in time. Within two weeks he was sleeping restfully, without the torture of the racking cough. A month and he was a changed being. Six weeks, and he was back doing light work, and inside of three months he was working in the factory at his former job. He trained and followed my instructions as only one who is fighting for his life will. During that time I had kept him with me all the time. If I had occasion to drive out of town he went with me, although we were totally unlike in our make-ups and I was easily ten years older than he. But as he found that his strength was returning and he was actually getting better that he had ever been in his life, the pall of my more serious nature began to bore him. Gradually he slipped back into his old life, and I seldom saw him. I had done all I had promised, and it was his own life he was living, so I figured it was useless to say anything to him, for he was old enough to know better. Despite our opposite nature I had gotten to like this nineteen year old boy. Whenever I did see him he was the same laughing, merry, whistling boy, who had already developed an affection towards me. A year slid by and with it a tale was retold. There are some things with which a man can be fooled, but on one can hide certain conditions from one who has spent his life doing one thing. Whenever I saw Don I noticed the gradual sinking of the cheeks, and the shadows that were forming under the eyes, and that little hacking cough which he began to blame on cigarettes. But he began to avoid me, and I had no intention of going out of my way to play the good Samaritan if my aid was not required. One evening his sister called on me and told me everything. He was ashamed to come back after he had realized his folly. The upshot was that he came back, but the struggle was much harder this time. I had told him that I could not promise anything a second time, but he had to choose between the straight and narrow path, once and for all, or disaster. He was a game fighter, and he made good. Better still, he remained good. From a horrible wreck of about one hundred pounds, he built up into as tough a piece of manflesh at one hundred and fifty pounds as I ever saw. He would wrestle with me like a demon as one of my partners, and he played on the forward line of the football team I captained. We developed and inseparable friendship, with absolute devotion on his part. He had learned his lesson and swallowed his medicine like a man, fully realizing the value of it and what exercise could do for him. He is settled down now, with a fine little wife and a child to bless their home. We were nearer than brothers. He never left my side, and was always the last to grasp my hand as I stepped into the arena and the first when I stepped out. My honor was his honor, for which he would fight like a tiger. I helped him back to health, and gained one of the finest pals a man ever had, which balanced the scales perfectly.

I am sorry if I have allowed my affection for a friend to lead me to digress from the actual subject, but still this example proves what can be obtained from a clean life built of from following the true principle of body culture. Also the story of Frank Dennis affords one of the finest instances of how low a man can be pulled down, and how high he can rise. Dennis was a victim of the great "Flu" epidemic that swept through the country a few years ago. He developed double pneumonia, which left him with a weak heart and badly weakened lungs. He developed hemorrhages and in four days lost sixteen pounds. Invalided home from the hospital, he was a complete wreck. During his convalescence the study of body culture began to appeal to him as a means of reclaiming his lost health. At that time I was located in Pittsburgh, but he came to me, and I am very proud to say that within two years he was the winner of the middleweight weight-lifting championship of America. Actually six months after he had commenced under my supervision he had stepped into the record creating class, making his first record with a performance in the wrestler's bridge lift. From one victory he passed to another, until he secured the champion crown. His wonderfully formed body has since been an inspiration to thousands. Every line and every curve shows up with rugged strength. His chest, which was once so badly sunken, swells out in a magnificent roll, with a depth that proves the great volume of lung power that has since been his. There has not been the slightest recurrence of either heart or lung affection since he started rebuilding his wasted frame. To look at his hefty pair of legs no one would believe he ever had such a thing as a weak heart, for the legs are the hardest members of the body to build up when such has been the trouble. Care and patience must be always remembered, otherwise the great quantity of blood that is required to nourish these big leg muscles would keep the heart in a weakened state. Dennis is like most people who have come up from the shadow of the grave. He is a zealous apostle of body building, and never loses an opportunity to demonstrate his vast physical capabilities for the benefit of others. The occasion when Dennis laid down and allowed an automobile to run over his abdomen is fitting evidence of the quality of his muscular resistance. He had no cushions under him as a protection, neither did he have sloping blocks for the car to run up on and off, like other performers. He simply laid on the road and allowed the machine to run over him in order to prove and argument.

Then we have the case of Charles Shaffer, another star athlete, who has graced the vaudeville stage with his impressive physique and super-athletic abilities. Shaffer is only a small man but he is a veritable dynamo of energy. Struck down with double pneumonia, he almost left this world behind him, and his convalescence was so slow that all hope was abandoned on several occasions. However, the spark of life lingered and grew, and soon as he was out of bed he began to make plans for the future. I had the great pleasure of taking him in hand and guiding him until he went on the stage. He advanced more rapidly than any other man I ever knew. As his body began to develop he formed a great inclination for hand-balancing and tumbling. It was a step I greatly encouraged, although he made his athletic debut as a wrestler on the Pittsburgh "Y" wrestling team, and cleaned up honors in two classes in one night. In his advanced stages of training he took up the sport of weight lifting, and made some remarkable records that still stand. The unusual development of his body began to excite attention, and he took up the art of posing.

With all credit due to all of the splendidly built athletes I know, I believe that Shaffer has the most outstanding muscular development of any. Every muscles stands out as clearly separated from the other as though each one was chiseled out of marble, and he has remarkable control over them all. He succeeded John Fielding as the bantamweight weight-lifting champion of America. Fielding was another of the many who had come under my tutelage and climbed to the top. He came under my direction when he was in his thirties, after he had tried the best specialists in Europe, Britain and this country to overcome organic trouble. I was, fortunately, successful with this Massachusetts athlete, who became known as the "Pocket Hercules." Fielding retired from active competition with honors, but with all due respects to my earlier protégé, I have to say that Shaffer was the daddy of them all in his bodyweight class. He is a Hercules in miniature, overshadowing for both strength and physical development such stars as Artie Edmunds, Paolo, and Luis Hardt, also ranking as one of the greatest hand-balancing performers that ever stepped on the vaudeville stage. He became so interested in the demonstration of physical efficiency that he forsook a lucrative occupation to become a professional performer. While remarking about the skillful abilities of Shaffer, and the former pupils, it came to my mind that some readers may wonder why I include these facts, as it can be easily recognized that I do not mention their feats solely as a proof of how good they became. You will notice that they became adept in a certain line of sport quite early in their body building process. It really was a part of their program. I always studied their athletic inclinations. Whether they had any previous ability before taking up body culture or not, their interest quickly developed in one certain sport. I fostered this interest, for I always found it a very valuable aid. It increased their enthusiasm, and they could see the actual results of their labors as they went along.

At the time of the disbanding of the troops after the war, one young man, who was the son of a local minister, had broken down under the rigors of the Russian front. He was discharged as medically unfit, developing lung trouble from exposure and pneumonia. He was a sorry looking sight when his father brought him to me. Standing about six feet three inches, he weighed about one hundred and twenty pounds, and his whole appearance was one of emaciation. However, he build up rapidly, and I got him interested in fencing. He became quite adept at the foil game, and within six months of starting training, dating from the night of his introduction to me, he was representing his university in the national fencing tournament. He won second place, losing by just one point. I have not seen him for a few years, but I do not have to see him. He has been shown what has to be done, and he got the full benefits of the results. I know he has brains enough never to forget the value of the teachings of exercise, and so I know that he still keeps up a valuable policy.

All who come to my attention are not, by any means, the victims of ill health, but rarely has one come forward who had plainly evidenced the great possibilities that he finally developed. Take Marineau and Fournier for instance. They both were very ordinary young men in the first place. Any other ordinary person of their weight could equal them, but they took a great interest in the study of body building and finally became keen adherents to the sport of weight lifting. Their success and great achievements in that sport are due to diligence, perseverance and an intelligent application of right training principles.

I remember when I was training on the other side, a man of about thirty-eight years of age came to see me at my training quarters. He was a Sandow pupil and a very wealthy English business man. Indigestion had been the bane of his life for years , and all medical help seemed futile. He became a pupil of Sandow at the suggestion of another athlete with whom I was acquainted at that time. Sandow certainly made a man of him, but it the other fellow I want to tell you about. His name was George Heywood. He was the son of a millionaire English manufacturer, and when I knew him he was a fine specimen of manhood, and a crack amateur bike rider of those days. Bronchitis and heart trouble had cost his father a small fortune, and finally his despairing parents were told that it was useless to go further. His son might live six months, but nine months was hardly possible. Quiet and rest were advised, and an army of attendants waited on his every move and call. One day George put the proposition up to his father like this, "Listen, dad, you have done all you can for me, and we have tried everything but one thing, and I want you to let me try it. There is no use of your kicking, for I am going to die anyway, and I much prefer dying trying to get health, rather than waiting for death to claim me." The son got his own way, and Sandow was responsible for his cure. What amazed me most was, that in less than six months afterwards he competed in a one hundred mile bike race and won it. Of all sports, bike racing makes the heart work harder than any other. Heywood was a splendid wrestler, gymnast and weight lifter, and I used to enjoy seeing him work out. When we wrestled he would bore in like a young lion, and the sparkle in his snapping eyes shot out glimpses of the buoyant energy and joy of living that he was enjoying.

I have had the pleasure of handling a great number of men, with great success, who lost the use of certain muscles as a result of injury in the World War; but there are no miracles about such cures if you want to call them that. They are much as I wrote in the chapter on "Curative Exercise." The physician had done his work and the rest was left to exercise. It is just a logical application of the right method of physical training. Remedial gymnastics was a godsend to the gassed, paralyzed, and semi-paralyzed soldiers of the World War. When all medical aid had been given the patients were returned to civilian life, cured and one hundred per cent fit. Is that not wonderful? Try to realize that if it had not been for remedial gymnastics all those men would have been thrown back into the wage-earning struggle, handicapped, incompetent to hold down their former jobs. There are thousands upon thousands of disabled soldiers who have a heart full of praise for the value of exercise.

Of recent years one of my best productions is Albert Manger, the well known Baltimore weight lifter. Manger, within eighteen months, developed from a sickly, underdeveloped man of one hundred and twenty-nine pounds to one hundred and eighty-two pounds of as fine a piece of manhood as you would wish to see. The moment he strips he arrests the eyes. To look at him you would imagine he weighed two hundred pounds, so massive are his muscular proportions, and his ability to lift in both slow and fast lifts bears witness to the splendid coordination of speed and strength that he possesses. Then there is David P. Willoughby, the famous Pacific Coast athlete, who, while only a light heavyweight, won the American heavyweight weight-lifting championship, He was formerly a slender, almost scrawny, individual when he first took up progressive training, and I can safely say that at the present time he is one to the finest athletes in the country for both build and ability.

Although Ottley R. Coulter was no pupil of mine, yet his experience holds a valuable lesson. He started out training as a much under developed young man and developed into a world's champion in his bodyweight class. Coulter is remarkable in many ways. He is one of the few of the great athletes who allowed his studies to take him to a real depth below the surface, which is all so many bother with. I have a great admiration for him as a man and an athlete, and he has been a great help in promoting the cause of right thinking, with right exercise, in this country. He has a marvelous control over his body, and I believe he was the pioneer introducing muscle control in America.

When Sigmund Klein took up progressive body training he was only a very ordinarily built young man, but most of you are familiar with the splendid results he obtained for himself. As I allow my mind to consider some of the obstacles with which many body builders have had to contend, I am inclined to become provoked at others. The truth is, that many young fellows do not know how well off they are when they start in. Just think of the struggle Joe Nordquest had. He lost his leg below the knee in an accident when he was a young boy; this set him back considerably. Originally he did not have a husky foundation to start with, as many imagine. He was quite light, and there were times when he began to think that he would never succeed, but Adolph, his elder brother, and one of the most magnificent athletes America ever developed, was always a source of inspiration to him. With that one great handicap he continued to plug away, and it took time to get there, but he got there just the same.

He practiced weight lifting and became extraordinarily efficient in all forms of strength, and has raised enormous poundages in various lifts. Although Joe has retired from the sport, yet his name, his feats and his powerful physique will retain an honored place in the history of the strong man and muscle builder in this country. Despite his great weight he became a fine hand balancer, and was the heaviest man I ever knew who could make a single hand stand. Another incident that claimed my admiration, in which an athlete was handicapped with the loss of a limb, was Charles Maw, and English boy. He weighed about one hundred and twenty-six pounds. As the result of an accident his arm was completely taken off, but this plucky little man went into the field of muscle culture with a bang. He acquired a wonderful body, and in the bent press, he was credited with a lift of two hundred and twenty-four pounds.

One incident brings to mind another. Anyhow, I was very familiar with an officer who had served overseas and lost his leg, and was distracted to know what he would do when he returned to civilian life. By profession he was a surveyor, and naturally his casualty eliminated him from that occupation. I knew he was a good jumper, so I suggested his to take up training again, build his body up, and study balancing to control equipoise. He did, and made such a success of it that he became a professional performer, and made a better and easier living than he had in pre-war days.

H. E. Keeseckin, of Peoria, Illinois, was discharged from the Marine Corps for heart trouble. He later came under my attention and within eighteen months he wrought a marvelous change in himself. Organically and physically he became perfect, as did A. Batsis, who was such a wreck from stomach and intestinal disorder, that he only weighed about ninety pounds at the start of his training. Nine months later he displayed a body that was a real prize winner, and I had the pleasure of making him over.

These are just a few of the men, out of thousands, who got practical results from following practical body building exercise. I have not picked only the best examples, for I know of others who have become greater even than Nordquest. There were men who had to fight the ravages of lung trouble, liver and kidney disorders, heart weakness and the disadvantage of crippled limbs, like O. Martin, of Attica, Indiana, who suffered with infantile paralysis, and today is one our shining examples of physical fitness. What they all had to encounter and overcome, and the final achievements, they secured in build and ability, should be a real inspirational lesson to every one who does not have any of these things with which to contend. To those who have, these examples should be a beacon to guide them to the greatest goal that life presents. The value of their success cannot be judged in gold or priceless jewels. In itself, it is the incomparable prize, a glorified body, that is fighting fit with health and strength, obtained by the handiwork of nature through its servant, progressive body culture.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Key to Might and Muscle - (Circa 1926) - Chapter 23 - The Standard That Determines the Ideal Shape - By George F. Jowett

There is no doubt in my mind that Eugene Sandow's rise to fame was due more to the symmetrical shapeliness of his enviable body than to the difficulty of feats of strength he performed. Generally speaking, there are two things which will always impress the mind of the body culturist, shape and strength. With strength, we have already dealt. Therefore, we will now direct out attention to the value of shapeliness, and the influence it has upon our mind and body. Oh yes, it has a great influence upon the mind. The next time you visit an art gallery notice the quiet reverence that is displayed by the art lovers, as they move from one picture to another. The serene beauty of the pictures permeates the whole atmosphere, leaving the beholders in silent wonder. I have a great friend who is a wonderful artist, and he often makes sketches of the body in varied postures, which he brings to me for scrutiny. On one of his visits he said to me, "I can always tell whether the drawings meet with your approval or not. Not by what you say, as much as how little you say. Your eyes are always drawn to the pictures you like best, and I have noticed that you have sometimes been so enraptured that you did not hear me speak to you." He was quite right. Pictures of the body beautiful, correctly translated, never weary me. I can feast my eyes upon them for hours at a time. This rather contradicts the statement that, familiarity with the most beautiful objects, breeds contempt. For twenty-five years I have lived in the atmosphere of beautiful bodies, and I am still as enthusiastic as I was when I first commenced my studies.

Universally the young body builder will accept for his ideal the athlete whose form is symmetrically formed, in preference to the man who is known for his great strength alone. If an athlete is so fortunate to possess both these attributes, he is idolized even more. I believe it was this exceptional combination possessed by George Hackenschmidt that made him my life long ideal. We all have our ideal. Just as the athlete of today accepted Sandow, Hackenschmidt and others, as their inspiration in their early days, so is the young body idealist of today inspired by the magnificent body of men like Adolph Nordquest, Staff Sergeant Moss and Siegmund Klein among others. Each is striving to mould the shape of his body on the same lines of his ideal, and each will in turn become the example for the generation of body builders of tomorrow.

About the first thing a body builder does is to inquire about the measurements of his ideal along with his other habits. Irrespective of his own weight and structure, he jumps into his training with the idea that some day he is going to have the same muscular dimensions. In other words, he struggles to imitate and duplicate in every way. He is all wrong there. If he had to concentrate on securing the same proportions, according to his height as his ideal, he would then be on the right track.

Measurements have become almost a curse in determining what the ideal figure should be. No two men are built alike, even though they are the same height and bodyweight. If one man has larger feet and hands, or if his head is larger than another, his appearance will be very different. His hips may be large, or the clavicles of his shoulders may be short, in either of which case he will have to change his ideas on his own ideal measurements. The condition of these two parts will influence your whole build, as much as the size of the hands, feet and head. As I said in a previous chapter, do not bother about your bony structure in determining the proportions you should acquire in order to achieve the ideal physical state. Let your height guide you first, then see how the rest of your body measures up. If your hips are large, the thighs are likely to be heavy, and if your hands are large, your forearm is likely to be larger in proportion than your biceps. All these points have to be taken into consideration first, and then you have to lay out a routine that will satisfactorily bring up the smaller parts to balance with the heavier parts.

Where shapeliness is the supreme desire, care will have to be taken to see that all the muscles are balanced and shaped. Your measurements are not going to tell you this. Your upper arm may span sixteen inches, but that does not mean to say the triceps will balance with the biceps. The same thing applies to the legs. As a rule the biceps of the thigh is below par, and the absence of that muscle certainly takes away from the beauty of the thigh formation. Balance. That is the key to a beautiful physique. It is your balanced appearance when stripped that will always decide the issue before judges, and not primarily what your measurements are. As the body becomes balanced the measurements will be taken care of in their own way.

The art of posing has become a very prominent one in a body culturist's program. At one time he sought only to excel at tumbling, wrestling, or lifting weights, and when he stripped for a picture he would generally strike some pose in which his muscles bulged into horrible postures that made him appear to be a grotesque being. This has passed away, and the poseur's art has developed a better understanding of the body. Today we are capable of displaying the body in graceful, flowing lines that clearly enhance the value of body building, and do not detract from the suggestion of strength.

At one time the Apollo style was greatly in vogue, and many sought to duplicate the effeminate lines; but this example never had general favor, for nature calls for a man to look like a man, and not like an underdeveloped girl. The Theseus for was discovered and found to fill the need of a masculine ideal more satisfactorily. This is now the accepted standard as it was in the ages past, when that statue was first made. It combines the graces of Apollo and the sturdy strength of a normalized Hercules. I have often studied the statues of Apollo Belvedere, and the Farnese Hercules, and I could only see one quality in either, neither seemed to have the proper combination. The Apollo suggested grace, poise and beauty, but the form was too feminine to be perfect. It bespoke under development more than anything else, for the legs are heavy in proportion to the slim, straight lines of the upper body. The Farnese Hercules is just as badly exaggerated the other way, and the legs are way of out proportion also. Just the same, the suggestion is there, making us realize its colossal power. In Praxtiles, Theseus, we find the most appealing form. It breathes power, manly beauty and gracefulness. There is no standard measurement to actually determine how you can know whether you have the Theseus form or not. You simply cultivate your muscles so that they will balance.

One day my artist friend and I were talking this subject over, and during this discussion I took out a number of photographic poses of several well know body culturists, including Hackenschmidt, Staff Sergeant Moss, Dandurand, Bobby Pandour, Chas. MacMahon and Sigmund Klein. Spreading these out on my desk, I asked my friend to pick out the most perfect type of manhood. He couldn't. Every man drew his admiration. Finally he remarked, "There is no choice among them. They are all wonderful." He was surprised when I told him that their bodyweights ranged from one hundred and forty-seven pounds to two hundred and ten pounds, which goes to prove that no matter how tall, or how short you are, the Theseus standard can be applied to all. Study their attitude in every pose. There is nothing forced in their positions. They are wonderfully natural. Some of the measurements of some of these men would not impress you at all, as against the measurements of Hackenschmidt, which again goes to prove my statement that balance rather than measurements is what counts. Every muscle is shaped, rounded or curved in the most exquisite lines. For instance, take the legs of Moss and MacMahon; I don't care from what position you view them, they are a glorious interpretation of muscular anatomy. Balanced with the hips and calves, they explain to you much better than I can write, how a pair of legs should look. Incidentally both of these men are artists' models of international reputation. Charles MacMahon has done more posing than any other model I know of in this country. His services are always in great demand. He led the movement away from the effeminate poses characterized by those who were led to believe that the Apollo Belvedere was the correct form. All his casts like those of Moss and Hackenschmidt depict life, vigor, or rest, according to the study. The Greeks have never produced any more beautiful specimen in the physical entirety. Klein and Pandour, both have torsos of such magnificent formation that they will live like the glories of Greece, always. Hackenschmidt and Dandurand are men of weight, and vital types who radiate power in every symmetrical line and curve of their body. I have known all of these poseurs personally. I know how their adamite bodies strike the eye and impress the mind when you see them pose. The magnetic influence they radiate compels you to become a body culturist without a mention of the fact. However, their qualities do not begin and end merely as expositors of the body, as each man is possessed of the extraordinary speed, suppleness and strength that makes them efficient athletes.

You will notice in the physiques of each of these men, a very fine tapering off of the body. Commencing with the breadth of the shoulders, a slope begins that gives the body a well balance V shape as it finishes at the feet. The neck should be a little larger than the biceps, about an inch, and the calf should be about a half inch to three- quarters smaller than the biceps. There are all kinds of measurement tables on the market, but none of them have stood the test of time. Some of them are utterly ridiculous. From the mass of information that I have collected over the years on measurements, I made an average of the measurements as they are possessed by the majority of the best built and strongest men in each class. These measurements I am including because I know the interest among all body builders for such. You will find them quite different to most you have seen, but these are the actual measurements of the majority per height that really looked more like what we are after. These measurements, as you see, are made up with a gap of two inches between each tabulation because I find that five feet four inches and five feet five inches and so on have too much similarity to consider, and they also cover the ages from eighteen years up.

I want to draw your attention to a few facts as I see them. You will notice that the five foot four and five foot six inch grades, have larger waists by comparison with the chest on the average, than the men in the five feet ten and six foot grades. This is due to their more compact bodies, which has less space between the ribs and the hips. For the opposite reason have the five feet ten inch and six feet grades apparently got a more trim waist. That is, their waist covers a greater length and the mass of tissue is naturally distributed over a longer area. The five foot eight inch grade jumps an inch in waist difference, making the difference of eleven inches between chest and waist as against ten inches in the first two grades and twelve inches in the last two, but you will find his extra weight is accounted for by a bigger jump in biceps and calf size than any of the others, and his hip measurement jumps higher by two inches over the five feet six inch grade. It is in this grade that we find men of great vitality. These few facts will prove to you the unreliability of measurements in determining what proportions a man should have in order to build for himself the ideal shape. Take Hackenschmidt for example; he stood less than six feet and stripped at two hundred and ten pounds, his measurements are way above the six foot grade, but on one can find a fault with that masterpiece. Charles MacMahon stands about five feet eight inches and weighs one hundred and eighty pounds, his measurements run a little better than the five foot eight inch grade but any one would be proud to own a physique like his. If you want to accept measurements according to statistics, then you can safely accept these tables as being somewhat approximate, but you will be obliged to consider your physical peculiarities in order to be more definite. When I see a man I can tell right away pretty near how he should shape up, as I immediately take into consideration the points that I have explained in this chapter. But you will find it just to be as I have stated; that is entirely your appearance as you strip that will count the most of all in acquiring the shape which is best described as "Sculptor Form."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Key to Might and Muscle - (Circa 1926) - Chapter 22 - Do You Know the Sources of Your Vitality? - By George F. Jowett

The title of this chapter asks a question that will make you think a little to answer it in anything like a correct way. No one can really answer the question fully, simply because each day science is unveiling some great bodily essential not previously known; or scientists find out the important relations between certain organisms, all of which should be of great interest to you. Over two thousand years ago, Solomon, among his wise sayings, remarked in reverent awe that the body is wonderfully and fearfully made. In his great wisdom the sage of Israel realized the nature of God's work, but not in the concrete way that the investigations of present day science have made possible for us. Science is a never ending cycle in which each new subject seems to be more interesting than the last. Research sets me athirst all the time to know more of this ingenious body of ours. Bodily comparison and relativity is a wonderful study. While this subject allows us to find out much about the body, to me its greatest value lies in what it enables us to infer. By inference it brings enlightenment on many hithertofore hazy beliefs. Just for example, take "Growth and Development" by Spencer. In it he does not make a single mention of body culture, but growth, as presented in plant and animal life by Spencer, has been of great use to me in my comparisons. The law of relativity, as he expounds it, taught me the first principles of gravity, which I later worked out on a mathematical scale and applied successfully to lifting inanimate objects. Drummond in his "The Ascent of Man" gives much instruction by inference. His lament for the physical neglect of the human race is poignant. In that volume he says, "Time was when every man was an athlete, now to our shame, we have to pay to see one." Since he wrote, the blessings of body culture have been more fully recognized, and today we can see one hundred well built men to every ten of twenty-five years ago. Huxley, Wallace, Darwin and Osbourne all have taught great lessons by explaining the natural changes brought about in the evolution of man Whether man descended from the apes or not, it is very interesting to note the physical changes that have taken place through the ages of his physical construction. It is only natural that as his method of living changed, it had a lot to do with changing his natural strength. Scientists have not proven that the prehistoric man of the stone age was so physically larger than the modern man. Taking them as a whole, the average stone age man was undoubtedly physically a better specimen. In those days, man lived entirely out of doors and was a hunter from necessity. Things have changed, and a certain proportion of men nowadays spend their time within an office or a store. Naturally, there are certain things that we have lost, but there is a natural law of compensation and where men of prehistoric times were possessed of brute strength, the modern man is possessed of intelligentstrength. As mechanical science released us from too much manual effort, mental intelligence acquired for us a system that enabled us to keep our body as perfectly fit as our ancestors. Of course, I cannot go into detail here to prove all this. And I think you would not be as interested in the exact reasons, as you are in the results. But after reading considerable material on the subject of evolution I have come to the conclusion that in physical construction man has changed very little. The greatest changes have been mental. Also various internal organs have been obliged to adopt themselves to the changes made by our changed system of eating. However, this is just another example of the law of compensation. Each loss necessitates a change to compensate for it, just as the principles of exercise enable us develop all our muscles to the very best of their natural state. I believe that the average body culturist is a better specimen of manhood than the average man of any previous age. The man of by-gone ages hunted, fished, made war, ate and slept, but all that did not make them more powerful, as much as it made them a hardier race by reason of their bodily exposure to the elements. No doubt the slaves who bent their backs under the whips in building the pyramids of Egypt were more powerfully constructed than the prehistoric man by reason of their excessive labors. It took a good man to survive the brutalities of that period. History gives plenty of evidence of this. The first half of the seventh century B. C. saw the Median revolt against Assyrian world domination, and it was during this calamity that the slaves held in captivity availed themselves of the opportunity to escape, which they did successfully. They developed into a formidable war-like race, finally enlisting under Alexander the Great, and played the most important part in all the brilliant campaigns of that great leader. This is a little off the subject, but I merely mention it as a point of evidence.

Man in his transitory stages of evolution has lost the need for some things. For instance, the troublesome appendix which the modern person finds he can get on as well without. In fact, many physicians believe that he is better off without it. A survey of the united states Army statistics, estimation the physical standard of recruits during the World War, show an amazing percentage of soldiers who were minus the appendix. With the prehistoric man this tract was necessary as an organ of digestion. Its use is not entirely eliminated by the modern man; during infancy it functions, but not afterwards, and this is the reason why it is dangerous, as it allows matter to become secreted within itself and may become infected. It is claimed that this tract is less dangerous to an individual who follows a vigorous occupation, as for instance, laborers, blacksmiths, or lumberjacks, and this undoubtedly explains why athletes are less subject to appendicitis. Anyhow, it is quite evident that we have lost the real need for the appendix. Man at one time was supplied with an antiseptic saliva like most animals, and no doubt you have often wondered when you saw a dog or a cat eating putrid meat why the animal did not become poisoned. As the animal devours the flesh this saliva continues to pour out over the meat, which destroys the bacilli. A horse or cow does not have this natural germicide in the same degree that many other animals do, but they are supplied with a sense that does not allow them to touch unclean things, and so the horse and the cow are called clean animals. Man has entirely lost the antiseptic saliva and has retained the intuitive sense in a minor form, mostly relying upon his sight, taste and mental deduction to save him from being poisoned. But for all this the vital sources remain the same in a man now, as they did a hundred thousand years ago. If anything, perhaps they are intensified. Off hand you might say that our vital sources lie within our nervous system, the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Quite true, but there are a lot of other vital aids in which I believe you would be interested.

Here is an amusing incident that will make you smile, but it opens up a debatable point, and in the end proves the value of physical exercise. I was visiting a friend, and on the lawn some children were playing. One had run so much that he was all out of breath and ran over to an older child to rest on the ground, where he lay panting for breath. The older child chided the other with childish philosophy for running so much. After a little while the younger child looked up at his companion and asked, " If I breathe more slowly will I live longer?" You smile, but at the same time if you see a runner training you are apt to advise him to stop breathing though his mouth. Your advice is as wrong as the question of the child. Nature has a way of taking care of our breathing, deciding whether it should be fast or slow, through the mouth or not. Right at the base of the brain is a nerve center which is extremely sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the blood. If there is more carbon dioxide than what there should be in the blood, the nerve center responds to the occasion by sending out nerve messages to the muscles of the chest that will quicken the rise and fall of the chest, so that you will breathe more rapidly, drawing the fresh air into the lungs. Now you that running requires more energy and requires the living cells, mainly in the muscles, to work faster in order to throw off carbon dioxide which therefore becomes in excess of the amount which the lungs can properly take care of. This makes the nerve center in your brain become alarmed, and compels you to breathe faster and faster until you finally pant. In order to pant you must open your mouth, which when done under extreme exertion like running or climbing up a long flight of stairs is a natural method of recuperation by expelling carbon dioxide as the oxygen is inhaled. The great value of exercise is that it rids the body of the fatigue toxins that clog the living tissues of the muscles and secrete within the cells. This is all caught up in the blood stream, and then discharged from the body.

Speaking about running, climbing and the attendant exertion, gives us another lesson in gravity, and the reason why nature has equipped us with larger muscles in the legs than the arms, or anywhere else for that matter, When you go up a hill you are actually lifting your weight against the force of gravity. It may surprise you to know that if you weigh one hundred and fifty pounds and you run up a hill in one minute, far enough so that you rise a vertical distance of ten feet, you are using the power equivalent to one twentieth of a horse power to thus handle your one hundred and fifty pounds bodyweight. This takes muscular power to transport you and oxygen for fuel. You can readily see that if your body is out of condition, you have a real task ahead of you in merely handling yourself.

If people would only stop for a few minutes to think of the great necessity of keeping fit, there would not be a person in the country who would not be taking exercise in form or another. If everybody could realize how much one part of the body must help the other, even just by stimulation the circulation of the blood stream and keeping it free of impurities, they would relieve certain organisms of much unnecessary work, and thus preserve them for other emergencies. Did you ever consider when you cut your hand how it was that you were saved from infection? In the blood stream are millions of tiny granules of whitish jelly, which are white corpuscles. In reality they are the defenders of your body. Their duty is to fight and absorb all foreign substances, which seek to enter the body. When you cut yourself, they rush in great numbers to the wound and ward off any invading germs. These little men of war have a strange method of existence. They live on their prey. If a germ gets in the body they soon find it and engulf the germ inside their own body, where it apparently becomes digested. It is further claimed that thee are no white corpuscles in a body that has died of sickness. Apparently they finally are absorbed in fighting disease. Really the body is the most absorbing study in existence. Nothing is so intricate, perplexing or so wonderful, yet it is claimed that the ingredients that constitute a one hundred and fifty pound body have only a market value of ninety-eight cents. Well, figure it out, just for the interest it will afford you. About two-thirds of the total weight is water. I have seen it estimated that the average one hundred and fifty pound body contains ten gallons of water, about twenty-four pounds of carbon and seven pounds of lime, them there are two ounces of phosphorus and a little less than two ounces of salt. About one quarter of iron, one fifth of sugar, and very small amounts of potassium, sulfur, magnesium, fluorine, and iodine. Nearly five pounds of nitrogen, and thirteen pounds of hydrogen and oxygen, in addition to what is contained in water. Nearly all the chemical changes in our body take place within a solution of water. Sometimes, when too much salt gets into the blood, we are obliged to drink a considerable quantity of water in order to wash it away. Thirst is always a sign that the body needs more water for such purposes.

"Let nature take its course," is an old adage that wears well. Dame nature never makes a mistake. We generally make them instead. I like to study nature as it really takes its course, and have often found a great deal of interest in noting certain similar likes in people of all nations. The liking for sweet things seemed to have always existed. In the history of barbaric nations mention is made of the use of sweet meats. At one time I had the impression that the taste for all things that contained sugar was more or less a civilized innovation; but I have found the liking for sugar to be universal with all beings that live out of water. A bear loves honey, a horse likes sugar, and a cow, sweet clover; and where sugar is not obtainable among savage races sweet juices and foods were used as a substitute. I began to realize that sugar played a very important part in the existence of certain physical changes. Now we know it is so. The muscles cannot do without it. The main function of the liver is to conserve and control the amount of sugar that is distributed in the blood. When you eat sugar it is absorbed and carried to the liver. There the liver converts it into a substance called glycogen, and as the muscles require more sugar, the liver converts a little of this glycogen back into sugar and releases it into the blood stream so that it can be carried to the muscles that require it. This will give you little idea of what is meant by that old question when one asks another, "How's your liver?" If that is all right, your are generally all right.

Another of our ancestral aversions peculiar to all mankind, is the natural dislike of anything very sour. These two traits have not been sacrificed in evolution. Much as the sense of a hose forbids it touch unclean food by scent, man once relied entirely upon taste to determine good food from bad. If it was sour, it was thrown away, as sour foods contain acids, which are often dangerous. Maybe the term, "horse sense" is an ancient tribute to this ability to know right from wrong.

Nature has a way of protecting us if we are only willing to heed her. Give her a chance to serve you and you will be better off for it. So many ask me just how often they should exercise and how many repetitions they should practice in any exercise; and many will say that although they get very tired when exercising, yet they plug away. I do not approve of anything like that. When a pupil starts in training it is quite possible to schedule the number of repetitions for each exercise over a period of a few months. But when his progress becomes so advanced that heavier poundages are required, the going is not so easy. Then he has to use his judgment. He can always be told approximately what he should do, but no day is ever exactly like another. A mental worry, heavier daily work than usual, a meal that did not exactly agree with you, any one of a number of things is likely to happen which will leave more fatigue toxins in the system than is ordinarily the case, or a depression is felt upon the blood stream. In the end, one of these little annoyances has deprived us of a little more energy than usual, and exercise becomes a little harder that night. There is no use in being excited over a little thing like that. Cater to it, for it is nature that is asserting itself. Be satisfied to do a little less. It will help you more, and when you are feeling extra peppy, train that much harder. Many are worried by the fact that on Thursday night they did not have the same pep that they had on Tuesday. Why if they did, every athlete would always be a top form, and the thrill would be taken out of competition. It is this uncertainty that makes life and sport a gamble. But the man who know his body best, with its little peculiarities, will always go further in both body building and playing games.

I remember a young boxer who was showing some extraordinary talent, but he was always afraid of his mid-section. The only time he had been counted out was from a punch to the solar plexus. Twice he had met the canvas from such blows. He told me that he must have an unusual weakness there, which in the end would rob him of his chance to succeed. I reasoned with him along these line. "Look here, how many knockouts are registered as the result of a solar plexus blow? About one out of ten.

The reason this happens is that fighters intuitively go for the jaw. Few concentrate upon the solar plexus as their target, Now, if you had lost both of these bouts by a slam on the jaw you would have thought less about it, because you have been taught to believe that no matter how strong or good a boxer is, a blow on the point of the jaw will put him out. This being true, it is more true that a blow to the solar plexus, while not making a man unconscious, will bake him just as helpless, and he sill suffer more for this reason. At the pit of the stomach is a little knot of important nerves that are very sensitive. A blow over that mark will upset the whole nervous organism. It can happen to any man. Now as this is a nervous condition, your mind will affect it. If you keep thinking about it, your brain is continually sending out its nerve waves to the solar plexus center to beware, which in turn excites these nerve and makes them more sensitive. It is different with the knockout on the jaw. There is a little vein that runs up the side of the jaw to the brain, and when a man is struck on the point of the jaw the jaw is knocked sideways, and momentarily stops the flow of blood from this vein to the brain, which causes a momentary concussion that pout you out until circulation becomes normal. So you see, both blows will put any one out." I advised him not to worry about it, and just build the muscles of protection to as nearly perfect a state as possible and he would have less cause to worry about this solar plexus than his jaw. He told me later that the explanation was worth a thousand dollars to him, as showed him that he was the victim of an unusual weakness. Anyhow, he never suffered another such knockout and climbed high in the boxing game.

Nature will give you an answer to most of your questions, if you are willing to study, but never make the fatal mistake of bucking nature. She will not stand for it. I can safely say that in all my studies of the body and its mechanisms I always take into consideration what nature had first ordained that certain part to do. This fixed in mind and clearly understood, I am better able to map out a plan. I have never advocated anything that I did not do myself, I never advocate methods as being acceptable to the other man, when I know the method is only permissible to one or two people by reason of a peculiar physical construction that the giver person may possess. You can find a way if you study yourself. Nature is an open book for all those who will leaf the pages. She is not secretive, but above board rather than anything else. Allowances are made for everything, for natural compensation is more just and exact than the best insurance company in the world. You cannot fool nature. She will make you pay someday, but you can help her by keeping yourself fit. Nature thrives on exercise. So, by exercise we are able to build better bodies than those possessed by our forbears. It is foolish to say that the ancients were healthier than we are or that they were free from disease. We are all born of the flesh, and we must all die, and death only comes from accident, sickness, or old age. King Tutankhamen died of tuberculosis and the Pharaoh that led the Israelites into captivity died of cancer. There are a multitude of vital spots in the body, only a few on which I have touched, but like your heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, they must all be considered in your study and practice of body culture. Of course, you do not have to study each one separately, that would be almost impossible.

What I have written here gives you a little idea of what goes on within yourself and what you possess. When any of these vital spots go wrong, we suffer, and the cause is invariably traceable to lack of body toning or faulty organic or muscular construction brought about by neglect. All you have to do is to condition your body and all these other factors will become benefited in turn. It all ends up with physical training. I hope you will find this little talk interesting enough to lead you into the paths of observation and study to find out more for yourself, and profit more from the value of intensive body building.