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Sunday, July 31, 2011

PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development - (circa 1930) - CHAPTER 5 - IS HEAVY EXERCISE DANGEROUS? - By Mark H. Berry

Bar Bell Exercise is Different Than Competitive or Record Lifting. But Does the Weight Lifter Run Any Risks?

In the minds of some persons who are totally ignorant concerning the true facts, a crazy belief exists to the effect that anyone who practices weight lifting or feats of strength either as an amateur or professional is doomed to various terrible physical afflictions, and sudden death. Nothing can compare with an investigation of the true facts, in the face of such ungrounded assertions. If my readers happens to be one of those who consider weight lifting dangerous, I might suggest a question. Have you an idea of the number of athletes killed each year while participating in some of our major sports? Well, then, we might enlighten you by pointing to some of the awful truths concerning the supposedly more healthful forms of sport which our youths are advised to follow in preference to becoming "muscle bound" from practicing weight lifting.

During the football season of 1928, the rather shocking figures show that nineteen players met death! Imagine, the flower of our youth, engaging in a healthful recreation, destined to inculcate the pulsating life of real manhood within his veins! Another recent year showed the greater number of twenty deaths as a result of football injuries. Then our manly art of self defense, boxing, claimed ten deaths during last year. And the American National Pastime, baseball, assisted the grim reaper in cutting off the lives of seven players during the season of 1928. These figures are most reliable, as they were given us by the Evening Public Ledger, of Philadelphia. That newspaper has a library of information where a close record is kept of all important and interesting facts. Sometime ago the New York Times published an article calling attention to the smaller number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from the playing of baseball as compared to other sports. The majority of baseball injuries are of a minor nature, seldom resulting seriously.

The great number of football deaths is really alarming when you consider the short duration of the season, about two months, or hardly any longer. Baseball is played for six months out of the year, but it really has a higher ratio than boxing, which is an all year round sport. We have mentioned only the deaths from these three manly sports. How about the thousands who suffer serious injuries? Practically every town of any importance has its weekly major casualties during the football season. Why, you know as well as I, that if weight lifting showed any such figures, the people would rise up and clamor for drastic laws prohibiting the use of anything heavier than one pound Indian clubs or wooden wands for calisthenics drill. Actually I don't know personally of a single death which occurred during or as a result of a weight lifting injury.

I remember about fifteen years ago, having seen a sarcastic comment in the Police Gazette to the effect that a strong man had been killed in Germany when a heavy weight fell on his head, or, as I believe they termed it, "ivory dome." Supposing a man was killed fifteen years ago while lifting. Just think of the hundreds who have met death during the same length of time right here in America while engaging in the playing of "sane" sports. We can figure that upwards of three hundred young men have met death playing football; a possible hundred and fifty in boxing matches; and maybe a hundred in baseball. A total of five hundred and fifty, but suppose we be conservative in the absence of authentic figures for the entire period and cut the number in half, two hundred and seventy-five. What can our athletic coaches and trainers have to say concerning the mortality in the sports they advocate in preference to weight lifting and exercising with weights? Don't think we are trying to conceal any figures on weight lifting mortalities. We know that Breitbart died as a result of blood poisoning from an injuring caused by a rusty nail puncturing his back during the performance of his act. That, however, was a strong man exhibition stunt, and not actually weight lifting, but for the sake of argument we will include it as a weight lifting death.

Strong men die every once in a while of old age, possibly not at the age of a hundred, but neither does the average person live to be a hundred. Then, there was a famous strong man of nearly fifty years ago, who used to experiment on himself. He would pump the food out of his stomach after a length of time, instead of allowing it to pass on into the intestines. His theory was that after digestion had taken place there was no use of allowing the food matter to remain in the body to putrify and thus poison the system. As you know from studying elemental physiology, the stomach merely prepares the food for assimilation, and nourishment is taken from the food in the intestines. That man died of some form of starvation. That was many years ago.

Recently there was a case of a young lad of nineteen dying of impoverishment of the blood from experimenting on vegetarian diets. He was a physical culturist of some sort, but not a weight lifter or bar bell man, even though he pulled autos with his teeth, and id some other crazy stunts. By this I mean the stunts are crazy for a youth who has trained properly, and at any rate such stunts should only be practiced by men who are really strong and have properly trained for strength. There is no sense in classing this last foolish young fellow as a strong man, or a weight lifter. He was a vegetarian, and we have yet to hear of a vegetarian strong man.

The case just related completely exhaust our list of strong men or "near strong men" deaths. We know of a bar bell user who was killed in an automobile accident when his car upset out on the public highway going at a high rate of speed. We also were acquainted with a young man of promising ability as a lifter who was asphyxiated in bed from illuminating gas. I suppose that at some time or other, bar bell users have died of smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid, or homicide, but that certainly has no connection with weight lifting injuries. Understand I don't know of any such cases, but suppose it is possible for bar bell users to die in the same manner as a great many other people. Anyway, that hasn't anything to do with the subject at hand, thirty-six deaths in one year directly as a result of injuries in three of our major athletic sports, - football, baseball, and boxing.

Countless youths have also done irreparable injury to themselves by participation in these same and other popular forms of sport. I can remember that as a boy, one thing impressed me greatly; the number of men to be seen who walked with one stiff leg due to "water on the knee" as a result of a football injury. I lived in a number of towns and cities as a young boy, and noticed such cases wherever I lived. Figures may be available on the number of men and youths who annually suffer this type of injury; we don't happen to have access to any such figures, but we are sure they would be alarming. Possibly you don't live in a community where you have a chance to observe such cases, but make inquiry around any college or hospital if you want to get an idea of the number who suffer serious injuries, broken limbs, collar bones, ribs, and skulls.

In baseball, we presume the majority of deaths result from being "beaned" or hit on the head. We recall being that way once, and if we remember clearly the ball bounced over around third base. If this was any evidence of a "solid ivory dome," we imagine the thick skulled may have led us into weight training. We do not wish to be misunderstood on our attitude concerning sports. We believe in sports and athletics, for those who are qualified to compete. However, we want to point out the absurdity of condemning a healthy and beneficial form of exercise, wherein one or tow may have met death in a score or more of years, while no attention is called to the high rate of annual mortality in some of the favored sports. Twenty deaths in one season from football, when it is quite probable weight lifting would be outlawed if half that number of deaths had occurred in one hundred years of lifting. Right there is the point we wish to emphasize.

We mentioned a whole-heartedly favorable attitude toward athletics. Certainly; nevertheless, we believe athletic coaches are sometimes too prone to rush immature youths into athletic competition. We don't believe in competitive athletics for school boys, and certainly not in the manner in which such competitions are conducted at present. They may speak of the danger of straining the heart from the use of weights, but why not consider the far greater possibility of causing irreparable injury to the hearts of immature grammar and high school athletes? The strain caused by the excitement and anxiety to win is not a fancy of our imagination. Actual facts will substantiate our statements. The running of a hard race places a strain upon the heart and vascular system in generally that cannot possibly occur during the performance of the most difficult lift. Please understand that all through this chapter we have been referring to actual weight lifting, and not to body-building exercises with bar bells and allied apparatus. There is a great difference in the two, and actual lifting should only be engaged in by the athlete who has properly prepared himself by months of careful training exercises. Moreover, weight lifting is not encouraged among boys of school age.

When you practice actual lifting, the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles must work hard, but in the practice of body-developing exercises, no such amount of effort is expended. In lifting, you attempt something near your limit; in bar bell exercising, you keep well within the strength limit at all times. Coming back to our comparison to physical strains in running and lifting, the duration of effort is far shorter in the performance of a lift. If you run a hundred yards in ten seconds, or eleven or twelve seconds, depending on your speed, the excessive strain upon the vital organs endures for that length of time. The furlong is run in twenty to twenty-five seconds, depending on your speed; the quarter mile in something less than a minute; the mile in four and a half to five minutes and so on. The majority of modern lifts require an effort of but two seconds duration; it takes longer to perform a broad jump. Even the slowest of lifts, the Two Hands Anyhow, takes only about a half minute. A man simply couldn't prolong it to a minute with any chances of success, and yet the hardest of all races, the quarter mile, places a great strain on the athlete for nearly a minute.

It is undoubtedly true that many of the mortalities in sports occur among those who are improperly prepared for competition. Not so long ago, a Philadelphia newspaper sports writer called attention to the great number of injuries among the contestants in an amateur wrestling tournament, whereas among professionals it is rare for a serious injury to occur. Of course, the crowd is sometimes led to believe the men are suffering pain, but that is mostly hippodroming. As the sports writer mentioned, the professional is prepared through correct training for the strenuous efforts, while the amateurs are sometimes not physically fit to enter a wrestling match. This could be even more true in a football game, but is not so likely in boxing, as the last sport is pretty well supervised and physicians carefully examine the contestants. If a football player has a weak and poorly developed neck he runs a big chance of getting hurt if a few players pile on top of him. The truth probably is that the majority of football players are not physically fit to engage in so rough and dangerous a game.

I hope some of my readers don't think I am in favor of pink tea parties or ping pong games for our athletic young men. Not on your life. Football is a fine game, likewise boxing, and there is nothing finer than baseball. Nothing would please me better than to have my son star at running, baseball, and football, but I don't want him to jump into athletics without a proper physical foundation. That is what I am driving at; the youth who is athletically ambitious should undergo a developing program to properly build up his body. Following such preparation the risk of serious injury would be slight. Anyway, it is not entirely sane to encourage immature youths to participate in competitive athletics. Give them a chance to grow and develop.

Just where the talk about becoming ruptured through weight lifting originated, we cannot determine, but we have a fairly sound theory to account for it. Around mills, shops, and foundries where men must engage in hard manual toil, quite a few men have the misfortune of suffering a rupture. It is observed that the injury takes place while the men are lifting or carrying heavy, awkward and cumbersome objects. The lifting of heavy weights is put down as the cause of this injury, but the average men knowing nothing of the mechanics of the human boy, makes no effort to determine why the laborer becomes ruptured. It is only in recent years that factory efficiency experts got wise to the truth and had placard printed showing the right and wrong ways of lifting cumbersome objects. Weight lifters and students of bar bell exercise have long been aware of the truth.

Regardless of all the placards that may be hung on factory and foundry walls, laborers still may be observed lifting in dangerous positions. A lack of proper training in the fundamentals of bodily movements is largely responsible. The workman leans over at the waist and with the legs nearly straight when he wants to pick up anything, light or heavy. Just watch any average man at work and you will observe the truth of this assertion. If two or more workmen must carry some very heavy object, they bend over at the waist and struggle along with rounded back. In this faulty position, the abdominal walls are subjected to a terrific strain in supporting the viscera; the back muscles are also subjected to a great strain and as the back is holding the body in the bent position, proper muscular tensions is removed from the abdomen. The muscular walls of the abdomen are then liable to separate, or the inguinal rings may allow part of the large intestine to protrude.

The proper way to lift a heavy object from the floor or ground is to keep the back flat and do the bending with the hips and knees; the legs are intended to carry a strain of that sort, so let them do it. Trained lifters always use this correct position when a hard lift is attempted. Furthermore, the trained lifter is muscularly sound and fit to attempt a difficult lift. If he finds occasion to bend the back, harm is not likely to result. Personally, I do not know of a single instance of a man or boy suffering a rupture as the result of practicing either weight lifting or bar bell exercise. I do know, though, of many cases of rupture having been remedied by means of scientific exercise. If a non-physical culturist tries to scare you by claiming bar bell exercise or lifting will rupture you, put him down as a an ignoramus. If a professional physical culturist tries to tell you the same thing, he is simply trying to make money off you by selling you something in which he is interested.

You may have heard another of the foolish notions; to wit, that there is danger of bursting a blood vessel while weight lifting. Permit me to ask you to recall what I had to say a little while ago about the comparative duration of different athletic events. Remember that lifting places hardly any continuous strain on the body. The effort is completed in a few seconds. Then think a while about the duration of the strain upon the vascular system during a hard running race; or in rowing; or in boxing; or in wrestling; or, for that matter, in a hard swimming race. Why sometimes you would think the blood vessels would break during extreme competitive strains in many popular forms of athletics. A strain, no matter how severe, of only a few seconds' duration, cannot compare with a severe strain lasting for minutes.

And then, the most pernicious of all the means of knocking weight lifting. Certain professional instructors consider it to their advantage to claim that weight lifting and bar bell exercise unsexes a man. They sometimes even go so far as to state that strong men don't have children, and can't have children. I can only say that personally I am probably acquainted with as many strong man as any individual in America. It would be foolish to attempt to list all the strong men, amateur and professional, who have healthy , normal sons and daughters. A great number of strong men come into prominence while young and single; later they marry, and, as with most married couples, the union is blessed with offspring; they see no reason for shouting the news from the housetops. Having children, after all, is a pretty common matter. I know of only a couple of strong men who haven't children. But ,on the other hand, how about some of the professional instructors who are so cunning as to foster this pernicious story about the unsexed strong man? I can point to some of them who are married, well past maturity, and childless. That, of course, is their own business, and I should not care to say that it meant there was anything wrong with them. However, it should be possible for them to make a living in the physical culture field without using such low down methods of advertising.

As to the matter of virility, I would say that as a group, strong men are undoubtedly more virile than the average run of normal, healthy men. In my experience as an instructor and consultant, I am privileged to know something of the intimately personal affairs of many men. One case might be cited. Recently I published in the pages of STRENGTH, the photograph of the child of a lifter in his thirties. The child was born after he had been using bar bells two years, but had been married more than eight years. He proudly called attention to this fact, and was willing to openly give credit to bar bells, but we considered it best not to mention the statement in connection with publication of the child photo.

The only danger I can see in connection with the practice of weight lifting is the possibility of becoming conceited. Pride in his strength and the exhilarating feeling of healthful efficiency may lead to over estimate his superiority over his less fortunate fellows.

Sometime ago, a French Physical Culture Magazine, know as "La Culture Physique" published an article detailing deaths at an early age of numerous athletes in all branches of sport. Disregarding the boxers mentioned, they listed eleven athletes in such sports as tennis, cycling, soccer, wrestling, and track athletics, at the following ages: 2 at 20, one each at 23; 27, 30, 40, and 44; and 2 at 38 and 43. The attitude of this particular French magazine is that competitive sport is ( as they put it ) an enemy of humanity. It is a peculiar thing in America that a baseball player or a boxer may die between twenty-five and forty, and no one seems unduly alarmed, but if a new item were to appear of the death of a strong man under sixty, various indeed would be the comments.

Iron Nation

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Perhaps you may truly be impressed by the specimens of perfect manhood shown on these pages and may be decided to turn over a new leaf with the ultimate idea of emulation. This idea may be uppermost in your mind when along comes some skeptical friend with a suggestion of "What good will all the muscles be to you? Those guys may have strength, but they couldn't beat so-and-so in a distance running race. They haven't the endurance."

Just what makes a man enduring? Anyone who has had interest in athletics, even to the extent of reading about sports, has an idea that endurance is dependent upon regular hard training. In the minds of the majority of such people, the requisite training consists chiefly of running a certain number of miles. The idea is so deeply imbedded in the minds of the general sports following populace, that even those who have paid some serious attention to physical culture retain the belief that if greater endurance is desired they need only run a few miles daily. Furthermore, it is commonly supposed that endurance cannot be possessed unless a certain amount of distance running is practiced.

Endurance is, in reality, the ability of the body to keep up repairs during continuous physical activity. It has to do with the nutritive function which is explained at great length in the chapters "Studies In Physiology." The combined actions of the circulatory and respiratory functions have a duty to perform in ridding the blood of the poisons generated by the actions incidental to life, and to furnish sufficient oxygen to repair the continuous wear and tear. During physical exercise or manual work, the accumulation of poisons in the muscles is multiplied, consequently the amount of oxygen required by the system is multiplied. When the untrained individual engages in any great amount of physical exertion, the waste poisons accumulate faster than his system can get rid of them. His blood stream becomes choked with the poisons and is unable to carry them to the lungs as fast as they are formed. At the same time, the required amount of oxygen cannot be carried to the muscle tissues. In reality, the trouble is hat the muscular tissues throughout his body have not been accustomed to carrying on repairs at the rate now demanded of them; the blood stream becomes choked with poisonous gases; the lung cells are overworked attempting to carry on an unaccustomed amount of work. Soon the individual becomes so poisoned as to require cessation of all activity.

The athlete who possesses extremely high powers of endurance has combined circulatory and respiratory functions working so nearly perfect as to be able to carry on the tissue repairs nearly as fast as they are broken down. As a result of the efficiency of these functions, he is capable of carrying on his exertions for a rather indefinite length of time, depending on the degree of his exertions. However, even the most enduring man requires a rest some time, as the human body is capable of only a certain amount of continued activity and no amount of training or preparation will enable the nutritive functions to keep up a perfect state of repairs during continuous exertion. Some athletes may train by running twenty miles or more almost every day, running at an easy trot. By this method of training they are not able to reach the highest attainable state of distance running endurance. But, in a race over the marathon distance of twenty-six miles, three hundred and eighty-five yards, when competing with other athletes these highly trained men reach a state of near exhaustion.

Bicycle riders, engaging in a six day race, may spend half of the time riding; the two members of each team alternating at riding and resting throughout the entire six days and nights. This constitutes a highly trained form of endurance, though hundreds of bike riding professionals have gone through dozens of such races. Some years ago, athletes took part in six day running and walking races. Endurance bike riding is really more violent than long distance running, but the latter athletes are probably far more exhausted than the former. It is also quite likely that the bike riders recover quicker from a long race, which would probably be due to more constant training of a competitive nature in the company of dozens of other riders.

It is customary for pugilists to box through twelve or fifteen rounds at a fairly lively pace. Several years ago, twenty round bouts were common, and previous to that time the pugilists engaged in much longer bouts at times. Of course, the longer the bout, the slower the action, but fifteen or twenty rounds must be about the limit of high speed endurance among first class athletes.

It is generally recognized that the average, healthy young fellow who is untrained would be incapable of keeping up boxing activity for more than two or three rounds, a matter of from six to nine minutes exertion. Compared to this, the length of a professional bout seems great, but the elapsed time does not amount to so much in actual minutes. A ten round bout lasts about thirty-nine minutes, with nine minutes out for rests. A fifteen round bout includes forty-five minutes of actual activity, and fourteen minutes for rests, a total of one hour lacking one minute. One hour of activity is included in a twenty round bout, with nineteen added minutes for rests.

So you see in actual time, the boxer does not keep going as long as the distance runner. A fifteen mile race would last slightly longer than a twenty round bout. A marathon race lasts nearly twice as long as a twenty round bout. Bicycle racers very commonly ride an hour or longer without a rest, at times covering well over seventy miles in he hour when riding behind a pacing motor. It is true, there are other factors besides endurance involved in a boxing or pugilistic contest, but factors besides endurance involved in a boxing or pugilistic contest, but at he same time the boxers rest a minute out of every four minutes, while the runner and the bike rider keep going without a let up. If a man runs fast, he is completely tired by the time he has covered an eighth of a mile; by not running at his limit of speed he can last a quarter of a mile. Thus, in he violent exertion entailed by running extremely fast, a man is limited to twenty some seconds or approximately one-third of a minute; we refer to the 220 yard dash or the 200 meter dash, which seems to be about the high speed running limit. A quarter of a mile run is made slightly over three quarters of a minute by first class athletes; about one minute would be the running limit of that rate of speed.

Professional wrestlers are quite accustomed to bouts of from one to two hours duration, but it is necessary to rest quite a little during a bout of that duration, or the contestants could not continue. It is rather difficult to determine just what the limit of human endurance is, when the extreme of fast action is continued, but it is somewhere around twenty to thirty minutes.

We must recognize different types of endurance. The marathon runner, bike racer, soccer player, oarsman, hockey player, boxer, wrestler, and swimmer all require the quality of endurance in a different sense. The man who is trained to excel at either cannot compete on even terms with the specialist in any of the other. Remember one mention of the common belief hat running is the main requisite in the development of endurance. However, the marathon runner would be sadly lost in attempting to follow a first class tennis player or a team of soccer players through a game; the running endurance of the marathoner would be of little use in rowing or swimming with good men trained for those sports. The boxer, wrestler, swimmer, oarsman, and tennis player, each must use his arms continuously as well as the legs. No one would expect Tunney, Dempsey, or any other first class pugilist to be able to jump around on the tennis court with Tilden, La Coste, or other racket wielding stars. Neither would we expect them to swim with Young, Ross, Vierkoter, or other good endurance swimmers. And the tennis player or swimmer isn't expected to get in the ring or on the mat with one of the good cauliflower eared gentlemen. The champions in all of the above mentioned sports possess endurance almost in the utmost degree, but only in the sense that they have trained for their specialty. Unaccustomed movements will find them completely lost. Other qualities besides endurance have to be considered in athletic excellence. Some sports require speed and agility, the fast movements to be kept up continuously, as in tennis, soccer, and hockey. Rowing calls for continuous application of strength and a fair amount of quickness. In boxing and wrestling, the movements are alternately fast and slow, the element of speed being spasmodic. In swimming and bike riding, the element of speed in distance races is applied in a steady drive. It is also possible for the strong man to display the quality of endurance in connection with feats of strength, as when competing in a lifting contest or giving a public exhibition, where he must step from one high class feat of strength to another.

You wouldn't let anyone tell you that the champion pugilist or wrestlers aren't enduring, simply because they are untrained to enter a marathon race with a chance of winning. You undoubtedly have more respect for the boxer and wrestler than you have for the long distance running champion. The sporting fans also think more of the first class ball players than of marathon runners. Yet, it is unlikely that many ball players would be capable of putting up even a fair exhibition on the endurance running track. The average long distance runner would be a poor physical specimen for the ring, mat, or diamond among classy performers. So, you see, the world doesn't regard endurance with the same degree of importance as some people are inclined to attach to it. That is, endurance in the running sense. Endurance in another way is a different matter. We all admire the man who has plenty of sand and won't give up easily. That is just what real endurance should mean in an athletic sense, whether you are referring to running, tennis playing, swimming, fighting, pitching a grueling extra inning game, or anything else in an athletic sense.

The strong man has just as high a degree of endurance as any other class of athletes, but of course in a different sense than marathon running or swimming endurance. In order to excel in his specialty, an athlete must devote his time to that one thing, and not to foolish attempt to outplay another man at his pet game. Even he bar bell exercising enthusiast displays a high degree of endurance in taking a thorough advanced workout. The average athlete couldn't follow a fairly good bar bell man through a workout of an hour. To begin with he wouldn't have enough strength, and even if lighter weights were used he would be all tired out long before the hour was up. We have seen this very thing happen time and again. The purely physical improvement side of bar bell training throws an entirely different light on the subject. If a young man has ambitions to make good in one of the popular lines of sport, but lacks the physique and strength to stand the gaff, he is wise to first develop himself and then to think of specializing on the game of his choice. Spending a few months or even a year or two at bar bell body building exercises isn't devoting your life to weight lifting. It is just the same as taking time off from work for a year or so to improve your education. After acquiring a more rugged physique the young man can train along recognized lines for the gaining of proficiency in the game he wishes to follow. A more rugged physique and greater strength to carry you through competition is worth more than just "wind" as it is generally known. It is far better for the aspiring athlete to properly develop himself to improve his staying powers than to go out on the road and run miles in the hopes of "getting better wind."

Distance running ability doesn't mean a thing in the majority of sports and games, nor for that matter, in the ordinary cares of life or the maintenance of health. Don't misunderstand us; we have seen the majority of great distance men, and we have long been an enthusiastic marathon fan. But, we realize the exaggerated importance attached to distance running ability. The physique developed by such runners is hardly the type to inspire or instill a desire for physical improvement in the minds of our young men. Experts don't advise road work to improve swimming ability, nor have we ever heard of tennis players running miles to become better able to get around on the court. Boxers do a certain amount of road work to improve the staying powers of their legs, but you could easily count up hundreds of promising young boxers who have burnt themselves out and left their fighting ability "back on the road somewhere' as the expression is sometimes made.

The continuous leg action in boxing is somewhat identical to jogging along on the road, but actual running ability is not required. Anyway, the greater amount of road work is done to reduce the boxer after a spell of taking life easy and growing a little soft. Ball players do a fair amount of jogging to reduce and condition themselves in the spring training camps, but during the active playing season, nothing like hat is needed to keep in condition. The boxer who trains consistently and fights regularly always keeping in condition, needs very little road work. If you choose to train with bar bells and practice weight lifting, and you aren't satisfied with your distance running ability, you can go out in the park or jog through the streets if you wish. However, outside of the improvement in running, it is doubtful if you will notice any gain in endurance so far as other physical activities are concerned.

I am positive it won't make you more enduring or capable in performing tiring feats of strength. Personally, I have done a great deal of running and walking, especially during my 'teens and while never any wonder at any distance running. I have always been pretty fair at walking. One thing I have noticed about walking fairly fast through city streets is that a rest of a day or two from walking would give me extra reserve and make it possible to walk with greater ease. My legs were always more capable at both lifting and swimming when doing very little walking. As to running in connection with swimming and lifting practice, I have often experimented and personally my efficiency would be greatly lessened. Such athletes as tennis players and swimmers will sometimes note a lack of pep if running is attempted as a means of conditioning.

Unscrupulous advertising instructors, with something to sell you will sometimes speak of a man being strong externally and weak internally. Such a thing is an utter impossibility, and cannot be substantiated by any know fact in the science of physiology. What they are referring to is the possession of great physical strength minus exceptional endurance, and in an attempt to prey on the general ignorance of the public on matters pertaining to the human body, they speak of an imaginary heavily muscled man who is incapable of winning a marathon race or some other specialized endurance test. The public does not think, whatever the issue may be; our dear public relies on the daily newspaper, the movie, or hearsay for opinions on all matters of importance. Likewise, on physical training matters, the average person knows little or nothing, but they imagine an athletic man should be capable of any feat in the realm of sports. The average person fails to realize the difference in specializing for particular branch of sport, and that only specialists excel as we have recently pointed out.

The class of instructor to whom we have just referred, should know better if he has any right to be selling physical culture courses. If he know better then he is resorting to something akin to fraud in order to sell you a course or some apparatus. As we have briefly hinted at in this chapter and have explained at considerable length in another chapter, the development and maintenance of large and strong muscles depends on better efficiency of the internal functions. We are not, of course, referring to fat; but to increased size of muscles means corresponding increase in the powers of circulation, respiration, and assimilation. As we have further explained, the specialist in one line of athletics excels the specialist in another branch of sport, and what may appear to be high class endurance in the ring, many be of no value on the running track, the tennis court, or in the swimming pool. When increased muscular size is required to make a man more rugged and physically more capable, one means of developing such size is just as satisfactory as another, but some methods are more certain to bring about the increased size and may be depended upon to do the trick in a shorter space of time. Muscle is muscle, when it is of the proper size. And hen, when you expect to excel at some particular specialty after improving your strength and development, you must train at your specialty; there is no other sensible way of reaching success. The time you devote to properly developing yourself is lost to your favorite game, but it is worth considerable more in the end. For instance, a young man who is ambitious to make good as a boxer, but who is lacking the proper degree of strength and ruggedness to reach success, will do better to forget boxing for some time and follow a course of developing exercises. Very rarely does the practice of boxing, and the incidental training of a boxer, improve the development of a man. If he starts slim and lacking in ruggedness, the chances are he will remain so, unless he trains as we have suggested.

The truly great men of the prize ring have been fully developed before entering the game. They came into the game with the strength and ruggedness and did not start as striplings and develop to muscular champions. The majority of the great fighters have followed some form of hard work, involving strenuous physical exertion, before taking up boxing. The young lad who is only of average strength is making a serious mistake if he enters the game without first developing. Some one has said something to the effect that for every good man brought out in boxing, the game has made hundreds of "hams and bums." They are the ones who were physically unfitted for the game, or were improperly handled. The young man who aspires to fame as a boxer should not let anyone give him bad advice about training by light methods to build himself up. He will only fail by following such foolishness. Having acquired the proper development, it is time to start specialized training for actual ring work. At that time, our aspiring boxer can quit his developing exercises and go through the customary routine of the boxer.

Before closing the present discussion I wish to correct a mistaken impression which may be lurking in the minds of some readers. Once in a while we hear of some boxer growing out of one class into another, or possibly to a second class heavier than he formerly belonged. Some persons are likely to form a hurried conclusion that the form of exercise caused them to develop to such an extent. It may be observed that the majority of boxers are of an immature age; practically all boxers enter the game long before full maturity; therefore they should naturally continue to grow and increase in size if no steps were taken to keep from gaining in bodyweight. Hungry managers usually insist on the boys in their charge keeping the lightest possible class. It is only when nature insists on putting too much weight for him to keep in the lighter class that the average boxer is permitted by his manager to enter a heavier class. Truly, the constant exercise has quite a lot to do with making him grow. The muscles become larger and more solid from the regular training, which also helps to make him jump a class or so. Naturally, the average man will continue to grow until well past twenty-five and often until past thirty, without becoming fat; just healthy growth. You can appreciate the battle that is constantly going on between nature and the reducing methods to keep in a certain bodyweight class.

Many boxers are through when they reach a heavier class as the competition proves too much for them. Furthermore, the constant reducing work has a bad effect on their strength and endurance. There is no reason why any athlete should be physically "through" or "all shot" between twenty-one and thirty, yet such is the case with thousands of promising boxers. It has in the past been fairly common for boxers, jockeys, and some other athletes to suffer with consumption due to the efforts to keep down the bodyweight. That is the folly of too much so called endurance exercise. It would be far better for the athletes to practice forms of exercise designed to build them into heavier classes and to husband their strength rather than to practice so much "endurance" work as to rule their health in later life.

After learning our frank opinion of pugilism in the scheme of physical endurance you may question our repeated reference to training methods for improving the physique for boxing. The reason should be obvious to those who have closely followed physical culture to any extent. So many men, especially young men and boys, entertain ambitions of becoming fighters, or at least regard professional boxers in a spirit akin to hero worship, that it is expected of us to give advice on improving he physical condition of those young men who are ambitious to make a success of boxing. Please note that we distinguish between prize fighting and actual boxing as a means of exercise. The pugilist practices boxing for business reasons and not as a physical culture.

Iron Nation

Friday, July 29, 2011


You hear all kinds of talk about weights making a man "muscle bound," but have you ever seen anyone in that condition? Neither have I, and the truth is I have been seeking a specimen of that malady for quite a few years.

Much foolishness have been written concerning the possibility of losing endurance and suppleness by practicing exercises with weights. The idea that bar bell exercise will make anyone slow, stiff and short-winded is one of the most senseless bits of nonsense ever fostered on an unsuspecting public. The average beginner in physical training exercises hasn't any endurance or suppleness to speak of, so it is only sound logic that you cannot remove that which does not exist. The average man can run but a short distance without becoming short-winded, and he is so stiff that he can't perform the most simple and easy bending movements, so he cannot very well lose suppleness from practicing any form of exercise.

The average physical culture enthusiast who practices lifting as a hobby and lifts real heavy weights continuously is more supple than the average well-trained acrobat or gymnast, and has a greater amount of really worth-while endurance than the average well-trained athlete in any branch of sport. I don't mean that he is a champion marathon runner, or long distance swimmer of the caliber of George Young or Gertrude Ederle, and like specialists; certainly not, but how many boxers or wrestlers, baseball or football players could turn in worth-while performances in either of the sports just enumerated? There is no sense or reason in expecting an athlete to beat specialists outside of his own branch of sport.

We have never heard of anyone criticizing either Dempsey or Tunney for being unable to beat the champion sprinters or swimmers in their specialties. Nor has anyone spoken of Charley Paddock or Johnny Weismuller being soft because they could not enter the ring on even terms with the heavyweight boxing champion. The champion tennis players are quick and enduring, but you don't expect them to run the hundred yards in less than ten seconds or win marathon championships. And funny as it might seem to say it, Dempsey and Tunney would probably appear "muscle bound" on the tennis court playing opposite Tilden or LaCoste. There is little doubt that the first class tennis players would make any of the champion pugilists or baseball players appear so slow that they would seem to be wearing lead soled shoes. It is doubtful if the pugilist or the ball player would be capable of following the tennis player for more than of a few minutes without becoming short-winded. However, you don't notice the sports writers getting excited about it. The champions in no line of sport are expected to excel in other specialties. It is all a matter of mastering one thing and excelling in that one specialty, but we feel safe in making the statement that the average weight lifter is a better all-around performer and has a higher average combination of speed, suppleness and endurance than the average specialist in any other line of sport.

I give you my word that this condition of being "muscle bound" is as vague to me as the first day I heard the term; frankly, I don't know what the term means. As a boy I used to believe such stories concerning "strong men" simply from hear-say, as I knew nothing whatsoever about weight lifting. It really is a wonder I ever became interested in heavy exercise after having a belief of such nature implanted in my mind, and to this day I have never seen one individual who was slow or stiff from the use of heavy weights. I have seen men who are slow and stiff, short-winded and generally in very poor physical condition, but they haven't done anything in the line of exercise since playing ball or swimming as school boys. Just as I have explained in connection with the subject of the strong men and sex, some of the "knocks" used in advertising propaganda are absolutely unfounded in fact. Quite a long time ago, we gave a brief explanation of the origination of the "muscle bound" theory in the pages of STRENGTH magazine. We believe this particular explanation good enough to repeat herein:

"You may be curious to know from whence the crazy fallacy emanated, creating a false impression concerning the value of bar bell exercise; as I have promised to enlighten you on the matter, please follow me. Light exercise, calisthenic drills and simple physical culture methods have been taught and practiced in this country for quite a number of years with varying degrees of success and benefit. Years ago, an old school of light exercise 'professors' sprang up and enjoyed a very income by signing up those who had hopes of regaining lost health and acquiring a certain degree of development and strength. These early 'professors' had a big field to work in, and without any periodicals to give out information in those days, the seekers after physical improvement had to enroll in the private courses of the early professionals, there being no other way in which any form of physical development could be attained.

Then, within the first few years of the present century, the progressive bar bell was introduced to the physical culture public. Within a few years this scientific method of exercise was enjoying a wonderful success and continued to gain in popularity. Those who had striven in vain to acquire perfect health and development by means of light methods, had discovered a means of bringing their dreams of physical perfection to reality. The light exercise 'professors' became alarmed and sought some way in which to combat the new system that threatened their livelihood. They noticed one fact that could be used as a point in the disfavor of heavy exercise. Previous to the introduction of the adjustable bar bell, weight lifters and 'strong men' had performed with big solid dumb bells having thick handles, so that none who were naturally big and strong had any chance to take up the game of lifting as it existed in those days. The old time 'strong man' was a beefy man and due to the fact that quick lifts and progressive exercise methods were unknown, he did nothing but slow feats of strength. The light, quick man didn't have a chance in those days of thick-handled solid bells, so no one but big husky men turned to the sport and because they did nothing but slow movements they grew big and fat.

"So, here the advocates of light methods thought to throw a scare into the ranks of the ambitious physical culturists and warned them of the danger of becoming slow and awkward if they were so foolish as to take up bar bell exercise. Of course, there was not the slightest mention between the methods employed by the old time professionals and the modern idea of progressive exercise, but there was a hope of discouraging exercise enthusiasts who might be led to try the new system which was proving so popular. The 'muscle bound' bugaboo also, no doubt, started in the same way; as a means of explanation, take the case of any person who is over stout. You will admit they are not, as a rule, very supple or quick in actions, and due to the thickness of their arms, the range of movement is greatly restricted; as many of the old time 'strong men' were big and beefy, and fairly well covered with fat, there is a great possibility that they were not exactly supple, and due to the comparative shortness and thickness of their arms, they no doubt had difficulty in clasping their hands in back of them. There is no reason to say that slow lifting movements with big solid weights made them fat and clumsy, anymore than to suggest such a reason for the build of the average fat man.

"Nevertheless, the fact that many old time lifters were of such a build gave the 'knockers' a chance to start the wild fairy tale of the 'muscle bound' goblin.

On the other hand, it does not follow that a weight lifter is slow or clumsy simply because he is proportionately huge; for instance, take the case of Karl Moerke, who stands five feet, two inches and weighs around two hundred and twenty pounds; I have seen him move as quickly as any lightweight. And Arthur Giroux might impress you as being 'beefy' standing about five feet, ten inches and weighing close to two hundred and fifty pounds, but I have seen jump on a fast moving trolley as nimbly as any conductor who is daily accustomed to hopping on and off the running board. However, we must consider the fact that these men were trained along modern lines on quick lifts, even though they have accumulated considerable weight in the meantime; I certainly do not consider these men to be possessed of an ideal build, but wish to show that lifters who are far from slender can be quick when trained along the correct lines. I trust my explanation of the origin of the anti-heavy exercise propaganda will help you to see the folly of the idea that progressive resistance exercise is dangerous. To sum up, we find it necessary to put you wise to the silly superstitions which started as nothing more than propaganda."

As we might conclude, this "muscle bound" business can be boiled down to muscles trained for one specialty not being so efficient for other movements when compared to a specialist in another line of sport. Imagine how "muscle bound" the pugilist would appear in trying to swim along with Johnny Weismuller or Duke P. Kahanamoku. In the same way the swimmer seems soft and out of condition as compared to the boxer. The tennis player has it all over the boxer for continuous activity, but the racket wielder seems very much undeveloped alongside the man who wears padded mitts. The boxer would also seem foolish in trying to move as quick as a first class lifter moves with a heavy weight. So, why not call a spade a spade, and recognize that fact that athletic specialists must become accustomed to certain kinds of movements, foreign to all other athletics.

In a practical sense there can be no earthly reason for making a comparison between a boxer and a lifter, any more that there is a sensible reason for comparing the boxer to the swimmer with an idea to claiming the boxer is a poor swimmer because of confining his training to preparation for the ring; and vice versa. The intelligent observer in the field of athletics and physical training realizes that a man excels in the branch of sport for which he properly prepares himself. Proper preparation would imply training along recognized lines for his pet sport, and on the whole specializing in that field alone.

If a pugilist were capable of outlifting the fellow who spent most of his time in the practice of weight lifting, you will agree that that latter is a "ham" in his line, and merely wasting his time. In the same way, we would expect the pugilist to be the better man with the gloves. Concerning this point there should be no doubt. However, a lot of other things must be considered. Because on athlete is a better boxer and excels another when boxing gloves are used, by no means proves the boxer to be superior physically in a hand to hand or rough and tumble encounter. There have been numerous instances of professional pugilists of prominence receiving a beating in a street fight by a non-boxer. Furthermore, there is generally a standing challenge by the best wrestlers to meet the leading boxers in a mixed bout. It is quite likely, and we believe it to be true, that the wrestler would get the best of the argument. The boxer is usually not used to rough and tumble tactics of being tossed and flopped around; and he lacks bodyweight in proportion to his height. There can be no doubt as to the wrestler being the stronger physically. He is also likely to be far more enduring, being accustomed to longer periods of active combat.

Taking two such athletes, weight for weight, the boxer is more likely to be taller and more slender of physique. As his training is more along the line of speed and quickness, he might find it inconvenient to be grasped by one of his bodyweight who was more squat of build, and possessed of greater strength. For all general purposes outside of the boxing ring, we would say the wrestler and the lifter are both superior to the boxer. It is a matter of general knowledge that wrestlers remain active for a much long period than boxers, and lifters hold their form longer than either. When you get down to the final consideration, the entire question depends upon your physical ambitions. If you are a true physical culturist and worship the physique of perfect proportions, you can have little choice in the matter. Careful consideration will point out the fact of lifting exercises being far superior for developing purposes.

However, as many men, especially young men, expect us to compare any example of physical condition with the pugilist, we must have a few remarks to make. If you are thinking of your future life, a subject always referred to when weight lifting is mentioned, we would say it is a pretty poor risk to follow a line of sport wherein the contestants are considered old men before the age of 35. Numerous indeed are the cases of pugilists who have gone insane from the pummeling that they have suffered in the ring. A great number of prominent boxers pass away before the age of thirty, yet the sporting writers of our daily papers take it as a matter of fact, and no attempt is made to draw unusual attention to the fact.

Let us, for instance, point to the untimely deaths of Harry Greb, Tiger Flowers, Billy Miske, Jimmy Delaney and Pancho Villa, to mention a few. The danger in the case of boxers, when an operation becomes necessary or sickness overtakes them, is the lack of physical reserve. The body is so weakened by keeping trained down and continual competition that nothing is left for emergencies. Whenever a prominent athlete, boxer or ball player dies, we are accustomed to having many persons ask us why they failed to rally. These people fail to realize that we are advocates of body building and the cultivation of manly strength, and we are mainly interested in proving the superiority of bar ball training over the widely accepted methods now in vogue. We are interested in all lines of sport and believe the well-trained athlete should enjoy a healthier and longer life than the average individual; but over-training is so customary among all classes of athletes that many athletes are committing slow suicide. In view of such facts, it makes us wonder why those who boost such sports take delight in knocking bar bell training and lifting, which enjoys a lower rate of mortality than any branch of sport. After all, the real purpose of physical training is to make the average individual more efficient and longer lived. The purpose of physical training certainly is not to see how well a man can be trained to fight for a few short years during his early youth, and to spend the rest of his years regretting the time he has spent at being hammered around the ring.

If you think I am stretching things, my reply is that you are unacquainted with the true facts. A little investigation will open your eyes to number of physically broken ex-fighters in our large cities. Sports writers like to joke about the number of ex-fighters who have become mentally softened and like to cut paper dolls. It is neither as funny or exaggerated as it may seem, and instead of being a mean of provoking mirth, it should be cause for consideration by sound-thinking citizens. Personally, I like the sport of boxing or prize fighting, whichever you may chose to call it, and I confess to having looked longingly on honors to be won in the sport, but in reality the game has turned out dozens of bums for every man who became successful. In comparing the professional boxers with bar bell physical culturist, you will do well to consider a few salient facts and decide upon the ambitions uppermost in your mind. If you are set upon becoming a fighter, by all means fight, and be sure to train for fighting. A course of body building exercises with bar bells will give you the strength foundation so necessary in such a rugged sport.

On the other hand, if your are mostly interested in attaining a high degree of physical perfection and wish to maintain a high standard of efficiency for a long term of years, you should forget fighting as a business and trained for first class development. I hate to be seen in the light of a knocker, but in view of all the knocks we bar bell followers are accustomed to getting from trainers and "rubbers" in the boxing business, we might as well get down to the truths. The greatest truth in connection with pugilism, for that matter baseball, and all other popular sports, is that they are big financial propositions for everyone concerned. Without tremendous publicity in the daily newspapers, the great crowds could not be drawn into the gates; and without good sized payments being doled out to the sports writers, the publicity could not be maintained.

This is all a matter of sound facts, and just recently some of the big metropolitan papers have instituted a new policy in relation to sports. These progressive publications now prohibit the taking of bribes by their sports writers for the boosting of big sporting events. A new policy is also being introduced by some of these papers to give less space to professional sports, in favor of amateur athletics. In time, this up-to-date movement is bound to become universal. And, it won't take many fiascos like the recent Sharkey-Stribling thing to do it. Why, the sporting writers were taken down to Florida from all over the country and put up in swell style; for months the writers had been leading the readers towards the climax, so as to encourage the spending of money of fans in making the trip to see the fight. Eliminate all the exaggerated publicity and boxing and baseball would soon lose their attractiveness. Just now it seems impossible to do the same with weight lifting, but we might recall that Sandow caused quite a stir in this country when he appeared, and Breitbard was pretty widely heralded. The former was capably managed by a man who has since become one of the greatest theatrical managers and producers, and the latter strong man was acclaimed due to being both Polish and Jewish. People of Jewish persuasion especially, will pay money to see a good Jewish athlete and the Polish people are not slow to turn out. Foreign language newspapers gave wide publicity to Breitbart. So you see, it would be possible to stimulate interest in two men as was done in the cases of Sandow and Breitbart, and by using the boxing promoters' method of boosting shows, it would be possible to get a great amount of space in the daily papers devoted to weight lifting. I am not forecasting any such possibilities, but just mention how it might be done. Public opinion would change just as quickly in favor of heavy exercise.

Iron Nation

Thursday, July 28, 2011

PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development - (circa 1930) - CHAPTER 2 - LIFTING AND ATHLETICS COMPARED - WE THRASH TO A CONCLUSION - By Mark H. Berry

The Question of Physical Strain in Lifting as Compared to Popular Athletics.

Giving serious consideration in every angle of the subject, one cannot help realizing the folly of certain ideas commonly entertained by misinformed persons on the subject of weight lifting and heavy exercise. The chances are that if you inform your friends of your intention to begin a course of bar bell exercise, they will immediately warm you of the dangers attending the practice of weight lifting. You will be gravely told how your muscles will become stiff and cramped and you will suffer with the terrible condition of becoming muscle bound. They will go further to tell you of how the heart becomes strained and the internal vital organs weakened from the strenuous exertions attending the lifting of heavy weights.

Suppose we discuss these points in an open-minded manner, with the object in mind of arriving at the truth, instead of mere hearsay. As to weight lifters and bar bell users being stiff and sore, anyone who is acquainted with experienced bar bell users being stiff and slow, anyone who is acquainted with experienced bar bell physical culturists will never hold such an opinion. The majority of advanced bar bell men are exceeded in suppleness only by contortionists, while the highest degree of speed is necessary if one is to excel at the modern quick lifts.

It is to the other insinuation, which is positively unfounded in fact, that we wish to devote a little time and space. We refer to the idea that an undue strain is placed upon the heart and blood vessels by the practice of either bar bell exercise or weight lifting specialization. Let us make a direct comparison of the exertions of weight lifting and popular athletic pastimes. When we lie quietly in bed the heart beat is at its lowest ebb of healthy functioning. The blood pressure is then at greatest ease. When we sit up, both the heart beat and blood pressure are called upon to perform with slightly greater force, though the difference is negligible in a normal healthy person. When we move about on the feet in an easy manner, both the heart beat and blood pressure are quickened to a slight extent. When we walk fast, they are quickened even more, while in running fast or performing any other form of violent exertion, the circulatory organs are called upon to work at high pressure. Every normally healthy person is called upon at sometime or other to exert themselves strenuously. Infrequent violent exertions to which the individual had not grown accustomed would be expected to place some strain upon the muscles and vital organs.

Through training the athlete accustoms his muscles and organs to the extreme exertion, and as long as the exertions are not too severe or repeated too often, we have no proof of harmfulness resulting. It is, however, not exactly sensible for the untrained man to attempt to run any distance, or run fast up flights of stairs. Never having accustomed his heart and blood vessels to the strain, he is unprepared for the exertion. His greatest temporary distress will be a feeling of short windedness which means his circulatory system hasn't been accustomed top exchanging carbonic acid and oxygen in the tissues. The trained athlete is in a trained condition chiefly due to the fact that his oxygenizing organs (heart, lung and blood vessels) are trained to replace the tissue waste almost as fast as it takes place.

In order to take care of the additional work which his circulatory system is called upon to perform, the blood pressure must be raised and the heart must beat faster to carry on the work. During violent exertion of any kind, the mouth must be opened to admit sufficient air into the lungs. This is caused by the desire for oxygen on the part of the muscular tissues.

Let us now refer to the duration of the effort as the term of violence. That is, the term of violence in relation to the strain upon the vital functions, the time when they are forced to the limit. In running the one hundred yard dash, the term of violence last for approximately ten seconds among fast sprinters. An untrained man might take fifteen seconds and suffer great discomfort due to his poor physical condition. During that length of time, the heart must pound like a trip hammer to carry on the necessary work, the arteries, capillaries, and veins are stretched and forced to contract with great effort in sending the blood surging through the muscles. Near the finish of the race, the face of sprinter will be distorted as in agony as a result of the effort to keep up speed over the full distance. So great is the effort during the term of violence in running a spring of this nature that the athletes can maintain the pace for a distance of an eighth of a mile, or two hundred and twenty yards, and hardly any farther. Near the finish of either of these two sprinting distances, the athlete makes an extra effort to travel faster, and when this final spurt is started it can be continued but a short distance. The sprinter may keep up his sprinting pace over the longer distance of two hundred and twenty yards, but if he starts the final spurt near the end of the one hundred yard distance, he could run but a very short distance past that mark. The longer of these two sprints takes around twenty-two seconds. The two hundred and twenty yard dash therefore places the greater strain on the internal vital functions, due to the prolonging of the term of violence. In running the quarter mile distance, or four hundred and forty yards, the athlete must run at a slower pace, as it is humanly impossible to keep up an actual sprinting pace over so great a distance, still a terrific pace is maintained. This is really the hardest of all running races, due to combined distance and fast pace. The term violence last more than three-fourths of a minute in the case of really fast men, and around a minute for a slower athlete.

Going to the other extreme of running, we have the marathon race, over a distance of twenty-six miles, three hundred and eighty-five yards. The term of violence lasts around two and half hours in this case: here we find the man incapable of running a very fast pace, as the heart, lungs and blood vessels are unable to exchange oxygen and carbonic acid rapidly enough to enable him to run but little faster than a walk. While at no time is the blood pressure and heart action nearly as severe as in the case of sprinting, but the system is forced to work at its limit for a great length of time. All other distance races from a half mile up to the marathon, simply offer variations in the effect upon the xbody. In an attempt to win, the athlete forces himself to near the point of exhaustion within the time limit of the term of violence. We refer to the short sprint as an exhibition of speed, and the distance race as an exhibition of endurance. Endurance in this respect simply means the internal functions are trained to carry on the duties of repairing the body over a greater length of time. The effect upon the heart, lungs, and blood vessels is practically identical. We should almost expect the distance race to be more severe, but this class of athlete lasts in competition longer than the sprinter.

As to the effect upon the system, we cannot very well determine whether one class of running is more conducive to longevity than the other, as too many things must be taken into consideration after the years of competition are over. We believe one reason the distance runner lasts longer is due to the necessity of leading a very regular life if he expects to meet the demands of his game. Sprinters and other athletes seldom lead as regular habits as the distance man. We have used running as a means of comparing the term of violence in athletic events, principally because running is pretty well understood by the average person, and it is encouraged very widely among school boys and older youths everywhere. We can in the same manner refer to the time of exertion in rowing, bicycle riding, tennis playing, swimming, boxing, wrestling, or competitive games. Some of these are more easily comparable to running, as swimming rowing and bicycle riding, as the term of violence is more continuous than in boxing, wrestling, baseball or football.

The boxer and wrestler learns to moderate his exertions in such a way as to permit him conserving his strength to the finish. If he were to start out too fast at first he would become "winded" or incapable of continuing the full distance. Nevertheless, the same term of violence applies, as the circulatory-respiratory function must work at high pitch. In games such as baseball and football, the periods of extreme exertion are more intermittent, but the functional violence is there just the same, though more in the nature of a series of sprints. You sometimes hear talk of a wrestler being more enduring or a more capable athlete than the boxer, because wrestling bouts last longer and the men are seemingly more fresh at the finish. However, the degree and nature of the exertion is entirely different, and the human limit of the term of violence must apply in wrestling as in anything else. Were the wrestlers to work at a high pitch, they could last no more than about fifteen minutes, just as the boxer could last but a few rounds at his fastest pace. It is all a matter of the nature of the exertions to which each athlete has become accustomed.

If you have properly followed all the foregoing, you should now notice that regardless of the nature of the exertion, as long as the athlete forces his body to produce the greatest possible amount of energy for the exertion, the effect upon the system will be in relation to the duration and severity of the term of violence. For instance, a sprinter who never ran a race longer than one hundred yards should tax his system to a lesser degree than the sprinter who has also competed over the two hundred and twenty yard distance. The quarter mile man may tax his system more than the sprint man, but we do not reason along the line that the mile runner places a greater strain on his system than the quarter miler. The half mile and mile races cannot be run at such a fast pace, and the circulation does not need to function so forcibly.

Something else must be considered in boxing; in addition to the exertions the pugilist receives a rather severe pummeling.

We now wish to call attention to the term of violence in performing feats of lifting heavy weights. Please note these remarks do not pertain to body developing exercises with bar bells and allied apparatus, wherein no attempt is made at strenuous exertion, as we shall properly call your attention at another time, but we are now making a comparison of other athletic pastimes with strenuous weight lifting as a sport and form of athletic competition. The most prolonged of all recognized lifting feats is undoubtedly the lift known as the Two Hands Anyhow; in this lift, it is first necessary to raise a heavy bar bell overhead, either with one or both hands, to hold the bell overhead with one hand while you bend over and pick up a smaller bell with the other hand, and straightening up, raise the smaller bell up alongside the larger one. A most cautious lifter, taking great care to go slowly, would take no more than a half minute. The quickest lifts take but one or two seconds to perform, in which space of time a heavy weight is raised from the floor to arms length overhead. Several other lifts would take no more than five or ten seconds.

The Two Hands Anyhow lift might be compared to the quarter mile run, in the matter of elapsed time, although the term of violence last but one-half to three-fourths as long, and we are certain no lifter ever became as momentarily exhausted as the average good quarter miler. None of the other recognized lifts can compare with the sprints for duration of the term of violence, nor does the athlete force himself to the physical limit as in the case of a fast century or furlong dash man. The term of violence in weight lifting is neither as severe nor as great duration as in running the sprints. Yet, in view of this fact, weight lifting is referred to as a certain means of injuring the heart and blood vessels. The whole truth in the matter is that those who make such assertions are not speaking from actual knowledge, but just as badly misinformed repeaters of hearsay, regardless of their standing in the community.

We do not wish it understood that we subscribe to the policy of athletics being harmful. To the contrary, we are firmly convinced of the benefits to be derived from the proper participation in athletics. Immediately preceding, we have been discussing the effect of athletic exertions on the human system, but not with the intention of proving any harm will result. What we have endeavored to point out is the fallacy of claiming weight lifting to be injurious to the circulatory-respiratory system, and at the same time advocating participation in competition along other athletic lines, when the strain upon the system is in reality less severe in weight lifting.

Iron Nation

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PHYSICAL TRAINING SIMPLIFIED - The Complete Science of Muscular Development - (circa 1930) - CHAPTER 1 - Why Exercise? A Brief Introduction to the Results One May Expect - By Mark H. Berry

Originally Posted on on 22 April 2004

In this age, it is the man who is equal to unusual situations who succeeds in every walk of life. The man capable of holding the difficult post must be he can stand the greatest strain and stress of circumstances without wilting or suffering a collapse. This is true whether the strain be of mental or physical nature. The nerves must, in every case, be able to stand up under the strain, and a greater physical reserve means steady and well trained nerves under positive control. The mental worker thus equipped is far superior to his fellow men who are lacking in the physical back ground.

There can be no growth without life or activity. This is true of the human being as much as of the modern city or a great nation. The city expands and the nation becomes great in direct proportion to the amount of life and activity within it. Keep a small child inactive and it will fail to bloom into full grown manhood or womanhood. In direct ration to the extent you keep the child tied up will it fail to attain its rightful heritage of vital maturity. Keep the child in bed and it will turn out at maturity nothing more than a helpless cripple. Keep the child confined in the house with no chance to romp and play and regardless of the amount of sunlight which may shine upon the child, it will reach maturity weak and ailing. Let a youth or young man cultivate habits of laziness or indolent inactivity and he becomes soft and physically useless. For this reason you find so many clerical workers and others following soft vocations who are thin, weak and practically void of muscle. Particularly is this true when the individual has never found it necessary to indulge in hard work or strenuous activity of any kind. Coming out of school, and never having been athletic, they drift along the line of least resistance into a pen or pencil pushing job or light machine work involving no particular effort. Some few will grow fat in such a life, especially if they have had to do some form of hard work during boyhood, as for instance on a farm, or if they have been fairly athletic in school. Each of us has an inheritance, handed down from our vigorous hard-working ancestors, of internal organs capable of withstanding the strenuous life. We should be capable of surviving the rugged life of the pioneer. Nature meant each and everyone of us to be strong and virile, with every life-sustaining function developed to the fullest extent. We were not placed on earth to be a bunch of mollycoddles or weaklings devoid of muscle. Not by any means. We are on this earth to carry our some great mission, and nature intended that strong and supremely fit men should carry out the destinies of the human race. Look at the anatomical chart. Note the shape and proportions of the muscles of man. If you are not using your muscles as you should, if your muscles fail to show the contours which they naturally should, then you are cheating yourself and not making the most of the wonderful body with which you were endowed.

The occupations of the present day do not demand any degree of muscular development or strength, but the health and efficiency of the individual does demand that he possess a strong and fully developed physical organism. If you fail to appreciate our reference to health in connection with a properly developed body, I can only say that it will be difficult for the non-physical culturist to realize the meaning of health in the degree possessed by those who are wholly and vigorously alive.

As one grows older, either constant improvement or deterioration takes place. There is no standing still in life; life is motion, and one cannot stand still and yet remain in motion. The very forces which keep you alive depend upon activity. We sometimes hear persons speak of preserving their present conditions, physically, but in reality there is nothing you can do to preserve a certain degree of health, strength or development. When such a condition is apparently is taking place, it is necessary to strive constantly to improve in order to hold a certain standard; otherwise you are really slipping, ever though slightly.

Up to maturity, providing no condition of disease is present, one should continue to improve physically, and having reached that stage, the average man begins to deteriorate. The wise individual takes steps to continue improving and to prolong the age of actual and inevitable decline. Each of us has some sort of "before" and "after" history. At maturity, we are either better or worse physically than we were in our youth. In middle age, we have either improved or deteriorated. You will hear average men speak of how good they were "before" and how badly they have gone back "after." However, among physical culturists, the average story is just the reverse, and it is far from uncommon to hear almost unbelievable tales of how much improvement has taken place between "before" and "after." It resolves mainly into the manner in which your life in conducted. Each person holds within himself the power for improving; by following certain known rules, and living in a sensible manner, any person who is not suffering serious disease may realize the joys of a strong, enduring, vital life of health.

Within the following pages, the author has set forth the rules which must be followed. None should despair or give up hope, as many of those who are now recognized among the world's leading examples of physical perfection had to start from a condition of weakness and even chronic sickness. Even though you should fail to attain the same degree of ideal perfection exhibited by the models illustrating this book, you may at least realize the limits of your own possibilities and acquire a physique and health of which you may well be proud.

In your case, before and after can mean a great deal, as it did in the case of many of the athletes of whom we have used photographs to illustrate this book. One of the outstanding cases of physical improvement is that of Albert Manger, of Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of 21, he weighed 97 pounds. Unfortunately, he had no photo taken at that time, but after exercising for one year and gaining 26 pounds he had a Kodak snapshot taken. That is, he weighed 123 pounds at that time: a copy of that photo is to be found in these pages. During the past year or more, he has been weighing over 190 pounds in the best condition less than eight years after starting to exercise with bar bells. Sometimes you hear of weighing in for a lifting contest at 181 pounds, but it is necessary to train down to do so. How would any of my readers who weigh 97 pounds to 123 pounds like to be in such a condition that they found it necessary to train down to 18l? We believe Manger first came into prominence as a lifter about five years ago, and he weighed around 180 pounds normally at that time. So you see, he continues to improve in development and strength.

We would suggest that you closely observe the tremendous difference in the condition of Mr. Manger as shown by the comparative photographs in these pages. Certainly, we cannot guarantee such results for you or anyone else, but investigation fails to reveal any essential reason as to why he should improve to a greater extent than other individuals, unless it was due to the fact that he was far under weight for a young man of his height. Still, you will meet many young men who a are tall and emaciated in appearance. If Albert Manger was successful in doubling his bodyweight, surely some other undeveloped young men should be able to bring their bodyweight to normal. Besides increasing his strength to the extent that he has been able to win the Light Heavyweight Champ ionship of America for the past four or five years; Manger has also won A.A.U. Championships in his district of the country at putting the shot and throwing weights. If he has failed to become the National champion at such sports we can only say that other outstanding performers at weight throwing did not weigh less than a hundred pounds at the age of twenty-one.

We also show you the "before and after" photographs of Joseph Jerzeski of Cleveland, Ohio, who made a remarkable improvement in ten months' time. Permit me to copy his letter as published in an article I wrote for STRENGTH Magazine. He was just recovering from an attack of arthritis at the time the first photo was taken. " I was paralyzed and had to be fed for a month. Six months passed and every joint in my body was affected with inflammation; severe pains and aching accompanied the least possible movement. I was pitied by my friends, for I was underweight, pale and crippled. But I was a different man when I appeared on the beach this year. Due to bar bell training I have gained twenty-five pounds. I could barely lift the 1 1/4 plates overhead when I started training, but by gradually increasing the weight I was able to use more weight. By doing so my health returned, the severe pain and stiffness left me, and my strength increased till at present I am able to handle my partner, who weighs 160 pounds, in hand to hand balancing."

A gain of twenty-five pounds would hardly seem remarkable for the average man, but Mr. Jezeski was not in an average state of health, so in that case twenty-five pounds was a degree of improvement worth taking about.

David Myshne, of New York City, was another twenty-one year old "man" weighing less than one hundred pounds. At a height of five feet, eight and a half inches, he weighed 92 pounds. He weighed less than Manger probably because he was somewhat shorter than the latter. After practicing the exercise principles advocated herein, he built himself up to a bodyweight of 148 pounds, and now possesses a splendid physique. Comparative figures reveal some very worthy increases. Neck 13 1/2 to 16 1/4; normal chest, 32 3/4 to 41 3/4; upper arms, 10 1/2 to 14 3/4; forearms 9 3/4 to 12 1/2; waist, 27 1/2 to 31; hips 33 3/4 5o 37; thigh 17 1/2 to 22 1/2; calf, 13 to 15; wrist, 6 3/4 to 7 1/8; ankles, the same at 8 3/4. What one of my readers who happens to be cursed with weakness and a sickly looking body would not welcome a chest girth of nine inches, with five inches added to each thigh and four and a quarter inches on his arms?

Then Joe Miller of Salunga, Pa., added ten inches to his chest girth in the space of one year with corresponding increases all over. Compare his "before and after" condition: neck 13 1/2 - 16; normal chest, 32 1/4 - 42 1/4; waist, 32 and unchanged; hips, 38 - 39 1/2; thigh 18 1/2 - 22; calf 12 1/2 - 14 3/4; upper arm, 12 1/2 - 14 1/4; forearm, 9 3/4 - 12 3/4; at the end of the year he weighed 160 pounds at a height of five feet, six and a quarter inches.

William "Bill" Raisch is now recognized as one of the leading male adagio dancers of the stage, and in great demand, due to his strength in handling his partners. Nevertheless, he can look back a few years when physical strength seemed as a far fetched dream, never to be attained. As a young boy he had the misfortune to suffer a most severe burn which nearly destroyed the muscular tissue and skin of his entire right upper arm. Physicians solemnly declared there was no hope of the arm ever being useful. Young Raisch went along for a few years, hoping against hope for some means of regaining the natural use of his arm. He became acquainted with the physical culture movement, and after attempting light methods for a while, was introduced to the possibilities of progressive exercise with bar bells. He witnessed Henry Steinborn in training, at the time the latter was at about his best. Inspired by the example of the wonderful physique of Steinborn, young Raisch was fired into action, and within a short space of time a remarkable improvement was noted in the appearance and condition of his arm. The physicians who had claimed there was no hope were amazed at the degree of improvement. The transformation was almost equal to building new tissues to replace those entirely destroyed by fire. Closely peruse the photographs of Bill you will find herein; note the shape and present muscularity of his right arm, then try to imagine that the same right arm had once been burned almost to the bone. Bill Raisch is today, positively about the huskiest specimen of 165 pound manhood you would want to meet.

Consider, also, the efforts of physical improvement necessary on the part of Joe Nordquest and Alan P. Mead, both of whom are to found among our collection of illustrations. At the age of eight, Joe Nordquest suffered the loss of his left lower leg; he stared to exercise with bar bells in his mid teens and had to wage a long, hard, uphill fight to build himself up. Alan P. Mead lost one lower limb in the late war, and after returning to civilian life undertook to develop himself to compensate for his great physical loss. The same progressive measures have succeeded in making him a record holder at lifting, and probably the world's most outstanding example of a living chart of anatomy, for all the muscles of his body are so clear cut as to suggest such a chart. We have numerous people who have developed themselves in spite of the fact that they are handicapped with the loss of one limb.

As a further proof of the results to be realized from the regular practice of vigorous physical exercise we will cite another case which should prove interesting.

A gentleman who holds a position of good standing in the engineering profession, visited us and related his experience in raising his bodyweight from 120 pounds in street clothes to 175 stripped, and overcame the dread disease, consumption, or tuberculosis of the lungs. He had run himself down into that condition of poor health by working night and day for several days at one time, such periods of overwork being repeated quite frequently, in an effort to complete rush contracts. A friend advised progressive bar bell exercise, and luckily for him, he heeded the advice. Due to the diseased condition of his body, no improvement in body weight was noted during the first six months, but from then on progress was sure and steady. Today, you would be inclined to disbelieve any statement concerning his ever having suffered from consumption.

The strenuous exercises to which he has become accustomed has made it possible for him to lose sleep for great stretches of time, and although his bodyweight is temporarily reduced, his reserve of energy gives him the recuperative powers to survive strenuous engineering campaigns with no ill effects. For instance, while his fellow workers are stricken with various minor illnesses as the result of exposure to semi tropical heat wile harvesting sugar cane, he was in such condition that the extreme heat caused him no trouble. His physicians were positive when diagnosing his sickness as consumption; strenuous exercise brought him around to health, even though physicians generally warn against any form of strenuous exertion when suffering that disease.

As one of our pupils, a professor of psychology, stated, "I want to say that I consider the psychological effect of developing a good body to be of tremendous importance. I am much stronger than I have ever been before. I no longer suffer from the feeling of inferiority which had handicapped me. I believe that all men who have a weak body are secretly ashamed of it. However, they often develop disagreeable traits to compensate for the feeling of inferiority due to the weak body. Besides increasing my strength I have increased my endurance. I can walk twenty miles over very rugged country in deep snow with no bad effects, whereas formerly it tired me to walk three or four. I no longer suffer from constipation and bilious spells which affected me during the years of my youth."

What greater proof for the need of widespread physical education is needed than a knowledge of the sickness, weakness and physical defects among our populace. For instance, during the late war when the Draft was put into effect, in making examinations of young men for entrance into service it was found that forty-seven out of every hundred had physical defects, still quite a large percentage of those with minor defects were kept in the army, many of them given treatment to fit them for active service. However, twenty-one out of a hundred were rejected as unfit for service, even though the requirements of the Draft were not as strict as those for entrance into the regular army.

If we are to apply these figures to the average populace it would be bad enough, but we must remember these men represented the flower of our youth or young manhood, men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty mostly, with a small percentage from eighteen to twenty. We would rightfully expect young men of these ages to present a higher degree of efficiency. If such findings are true among young men, how about middle-aged men? Surely the physical standard among the latter would hardly compare with the younger men. Reliable figures also show us that 75% of our school children have defects, which are certain later to lead to bad health. It has further been figured that there are something in excess of forty-two million men and women gainfully employed in this country, and out of that number two million must remain away from work every day due to sickness. The computed average, for each employed person, of days lost annually is eight days, plus, or a total of at least three hundred and fifty million working days lost each year. You can figure it anywhere from five to ten dollars a day, and at either extreme the amount of lost money is appalling. Health authorities tell us the majority of those minor disabilities could be prevented.

To the average citizen, the only incentive for physical training is the winning of some title, prize, or purse. Senseless indeed, would it be to advocate physical culture or athletics for training the body if the only benefit derived was the winning of medals, or money or glory. The great physical culture movement would be an utter folly if this were true, and physical exercise would be valueless except for athletes who could make a good living out of it. Many athletes do, of course, consider the glory and prize to be of utmost importance, just as school boys are apt to think of athletics and physical condition as a means of winning honors for their school. Physical training and exercises are encouraged in schools and colleges for a different reason. The intelligent educators who are responsible for the inclusion of physical training in our universities and public schools realized the importance of physical exercise as a necessary measure in promoting and safeguarding good health and a life of usefulness among our future citizens.

Proper physical training builds a reserve of vital energy in the human system and strengthens the internal organs so that they will function in a healthy manner. There results an increased resistance to disease and a greater prospect of a long and useful life. Muscles are strong and enduring only when they receive strong impulses form the internal, controlling organism, the nerves, and the bloodstream, by means of strong circulatory and respiratory functions. The active muscles must be properly nourished or they would waste away. An increase in the size of muscles signifies a more efficient working of the vital organs. We state a logical fact when we say that larger muscles and greater strength cannot result without increased nourishment being abstracted from the food.

Since the dawn of history, physical strength has been worshipped by humanity. The man of great strength has been recognized through the ages as the complete man. In the days of the cave man, the law of the survival of the fittest prevailed as it does even today in the jungle. Then, men hunted one another, and the strongest survived each conflict. Men began to live in colonies known as tribes, and the man who was physically most fit ruled as chief. Now days, no such condition prevails, it is true; nevertheless, supreme physical condition is just as much admired today as in the days of the cave man. Witness the glamour of heroism surrounding our athletic champions. The physical hero of today is better known and given greater publicity than our giants of mentality. The athlete is evidently acclaimed for his excellence in some branch of sport, but the subconscious urge leading people to cheer him is the age old worship of physical strength.

To the average person, the subject of weight lifting and the cultivation of strength is merely something of interest to men who are naturally strong and rugged and wish to make a living as professional strong men in a circus. To those devotees who have been initiated into the romance of the lore of strength, it possesses a certain fascination. It is doubtful if any sphere of human endeavor offers such opportunities for a vivid imagination. To the earnest initiate, the romance of strength offers unlimited play for imaginary adventures. Each new enthusiast dreams of the time when he shall be one of the leading lights with a big part to play in making world strength history. Though the realization of such dreams may come to but a limited number, the great majority never lose hope of some day sitting among the elite.

The individual who has just decided to exercise is faced with a most perplexing problem. If, in his search for a suitable method, he reads the principal magazines devoted to exercise, his dilemma will be all the more pronounced. Means of exercising are as diverse as the hobbies and means of amusement indulged in by our fellow citizens. Systems and courses of physical culture are nearly as numerous as the professors who conduct them. Providing a justifiable excuse or explanation could be given for the existence of each of the widely heralded systems, there would hardly be any sensible reason for the writing of this present book. However, as a fair amount of study and investigation will prove to the open minded individual who is searching for the truth, there are both correct and incorrect ways of exercising. Some exercises, if continued in a regular manner, will prove beneficial; others will turn out to be nothing more than a waste of time, and most of all, many means of exercising may result in harm to the inexperienced beginner. Certain things in regard to healthful exercise of the human body should be understood by one who wishes to intelligently choose a means of physical exercise. It is with this idea in mind that we now endeavor to enlighten the uninitiated.

Chiefly, the reason for practicing muscular exercise is to promote a sound condition of health. This is induced by stimulating and invigorating the action of the vital functions. First of all, the circulation is stirred up, and an acceleration of the circulation results in a demand for more oxygen through the lungs. With a stronger and more vital circulation of blood coursing through the veins and arteries, the various internal organs are bound to benefit. The increased blood flow and consequent demand upon the digestive and assimilative functions results in a better average state of health, the internal organs are more vigorous, the muscles better nourished, the individual is stronger, more enduring and more efficient in general.

The observant reader will soon be aware of our advocacy of weight lifting exercises as a means of properly developing the human male body. We refer to such exercises at this time as weight lifting exercises, chiefly because the uninitiated will at first be unable to disassociate bar bell exercises from actual weight lifting. Closely related as they are, due to the nature of the apparatus used in the practice and performance of both, and the fact that all prominent figures in the weight lifting world have been developed and trained along the same identical lines, there exists in reality a considerable difference between the two.

When body building exercises are practiced with bar bells with the idea in mind of developing and strengthening the muscles and improving the health, the physical culturist performs a certain routine of movements with moderate weights. At the start, very light poundages are handled, performing each movement a certain number of times. Very gradually the repetitions and poundages are added to as he becomes accustomed to the exercise. Two things take place. The muscles grow to become better able to do the new work, and at the same time by increasing the resistance the muscles are coaxed to grow and become capable of accomplishing even more. In the performance of bar bell exercises, no attempt if made of exert the body, not to actually use the strength, till you have progressed to an advanced stage. At that time you will be thoroughly prepared to train along advanced lines or to participate in actual lifting should you desire.

Weight lifting in the strict sense consists of attempts to elevate the greatest possible amount in one movement or series of movements which combine into one continuous lift. The main difference between actual lifting and body building exercises is the degree of exertion put into the effort. In lifting, you put every bit of energy at your command into the effort, while in exercising a number of repetitions are performed, each of which is well within your reserve limit, and no attempt is made to handle the limit of your ability, even for the full number of counts.

Iron Nation