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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crush Workouts - By Jim Bryan

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on April 20, 2005

Before I met Arthur Jones I had been training quite awhile. Our workouts were always a contest of strength and quick wit. My last training partner was Bob H. He was a strong big bodybuilder (215) that had a physique that resembled Steve Reeves. When we met at the gym one of us would tell the other “I’m going to crush you like a grape today.” So we started calling them Crush Workouts. Back then we didn’t write anything down except maybe the order of exercises. After awhile we didn’t need the list, until we changed workouts. No set number of reps or sets. We usually did a pyramid with the weights and did as many reps as we could. Each had to meet or beat the reps, kinda like playing “Horse” with a weight workout. We would go until one of us failed or got “Crushed.” Most of the time we would go up to weights that we could barely get 5 reps with. On some exercises we’d go to singles. Neither of us wanted to be crushed. I weighed about 170/180 then. I didn’t look as good as Bob but I always told him that ”Even though I was short, I was extremely powerful.” All through the workouts we would be giving the other heck verbally. “Baby weights build baby muscles.” “Be careful when you go outside, you might step into a Coke bottle with those calves.” And much more profane insults were thrown back and forth. Most of the time members of the gym would be laughing their butts off as one of us got off a good zinger. We trained very hard and heavy. The workouts were too long and we were in the gym way more than we needed to be, but we had to have the “Iron battles.” Challenges were made and accepted and bets were paid after the workouts were done. Usually we bet milkshakes and sometimes meals. AND I could eat with anyone back then. ( I pay for that now) We were watched closely by Al Christensen, so we didn’t do anything stupid and get hurt. Al really helped us out but I’m sure there were days he’d like to have had us take a day off so he could get one. He was a great Coach. Craig Whitehead came over often and we thought he was a monster!

All our workouts back then were of a “Strength/Bodybuilding” format. We also did Powerlifts as part of the workout. Basic and heavy was the theme. Now and then we’d invite someone to train with us just so we could “Crush” him. Usually the razzing was brutal and the weights would eventually “crush” someone. Along this time another guy was training in the gym. He looked good and half the women in Winter Haven were chasing him. We were friends but noticed he didn’t train that heavy and was working out by himself. Bob and I were tired of crushing each other (Really I was tired of crushing him) So we decided to invite Jerry M. into our workouts. Man! We abused him. Called him names and laughed at him during the workout. He was having a hard time hanging with us and we loved it. “Fresh Meat” is what we called him. Jerry struggled and we continued to bust him in a good nature way. Funny thing is that he was the one getting the most benefit from this training. He always had to go 100%. Sometimes we just coasted. After training with us Jerry got really strong. He also had one of the best physiques in Florida. If the women in the audience had a vote, he’d have won all the Contests he was in. Back then we had a great time. We didn’t worry about what Protocol anyone used. We all just “lifted weights.” Yes, there was a division between lifters and Bodybuilders. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was both. And the girls never cared, so why should we? Fun time back then, living fast and working out hard. “Crush” anyone lately?


Physical Culture Books.com

Thursday, April 19, 2012

GET BIG ROUTINE - By Vincent Bowers

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on December 4, 2006


TRAIN ONE DAY ON - THREE DAYS OFF.

BREATHING SQUATS - THIS IS IT, THE MOST PRODUCTIVE EXERCISE YOU WILL EVER DO. DO ONE SET OF TWENTY, TAKE AT LEAST THREE MASSIVE BREATHS BETWEEN REPS AND ADD AT LEAST 5lbs EVERY WORKOUT. ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH AND SIZE GAINS DEPEND ON HOW HARD YOU WORK IN THIS SET, HARD WORK IS THE WAY TO BIG BIG GAINS, REMEMBER, THE LAST FEW AGONIZING REPS ARE THE ONES THAT MAKE YOU GROW, QUIT AND STAY SMALL OR HANG TOUGH AND GROW.

PARALLEL BAR DIPS - WILL WORK YOUR WHOLE UPPER BODY PARTICULARY YOUR CHEST, SHOULDERS AND TRICEPS. YOUR GOAL IS TEN REPS, ONCE YOU CAN DO TEN REPS IN ONE SET ADD WEIGHT AND START AGAIN. DOING REPS TO FAILURE, YOU MAY ONLY GET SIX REPS, BUT TAKE A SHORT REST AND THEN GET YOUR NEXT FOUR REPS.

BENT ROWS - ROWS WILL BULK UP THE WHOLE UPPER BACK, TAKE A SHOULDER WIDTH GRIP ON THE BARBELL, KEEP YOUR UPPER BODY SLIGHTLY ABOVE PARALLEL AND YOUR KNEES SLIGHTLY BENT, THEN PULL THE BAR TO ABOUT LOWER RIB CAGE LEVEL, A WIDE UPPER BACK IS ESSENTIAL FOR A MASSIVE UPPER BODY, LOTS OF WEIGHT LOTS OF FIGHT.

MILITARY PRESS - NO OTHER MUSCLE GROUP WILL IMPROVE THE WAY YOUR PHYSIQUE LOOKS THAN BIG ROUND SHOULDERS. DO THESE STANDING AND DONT BE AFRAID TO USE A LITTLE REBOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MOVEMENT, VERY FEW MEN CAN PRESS THEIR OWN BODYWEIGHT OVERHEAD, BE THE EXCEPTION AND WATCH YOUR SHOULDERS GROW AND GROW. REMEMBER, BIG WEIGHTS = BIG SHOULDERS.

HISE SHRUGS - VERY FEW TRAINERS USE THIS FANTASTIC EXERCISE ANY MORE AND ITS A PITY BECAUSE IT WILL BULK UP YOUR TRAPS AND LIFT YOUR RIB CAGE AT THE SAME TIME. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON`T KNOW THE MOVEMENT, SIMPLY SHOULDER A HEAVY BARBELL AS IF YOU WERE ABOUT TO DO BACK SQUATS AND THEN JUST SHRUG, THATS IT! THE RANGE OF MOVEMENT IS ABOUT TWO INCHES BUT BELIEVE ME ITS A VERY EFFECTIVE TWO INCHES.

THICK BAR DUMBELL HOLDS - ONCE AGAIN A VERY SIMPLE EXERCISE BUT A VERY EFFECTIVE ONE, TRY AND GET SOME 2" SLEEVES (OR BIGGER) LOAD UP YOUR DUMBELLS LIFT THEM OFF THE FLOOR AND HOLD THEM UNTIL YOUR GRIP GIVES OUT. IT MAY NOT SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT THIS WILL TOTALLY FRY YOUR FOREARMS.


Physical Culture Books.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Common Sense in Strength Training - By Vincent Bowers

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on November 11, 2006

I recently visited my older sister and whilst there got into a conversation with my nephew.I went into the kitchen where my nephew was preparing his evening meal, as I watched him prepare to grill his approximately 4oz steak and make ready his green salad I asked him how his training was going. He told me he was presently training at a local gym that I had heard of but never actually trained at. He was training for size at the present time,training three days a week on a three way split, training each bodypart once a week.

My nephew is 21 years of age and weighs around 175 solid lbs. When he told me he was trying to gain weight he told me he ate six small meals a day,consisting of his 4oz steaks, chicken and fish with baked potatoes,pasta and brown rice as his main carbohydrates.He mentioned he had shown his diet to some Mr. Somewhereortheother who trained at his gym and he had told him he was on the right lines. I looked at my nephew and thought back to the way I myself was at his age (20 years ago now I'm sad to say). If you want to gain weight I told him, drink milk, lots of milk. I then asked how he trained his legs. Leg extensions, hack squats and leg presses were his main exercises he replied.

"Do you ever squat" Iasked him,"every now and again" he answered "they dont pump my legs much". Listen I told him you're eating like a bird and not doing the correct exercises to gain weight.My nephew looked at me the way you look at a mixed up elderly relative who you dont wish to be rude to. OK he said "how should I train". To get big you need to eat big and lift big, and you cant lift big weights on isolation exercises. Do multi joint compound exercises and you`ll be able to hoist some impressive poundages, look after the major muscle groups and the smaller muscles will take care of themselves. He didn`t look convinced but I kept on. "dont you think that when you can deadlift 400lbs for 10 reps you wont have a lot of meat on your upper arms?, you have to have an impressive amount of muscle all over your hips, legs and back to be able to squat with double your bodyweight for 15 reps".

"Concentrate on your legs and back and on squats, deadlifts, rows, bench presses and overhead presses, by all means do some curls and tricep extensions but only as finishing pumping moves." And always try to get an extra couple of reps or try and add 5lbs to the bar, progressive poundages are one of the secrets of successful training". "What about my diet" he asked, "Overload your body with calories and protein and it'll soon realise that you're trying to add weight. Eat steak, liver, chicken and fish by the pound not by the ounce, eggs are also high on the list, but the undisputed #1 source of protein and calories is milk, drink it by the bucketful, at least 6 pints a day and preferably double that, also if you want to use supplements, use a multi vitamin and mineral". "Thats a lot of food " mumbled my nephew,"Yes it is but you`ll get a lot of results"."OK,I`ll give it a try " he answered. How did he get on? Thats for next time.

Physical Culture Books.com

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Second 5 "Hard & Fast" Rules of Strength Training - By Tom Kelso

Originally Posted on NaturalStrength.com on January 6, 2007

See the previous installment in NaturalStrength for the "First 5 Hard & Fast Rules"


6. Use a reasonable volume of training.

As mentioned in point number 4 above, there is no need to perform a high volume of exercises per session. This holds true for exercise sets. A 1 to 3 sets/exercise protocol is within reason and should be the guiding rule to create muscle overload. It’s effective, time-efficient, and also facilitates recovery because the body doesn’t have to deal with unnecessary stress bouts and energy depletion. Similarly, very intense training sessions require a few days to fully recover from, therefore two to three sessions per week should be the limit. If more people trained harder and took an extra day of recovery between these more intense sessions, there would be more muscle visible in the world.

7. Vary the number of repetitions.

Proper strength training should involve significant resistance to recruit and fatigue targeted muscle fibers. It is not advisable to perform hundreds of repetitions in an exercise set as the resistance needed for this would be too light and inadequate for creating muscle tension and overload. Because research is mixed on the exact number of repetitions needed for specific types of development (i.e., maximum strength, quick strength [explosion], increased muscle size, and extended force output [muscular endurance]), a wide range of repetitions can be used. A reasonable range of repetitions would be from four to twenty five, used systematically to enhance muscle capacity
over the course of individual training period segments and the training year.

8. Vary exercises and workout day formats.

Proper strength training can be a grind due to its stressful nature, therefore to add variety to training, rotate exercises between workouts and alter the workout day formats throughout the training year. Examples: leg presses for workout A, barbell or machine squats for workout B, and dead lifts for workout C. Wide grip pulldowns for the upper back on workout 1, chin ups on workout 2, and close grip pulldowns on workout 3. Train ten weeks doing total body on Monday, upper body on Thursday, and lower body on Friday. For the next 8 weeks, switch to a total body workout every fourth day. Bottom line: use a variety of exercises and training day formats, but maintain consistency and progression.

9. Use sensible nutritional intake.

The good ole days of recommending fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and adequate hydration seem to have been be lost as there are a gazillion ergogenic aids and supplements are on the market. All are purported to enhance some elusive quality, namely increased muscle mass, strength, energy and/or leanness. They cost money, but so do trips to the local supermarket to obtain regular food products which we all have to do anyway. No one wants to hear this because it’s boring, but if a person eats sensibly – that is, eats balanced meals derived from the four food groups obtainable at the supermarket and gets enough calories to support whatever is desired (i.e., weight gain, loss, maintenance) -- that in itself should be sufficient to reach their goal.

10. Accept your body type and genetic limitations.

Last but not least is the genetic issue. I saved this for the end purposely as it is the greatest reality check of them all: you’re stuck with your body type and genetic endowment no matter how much you wish it could change. Thirty years ago I was ’-9”, weighed approximately 155 to 160 pounds, and could maybe do 185 pounds for 10 repetitions in the bench press before I started serious strength training. Fifteen years ago, I was 5’-9”, weighed approximately 193 to 197 pounds, and could do 225 pounds for 9 repetitions in the bench press due to hard, consistent, and progressive training. Currently, I’m 5’-9”, weigh approximately 185 to 190 pounds, and can do 225 pounds for 6 repetitions due to the fact I’m 47 years old and trying to hang on to continued consistent, progressive training. I hate to admit it, but I’m on the down- side. My shoulder bone/ligament structure isn’t going to change, I’m stuck with a 5’- 9” frame, but my body composition and strength levels can vary depending on how I
train. My point is you’re not going to make any major transformations in your
strength and physique once you make the initial commitment and tap into your genetic potential. The key is to accept what you have and train intelligently within its confines.

Physical Culture Books.com
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