Monday, December 29, 2008

ENDURANCE by Earle E. Liederman - Author and Publisher, (1926), - Chapter 6

To a beginner in physical training, fatigue is the first discomfort or pain experienced, whether he is standing before a mirror performing dumb-bell or calisthenic exercises, or whether he participates in open-air sports, such as rowing, jumping, games, or what not. He finds that after a very short period of exercise he is out of breath and some part or other of his body seems incapable of further movement. An aching is experienced, indicating, of course, that the muscle has been used to the limit of its power of recuperation. Usually after a short period of rest he will be able to resume activities. But if a beginner allows his muscles to reach the aching point or if he resumes exercise before fully recuperating after he has become fatigued, he will learn to his sorrow the next day that he should have exercised less strenuously. The lameness he will experience will prove very uncomfortable, and if more than one group of muscles should be affected he is liable to find himself in bed, suffering from muscle fever.

This reminds me of one of my pupils who came to my office one afternoon and enrolled for my course. I outlined about five or six exercises for him to follow for the first few days, to get his muscles in condition for a few of the more vigorous movements, as he had never before done any exercising. I particularly told him to take it very easy and not to exercise more than about five minutes for the first day, and after a day or two he could increase this period by a minute or two. I told him to come back and see me within a couple of days. When the time came for his second visit, this pupil "showed up missing"; but about a week later he lagged into my office, pale and in a half-alive condition. Upon asking what had been the trouble he told me he had exercised for five hours the day after he enrolled. He further stated that the next few days after that he had spent in the hospital. Well, no wonder! Evidently my instructions to him to take it easy had gone "in one ear and out the other," and his enthusiasm to become suddenly muscular and strong overwhelmed his sense of good judgment—if he had any!

If by chance you are one of those who have taken no active exercise for a few months and then return to a gymnasium, you may find at the outset that you still retain all your old pep and vigor. You can perform all of the most difficult movements and with nearly the same ease as you used to, and you may work in the gymnasium the first time for the same length of time to which you have been accustomed in the past. In the evening, however, a little or, perhaps, a great weariness and sleepiness most likely will come over you, indicating that your body craves more sleep than usual. But sleep may not come for a long time. If finally you fall asleep, you probably will awake shaking and perspiring. Your tongue may be coated and your appetite lost and your limbs will be trembly. These are the symptoms of muscle fever, which is a type of poisoning resulting from an excess of the waste products of muscle contraction and nerve action.

After a while, however, the fever will decline, but you still will feel uncomfortable and your muscles will feel the need of rest, and for several days thereafter they will be sore and stiff. All this happens when one has exercised strenuously after a long lay-off. However, stiffness or muscle soreness does not occur as always in the same manner. If the exercises you take, which you have not practiced for some time, are confined to local or single muscle groups, instead of experiencing muscle fever you will experience simply a severe lameness or muscle soreness in the localized areas that took part in the exercise. This soreness will last about the same length of time as if you develop muscle fever.

To you who have exercised, wouldn't it seem foolish for someone who had spent years at a desk and who had taken no exercises whatever, to be entered in a one-mile run against experienced competitors? What would you think of him—of his judgment, and of his chance of winning? After the first block or two you would soon express your opinion in mirthful gestures. Yet this very same inexperienced man, in his own heart and soul, will feel he is capable of defeating the others, at least holding his own with them.

Nearly all my life I have been interested in the boxing game, and whenever there is a good boxing exhibition I make it a point to attend of at all possible. I have seen fighters grow up, so to speak. I have watched their interested wares in the preliminaries, and have seen them progress month by month and year by year until they have reached the top. Also, I have seen these same first-class boxers retire after losing their laurels, and nearly all of them were much below the age of thirty when their crowns were lost to others. It is pitiful to see some of these retired boxers, whom the public classifies as old-timers, return to the ring to combat against youth. Probably financial need may be the first thought; but surely a prominent thought must be that of their ability to defeat the newcomers just as they, themselves, defeated all comers in their own heyday. But youth must be served, and the poor showing of the old-timers brings nothing but comment and boos from the audiences.

While all this apparently may have little to do with the subject of endurance, the few illustrations given will help to bring out my points. There may be a great many other conditions largely governing the ability of the one-time champion boxer, such as reduced recuperative power, lack of judgment in distance and timing, etc. He ignores these, or does not estimate their extent, and his intentions and thoughts are just as serious as those of anyone else who thinks he can make good without first giving serious thought to his physical preparedness, which directly and deeply concerns endurance.

In my high school days I played halfback on our football team, and even in those days I considered that I was in good condition, for I always had been interested in physical training. Without questions I was the strongest boy in the school, because I was the only one who exercised faithfully. Others may have been mildly interested and probably performed their exercises spasmodically, working a day or two and then dropping it for a week or so. My excellent condition made me over-confident. We had a tough team to play, and after memorizing the signals I really felt that I did not need to go through all the minor practice in which the rest of the team indulged. They practiced running, tackling, passing, punting, etc. My team-mates probably respected my condition, for—without being boastful—I had made good on previous occasions the year before. Finally the day of the game came; and I played with my usual enthusiasm. But for the next day I was so lame and muscle sore in nearly every part of my body, it seemed, that I actually was feverish. I was learning the lesson each and every one must learn, by painful experience, who does not heed the warnings of others more experiences in physical training and sports.

Stiffness or muscle soreness need not generally follow vigorous work which tires the muscles quickly. Sometimes you may be misled into thinking that you are exercising with sufficient ease to prevent soreness and that you have discontinued the movement before any signs of fatigue set in. And, at other times, an exercise can be pushed to the limit of your powers without the slightest disturbance following. This is because stiffness depends rather upon your general and muscular condition than upon the manner in which you perform the work. For instance, a moderate exercise, such as walking, may result in stiffness in a man accustomed to complete inactivity, while running or jumping will not produce any disturbance in the well-trained man.

I very seldom have had a real massage after exercise. I usually massage myself with a coarse towel by friction, in the form of a rubdown. Should I exercise too violently at some new sport or pastime to which I am not accustomed, and should I experience muscular soreness, I generally treat the condition with hot applications and gentle massaging with my own hands. It may be that I do not mind muscular soreness, as I have been exercising for so many years that I suppose I am somewhat used to it.

But not long ago, while I was in the best possible physical condition, I chanced to meet a masseur whose reputation travelled before him. This masseur had been praised by many for his remarkably effective, magnetic manipulations. Having some leisure time on this day I decided to try one of these famous massages. I must admit that the masseur knew his business; he understood anatomy thoroughly, which is essential to the proper manipulation of the body. Whether he made extra efforts because he knew who I was—and probably a hard-boiled critic with a chip on my shoulder—I do not know; but I must admit that I felt better mentally, if not physically, afterwards. Now mind you, I said I was in the best physical condition at the time. I had been training daily month after month and without growing stale; my muscles never had possessed better contour; nor had my vitality and strength ever been greater than on this day. Yet, the next morning my muscles were stiff from my neck to my feet.

I surely enjoyed this experience, for it furnished me with further proof that even though the muscles have been accustomed to performing heavy or even tedious movements, still by offering them such a slight change it was possible to bring on muscle stiffness. It proved that the muscles can be deeply affected by manipulations; but I doubt very much whether such manipulations would increase their size even a fraction of an inch, even if they were massaged daily. Rather, I would say that a gentle massage to muscles not in the best possible condition might enable them to perform more vigorous contractions afterwards, and muscles in perfect condition can be benefitted by a gentle massage, which undoubtedly will somewhat help them, also, in performing endurance work.

What effect has massage beyond its chief effect of increasing the circulation? It produces heat in the muscles—the same as is acquired by the contractions and extensions of the muscles in active exercise. There must be a certain temperature before the muscles can act in harmony and coordination, for cold muscles are practically as useless as are the muscles of a man in the declining years of his life.

Even though the student feels that he is in full command of all his physical powers and that he has superior quality of muscle, it will be well to consider here the subject of improvement of muscle quality.

Heat plays a very important part in governing the quality and usefulness of a muscle. When a muscle is cold it naturally becomes somewhat stiff and this experience can be had by anyone who is exposed to a brief exposure in winter when improperly clothed. One seems to shrink together, so to speak, and a sort of numbness overtake shim. If he were to attempt to perform a certain feat, no matter how simple it might be, such as jumping, running or the like, he would find that he would experience more or less pain in the muscles involved.

This brings to mind a personal experience which happened one summer a year or two ago on the beach. It was a cool day with a strong wind blowing. I had been in the water for some time and naturally I felt chilly when I came out. I started doing hand-stands on the sand in order to warm up and increase my circulation. After doing a dozen or more hand-stands with various forms of push-ups, I suddenly decided to turn a back handspring. I did, and something snapped in my left ankle. All the blood had been centered around the muscles used in handbalancing, and my feet were cold and not in condition to receive the force when I landed on them somewhat heavily. I limped around for about nine weeks with a sprained ankle, the penalty of my folly; but I since have made it a point never to attempt any movement or stunt that requires skill or strength, before first seeing to it that my muscles are warm and in proper condition for that particular work.

When you attend a track meet you will note how the sprinters always warm up before the race They trot up and down, either stationed in one spot or in short jogs here and there on the track, in order to get or keep the muscles of the legs warmed up and in condition to compete. If a runner did not do this he soon would find himself far behind his competitors.

Heat is an indispensable element for muscle contraction. However, if the temperature rises too high, then the heat destroys the activity of the muscle. This easily can be illustrated by anyone who desires to experiment with hot bathing. After lying in a tub of very hot water until one is perspiring profusely, one will experience a sleepy feeling, probably a "dopey" feeling, rather than one of energy. If, however, this hot bath is not too long continued and is followed by a cold shower, one will regain activity of the muscle, because the cold water restores normal temperature and at the same time shocks the nervous system and acts as a stimulus.

Heat can be produced by excessive muscular work as well as by bathing and other external means, and such muscular effort can overheat the blood and poison the nerve centers, doing considerable temporary or even permanent damage.

It readily can be seen, then, that heat, or warming up of the muscles, and placing them in a condition to do work is just as important as is practice in any sport which will produce muscle sense, and as important as training that will develop muscular coordination. These are among the first rudiments of physical training that the student must acquire before attempting anything in the line of endurance work.

In the production of heat, diet plays a very important part. The athlete who does not eat properly and whose food does not properly proceed through the process of digestion, will find himself lacking in muscle condition and, therefore, in his endurance efforts. The body is entirely built up from the materials drawn from the food we eat; and certain physical and temperamental characteristics depend considerably upon where one lives, because of the variance in foods native to different geographic regions, especially different zones. The foods grown or produced in a zone as a rule are best suited to the needs of the natives of that zone. The Eskimo and the inhabitants of the far North must eat a fatty diet or foods that will produce considerable heat. Whether they understand the food question or not seems to make no difference, for they evidently are concerned only about their tastes and the gratification of their appetites, and these in all cases call for heat-producing foods, in the far North. The people who live around the Equator subsist on an entirely different diet, and they could not tolerate by taste or digestion, the food eaten by those in colder regions.

Again bringing in one of my own personal experiences: I have lived in the tropics and I have lived in Alaska. I even have had the good fortune to be within a few hundred miles of the North Pole, where, as far as I could see, there was nothing but pack ice. Do you suppose for one instant that the fresh fruits and green vegetables I ate in the tropics would be sufficient time for me in a temperature far below freezing? In the North I continually craved greasy stews, thick soups, potatoes and the like, and the reader can rest assured that, while eating with my coat collar up around my ears, such food tasted better to me than any ice cream soda ever did when the thermometer registered over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

To show what effect food has upon the body, just go without a few meals and experience the pangs of hunger. You will find that you will not be very much inclined to exercise when your stomach seems to be begging for nourishment. A man who regularly performs violent muscular work cannot furnish the quantity of heat needed by this work after a two-day fast.

Practically, it is impossible to outline a definite diet that everyone may follow regularly. The constitution of each of us is different from that of others. The nervous individual needs far different food than does the phlegmatic person, and the large, tall man naturally will require a larger quantity, owing to the size of his organs, than will the small-framed, shorter man. Each one will have to experiment for himself; and as there are so many varieties of foods to select from, I am sure it will not be difficult to find the proper diet. It may be necessary for one to make a fairly careful study of some of the magazines or better books dealing with the subject of diet, in order to learn some of the principles of dietetics. The subject of diet has received much thought in recent years and almost any recent book on the subject will give many valuable suggestions for the man who exercises. Personally, I believe in variety. I do not think a man should, unless there is something organically wrong with him, stick to one exclusive diet, for the body requires all kinds of foods. I believe, however, that it is far better to secure variety from meal to meal or from day to day, rather than to have a wide variety at each meal.

I have done considerable experimenting with diets. I have lived exclusively on milk for a while. I have tried raw foods. I have tried milk and eggs; and I have tried the mixed diet—meat and vegetables. And, although I must admit that the vegetarian diet seems to be most satisfactory, still there are times when my body seems to need a thick steak; and when it does I believe in satisfying the needs of my body. Too much meat, of course, will prove harmful, as will too much of any good thing.

Whatever foods are selected as best serving one's individual needs, it is essential that one's digestive organs and the organs of elimination function properly in order to produce the proper body heat for the body. As stated before, without this proper heat, coupled with muscular coordination and muscle sense, no one will be able to perform endurance movements to any marked degree.

The student must bear in mind that when seriously considering endurance work, or any exercise that requires an extra expenditure of energy, he also must increase the quantity of his food. By this I do not mean to overeat or to stuff oneself to capacity; but unless the diet is somewhat enlarged or at least has additional nutritive food values added, he will be continuing his exercising not on physical strength but on nervous energy. It is a common occurrence for an athlete to continue in his sport or pastime without experiencing fatigue while performing endurance work and yet steadily lose in weight. This, however, cannot go on indefinitely. He must look into and adjust his diet and way of living, or he soon will be burning the candle at both ends; and he is liable to decline into a condition of such diminished resistance that he no longer can defends himself against the numerous injurious influences which react upon him from without, just as a man who is run down from a cold may be susceptible to any disease with which he comes in contact.

But to return again briefly to muscle stiffness. Before undertaking endurance work the muscles must be prepared by training so that stiffness does not develop. The best procedure for preventing stiffness is to do a small amount of work every day and progress according to your vitality and inclinations. Of course, if one follows inclinations alone he is apt to find himself becoming lazy, for it is natural for all of us to endeavor to become as comfortable as possible at all times. But habits are easily formed; and as we all are more or less victims of habits, it is an easy matter to form the habit of taking exercise at the same time each day, just as you eat your meals at the same times or do many other things at regular times during the day.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aggressive Strength Training For The Lower Body - By Ken Mannie

Ken Mannie is the Head Strength/Conditioning Coach at Michigan State University.

"The Filthy Five" provides a high level of stimulation for all of the key muscle groups in this area. The major muscle groups of the legs, hips, and lower back are extremely important to all athletes in the development of strength and power, joint stabilization, and efficient skill execution.

All of these areas demand a year-round conditioning program. One of our more intense routines for the lower body is called "The Filthy Five" by our athletes. It consists of a sequence of five exercises that provide a high level of stimulation for every key muscle group in this area: the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, and low-back region.

When performed properly in sequence, the exercises provide a very demanding (some call it "brutal") leg/hip/low-back workout in a minimum amount of time. Before delving into the actual exercises, we would like to lay down the four basic guidelines for the administration of the workout.

* Proper Weight Selection: A weight is selected for every exercise that causes the trainee to reach momentary muscular fatigue - that is, the inability to perform another full-range rep with correct technique. Though this initially is a trial-and-error process, it rarely takes more than two workouts to determine the correct weight.

* Smooth, Controlled Reps. Controlled movement speed is (as I have discussed in previous SC articles) is safer and at least as effective as any other training methodology.

We do not necessarily place a strict cadence (e.g., two seconds for raising the weight and three to four seconds for lowering it) on the reps, but we do insist on eliminating needless momentum during the concentric phase (raising) and the eccentric phase (lowering). We also want a slight pause at the mid-range point when possible. Basically, we instruct our athletes to lift the weight rather than throw it, and to lower the weight rather than drop it.

* Short Rest. We ask the trainee to move to each exercise (in the routine) as quickly as possible to intensify the demand on the involved musculature.

. Whenever possible, all of the weightloads should be pre-set on the bars/machines to avoid wasting time.

* Frequency. Due to the high muscular and metabolic demands of this routine, we suggest its use only once per week. A less intense, more conventional workout can be performed on the other training days, utilizing different exercises in a varying sequence.

We also recommend that "The Filthy Five" be reserved for off-sea-son periods, as the soreness incurred (at least in the initial phases) might pose a problem in practice situations.

Finally, we suggest that the workout be done on the last training day of the week to allow for a longer recovery period (e.g., do it on Friday of a M-W-F lifting schedule). Make no mistake - this is a very difficult routine that is designed for the seasoned, mentally and physically tough strength trainee. Beginners would be well-advised to get a few weeks of "basic training" under their belts before tangling with "the filthy five"!

* Progression. As with any type of strength training-scheme, progressive overload is vital for success. Once our athletes achieve the high end of the rep range, they will add at least five and sometimes 10 pounds to the exercise on the next workout. All of our workouts are charted, nothing is left to chance, and we maintain the all-important element of accountability.

* Supervision and Spotting.

Supervision by a knowledgeable coach and correct spotting procedures by training partners are extremely important. Persistent communication in proper techniques, safety considerations, and encouragement to the lifter should always be evident.


With these guidelines, suggestions, and points of emphasis in mind, the following lower-body routine will provide an intense stimulus to the aforementioned muscle structures in an efficient, productive, and safe manner.

* Deadlift: The trainee is told to perform one or two warm-up sets before placing the maximum amount of weight possible on the bar for a 12-15 rep range. We demand strict technique. This includes placing the feet at or slightly wider than shoulder-width, maintaining the natural curvature of the low back (not "rounding" it), and positioning the head so that the eyes are in what we call a "conversational plane" (i.e., looking straight ahead at eye level).

The head and shoulders should always lead the raising phase of the exercise. The trainee will know that technique is being compromised when the buttocks raise first while the head and shoulders tilt downward and forward.

When lowering the weight, the knees should bend with a gradual lowering of the buttocks, while still maintaining the same lower back and head position. The set should be terminated whenever you detect the shoulders and head tilting over the feet with little or no knee bend and the low back beginning to round.

We choose to use what is known as a "hip bar" (photo) or dumbbells for our deadlift work, as they help us ensure proper technique. Regardless of the tool you decide to use for this exercise, insist that the athletes adhere to proper form throughout the set.

* Leg Curls:

The deadlift set is immediately followed by a set of leg curls, again using the 12-15 rep range. Once the lifter fatigues, the spotter must assist with the execution of 2-3 "forced reps," to help the lifter with the raising phase of the exercise (providing only as much help as is necessary to make sure the lifter is still "working hard").

* Leg Press:

Immediately follow the leg curls, again taking the set to fatigue in the 12-15 rep range with the inclusion of 2-3 forced reps (if possible) to complete the set.

* Leg Extensions:

Now hustle to the leg extension machine and crank out 12-15 strictly performed reps, again with 2-3 forced reps at the end.

* Leg Press (again!):

Rounds out the routine. Obviously, the weight will be reduced quite significantly from the first set, but it will still range in the 12-15 area.

The forced reps at the end will complete as grueling (and productive) a lower body workout as any of your athletes have ever experienced. They will be completely spent and filthy to the bone.

Conclusion: Remember, the intensity of this program dictates its use only with individuals who have been training for at least a few weeks. It would not be advisable to throw this at your players during their first week of the winter strength-training program. They might throw you into a mud hole (or a snow pile, at least)!

Ken Mannie can be reached for further information at (517) 355-7514 and by mail at Michigan State University, Duffy Daugherty Football Building, East Lansing, MI, 48824.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008


With permission of Hardgainer, Vol. 7, No. 4 (January-February 1996)

Downtown Washington was quiet and still dark as I walked through the Gallery Place Metro Station. My gym’s front door was only about fifty feet away, in the heart of China Town. I arrived to open for an early morning training session with Vernon Veldekens. I’ve been training Vern for about eight months and he is about to achieve 300-400-500 status any day now. He is knocking on the door in all three lifts. He trained for a few years before I met him, so he was not a beginner when I took him on. For the last eight months he has been training at a new level of intensity, just what he was looking for.

Vern is the type of guy I especially love to train. He is a young (24) kid from Texas, 5’8”, and now weighs a solid 195 lbs. He’s a “throw-back” type not a sensitive nineties reader of a “fitness” magazine. He listens, loves to work hard, gives no excuses and takes no prisoners. He doesn’t let minor aches and pains stop him. He eats endless cans of tuna and drinks gallons of skim milk. He does everything I tell him, without complaints or arguments. He spends far more time talking about his training poundages than he does his bodyfat percentage. I like that. Guys who are more concerned with their bodyfat percentage (when they are not fat) than they are with their training poundages have missed the boat. No matter what I dish out. Vern never complains and always comes back for more.

Vern arrived a few minutes after I did. “Yo Vern! Ready to kick some ass?” Vern’s growl let me know he was ready. We started the warmup routine. We’d both already had coffee and big breakfasts. Aerosmith was blasting out high-energy music and the atmosphere was good. We quickly forgot that it was 6 a.m. After he was fully warm and stretched, he began with inclines. After a warmput set, Vern banged out a set of 5 with 185 lbs using a 2 1/2”-thick bar. After incline presses he quickly moved to preacher curls using a custom 2”-thick EZ-curl bar made by Bob Hise of Mav-Rik. Vern willed his energy to get sets of 5 reps with 85 lbs. After a short rest it was over to front pulldowns with 155 lbs and Vern took it to failure.

Vern did three work sets for all three exercises. For the first two sets he used the controlled-failure method, stopping at the rep goal even if he could do more. On the third work set of each set he went all out to total failure and held nothing back.

After finishing the third set of pulldowns he was dripping with sweat. The black rubber floor looked like it had been raining and there was a hole in the ceiling. He took just enough rest to recover, but I did not let him waste time. We had a lot of work to do in a little over one hour.

I kept him busy doing a set of 20 reps in the good morning exercise while I changed some plates. We started the next round and I was screaming in his ear. “You’re on national television! Hit the roof!” Vern pushed through three sets of 5 reps in the seated military press with 145 lbs using a 2 1/2”-thick bar. “Good work! You’re moving up 5 lbs next time!” I shouted. He was breathing steam with piercing eyes. With good focus he headed across the room for pushdowns. Two sets of 5 with 95 lbs. On the third set Vern looked like he had been struck by lightning as his whole body shook and he went to failure doing 7 reps. “Moving up again, Vern.”

Vern recently switched to a 5-rep routine after spending about six months building a solid foundation with 8-10 reps for upper body and 10-20 for legs. I believe in periodization or cycles, but don’t want to have a long build-up period. We make a few minor changes and back down a little, but are back to full-force effort in a few weeks. I believe that long build-ups waste productive training time. In any event, Vern has been going like a rocket since I made the switch. We will ride this wave for as long as it will go. But I’ll make minor changes for mental purposes along the way. If he gets stuck on a particular poundage for several workouts, I’ll take the pressure off by making a change, like using 5-3-1 instead of 3 sets of 5. There’s always something you can do to get a mental edge.

Sometimes, when you’re stuck at a certain poundage, the best thing to do is to add weight. If you miss it, you have nothing to lose and you can say that you got the feel of a heavier weight. But you might get it. In the mid seventies, when I was stationed at Castle AFB in California, I got 300 lbs for the first time on the bench. I remember I was stuck at 295 for months. I finally put on 305, had no pressure, and got it.

We were heading down the home stretch and Vern was slightly nauseous. I let him take a few extra minutes to rest and drink some water. “Are you okay, Vern?”

“Let’s do it!” he replied. Next was seated cable row for 3 sets with 165 lbs, and then 3 sets of 5 reps in the squat with 325 lbs. I yelled in his ear so that he got the final reps in the last set. He got them, but collapsed after the last rep. I was about to call 911 but felt reassured when I remembered that Vern was only 24 years old. Some of my other clients would have been dead if I’d pushed them that hard. The nauseousness reappeared with a vengeance. I got the puke bucket. Puking is nothing to be proud of, but sometimes it happens to the best of us.

Vern was still keen, and the workout was not over. A little puking wasn’t going to stop him. He felt better after a few minutes and said, “I feel good. Let’s finish!” (My kind of guy.) He did some wrist rolling with a 2” pipe and a 15’ rope that I hung over the balcony. Some people in the building were watching, and thought we were crazy. They simply can’t believe that people pay me to do this to them.

After the wrist roller and a set with the Weaver stick, the final challenge is for Vern to transport a 200-lb sand bag around the building, keeping it at chest height. It’s a bitch and even harder than 20-rep squats. You can’t believe how hard this is until you try it, especially at the end of a workout. Brooks Kubik advised me to add this to the routine about six months ago. At first I thought, “Yeah, right.” But I decided to try it, and it was brutal.

I now have four 50-lb bags and can adjust the weight by putting them in a larger canvas duffel bag. The sand shifts and it is hard to grab. Your whole body struggles to grip, squeeze, balance and control the bag just to get it to chest level, bear-hug style. Vern had previously got 150 lbs and today he was going for 200. When anyone can get 200 around the building and live, they get a free workout and their names and date put on the bag, like the Stanley Cup. Vern collapsed about five times and it took him about ten minutes to get around the building. Each time he collapsed he had to wrestle the bag back in position in a sort of clean, which is no simple matter with 200 lbs. But he made it. But if I hadn’t been yelling “Free workout!” he wouldn’t have got it.

He made it around and collapsed. “Good work, Vern. Free workout. See you Saturday. Today, you built muscle the old-fashioned way. You earned it!”

Here’s Vern’s weekly training program:

1. Incline press
2. Preacher curl
3. Pulldown
4. Good morning
5. Overhead press
6. Pushdown
7. Seated cable row
8. Squat
9. Grip and sandbag work as time permits

1. Bench press
2. Standing barbell curl
3. Pulldown
4. Leg press
5. Overhead press
6. Pushdown
7. Seated cable row
8. Trap Bar deadlift
9. Grip and sandbag work as time permits

Since we have the equipment to ourselves, and we have a time limit, I group the exercises and usually have Vern doing three different exercises in a row, taking about 30 seconds rest after each of the first two. Then he takes about 90 seconds rest after the final exercise in the group. This gives him about four minutes rest between repeat sets for the same exercise.

A workout lasts between 60 and 80 minutes, depending on if someone is scheduled after Vern. If no one is coming during the next hour, I hold Vern “hostage” for an extra 10-20 minutes for grip and sandbag work. Between workouts he does abdominal work, aerobic work and additional stretching.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

ENDURANCE by Earle E. Liederman - Author and Publisher, (1926), - Chapter 5

Physical activities come under two headings—one is exercise or recreation and the other is work or labor. You often may wonder why a laboring man, performing his daily toil, does not develop into a great athlete. He surely performs more repetitions throughout the day than any physical culturist will ever attempt regularly to do. Would it not be logical, therefore, to assume that all these muscular efforts would produce enormous muscles, great strength, and almost tireless energy? If we look deeper into the physical condition of laborers we find that not one in a hundred possesses a symmetrical development. The laborer is strong, it is true, and his endurance powers are excellent, for I am sure neither you nor I could undertake to bend our backs the number of times a day that the average workman does in the performance of his duties. Yet he is easily defeated in practically every physical encounter with a trained athlete.

In the first place, though his muscles are larger than the average man's they are so accustomed to being used in the same restricted manner that they are almost helpless when required to be used in a different way. His back may be exceptionally strong, much stronger than the average athlete's when it comes to bending; yet the average athlete easily can outlift him in all feats of strength where the back is brought into play. In spite of the endurance he possesses from performing movement after movement, day after day, the average laborer would make a poor showing against a trained wrestler, boxer or runner. It is only by working slowly and relaxing between movements that he is able to keep up his daily toil for eight hours or more at a stretch.

Now let us consider the athlete. Usually he exercises for but about fifteen minutes to an hour a day. This time is spent either with the weights or gymnastic apparatus or in calisthenic exercises. He works with enthusiasm, and fair rapidity throughout his entire exercising period. At the completion of each series or movements each muscle is tired, sometimes almost to the point of exhaustion; but when his drill is finished he feels in top-top condition and like whipping his weight in wild cats. For the remainder of the day he relaxes, so far as special exercising is concerned. During this period of relaxation his muscles are given a chance to recuperate and grow. His muscles are trained by daily exercising to work in coordination, each helping the other. It is only natural for him to endeavor to excel in one or more of various sports, whether they be jumping, running, weight lifting, wrestling or boxing. He will find that his muscles will enable him to excel in these sports far above the average man, assuming that they have equal theoretical knowledge of the sports undertaken.

Pit the laborer and the athlete together in any sport whatever, and, even though their knowledge of the sport is equal, the trained athlete will come out winner on every occasion. Why? The answer is that during working hours the laborer has been working too hard, overworking his muscles and denying them the chance to build up to the degree of muscular coordination such as is possessed by the trained athlete, who relaxes most of the day. Work wears out the one while exercise strengthens the other. The laborer works for necessity, but the physical culturist exercises for recreation and to gratify his enthusiasm. The physical culturist would be no better off than the laborer if he exercised excessively, for he thereby would bring on exhaustion and overwork, just as does the working man.

A well-trained body is first of all essential to anyone interested in endurance. It would be folly to take a man who has never run more than a block in his life, out for a two- or three-mile trot. in the first place he could not last—he would collapse far from the finish. And if a man who has never exercised in his life were compelled to go quite a distance for something which must be gotten hastily to save someone else's life, it is doubtful whether the patient would survive. The man would not have the endurance nor the strength to carry him through.

I remember reading years ago, when I was a boy, about Bob Fitzsimmons, who was then heavyweight boxing champion of the world. I think it was back in 1897. He was at the bedside of his sick wife, and the doctor told him that oxygen must be administered immediately to save her. Fitzsimmons ran at top speed, late at night, from block to block, looking for a drugstore, hospital, or police station where he could get an oxygen tank. At last he found one and carried a tank of oxygen while running at almost the same speed back to his home. His wife was kept alive. If Fitzsimmons had not possessed a well-trained body and the ability to run rapidly and long, which he secured from doing his road work prior to his fights, there might not have been this story to tell.

Therefore, the advantages of a well-trained body readily can be seen in cases or emergency, whether it be in the performance or duty for others or to save one's own life. To begin with, the exercise enthusiast, in addition to having greater strength, naturally will have more coordination in his movements than will the average man, who lacks experience in physical training. The untrained man possesses little, if any coordination. In fact, instead of coordination there usually will be found muscle antagonism.

It is amusing to note how clumsily a beginner will dance. You can see them on any dance floor. Yet, the simple steps of the Charleston, foxtrot or waltz are easy after a little practice. Have you ever noticed a woman throw a ball? Of course, she has little cause to do so, but when the attempt is made it plainly can be seen even by the inexperienced that something is wrong, for none of the muscles concerned with throwing the ball seem to work in unison. Anyone who frequents and swimming pool will see how clumsily the beginner endeavors to learn the first rudiments of any stroke, and yet swimming is easy after one learns how. How amateurish the experienced boxer will make an inexperienced one appear. No matter what sport or pastime or walk of life you may consider, the inexperienced man or woman puts forth twice as much effort in the beginning, and this effort is clumsy and awkward, because of the fact that instead of muscular coordination there is muscular antagonism—some of the muscles opposing those doing the work actually contract instead of relax, thus hindering the action and doubling the effort.

No one can appreciate muscular coordination more than the weight lifter or the golfer. The weight lifter must stand "just so," grip the bell properly, time his movements accurately, and, when bringing the bell overhead, lower the body downward at the exactly required moment. The golfer must be in perfect form for his drive. He must work in unison from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. The slightest movement will have a tendency to displace the center of gravity of the body, thus interfering with the stroke being made, whatever its nature.

The only way to obtain coordination is by practice; and by practice I mean to exercise. In animals coordination is instinctive; but in man it must be developed. Everyone has observed the movements of a cat. They are graceful and harmonious, and yet no one ever taught a cat how to move. For a human being to obtain the grace of movement of a cat it would, undoubtedly, take years of practice. A pianist requires considerable practice before he is able to place his finger on the key he desires to strike, but when he is able to do so he does it with no less effort than a chicken expends in snapping its beak at a grain of corn.

When one masters the art of coordination, if it may be termed an art, he really possesses what might be termed muscle sense. Have you ever watched an experienced tennis player? If you have, you have noticed the wonderful dexterity with which he returns the serve or volley. He sees the ball coming toward him but he does not see the ball hit the racket. His judgment and muscle sense know just where and how to place the racket to hit the ball and he does not see the ball again until it has rebounded quite some distance away from his racket. Those of you who have played handball will appreciate what is meant by, and the importance of, this sense of coordination. I know from my own experience in playing handball, especially in a four-wall court, that the ball shoots around the walls with such rapidity that it would be almost impossible for the eye to follow its progress. But my muscle sense allows me to realize where the ball is about to come and, naturally, by putting my glove in the right place and adding a little force for the return serve, I am able to stroke the ball and control it, sometimes, of course, better than at others.

Magicians have proven to the public that the hand is quicker than the eye. But the hand or arm, as in handball or tennis, must be much quicker than the eye; for if one took the trouble to turn the head, even though slightly to allow the eye to follow the ball, he would lose control of the return serve. In baseball the batter depends a good deal upon his muscle sense; and even though his eye sees the ball coming toward him, yet, as in the case of handball and tennis, his eye does not see the ball hit the bat; but his muscle sense and judgment enable him to swing the bat where it will meet the ball—not timidly but with tremendous power, and with almost uncanny certainty, as with Babe Ruth and some of our other home-run hitters.

Last year I received the honor of becoming an Honorary Member of the Mounted Police Association of New York City and also of the Honor Legion of the Police Department of New York City. One of the requirements of the initiation was for me first to ride a mechanical horse and later a live one. I am almost ashamed to admit that I am an amateur at equestrianism. Of course, through my athletic abilities I had but little difficulty in mastering the rhythm of the mechanical horse; but when it came to find the gait of the live one I was all at sea. The bumping I received during this initiation on the live horse I painfully remembered for many days afterward. Now, if I had possessed the muscle sense gained through practice in horseback riding, I would not have been black and blue from this seemingly severe initiation. Even though I since have taken up horseback riding seriously, still my endeavors at my first attempt must have been just as amusing to those who knew how to ride, as are the antics of a fat man in a gymnasium for the first time.

Muscle sense really is the feeling we have of the force with which a muscle contracts and in the direction in which it acts. Without it we would not be able to place our hand or foot at the exact spot which we wished to touch. Muscle sense involves the antagonistic muscles as well as the muscles used in directly performing the movement. These antagonistic muscles must be worked to act in harmony and coordination with the other muscles before muscle sense can be perfected—the opposing muscles must be fully relaxed so that the acting muscles will be completely unhindered while they are performing; but when the need arises the muscles must be able instantly to reverse their condition and relaxation. This muscle feeling or sense can be gotten only by practice and experience; and if one never has attempted any pastime or sport it would be ridiculous for him to compete against anyone but a beginner like himself.

Undoubtedly one of the most striking examples of muscle sense is that exhibited by the juggler. Juggling requires both dexterity and balance. Many times I have attended vaudeville shows and have seen almost unbelievable stunts performed by these master jugglers. I remember one man in particular who juggled a chair, a pail, a coat, coat rack and hat—five entirely different objects of different sizes and weights. He threw them into the air and turned them around, and caught them again without dropping one. Surely his eyes could not clearly see all these objects. Therefore, he depended wholly upon his muscle sense to gain the applause of the audience.

The pianist must eliminate all stiffness from his fingers before he can expect to excel with his chosen instrument. Stiffness, if not due to some inflammatory or structural change, would indicate that the extensor muscles were interfering with the flexors. If the oarsman allowed his triceps to interfere with the pulling power of his biceps when rowing, he would not make the speed he is after and he would soon tire in the arms should he be attempting a long row.

The same thing applies to any muscle or group of muscles in the body. If the flexor and extensor muscles interfere with each other's action, it will be necessary to put forth several times the effort and energy in order to accomplish any performance. That is one reason why laborers cannot compete with the experienced student of physical culture; their muscles have been exercised in their work in a restricted manner, and there has been no coordination for refined or complex movements.

The reader may wonder what all this has to do with endurance; but I am working up to the application. I am endeavoring to prove to you, and I will, that complete control of the muscles, which includes coordination and muscle sense, must be gotten first of all before you attempt anything in the line of endurance exercise. The man who properly exercises his muscles will, first of all, keep fit and he always will have his muscles under his command, the same as a general who continually drills his troops, has them under command.

So many would-be physical culture enthusiasts forsake their exercising in disgust just because they experience muscle fever or a feeling of exhaustion the day following their first workouts. If such enthusiasts would use a little common sense and judgment and begin systematically, their attitude regarding physical development would be entirely different. A baby first crawls, then walks, and then runs. As gracefully as a cat may be, a new-born kitten is very clumsy. Everything must progress, and it is impossible to progress beyond the laws of nature. It is true that some progress more rapidly than others, just as with two individuals taking piano lessons together one will make better progress than the other.
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Old Classic Jubinville Ad

I still have lots of their equipment made decades ago at WST!
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Five Major Facts on Player Development - By Ken Mannie

Ken Mannie is the Head Strength/Conditioning Coach at Michigan State University.

One to three sets of any particular exercise will provide the stimulus for size and strength improvement. The physical development of football players is a multifaceted endeavor involving several key factors. Inherited attributes are essential, as there is no substitute for genetic potential - or as coaches would put it, the "right hook-ups."

The year-round training regimen will determine the improvements in the athlete's strength, speed, conditioning, and position-specific skills.

The five major constituents in the process include: force production, anaerobic capacity, comprehensive strength training, timing, and specificity.


The power for any given activity can be enhanced by increasing the output of force over a given distance. Strength training, especially high-tension movements, can help generate this force. Such training will enable the athlete to train without the primary nemesis of force production - momentum.

A study of the force/velocity relationship reveals that controlled movement produces a higher force output. In short, by creating and maintaining tension in the tension muscle groups, you can force the muscles in question to do more work per repetition. This increased work will heighten the intensity of any given exercise set from a metabolic standpoint and produce a stimulus for proper overload. The capabilities of force can be optimally increased by selecting a lifting movement that will recruit the greatest number of muscle fibers for a designated area and executing it in an all-out manner. Granted much of the ability to efficiently recruit these units is governed by one's inherent neuromuscular proficiency, but maximal intensity will assist greatly in the process.

The "size principle" in motor unit recruitment is the most widely accepted precept in neuromuscular physiology. It states that muscle fibers are recruited in relation to the requirements of force. This recruitment depends primarily on the intensity of the exercise rather than the speed of movement.

This is one of the major reasons why we advocate high-tension strength movements. By training in this fashion, we progressively activate the "fast-twitch" muscle fibers as we approach the point of momentary muscular fatigue. Rationale: The more difficult the repetitions in the set become, the more force we have to generate to complete those last, very intense reps.

These higher force requirements demand activation of the larger, stronger, more powerful fast-twitch units - which is one of the primary goals of the strength-training program. To accomplish this we must instruct our athletes to do most of these exercises the maximum number of times (reps).

The exception to this rule would be with movements (such as the barbell squat) that could compromise safety, or with multiple sets that are being used as the primary source of overload.

Set and rep schemes need not become overly complicated. Both scientific and empirical evidence indicate that one to three sets of any particular exercise will provide the proper stimulus for progressive size and strength improvements.

In many cases, the number of sets/reps chosen will be more of a personal preference than a dictum supported with definitive data. If your lower body rep system is in the neighborhood of at least eight and as high as 15, you are usually operating within safe and effective parameters.

Most upper body systems suggest rep ranges somewhere in the 6-12 area, a model with which most practitioners would concur. I believe that lower rep training (e.g., 1-3 reps) should be done sparingly, as low rep sets usually involve heavier weight loads, amplifying the injury potential. With good technique, the high-tension strength training protocol is at least as effective as any other and less risky than some. There are basically two schools of thought on the speed with which these movements should be performed. One school suggests ballistic-type weight training; the other, a stricter, more controlled speed with emphasis on eliminating as much momentum as possible.

For many of the reasons already mentioned, we have adopted the latter. Since both systems involve progressive overload, I would merely suggest that coaches check their system of strength training thoroughly before implementing it.

Further information on the specifics of the organization and administration of the strength program will be given in the section on "comprehensive strength training."


Football involves short, quick, powerful bursts of activity followed by relatively short relief periods. In preparing for the metabolic demands of the game, it is important to focus on the specific energy system being stressed in the conditioning drills. The major goals to keep in mind in the running workouts is to improve the players' "anaerobic capacity."

There are actually two anaerobic energy systems - the ATP-PC-LA system, which governs runs between 30 and 90 seconds, and the ATP-PC system, which manages the bursts from a few seconds up to about 30. Both have a place in the preparation scheme.

Let's say you are working with an eight-week summer-training calendar prior to your two-a-day camp period. The early phase of the program (2-3 weeks) should include 200-to-400 meter runs of moderate intensity to allow the players to adapt to both the soft-tissue stresses and the lactic acid (a by-product of the glycogen breakdown in the muscle build up) incurred with this mode of training.

Upon completion of this preparatory phase, the distances should be gradually reduced in order to shift the emphasis from the ATP-PC-LA system to the ATP-PC system. In our program, this involves runs and drills ranging from 10 yds. to 110 yds. in length.

Several variables must be monitored for quality control when training anaerobically in interval fashion. These include: Frequency, sets, reps, distance, intensity, relief interval, and duration.

* Frequency: the number of scheduled workouts per week. During the summer months, when strength training and skill-specific work are also part of the program, we plan a minimum of two and a maximum of three interval sprint workouts per week.

* Sets: A group of work and relief intervals (e.g., eight 200-meter sprints with a designated recovery period).

* Reps: The number of repeats within the set.

* Distance: Total distance covered in the workout - usually between one and two miles.

* Intensity: The individual's heart rate (H.R.) is the most practical way to determine whether the workload is inducing the appropriate response. The target H.R. for the work intervals of high school athletes is usually between 180 and 190 beats per minute, and between the mid-170s and mid-180s for the college athlete.

H.R. can also be used to aid in the timing of the relief interval. The high school athlete is usually ready for the next repeat when the H.R. drops to around 150 beats per minute, while the college-aged athlete should be ready when the H.R. drops to around 140 beats per minute.

Obviously, these are general guidelines, and the coach must also pay attention to the "perceived exertion
" of the athletes (i.e., how "good" or "bad" the athlete is feeling during the workout), especially during the early phase of the workout program. The athlete's inability to produce the required effort in the work interval would indicate that the relief interval requires adjustment.

* Relief Interval: Allotted time between work intervals in a set, which can consist of light activity (e.g., walking) or moderate activity (e.g., jogging). The R.I. depends on the time required for the heart rate to recover to the approximate bpm's previously discussed.

Work intervals taking between 10-70 seconds to complete usually require a 1:3 work/relief ratio - which means the R.I. should be three tunes as long as it took to complete the work interval.

Work intervals taking over 70 seconds and up to 90 seconds to complete are usually given a 1:2 work/relief ratio.

Again, these are merely suggested guidelines. Each coach must assess his players' response to the workout and adjust accordingly.

* Duration: As previously mentioned, you will need an 8-10 week summer program to allow for proper progression and overload. As with strength training, you can gradually make the workouts more demanding by manipulating the sets and/or reps (increasing them), the relief intervals (short-erring them), demanding that the work interval be performed faster, or any combination of the three.


Having discussed our philosophical approach to strength training, we can now take a closer look at the specifics of the workout plan.

* Tools: The modes of exercise we use are not nearly as important as the manner with which we use them. We use a combination of free weights (barbells and dumbbells), a variety of machines, manual resistance, ropes and towels, and even sandbags

. Any tool will increase strength when used properly with some system of progressive overload.

* Exercise selection: One may choose from a broad variety of exercises. The important point is to train all of the major muscle groups (i.e., neck, legs/hips/low back, chest, upper back shoulders, arms/forearms, abdominals) in an efficient, progressive manner. We suggest the incorporation of as much variety in exercises as time, equipment, and imagination will allow. Strength training is hard work and anything that can offer new challenges to the trainee - while remaining true to guidelines of the program - should be done.

Caution: No single collection of "core" lifts can provide the magic bullet for growth and development. There are simply too many good, proven ways to get the job done, and you will have to keep an open mind to find them.

The accompanying chart demonstrates the variety we have in our system of training. It is a sample workout (Day #1 in a three-day-a-week rotation) and you will notice how it adheres to many of the principles mentioned earlier.

Also notice the feedback the trainee receives with each workout sheet: the weights used for each exercise the last time this workout was performed, the number of reps achieved on the last workout, the weight adjustment (if any) for the current workout, and a minimum goal for reps on the current workout. This system provides both an organized approach and built-in motivation for the trainee.


What we refer to as "explosiveness" is often actually great reaction time. Think about it. Isn't football a constant series of reactions to auditory and visual cues?

A player's ability to respond properly, quickly, and precisely to the myriad of information being sent to him through the keys he has been taught to "read" is of utmost importance in determining his success at his particular position.

Decreasing his reaction time to these cues is just as vital to his total development as any of the conditioning procedures already discussed.

A three-pronged approach is essential in the teaching program.

1. You must intensify the arousal level of the individual. In other words you must motivate the individual to perform his responsibilities with pride and determination! After all, what is talent without desire?

2. Reduce the number of stimulus-response choices. There are numerous ways to accomplish a task, but some are better than others and a few may be considered the best. You would be well-advised to teach your players the best responses to various stimuli. The fact is that the average person has a limited ability to acquire, store, and use "meaningful" information when it comes to learning and repeating specific tasks. In other words, teach them to do a few things very well as opposed to doing a lot of things just normally or poorly.

3. Insure quality practice with the specific task. Once the best responses have been defined, you should drill the players with both the correct cues (keys) and the appropriate reaction(s).

Repetition of the proper responses in game situations is the best way to develop the player's responses and skills. The adage, "Repetition may not entertain, but it teaches," applies here.


This leads us into the final point under discussion - specificity. In this case, however, we are speaking in terms of skills rather than responses. Regardless of the skill in question (blocking, tackling, passing, receiving, etc.), coaches must be aware of the correct meaning of the term, specificity, to avoid installing techniques that may hinder rather than aid the teaching/learning process.

Ignore anyone who claims you can duplicate a football skill with a weight-training movement (the concept of specificity). Remember, specificity implies exactness - not similarity, but exactness.

In other words, if A is specific to B, then B is specific to A. If a lifting movement can improve a football skill, then the football skill should improve the lifting movement. You can't have it just one way when it comes to specificity.

Remember also that most football skills are "open" in nature, meaning that they involve actions that occur "on the run" and require responses to varying feedback. As coaches, you are well aware of the fact that your players are often taught to change or adjust a technique based on the cues they receive after the snap.

The motor-learning literature refers to these as "forced-paced" skills and they add tremendously to the degree of difficulty in both the teaching and learning processes. It also reinforces the tenet
that to get the desired results, you must practice it in the anticipated circumstances.

The point I am making is that the only realistic way to develop a skill is to practice it with precise accuracy as often as possible in game-like situations.


These tips on football preparation are not meant to be a panacea, but rather one systematic, practical, and scientific approach to assist in the development of your players. Each coach must add his own philosophy and personal touch to the formula.

Remember, it is only a recipe. And the success of this recipe, or any other, will be ultimately determined by you (the cook) and your players (the ingredients).


E.L. FOX: Sports Physiology (2nd edition), Saunders College Pub., 1984

E.L. Fox, et. al.: "Metabolic Responses to Interval Training

Programs of High and Low Power Output", Medicine and Science in Sports, 1977

R.A. Magill: Motor Learning: Concepts and Applications (4th edition), Wm. C. Brown Pub., Dubuque, Iowa
, 1993

D.A. Winter: The Biomechanics
of Human Movement, Wiley and Sons Pub., 1990
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Thursday, November 20, 2008


With permission of Hardgainer,Vol. 7, No. 2 (September-October 1995)

To obtain maximum results from your training program, you must prioritize your training energy. Many people are simply moving equipment around and not using their energy productively. Simply burning calories will not produce muscular size and strength gains. Before every workout, you must first get your mind in gear to train. Secondly, always use good form. Don’t expect a pat on the back for it; it is a given. Third, apply your focus and perfect form to progression.


The mental aspect of training is more important than any physical element. We have all read how important concentration and focus are to productive training. How many of us, however, have taken the time to really practice and apply it to our workouts consistently? That is one reason why I have no mirrors in my gym. If you train with proper focus, you will be too busy working to look at yourself. Look at yourself later.

If you are truly focused, you attack the equipment with viciousness. I have a sign on the wall that says, “Be here now!” Put everything not related to training out of your mind until the workout is over. The worst things to talk about during training are problems, as this puts you into a negative mental state. Everyone has their share of problems. Successful people have the ability to focus on what they are doing now. The problems will still be there for you to think about when the workout is over.

Training focus should be narrow, internal. I find that it helps to put a mental time limit on a “period of insanity.” For example. if you are doing a set of Trap Bar deadlifts, figure out how much time it will take to perform the set in perfect form (let’s say one minute). You now have a better mental target for your energy. Before doing the set, visualize yourself successfully completing the set in perfect form. Concentrate on going all out for the next minute, as if you have a gun to your head, as if you are on national television or, as I refer to it, as if you have put yourself in a temporarily insane state.

To maximize your physical potential, your mind must be singular of purpose, and focused like a laser beam. If your mind is split, you will never come close to doing your best. Remember this simple phrase: “If your mind is right, the weight feels light!” (If your mind is not right, the weight will be a bitch; but that doesn’t rhyme.)


We could also call this segment “Repology 101” as my friend Dan Riley, conditioning coach of the Washington Redskins, has coined this subject. The proper execution of the repetition is the single most important physical element in productive training. Intensity and progression will not yield maximum results unless they are performed with perfect form. Swinging around heavy weights will not produce results. Your muscles must control the weight without excessive momentum.

Few people use good form. Few people pause at the chest (with no bounce), keep their butt on the bench, and push the weight all the way to lockout when bench pressing. Few people go all the way down without swinging when curling. Good form, once you are past the beginner stage of training and are “potty trained,” should be automatic. Doing a set to muscular failure does not give you the right to get sloppy with your form. You go to failure in perfect form. Any reps done in a sloppy fashion do not count. If one of my clients does a set of 20-rep squats and 5 of them were not to the maximum depth that is safe for that person, he only gets credit for 15 reps.

Lower the weights slowly and under control, and use as full a range of motion as is safe for you. Many trainees routinely cut 3” or so off their range of motion on almost every lift they do, under the pretext of keeping constant tension on the muscles. If you use toner techniques to work your muscles, then the weight is too light. The resistance should be all that you can handle. Using the fullest (but safe for you) range of motion is a classic rule of training, but seems to have been forgotten by many. Do not go getting carried away though and hyperextend or forcefully grind your joints at lockouts. I am talking about regular basic exercises here, not rack training where partial reps are productive and planned.

I think that using focus and good form is a matter of pride. You can spot halfway across the gym people who know what they are doing. It shows in their demeanor. Once you can apply focus and form naturally, you can put all your energy into progression.


As all Hardgainer readers should know, progressive resistance is the key to muscular gains. You should have a rep goal for every set, and when you reach that goal, add weight. Keep detailed records of all your workouts. Nothing should be haphazard. Get some small discs and use them. They are truly “little gems,” as Stuart calls them.

It’s the resistance that tears the muscle fibers and causes the micro trauma that is needed for hypertrophy. If you go fishing and pull in a 100-lb tuna, you need at least a 100-lb-test fishing line, or else it will break. Pulling in that tuna, just once, proves that you have a line that is strong enough. Your muscles are like millions of microscopic fishing lines. When you use progressive resistance, you force your body to repair itself, during recovery, as if you were getting a thicker and stronger line. If you can pull in a heavy tuna, you don’t have to prove that the line can pull in goldfish. When training for strength, you automatically increase your capacity for muscular endurance. But when you train for muscular endurance (toning) you don’t increase your capacity for strength. (Toning is like fishing for goldfish. You can pull goldfish in all day, but the line is still weak and will snap when a bigger fish takes hold.) Your muscles will only grow as thick as needed to cope with the resistance you make them use.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he kept swinging the bat and hit 714 home runs. He did not let the strikeouts bother him. He kept swinging. People only remember the home runs. You will have many workouts where you cannot increase your poundages. But you don’t quit. You keep at it. You learn about how to cycle your training intensity. You learn how to avoid going stale. You learn how and when to make changes that sustain motivation and progress.

Striving for progressive resistance over the long haul yields great long-term results. If you are working as hard and intelligently as you can, you will get your share of poundage increases. You may have to adjust your increments from pounds to ounces as the years go by, but keep on striving.
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" I do not feel alone in the training world."

Hello Bob,

Just a quick message to thank you for a great website. I have read some of your articles in the Hardgainer publication by Stuart McRobert. I train on excersises such as the big three and the overhead press and at 56 years old I reckon I'm the strongest man in my village. I have my gym in the garage and have a powerrack and numerous weights and bars. I wish that I had gotten my computer earlier than I did cause now I do not feel alone in the training world. keep up the good work.

All the best,


Thanks Eddie. Keep training hard.
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Roy Hilligenn, Mr. America of 1951

Bob - Here's a little write up on Roy Hilligenn in case you missed it.

Roy Hilligenn, Mr. America of 1951 died in Augustt 2008 at the age of 85. Roy was one of the strongest men pound for pound & stood 5'6" and weighed 173. In 1951 he equaled the world record in the clean and jerk at 375lb. He unofficially lifted 405lbs at a slightly higher body weight. Roy was known for his tremendous stamina. He trained in body building three days a week - But trained twice a day! On the alternate days he trained in the Olympic lifts. This he did before each contest. This was because they ran Body building contest in conjunction with Lifting contests and Roy wanted to compete in both. What's more, Roy was a lifelong Vegetarian. He built that super body on vegetables and fruit. That gives one pause. Roy Hilligenn was know for his thick curly hair, always a smile showing his white teeth and one of the greatest six packs to be seen - and thats the way I want to remember him.

Joe Merrete
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

ENDURANCE by Earle E. Liederman - Author and Publisher, (1926), - Chapter 4

Diet has a very important effect upon one's endurance, strength and nervous energy. The one who does not look after his diet will find his powers of endurance sadly slackening. Plain, wholesome food should be eaten at all times, and care should be taken as to the quantities and mixtures of certain foods that go into one's stomach. I am not going to completely discuss diet within these pages, for in one of my other books, Here's Health, the reader will find a complete table of food values, as well as complete advice on food, hygiene, and physiology.

I am a firm believer in fruit juices for the benefit of the stomach. Anyone who has experienced drinking orange juice has found that considerable energy is derived from such a drink. It has been proven that vegetarians and those who eat plenty of fruit have more energy and endurance than meat eaters. The proper diet will keep the bowels in condition, and if their elimination process is functioning properly one will have greater powers of endurance that one would have if one were troubled with constipation or gases in the intestines or other disturbances resulting from defective elimination or other digestive disorders. In a following chapter I will present a further discussion of diet.

I am a firm believer in daily exercise, and I put this belief into practice. In my years of experience with training I have found that the best period for exercising is in the afternoon; but one cannot always take that time for his exercise period. Being just as busy as anyone else, I am forced to give up this best period for my work and to take my exercise in the morning upon arising. It sometimes is not easy to jump out of bed and begin a strenuous twenty minutes or so of exercising; but I have formed the habit of jumping under a cold shower to wake me up, so to speak.

After this cold bath, which I take winter and summer, I feel so pepped up that it is a pleasure to go through my exercises. This shower acts as a natural stimulant; and although I recommend it to those who can endure it and react from it, I would not recommend it to those who have a weak heart, especially an organically diseased heart, or to whom it would prove too much of a shock to the nerves. Some milder form of natural stimulant, therefore, would be better; and I suggest rubbing the body vigorously with a coarse towel and getting the blood into circulation in this manner. As soon as the blood is in brisk circulation the muscles will feel more alive and more like undertaking an exercise drill.

Only the other day a fellow asked me what I thought of stimulants to awaken the body before exercising, referring to artificial stimulants. He asked me what I thought of the use of coffee to whip up the nerves to get more force into movements, in other words using coffee as a stimulant. He claimed that when he first wakes in the mornings he does not have as much force to do his movements as after he drinks a cup of coffee. About fifteen to thirty minutes after having the coffee he feels like exercising. He claimed that drinking coffee at night affected his nerves to such an extent that he could not sleep, and, naturally, he was interested in knowing what effect the morning cup would have upon the muscles. I told him the effect of coffee would be on the nervous system and not on the muscles. Of course, if you stimulate your nerves to react more strongly than ordinarily, the muscles will respond better for a short time; by how about the reaction? I told him he reminded me very much of the circus strong man, whom I have mentioned in a previous chapter, who thought he simply had to do a movement a certain number of times every day. With him it was a sort of disease; and in spite of the fact that his muscles grew tired he had to keep on with the exercise until he had done each of his particular movements a certain number of counts. Naturally, he was forced to use a nerve stimulant in order to create the activity; and instead of improving in size, his muscles grew smaller and smaller because of the gradual exhaustion of his reserve nervous energy.

While I agree that a cup of coffee will stimulate you and keep you awake and enable you to exercise better, there is always a reaction or after-effect. Some authorities claim that a stimulant, if not overdone, will not harmfully effect you, but if overdone it positively will create a detrimental after-effect. However, the extent of the reaction in two different people is not the same. For instance, in a book on diet it relates how experiments with coffee were made upon two people. One of them after drinking a cup of coffee needed a physician to bring him back to health. Therefore, it readily can be seen that the nervous constitution of the person has to be taken into consideration. If a muscle is forced by a stimulant it will grow smaller eventually, for you cannot disregard nature's laws.

Recently I asked a friend of mine how he warmed up in the morning—did he take a cold shower upon arising, did he eat breakfast first to get his body in condition to exercise an hour later, or did he massage himself with a towel as I have previously suggested? He stated that when he got up in the morning he did not feel like exercising; in fact, he found it hard to even get up. Therefore, he started doing sit-ups in bed. After doing ten or twelve of these he was awakened enough to do his leg work, first in bed and then out. By this time he was fully awake and able to stay out of bed and continue with the heavier work.

It seemed to me to be another good suggestion. Most people find it easier to start exercising slowly and warm up the muscles before attempting the heavier work, and I believe the majority of physical trainers consider this the more satisfactory method. But I have found just the opposite to be easier. I prefer to perform a few heavy movements, for after these heavy movements my muscles seem to be in condition to do anything. This, of course, may be an effect of the cold bath which I take before any exercise. An argument against my method is that there is a danger of straining a ligament by beginning the exercising with heavy work. It all depends upon the amount of resistance you are to work against and the capability of your muscles. I would not recommend anyone to lift a heavy weight, for instance, which was all he could lift when in his best condition for such work. If you are capable of lifting overhead one hundred and fifty pounds with tow hands you never should make this lift the first thing upon arising, but rather should limit it to at most one hundred pounds. In other words, two-thirds of your capability should be sufficient if you prefer to begin your morning exercise period in such a manner.

One's feelings or desire for exercise and activity differs greatly on different occasions, and the physical culturist who has experience with exercising will know this only too well. You may take the best of care of yourself, retire at the same time every night, be careful of your diet, and yet on the following day you may not possess the energy and vitality that you experienced the day before. Atmospheric conditions play an important part in this fluctuation of bodily forces. When the weather is rainy or humidity high, we do not feel as energetic as we do in more favorable weather conditions.

I admit that when one is continually striving to perfect some physical accomplishment it is provoking to receive set-backs for no apparent reason. I recall my own experience in hand-balancing. I have been doing the exercise of standing on my hands ever sine I can remember, and am always sure of performing a handstand in all of its variations of press-ups, etc., under almost any condition; but it took me a long, long time to master the one-hand stand. Just when I thought I had it and felt confident I could perform it, I found on the next day that I was all out of balance; I could not for the life of me seem to perform it half as well as I did on the day previous.

This has happened on numerous occasions in the past, and, undoubtedly, was due to the condition of my stomach which in turn reflected upon my vision, and also from the lack of proper coordinative balance in my muscles for this extremely exacting sort of exercise. Should there be the least bit of fermentation in the stomach it is apt to interfere somewhat with the sight, and eyesight in a one-hand stand, in my estimation, plays an important part, as the eyes must be focused on one spot continually. Of course, after one perfects the art of hand-balancing so that it can be done by muscular feeling only, he may perform it blind-folded; but this ability comes only after years of practice, and until it is developed the balance is very uncertain when the vision is uncertain.

Why is it that a golf player who, after becoming proficient in that pastime and who can break one hundred almost at will, will perform rather amateurishly once in a while? I, myself, have found it to be very provoking that on certain days when I feel that I can duplicate my previous game I play like a dub. Gymnasts also frequently have their off days.

These experiences will occur repeatedly in any athletes or physical culturist's life, and when they occur it is best not to attempt one's full program for that day but wait until the next day or the day after, when one again feels in A1 condition. I really believe that many boxers lose their titles because they ignore this fluctuation of energy and box on days when they are off form. Boxers who have beaten their opponents on previous occasions sometimes will be knocked out in turn by the same opponents. This, of course, may come from over-confidence and carelessness, yet I believe that in most cases it happens simply because the boxers experience the off day that anyone will experience occasionally in his athletic career.

Peace of mind and harmony play an important part in endurance. If there be cares or worry upon the mind it is impossible to accomplish what ordinarily can be done when the mind is carefree. More nervous energy can be wasted by worrying or brooding than by any other drain upon the body. I remember reading, years ago, about Joe Gans, the colored lightweight champion, who publicly announced his secret of lowing weight in order to make the lightweight limit. In short, he just worried about losing. Whether this be practical or not remains to be seen. I know, however, that anyone who worries will become thinner, and if the worry is continued nervous exhaustion very likely will result.

If one desires to develop endurance, he must develop organs and nerves capable of withstanding enduring or continued activity. This necessitates the avoidance of every influence that will weaken the organs or lessen the store of nervous energy, and every influence that hinders normal functioning of the organs, normal response of the muscles, and normal transmissions or energy, over the controlling nerves when the energy is required. Not only must worry and adverse thoughts be avoided, but every physical health-promoting and health-sustaining factor must be adopted and a rational program adhered to. Furthermore, a definite goal must be kept in mind, efforts must be always in the direction of that goal, and nothing must be allowed to bring doubts or at least to continue doubts of ultimately reaching that goal.
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UPCOMING WORKSHOPS: NUTRITION & EXERCISE: An intensive workshop - Nancy Clark, MS, RD

COLUMBUS Nov 14-15

DALLAS Jan 16-17, 2009
St. LOUIS Jan 23-24


“I was surprised to learn new information on a topic I thought I knew so well.”
--Registered dietitian/personal trainer, Seattle

Here’s your chance to learn from two internationally known experts at this intensive workshop on Nutrition & Exercise. Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS, RD and exercise physiologist William Evans PhD will be offering a 1.5 day program that is designed to help coaches, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, sports nutritionists, sports medicine professionals as well as athletes themselves find answers to their questions about--

-eating for health, enhanced performance and longevity
-balancing carbs, protein and sports supplements
-managing weight and eating disorders.

See for more details.
The workshop is available as a home study if you cannot attend in person.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD Sports Nutritionist, Author, Speaker Author Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Fourth Edition (2008)

William Evans, PhD Director, Nutrition & Exercise Program/Univ Arkansas for Medical Science Author, AstroFit

For: Registered dietitians, athletic trainers, exercise leaders, coaches, sports medicine specialists, aerobics instructors,nurses, physicians and athletes.

Topics include: Exercise physiology, exercise and aging, weight control, sports nutrition, counseling tips for eating disordered athletes, ergogenic aids, creatine, case studies, hands-on information.

Cost: $209; $109 full-time students and dietetic interns


For more information and to register:


Phone: 501-821-3932

For a brochure: Sports Nutrition Workshop, PO Box 650124, West Newton MA 02465

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD
Sports Nutrition Services (books, powerpoint, handouts) (Columbus, Minneapolis)

NEW 2008 Edition-Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions
Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for the Distance

Healthworks, 1300 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill MA 02467
Phone: 617.795.1875 Fax: 617.795.1876

"Helping active people win with good nutrition."
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Missing Links - Part 2 - by Nancy Clark, MS, RD

In Part I of this article, I discussed 5 common missing nutrition links that hurt athletic performance: 1) Respect for the power of food. 2) Sufficient calories during the active part of the day. 3) Equal sized, evenly scheduled meals. 4) A beneficial intake of dietary fat. 5) Pre-exercise fuel. Here are six more missing links, with solutions so you can eat to win.

MISSING LINK #6: Beneficial protein intake Some athletes eat too little protein; others eat too much. For example, a 150 lb (68 kg)athlete may need 0.5 to 0.75 g protein/lb; this translates into ~75-105 g pro/day. If this athlete eats 6 egg whites (18 g pro)for breakfast, one can tuna (35 g) with lunch, a protein bar (20 g)for a snack, and two chicken breasts (90 g) with dinner along with 16 oz milk (16 g) the protein intake will be ~180 grams—excessive, to the point some of the protein could be traded for more carbs to better fuel the muscles. In contrast, a vegetarian athlete on a reducing diet could easily consume too little protein: 2 egg whites at breakfast (7 g), a salad with 1/4 cup chickpeas at lunch (3 g) and a gardenburger (11 g)for dinner. Too little! Solution: Meet with a sports dietitian, so you can learn your protein requirement and how to translate that into meals.

MISSING LINK #7: Iron to prevent fatigue from anemia Iron-deficiency anemia is common, particularly in females. A survey of collegiate athletes indicates 20% of the female volleyball and basketball players were anemic, as were 50% of the soccer team. (Eichner ‘01)Anemia is particularly common among women who have heavy menstrual blood losses, but eat neither red meat nor iron-enriched cereals. Solution: If you don’t eat red meat and feel needlessly tired, get a blood test (including serum ferritin). Your MD might suggest iron pills. Boost the iron content of your diet with:

• iron-rich foods (if not red meat, enjoy dark meat chicken
or turkey, salmon, tuna fish)
• iron-fortified cereals (such as Wheaties, Raisin Bran,Total)
Include with each meal a source of vitamin C (from fruits
and veggies, such as orange juice, berries, broccoli, tomato).

MISSING LINK #8: Post-exercise recovery food. If you are doing hard workouts, you haven’t finished training until you have refueled! “No time” to refuel is no excuse. Solution: Plan ahead; have recovery foods readily available. Even in a time-crunch, you should be able to properly refuel.

MISSING LINK #9: Recovering with both carbs & protein Recovery foods should offer a foundation of carbs, with pro- tein as the accompaniment. Areasonable target is about 240 calories of carbs (60 g carb) and 80 calories (20 g) of protein Some popular choices include Greek yogurt with honey, cereal with milk, a turkey sandwich or pasta with meat sauce. You need not buy engineered sports foods; standard fare works fine and tends to taste a lot better! Athletes who do two workouts a day reallyneed to rapidly refuel with a proper recovery diet. In a six-week study with swimmers, those who did two workouts (morning and afternoon) sprinted slower than those who swam only in the
afternoon (Costill,1991). If nutrition is your missing link, don’t even think about double workouts! Solution: Post-exercise, you may not yet feel hungry for solid foods but you will likely be thirsty. Afruit smoothie (made with yogurt) is excellent for recovery, as is chocolate milk. Both contain carbs to refuel, protein to build and repair muscles and reduce muscle soreness.
Recovery foods can even be eaten pre-exercise. That is, a pre-exercise yogurt gets digested into amino acids and glucose that will be ready and waiting to be used when the exercise stops. In a 10-week studywith recreational body builders, those who consumed a protein-carb supplement both immediately before and right after the mid-afternoon strength training session gained 2.3 pounds more muscle and 7 pounds more in strength (bench press),compared to the group without pre- and post-exercise fuel. (Cribb, 06) Another study compared Marines who drank a carbohydrate recovery beverage with or without protein during 54 days of basic training. Those who received the 100-calorie recovery drink (with 10 g protein)immediately post-exercise reported 17% less muscle soreness after a 6 mile hard hike, 28% fewer medical visits for bacterial/viral infections, 37% fewer visits for muscle/joint problems, and 83% fewer visits due to heat exhaustion (Flakoll 2003). That's impressive!

MISSING LINK #10: Rest days for muscles to refuel Rest is an important part of a training program. Depleted muscles may need more than 24 hours to not only replace glycogen stores but also to heal. Hence, rest days with little or no exercise enhancea training program. Athletes who want to lose weight commonly hesitate to take a rest day because they fear they will “get fat.” These athletes need to understand: 1) On a rest day, they will feel just as hungry because the muscles need food to refuel. 2) They will gain (water) weight. For each 1 ounce of glycogen, the muscles store about 3 ounces water. This water gets released during exercise and is beneficial. Solution:Plan one to two rest days a week. Notice how much better you are able to perform the day after the rest day.

MISSING LINK #11: Adequate Fluids Athletes who maintain optimal hydration can train harder and perform better. For each one percent of body weight lost via sweat, the heart has to beat 3 to 5 more times per minute (Casa, 2000); this creates needless fatigue. Solution: Monitor your urine. If are well hydrated you will need to urinate every 2 to 4 hours; the urine will be a light color. If you sweat heavily, you should make the effort to determine how much sweat you lose (and need to replace) during a workout. Do this by weighing yourself naked before and after exercise. For each pound (16 oz) of sweat lost, you should drink at least 16 to 24 ounces of fluid.

MISSING LINK #12: Sodium before exercise in the heat Research with trained cyclists reports they rode 20 minutes longer to exhaustion (99 vs 79 minutes) in 90°heat when they drank a pre-ride beverage with 1,000 vs ~150 mg sodium. They drank no fluids while riding. (Sims) Solution: If you train and compete in the heat, you should consume some salty foods (salted oatmeal, soup, pretzels) beforehand. The salt holds water in your body and reduces your risk of becoming dehydrated.

MISSING LINK #13: The sports dietitian (RD, CSSD) Serious athletes generally have a support crew that includes a coach, sports psychologist, medical doctor, physical therapist and massage therapist. But to their detriment, some fail to have a sports dietitian on their team. Solution: To get the most from your workouts, use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.orgto find a local registered dietitian who is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (RD CSSD). This professional can help you resolve:

• struggles with “no time” to eat properly,
• issues with intestinal distress related to pre-exercise food
• weight issues and undesired body fat.
• disordered eating practices that hinder performance.

The bottom line: Don’t let nutrition be your missing link! You will always win with good nutrition!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) offers private consultations to casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA(617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2008), Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guideare available via See also

The Athlete’s Kitchen Nutrition for the Underperforming Athlete, Part IISelected references Casa D, Armstrong L, Hillman S, Montain S, Reiff R, Rich B, Roberts W, Stone J (2000). National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement: Fluid replacement for athletes. J Athletic Training35(2):212-224. Costill D, Thomas R, Robergs R, Pascoe D, Lambert C, Barr S, Fink W (1991). Adaptations to swimming training: Influence of training volume. Med Sci Sports Exerc23(3):371-377.
Cribb P, Hayes A(2006). Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports
Exerc38(1):1918-1925. Eichner R (2001). Anemia and Blood Boosting. Sports Science Exchange #81, Vol 14(2).
Flakoll, P., T. Judy, K. Flinn, C. Carr, and S. Flinn. 2004. Postexercise protein supplementation improves health and muscle soreness during basic military training in marine recruits. J Appl Physiol96(3):951-956. Sims S, van Vliet L, Cotter J, Rehrer N (2007). Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained
men exercising in the heat. Med Sci Sports Exerc39(1):123-130.
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