Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weight Training and Women - By Jim Bryan

You could also say, “Strength Training or Resistance Training.” I didn’t say “Weight Lifting” because that can be confused with Olympic Lifting and Power Lifting. I’m not talking about either. I’m talking about prudent and productive workouts with some type of progressive resistance. The equipment could be bar bells, dumb bells (free weights), machines, resistance bands, and even some body weight exercises. The fact is resistance training is good for Women. Just as good as it is for Men. The problem is the Myth’s that surround the subject of Women and weights.

1. Weight Training will not give you “Man Muscles.” Men and Women both have “Human Muscle.” Women will not end up looking like a Man……………..Unless they take Body Building Drugs! Ladies, think “Toned.” This may help you understand what working out with weights can do for you.

2. You won’t end up “bigger” with large muscles. If you follow a good diet and exercise with weights you’ll become leaner and smaller. Once again think “Toned.” Think Fat/Big Muscle/smaller.

3. You don’t have to train every day for two hours. A half hour workout done 2 to 4 days a week including cardio work is sufficient. Some of this can be done at home. If you have a nice gym at home, all of it can be done there. Being active can be split between the gym and outdoor choices.

4. You don’t have to eat like a “weirdo.” You can eat regular foods like everybody else. Just be carful of over eating and junk food. Yes, twinkies are junk food. Fruits, vegetables, lean meat, you know the drill.

You’ll need to be consistent. It does take time. In the end you will have more strength, more energy, more endurance, and you’ll feel better. Not to mention you’ll look better. You will also help prevent muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Both are something to be concerned about if you are a woman.

Join a gym and find someone who can help you learn. This could be a “Personal Trainer” or a friend with experience. Just be careful of “gimmicks.” You won’t need to spend a bunch of money on supplements, and you sure don’t need “Fat Burners.” The exercises you do in the gym will be your “Fat Burners.”

We have Athletic types in both Women and Men. We also have Non Athletic types. Both will benefit. We also have plenty of excuses for not exercising. If you are serious, you can find a half hour a few times a week. You will be better for it if you do. You can end up looking “toned and fit.” AND younger!
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Friday, February 26, 2010

In Defense of the Press Behind the Neck - By Bradley J. Steiner


The idea that presses behind the neck are "dangerous" is a new one for me! I have been using this exercise and teaching it since the 1960's, and the only result for myself and others has been . . . GOOD RESULTS!

Of course it is possible to train improperly on the press behind neck, or on any other exercise. That could cause problems. But that does not make the movement per se "dangerous"; it only means that you should learn how to do it properly, and then train correctly on it.

My tips would be:

• Learn how to do the press behind neck correctly
• Use weights that are manageable and that you can exercise with correctly in good form
• DO NOT drop, "jerk", or bounce the weight (your head might suffer!)
• Progress gradually — never hurry and do not "cheat" in order to hoist weights that are too heavy for correct performance
• Stop immediately if pain is felt; pain is not the same thing as "effort", or as the fatigue you ought to experience after working a muscle group properly
• If — for whatever reason — the press behind neck feels awkward for you even after learning its correct performance and trying it with a light and reasonable poundage at first, use another exercise. Maybe regular pressing or dumbell pressing suits your personal physiology better.

I rate the press behind neck as one of the finest BASIC EXERCISES. And I have never known any reason to change this opinion.

Professor Steiner's American Combato Site
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 University of Florida Strength Clinic * February 26th and 27th

If you are interested, please contact:

Coach Frank Piraino or strength coach Micky Marotti

Phone: 352-375-4683 (ext. 4940)

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

John Grimek Was "The Man” - By Bob Whelan

Reprinted with permission of Hardgainer, (March-April 1999)

For all of my training life I’ve had the quiet comfort of knowing John Grimek was around to inspire and motivate me. He was my all-time Iron Game hero, a legend of unparalleled achievements, but who was universally described as a “good guy” by everyone who had the honor of meeting him. He was a guy you could really admire, look up to and respect not only for his titles or measurements, but as a man.

His pictures have always been on the walls of my gym even if it happened to be my bedroom or garage. I have several of his pictures on the walls at Whelan Strength Training, from various decades of his life starting with the Mark Berry posters showing John in his early twenties, until several decades later showing his body even more muscular and better, with only his face showing signs of age. For my money, he was the best, a legend—the man! This greatest chapter in Iron Game history came to a close on November 20, 1998 when John C. Grimek passed on at age 88.

Vic Boff summed it up well when he stated, “For over five decades, John C. Grimek has been heralded as the Monarch of Muscledom throughout the world. He was the greatest combination Iron Game athlete—physique star, bodybuilder and strength performer—of all time and certainly the most popular, inspiring millions. He was a major influence in the lives of every top bodybuilder. He was the only bodybuilder in history who was never defeated in a contest. His charisma was so outstanding that everyone in the Iron Game wanted to meet him, shake his hand or get an autograph. His obliging patience was endless.”

Grimek was also the only man to win the Mr. America title twice, and was also a member of the 1936 US Olympic weightlifting team. He won the Mr. Universe in 1948 and the Mr. USA in 1949. He was also an expert swimmer, diver, acrobat and muscle control expert. He was also very strong, and capable of a 400-pound jerk.

John probably did more to advance strength training in academia, teaching and coaching than anyone—especially as a legitimate method for training and preparing athletes. The all-prevalent musclebound myths of the day were largely dispelled and reversed by his awesome demonstrations of flexibility, grace and speed while working with Bob Hoffman and other members of the York Barbell Club. Modern strength and conditioning coaches may not have had a profession if not for John C. Grimek.

I began to train, involuntarily at first, at age 10. I was a good baseball player and was batting around 600 in little league. I just came home from a game and as soon as I got in the door, my father asked me, “How many hits ya get, ya bastard?” He had his usual beer in hand and was in his typical semi-intoxicated state.

“Three!” I proudly replied.
“How many home runs?”

“None,” I replied.

My introduction to training was when my father responded, “You weak son of a bitch. Get on the floor and do pushups.”

I did only three, and he really tore into me for that. I usually managed to make a positive out of most of the negative childhood situations with my father. He made me do pushups every night before bed, and soon I began to love the exercise because I felt stronger, which in turn raised my confidence and self-esteem; and I began hitting some home runs. Soon I was doing 90 pushups in a row.

I put up a chinning bar in the basement and was up to 18 in no time. I made a wrist roller. I walked around constantly squeezing rubber balls to strengthen my wrists because that was what Ted Williams did. I was hooked on training at an early age.

It was during this time that I bought my first copies of Strength and Health and Muscular Development magazines. I was buying baseball cards near a magazine rack and a cover caught my eye. Muscular Development was a new magazine at that time (1964), and John Grimek was the editor. From my first glance of him, I was in awe, but greatly inspired. I always read every word in MD and liked it even more than S&H, because of Grimek’s influence. (I didn’t even know about Iron Man ‘til a few years later.)

I continued to lift cement blocks and copper tubing stored in the cellar, and did pushups, chins, dips between chairs, wrist roller work, situps and other calisthenics until I got my first York 110-pound barbell set for my birthday at age 13.

I was a fanatic and devoured everything related to training I could get my hands on. I was sad when I'd read all the articles in a new issue. I couldn’t wait ‘til the next month so I could ride my bike to the apothecary in Sherborn, Massachusetts, and buy the next issue.

I can remember the smell of the ink in the new issues. I had to hide the magazines because my father thought all the bodybuilders were “musclebound,” but I knew better. My biggest heroes were Bob Hoffman and, especially, John Grimek. I still have a deep affection for and loyalty to the tradition of the York Barbell Company, and tremendous respect for its pivotal role, since the thirties, in the development of the Iron Game. To this day I will only buy York weights.

This background information is important because it should help you to understand the magnitude of the thrill I had in April 1976 when I drove to York, Pennsylvania, and met John Grimek. For an Iron Game/Physical Culture enthusiast, this was the equivalent of a baseball fan meeting Babe Ruth. I’d hoped to meet Bob Hoffman too.

I remember looking at all of Hoffman’s medals and spending an hour or so in the museum section downstairs. I finally got the nerve up to ask if I could meet Bob Hoffman, but was told he was not in that day. I still regret not meeting him. But Grimek was upstairs in his office, and I was told that he would be happy to see me. My heart raced as I walked up a creaky staircase to his office. I sheepishly knocked on the office door and politely referred to him as Mr. Grimek.

Mr. Grimek invited me in and was extremely friendly. I was only 21 at the time and was completely in awe. At first I was surprised because he was well into his sixties at the time, but most of the photos I’d seen of him were not recent. He was in great shape, though, and I could tell that he still trained hard and regularly. He had his shirt sleeves rolled up, and I could see his huge biceps in full glory. He looked at least 20 years younger than most men of his age.

He asked me as many questions about my training, and my life in general, as I asked him. He seemed genuinely interested in me and I was impressed at how approachable and kind-hearted he was. He answered every question I had and was in no rush to have me leave. He signed an autograph for me that I guard with my life and proudly display on a wall of my gym. After asking every possible question I could think of, and spending about 30 minutes in his office, I felt I might start to be a pest. I thanked Mr. Grimek for his time, shook his hand, and let him get back to his work.

Dispelling myths

It wasn’t until fairly recently that the term “musclebound” has finally been put to rest. You may hear it once in a while now, but mainly by ignorant people. Most people today believe that strength training is beneficial. It wasn’t always that way, and as a kid growing up I would always hear about it and be discouraged from lifting. I never believed it was true, mainly because of the hard work and courage of John Grimek and Bob Hoffman, who told me the truth.

On April 4, 1940 Bob Hoffman brought several members of the York Barbell Club, including John Grimek, to Springfield College. Dr. Karpovich, of Springfield College, had been influential in pushing “musclebound” theories throughout academia, and was making most athletic coaches shy away from training with weights. Strength training was being seriously threatened, and John Grimek was instrumental in turning this around. After Grimek was introduced to the panel, the pompous academics sneered at him and seemed to mock him at first, believing he was nothing but a big clumsy oaf with limited movement and “bound” muscles.

Grimek went right up to each of them and said, “Can you do this?” He then proceeded to contort his body into every stretch and bend possible, and reportedly could come close to touching his elbows to the floor while keeping his knees straight! Each of the academics gave a pitiful performance of flexibility when responding to the challenge, to which Grimek replied, something to the effect of, “You’re musclebound, not me!”

Hoffman then had Grimek and others perform all kinds of feats including one-arm chins, handstands, backbends, jumping splits and numerous stretches. After Karpovich had witnessed this, he was stunned. By the time Hoffman and Grimek got through with Karpovich, he changed his position to, “There’s no such thing as musclebound.”

Hoffman went further and challenged any athlete in any sport to compete against his York Barbell Club in any physical test outside of their own specific sport. The challenge was widely publicized. There were no takers, mostly because of the larger-than-life image of Grimek and the fear that he would humiliate any challenger.

Our responsibility

John Grimek was larger than life, much like John Wayne was. John was what the Iron Game and Physical Culture are really all about. He was the essence of how things were and how things should still be. When you think of John Grimek, you think of the glory days of the Iron Game before drugs ruined the honest competition, and the brotherhood.

The “good guys” in the Iron Game today have a sacred duty to carry on the tradition that John Grimek stood for and which Vic Boff and others still represent. Give no respect to steroid users—they are scum. Take down their pictures. Always keep your focus on good health as the primary motivation for your toil, and build muscle the old fashioned away—earn it by hard work and dedication, like John Grimek did.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

What about Isolation Exercises? - By Bob Whelan

Posted on on April 13, 2001

John Hanlon on the Athletic Edge squat macine at WST.

Isolation exercises are not "bad" to do and using a few of them can be a good ADDITION to your program. Don't get carried away with them, but a set of thick bar curls added to the program or leg curls AFTER SQUATS ARE DONE is ok.

I believe that the CORE foundation of your program should be the big basic compound exercises. That, however, does not mean that you should NEVER do ANY of the isolation exercises. As long as you are not looking for the easy way out and substituting the isolation exercises for the much harder multi joint lifts, using a few of them in addition to your program can be beneficial.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SUPER STRENGTH (Circa 1924) - Chapter 6 - The Sides - By Alan Calvert

Posted on on 06 March 2002

Illustrations are randomly selected from the book (too numerous to post them all) and are not necessarily from the same chapter.

In his book on physical education, Dr. Felix Oswald said, in some parts of England, the title of "the strongest man in the neighborhood" was awarded to the man who could take the heaviest weight on his shoulder and walk with it
the longest distance with the firmest step. That, by the way, is a very fair test of bodily strength. If a man is weak in the back he cannot even get the weight on his shoulder in the first place. If he is weak in the knees (that is, if his leg muscles are weak) his legs will "buckle" at the knees, and he will shamble along after he has carried the weight a very short distance; and
a little after that he will collapse entirely under the weight. A man with strong back and legs must successfully carry a weight which rested on both shoulders; but, unless he had strong sides he wouldn't get very far with the weight on one shoulder, because when you do have a heavy weight on one shoulder the tendency of the weight is to pull you over sideways. With even
a moderately heavy weight on the right shoulder the tendency is to thrust the hips toward the right in order to better balance the weight. When the hips are thus thrust out of thier proper alignment, it becomes impossible to walk
with a firm, even tread. Again, no man can hold a heavy weight on the shoulder unless he has great strength in the trapezius muscle, which lifts, or sustains the shoulder. If the trapezius is weak, the shoulder under the
weight will slump, and the weight will roll off. There is a concrete example of what I mean by bodily strength; and I again want to emphasize the fact that super-strength is immense bodily strength, and not just arm-strength.
If you have ever tried to carry a 200-lb. Box or trunk on the shoulder, it will make you appreciate the bodily strength of a man like Horace Barre, who one put a 1270-lb. bar-bell on one shoulder and walked about fifty feet with it. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Whelan Strength Training - Now in our 20th Year!

Above: Bob Whelan doing a set of 9 reps with 360 pounds on the Hammer chest press at WST.

I can't believe how time flies. It seems like yesterday when I left the Federal Government to make my passion my profession in 1990. It was a scary but exciting time in my life. People thought I was crazy to leave a prestegious career with CIA and almost 14 years of Federal service. (Counting my Air Force time.) Don't get me wrong - I loved the Agency and worked with some of the highest quality people in the world, but me and God had other plans for me. I already had a graduate degree and thought I was "done" with school, but I did what I knew I had to do. In my mid thirties I took the "hard road" less travelled, I switched careers and I started graduate school (again), this time at GMU in exercise science. I wanted to be great not just survive in my new business and that meant a degree in the field, not just a phony certification like most personal trainers get.

I had no more money coming in anymore from the government but I had faith and just put an ad in the paper. It was either do this or become homeless. There was no turning back. It was sink or swim. I had no equipment at first and went to peoples homes for about 2 years while going to graduate school and working part time too. It was tough but I made it. It was worth it. I'm so glad I had the guts to follow my dreams and not be a numb robot just to get a pension. I bet on ME and won!

My advice: Don't follow the crowd and have the courage to take a chance on yourself. Follow your dreams and you will make your own "security". Time flies when you are having fun.

Bob Whelan

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." - T.E. Lawrence
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