Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THE TRUTH ABOUT WEIGHTLIFTING - (circa 1911) - CHAPTER 13 - By Alan Calvert

My hardest work is to try and combat a number of time-worn superstitions which the average person holds regarding heavy dumbbell lifting. If the reader will take the trouble to ask any friend whether it is advisable to take up weight-lifting, ther are ninety-nine chances out of a hundred that the friend will reply:

“Weight-lifting is dangerous because it makes one slow, because it makes one muscle-bound and because it is apt to strain the heart.” I have made careful investigation of all these charges and I have found that the people who repeat them are simply handing dwon what they have heard from their fathers and grandfathers. If you investigate you will generally find that the friend who advises you so earnestly against heavy dumbbell work, has never had a heavy bell in his hands. He does now know hwo a heavy bell should be used; he does not know the nature of the exercises which should be performed with heavy dumbbells, and in most cases he is of the type that simply repeats, parrot-like, what he has learned from some other persons who are equally ignorant regarding all phases of weight-lifting.

For some reason or other the average man on the street is absolutely positive that every successful dumbbell lifter has to be a man of gigantic physique, with enormous muscles, as strong as an ox and just as slow. I have done my very best to trace this belief to its origin and I have come to the conclusion that it has its foundation in the fact that a couple of generations ago all of the men of that time who were famous for their strength happened to be of the Louis Cyr-Sebastian Miller type. Both Cyr and Miller were tremendously strong men and they were also undoubtedly rather slow in their movements because they were men of sluggish temperment. As these two men were held up for years as the best examples of “strong men,” the public has seemingly drawn the conclustion that any one who rivals them in strength, must necessarily resemble them in appearance. The same public is ignorant of the fact that every feat in dumbbell lifting performed by these two men has been far exceeded by the active modern lifter.

It seems that the popular idea of the weight-lifter is, that he is a man who is covered with large, knotty muscles, that he is exceedingly slow and clumsy in his movements, and that he is invariably “muscle-bound.” The average athlete, when speaking of weight-lifters, always produces the words “muscle-bound” with an intonation of horror. It appears that the average athlete would much rather be in his grave than be “muscle-bound,” and yet, to save himself from the grave, the same athlete cannot define the term “muscle bound.” As far as I can gather, the popular idea is that the man who uses heavy dumbbells gets his muscles in such a condition that he is able to move them through only a small arc of the circle. Statements are made to the effect that some lifters cannot fasten their own collars at the back of their necks. I have never seen a man in this condition. The men who really do get stiff and slow in their movements are the men who specialize on harness-lifting and dead-weight lifting.

The man who goes in for heavy dumbbell lifting, especially the quick lifts, such as the snatch and the jerk, will increase his activity almost as much as he increases his strength. If a little bag-punching or Indian club exercise be taken in connection with heavy dumbbell work, the muscles will retain all their flexibility. Any one who has seen a good weight lifter tuin a back somersault while holding a 40-pound dumbbell in each hand, or jump over a table with the same weights, should realize that weight lifters are pretty fast on their feet. Any one who has seen Arthur Saxon toss a 300-pound bar-bell from one hand to the other above his head will marvel at his lightning-like movements. In my own experience I find that when a lifter first takes up the “snatch” and the “jerk” he is unable to master them because he lacks speed in his foot work. After a few weeks’ practice with weights he develops the agility necessary to properly carry out the above lifts.

In regard to the knotted appearance of the strong man’s muscles, I beg to remind the reader that the man’s muscles are knotted only when some on is looking at him, or when he is having his picture taken. Some lfiters make a habit of keeping their arms tensed and their shoulders hunched up every minute they are in view of the audience; and when a lifter has his photograph taken his one idea is to make as many muscles prominent as is possible. If you are fortunate enough to catch one of these strong men in costume, when he thinks he is not observed, you will find that he is not nearly as heavily muscled as he appears when he is on the stage.

If the reader will take the trouble to look at some illustrations, which show the various “strong men,” he will notice that very few of these men are of the extremely muscular type. Lurich probably shows more muscle on the surface than any of the rest, but, then Lurich is famous as an artist’s model. Jean Francois is very muscular and shapely. Steinbach, Cyr, Witzelsberger, and many other great lifters do not show any knotty muscles. Ther chests and limbs are smooth, but that does not prevbent them from being enormously strong. I know that the common idea is that only men who have gnarled and knotty muscles can handle dumbbells, but on investigation we find that it is the smoothly-built men that hold the strength records.

Ninety-nine out of a hundred will solemnly assure you that the use of heavy dumbbells is sure to cause strain. After many years’ search I think I have found the origin of this belief. Suppose there were five men standing on a dock at the edge of a deep river and that none of them knew how to swim. Do you suppose for a minute that any one of them would be so foolish as to jump into 10 feet of water and take their chances of acquiring the art of swimming by inspiration? Or, if these same five men went out and bought a bicycle, do you suppose that any one of them would be so silly as to try and ride 100 miles the first day; that is, supposing that never before had they ridden a wheel. But let us take a third case: Suppose that these five men were sitting in a room smoking and indulging in general conversation and some one of their number would discover in onc corner of the room a heavy dumbbell, weighing, say 75 pounds. It is a ten-to-one bet that every man in the party would at least make an effort to push up that dumbbell.

Now, it is an exceedingly foolish thing for a man who has had on experience in handling heavy balls to attempt to push 75 pounds aloft. It is fairly safe to assume that none of our five men have had any experience in lifting and it is very hard to understand why they should be so foolish to attempt to make the lift. The reason is that the average man is secretly very proud of his strength and very loath to admit than any one of his fellows can outdo him in any feat where strength alone is required. Therefore, if one make of the five makes an attempt with the bell, the other four throw caution to the winds and run a great risk of straining themselves by attempting the lift. In fact, I might as well say that they do strain themselves. To see the average man attempt to push a heavy dumbbell aloft is enough to make an experienced lifter weep. I am quite positive that incidents like the above are the foundation of most of the charges that lifting heavy dumbbells causes strain. The real cause of the strain is not the lifting of the bell, but the conceit which prompts the untrained individual to attempt a feat far beyond his power. The reader may laugh and think that I am making pretty strong statements, but if will make a little test he will find out that what I say is true. The next time the reader is in the company of three or four men who are past middle age, let him perform some feat that requires considerable strength. I am willing to wage a dollar to a dime that three out of four of these elderly men would at once say: “Oh, that is pretty good, but when I was your age I could do so and so.” I distinctly recall one time I was in a photographer’s studio superintending the work of taking a picture of a celebrated athlete who posed, pushing above his head with one hand another man who weighed 180 pounds. There were a number of interested witnesses present and among them was an elderly military man, who certainly id not weigh more than 140 pounds. When the lifter carefully lowered his partner to the ground the colonel, or major, I forget which he was-came to the front and said that was all very fine indeed, but that when he was a young man he lifted above his head a 200-pound man in each hand. Respect for the aged forbade my making any comment at the time.

It is very hard indeed for me to understand why there is such a deep-rooted belief that a man is sure to strain himself if he uses heavy weights. This belief is not confined to the ordinary athletic public, but is shared by a number of athletic trainers and physicians, who certainly should know better.

Let us compare heavy dumbbell lifting with apparatus work in the gymnasium. When a boy or young man starts in an ordinary gymnasium, it is very seldom that he confines himself entirely to “free movements” and “pulley-weight” work. After a few weeks’ experience his natural desire is to try the more difficult work on the horizontal bars, parallel bars, flying rings, etc. Two of the first feats that he lars are to “chin” himself on the horizontal bars, and to “dip” on the parallel bars. The feats are so well known that it is not necessary to describe them here. The point I wish to make is, that in both of these feats the athlete raises and lowers the weight of his body, less the weight of his arms. If a 150-pound man chins himself he is raising at least 120 pounds by the strength of his biceps and back muscles; when he dips he raises the same weight by the strength of his triceps and pectoral and shoulder muscles. The instructor in the gymnasium will not only permit, but will encourage his pupils to attempt such feats; but if one of these pupils should suggest raising a 60-pound bar-bell from his hips to above his head by the strength of both his arms and his back and shoulder muscles, the instructor will at once tell him that he is in danger of straining himself.

If there is any instructor who can explain to me why it is more dangerous to handle 60 pounds of iron than to handle 120 pounds of flesh and blood, I would like him to do so. Now, mind you, I not state that a 150-pound man who can dip once, has strength enough to raise a 120-pound bar-bell above his head in a two-arm press. I readily admit that it is easier to handle an equal amount of dead weight; but any man who has strength enough to make half a dozen repetitions of the chinning movement, and the dipping movement, is plently strong enought to take up heavy dumbbell exercises with dumbbells and bar-bells ranging in weight from 50 to 100 pounds.

Physicians sometimes agree with these trainers, but I think it is merely because they have not considered the situation from my point of view. I am happy to say that I sell a large number of adjustable dumbbells to physicians, who not only use them in their own daily exercise, but also recomment them to their friends and patients. A couple of months ago a New York physician ordered a bar-bell, and when sending his instructions I specified the amount of weight he should use in the various exercises. Of course, I had the doctor’s bodily measuements before me and I knew that he did not wish to train for feats of strength, but intended to use the dumbbells to develop his muscles and to increase his bodily weight; therefore, in his case, I specified a much smaller amount of weight than I would in the case of an ambitious young athlete whose aim was to acquire tremendous strength in a short time. After receiveing his instructions the doctor wrote to me and asked if I did not think I had specified too much weight in certain bar-bell exercises that called into play the biceps and triceps muscles. In replying to the doctor I pointed out the fact that when he submitted his measurements he had also given me his previous gymnastic experience and had stated that he could chin himself eight times and dip twelve times. He weighed 170 pounds and yet was afraid that 60 and 75 pounds in corresponding bar-bell exercises were too heavy for him. When I explained the matter to him the doctor at once acknowledged that I was right and admitted that if he had started in with lighter weights he would have been wasting his time.

This, by the way, is where the great value of expert advice comes in. Any intelligent man can learn in a few days’ or weeks’ practice the correct way in which to perfrom heavy dumbbell exercises, and it is not very much harder to grasp the principles which govern weight-lifting proper. The average man, however, is not able to judge for himself the proper amount of weight necessary to properly exercise a given set of muscles, especially at the start of his course, and this is where the experience of the expert who has handled thousands of such cases is almost invaluble to the novice in heavy dumbbell work or weight-lifting. I personally have sold thousands of heavy-weight dumbbells and, in the majority of cases I have advised the purchasers regarding the proper use of the bells, and I am happy to say I have never had reported to me a single case of serious injury or strain. Of course, when a man takes up weight-lifting proper he is very apt to sustain slight sprains of the wrist or shoulder, but such sprains are generally only temporary and a man who is the habit of handling heavy dumbbells is sure to be in such fine bodily condition that he recovers from strain three or four times as quickly as an untrained man would.

In any strenous sport there is always a slight element of risk, In football the percentage of participants who get injured is very large. In long distance rowing, and long-distance running, young men and growing boys frequently do themselves serious bodily harm. Even in baseball injuries are frequent. And yet, all of these sports, with the possible exception of football, are considered less dangerous than weight-lifting. In Germany and Austria weight-lifting is the national sport. I suppose in those two countries there are at least 30,000 amateurs who daily practice with heavy dumbbells. Weights running from 50 to 300 pounds are used by these athletes, and yet in Germany you never hear a word about weight-lifting being dangerous.

I trust the reader recalls the difference in the definition of weight-lifting proper and heavy dumbbell exercises. As I stated above, I am willing to admit that in weight-lifting proper there is a slight element of danger of strain, but in heavy dumbbell exercises there should not be the least danger whatever. Most men who take up heavy dumbell exercises do so with the desire and intention to improve their physical condition. When a man is exercising with a heavy bell there is no rule that compels him to continue his exertions after he feels that he is becoming fatigued. As soon as the muscles commence to tire the pupil is at liberty to put the bells on the floor, and a short period of rest will recruit his energies and enable him to resume the exercise

In this respect it is very different from competitive athletics. I would much rather permit a young boy to practice heavy dumbbell exercises, and a moderate amount of weight-lifting, than to allow him to take part in Marathon races, or in four-mile rowing races. The trouble with us in America is, that we make our sports too much of a business. The young athlete especially is liable to allow his desire to win overcome his judgment. In long-distance running races a young man will often continue from sheer pride, when he knows that he is on the verge of utter exhaustion. In rowing it is even worse. Often, at the end of the third mile of a four-mile race, some member of the crew will be at the point of collarpse, but the fear of spoiling his crew’s chances will impel him to stick at the work during the whole of the fourth mile and in almost every race one or more members of the crew will faint or collapse at ehe finish.

The results of such collapse are not simply momentary, but affect the athlete’s health for the rest of his life. In heavy dumbbell exercises, where there is no such stimulus of competition and a man who practices weight-lifting in the company of several other apsiring lifters, progresses much more rapidly than the man who practices in the seclusion of his own room. In the heavy dumbbell exercises, where the whole aim is to increase the muscular power, to develop the body and to improve health, there is absolutely no more danger of strain than there would be in taking a ten-mile walk or taking your best girl for a four-mile row. .

There is no other form of bodily exercise which yield results as quickly as does the use of heavy dumbbells. The reason lies in the quality of the work. When adjustable bells are used, the weight can be gradually increased and the muscles respond by growing in size, strength and shapeliness, and the pupil in training gets the maximus results with the minimum expenditure of his time and energy. When the pupil advances far enough to take up weight-lifting proper, he finds that he has discovered a sport which is infinite in its variety of combinations, and fascinating in its practice. No man can learn all there is to know about weight-lifting. Even a professional, who has specialized for years on dumbbell lifting, will find that every week he can learn something new.

It is most amusing to listen to men who realize that there are many benefits that can be obtained by the practive of progressive weight-lifting, but are afraid that the use of dumbbells is going to make them slow in their movements. Sometimes I think that every man in the United States wants to be the champion boxer in the world. Almost the first question every man asks me, is whether or not he will become slow and clumsy if he takes up the use of heavy dumbbells. Somestimes a stout man of 40 who can hardly get upstairs without the loss of breath, will solemnly assk me whether the use of the weights will make him slow. Other men, whom I know are extremely sluggish in their movements, are worried on the same account.

Now, I don’t attempt to deny that if a man will confine himself entirely to harness-lifting and dead-weight lifting, or even to simply curling and pressing extremely heavy dumbbells, that he would, in the course of time, become a little slow and stiff in his movements. You cannot have everything at the same time. If you want extreme strength you have to sacrifice a little bit of your speed. If you want extreme speed you cannot have enormous strength, but I can assure the reader that the average well-trained lifter is as much quicker as he is stronger, than the average man. Most people, when they take up training of heavy dumbbells, have a definite aim in view. This aim is to encrease the size of the muscles, to increase the strength and improve the health. These aims can be attained most easily by using heavy dumbbells and I do not think that the fact that a man may possibly sacrifice a little bit of his activity should allow this to deter him from taking up heavy weights. Now, understand me when I say a man sacrifices some of his speed, I have in mind a man who earns his living or who has daily necessity for extreme agility. I would not advise a feather-weight boxer to take up weight-lifting if he depended upon his agility to win his bouts. But, on the other hand, the ordinary individual, after he has practiced weight-lifting, will be surprised to find that he can move faster than he could before he started training.

Another extremely deep-rooted belief is that men who use heavy dumbbells are bound to die young. When Sandow came to America in 1893 he created a great sensation. He was the first of his kind, and people marveled at his wonderful physique and his apparent strength. (The reader will now understand what I mean by the word “apparent,” because, if he ever saw Sandow, he will remember that Sandow’s acts were mostly supporting feats.) However, a great many physicians were interviewed by enterprising reporters and were asked to give their opinion about Sandow. Several hundred such opinions were published. The physicians united in praising Sandow’s wonderful figure and his feats of strength, but they most all wound up their statements by saying: “But youmust remember that when a man does terrific feats of strength like Sandow that his heart becomes hypertrophied--that is, it becomes thickened from excessive work. Sandow will be all right for a few years, but the minute he stops lifting weights he will die like a blown out candle.” Sandow is still giving exhibitions. He includes some dumbbell lifts, but none of them are hard. Within the last two or three years Sandow has been accepted by several insurance companies. He carries a great deal of life insurance and the fact that he is successful in passing the rigid physical examinations shows that he must be still on good physical condition; for insurance companies are not anxious to write policies on stage performers. Sandow has been lifting dumbbells, to my knowledge, for the last twenty-three years.

Now, let me give you another case. There is in Philadelphia a man who, away back in the late eighties, toured the country with John L. Sullivan, and the famous Billy Muldoon. This Philadelphian was billed as the “strongest boy in the world,” and he probably was, at that time. He continued as a professional lifter until about 1890 when he retired from the stage, and I doubt he has touch a heavy bell more than once a year since that time, and yet this man is in absolutely perfect physical condition. He has retained his superb figure and almost all of his marvelous strength. He is in his forties today, but he thinks nothing of making a dead-weight lift of over 1400 pounds.

During his last few years on the stage this man worked with a partner who was also a first-class weight lifter. This partner retired at the same time as the first man, and is today a practicing dentist in Philadelphia. He also has retained his strength. I know this for a fact because two or three years ago I induced this dentist to act as a referee in a weight-lifting comptetion. In the last lift in this competition a 140-pound bell was used. After the competition was over the dentist took up this bell and tossed it at arm’s length above his head and threw it easily from one hand to the other. After putting it on the floor he stated it was the first time he had handled a heavy dumbbell in three years.

Most retired weight-lifters are very healthy men. There is no reason in the world why men should break down after giving up heavy dumbbell lifting any more than a man who has been engaged in heavy manual labor should break down.

For instance, there are in this country quite a number of men who have worked in their early youth at the heaviest kind of labor, and have gone from labor into business ventures where thier occupation is entirely sedentary, without loss of health. I know one man in western Pennsylvania who was a roller in an iron mill from the time he was twenty, to the time he was thirty-five. This man’s specialty was rolling 1000-pound steel rails. He used to handle tons of them every day. When he quit as a roller he became foreman and ultimately superintendent of the same mill. He has never broken down in health and yet he formerly did more work and heavy lifting in one day that a professional dumbbell lifter will do in a month.

Weight-lifters should not be confused in this respect with prize fighters. The average weight-lifter trains from 15 to 30 minutes every day and is usually a man of temperate habits, while the prize fighter will subject to a period of the most vigorous training and will then relax into a period of the utmost indulgence. Prize fighters frequently die of consumption. I never heard of a “strong man” dying from that cause.

The one thing in weight-lifting that may cause a weak heart is the unfortunate practice of holding the breath. If you will watch a novice attempt to lift a heavy bell you will see him strain a great deal and become red in the face, and the veins will stick out on his temples and forehead and at the sides of his neck. If he was breathing regularly this would not happen. When a tremendous feat of strength is to be performed (such as a two-arm jerk) it is permissible for the lifter to take a deep breath, holding it during the time the weight is being raised, and then immediately expel it.

A good many years ago there was a writer who advised all his pupils to hold their breath while performing vigorous exercises, and he guaranteed that if they would do so, they would gain strength very rapidly. I am afraid this man is responsible for a great many enlarged hearts. In heavy dumbbell exercises any possible strain on the heart may be avoided by systematic and rythmic breathing. In fact the pupil-in-training should make a rule never to make several repetitions of a movement unless he can breathe regularly while doing so. The adoption of the rule, and the practice of rythmic breathing in conjunction with the heavy dumbbell exercises will greatly increase lung capacity, as well as preventing strain.

Any weight-lifter who is slow and clumsy in his movements would have little chance of making a repetition in dumbbell lifting as it is practiced today. The standard lifts as arranged by the authorities on weight-lifting, put a premium upon skill and activity.

Besides this, if a man allows himself to become too heavy, he spoils himself for such lifts as the “bent press.” We have seen Louis Cyr was unable to take advantage of the bent-press movement owing to the great girth of his waist, consequently his one-hand lift of 273 pounds has been exceeded by three or four men who were not as strong as Cyr but were certainly better athletes and lifters. A quarter of a century ago dead-weight lifting and harness lifting was the stock-in-trade of both the professional and amateur strong men. Since dumbbell lifting has become so popular, harness lifting and dead-weight lifting have gone out of vogue. This is partially due to the fact that dumbbell lifting can be practiced in the privacy one one’s own home, and the expense of buying an outfit of dumbbells is very small, and for these reasons the amateur naturally prefers dumbbell work to harness lifting, because in the last-named style cumbersome and expensive apparatus is a prime necessity.

A man who excels in quick lifts such as the “snatch,” the “swing” and the “jerk,’ is almost always a good jumper. In the “quick lifts” strength of legs and back is all-important and on examining the records we find that the men who are best in the one-arm jerk and snatch oftenb hold fine records in the standing broad jump. Weight-lifting and jumping are similar in the respect that they both call for a sudden and forceful expenditure of energy. Deriaz, one of the best weight lifters in France, is able to clear over 10 feet in a standing broad jump. Hackenschmitt, the celebrated Russian wrestler and weight-lifter, excels at the running high jump. He has cleared a height of 5 feet 10 inches, which is a very creditable jump for a man who stands only 5 feet 8. By the way, Hackenschmitt in addition to his activities in wrestling and weight lifting, was , in his early manhood, champion amateur swimmer and champion amateur bicyclist of all Russia. His case is an answer to those critics who claim that weight lfiting renders a man unfit for any other form of athletics.

There are a whole lot of trainers who will tell you that once you start to lift heavy dumbbells you might as well give up all ambition or hope to excel in any other sport. Generally speaking, the opposite is the case in most sports. I do not claim that a sprinter or long-distance runner would be materially benefited by a course in weight lifting, but I do believe a jumper, a shot-putter or hammer-thrower would be greatly benefited by imdulging in a moderate amount of weight lifting practice during the winter months. This practice with the heavy bells would not only make his muscles stronger, but it would also teach him how to use his muscles.

Weight lifting is largely a matter of co-ordination, and no one can hope to shine as an athlete unless he is able to train his muscles to act in concert with each other. Occasionally you see some large, powerful young man practice for months in the endeavor to “get the hang” of hammer-throwing or shot-putting. He will apparently have all the necessary physically attributes to enable him to shine at weight-throwing, but for some reason he never becomes able to master the details which are absolutely essential if the hammer is to be thrown, or shot to be “put.,” for anything like a record distance. I think that most athletic coaches will hear me out in the statement that most unsuccessful candidates for the position of hammer-thrower on a track team, fail not because of lack of strength, but beacuse of lack of ability to master the details of the event and to teach their muscles to co-ordinate. In other words they are unable to get the “knack.”

And now we come to that much-abused word, “knack.” How many times I have seen a weight lifter perform, with a heavy dumbbell, some feat which required unusual strength and skill, only to hear some puny bystander remark: “Oh, I could easily lift as much if I only had the knack.” The ordinary person seems to think that no strength whatever is required to lift heavy dumbbells, and that all that is necessary is to possess that mysterious “knack.” It is certainly hard when a lifter has spent months, and perhaps years, in developing his muscles and perfecting his skill in order to be able to accomplish a certain lift, to hear it discredited in the above manner.

The real basis of this mental attitude lies in the fact that it is very hard from one man to acknowledge that another man excels him in the matter of strength. I do not know why it is, but I have noticed it a hundred times. Ther average individual is generally willing to admit that a man who is six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than he is, may possibly excel him in strength, but it seems to go very much against the grain for any man to acknowledge that another man of his own size can possibly be stronger than he is.

Right here I wish to give the reader a warning in this regard. If the reader (who I assume is more or less interested in this subject) takes up heavy dumbbell lifting, he should, in the course of a years’ practice, increase his physical strength 200 or 300 per cent. Now for the funny part: If your perform your feats of strength for strangers or casual acquaintances they will readily admit that you are unusually strong ; but you will never be able to convince your family and intimate friends that you are two to three times as strong as you formerly were, even if you perform your most wonderful lifts. If, for instance, you raise above your head with one hand a bar-bell that your chum cannot even lift from the ground he will be sure to ascribe your performance to “knack,” and not to increased strength and skill.

Many people think that heavy dumbbell exercises will develop only the arms, chest and shoulders, but such is not the case.

It must be remembered that when a man exercises with heavy bells he is standing on the ground, and even if he perfomrs an exercise intended to develop the arms, his legs are working vigorously to support the extra weight. We have seen in the discussion of supporting feats in Chapter V how great a part is played by the back and lower limbs; and likewise in most standard lifts back and leg strength is absolutely essential. Any man who practices the “snatch” and the “jerk” will develop his liegs just as rapidly as he develops his arms. Weight lifters are noted for their tremendous strength in the waist and back. One-arm lifting from the shoulder above the head develops great strength in the sides of the waist. Two-hand lifting to the shoulders and from the shoulder to above the head develops great strength in the back.

In heavy dumbbell exercises the back and waist muscles are almost continuously in action. For instance, if a man takes a bar-bell in two hands and “curls” it from hips to the shoulders in order to develop his biceps, the small of the comes in for a fair share of the work. You can take a 5-lb. dumbbell in each hand and “curl” them continuously for 10 minutes without noticing that the back muscles are working. Take a bar-bell weighing 60 lbs. in both hands and “curl” slowly, and you will notice that when the bell is half-way up and the arms are at right angles, the muscles of the small of the back are working very vigourously to keep the body in erect posititon. This is even more marked when a man holds a bell straight out in front of him. In all exercises with heavy bells, the muscles of the truck and legs supplement the muscles of the arms an shoulders.

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