Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Avoid Strenuous Activity? - By Jim Duggan

     For the past five days, the daily weather forecast for the New York area would contain the warning" avoid strenuous activity," or the ever-popular "limit your time outside." Heat waves during the middle of July are not uncommon, and avoiding strenuous activity is usually sound advice when the temperature is in the mid 90s.  But, what if it's your birthday, and you plan on doing your customary "birthday challenge workout?"  Birthdays come but once a year, and it's not my fault that I was born during the hottest part of the year.  And for my 56th birthday, I had planned on doing something special, since I am now officially "over the speed limit."
     I have been doing my birthday challenge workouts for nearly fifteen years now.  When I was younger, I was always amazed at some of the feats that Jack LaLanne would perform on his birthdays.  And while I am not about to swim the length of the Golden Gate bridge while handcuffed, or perform thousands consecutive push-ups, I always want to mark the day by doing something meaningful.  This year was no exception, so I decided to do the following:
1) One-Arm Dumbbell Press with 56 Lb. "Bosco Bell."
2) One-Arm Kettlebell Row with 56kg kettlebell.
3) Anvil Curl with 125 Lb. Anvil
4) 180 Lb. Stone ( lift from ground to shoulder.)
5) York Krusher
     My original plan was to do each movement for 56 total  reps, in sets of 6-10.  I set up the first four movements, and would rotate through each one.  The York Krusher I would save for last, since it was the easiest to do.
     The One-Arm DB Press is one of my favorite movements.  I usually include it in my "Deck of Cards" workout, which I originally wrote about in September of 2016.  The "Bosco Bell" is a loadable thick-handled dumbbell that I bought from Sorinex.  It is an excellent piece of equipment, and I highly recommend getting one. You can load it with lead shot, sand, or BBs.  Mine is currently loaded to 56 Lbs.  I had originally had hoped to be able to do 112 reps for my birthday, but the combination of heat, humidity, and fatigue caused me to rethink strategy, so I stopped at 84 reps.  I was a bit disappointed, but the Rows, Curls, and Stone really smoked my arms, back, and shoulders. As the saying goes "Wait 'till next year!"
     The Kettlebell Row is something that I usually don't include in my workouts.  I've never been a big kettlebell advocate.  I much prefer good old-fashioned dumbbells or the newer Center Mass Bells ( CMBs).  I have to say, though, that the kettlebell row is an effective, and brutal, exercise.  I've done dumbbell rows with over 130 Lbs., but the 56kg kettlebell was more than enough to handle.
     Over the years, I have enjoyed using various anvils in my workouts.  Dr. Ken Leistner and Kim Wood were writing about the virtues of anvils decades ago, and I was fortunate enough to follow their sound advice.  I have nine anvils ranging in size from 50 Lbs all the way up to 206 Lbs.. I've used them for Presses, Curls, Carries, and neck work with my neck harness. I chose to use the 125 Lb. Anvil today because it weighs close to 56 kg( in keeping with the 56 theme.) Also, it is plenty heavy, and I don't think I can strictly curl my 150 anvil. At least, not yet!
     When it comes to my birthday, stones hold a special place in my heart.  Actually, I enjoy lifting stones throughout the year. I've even found a way to incorporate stones into my "Deck of Cards" conditioning workouts, and I could not have been more happy about the results.  This year as in years past, I decided to do one rep for each year ( plus I add an extra rep for good luck!) Lifting the stone from the ground to shoulder takes a toll on the skin of your forearms, not to mention your shoulder.  However, I decided long ago to not use gauntlets on my forearms. Embrace the discomfort is a familiar theme when it comes to strength training, and a high rep stone workout on a hot day will drive the point home very convincingly.
     After the four basic movements were completed, and after changing my shirt several times and drinking several liters of water, the last thing to do was to do 56 reps with my York Krusher.  I like my Krusher, and feel that it is an effective movement, even though this particular piece of equipment is almost as old as I am.  I also did it in part as a tribute to Bob Hoffman. My birthday is July 20, but it was on July 18, 1985 that Bob Hoffman passed away.  This year was the 35th anniversary of his passing.  So after the heavy work was done, I did two sets of 28 reps on my York Krusher as a tribute to the "Father of American Weightlifting."
     After I was finished, I was spent. The heat and the weights made for a powerful combination with which to contend.  I'm glad that I got through the workout, and I'm happy to report that while I was sore the next day, it was the soreness that accompanies the sense of accomplishment one feels after setting out to complete a difficult task.  I'm equally glad that I didn't pay attention to the weather forecast telling me to avoid strenuous activity.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

My Undeniable Truths of Weight Training for Beginners - Part 6 - Train Drug Free - By RJ Hicks BS, CSCS

It makes my blood boil to see how fake the weight training industry is in regards to steroids. Time and time again, I see young trainees make tremendous gains in a short period of time. In May he’s a wimp and by September he is a monster. Weight training and good genetics isn’t what did it. Bob Whelan and I talk about drug use all the time. He has personally seen many lifters who were average lifters but less than a year later he couldn’t even recognize them because they were so massive. All to say they got back into training hard and ate well? It’s all BS.

People aren’t fooling anyone who is in the know. There are no training secrets, routines or luck that comes into making drastic gains quickly. Anyone that says so is lying to you. People in the know, know it’s the drug that you are on making those gains, not your training and diet.

It pisses me off to see a guy get 10 years of training results in 1 year when I have to work so hard for years to make a third of his gains. It is cheating the time and effort it takes to earn real results. I have no respect for people who submit to drug use to produce results. They are in training for egotistical purposes only and have no desire for good health.

Steroids first started to become noticed in the early to mid-1950’s after the Helsinki Olympics. They were originally created to increase aggression and strength levels in the Nazi forces to enhance their warfighting, but after the war the Soviets discovered the drugs and began applying it to their athletes to improve their competitiveness. It took the US almost a decade to figure out how the Soviet Union could become so dominate in Olympic lifting, track and field and other events hosted at the Olympics seemingly overnight. But once we did, it didn’t take long until they became popular in bodybuilding and the strength sports in the USA and worldwide.

Through most of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s there were plenty of authorities in the field speaking out against the use of steroids. Bob Hoffman and John Grimek had numerous articles published in their magazines “Strength and Health” and “Muscular Development” that spoke of the dangers of drugs. Peary Raders “Iron Man” also had many authorities who were openly condemning steroid use, to include Peary himself! Unfortunately, less and less is being said now of the matter to steer those interested in weight training away from drugs.

Bob has told me many times the 90s and early 2000’s was a resurgent of good training information. There were many great magazines and newsletters available at a time after most of the good information had faded in the mid 80's. “The Steel Tip”, “Hard Training” “Hard Gainer”, “The Dinosaur Files”, "Milo" and “The Iron Master” were packed with great training advice, but many of the authors hardly touched on drugs. They assumed you were training natural, but never took a hard stance. There were really only three people during this time who were strongly against drugs. Bob Whelan, Stuart McRobert and Brooks Kubik. They were main people to carry the torch of the anti-steroid movement throughout the 90's and early to mid 2000s.

For the last 15 years, Bob has been one of the only people to be adamantly against steroid use. It’s too bad most people don’t know about The most popular weight training websites people visit today are filled with nothing but drug users and BS drug user routines. This is all the masses are ever influenced by, gimmicky training. Be part of the few in the know and read the great training information on this site and truly understand the meaning of drug free training.

The days of “Strength and Health” and “Physical Culture” are long gone. Strength training is now a money-making industry not a health industry. There is no regard for vigor and longevity for many in the field. Most of the guys seen on the front cover of magazines, in the T.V. commercials or big-name websites are using drugs. It is a quick way of making you believe what they are selling will produce those results. It is all a lie. None of their gimmicks or supplements are going to produce the desired results for you, only natural training will.

Dick Conner had a great talk at one of Bob’s Clinics on drug use in powerlifting. When asked about an infamous barbell club that I will not mention, he directs their success solely to the use drugs, gear and perfecting the power lifts technique. That the reason behind the high frequency and volume of the lifts is a learning process to develop perfect technique. High bridging on the bench, rising your chest to the bar, cutting the squat depth short an inch by taking a wide stance and sitting back. None of these techniques are making your stronger, than are decreasing the amount of work you have to do each repetition. Everyone one of their powerlifters takes steroids, it’s a must to train there. No one is shy about it there, but most don’t realize that’s where the huge poundage comes from. The use of drugs and wearing the latest "Gear" plays a dramatic effect on the amount of weight you can move. On Natural Strength Night on Mind Force Radio with Bob, Dick talks about a 350-pound natural bencher just by going on drugs and wearing gear can easily become a 500-pound bencher. That 150 pounds has nothing to do with getting stronger, it is just all just BS. He closes off at the podcast stating all the chains/bands, high volume, percentage training does not make enough difference in training results to matter. It is all just fluff to disguise what is really producing their results.

I don’t care how many championships so and so coach won or successful athletes they produced, if they train with drugs their methods will not work the same with you. Drug training and natural training are two completely separate activities. The drugs allow you to train completely different than if you were not on them. It’s the drugs that causes the body to grow bigger and stronger in these trainees, not the training and recovery. They enhance you genetically, weight training doesn’t do that. Any routine will work if enough drugs are taken. That is why so many drug routines are crap, most drug users never learned how to properly train.

The effects of steroids on your body should be reason enough never to try them It is like playing Russian Roulette with two rounds in the cylinder. There is a good chance they will kill you and a greater chance that regular steroid use will ruin your health. It is not some supplement you will excrete out; you are literally altering your cellular structure as Bradley Steiner puts it on Natural Strength Night. It is a dangerous substance and should never be used except in extreme medical purposes under a qualified medical doctor.

Look at the WWE as just one small example. The WWE has had a major drug problem since its inception. Many of their athletes have tried at one time or used drugs regularly to improve their physique and performance. You can look on google and easily find tons of articles listing all the former stars who have had premature deaths related to drug abuse. Chris Benoit, Macho Man, Eddie Guerrero, Brian Pilman and the Ultimate Warrior are just a few of the names that are sadly on just one of these lists. These drugs can destroy your health and do so quickly. Mood swings, depression, injury to tendons and ligaments, heart disease, and high blood pressure are just a short list of the harmful effect’s steroids can cause. No healthy individual should ever take them.You can maximize your physical potential without subjecting yourself to the dangers of steroids

 There are some phenomenal natural lifters who can make lift as much as one on steroids, but they are the exceptions. Men like Marvin Eder and Paul Anderson are the exception to the and vast majority. With a 500 pound bench and 1000 pound squat respectively, these lifters were magnificent and should be remember as such. In the history of the world they are probably the strongest weight lifters ever. Their numbers may seem forgotten because they are dwarfed by huge numbers the drug lifters are putting up today. It's a shame that their incredible feats go unnoticed and they don't get enough praise.  I remember an ad in the old "Strength and Health" from Bill Anton called "Bill Anton Big Bench"  He was one of the first few men to have a 400 pound bench, and incredible feat at the time that is still deserving of a lot of respect.. People look at a 400 pound bench like it is nothing now because everyone is on drugs. This is a completely fabricated illusion! Not everyone's genetics will allow such progress. Only the few genetically gifted can obtain such lifts naturally, and that is okay.

When you commit to being a natural trainee you refuse to ever try drugs. You are in this to be strong and healthy, not for egotistical purposes. Natural training is about maximizing your physical potential the right way. You don’t listen to the quacks in the field who are involved in the drug scene or illicit drug training. Natural training is a completely different activity than drug training. Drug training works for drug users not natural trainees. All of the golden era bodybuilding splits, secret soviet training, long periodization cycle percentage training can be traced back to drugs and are of no use!

Listen to the few good voices in the field who are natural trainees and commit natural training to their core philosophy. Build your body to be strong and healthy. Maximize your physical potential the right way, without drugs Trust the advice of Bradley Steiner, Bob Whelan, Dick Conner, Stuart McRobert, Brooks Kubik, Jim Duggan and the many great natural lifters before them that preached drug free training. Your body will thank you for it, for years to come.

Editor's Note: Great Article RJ! One of my all-time favorites. This information is rare today and badly needed.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Are You Really Working Out? - By Jim Duggan

Peary Reader's Ironman magazine was published from 1936 through 1986. He published articles on all facets of the Iron Game. Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, just about every strength endeavor was covered in the pages of his magazine. Ironman was generally considered to be the least biased of all the various "muscle magazines." Mr. Rader was a true Physical Culturist who not only wrote about having a balance of mind, body, and soul- he actually lived such a life. The great authors who wrote for his magazine are too numerous to mention. Needless to say, if you can get your hands on some old issues of Ironman ( before 1987), I encourage you to do so. You will be glad you did.

Recently, while looking through some old issues, I came across the March 1985 edition. The editorial was written by a gentleman by the name of Ivan E. Bright, Jr.. It was titled "Are You Really Working Out?" It struck me that this was a valid question to ask, even though it's been over thirty-five years since the original article was written. Incidentally, one of the great things about Ironman in those days was that Mr. Rader would present articles from authority kany different and diverse viewpoints. He had many outstanding guest editorials over the years. In this particular editorial, Mr. Bright relates a recent workout that he had in a gym. While at the gym, he had encountered an acquaintance named "Ed," who was also at the gym to work out. Or so he thought.

While Mr. Bright was doing heavy Bench Presses for sets of five, his friend Ed was at the front desk, talking with the owner of the gym. Eventually, Ed made his way to the Pec-deck machine, and did a few light sets. After his Bench Presses, Mr. Bright proceeded to several sets of heavy Presses. Ed, meanwhile, was still jaw-jacking, this time at the water fountain.

I think you see where this is going. One person engaging in a heavy workout, while another is basically wasting his time. Ed is a classic example of someone who thinks he works out by virtue of the fact that he simply shows up at the gym. But merely showing up doesn't make you a lifter. The contrast between these two individuals- one working hard, while the other is doing nothing- is something that plays out in every gym, every day. It also leads to a couple of important questions.

1) What type of trainee are you?

2) Do you actively "train" when you work out or are you simply "going through the motions?"

Before you answer those questions, it is important to note that you don't necessarily have to belong to a commercial gym to waste time. You can be in the comfort of your own home and still be "spinning your wheels." Cell phones, social media, texting, and tweeting are the domestic equivalent of jaw-jacking at the water fountain.

To avoid wasting time, you have to decide what it is you want to accomplish from your training session. Do you want to get bigger, strongr, and healthier? If so, then you have to determine whether your workout is sufficient. If it is not, then quit kidding yourself.

If you want to train more productively, then you have to be serious and dedicate yourself to the goals that you have set. You also have to commit to a training program which consists of basic, heavy movements. There is no need to train six or seven days per week. "Body part training," which is a by-product of six day per week training, is a waste of time. Training body parts is something that originated with steroid users, and has no place in the training regimen of a hard-training natural lifter.

Something that goes hand in hand with basic, heavy workouts is the recognition of the importance of adequate rest and recuperation. Getting sufficient rest between workouts is crucial, especially for drug-free trainees. Two, or at most, three workouts per week are more than sufficient for most Lifters.

When it's actually time to train- be it at home or in a commercial gym- then do it. Don't waste precious time doing things that will impede your progress. One of my favorite sayings goes like this: "Time is the only thing of real value that you possess. Don't waste it." Only you know whether you're working out hard enough or not. Are you really working out?

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