Arthur Saxon, ‘Routine of Training’, The Development of Physical Power (London, 1906)


WITH regard to the routine of training, I again repeat, my idea is not to develop muscle at the expense of either health or strength. It is really impossible for me to prescribe special exercises with fixed time limits for same, and fixed days for each individual who may ready this book, as we are all possessed of different constitutions and staminal power, but roughly speaking it will be found correct in most instances to practice twice per week, and at such practices I advise that on each lift you commence with fairly light weights, and gradually increase the weight of same. Taking the double-handed lift, if your lift is about 200 pounds commence at 100 pounds, and with this light weight press overhead, then add 20 pounds and press again, and so on, until you are compelled to jerk the weight. Proceed until you reach your limit, then try another lift, say the snatch, commencing low and working up to your highest poundage. Surely this method of prac- tice is better than to attempt, as most English and American weight-lifters do, their heaviest bell right off the reel. As usual, they fail, and then get in reality no practice at all, only making their position worse, instead of better. Of course, to practice this way shot-loading bar bells would be a nuisance. The most up-to-date bells on the market for weight-lifting practice, in my opinion, are disc-loading bells. With these disc-loading bells one may have a weight as low as 20 pounds or as high as 400 pounds, and one bell would be sufficient for any number of lifters. The same plates used on the long bar may also be used on short bars for dumb-bells.

Do not make the mistake of limiting your practices to any one set of lifts, such as the four known as Amateur Championship lifts. Practice everything—single and double-handed press in dumb-bells and bar bells, single and double-handed lifts, all the way in dumb-bells and bar bells, snatching and swinging, jerking and pressing, lying down with weights, supporting weights, lift- ing weights while laid on the back, ring weights, human weights, and, if possible, double-handed lifts to the knee, and harness lifts, also holding the bell aloft and bringing a weight after with the disengaged hand, and raising bells aloft by what is known as the Continental style of lifting, described in this book. Also anything else that may suggest itself to your mind, such as heavy weights at arm’s length, raising bells overhead stood on end on the hand, juggling with weights by throwing them from hand to hand overhead, catching in the hollow of the arms, etc. A method of practice such as the above would not only bring into play every hand and strap of muscle you possess, but also give you a far better knowledge of all-round weight-lifting, than you could pos- sibly obtain if you practiced three or four lifts only to the exclusion of all others. ALSO DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR LEFT HAND AS WELL AS YOUR RIGHT.

On the days when you do not practice with heavy weights you might try a few movements with a pair of dumb-bells from 10 to 30 pounds in weight, according to your strength and devel- opment. Add to this your favorite sports, such as cycling, wrestling, swimming, or what not, and the weight-lifting practices, and you should be doing quite sufficient work to not only keep you fit but to bring you to the top of the tree if it so be that you are naturally possessed of the right constitution and physique to enable you to carry out your ideas on these lines.

As explained elsewhere, in my opinion, if a man feels that he is not strong enough to go in for weight-lifting without previous training, he may first of all practice on a lighter scale, especially if he be very young, or having just undergone an illness, but when weight-lifting proper is commenced, then I contend it will be better to reserve all your strength and energy for your lift- ing, as to practice innumerable movements daily besides weight-lifting is to place a great strain on your vital and staminal powers, and if there be a collapse weight-lifting will be blamed in- stead of the more trying and wearing light exercises, which drain the system.

The advanced lifter would make his two practices per week suffice ; he need not do even the heavy dumb-bell exercises I have referred to.

I do not suppose I need lay emphasis upon the advantage of training in the open air rather than indoors, nor on the beneficial and cleansing effects of a cold sponge down, followed by a good rub, immediately after exercise.