Peary Rader, ‘SPECIALIZING ON ONE EXERCISE FOR MAXIMUM GAINS’, THE RADER MASTER BODYBUILDER AND WEIGHT GAINING SYSTEM (1946)

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It is sometimes desirable to specialize on one lift or exercise to the exclusion of all others. The reason for this is that you can direct all your energies and effort in one direction. This will enable you to make much faster progress and reach greater heights of strength and development than if you spread your efforts out over several movements. It is not advisable to make this a permanent habit, as it might result in an uneven development of the body, but it is helpful at times to do this. An example of this is William Boone, who has reached a 420 jerk and a 700 deadlift expecting to do more, as well as a 315 bent press and a 360 jerk press all by this method of specializing in one of these lifts at a time. The same thing can apply to the development of increased size as well. For instance, if your legs are rather small then you could specialize on leg work – perhaps the squat alone for a certain period, If your back is weak you could specialize on the deadlift alone for a length of time. In doing this you would work with heavy weights and many sets. The exact number would have to be determined by the pupil himself. Find out what you can stand and progress best on. Also you will start out with one or two sets and then work up to more. You will also vary the number of repetitions and amount of weight in the different sets. You will find that by specializing in this manner you can work up to a tremendous amount of work for the part in question and forcer the most stubborn muscles to respond.

Of course, if you are working the small muscles, like arm muscles, you would be able to use more exercises. For instance, for the biceps you would use two different types of curls, or for the triceps you could use the supine press and the bent arm pullover or the standing triceps curl. Or you might be able to work both muscles if they were to be specialized on, and use perhaps 4 exercises. However, you should not get too many exercises, as the secret of this method is to limit the exercises and work them to the limit of your ability to stand it.

You will have to be watchful and not overwork, as you can go stale on this program just as you can on any other from overwork.

Pupils often ask what the sign of overwork is and we tell that that when they feel tired all the time and perhaps become nervous and irritable beyond normal they should check to see if they might not be overworking and perhaps under-resting.

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