Author: Conor Heffernan

Conor is Assistant Professor of Physical Culture and Sport Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. When not in the library or the gym, he likes to try his hand at writing, often with mixed results.

John McCallum ‘Get Big Drink’

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The quest for greater size has long plagued both the ‘hard gainer’ and the muscle bound hunk. At times it can seem that the need to ingest greater calories is almost as taxing as our workouts. A predicament that John McCallum, the focus of today’s article, was keen to address. As you’ll read below, McCallum devised a simple but highly effective weight gain drink for those seeking to put on weight in the shortest possible amount of time.

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The History of Weightlifting Shoes

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This work is largely a retelling of Andrew Charniga Jr.’s excellent post ‘Why Weightlifting Shoes’ available on his website here. Any errors are of course my own and I do recommend you check out the original. 

A regular problem for gym goers concerns the right type of shoes to wear and this is especially the case when it comes to weightlifting shoes. Whether you bodybuild, Olympic lift or crossfit, chances are you own, or have at least considered owning, a pair of weightlifting shoes. These days, weightlifting shoes are becoming something of a fashion accessory for the avid gym goer, a way of colourfully distinguishing oneself in the weightroom and adding a couple more pounds to their squats.

But where did these bizarre shoes with high heels come from? How have they evolved over the past century and what do we know about their history? In today’s blogpost, we’re going to discuss one of the relatively unexplored elements of the weightroom. Having previously examined the history of foam rollers and swiss balls on this site, it seems only fair to look at footwear.

Forgotten Exercises: Zottman Curls

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Looking for a new arm exercise? Of course you are, who isn’t?

Following our discussion of the see-saw shoulder press last week, we thought it was time to examine another forgotten exercise, the Zottman Curl. Named after 19th century strongman George Zottman, the Zottman curl is a fantastic way of stressing the biceps, brachialis muscles, and forearm supinators.

So what are Zottman Curls and how do I perform one?

The Lost Art of Swingbell Training

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Looking for something to break the monotony of dumbbell and barbell training? Admit it, every once and a while you like to try something new. Exercises or machines that truly test you. Well today, we’re going to look at the Swingbell, an old school piece of bodybuilding equipment promoted by York during the heyday of the 1950s.

In today’s post we’ll discuss some of the exercises you can do with this retro piece of equipment along with some tips to make your own.

The History Of Weightlifting

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Our latest post comes from the wonderful and talented Samantha Olivier from Ripped.me. We’re delighted to have Samantha featured on the site again and know you’ll enjoy her latest piece.

When lifting weights becomes your everyday routine, as a practitioner you should read and learn about the history of S&C (strength and conditioning). It is crucial for understanding the field to know about prominent events, individuals, eras and training practices. Throughout the ages, tests of strength and power have remained a popular competitive sport and some important training concepts that are popular today are not as new as you probably have thought. Since the early years of weightlifting, men have challenged each other to be stronger and bigger than others. What more, being The Best is a title people will never stop pursuing.

Origins

Examining this facet of our history is certainly quite fascinating. The first evidence of building muscular strength date back several thousand years. Drawings on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, dating from somewhere around 2500 B.C. depict various types of strength contests. Explosive power and strength were desired because warfare was still common, as can be seen in China, where these difficult physical strength tests were used for military purposes circa 1100-250 B.C. In the 6th century B.C., possibly the most famous accolades were those in ancient Greece.

Friends to Enemies: Steroids and the United States

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Note: This article is about the legal history of Anabolic Steroids in the United States and not an endorsement or discussion about steroids and performance.

There is perhaps no other topic in sports that garners as emotional a reaction than the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. For some the ends justify the means, whilst for others, the use of any ergogenic (something that aids performance) goes against fair play.

I suspect that much of this debate is fuelled by the fact that anabolic steroids are an illegal substance in the United States, which is oftentimes the mecca of sports. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the history of steroids in the United States, specifically their first uses and when they became a banned substance.

Workout for a Working Man

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This article, first published in Health and Strength Magazine in 1956 is a great reminder that we don’t need to spend hours in the gym to maintain our fitness. In fact, the writers of this programme believed it could be done in half an hour or less. Ideal for those struggling to make time to workout.

So sorry folks, not having an hour to workout is no longer an excuse! Check out the routine below.

Revisiting the Anabolic Diet

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What if I told you about a diet that not only mimicked the effects of steroids but also allowed you to gorge on meats, eggs and cheese for days at a time before indulging in pizza and pancakes on the weekend? A diet that would help you get leaner, stronger and more muscular. A diet that seemingly had it all?

This isn’t the stuff of fairytale but some of ways that Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s Anabolic Diet has been advertised since it’s inception in the early 90s. A cyclical diet, Di Pasquale’s high fat approach came at a time when the majority of Bodybuilders, along with the American public, were stuck in a low-fat mindset.

Whilst the majority of gym goers nowadays are unaware of DiPasquale’s work, the Anabolic Diet was one of the seminal eating programmes of its time.

So in today’s post we’ll look at the history of the diet itself, what the diet entailed and just why it was so revolutionary.