Category: Basics

Forgotten Exercises: English Style Deadlifts

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Admittedly this is an exercise for your physical culture purist. Stemming from the early origins of physical culture in the late nineteenth-century, English style deadlifts are unlikely to be seen in your gym any time soon. Nevertheless, this style of lifting was hugely popular amongst British and European lifters of yesteryear. Used by Goliaths like Herman Goerner, this style of deadlifting was seen as inherently strict and the greatest measure of a lifter’s power.

That being the case, today’s short post will be addressing three simple questions. What is the history of the lift? How does one deadlift English style? And how can we incorporate it into our routines?

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Guest Post: The Abridged History of Diving

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Diving looks simple at first glance. You would be forgiven for thinking there is not much to it – a fleeting act of plunging into water performed with certain panache, or a prolonged underwater activity realized thanks to humanity’s technical prowess. However, it would not have become an Olympic sport in 1904 if a degree of artful finesse was not involved. The intrinsic nuances of diving are reflected in its complicated history which can be traced back to times immemorial. If you are interested to find out more about this renowned discipline, here is the abridged history of diving.

Peary Rader, ‘The History of These Methods’, The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System (1946)

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It is not customary for the history of a course to be given, but the history of the methods taught herein is so definite, inspiring and easily traced that we believe it will be of great value and interest to the reader. It will likewise give him an idea of what results have been obtained by others and what he, himself, might expect. It will also give him assurance that this is not the hasty brainchild of one man interested only in placing of a few sheets of instructions on the market for the sole purpose enhancing his own finances.

Forgotten Exercises: The Dumbbell Swing

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Almost a half-century ago the one and two hand swing lifts were very popular among lifters and bodybuilders alike, especially the one hand lift. Over the years, however, both of these lifts have slumped into oblivion so that today there are very few who ever practice them, either as an exercise or for record-breaking performances. Because of this the world record in both lifts still remains at that poundage that was lifted many years ago. The one hand record is 199 pounds, and the two hand record is 224 pounds, just 25 pounds more than the one hand swing.

John Grimek, The Dumbbell Swing (1959)

This weekend I had the pleasure of dipping once more into Arthur Saxon’s excellent work from the early 1900s, The Development of Physical Power. Notable, for me at least by Saxon’s no nonsense attitude and frankness, the work does not seek to deceive or flatter. Instead, one of the strongest men of his generation sets out his remarkable strength and some of the means used to sustain it. Many of the exercises set out by Saxon are still done today, except for the above mentioned dumbbell swing.

The purpose of today’s post is thus twofold. First, we’re going to examine what this exercise is and how to perform it. From there, we get to delve into it’s fascinating history.

Sig Klein’s Beginner Workout

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Earlier this year I had the great fortune to visit the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports in Texas. Founded by Jan and Terry Todd, the Stark Center is a playground for anoraks like me. Containing the collections of Bernarr MacFadden, Professor Atilla, Bob Hoffman and several other Iron Game legends, Stark holds the history of the Iron Game.

So gushing praise aside, part of time there included a search through Sig Klein’s own personal papers. For those unaware, Klein ran one of the most popular and revered gymnasiums in New York from the 1930s to roughly the 1970s. Famed for his strength and amazing physique, Klein’s best known motto was to train for shape and the strength will come.

Though an advanced lifter in his own right, Klein was always keen to encourage the beginner. With this in mind today’s post details Klein’s beginner workout given to those new to his gymnasium. No tricks, no gimmicks, just simple hard work and consistency were Klein’s twin pillars for success.

Alan Palmieri, Gaining Weight And Adding Muscle Mass (2003)

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Although sometimes people take up bodybuilding to lose weight, the majority take to the sport in an attempt to add weight and gain muscle size to their frames. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults. As one matures with age it is usually much easier to gain weight, sometimes too much weight. Individuals who are extremely thin go through just as difficult a time as those that are excessively overweight. Being extremely skinny was the reason I took up bodybuilding in the first place.

T.C. Luoma and Bill Phillips, ‘Muscle Media 2000 Exposes 30 of Bodybuilding’s Biggest Myths That Stand Between You and Success!’, Muscle Media, (October/November, 2000).

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1 — You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder without taking steroids; it just takes longer.

Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs. Without manipulating hormones, it just isn’t possible to get that degree of muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass, despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.

Still, that’s no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique. The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.

2 — In order to get really big, you have to eat a super-high-calorie diet.

Well, that’s true; you’ll get really big if you eat a super high-calorie diet, but you’ll look like the Michelin Man’s fraternal twin. However, if you want to get big, lean-tissue wise, then super-high- calorie diets are probably not for you unless you are one of those very few people with metabolicrates so fast you can burn off these calories instead of depositing them as fat. Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65% of the new tissue gains brought about by high-calorie diets consists of fat! Of the remaining 35%, approximately 15% consists of increased intracellular fluid volume, leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle mass.

According to Dr Scott Connelly (MM2K, Spring 1992, p. 21), only about 20% to 25% of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis. The rest of the muscle growth is directly attributable to increased proliferation of the satellite cells in the basal lamina of muscle tissue, and dietary energy (calories) is not a key factor in the differentiation of these cells into new myofibres (muscle cells).

Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown (anti-catabolism) seems to be the most relevant, but adding adipose [fat] tissue through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle proteolysis (breakdown). Furthermore, additional adipose mass can radically alter hormone balances which are responsible for controlling protein breakdown in muscle. Insulin balance, for one, which partially controls anti- catabolism in the body, is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big philosophy!

Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you’re a genetic freak, or you’re woefully lean and don’t mind putting on fat [or you’re using appropriate pharmaceutical supplements].

Bodybuilders Who Passed Away Too Young

It’s deniable that using powerful drugs on a regular basis appear to be needed to be a world-class bodybuilder. While steroids are very common and open to debate to be harmful for body, some other drugs like insulin, HGH and Diuretics cause more serious issues likemuscular corpse, organ failure, Cardiovascular disease and even death for bodybuilders.

Using anabolic steroids got more common in the early 60’s when bodybuilders found out this can take their muscles some steps higher. But even about steroid, the majority of studies link long-term consumption of steroid with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and irregular heart function. Here is one out of hundreds of studies on effects of steroid abuse.

Maybe it’s not fair to not mention that some professional bodybuilders have died of natural causes before hitting 35 years old. But even the ones who have survived and are in their 50s or so, are not without major health problems.

Below, named some very unfortunate deaths of well-known body builders who passed away too young.