Category: Training

The Controversial History of ZMA

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One of the unquestioned staples of bodybuilding supplementation, ZMA is often up there with creatine and protein in terms of popularity. Rumoured to increase testosterone, muscle mass and your chance of bizarre dreams, ZMA is promoted as a cheap and effective supplement for the average gym goer.

In my own brief training experience, it’s something I’ve used on a regular basis not because of its observable benefits, but because people talk about it so damn much. So my own conformity aside, it’s important to note that ZMA’s history and effectiveness is far more suspect than we might consider. That’s putting it mildly.

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Forgotten Exercises: Gironda Hack Squats

For many lifters, myself included, the quads can be a notoriously difficult muscle to shape. It’s easy to add bulk and size, countless numbers of squats will suffice but where does the lifter turn when it comes time to refine, to sculpt and to define the thigh muscles?

Now past readers will no doubt be aware of my fondness for Vince Gironda, the influential bodybuilding coach of the mind century. Known as the ‘Iron Guru’ for good reason, Gironda was a maverick in terms of devising specialised exercises. His variations on dips, chin ups and bicep curls helped countless champions gain that competitive edge. Needless to say, I’m a fan boy.

The History of the Trap Bar

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A piece of equipment that has become increasingly common in recent years is the trap bar, that hexagonal device which has become the bane of many a lifter. An easy way to build up the quads and lower back, the trap bar first came into my consciousness when i began lifting in the early 2000s. An odd device, the thing kicked my ass as I attempted a meagre deadlift.

Since then, we’ve come to better terms to the extent that I began to wonder where this device came from. What was its original purpose? And how did it end up on a gym floor in Dublin? A series of questions that has led to today’s post.

Guest Post: The Greatest Genetics? The Case of Flex Wheeler

Kenneth Flex Wheeler is often called the “Sultan of Symmetry” and known for being a living legend who has one of the best physiques to ever grace the IFBB stage as he has the widest back and shoulders among all bodybuilder competitors. In spite of muscle mass size, definition and proportion, Mr. Olympia judges have commonly been impressed with his muscle size than with body proportion, that`s why Flex Wheeler is justly considered as the greatest bodybuilder who has never won the Mr. Olympia, but who won Arnold Classic four times!

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Today Flex Wheeler is the 52-year old icon of bodybuilding who likes to amaze and make happy his fans announcing his comeback for the Mr. Olympia 2017.

Bill Starr, Gaining Weight The Natural Way (1993 article)

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It was the first really warm day of spring. The trees and shrubs displayed tiny buds, but the insects and crawling creatures were not yet out in force and, best of all, the poison ivy was still dormant. It was the ideal time to hike through the woodlands of the Susquehanna State Park. I tracked down the source of a small stream, watched a six-foot blacksnake slither up the limbs of a sapling in order to do some serious sunbathing, and observed a dozen adventuresome canoeists guide their crafts over the white water of Deer Creek.

Steve Michalik’s Training Diary from 1968

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How bodybuilding champions train is an area of intense interest for muscle fanatics the world over. How many sets, how many reps and how intensely? What makes them great?

Seeking to satisfy demands, muscle magazines often publish polished workout routines written by the Champions. Yet nothing compares to the first article, making today’s post on Steve Michalik’s 1968 training diary just so fascinating. In it we see Steve’s hopes for the future regarding the stage and also his thoughts on training poundages an intensity. A gem of a find that I stumbled across on Dave Draper’s excellent bodybuilding website and forum.

You can check out the training diary below.

Ivan Dunbar, How Many Reps Makes the Champion? (1964 Health & Strength Article)

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One of bodybuilding’s most perplexing problems is deciding on how many repetitions. In recent years there has been a tendency to standardise the number to around ten, as this is felt to provide the best combination for muscular bulk, strength and stamina.

Not too many years ago the guiding rule was low reps for bulk, high reps for definition. But is this true? Well I remember, some years ago, embarking on a “bulk course” (the most misused phrase in bodybuilding) consisting of five exercises designed to gain at least a stone of muscular bulk and bring me at long last from the ranks of obscurity to bodybuilding stardom. Unfortunately, though there was a considerable increase in strength, the massive gains in bulk did not materialise.