Category: Training

Vince Gironda, ‘The Mental State’, The Gironda Master Series Vol. I

The Zen masters, Hatha Yoga and Judo, teach us that the human race of today has lost all trace of an instinctive wisdom of the body. But I disagree in part. I have observed many […]

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Forgotten Exercises: Barbell Kickbacks

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Let’s face it, very few people in the business of muscle building seem to respect the Tricep Kickback. Indeed a cursory glance online sees it described as pointless, useless and ineffective. Strong words for a relatively simplistic exercise. From my own observations, it is interesting to note in my own gym that women tend to gravitate towards Dumbbell kickbacks while men use the cable machine. Speaking to this with some friends recently, I was told that men don’t want to be seen with brightly coloured or small dumbbells working on there arms. A matter for an entirely different post…

In any case, the dumbbell kickback has served countless champion bodybuilders over the years, including but not limited to Frank Zane, Ronnie Coleman and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe that will improve their street credibility, or maybe not. Now in any case, in a futile attempt to discover the inventor of the Tricep Kickback exercise, I stumbled across an interesting variation promoted by the first, and two-time, Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott. That being the Barbell Kickback, the subject of today’s post.

Alan Stephen – Bulking is Easy (1950 article)

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Published by the mid-century Bodybuilder Alan Stephens, the following article from Your Physique magazine details some time honoured means of bulking up in the easiest and most efficient way possible. Though much of Stephens’ advice will seem like old hat to those a few years in the Iron Game, his writings were geared toward the beginner and those seeking to change things up.

What’s more. It was never overly complicated. Indeed according to the man himself

All you need to do is follow the right exercises, eat plenty of nourishing food and get as much rest and relaxation on your non training days as you possibly can.

With that in mind though, we’ll dig a little deeper.

Wrestling and Weightlifting: The WWF and Fitness in the 1980s

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I’ll admit it, although born in the early 1990s, I was a Hulkamaniac. Aside from growing up during the WWF attitude era, where individuals like Triple H, The Rock, Mark Henry and Stone Cold were living embodiments of strength, I regularly went through back catalogues of old wrestling shows. There I’d see Jimmy Superfly Snuka’s iconic finishes, Jimmy Hart’s unmatched smack talk and everything weird and wonderful that wrestling offered from the 1980s onwards. I, like many others, was enthralled by the athleticism of the wrestlers. I suspect that my initial interest in training came from my love of wrestling where the heels and the babyfaces sported muscular bodies in equal measure. In that vein, today’s post examines the WWF’s crossovers into health and fitness in the 1980s.

George A. Baselice, ‘GIGANTIC ARMS! The One Arm Per Day Blast For Bigger Arms’, Planet Muscle (Volume 5, Number 1, 2002)

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Have you ever tried the professional bodybuilder one-day arm blasting programs? I hope maybe some of you have heard of these and tried them. Primarily because I’d hate to think that I am the only goof who can spend an entire day training my arms!

Now, some of these are downright nutty programs. Most of the methods were “developed” and occasionally promoted in some of the muscle magazines back in the 50’s and 60’s, and some trainers such as Charles Poliquin have refined them a bit today.

At any rate, in most of them, you actually perform arm exercises every half-hour and every few hours you eat proteins. I tried one program and I mean I went from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. doing arm exercises. Don’t ask me what I was thinking! (Or not thinking as the case may be.)

Did I gain the 1/2″ on my arms, five days after completing this particular program, as the varied and sundry past articles claimed I would? Unfortunately, no. Did my arms shrink for the first 24 hours after this workout as most of the article also claimed they would? Unfortunately, yes!

Guest Post: The History of Running Shoes

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In order to be able to truly understand all the changes and breakouts the modern running shoe industry is trying to promote, we should really look back to the very beginning. So much change has been made to this piece of footwear over the years.

From spiky to rubber soles, over brand rivalry and ingenious inventions, these pieces of footwear really have an interesting history. That said, let’s explore some interesting historical facts regarding running shoes and see how we got to the place we are today.

The Long History of the Medicine Ball

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Few pieces of equipment have a century’s long history. Aside, perhaps, from the Indian club, most of the machines or devices we exercise with today count their origins to the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Sure some may argue that dumbbells have long been used by trainees but a simple look at Ancient Greek halteres makes clear that the modern dumbbell bears little resemblance.

The relatively new nature of exercise equipment obscures the fact that there is one piece of exercise equipment, used in almost every gym, that has a centuries long history. Enter the humble medicine ball. No other piece of equipment is treated with as much disrespect as the medicine ball. It is slammed, thrown, lifted, kicked and, at times, even hit with sledge hammers. Our relative ill treatment of it aside, the medicine ball is also one of those few devices that serves a variety of goals and training methods.

Few of us, myself included, acknowledge the long history of the medicine ball. With that in mind, today’s post tracks the long history of the medicine ball, beginning with its time in Ancient Greece, its re-emergence in the nineteenth century, right up to its modern day use.

Bob Whelan, ‘Common Sense Periodization’, Hard Gainer, July-August (1999), 21-24.

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Periodization means “to divide into periods,” when defined by most dictionaries. That’s also the way that I view this term as it applies to strength training. I’m a big believer that some form of change in a routine every three or four months or so is as good mentally as it is physically. In addition to this, as noted in some previous articles, I like to have a day or two each month when I mix things up a little bit. The change keeps enthusiasm high, helps you through sticking points, bolsters your motivation, and re- energizes your training.

I want to be very clear on one thing. When I use the word “periodization”—I actually call it “common sense periodization”—I’m not advocating the orthodox definition used by the NSCA and some other organizations. I find that definition illogical. I don’t believe in a “hypertrophy phase” as being separate from a “strength-building” phase. There are also other aspects of the orthodox definition that I don’t agree with, but rather than get into all of that I’d rather just focus on my definition.