Category: Training

John Christy, ‘Mid-Year Checkup’, Hardgainer Magazine, July/August (1999)

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By the time you receive this issue of HARDGAINER we will be about half way through the year. So it’s a good idea to take stock as to how your training is going so far, so that you make the rest of the year as productive as possible.

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Arthur Saxon, ‘Routine of Training’, The Development of Physical Power (London, 1906)

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WITH regard to the routine of training, I again repeat, my idea is not to develop muscle at the expense of either health or strength. It is really impossible for me to prescribe special exercises with fixed time limits for same, and fixed days for each individual who may ready this book, as we are all possessed of different constitutions and staminal power, but roughly speaking it will be found correct in most instances to practice twice per week, and at such practices I advise that on each lift you commence with fairly light weights, and gradually increase the weight of same. Taking the double-handed lift, if your lift is about 200 pounds commence at 100 pounds, and with this light weight press overhead, then add 20 pounds and press again, and so on, until you are compelled to jerk the weight. Proceed until you reach your limit, then try another lift, say the snatch, commencing low and working up to your highest poundage. Surely this method of prac- tice is better than to attempt, as most English and American weight-lifters do, their heaviest bell right off the reel. As usual, they fail, and then get in reality no practice at all, only making their position worse, instead of better. Of course, to practice this way shot-loading bar bells would be a nuisance. The most up-to-date bells on the market for weight-lifting practice, in my opinion, are disc-loading bells. With these disc-loading bells one may have a weight as low as 20 pounds or as high as 400 pounds, and one bell would be sufficient for any number of lifters. The same plates used on the long bar may also be used on short bars for dumb-bells.

Bob Gajda’s Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) Training

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One point that always fascinates me about training is the sheer diversity one finds when it comes to training systems, exercises and training philosophies. What works for one trainee can prove pointless to another. No matter how good the programme, it often has to be tailored towards the individual, and indeed, we often find that the most successful trainees when it comes to bodybuilding have devised or used workouts advantageous to themselves.

Today’s post is a case in point. Titled ‘Peripheral Heart Action’ or PHA training, this form of exercise has come to be associated with Bob Gajda, the 1966 Mr. America Winner. Counting a host of proponents, including Charles Poliquin, PHA training is a rather interesting combination of circuit, strength and hypertrophy designed with bodybuilding in mind. That being the case, today’s post seeks to answer three simple questions. What is PHA Training and who invented it? Why did it come to be associated with Gajda and finally how can it be used for the modern trainee?

Push-Ups – Their history, Beneficial Effects, Types and Potential Risks

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What Do You Need to Know About Push-Ups Before You Try Them?

Introduction

There is not a man on earth, nor woman for that matter, that has not been introduced to the context of push-ups before. Perhaps you have even tried to do a push-up in your life just to see what it is all about! Well, this amazing exercise has been true to its meaning and it has introduced success into any person’s exercising plan who has been motivated enough to perform this exercise regularly and properly. But the truth is that any exercise, including something as simple as push-up is, brings potential risks to your body if you are not trained properly to do this exercise. So what we what to do today, is introduce you to the context of push-ups and share basic information regarding what a push-up is, who has thought about it first, its potential beneficial effects as well as risks. If you are looking to introduce push-ups as a regular exercise into your exercise routine, then we look forward to informing you more about this great exercise!

George F. Jowett, The Truth About Exercise (c. 1925)

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It takes all kinds of people to make a world, but some we often feel should be given an island, to make a world of their own. There are people who apparently are born with the pessimistic germ in their systems. They just cannot help taking a contrary view of the situation. You find them everywhere, and antagonistic to the popular beliefs of life, law and religion. I agree that the major part of their criticism is destructive rather than constructive, but why worry about them if you know you are right. You may say, “Look at the harm they do.” But I do not believe that. Like attracts like is my belief. Some people prefer to believe that black is white, so let them believe it. We have the same spirit to contend with in teaching the valuable precepts of physical training.

I happened to know a man who had an argumentative belief that exercise was harmful; he accosted a heart specialist on the question, with whom I am familiar. The specialist informed him that the causes of cardiac conditions were reduced to four, none of which were caused by exercise. The only time sports or exercise are liable to injure the heart are when the heart is out of condition. Then anything would injure it. More often bad eating, but rarely right exercise, which is constructive. The other man replied that just the same he believed exercise hurts the heart. Now a wall would have to fall on such a man before he would believe it had fallen. And, as an angel could not convert such a person, why worry about it?

The History of the Plank Exercise

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Chances are every single one of use has spent a seemingly endless amount of time stuck in the ‘plank’ position shown above. When I first began weight training for rugby as a starry eyed teen we did every kind of vacation imagine. We did it for time, we moved in circles, we placed weights, and even at times each other, on our backs to increase the resistance and improve our core.

Was it all a waste? Probably if truth be told. Though one can feel the effects of the plank on their abdominals almost instantly, any pain I suffered from having a week ‘core’, that oh so mercurial term, was eventually solved through copious amounts of squats, deadlifts, reverse hyper extenions and back extensions combined with strict cable crunches and hanging leg raises If these exercises don’t challenge your core, I’d suggest re-evaluating your form.

Now in any case it’s undeniable that the plank exercise has become a mainstay in the fitness community over the past two decades. Though fading out in my own gym, at least somewhat, it’s still used by numerous personal trainers and classes the world over. This leads us to the point of today’s post. Who invented the plank exercise and how did it become so damn popular? Furthermore, is it actually beneficial? I’ll put my own prejudices aside as best I can for the last point.

Bradley J. Steiner’s General Rules for Training (1972)

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As stated previously, no definite rules can be said to apply to all trainees at all times, since every case is uniquely different – and the final trainer is the individual himself. However, there are helpful guidelines that can be followed, and I present the following as such, to be considered in light of your present stage of development and current goals . . .

Harry Paschall, ‘The Ideal Man’, Muscle Molding (1950)

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For mid-century American Iron Heads Harry Paschall represented one of the most informative and humorous writers on all things related to fitness. Through the use of cartoons and an alter ego named Bosco, Paschall provided just the right mixture of old school methodology combined with the latest ideas, exercises and techniques. If you want to know more about Paschall and the infinitely more famous Bosco, check out Clarence Bass’s detailed write up here. Alternatively if you want evidence of the great man’s writing, The Tight Slacks of Dezso Ban provides some nice samples. I digress…

Now recently I was lucky enough to pick up a second hand copy of Paschall’s 1950 work Muscle Moulding. Briefly known as the Bodybuilder’s Bible, Muscle Moulding detailed everything from nutrition to workout programmes in a simple and concise manner. It’s well worth the read and unsurprisingly given Paschall’s focus on simple exercises, much of the advice has latest the test of time. Something that caught my eye while reading it was Paschall’s standards for “the ideal man” given by Alan Calvert in 1914. Though lifting weights had progressed quite a bit since Calvert’s time, I found it interesting that Paschall was so in favour of his ideal man. While measurements are inherently subjective they do give pause for thought.

So without further adieu…

Guest Post: George Eiferman – The Lost Tips

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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 you live and lift in a world where bodybuilding has been reduced to supplementation, cutting workout time in half and putting size before health, you become hungry for this noble sport’s true roots. And where better to look, than to the legends of lifting, to beasts such as Leroy Colbert and the gentleman from the title of this article who were and still remain at the forefront of the sport?

John Grimek, ‘Shaplier Biceps’, Strength and Health, November (1957), 35-49.

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The arm, particularly the biceps muscle, the best-known of all the muscles and incite more interest and controversy than any other group of muscles. Both old and young are for some inexplicable reason, fascinated by strong, muscular looking arms. The very young are always intrigued and not heard anyone with a fine pair of arms “to show me your muscle!” Youngsters don’t realise the almost 700 muscles comprise the muscular makeup of the body, but to then only the biceps muscles because they not up to a peak when the arm is flexed.