Category: Training

Guest Post: Reaching the Plateau – And Overcoming It

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If you’ve tried basic diet and exercise to shed unwanted pounds, chances are, you are no stranger to the weight loss plateau dilemma. When we first alter our diets by cutting calories and adding a side of exercise, we tend to shed pounds quite rapidly. Yet, once we get down to the nitty gritty of shedding those last ten to 15 pounds to reach our goal weight, we then learn that it’s not nearly as easy as it was in the beginning. That’s because once our body starts to reach a comfortable weight, it becomes more difficult to shed the rest of those pounds.

Bill Pearl On Deltoids (1975 Interview)

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INTERVIEWER:
Your approach to training has always been to use heavy weights for quality lasting muscle. It was in articles about your training as far back as 1953. You always combined pushing movements and lateral movements for total development of all three heads of the deltoid muscle. Will you update us on your deltoid training here, Bill?

BILL:
If you know enough about anatomy, you understand that you have three deltoid heads, all of which are important in bodybuilding.

The posterior delt is just as important as the lateral and front heads. Whenever I make out a delt routine, I always make sure I include exercises for each head. I also do it on triceps, biceps or whatever muscle. I try to get a muscle from every angle. I was always impressed with weightlifters’ deltoids. They convinced me that the only way you are going to get thick deltoids is with overhead presses. I have always been included toward heavy presses behind neck, military and dumbbell presses. The rear deltoid’s seems to get lost because no one gets to see it on themselves. It’s totally lacking on some people because they do nothing to attack that area. I stress bent-over exercises and incline exercises facing into an incline-bench.

Tom Platz Leg Day

A legend in the Iron Game both for his physique and the intensity brought to his training, Tom Platz or the ‘Golden Eagle’, is synonymous with one of the most impressive quad sweeps in bodybuilding. In a rare bit of training footage, uploaded to Youtube courtesy of  ‘neandertalensis66‘, the below clip details Platz’s understandings of the Squat, Hack Squat, Leg Extension and Leg Curl.

Of interest to us should not be the poundages lifted by Platz but rather the focus he placed on technique and also the variations to these exercises which he believed gave him the edge. Of particular interest to me was Platz’s technique on the Hack Squat machine, which at the bottom position resembled the sissy squats favoured by Gironda. You’ll no doubt find other interesting tidbits…

Frederick C. Hatfield, Dr. Deadlift (Powerlifting USA, Vol 10 No 4. Novemeber/1986)

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It’s a little known fact that the eruption of Mr. St. Helens, and the continuing subterranean growls in the area, are purely mythic.  What really happened up there in the land of perpetual rain and majestic mountains was that Doyle Kenady took a heavier than normal deadlift workout.  It’s not a coincidence that those after-rumblings ceased on a certain day in April of this year.

The (Somewhat Complete) History of the Deadlift!

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Having previously looked at the history of the squat, bench press and even the smith machine, it seemed about time that we did a history of the deadlift. We’ve been putting this one off for quite a while, even looking at the Romanian Deadlift en lieu of the actual thing.

The stumbling block in approaching the history of the deadlift is the amount of smoke and mirrors surrounding one of the most popular exercises in the Iron Game. Someone writes something in a training book or blog and suddenly it becomes part of the popular lore. Actual research is a lot harder to come by. Nevertheless, it’s clear that deadlifts and variations on the deadlift have been around since time began. Man and woman kind has seemingly always displayed an insatiable desire to pick heavy things up from the ground.

For the sake of my sanity and timekeeping however, we’ll begin in with the eighteenth-century when a variation of the deadlift, of heavy lifting, briefly took England by storm.

Bob Hoffman (1943) – How to Build Super Strength, Health and Development with the York Leg Developing Course

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Never afraid to promote his own products in line with good workout advice, Bob Hoffman and York Barbell were once the go to suppliers of knowledge within the Iron Game. A position Hoffman often used to great financial and sporting advantage.

Nevertheless Bob and his team did produce some good pamphlets on training as evidenced by the following course. Aimed primarily at the beginner and intermediate, the programme stressed good form, heavy weight and progressive training as the trifecta needed to build a solid and muscular base. So without further adieu, here is Hoffman’s Leg Developing Course in an abbreviated form.

Build Your Chest From All Angles with Alq Gurley – Greg Zulak 1993 Article

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It’s always interesting to me to ask the various champions I interview how they prefer to train their chest muscles because chest has always been a difficult muscle group for me to develop. I always want to know what the other guys are doing. You never know when you might pick up something new that will help.

Some guys are power freaks, and will mostly handle monstrous poundages for low reps. Bertil Fox comes to mind as one pro who trains his chest this way. Then there are those who prefer light weight, high reps and lots and lots of sets. Serge Nubret is probably the best example of this mode of training. Without a doubt, though the preferred method of training chest is to use a variety of movements to hit the chest from various angles and to vary the reps from low to high. This approach seems to ensure that you hit all parts of the chest and the various muscle fiber types.

For Alq Gurley, Mr. Universe and recent third-place finisher at the Pro Ironman Invitational in February (which qualified him for the Mr. Olympia contest this fall), chest work is a combinations of the last two types of training. Like Serge Nubret he does plenty of sets — about 25 sets per chest workout — but he generally keeps his reps in the 10 to 12 range. He doesn’t pyramid down to heavy sets of five or six reps, as he worries about possible career-threatening injuries. And he doesn’t go up to 15 and 20 reps a set like Nubret, because he feels 10-12 reps are best for mass.