Category: Training

Getting Fit While Getting Totally Flexible: A Handy, Small Guide

Fitness means many different things for many different people. Some people prefer to get big and strong, while others prefer to have maximum endurance. Through all corners of the internet, fitness magazine culture, and written […]

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3 Sets x 10 Reps: The History, Logic and Reasoning

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Earlier in the week I was fortunate enough to spend time with a friend of mine who has recently qualified as a physiotherapist. Discussing the relative merits of different exercises and training protocols, my friend lamented his profession’s reliance on cookie cutter protocols for rehabbing patients. In their view, many physiotherapists tended to prescribe 10 reps x 3 sets on exercises for patients regardless of their training experience, interest or age.

Now admittedly my friend has been strength training for the better part of a decade, which perhaps explains his enthusiasm for varying rep ranges across populations. Indeed in their training lifetime, they’ve used 5 x 5, 3 x 8, 1 x 20 and a host of other schemes. Hence they’ve experienced the effects that different protocols can produce. Ruminating however on their complaints, I realised that even outside the world of physiotherapy, people can adhere to rep ranges with a quasi-religious real. After all, when was the last time you heard someone promote 4 sets x 11 reps? Sacrilege….rep ranges must be divisible by 2 in the vast majority of cases!

Indeed, it’s not just the world of physiotherapy that has become enamoured with 3 sets x 10 reps. Many beginner and advanced programmes promote likewise. Certainly when I finished my first ‘real’ programme of 5 x 5, I was encouraged by older lifters to move to 10 x 3 for an introduction into bodybuilding. So with this in mind, today’s post examines the history of ’10 x 3′, a training protocol favoured it seems by gym goers and professional clinicians alike.

Doug Hepburn’s 1953 Training Cycle

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An absolute goliath in the training world, Douglas Ivan Hepburn or Doug for short, was one of the most respected athletes of the mid-twentieth century. Winning gold medals at the 1953 World Weightlifting Championships, the 1954 British Empire Games and a series of other contests, Hepburn is perhaps best known for his incredible power. Indeed, the Canadian born strongman was the first individual to bench press 500 pounds and squat over 600 pounds with relative ease. A remarkable feat by anyone’s standards.

The following blogpost is based on Hepburn’s own interview with muscle writer Jim Murray in 1954 and details Hepburn’s training cycles in the lead up to his 1953 gold medal.

Bradley J. Steiner, For Rugged Strength And Muscle Size Try This Novel “Split Routine (1972 Article)

Weight Fitness Studio Fitness Dumbbell
Weight Fitness Studio Fitness Dumbbell

I remember hesitating abut using the title that appears on the top of this page.

I can hear the “oohs!” and “aahhs!” and I can see the looks of astonishment and disappointment on your faces: “Steiner – IRON MAN’S feature-writer, advocating, a split routine? Why, this guy’s flipped his wig. He’s been hollering so much about the importance of avoiding too much exercise, and the fact the three workouts a week are plenty for gains, that I’ve been afraid to even look at a a barbell more than three times a week – for fear of over-training – and now?? – what gives? – has Steiner gone the way of the Iron Game’s more unscrupulous money-grubbers? – is he too going to blabber about quadruple-zipping and double-popping, and marathon, three-hour schedules? – Oh man! What’s going on???

The History of the Foam Roller

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What could be simpler? Just hop on a piece of foam and roll up and down… anyone could do that right? Yes, anyone can but few do. Why? Mainly because it hurts. It’s effective but my god is it sore.

Yes today we are talking about the foam roller, the cost-effective means of massaging aching muscles and forcing you to embrace pain during your rest days. Who invented the foam roller? What was its purpose and how did it end up in gyms across the world?

By the end of the article you’ll have the answers to these questions and perhaps have a new found appreciation for the $20 torture device.

The Squat …For Everything?

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Written by Peary Rader in Ironman magazine in 1971, the following article details the great man’s love of the heavy squat as a means of hypertrophy. Despite his own opinion on squat mechanics (see our ‘Magic Circle‘ article), Rader was unwavering in his claim that heavy squatting was the most effective training for all. An interesting read and timely rallying call for effective training!

I want to dwell on a topic which I feel is of great importance of every reader of this article, whether his interest be in big muscles, great strength or superb condition and health. We want to dwell more at length on the latter though we wish to emphasize the others as well.

Reg Park – How I Trained for the 1958 Mr. Universe

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An ideal for Arnie and countless others, Reg Park was one of the biggest bodybuilding names of the mid-century. Known for his powerful physique and raw strength, it’s no surprise that even though the great man has passed away, many still follow his old workout routines to a tee.

Today’s post was generously given by a reader of the blog who stumbled across an article written by Park following the 1958 Mr. Universe. It details his training, supplementation and general state of mind leading up to the competition. I’m sure you’ll find it as interesting and informative as I did.

Now in the interests of accuracy, and my own laziness, the article will appear below just as it did in 1958…Enjoy!

T.C. Luoma, Back Training in Focus: Back Training with Shawn Ray (1995)

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It happened to Rocky Balboa. He got soft. He earned all that money, got used to the good life, and lost his competitive edge, his “eye of the tiger.” His old fart of a trainer told him, ” The worst thing that could happen to a fighter happened to you – ya got civilized.” Rocky had to return to his roots to get his edge back. Will the same thing happen to Shawn Ray, now that he’s living the good life?

The Ghost Of Sport Injuries Past

No one can deny that sports are dangerous. An injury sustained in training can cripple us for the rest of our lives. That’s the reason sports people put so much import in warming up before workouts. It’s also the reason it’s important not to push yourself. You may have dreams of doing it like your heroes, but you’ll never to get to their level if you don’t build up slowly.

Guest Post: Cardio Exercise and its History in Health and Fitness

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Cardio is a form of exercise that results in an increased heart rate as well as improved muscular functioning which ultimately leads to general body fitness. Cardio as a form of physical exercise, involves engagement of larger body muscles, often referred to as gross motor activities. Apart from raising the heart rate during exercise, cardio exercise also enables our muscles to maintain a good shape and condition. This results in a more healthy and efficient functioning body, while helping us to achieve the primary goal of cardio exercise, which is a stronger cardio vascular system that is characterized with more capillaries carrying more oxygen to the muscular cells. Increased oxygen supply in turn allows your body to break down more fat during exercise as well as during resting period.

Low intensity exercise rates for an elongated period of time enables you to participate in the cardio form of exercise. For instance, engaging your body in rhythmic exercises for more than 15 minutes while maintaining 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate is an ideal way of taking part in cardio exercise. This leads to a number of health and fitness benefits such as increased stamina, control of body weight and other benefits related to psychological and mental functioning of the body including reduced anxiety and enhanced moods.