Category: Training

A Brief History of the Swiss Ball

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Whether you’ve attempted to train your ‘core’ or perform some simple rehab exercises, chances are you’ve used a Swiss Ball at some point in your training career.

So where did the Swiss Ball come from? What was it’s purpose and how did they become so popular?

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The History of the Smith Machine

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Ah yes, the dreaded Smith Machine. Criticised for its unnatural movements, failure to fully tax the muscles and its generally unappealing design.

Who invented the Smith Machine? Why did they do it and how did it become so popular? These are some of the questions answered in today’s blogpost on the history of the Smith Machine!

Old School Equipment You’re Not Using

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The Holy Trinity of the gym floor is undoubtedly: the dumbbells, the barbells and the machines. We’ve become so accustomed to this trifecta that we forget that the body can be trained in a variety of ways, with a variety of weights.

In today’s post we look at workout equipment from the yesteryear’s of muscle building. Such equipment built the physiques of Sandow, Hackenschmidt and countless others so why not try them out?

How Fast Should You Gain Weight and Size – John C. Grimek (1976)

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John Grimek was one of the greatest American weightlifters and bodybuilders of the 20th century. Nicknamed ‘The Monarch of Muscledom’, Grimek also competed for the US in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It’s fair to say he knew something about lifting weights.

Today’s article sees Grimek discuss one of the most pressing issues in bodybuilding. How quickly should one gain weight? What’s the best methods? And when is bulking a bad idea? His responses may surprise you….

1974 Fred Howell Article: 10 Bulk Routines That Work

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This article, first written by Fred Howell for Muscular Development in 1974, details some of the fastest and toughest ways to put on slabs of Muscle. While the routines aren’t for the faint of heart, they’re guaranteed to get results!

Somehow in the past few weeks the word leaked out that I had at least a ton of weights in my cellar. All of a sudden every kid in town that owned a barbell or was going to train someday showed up at my door asking to see this old man’s collection of iron.

Talking with the kids I learned that each and every one of them had, as their goal, a desire to gain weight. Some of them, I’m sorry to say, will be very lucky to gain a few pounds with the type of courses they follow. Their training routines are far from weight gaining routines. I was able to convince one super enthusiast not to train every day and expect to add on the pounds. Not when he’s just a beginner.

Nature plays a horrible trick on the human male. When a male needs the weight most to excel in some head-busting sport it’s hard to put it on. Then a few years later when we have no use at all for extra bodyweight, we can add it just by looking at food. I had to smile to myself as they talked about their routines and how they wanted to weigh a certain amount in a couple of months. And here I am fighting the battle of the double bulge.

Train like a Sandow!

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Why train like a strongman from the 1900s?

Well if that strongman is Eugen Sandow, the father of modern day bodybuilding, the answer should be obvious. Sandow came at a time when steroids hadn’t infiltrated gyms and exercisers were forced to rely on food and training alone. Coupled with this Sandow was inspired by the aesthetics of old Greco-Roman statues, a look that most gym goers today are striving for. So why not train like a strongman from the 1900s?

Detailed below is Sandow’s exercise regime which he claimed kept the body in equal and awesome proportions. Combine it with the man’s advice on diet and you’re on to a winner.

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How Boxers Trained in 1901

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This article written by P. G. Woodhouse, first appeared in Sandow’s Magazine of Physical Culture in December 1901. In it Woodhouse describes the latest scientific technologies being used by boxers preparing for a fight. Some such as the heavy medicine ball have remained with us whilst others like rubbing oneself with eucalyptus oil have sadly faded from our modern training regimes. 

Regardless, it’s a fascinating insight into how athletes got into match condition over a century ago and well worth a read.

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The Ideal Workout by Arthur Jones

In June 1970, Arthur Jones, the father of High Intensity Training, published the ‘Ideal Workout’ in bodybuilding magazine Muscular Development. In the article, posted below, Jones set out the importance of vigorous training as well as promoting his new brand of exercise machines. Little was Jones to know that his new training machines would soon pop up across the US as America fell into a Nautilus craze.

Just what is the ideal workout?

At this point the answer to the question is not clear even to me, not even after 20 years of keen interest, involvement and research on my part, but at least this much is clear; we are now a great deal closer to the answer than we were as recently as a year ago…at least that’s some progress.

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The Rise of Split Training in Bodybuilding

Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps and Legs/Shoulders. The Holy Trinity of bodybuilding split routines. Nowadays the idea of split routines is so ingrained in the fitness community that the idea of whole body training for anyone other than a beginner is scoffed at. This is despite the fact that men like Eugen Sandow, George Hackenschmidt right up to Reg Park built their physiques using whole body routines. Something that begs the question…When did bodybuilders start using split training routines and why did they become so popular?