Thomas Goldwasser, ‘Pumping Iron, Not Concrete’, The New York Times (1986)

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LONG before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a movie star and pumping iron a glamour business, weight lifting built the York Barbell Company into a strapping success. York Barbell, founded 54 years ago, put York on the map as Muscletown U.S.A., and still brings Olympic weight lifters here to train. The company still dominates the barbell business, with a 70 percent share of the market for cast-iron weights made in the United States.

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Physical Fitness for the Nation (1936 British Pathé Video)

The 1930s were a tumultuous period of European history. Traditional political structures appeared to be faltering, fascist regimes were rising and the modern fitness levels appeared to be dropping dramatically. The following video, taken from the wonderful British Pathé archives, gives a snippet into the British government’s attempt to reverse the political tide and create a nation of strong and fit men.

The Lost Art of Type Training

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Can every muscle fanatic become the next Mr. Olympia? Is the 220lbs. ripped physique attainable for those who want it bad enough? How far can one push past their genetic limits?

For George Walsh (seen above), the focus of today’s article, genetics had a huge role in determining who would be the next Mr. Olympia and who would be the slightly in shape trainer. Accordingly, Walsh advocated people train to their strengths and ignore the marketing of the muscle business which would have you believe that $200 worth of supplements and the latest training programme would make you huge.

Today’s post looks at Walsh’s successes with type training, what type training entailed and what it means for the modern trainer.

Hemp/CBD Oil: Its History and Benefits

37424782764_bc72ef8f5c_bCBD or cannabidiol is one of the hottest topics that has been doing rounds among people for quite some time now. People argue about the benefits that CBD oil brings with it, while some argueabout the potential risks that it may have. While there are limited studies about CBD oil and its benefits, people have reaped its benefits for quite some time now. So much that out of the 50, 29 states of the US have already legalized the use of CBD for medicinal and recreational purposes.

What is CBD oil?

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the many compounds found in hemp and cannabis plant. The oil that is extractedout of the compoundis known as CBD oil. People often confuse CBD oil with marijuana, but in reality, they are different in many ways. Unlike marijuana, CBD oil does not have THC – the compound that is responsible for the intoxicating effect that marijuana is dreadedfor. CBD oil does not have THC, which makes it very safe for human use. Also, the lack of THC means that the compound doesn’t have any psychoactive effects on the body as well.

Peary Rader’s Magic Circle

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Loved and despised in equal measure, the squat has long been the iron game’s go to exercise for maximum leg development. A cornerstone of most trainee’s leg routines, there is certainly no doubting the exercise’s popularity.

Yet despite the fact that the back squat in particular has enjoyed a decades long dominance amongst gym rats, this does not mean that it’s position has not been challenged. Indeed for every man and woman who swear by the traditional squat, chances are you’ll find many more who curse it.

Owing to individual body mechanics, many individuals have found it difficult to perform the back squat with the form necessary to produce maximum development. This is not a new problem either as today’s post attests.

The History of Weightlifting Belts

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Owing to the increasing popularity of powerlifting, cross fit and olympic lifting, chances are you either own a weightlifting belt or see them on a regular basis on the gym floor. A means of bracing the abdomen, weightlifting belts are a source of controversy in the weightlifting world between those who see them as legitimate tools in the quest for heavier weights and those purists who prefer all lifts be done without any equipment whatsoever. For the majority of us, they’re simply a novelty to break out on a deadlift PR.

In today’s post, we’re going to explore the history of the weightlifting belt, from ancient mythology to the present day. Far from a new phenomenon then, the belt has long been a lifter’s friend.

Training with Titans: George Hackenschmidt

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Picture the scene. It’s 1911 and famed Wrestler George Hackenschmidt has finally retired from the squared circle. Looking forward to a life of relaxation and leisure, the man from Estonia grants you the privilege of an interview. In his strength and wrestling career, Hackenschmidt has popularised the Bear Hug, the Hack Squat and even set a world record in the Bench Press. His athletic exploits have dazzled crowds around the world for years. So when you sit down with him to talk training, a nervousness enters your body. The ‘Russian Lion’ is known for taking no prisoners.

Q] You have your first question lined up. Nervously you look George in the eye and timidly ask how to become strong like him…

Puffing out his chest, Hackenschmidt bellows out

“It is only by exercising with heavy weights that any man can hope to develop really great strength.”

Bigger Faster Stronger: The Mr. Olympia

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Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.

While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.

Guest Post: Protein Supplementation – A Complete History

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Image provided by Zeyus Media

Whey protein is probably the most widely consumed fitness supplement in existence. It’s a simple product. It contains protein, which is a vital part of building muscle. Without enough protein, your body will not be able to repair itself as effectively, and your growth will slow.

The reason many people turn to Whey Protein as another source of protein, is because not only is it such a simple and easy source, but it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s also one of the best sources of protein you can get, even among whole foods, only beaten by the egg.

Gaining Muscle and Losing Fat: The ABCDE Diet Experiment

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Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is often held up as the Holy Grail of body recomposition. A desirable goal, that advanced or even intermediate trainees are now told is only possible for beginners or those using chemical means.

Today’s post examines the rather lengthy sounding Anabolic Burst Cycle of Diet and Exercise or ABCDE, an eating program devised in the late 1990s by scientist/bodybuilder Torbjorn Akerfeldt, the ABCDE promised to promote both muscle growth and fat loss amongst drug-free trainees. Publicised in detail by Muscle Magazine in 2000, the diet quickly became the de rigour form of eating for gym goers across the world…at least initially.

Though simple in design, as we shall see, the ABCDE proved to be hugely ineffective for some as reports of excessive fat gain were numerous. Nevertheless, some have achieved good recompositions using the approach, making it worthy of our attention.