Forgotten Exercises: Sternum Chin Up

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Pull ups are perhaps the most misunderstood exercise on the gym floor. At the risk of descending into a ‘back in my day’ rant, when I was taught how do to a pull up or chin up, the form was simple; Pull chest to bar, lower until arms are straight. Rinse and repeat. It was a simple, although far from easy, thing to do. Nowadays pull ups seem to be a mixture between hurtling yourself at full speed towards the bar i.e. the kipping pull up or an exercise in which the body is lower a 1/2 inch from the bar, i.e. the bro pull up.

Admittedly I’ve varied through using strict, not so strict and completely reckless form when doing pull ups. On some day I’d use all three during the same set. What forced me to reevaluate my form was the Sternum Chin Up, an exercise synonymous with Vince Gironda. The Sternum Chin Up is perhaps one of the most effective and unforgiving exercises from yesterday I’ve recycled in my own training.  In today’s post, we’ll run through the history of the exercise, what it looks like and how you can incorporate it into your own training.

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Guest Post: How Tennis Developed over the Years

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One of the most popular sports nowadays, enjoyed by tens of millions of people, tennis has had a very interesting history. Like most other sports, it has seen many changes, some of which crucial to its development and popularity. So, let’s take a look back at how this great sport has developed to become one of the most attractive and popular sports in the world.

It’s actually very old

Believe it or not, tennis is the direct descendant of jeu de paume, invented in France in the 11th century. This game was played with bare hands for centuries before rackets were introduced in the 16th century, along with the special scoring system that remains a great to puzzle to many (15, 30, 40, game). It was in the late 19th century, i.e. in 1870, that tennis was designed and codified in England. The name came from the French word “tenez!” (loosely translated as “here it comes!”), which a player was supposed to say to their opponent as they were about to serve.

Bill Kazmaier, ‘Bench Pressing Style And Technicalities’, Bill Kazmaier and the Bench Press (1981), 4-6

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The basic concept of lying on a bench and taking a bar from arm’s length to the chest and back is a very simple one. However, bench pressing with maximum efficiency and power is an extremely exacting art relying on many major and minor principles and utilizing the coordination of the many muscles involved. While there is no one universal style that is perfect for every lifter-hand spacing, d<;gree of arch and foot placement being the most individual variables, there are other aspects that should be applied by all lifters. In this section I would like to consider all these intrinsic aspects of bench pressing technique as correct form is an important feature in increasing bench pressing ability and accompanied muscle growth.

MIKE MENTZER, ‘The Essential Nutrients’, HEAVY DUTY NUTRITION (1993), 11-14.

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In order to maintain health and provide for optimal growth, our bodies require more than 40 different nutrients. These various nutrients can be found in the six primary food components: water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.

WATER: Whether or not you believe live began in the sea, the fact remains that life exists in an inner sea within our body, two-thirds of which is water. All of life’s complex biochemical processes take place in a water medium, which accounts for the fluidity of our blood and lymph system. Water is our waste remover through urine and feces; it lubricates our joints, keeps our body temperature within a narrow range; and last but not of least importance to the bodybuilder, water is the primary constituent of muscle tissue.

Wrestling and Weightlifting: The WWF and Fitness in the 1980s

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I’ll admit it, although born in the early 1990s, I was a Hulkamaniac. Aside from growing up during the WWF attitude era, where individuals like Triple H, The Rock, Mark Henry and Stone Cold were living embodiments of strength, I regularly went through back catalogues of old wrestling shows. There I’d see Jimmy Superfly Snuka’s iconic finishes, Jimmy Hart’s unmatched smack talk and everything weird and wonderful that wrestling offered from the 1980s onwards. I, like many others, was enthralled by the athleticism of the wrestlers. I suspect that my initial interest in training came from my love of wrestling where the heels and the babyfaces sported muscular bodies in equal measure. In that vein, today’s post examines the WWF’s crossovers into health and fitness in the 1980s.

Dr. Mel Siff, A Short History of Strength and Conditioning (Dolfzine, 2003)

Strength training has always been synonymous with the so-called “Iron Game,” a broad generic term that includes the competitive lifting of heavy objects by “strongmen/women” during the last century or so. Feats of lifting strength, however, have appeared throughout the history of most nations, but it has only been in very recent times that training to produce strength has become a scientific discipline.


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This science did not arise overnight, but is the culminating point of thousands of years of trial-and-error methods of training.

The earliest reference to formal strength training occurs in Chinese texts dating as far back as 3600BC when emperors made their subjects exercise daily (Webster, 1976). During the Chou dynasty (1122-249BC) potential soldiers had to pass weight-lifting tests before being allowed to enter the armed forces.

The History of the Glute Ham Raise

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Owing to the inquisitive nature of a PCS reader, I’ve finally gotten my act together, or at least come close enough to some semblance of normality, to go down the rabbit hole once again. The topic of todays post, is the rather more niche but nevertheless effective Glute Ham Raise (GHR) machine.

Having spent years devotedly using reverse hyperextensions and 45 degree back extensions, my own relationship with the Glute Ham Raise only began in the last twelve months. Since then I’ve made a point of trying as many different alternatives as possible. As is so often the case, I became too engrossed in using the machine that I forgot to look into its history. An email this month asking me about the GHR finally set me straight.

So without further ado we’ll crack into the history of the GHR. What is it? Who invented it and how did it become so damn popular?

Harry B. Paschall, ‘How Barbell Men Go Wrong’, Muscle Moulding (London, 1950)

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You cannot spend a third of a century around physical culturists and barbell men without coming to a few conclusions. You see many enthusiasts who thrive on their training schedules and attain a perfectly satisfactory degree of physical development. You see others work and strain without noticeable improvement for months or years. Quite often these latter cases come up with the time-worn excuse that they are simply not the type to gain. Some experts even have given various names to these unsuccessful barbell men and inform them with regret that they cannot change their type and they are therefore doomed to failure.