Guest Post: Four Ancient Diets that Work Even Today

5 Craziest diet ancient diet that people have forgotten-1

What are the first thoughts that run through your head when you hear the word “diet”? The cravings, the hunger, the New Year’s resolution, maybe? Mainly, people tend to think about their efforts to shed some weight and the struggle that accompanies such endeavors.

However, on second thought, you may realize that the word “diet” has many more meanings and associations that go beyond the trying to lose weight. Simply put, diet is the way you eat. This can be influenced by your preferences, but can also be influenced by your health, religion, or even your ethics.

Forgotten Exercises: The Bradford Press

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One of the most maligned exercises of recent decades has been the military press done behind the neck. Owing it is said to the undue stress this exercise places on the shoulder joints, lifters have been advised to avoid this technique at all costs. I, for many years, was one of those lifters. Not only did the exercise feel uncomfortable, I couldn’t go as heavy on it, thereby hurting my fragile ego.

Some months ago I stumbled across another trainee performing Bradford Presses in the gym. This same trainee, an advocate of old school training, had previously alerted me to the Butt Punch and Swingbell exercises previously covered on this site. When pressed (no pun intended) about why he was performing said lift, I was curtly informed that he had performed this exercise for two decades without shoulder pain. I, was curious to put it mildly.

Fast forward to the present day and my shoulder health has improved dramatically, as has my conventional military press. I owe a large part of this to the Bradford Press, hence the topic of today’s post.

Sarah Pileggi, ‘The Pleasure of Being the World’s Strongest Women’, (Sports Illustrated, 1977)

Katie Sandwina was a professional strong woman who performed in John Ringling’s circuses in the early 1900s. She was celebrated for great feats of strength, such as carrying a 600-pound cannon on her back, and lesser ones, like executing the manual of arms with her 160-pound husband Max instead of a rifle. Sandwina was a handsome woman, standing 6’1″ and weighing 210 pounds. She had a narrow, corseted waist, in the style of the day, and well-rounded thighs filling out her white circus tights. Some people think Sandwina was the strongest woman who ever lived, but because very few strong women have thought it prudent to advertise their strength, the matter is difficult to judge.

In a genealogy of the spirit, Jan Todd would be in a direct line of descent from Katie Sandwina. The day four years ago when Jan first heard of Sandwina was also the day she began to turn over in her mind the possibility of shedding a feminine physical ideal that was not of her own making. Until that day she had been a naturally strong, athletically talented, intellectually well-equipped schoolgirl who took her strength for granted and worried, off and on, about her height (5’7″), her weight (165) and her posture (round-shouldered).

The History of the Bosu Ball

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Part of the functional training fetish exhibited by members of the strength and conditioning community in the opening decade of the twenty-first century, the Bosu Ball was not too long ago, a ubiquitous piece of gym equipment. Nowadays found in the corner of the gym floor, if at all, the Bosu Ball, along with the Swiss Ball covered previously, represented a shift in training from strength and hypertrophy and balance and functional strength (whatever that means).

Having rediscovered the Bosu Ball recently, and by that I mean having tripped over one in the gym, I thought the timing seemed right to finally uncover its history.

Stuart McRobert, Ten Years Wiser, Hardgainer Magazine, 11:1 (1999), pp. 13-16.

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This issue of HARDGAINER marks the start of our eleventh year. In it we’re starting a new series in which an article from exactly ten years prior to the current issue will be reviewed and updated, to reflect what the respective author has learned over that ten-year period. Because Iwrote most of the articles in the early issues of HARDGAINER, I’ll be writing the early installments in this new series. But later on, other authors will be involved.

– Stuart McRobert

Forgotten Exercises: The Butt Punch

Admittedly a strange name for an even stranger looking exercise, the Butt Punch came to the weightlifting community’s attention in the late 1990s thanks to the late Jerry Telle. Telle, for those unaware of him, was briefly touted as one of the freshest thinking minds in the Iron Community. Bursting onto the scene with a host of new ideas and, more importantly, interesting exercise, Telle is perhaps best known owing to his fondness for drop sets.

Nevertheless, Telle contributed a number of exercise variations, the Butt Punch being one of them. Aimed primarily at, you guessed it….the glutes. The Butt Punch hits the glutes and lower back like it’s nobody’s business. Having spent the last month playing around with the exercise, it’s a great substitute for Good Mornings and Romanian Deadlifts. But before we get into its applicability, we’ll let Telle do the talking.