Forgotten Exercises: English Style Deadlifts

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Admittedly this is an exercise for your physical culture purist. Stemming from the early origins of physical culture in the late nineteenth-century, English style deadlifts are unlikely to be seen in your gym any time soon. Nevertheless, this style of lifting was hugely popular amongst British and European lifters of yesteryear. Used by Goliaths like Herman Goerner, this style of deadlifting was seen as inherently strict and the greatest measure of a lifter’s power.

That being the case, today’s short post will be addressing three simple questions. What is the history of the lift? How does one deadlift English style? And how can we incorporate it into our routines?

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Reg Park – Basic Principles for Gaining Definition (1951 Article)

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Whenever I hear some bodybuilders use the term “definition” I always feel like asking them just what they think it means. It is a loosely used word, with certain authorities in particular throwing it about without any deep thought of what the development of muscular definement entails, or if certain types of lifters actually CAN acquire it. In fact, it is common to hear many novices talk of definition development before they have even built the foundations of a good physique.

Bill Kazmier, ‘Competitive Squatting Style and Techniques’ from Bill Kazmier, The Squat and Deadlift (Crain Power-Plus, 1981)

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The following extract comes from a fascinating twelve page pamphlet I recently got my hands on. Written by the Strongman and Powerlifter Bill Kazmier, the pamphlet details everything a budding strength enthusiast needs to learn to perform on the platform. Over the next few weeks we’ll be dissecting Kazmier’s advice for the Squat, Deadlift and the Bench Press

In the meantime, do enjoy the Strongman’s general tips and advice for performing the perfect powerlifting squat. As always…Happy Lifting!

Guest Post: The Abridged History of Diving

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Diving looks simple at first glance. You would be forgiven for thinking there is not much to it – a fleeting act of plunging into water performed with certain panache, or a prolonged underwater activity realized thanks to humanity’s technical prowess. However, it would not have become an Olympic sport in 1904 if a degree of artful finesse was not involved. The intrinsic nuances of diving are reflected in its complicated history which can be traced back to times immemorial. If you are interested to find out more about this renowned discipline, here is the abridged history of diving.

Peary Rader, ‘The History of These Methods’, The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System (1946)

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It is not customary for the history of a course to be given, but the history of the methods taught herein is so definite, inspiring and easily traced that we believe it will be of great value and interest to the reader. It will likewise give him an idea of what results have been obtained by others and what he, himself, might expect. It will also give him assurance that this is not the hasty brainchild of one man interested only in placing of a few sheets of instructions on the market for the sole purpose enhancing his own finances.

Forgotten Exercises: The Dumbbell Swing

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Almost a half-century ago the one and two hand swing lifts were very popular among lifters and bodybuilders alike, especially the one hand lift. Over the years, however, both of these lifts have slumped into oblivion so that today there are very few who ever practice them, either as an exercise or for record-breaking performances. Because of this the world record in both lifts still remains at that poundage that was lifted many years ago. The one hand record is 199 pounds, and the two hand record is 224 pounds, just 25 pounds more than the one hand swing.

John Grimek, The Dumbbell Swing (1959)

This weekend I had the pleasure of dipping once more into Arthur Saxon’s excellent work from the early 1900s, The Development of Physical Power. Notable, for me at least by Saxon’s no nonsense attitude and frankness, the work does not seek to deceive or flatter. Instead, one of the strongest men of his generation sets out his remarkable strength and some of the means used to sustain it. Many of the exercises set out by Saxon are still done today, except for the above mentioned dumbbell swing.

The purpose of today’s post is thus twofold. First, we’re going to examine what this exercise is and how to perform it. From there, we get to delve into it’s fascinating history.

Steve Reeves’ Competition Diet

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For many Steve Reeves was the epitome of bodybuilding. Alongside John Grimek, he helped to define a mid-century Iron Game obsessed with beauty, strength and uncompromising health. Though undoubtedly blessed with fantastic genetics, Reeves was known for his work ethic and attention to detail when it came to his diet. Coming from the Steve Reeves Cookbook, a book that’s currently distracting me from my own PhD work, today’s post looks at Reeves’ Competition diet which saw him through the Mr. World, Mr. Universe and Mr. America.

Safe to say then we may learn a thing or two from it!

Guest Post: The History of Marijuana Use in the Fitness Industry

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There’s no denying that professional athletes hailing from every sport have tried supplementing with everything and anythingover the years in order to get a head start and surpass their competitors. Being the star athlete of your generation and rising up the proverbial ladder to a prominent and profitable sports figure is definitely not an easy thing to achieve, so you can’t really blame your favorite athletes for doing everything to achieve the results they need.

Sig Klein’s Beginner Workout

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Earlier this year I had the great fortune to visit the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports in Texas. Founded by Jan and Terry Todd, the Stark Center is a playground for anoraks like me. Containing the collections of Bernarr MacFadden, Professor Atilla, Bob Hoffman and several other Iron Game legends, Stark holds the history of the Iron Game.

So gushing praise aside, part of time there included a search through Sig Klein’s own personal papers. For those unaware, Klein ran one of the most popular and revered gymnasiums in New York from the 1930s to roughly the 1970s. Famed for his strength and amazing physique, Klein’s best known motto was to train for shape and the strength will come.

Though an advanced lifter in his own right, Klein was always keen to encourage the beginner. With this in mind today’s post details Klein’s beginner workout given to those new to his gymnasium. No tricks, no gimmicks, just simple hard work and consistency were Klein’s twin pillars for success.