Tag: Gym

The History of the Zercher Squat

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Mentioned at various points on this particular site, the Zercher Squat has been described by many as one of the most effective but painful methods of building big quads. Uncomfortable to the nth degree, this lift isn’t exactly the most popular amongst gym goers. A point which leads us into today’s post. Why invent such a painful method of lifting? When did it come about and why has it remained with us today?

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Guest Post: Women’s Sports Clothes through History

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Throughout history, women have not been encouraged to participate in sports nearly as much as men have. It all started to change in the past 100 years, but it’s important to take a look at how we got here and all the ways the sports – and the clothing we wear while performing it, changed over the years to give us what we have today. This will not only help us understand how we got here, but will also show us what to look for in the future, because the adaptations we made a hundred years ago, just like the ones we are making today, all serve a few basic purposes.

Revisiting the Anabolic Diet

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What if I told you about a diet that not only mimicked the effects of steroids but also allowed you to gorge on meats, eggs and cheese for days at a time before indulging in pizza and pancakes on the weekend? A diet that would help you get leaner, stronger and more muscular. A diet that seemingly had it all?

This isn’t the stuff of fairytale but some of ways that Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s Anabolic Diet has been advertised since it’s inception in the early 90s. A cyclical diet, Di Pasquale’s high fat approach came at a time when the majority of Bodybuilders, along with the American public, were stuck in a low-fat mindset.

Whilst the majority of gym goers nowadays are unaware of DiPasquale’s work, the Anabolic Diet was one of the seminal eating programmes of its time.

So in today’s post we’ll look at the history of the diet itself, what the diet entailed and just why it was so revolutionary.

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Protein Way of Life by Rheo H. Blair

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Open any muscle mag from the mid-20th century and chances are you’ll find a reference to Rheo H. Blair, and his famous instant protein. Blair’s protein was used by the top bodybuilders of the 1950s ranging from Gironda to Arnie. He was a firm believer in the importance of top quality protein and often got amazing results from his clients.

Today we look at Blair’s 1950s pamphlet entitled the ‘Protein Way of Life.’ There’s some important tidbits to be taken from it.

How to mix the protein drink

Before the Carnivore Diet? Rheo H. Blair’s Meat and Water Diet (1960s)

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The Carnivore Diet – the practice of solely consuming meat products – has grown exponentially in the past few years. As someone who has experimented with a range of diets, everything from all fruit to raw meat, it’s remarkable to see an all meat diet gain traction for the lifting community and the general populace. While Vilhjamur Stefannsson popularised the Inuit’s meat dominated diet in the early 1900s, an all meat diet for athletes or lifters appears to be a new development.

So being the type of individual that I am, I decided to go through the annals of bodybuilding and see if anyone had dabbled with a carnivore-esque diet in the past. Echoing the wonderful ‘nothing new under the sun series‘ produced by Chaos and Pain (definitely not safe for work!), we have a precedent for the current carnivore diet in the form of Vince Gironda and Rheo H. Blair’s ‘meat and water’ diet, a short term weight loss diet used by bodybuilders prior to a competition.

With that in mind today’s post examines the reasons behind Blair’s experiment, the bodybuilders he used it on and what lessons, if any, his meat and water diet holds for present day lifters.

Guest Post:Athletic Training Through History

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Every major professional athlete today knows how important it is to have a good trainer. And if you look back in history, you’ll see that their profession, in one form or another, dates back to the Greek civilization and their organized sports competition, which included the Olympic Games. In case you were wondering how those trainers developed into the ones we have today, here is some interesting information for you.

Peary Rader, ‘The Six Meal A Day Plan’, The Rader Master BodyBuilder and Weight Gaining System (1946)

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If it is convenient, it is often found a great help to eat 4 to 6 meals per day, tho this is not necessary.

Many men have found that the addition of a light lunch at about 10 o’clock, another at about 3:30 p.m. and another just before bed time has been the secret of very fast gains. None of their meals would be as large as usual, but much more frequent. This gives the internal organs a better chance to function efficiently compared to the system of overloading them three time a day as is generally done. So whenever circumstances will permit it, we recommend the 5 to 6 meal a day plan for weight gainers. Many doctors use this system for sick people or people with digestive disorders and you should realize that it is a healthful plan.

Bill Piche, ‘Information Overload’, Hardgainer Magazine, July/Augudt (1999)

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You must go slow. You must go fast. Supplements are good. Supplements are bad. Do 20-rep squats; no, do heavy singles. You must bulk. You must keep your bodyfat as low as possible. Cycle your training. Split your training into phases. Time your sets with a stopwatch. What program are you using: Heavy Duty, Hardgainer, SuperSlowTM, Periodization…? Talk about information overload! It’s a wonder most new trainees don’t just grab a beer, a bag of chips, and become a couch potato watching TV!

John Kuc, ‘A Guide to Thigh Development’ (1984)

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When I did the original outline for this article I tried to think of an appealing title. Many trainees do no leg work at all, and those that do usually do not do enough. I thought an appealing title might entice some of them into including leg work in their training programs. I later decided that an honest evaluation of the pros and cons of leg work would be the best enticement.

I won’t try to deceive anyone; leg work done properly can really be tough. There are no easy leg exercises, and to be effective you really have to go all out. This is one factor against leg work. The fact that your legs are normally covered is the second factor. Most individuals prefer to work the muscles that are seen by everyone. Also, some leg exercises require a relatively heavy weight to be effective. Heavy poundages seem to create a mental barrier for some individuals. Combine all these factors and you can see why leg work could be ignored.

Forgotten Exercises: The Scott Press

The first Mr. Olympia and one of the 60s most admired bodybuilders, Larry Scott is rarely credited these days as being a bodybuilding great. Whereas Zane, Arnold or Olivia are regularly, and rightly, praised for their physiques, Scott is too often seen as an afterthought. Trained by Vince Gironda and the winner of two Mr. Olympia’s Scott’s thoughtful training style should not be underestimated. It was, after all, Scott who helped popularise Gironda’s preacher curl in the 60s and 70s.

Working together, Gironda and Scott made quite the formidable pair. The object of today’s post, the forgotten Scott Press, is testament to that statement. So in today’s brief post, we’re going to examine the history of the Scott Press before giving some words as to how to best implement it in your own training programmes.