Tag: Muscle Building

The History of 20 Rep Squats

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Though few exercise programmes maintain a venerated status for long in the Iron Game, the mystique surrounding 20 Rep Squat programmes has endured. As hinted by the name, such programmes require lifters to back squat twenty times before unloading the bar, and in my own experience, lying on the ground questioning your decision-making.

Primarily touted for individuals struggling to build mass or to bulk up their legs, such programmes originated in the 1920s and 30s. That they still exist, albeit with some modifications, is testament to their efficacy and popularity. The goal of today’s post is to highlight the original promoters of the programme, to explore the writers who kept the idea in the public mind and finally to question why the programme remains popular in the current age.

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Bob Gajda’s Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) Training

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One point that always fascinates me about training is the sheer diversity one finds when it comes to training systems, exercises and training philosophies. What works for one trainee can prove pointless to another. No matter how good the programme, it often has to be tailored towards the individual, and indeed, we often find that the most successful trainees when it comes to bodybuilding have devised or used workouts advantageous to themselves.

Today’s post is a case in point. Titled ‘Peripheral Heart Action’ or PHA training, this form of exercise has come to be associated with Bob Gajda, the 1966 Mr. America Winner. Counting a host of proponents, including Charles Poliquin, PHA training is a rather interesting combination of circuit, strength and hypertrophy designed with bodybuilding in mind. That being the case, today’s post seeks to answer three simple questions. What is PHA Training and who invented it? Why did it come to be associated with Gajda and finally how can it be used for the modern trainee?

The History of Kaatsu Training

“Wrap a band around your bicep until it begins to go numb, then pump out 30 reps with a light weight… Trust me, the pump is worth it.”

These are not the words of an enlightened man but rather my first experience of Kaatsu or Blood Restriction Training. Brought to my attention by a training partner whose grasp of science is not always the strongest, Kaatsu training has grown in popularity over the last decade. While my friend’s description may seem appropriate at first glance, there is quite a lot more to this training system than first meets the eye.

With this in mind today’s post seeks to answer three simple questions: what is Kaatsu training? How was it created? And, perhaps most importantly, should you try it?

Bill Starr, Gaining Weight The Natural Way (1993 article)

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It was the first really warm day of spring. The trees and shrubs displayed tiny buds, but the insects and crawling creatures were not yet out in force and, best of all, the poison ivy was still dormant. It was the ideal time to hike through the woodlands of the Susquehanna State Park. I tracked down the source of a small stream, watched a six-foot blacksnake slither up the limbs of a sapling in order to do some serious sunbathing, and observed a dozen adventuresome canoeists guide their crafts over the white water of Deer Creek.

Guest Post: The History of Amino Acids and their Integration into the Fitness Industry

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In the fitness world, amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein that aid the muscle-building process, along with other benefits. They are also primarily known as the supplement every successful athlete uses on a daily basis to boost performance and aid the post-workout recovery process. While there is no denying that workout supplements such as BCAAs definitely should have a place on your kitchen shelf, it’s important to understand their history first in order to expand your knowledge on the subject and make informed decisions when it comes to your nutrition, supplementation, and training.

Keep in mind that the history of amino acids goes way back before the age of sports science and their integration into the fitness world. With that in mind, let’s revise the past, the present, and even the future of amino acids and their role in your fitness lifestyle.

The History of the Assisted Pull Up Machine

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Now admittedly this is not the catchiest title I’m ever going to use but it hopefully conveys the purpose of today’s post. Back when I started training, assisted pull up machines were a thing of scorn. Who, we would wonder, would bother with such an oddity? Couldn’t individuals muster a solitary pull up by themselves? Well several humbling years later, during which time I realised my version of pull ups was generous to say the least, I discarded the arrogance of my teenage years and used the machine for the first time. It has since become a staple in my training, used at the end of workouts to ensure my back and ego is fried in equal measure.

While we’ve covered mainstream machines like the leg press, prowler or leg extension, I have to admit that I find niche and oftentimes strange devices like the bosu ball or foam roller to be far more interesting. You see for me, the more esoteric devices often represent an attempt to reach out to new trainees or those uncomfortable in the traditional gym setting. As becomes clear when studying the assisted pull up machine, the device was born from a increased societal interest during the late 1970s.

John Hansen, ‘Where Have All the Good Gyms Gone?’, Iron Age (c. 2008)

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The number of health clubs and gyms in America have increased by a phenomenal rate over the last 10 years. According to statistics, there are now 17,807 health club facilities in the United States. There has been a 41% increase in the number of health clubs and gyms in this country since 1992.

This is great news for those of us involved in the fitness industry or even just those of us who are fitness advocates. Now, whenever or whereever we may travel, there will always be a place to get our workout in. Health clubs and fitness are now “in” and those of us who exercise on a regular basis are no longer seen as odd or eccentric.

Forgotten Training Protocols: 4 x 10 Clusters

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For whatever reason some training systems remain in the public psyche while others fall to the wayside, continued only by a few dedicated and often fixated trainers. Thus while nearly every intermediate and certainly every advanced trainee is familiar with manipulating rep ranges, few seem to stray outside the comfort zone of 5 x 5, 8 x 3 and whatever other bland rep schemes we chose. What about 7 x 4 for a change?

Musing aside, today’s short post details 4 x 10 clusters, a method of volume training first introduced to me several years ago by an older trainee and a fallback I use whenever my training gets a little stale.