Tag: Old School Fitness

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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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.

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.

The History of the Zercher Squat

Zercher-Squat.jpg

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?

Bradley J. Steiner’s General Rules for Training (1972)

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As stated previously, no definite rules can be said to apply to all trainees at all times, since every case is uniquely different – and the final trainer is the individual himself. However, there are helpful guidelines that can be followed, and I present the following as such, to be considered in light of your present stage of development and current goals . . .

John Christy, The White Moment, Hardgainer Magazine (1996)

Berserker (noun):
An ancient Norse warrior who worked himself into a frenzy before battle.

Do you understand what I’m getting at? It’s aggression, pure 100% focused effort. You can use the “perfect” routine, sleep eight hours a night, eat great, concentrate, visualize, feel the movement, and do everything “right,” but get minimal results unless you experience what at my gym we call “the white moment.” You ‘II never come close to reaching your potential without it, no matter how perfect you do everything else.

Searching the Pathé Archives

Those interested in weightlifting and physical culture more generally are in a rather privileged position. Numerous websites, ourselves included, detail the various intricacies of the Iron Game’s History. Numerous websites offer old magazines and books free of charge and forums exist to help interested parties find every possible thing they can imagine.

Rarely though is British Pathé brought into the fold. Running from 1910 to 1970, Pathé newsreels span an incredibly diverse and interesting range of topics. Included in this, as you may have guessed, are clips of bodybuilders, weightlifters and physical culturists strutting their collective stuff. So without further adieu, I’d like to run through some of my favourite clips from Youtube.

Sports Illustrated, ‘Titans of Testosterone’, 1999 World’s Strongest Man Article.

Titans Of Testosterone The (mostly) juiced-up athletes competing for the title of World’s Strongest Man tote stones, toss kegs and tow trucks for puny paychecks and the glory of exposure on late-night cable TV

By Jack McCallum

You see them at all hours of the day and night, lifting cars,
pulling buses, lugging around absurdly large rocks. They are big
men with big arms, big chests, big shoulders, big legs and
sometimes big bellies; sweaty, scary men trussed in bandages and
harnesses and belts; gargantuan mummies come eye-poppingly to
life. They compete in something called World’s Strongest Man
(hereafter WSM), and their esoteric exercitations are replayed
with numbing frequency on ESPN and ESPN2. But it’s
difficult–particularly at 4:30 in the morning–to wrap your
mind around this whole strongman thing. You have questions.

Don Ross’ Foundation Bodybuilding Routines

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Not many people nowadays speak about ‘The Ripper’ and ‘Bronx Barbarian’. Born in the mid 1940s, Don Ross, who went by these stage names, was a highly popular and influential bodybuilding writer in the 1980s and early 1990s. Plying his trade both within the Iron Game and professional wrestler, his articles and even TV appearances were valued by many. In a rather cool piece of historical sources surviving, we have footage of Don’s hosting of ‘Muscle Beach News’, a rather niche programme operating in the late 1980s and early 1990s.