Having previously discussed the history of the squat exercise, today’s post examines the creation of the Rader Chest Pull, an exercise that Peary Rader, one of the Irongame’s biggest names in the twentieth-century, often used […]
I was flicking through some old strength magazines during the weekend and came across a lift that I doubt many of us are familiar with. Called the ‘Seesaw’ press, it is essentially a standing dumbbell shoulder […]
Having discussed Bob Hoffman’s (failed) attempts to create a protein powder that was both tasty and efficient, the time seems right to examine Rheo H. Blair’s famous protein powder from the mid-twentieth century.
Iron game historians will long be aware that Blair’s protein powder was the go to supplement for bodybuilders, average trainees and even Hollywood stars of the 1960s and 1970s. It was one of the first protein supplements and was highly regarded by others in the industry including Vince Gironda.
Heck, so highly regarded was Blair’s protein that it was credited with adding pounds upon pounds of muscle in a short space of time. Some bodybuilders spent months eating nothing but the protein powder alongside some vitamin capsules.
So what exactly was in Blair’s protein and what made it so special?
There is an apparent correlation between industrial advancements and fitness when we look back at the history of humans. Early man had no locomotive to move around. Getting food was a task that involved walking, running, and skills that most of us in this new age cannot even fathom. What we call exercise now, was back then just the way of life.
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?
1 — You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder without taking steroids; it just takes longer.
Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs. Without manipulating hormones, it just isn’t possible to get that degree of muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass, despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.
Still, that’s no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique. The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.
2 — In order to get really big, you have to eat a super-high-calorie diet.
Well, that’s true; you’ll get really big if you eat a super high-calorie diet, but you’ll look like the Michelin Man’s fraternal twin. However, if you want to get big, lean-tissue wise, then super-high- calorie diets are probably not for you unless you are one of those very few people with metabolicrates so fast you can burn off these calories instead of depositing them as fat. Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65% of the new tissue gains brought about by high-calorie diets consists of fat! Of the remaining 35%, approximately 15% consists of increased intracellular fluid volume, leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle mass.
According to Dr Scott Connelly (MM2K, Spring 1992, p. 21), only about 20% to 25% of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis. The rest of the muscle growth is directly attributable to increased proliferation of the satellite cells in the basal lamina of muscle tissue, and dietary energy (calories) is not a key factor in the differentiation of these cells into new myofibres (muscle cells).
Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown (anti-catabolism) seems to be the most relevant, but adding adipose [fat] tissue through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle proteolysis (breakdown). Furthermore, additional adipose mass can radically alter hormone balances which are responsible for controlling protein breakdown in muscle. Insulin balance, for one, which partially controls anti- catabolism in the body, is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big philosophy!
Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you’re a genetic freak, or you’re woefully lean and don’t mind putting on fat [or you’re using appropriate pharmaceutical supplements].
Ed Coan entered his first powerlifting competition at 16 years old, he went on become one of the best (if not THE best) powerlifters in the world. Here is my candid conversation with The Legend, Ed Coan.
Can every muscle fanatic become the next Mr. Olympia? Is the 220lbs. ripped physique attainable for those who want it bad enough? How far can one push past their genetic limits?
For George Walsh (seen above), the focus of today’s article, genetics had a huge role in determining who would be the next Mr. Olympia and who would be the slightly in shape trainer. Accordingly, Walsh advocated people train to their strengths and ignore the marketing of the muscle business which would have you believe that $200 worth of supplements and the latest training programme would make you huge.
Today’s post looks at Walsh’s successes with type training, what type training entailed and what it means for the modern trainer.
Picture the scene. It’s 1911 and famed Wrestler George Hackenschmidt has finally retired from the squared circle. Looking forward to a life of relaxation and leisure, the man from Estonia grants you the privilege of an interview. In his strength and wrestling career, Hackenschmidt has popularised the Bear Hug, the Hack Squat and even set a world record in the Bench Press. His athletic exploits have dazzled crowds around the world for years. So when you sit down with him to talk training, a nervousness enters your body. The ‘Russian Lion’ is known for taking no prisoners.
Q] You have your first question lined up. Nervously you look George in the eye and timidly ask how to become strong like him…
Puffing out his chest, Hackenschmidt bellows out
“It is only by exercising with heavy weights that any man can hope to develop really great strength.”
Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.
While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.