Tag: Training

Forgotten Exercises: Sternum Chin Up

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Pull ups are perhaps the most misunderstood exercise on the gym floor. At the risk of descending into a ‘back in my day’ rant, when I was taught how do to a pull up or chin up, the form was simple; Pull chest to bar, lower until arms are straight. Rinse and repeat. It was a simple, although far from easy, thing to do. Nowadays pull ups seem to be a mixture between hurtling yourself at full speed towards the bar i.e. the kipping pull up or an exercise in which the body is lower a 1/2 inch from the bar, i.e. the bro pull up.

Admittedly I’ve varied through using strict, not so strict and completely reckless form when doing pull ups. On some day I’d use all three during the same set. What forced me to reevaluate my form was the Sternum Chin Up, an exercise synonymous with Vince Gironda. The Sternum Chin Up is perhaps one of the most effective and unforgiving exercises from yesterday I’ve recycled in my own training.  In today’s post, we’ll run through the history of the exercise, what it looks like and how you can incorporate it into your own training.

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Harry B. Paschall, ‘How Barbell Men Go Wrong’, Muscle Moulding (London, 1950)

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You cannot spend a third of a century around physical culturists and barbell men without coming to a few conclusions. You see many enthusiasts who thrive on their training schedules and attain a perfectly satisfactory degree of physical development. You see others work and strain without noticeable improvement for months or years. Quite often these latter cases come up with the time-worn excuse that they are simply not the type to gain. Some experts even have given various names to these unsuccessful barbell men and inform them with regret that they cannot change their type and they are therefore doomed to failure.

The Sig Klein Challenge

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Face it.

Every now and then you want to try something new in the gym. A new lift, a new rep range or an entirely new style of training. The mind gets bored of monotony, something which the lifters of yore were all too acquainted with. Today’s post on the Sig Klein challenge will not only help reinvigorate your training, it’ll provide a test of your overall strength. Not bad for something new huh?

Anthony Ditillo, ‘The Single and Double Progression Method’, The Development of Physical Strength (Wm F. Hinbern, 1982).

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When beginning a book on physical training, I feel it is only natural to begin with the most basic concept used in any barbell endeavor. We all use this training aid in one form or another and its use makes possible the goals of which our dreams are made.

By single and double progression I mean the basic way we arrange our sets and repetitions with a given weight, which will enable us to do so many things in our training, that its usefulness cannot and should not be overlooked when discussing barbell training, in general.

All trainees use this method for keeping track of their progress as well as preventing injury and over-training. In fact, I would go as far as to say that most of today’s problems concerning progress with the weights stem from a mistaken notion of the use of this single, double and even triple progression system and all it pertains to.

Forgotten Exercises: Cyclist Back Squats

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Just this week we spoke about Dr. Karl Klein and his 1960s research on the back squat. As a quick reminder, Klein found that squatting below parallel or pushing the knees over the toes was detrimental to the knee’s stability and long term health. Klein and those following in his wake advised against full range of motion and stressed the fact that knees were not to go over the toes when squatting.

Though discredited in later decades, Klein’s ideas are still prevalent and are perhaps the cause of contemporary fears surrounding the back squat. Disregarding everything that Klein fought against, today’s post looks at the Cyclist Back Squat, an often neglected exercise that not only requires squatting below parallel, it necessitates bringing knees over the toes (Gasp!). Today we’re going to examine what this exercise is, what its origins are and why you should include it into your own training.

Forgotten Exercises: Reverse Grip Dips

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Reverse grip dips are not an exercise you’ll see regularly practised on the gym floor. They can be awkward to set up, hurt the joints and elicit confused stares from others. Problem is, they’re quite an effective way to hit the chest and triceps. The creation of Vince Gironda, reverse grip dips were supposedly a favourite of both the Iron Guru and his most famous protege Larry Scott. So in today’s short post I thought we’d examine the lift itself, its history and how to implement it into your own training programme.

If nothing else the exercise highlights Gironda’s never-ending quest to find new and effective means of targeting the muscles. It was this curiosity which fuelled his genius.

Peary Rader, ‘The Clean and Jerk Program for Weight Gaining’, THE RADER MASTER BODYBUILDER AND WEIGHT GAINING SYSTEM (1946)

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This very popular lift is a good exercise for all round development and an excellent method of weight gaining if properly performed for this purpose. It is probably the most strenuous of all exercises and therein lies its value as a stimulator of metabolism and a weight gaining medium. Much the same principles of procedure are used as in the squat or deadlift. Because it is so strenuous you will find that, as a general rule, two workout periods per week will be sufficient. You may find yourself rather sore at first if you are not careful to progress slowly

Vince Gironda Weight-Gain Diet

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The following extract comes from Vince Gironda’s 1984 Book: Unleashing the Wild Physique (available here). This book cannot be recommended highly enough, from VInce’s no nonsense take on steroids to his innovative training techniques. Today’s post comes from Vince’s advice on weight gain.

The real secret to gaining weight is food. The more you eat, the more you’ll gain. While eating three nutritionally balanced meals a day is good, it is even more beneficial to eat or more meals per day. Eat smaller meals – but more often – every three hours. If you can’t find the time to eat six meals a day, try eating three main meals with snacks between meals and before going to bed.

The cardinal rules of weight gaining are:

  • Never overeat at any one particular meal (this causes bloating and gas and may actually cause a weight loss)
  • And never allow yourself to get hungry

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.

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.