Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bob Gajda P.H.A. Interview - Peary Rader


Courtesy of Terry Strand.
All the Best to Ya!


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Peary Rader (PR): Bob, I understand that you pioneered this new system of exercise we have called the Sequence System, and I would like to ask a few questions to help Iron Man readers adapt it to their own training. Why did you research this system in the first place? 

Bob Gajda (BG): Well, Peary, I sort of fell into it, you might say, while attending George Williams College and associating a lot with Dr. Steinhaus. We had discussed the aspects of the various systems, their values and their faults.

While attending an exhibition of the Danish Gymnastic team, I participated in their class of gymnastics with students of the Neilsborg school. I found, while participating in these exercises, that although they were very strenuous and grueling in a lot of respects, I felt stimulated, almost as if it were a tonic. I was very surprised and discussed this with Dr. Steinhaus after the class, and he explained the theory of "Peripheral Heart Action." This is the first time I had heard of this phrase of Peripheral Heart Action, of PHA. Sequence training is a term that someone invented who first wrote up my system; I believe it was Norman Zale who wrote me up in last December's issue of Iron Man. 

Here: 

Now, before I explain about the PHA system I'd like to tell you what happens when an excessive pump system of training so popular now is used as a means of muscle building. One reason I never favored the pump system was that as soon as I would take a layoff the development would disappear just as fast as it was developed originally, and this has been the experience of others who used this system. In discussing this system with Dr. Steinhaus, he explained some of the chronic effects of this extreme pumping system and the flushing or whatever your wish to call it. 

One thing he felt was very bad was the extreme ischemia condition that it causes. This is what the bodybuilders strive for -- this ischemia. When working in this manner congest the blood in the muscle, getting all into it that it can hold and then trying to force more into it by additional reps and exercises. The muscle begins to ache because of a lack of oxygen (you build up an extreme oxygen debt). This is evidenced by muscle cramp and ache. There is an extreme dilation of the capillaries and veins as the blood backs up and is congested in the muscles. You will often see little red corpuscle breakdowns and the development of varicose veins in the lower extremities because of this congestion of blood.

Because of these and other conditions brought on by the "pumping system" we find many bodybuilders who use the split workout system have very slow recuperation. They often require two to four days rest for the muscles being worked. Because of the congestion and toxic effect of the pump system, their recuperation is difficult and necessarily slow. They also make other mistakes in the pump system, such as rests between sets and exercises. These rests are necessary because of the nature of their training system and the rest periods contribute to the problem, because during the rest period the circulation slows down.

Now, I'd like to tell you about the PHA or sequence system of training and why it is superior. As you know, we have but one heart which is nothing more or less than a muscular pump for moving the blood. However, it can't do the whole job and must have help. It gets help from a lot of other pumps, about 696 of them-- the muscles of the body. Whenever a muscle contracts it acts as a pump to move the veinal blood full of oxidative wastes out of the muscle and back toward the heart so that new blood with new nourishment can enter the muscle. This is the arterial blood.

In order to work or function, a muscle must have a regular supply of oxygen to break down the glycogen (sugar) for energy. Thus we can see that the kneading action of the contracting muscle moves the veinal blood out and bring in new blood with nourishment. the veins which are thin walled are squeezed by the contracting muscle which forces the movement of the blood from and to the heart. This is especially important in the lower extremities of the legs and feet where the blood must be moved against gravity and the veins have little valves which prevent the blood from moving backward when the muscle contracts -- it can only move forward. Thus we have the muscles working to assist the heart in this continuous circulation.

With the PHA system the main emphasis is on continuous circulation. If we keep the circulation constant in a muscle it will grow. We must not congest the blood in a muscle but keep it moving in and out of the muscle all the time. This is the aim of the PHA or sequence system. 

Here is another reason for this continuous movement of the blood. There is a unique system of buffers contained in the blood. These buffers are substances contained in the blood which neutralize the acids so the pH of the blood is not altered greatly. The pH of the blood is a state of dynamic equilibrium or chemical balance needed for life. A normal pH is 75 and anything much above or below this would offset the chemical balance of the body and if the change became very great would cause death. During our exercise we build up acids in the blood which these buffers neutralize. If we fail to neutralize these acids we become fatigued and tired.

Each muscle contains some buffers but not enough to replenish its own loss or to do a complete job under great stress of training. Therefore we must have a constant flow of blood through the muscles to bring new buffering action and to assist the muscles with buffers contained within them. If and when the buffers are used up we develop lactates or acids and eventually we are fatigued and the muscle can no longer function efficiently and must have a long period for recuperation. A well conditioned athlete has, through training, developed a more efficient buffering system -- in other words, he has a bigger phosphate (buffer) reserve to carry him along over a greater period of time.

These buffers are a actually hemoglobin, plasma-proteins, bicarbonates and cell-phosphates.

PR: This is a very good description of what the PHA system is all about, Bob, and I see that you feel that the "pumping" or "flushing" system as is commonly practiced today is not only less effective, but might be bad for the health.

Bob: This is right, Peary, the pumping system will build up an extreme oxygen debt and not only is the muscle congested with blood, it is congested with the wastes resulting when the blood sugar is broken down and energy is being liberated. The whole thing is rather complicated to explain in this short space, but I'm sure you can see my point. You must get these wastes out of the muscle and you must get new blood in with its nourishment and it must be kept moving toward the heart, because unless you get blood back to the heart it cannot pump it through the lungs and on its way again. This is what happens when you use the pump system. You get a congestion which is deliberate and the blood cannot move on -- then the bodybuilder rests, and again when he rests there is no circulation and he continues to compound his mistakes, and I feel that this condition, if continued over a long period of time can be bad for the health. It is possible that it might even have something to do with some sort of the heart conditions we hear about. At least it is not of benefit to the cardiovascular system. We do not appreciably accelerate the action of the heart and lungs over a long enough period of time to benefit them and actually you are committing an offense to them, I feel.

An experiment that a training friend, Roger Metz and I carried out will help illustrate some of the relative merits of the two systems. We had been using 70 pounds for 10 sets of preacher bench curls with the sequence system. This day we decided to try the regular pump system. We rested about four minutes between sets. We were surprised to find that we had to finish the sets with only 40 pounds. The congestion from the pump system would not permit good circulation to the muscle or from the muscle, and the buffering action was almost completely lacking after a set or two. Our muscles became extremely fatigued and were almost helpless.

PR: Bob, in this respect how does the PHA system differ? How does it benefit the cardiovascular system?

BG: In the sequence or the PHA system we train continuously, that is, we never stop even a moment between exercises for rest. We work faster and this speeds up the heart and lung action and this speed is kept up at a steady, continuous pace for a long period of time, up to two or three hours in my own training. In a moment I'll explain how I train in this manner in more detail, but you can see that this is the type of system of continuous and more rhythmic training recommended by Cureton and others to condition the body. In other words, it is training that is kept up without stop over a long period of time. Cureton, I believe, recommends running for at least 35 minutes continuously for best results. Whereas running is strictly an endurance exercise, my system of PHA or sequence training with weights combines muscle building with endurance and conditioning.

PR: Can you tell us a little more about the application of this PHA system, and I note that you sometimes use the word sequence -- what do you mean?

BG: A sequence is a group of exercises -- usually 5 or 6 different exercises, each one for different parts of the body. You do not exercise the same muscles twice in succession, but to to another muscle or body part. If you, for instance, performed two or more sets of curls in succession you would be doing the pump or flushing system. On the sequence system you would do a set of curls, then perhaps go to a set of calf raises or abdominal work or back work. In other words, do not exercise the same muscle two sets in succession. Do not even use what is called supersets in which you alternate between the biceps and the triceps for several sets. This will bring about a congestion of the whole arm. Go to some other body part. Then to another body part.

PR: Bob, we know that a lot of fellows train their upper body one day and the lower body another day on the theory that they should keep the circulation in one area for a long period. On your system the exercises are spread over the entire body.

BG: There is no logical reasoning behind this theory. The blood is circulating over the entire body and should do so.

For instance, if you do flushing or pumping for the arms until you build up the oxygen debt we have discussed earlier, your entire body begins to absorb these fatigue poisons in a short time. You can't stop the blood flow to one area and speed it up to another. This is one of the fallacies of the pumping or flushing system. In the PHA system there is a stimulated and uninterrupted flow of blood over the entire body because we exercise the entire body each workout.

Because we do not rest between exercises we maintain the accelerated flow of blood and the buffering action and thus we delay the onset of fatigue much longer. This permits us, if we so choose, to work out much harder and much longer and still not finish with the exhausted feeling that is so often the case. Such a program, I might say, also permits more frequent training -- as often as every day in some instances.

PR: Bob, you talk of going through a workout faster and with less fatigue. You mention not resting between exercises. Please explain your own speed.

BG: Well, Peary, most fellows take up to 2 to 5 minutes rest between sets and several minutes rest between exercises. Have you tried to figure how many exercises you can do if you do not take that rest? I can do my workout in about three hours. A friend of mine, Dr. Pohanic, came down one time and kept a record of my workout and also of the workouts of the other fellows in the gym. I used the PHA or sequence system and, according to his figures, I was able to do four times more work in a shorter period of time and still was not tired out. I took advantage of the buffering action of the blood by keeping continuous circulation and avoiding congestion. I use many more exercises with this system than would be possible with the old method.

PR: Bob, you mentioned that you did not believe in working only the upper body one day and the lower body the next. Do you follow this practice of working the whole body every workout?

BG: Yes, I work the whole body in order to take advantage of the peripheral heart action or PHA. However, I have what I call upper body emphasis and lower body emphasis. In other words, I will work my upper body very hard one day but will also work my lower body but not quite so hard. Then the next workout I may work the lower body very hard but the upper body work will be lighter, thus I always work the entire body but place emphasis on certain areas.  

PR: When training on this system, what do you recommend for repetitions?

BG: I would say this depends on the person, as we all respond differently to different schedules, and to start out I would say that 8-10 reps would be about right, then later on you may find that more or less would suit you best. Some gain best on high reps and some do better on low reps.

PR: Bob, we haven't said much about sets. Do they come into action here?

BG: As commonly used, no, but I do use sets in a different manner. Let me illustrate. I have a sequence of 6 exercises. The calf raise, the curl, the situp, the triceps press, the pulldown, and the squat. I plan to use 8 repetitions. So I do 8 reps in the calf raise (though for calves I'd usually go higher in reps), then I'd go to the curl and do 8 reps. Then to the situp for whatever number of reps I'd planned, and so on throughout the rest of the 6 exercises. This would be one set for each exercise. Then I would start all over again with the calf raise and go through the whole sequence again. This would be the second set, if you wish to call it that. When I'm training regularly I go through this sequence about 5 times. This would be five sets. I would not rest at any time, either between exercises or between sets or sequences, whichever you wish to call them. I would do this because I know that if I sit down to rest my circulation would slow up and I would then lose the buffering action. My muscles would not be active and so I would not be helping the circulation with the muscle contractions.

PR: Thank you, Bob. Now do you mean to tell me that you would only do 6 exercises?

BG: Oh no, I would do perhaps 24 or 36 exercises. In other words, in a workout I would have 4 to 6 sequences I would work on, each containing 6 exercises. Sometimes I will have only 5 exercises in a sequence, but seldom less than that. Can you imagine anyone doing 36 exercises for 5 sets in the conventional pumping system? He would be dead tired for a week. When preparing for a contest I work up to 10 sets, or in other words I do each sequence 10 times. This would constitute 360 sets if I had 36 exercises in 6 sequences. Certainly this is not for beginners, and I myself would not consider it good to remain on this heavy a program for very long. However, it does help me to shape up and get that sharp definition needed for a contest.

PR: In a recent article you talked about the dangers of holding the breath in lifting, and consequent blackout. Do you hold your breath when exercising in this manner?

BG: No, I do not. When working hard it may be necessary to catch the breath for just a moment. However, when you do this you take a deep breath and then slowly let the breath out as you exert yourself. this will prevent the problem of blackout mentioned in the other article, and is a healthful way to breathe. I think too much emphasis has been placed on breathing. I feel that you should breathe as you find the need and that special breathing techniques are unnecessary.

PR: Bob, do you feel better on this program?

BG? Definitely. You are full of pep all the time and when you to to the shower you are really feeling rather exhilarated. A lot of fellows who have tried this say, "I don't feel as tired as usual!" Actually, they have performed more work in a shorter period of time but they comment, "I don't feel like I've had a workout," because they don't have the usual exhausted feeling. Many fellows drift back into their old ways of training because of this. They are so accustomed to being worn out after a workout that they just can't realize this isn't necessary or desirable.

PR: Bob, do you consider diet of great importance and do you think this program will bulk you up as fast as the others?

BG: I think that bulk building is dependent on diet, absolutely. Exercise has very little to do with either bulking up or cutting down. Proper nutrition is absolutely essential. Of course you must have the exercise to get more muscular bulk instead of fat, but you must have good nutrition. It is supremely important and I will tell you more about this later.

PR: This interview has become quite lengthy, Bob, and so I'd like to ask if you can outline some sample programs or sequence systems that our readers may use.

BG: Yes, Peary, I'd be happy to do this. I will outline three programs, one for beginners, the second for the slightly more experienced, and the third for intermediate trainers who are more advanced. Later I will give you my own program which I consider very advanced, but this is not for fellows who have never worked this system, even though they have previously worked hard on pumping systems. I would like to caution those who are not in excellent condition to take it easy at first, starting with rather light weights and working up gradually.

Start the beginners program for a month, then go to the novice program for a month, then to the intermediate program for a month. From this you would go to the advanced program which will appear later.


SAMPLE ROUTINES

Beginners Program - Three Days Per Week

10 reps per set,  2 sets (sequences).

Sequence No. 1

1) Military Press
2) Situp
3) Calf Raise
4) Barbell Curl

Sequence No. 2

1) Bench Press
2) Leg Raise
3) Rowing Motion
4) One Leg Calf Raise

Sequence No. 3

1) Deadlift
2) Upright Row
3) Frog Kicks
4) Wrist Curls 


Novice Program - Three Days Per Week

10 reps per set, 2-3 sets (sequences).

Sequence No. 1

1) Press Behind Neck
2) One Leg Calf Raise
3) Leg Raise
4) Bench Press
5) Wide Grip Chin
6) Barbell Curl

Sequence No. 2

1) Donkey Calf Raise 
2) Side Laterals
3) Situps 
4) Dips
5) Pulldown
6) Squat

Sequence No. 3

1) Leg Press Toe Raise
2) Seated Dumbbell Press
3) Twist
4) Leg Curl
5) Triceps Press
6) Deadlift


Intermediate Program - Three Days Per Week  

10 reps per set, 5 sets (sequences). 

Sequence No. 1

1) Seated Dumbbell Press
2) Peak Dumbbell Curl
3) Power Rack Toe Raise
4) High Tension Situp
5) Good Morning Exercise
6) Wrist Curl

Sequence No. 2

1) Squat
2) Pullover
3) Wide Grip Chin
4) Reverse Curl
5) One Leg Calf Raise
6) Twists

Sequence No. 3

1) One Arm DB Row
2) Lying Laterals
3) Sissy Squat
4) Close Grip Chins
5) Neck Strap
6) Seated Knee Tucks

Sequence No. 4

1) Bench Press
2) Side Laterals
3) Wrist Roller
4) Leg Curl
5) Let Extension
6) One Arm Triceps Press. 


Editor's Comments (Peary Rader) 

I have been very interested in the PHA system for some time. So much so that I use it myself almost exclusively and have put all the men in our gym on it. All of them liked it much better than the old pump system for several reasons. For one, they feel that can get a heavier workout with less exhaustion and quicker recovery from their workouts. We emphasize that two successive exercises should not work the same muscles, and try to space the exercises which do work the same muscles a little bit apart. In other words, we put other exercises between them so there is time for circulation to carry on the buffering action for a longer period and to prevent congestion of the muscle with blood.

I also emphasize that they should never sit down or rest in any manner between exercises, but to continue right through the entire sequence and then right into the next sequence. There is no rest from the time they start their workout until they have completed it. I also recommend that they taper off with a run, jog, or fast walk.

Personally, I follow the same type of program and always finish with a jog of about five minutes. Usually I must do this in the gym an sometimes even do stationary running. This helps keep the circulation active and assists in the PHA. I usually taper off from the jogging to a walk as I finish. I feel that the time spent running is more important than how fast you run. I therefore time myself rather than measure distance.  

I personally feel that this type of workout routine is made to order for the older man interested in health and condition as well as for the young fellow who wants more muscle and strength. The young fellows in the gym are now able to work harder and finish their workouts in much less time than before and all of them are making new progress.





















  

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