Charlie Richards at a bodyweight of 237 pounds. A short time ago we saw him at a weight lifters picnic in Denver, weighing 220. He performed a full squat with 520. Charlie is the first person in the world to squat 20 times with 400 pounds, having done this the first time he tried 20 repetitions. He has also supine pressed on a bench with 340 on several occasions and just failed to overhead press 350 at the picnic when his foot slipped on a mat. (Peary Rader)
The Chest Shaping Squat, Part Two
by Joseph Curtis Hise and Thomas Bruno
(Hise) Taking for granted that the former proof is very simple and easy for you to perform – this is the way it is taught to your mentally incompetent friends and me, which from my suspicion forms 100 percent of the Yankee population. Go th the mirror – shrug or contract most vigorously the throat and front neck muscles that are attached to the rib box – pulling the rib box as high as possible, usually two inches or so, breathe in vigorously through the mouth while doing this. This is Costal Breathing; Eellsian Extreme Style, your friends and I learn in no other way. Those who have good control of the upper chest muscles can perform costal breathing without so much noticeable face-making and neck contraction in the mirror, but your friends will ever learn it except by this extreme style practiced first before a mirror an then with a deep knee bend weight. This complete breathing costally causes the upper chest to bloom upwards and as it rises and falls the bar will heave up and down like a boat bouncing on the water. This is “Rhythmic Shoulder Rise”, as explained by Bruno and it is not made by you, it is caused by full large ranged costal breathing, Eells Style.
This style takes far more air into the lungs than any other style of breathing. It throws the exercise strain between the third and fourth ribs in the concussion caused by the rebound on full lungs from the squat. The abdominal breathing squat throws it near the sixth rib or nearly the bottom of the lungs. My lower chest measure decreased 3½ inches almost at once, it went to the top to stay. Air is 25% thinner here than at Homer, Ill. Yet I am never very breathless here from squats so my lung capacity must be nearly a third greater, all gained in top of chest.
(Bruno) Physiologists aver the statement that function makes for structure in regards to the human body. We know the statement is a correct one. I have personally seen, especially in regards men’s deformities created by the type of employment in which they are engaged. Specifically, men who are lumber pilers and stackers in the West Coast lumber camps and also in regards men who are machinists. In the former case the men assume a stooped over posture from which they seldom, if ever, straighten up because of working in that position day in and day out. In the latter case most of us are acquainted with or have seen the way in which machinists and blacksmiths carry their arms, most always in a bent position, seldom will you ever find one who carries his arm straight in the natural position. The reason is these men have worked their muscles, tendons and ligaments in a way which did not give them complete extension or contraction.
(Hise) Coal diggers in Southern W. Va. that work in high coal that is cut from side to side thru the middle scoop off the top bench coal first. This prying and hauling back with the scoop causes a decidedly noticeable development of the latissimus dorsi and it bulges to great thickness in its attachment to the spine. The spine to casual inspection appears deformed because of the tiny adjoining spinal muscles. With a coal loader there is a large latissimus muscle with an accessory scrawny man attached.
(Bruno) The human body will respond to treatment and will build structure only in regards a necessary function, so I ask you when in reading what I have to say about this breathing style to approach it with an open mind. If you decide to use it, give it a fair trial. I assure you that you will be well repaid for honest and conscientious endeavor.
In what is to follow below I will merely state my observations, not based on theories, but on what I have discovered or noticed for myself and which has given me excellent results, although I make no claims in regards to having approached perfect physical symmetry nor great strength.
I am merely one more of an army of Iron Tossers who has been seeking a way through the maze of contradictions which we know to exist in our chosen hobby in order that I might gain for myself a modicum of results which would satisfy me.
Now in coming to matters of supreme importance in regards to the results you can expect from using this breathing style or technique, pay close attention and read carefully, so that you may carefully implant in your own mind the proper method of procedure so as to facilitate your receiving the maximum of results in a minimum of time.
First I might say that it will make little difference as to which style of deep knee bend you use. If you use the style in which you place the bar on your shoulders behind your neck, may I advise you to use a cambered (bent) bar in order to facilitate and guarantee your proper performance of the deep knee bend with the minimum of annoyance and maximum of safety to you. If you use the hip belt knee bend you can disregard all the above and merely concentrate on the breathing.
Now having gone along with you up to the point in which you have the cambered bar on your shoulders perfectly balanced, let us assume the proper stance in regards how far our feet are apart. I personally seldom set my more than 16 inches apart and generally nearer 12 or 13 inches. (Hise used this approximately in the middle 1930’s – now he uses the squat with heels 2 to 6 inches apart. If the feet are too wide, the concussion effect caused by the rebound is impossible. The exerciser should place his heels at a “comfortable” distance apart, which is usually near 12 inches. Many will need a plank under their heels to give stability – high heels of loggers’ shoes are just right for the majority. Now having hurdled this difficulty, let us go on to the proper breathing methods which I assure you will give you the utmost aesthetic potential of which your chest is capable of assuming.
Take three very fast deep breaths, through the mouth of course. No exerciser should ever breathe through his nose when exercising (nose breathing is very natural for Eells, experience forced this mouth breathing for exercise purposes). Make supreme efforts to breathe in such a way as to make the efforts felt way up in your upper chest. This is the secret of this most superior chest growing squat. You must strive to get away from abdominal breathing in the squat, which can only ruin the aesthetic effect of your chest to onlookers.
Now if you are breathing correctly, your chest and shoulders will rise and fall in rhythmic fashion – and NOT your diaphragm, as in the case of abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing squats will square the lower rib box, while this upper chest, or costal breathing squat will give you the tapering effect so earnestly sought by most bodybuilders to the utmost degree of which your body is capable of assuming. Beginners can expect wonders from this style of breathing, and advanced men who have been using abdominal breathing will work remarkable transformations on their chests in period of three months of so as I did in making the change in breathing style from abdominal to costal style.
Having finished the third deep breath and with proper poundage loaded on your cambered bar, you suddenly lower yourself into the squat, making an effort to bounce off of your calves upon hitting the bottom by the simple expediency of contracting your leg muscles which will snap you upwards in order to give you your maximum potential in squat leverages, and repeat never less than 20 times.
Now in regards the style of squat you should use, round back (for the rebound is performed back-style as Hise calls it or with the spine in straight position in “round back style”), or with the normal flat back position used by Rader and Berry. I will say from observation, follow your own natural inclinations, sooner or later you will find the style in which you can exert your leverage to the utmost advantage and efficiency in the squat. Do not be overly influenced by what you read about others advocating, use what will bring to you the results in the shortest possible time, and remember that all of us possess individual variations in leverages as far as the squat is concerned and that you are exercising for results in a minimum time. I might add at this time if you are of the tall string bean type that it may be to your advantage to squat with your thighs parallel to the floor, as Peary Rader advocates, and if you are having trouble with your back adopt a strict flat back style in the squat, at least until your back is well again, and then let your conscience be your guide.
Function builds structure. Use the abdominal breathing style and you lose all chances of PLEASING chest shape. Adopt the style of breathing which forces you to breathe high in the upper chest and you build a structure which gives you a pleasing effect, a pleasant taper from waist to under the arm and the piling on of growth at the upper part of the chest where the tape may never reach it, but which the eye will reach instantly, for in this new style of breathing discovered by Roger G. Eells and used by him to the exclusion of others we have the magnum opus of technique.
In coming around to the pullovers, I will try to give you a short outline as to how they should be performed, poundage and what style I have found best. To begin with, the bent arm pullover has it all over the other pullovers for many reasons:
1.) It is not so hard on the deltoid muscles which cap the shoulders and therefore allows us to avoid sprains.
2.) It gives afar more pleasing aesthetic effect to the chest, for straight arm pullovers reach the lower chest principally, whereas the bent arm pullover arches and reaches the upper chest almost exclusively, a valuable exercise to be used in piling up growth at the upper part or your chest where it will make you look your best in conjunction with your breathing squats performed as listed above.
Now in coming to the amount of weight to be used, do not go over 60 pounds, and this for very strong men with favorable leverage at the very most, as a chest exercise. More will work wonders on your arms, but will result in stalemate as far as your chest is concerned and here is my reason for asking the use of a light weight in the bent arm pullovers. When using a very light weight in the bent arm pullover all your chest muscles are relaxed, as your arms go backwards behind your head and because they are relaxed you will get maximum amount of stretching and arching of your chest and rib box. Now in using a heavier weight the opposite effect is noticed, due to the use of the heavy weight your arms alone cannot handle the situation so all the chest muscles chime in to help, principally the serratus magnus which intertwine the rib box, so as the arms start backward behind your head as you are lying in a horizontal position the chest muscles clamp around your chest like steel bands in order to help you complete the movement. But where is the stretching and arching of the rib box? Gone. Nonexistent, because we have defeated the very purpose which we sought to accomplish, viz. the maximum stretching and arching of the rib box.
As we come to the actual performance of the bent arm pullover I will say in th beginning you should be using a bench about 10 or 12 inches high, 16 inches wide and about 48 inches long to perform on in order to allow the bell to drop down below the level of the bench top. Lie down on the bench with about a 40-pound barbell (or a short bar 15 or 18 inches long in cramped quarters) in your hands, which should be 10 to 12 inches apart. Your lower arms and upper arms to be bent at right angles with the elbows at your sides. Now lock your arms in this relative position all the way through the movement and start the bell on its way back, meantime breathing very deeply through the mouth and continue the movement until the weigh is at least as low or lower than the level of the bench top. It is of utmost importance to keep the elbows at the same distance apart, as when starting, and the upper and lower arms are always in the same relative position of right angles to each other throughout the complete range of the movement. Having reached the lowest extremity in which the bell has descended you bring the bell back to the starting position, exhaling in the interim and repeating at least 20 repetitions.
If you do this correctly the barbell will describe an arc throughout the complete movement, and your elbows as they reach the lowest extremity will be pointing upwards and not horizontally (as they would be in the straight arm pullover). Do the exercise slow and rhythmically and results for you are assured, if you render honest endeavor to master and make these exercises second nature to you.
Article courtesy of Jeff Schanz.
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