Thursday, March 31, 2011

Advanced Arm Training - Larry Scott

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Triceps Pressdown, Elbows Out

Triceps Pressdown, Elbows In

Arms That Stun
by Larry Scott

Introducing Arms

To each of us, God grants a different blessing. To some, he gives wealth, to others he gives wisdom, some are blessed with humility. Every man has his gift and it is up to us to develop our gift and make the best use of it so when we return we can do so without shame at having squandered our gift.

This same individuality can be seen in the physical body we have been given, and, though, when we speak of God, our minds are drawn to things spiritual. I believe God has given us everything and the physical being can also be included. Therefore, we also see different physical gifts. Some have good legs, others have naturally wide shoulders and some are blessed with good arms.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my gratitude for the gift of well-shaped arms. The development the Lord has left to me.

It is the purpose of this book to take you on that journey I have traveled in hopes I may share something with you that will help you.

Larry Scott.


This book is an advanced training approach. I will not make an attempt to simplify or adjust the routine for the beginning trainer.

If you find yourself in the beginning stages of arm development, I suggest you use my book "How I Built My 20" Arms", which is dedicated to the beginner and intermediate trainer. We will be involved on all advanced aspects of arm development, including size development, as well as proper movements for shape and definition.


Speaking of both biceps and triceps, everyone has a different connection of bone to tendon to muscle.

Some fellows have a good long sheath of muscle fiber on the lower bicep and a short tendon connection, giving the appearance and potential for excellent lower bicep development. When a trainer starts to develop, it is difficult to tell if the bicep is going to be a good lower connection or not because the tendon is almost as big as the bicep. If, however, a few years of training has developed the bicep somewhat, it is easy to discern your connection.

Point the fingers straight up and bend the arm at a 90 degree angle, palm facing the head. If the bicep has a large gap between it and the forearm, the arm will never develop into a good lower bicep. Do not despair, however, you can develop an excellent peak on the bicep and this is exactly what you should be working for. Don't waste your time working for something that will never come while neglecting a marvelous part of your arm potential.


To truly develop an arm that will stun, you must concern yourself with balance, as well as size. Many magnificent arms have been less impressive than they should have been because of neglect or one or more of the following areas:

Forearms -- Too many huge upper arms are poorly supported by skinny of underdeveloped forearms. It is a shame to see a really magnificent upper arm flexed and a semi-developed forearm detract from the majesty of the overall arm.

Triceps -- Each trainer must come to a realization that in order to develop excellent triceps, he must devote time to the size movements and the shape movements. Too many fellows are not even aware there is a difference. I have seen hundreds of routines where a fellow is frustrated in his tricep development because he was using exercises which specifically contribute to shape AND ACTUALLY ARE A DETERRENT TO BUILDING SIZE.

Biceps -- As mentioned before, one must determine the length of the bicep head and design his program accordingly or he will waste his true potential on movements which are ineffective for his particular connection.


This routine is designed for the fellow who has some good lower bicep connection but still wants to work peak bicep as well. It is also designed primarily to build size. It has not basic shape movements in the tricep routine. My major emphasis will be to concentrate solely on building large arms.

The bicep tendon ties in around the elbow region and is highly vulnerable to trauma, especially while using a preacher bench. It is for this reason I always work my arms at the end of my workout. This allows me to really "burn out" for two reasons.

First, I have already warmed up the biceps while doing prior exercises and second, I know I have nothing else left to work after my arms, so I can totally exhaust myself on arms. When I am done with triceps, I am generally completely exhausted. I have listed some forearm work in this routine, but I do not advise doing forearms on the same day as upper arms are worked. I will include forearm work, however, because it is essential in developing not only beauty in the overall arm, but strong forearms help to build bigger biceps as well.

Exercise #1
I have started out with a series of preacher bench curls. The first set of the series is the dumbbell preacher bench curl. The weight should be as heavy as you can handle for 6 reps. You must lower the dumbbells all the way through the exercise until the arms are completely extended. Allow them to bend backwards if possible. You must start at the bottom of the movement if you are to obtain maximal benefit from this movement.

Remember, this routine is only for those having a good lower bicep connection by nature.
(Note: If you can place more than three fingers on the bicep gap, do not waste your time on this routine. Routine No. 2 is for you.) If you can place between two and three fingers you can use either Routines No. 1 or 2 and benefit. If you can place two or less, Routine No. 1 is for you.

After having done 6 complete extended reps with as heavy a weight as possible (don't be afraid to cheat), finish with 4 or 5 "burns". Burns are small movements done at the top of the movement. Let the weight down just to the point it is going to "fall through", bring it up, and repeat.

Exercise #2
After having completed the set of dumbbell curls, go immediately to the straight barbell curls. Do not rerst for even a second between sets. You must jump immediately into the next set in order to obtain maximum benefit from this routine. Do 6 reps and 4 burns with the straight bar. Use a wide grip and excellent form. Do not cheat as much on this exercise as the dumbbell curls.

Exercise #3
Finally, do 6 reps and 4 burns with the EZ curl bar in reverse grip position. Do not rest between sets, but do the reps slow and deliberate,. Concentrate fully on using the proper movement.

Rest while your training partner does his tri series, then repeat for 3 to 5 series. Your arms should be almost numb by the last series and have gone through pain like never before.

Exercise #4
Peak bicep development. Use a spider bench like you see me doing in the photo. It is one of our own design, but you can improvise or you may have something similar in your gym.

This one is designed to do nothing but hurt. You must do 6 good reps all the way up, then do 6 partial reps from the bottom up as far as you can get the bar to go. Then bounce the weight on the bottom just to really stretch out the bicep and tendons for 6 to 10 final bounces.

That is not an up and down bounce, but rather a bounce against the joint of the elbow. Do about 3 sets of these unusual spider curls and you will soon begin to notice some excellent peak beginning to develop.

Exercise #5
You are ready to work the real size muscle in the arm now. You have pumped the bicep and it will give the arms excellent cushion as you get into some power tricep movements. Start off with the EZ curl bar and a bench about six inches high. The low bench will enable you to lift the bar without the danger of hurting yourself as a higher bench often does. Do 8 reps and 4 burns at the top of the movement. Try to lock out on each rep. This will give some good external head development as well as work the belly of the tricep.

I like to do this exercise in a combination close-grip bench press/supine tricep press style. I personally do not like to do this one real strict, that is, with the elbows pointing to the ceiling. I think it is too hard on the elbows. Besides, I like to really stack on the weight on this exercise and get a good power pump. Look closely at how I have my elbow position at the bottom of the exercise. Remember, I am not too concerned about form on this movement, but more with the pumping feeling I am getting. Remember, I do not want to injure my elbows.

Exercise #6
Long Pull Tricep Extensions. This is to be alternated with the previous tricep exercise. Go immediately to this movement. You must be aware of a few important details which, if ignored, will ruin the combination. The pulley should be about five feet off the floor and the bench upon which you rest your head and elbows should be about 14 inches high. If you make the pulley too high, it will cause too much stress in the lower back and you will not like the exercise. Also, you should have a "V" bar with which to do this exercise. A rope or a towel or even a straight bar is not as good. If you get everything as I suggest, you will love the series. Otherwise, there are better movements. So both the exercises back and forth for about 5 to 6 series or about 8 reps and about 4 to 6 burns.

I like to finish off with another 4 sets of just the long pull tricep extension and minimize my rest down to 8 to 10 breaths between sets. I love it.


This routine is designed for the fellow who has a rather "high" bicep. That is, he can get three or more fingers in the "bicep gap".

As mentioned earlier, it would be foolish to waste time and energy on lower bicep work. It won't build and you could be developing some incredible biceps in the area where you have muscle tissue with which to work.

Exercise #1
Seated Dumbbell Curls on Incline Bench
Try to keep the elbows close into the sides, if possible. Also, try to supinate the palms (keep the little finger side of the palm high). This will allow some lower bicep work, but the stress, due to the free swinging elbow, will be on the upper and belly of the bicep. I suggest the exercise be done is a "down the rack" fashion. After having warmed up the bicep elbow tendon by doing light curls, go to a set of dumbbells with which you can do 6 tough reps. The sixth rep should be your last rep. Finish the set off with 4 burns at the top of the exercise. Go immediately to a lighter set of dumbbells and complete the same reps and burns. Finally, drop the weight again and complete one more set including burns to finish off the first series. Try not to rest at all between sets and only rest long enough between series for your training partner to get his sets done. Do 3 series of 3 sets.

Exercise #2
Vertical Side Preacher Bench Curls, Straight Bar
Put your thumbs under the bar and curl all the way up to the nose. Do it exactly as you see me doing it here. Do 4 sets of 6 reps and 4 burns at the top. Sometimes I will use a "down the rack" system on this exercise as well, but often the pain of the incline bench curls on the first exercise keeps me from using the series system on this movement.

Exercise #3
Spider Bench Barbell Curl.
Thumbs under and get ready for pain. This is entirely a peak movement. You should love this one if done right. Do 3 or 4 sets of 20 reps. Yes, 20 reps, but let me explain. I do six full reps, the seventh won't go all the way, but I do about four or five from the top down, if possible. Finally the bar fails. I then do about four or five burns from the bottom up. Then let it hang and bounce against the bicep. This one is a killer, but it really is a terrific one with which to finish your bicep work.

The tricep routine on Routine One will work fine here and I have used it for years as the best I can find. Sometimes, however, I do some variation and, for this purpose, I will include a routine which is good to give the elbows a rest for a season, while still blasting for greater growth.

Exercise #4
Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine.
The elbows should be out away from the sides and you should lean over the bar as you see me doing. Use all the weight you can handle. Do not be afraid of really piling on the plates. Form is not important. Just get the bar down anyway you can. I want to really gorge the triceps with blood to prepare them for the finisher I alternate this movement with.

Exercise #5
Dips on Bench with Weight on Lap.
You should be doing about 6 to 8 reps and 4 to 5 burns on both of these tricep movements. The dips are a good exercise for sore elbows as well as being excellent for the final pump out. I do about 6 series of alternating both exercises and finish with 4 sets of just the dips as fast as I can go. That is, minimizing my rest between sets. I don't do my reps fast. I do them deliberately, concentrating on each rep as much as possible.


This routine is designed mainly to give the arms better shape. Some of the tricep movements, in particular, will not provide great size. If you are trying to cut up and get some extra lines across the external head and improve your separation, I think you will find this routine to be to your liking.

The typical fellow who would benefit from this routine would be the bulky or overweight person who has plenty of size, but wants to see more definition in his arms.

Exercise #1
Seated Dumbbell Curls.
Alternate this and the following two exercises for excellent overall shape. Do 6 reps and 4 burns at the top of the movement. Strict form is not absolutely necessary. Allow a slight cheat to use more weight.

Exercise #2
Preacher Bench Barbell Curls.
Do not rest at all after completing the dumbbell incline curls, go immediately to this movement and do 6 reps with 4 to 6 burns. Look carefully at the way I am holding the bar. You must let the barbell go all the way to the bottom and hang there for a second to really stress your lower bicep.

Exercise #3
Spider Bench Barbell Curls.
Go directly from the preacher bench curls to this next exercise. You may not have this piece of equipment. I suggest you rig something up like it. It is fantastic for building peak bicep development ad it causes no stress on the elbow. Do 6 reps all the way up, then do 4 reps halfway down , and then 4 reps from the bottom up. Then let the weight hang and bounce against the bicep tendon, then do do 3 or 4 more half reps and bounce again until you can't stand the pain.

You have just completed one series of three sets. Do the series over again three or four times, or until you "feel" that your arms have had it.

Exercise #4
Triceps Press Down on the Lat Machine.
The elbows are held in close to the sides and the form is done strictly. You are shooting for separation and cuts on the external head, so form is important. Be keeping the elbows at your sides and pointing down you will stress the external head. Remember to really lock out those elbows on the bottom of the exercise. Do 8 reps and move on to the next exercise.

Exercise #5
One Arm Triceps Extension.
Normally, I would not suggest using any one arm movement. but this is an exception. I think you will like this one as much as I do. Do 8 reps with each arm.

You have just completed one series for triceps. Complete about four series and finish off with 3 sets of just the triceps pressdown. The finish-off should be done with 6 reps and 6 burns at the bottom of the exercise. Remember, you are trying to totally exhaust the muscle at the precise time you reach maximum pump.


This routine is designed almost totally for building maximum size. No thought has been given to any shape and, specifically, shape movements have been excluded to devote total attention to building size.

If you are under weight and have difficulty gaining weight or your arms are lagging behind the rest of your development, this is your routine.

Exercise #1
Standing Barbell Curl.
Use all the weight you can handle. Do not worry about cheating. Do 6 hard reps and move on to the next exercise.

Exercise #2
Preacher Bench Dumbbell Curl.
Again, do not worry about the form too much. But do not waste the bottom of the movement. You must completely unwrap the wrist to utilize the entire movement. Do 6 reps and 4 very hard burns. (Let the weight down just to the point where it is going to fall and bring it up again.)

Exercise #4
Supine Tri-Press with EZ-Curl Bar. It is best to put some chalk on the heel of the palm. This will allow you to use more weight. Do a movement somewhat like a combination close-grip bench press and supine triceps press. Studying the two photos will make this clearer. Do 8 hard reps and 4 burns.

Exercise #5
Long Pull Triceps Extension. This exercise is done on the seated lat machine. The cable is removed from the bottom pulley and a small kidney-shaped bench is used for the elbow rest. Naturally, one can improvise all sorts of things on his own apparatus, but after years of experimentation I have resolved everything, and you can see in the photos what I consider to be the best combination for me. Do 8 reps and 4 burns at the bottom.

You have just completed one series. I suggest four to five series and finishing off with just the kneeling triceps extension for 4 or 5 sets of quick, short rest sets.


I do not do my forearm work on the same night as I work arms. Generally, my arms are totally exhausted after bicep and tricep work and I have little or nothing left for forearms. So I do them on another day. For some of my suggested forearm routines, see here -

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rep Selection - John Grimek

The Grimeks with Art Zeller

Select the Right Reps for You
by John Grimek (1991)

Every bodybuilder or lifter has a time run up against the problem of choosing the proper number of repetitions. This is quite natural, since repetitions do present the problem of trying to figure out just how many time to continue the movement. Anyone who has used weights knows that a certain number of repetitions produces a fullness and congestion in the muscles. Therefore, experienced persons should be more able to make suitable adjustments. But what about those who are just beginning, those without any previous experience? These are the ones who must know exactly the right number of repetitions to employ, because if too many are employed the desired results of increased muscle size and musculature does not take place, and yet, if a sufficient number is not included, the muscles will fail to respond, which is very discouraging to anyone who undertakes a system of muscle building to improve, and not to waste time.

Confidentially, however, it's not only the beginner who encounters these problems; there are many individuals with years of experience behind them who suddenly feel they aren't progressing as they expected, and who fail to obtain the reaction of congestion and fullness. This, they assume, is due to improper selection of reps, and speaking from experience, this could be so.

Too many bodybuilders these days are taught that sets, the repeating of the same exercise several times, is the only way by which the muscles can be "pumped" or congested with blood. This is true in many cases, but not everyone responds similarly. Time and again I've given examples of how some bodybuilders respond better to what could be termed as "high reps", even though such a bodybuilder can still utilize the set-system to advantage. He simply employs higher repetitions for succeeding sets. Performing higher reps in the first set of an exercise is more likely to produce a fullness in the muscle, which succeeding sets only intensify, something which is not accomplished by the majority who employ low reps, though they may repeat the exercise for many sets. Why? Chances are the heavier weights lead to haphazard methods or sloppy form, better known as "cheating", which does not impart the full resistance to the muscle being exercised. Consequently the muscle does not work as fully and, therefore, fails to congest as it should. One needs only to try this method, higher reps in the first set with lower numbers for each succeeding series, to understand my point. I have often used this method to prove m argument, and those who were willing to try it had to admit their muscle reaction was better and more thorough. One of the easiest muscles to make this experiment with is the biceps; they pump up easily when the proper number of reps are used.

If you've been in the habit of doing five, six, or seven reps, try 10 to 12 reps in the first set, reducing this down to six or eight for the second or third set, and five to six for the fourth or fifth set; if you do that many. After you've tried this, chances are your biceps will feel tighter and more congested than they have felt in a long time. Why? It is my guess that with this lighter weight you've done the exercise more precisely and given the muscles more direct effort . . . so you feel it more. It is impossible for any muscle or group of muscles to be thoroughly worked in five or six reps, even if high sets are employed. On this point at least the majority seem to agree, but scores still persist in using heavy weights with low reps right from the start. Result? Not the level of improvement expected!

Not too long ago great emphasis was placed on "forcing the reps", which advised, as the term indicated, that one should force the repetitions one way or another. Forcing extra reps is excellent to increase the endurance on one's muscles and make them work to the limit, but if this is done workout after workout results will not be obtained. Many bodybuilders catch themselves squeezing out a few extra reps all the time, which is not favored. Straining in this way puts a drain on vitality and reserve so that sooner or later one reaches a point where training is abhorred instead of inviting. Here again two versions of "forcing" might be explained. If in forcing these last few reps one must strain to the point of holding the breath (causing one to turn colors) it doesn't take much reasoning to understand that such an effort is not beneficial, but could even prove to be detrimental if carried to the extreme. On the other hand, if the effort is done with partial strain but without interrupting normal breathing or causing any facial discoloration, such forcing is beneficial and should be used, but NEVER included in every training session.

Occasionally, when one feels a desire that a few reps can be forced, since there are training days when ambition and endurance are greater, forcing a few extra reps could be utilized to advantage. However, when one hits one of those days when even the normal amount of repetitions 'go hard' and one has to use greater determination to complete them, it would be folly to employ extra reps or try to force them. Your best decision, under the circumstance, is to do what you can without knocking yourself out, reserving your efforts for another time.

One other point that I would like to clear up is that usually there are certain exercises in which almost every bodybuilder finds it easier to add forced reps without strain. These exercises differ from person to person, but one can include the "forced reps" method more often, yet never to the point of blackouts or dizzy after-effects which some experience. In all probability, if you have to strain that much, then those extra reps can't be that important, and you're better off without them.

Reps For Beginners

If a novice does not know what number of reps to use, it is wiser to employ a higher reps scheme, which range between 10 to 12 for all upper body exercises, and 15 to 18 for the lower back and legs. In this way they should benefit by this system and make changes only when it feels fit to do so. Rarely, if ever, is it advisable for any beginner to incorporate multiple sets for any particular exercise. This could prove a disadvantage in the quest for improvement. Muscles unaccustomed to any systematic training respond wonderfully with only a minimum of effort, and only require greater effort after they have been toughened up with previous training.

Reps For Conditioning

When we speak of getting 'into condition' we mean that we must tone muscles that have lost their elasticity and power, and that are very often covered or enveloped by fat. To condition them it is better to use only a minimum of resistance while placing emphasis on the reps. By using higher reps, the muscles regain their tone, strength and elasticity quicker, and can be strengthened by the more vigorous methods explained below. Repetitions suggested here are much the same as those for beginners or slightly higher.

Reps For Building Strength

Strength is best obtained through effort against the highest resistance possible, and here we find that the set or series system is best. (the set system merely means to repeat the same, or similar exercises, involving the same muscle group a number of times.) Pure strength athletes all employ this formula to great advantage. It increases their strength without them growing bigger or heavier. Here the low rep system is recommended to increase power, and is best achieved while using maximum poundages. Five to seven reps for lower back and legs (the hips and quads), with three to five reps for all upper body exercises. However, many strength athletes prefer, with good reason, to include three to five reps at most.

Reps For Maintaining Development

As a general rule, once muscular development is acquired it is easy to maintain, except in cases where "forced development" has occurred; then shrinkage of size takes place if the muscles are not regularly trained. This is what was hinted at earlier. Only if a variation of exercise and repetitions were used to OBTAIN such development can the development be maintained without too much difficulty. High reps may be used on some training days, while other days should include the low rep scheme. The high rep program must consist of 12 to 15 reps for all upper body movements with 18 to 20 for all lower body exercises. The minimum of reps for alternate training days should be 8 to 10 for upper body, and 12 to 15 for lower. This will be enough to give the muscles sufficient exercise, keeping them fit and in condition.

Reps For Use With Sets

Sets, or series of exercises, are nothing more than repeated repetitions after a pause or rest. Often this type of program is more suitable to an experienced person who has passed the novice stage and has made reasonable improvement which warrants greater effort and work. Less repetitions are used while handling near maximum resistance. For this, if one uses three sets, seven to eight repetitions may work best, but when five or more sets are used, five to six reps are advisable. However, it is best to employ a higher number of sets for the first set and then use lower reps with each successive set while increasing the poundage. This improves the musculature and packs in greater power.

Determining Proper Weight and Reps

Selecting the proper weight to be used with the system of repetitions that will bring results is and can be best determined by selecting a weight you believe you can handle for the desired number of repetitions. Then, if you can complete this number easily, the possibility of adding more weight is indicated. Try at least five or ten more pounds the next time. On the other hand, if you have to strain or struggle to complete the required number of reps, reduce the poundage on the bar by ten pounds. In this way you will have a starting poundage that's suitable for your strength and can increase the resistance as the muscles grow stronger. In other words, START WHERE YOU'RE AT AND NOT WHERE YOU THINK YOU ARE.

In conclusion, let me make another point clear to you: Ease your mind on the repetitions score. Don't become discouraged if you can't complete the number of reps you expect. Maybe this isn't your day, in which case content yourself with less reps and don't try forcing them. Perhaps on the following training day you will be in livelier spirits, have more ambition and greater enthusiasm, and consequently more driving power . . . then employ those 'forced reps' to better advantage at this time.

The Loosening Deadlift - Tommy Kono

Photo No. 1: Lifter stands upright with legs straight and heels together. Bar is held with the aid of straps -- no tension in the arms -- and the whole body is relaxed.

Photo No. 2: The head begins to tilt forward and the shoulders slump with bar hanging at arms' length.

Photo No. 3: The chin is tucked into the chest -- this helps to curve the upper back. The shoulders slump even more at this point, stretching the muscles in the back.

Photo No. 4: The barbell is lowered by transferring the curve of the upper back to the middle of the back. You should begin to feel the "stretching" effect moving down the back.

Photo No. 5: The back should be a smooth curve from the hips to the base of the neck. Efforts at this point should be made to "stretch" the middle of the back as you continue to bend down.

Photo No. 6: The transfer of the curve is now complete with the "stretch" being felt in the lower back and hamstrings. The arms should still be "dangling" and no effort to contract the back muscles should be made. You will also feel a stretching of the latissimus muscles.

The "Loosening" Deadlift
by Tommy Kono (1974)

Anyone who has trained hard on the Olympic lifts and overtaxed his lower back by performing numerous heavy pulling movements in one training session, or who has had several heavy training days in a row on the pulls, has experienced either a stiff back or overworked lumbar muscles to the point where they cannot relax or tighten them completely.

Your back can become "stiff as a board" with the lumbar muscles hard to the touch ("all knotted up"), or the muscles so fatigued that it is like a spring that has been overstretched.

In either case you have lost the explosive contractile quality of the muscles in the lower back.

I recall in the early '60's a lifter who made the U.S. team for the Pan American Games and trained three times a day, five to six days a week! When we were in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the Games he felt like he was losing his condition because he was training only two times a day. He was following one of the European systems and all this training left his muscles hard as rock; especially his lower back and shoulders. He was exceptionally strong but he could have lifted better had he spent more time working for elasticity of the muscles, and certainly, not so often in a day.

With the advent of the 2-lift competition many lifters have gone to the extreme in their training program by putting too many pulling movements in their routine, consequently overtraining their back muscles.

The Olympic-style lifters must have muscles that can contract strongly and violently and this quality cannot come about by overtaxing the muscles isometrically continuously.

When exercises such as the Good Morning, Hyperextensions, Cleans, Snatches, a variety of High Pulls and even the Olympic-Style Deadlift are concentrated on, or combined in one session, it is very easy to overtrain the lumbar muscles, causing them to become hard and tight, taking extra rest days to recuperate. All the aforementioned exercises are good exercises to develop pulling power but it is important that you are able to arrive at a happy combination of sets, reps, and poundages to work the muscles just enough to improve.

Imagine the muscles of your back as quality metal. If it is like cast iron then it is stiff and unbending and rather than bend under stress it would break. On the other hand, if the muscle is like a steel spring, well-tempered, there is dynamic life and "lift" to it and it has the quality to take punishment.

There are two ways to avoid "over-contracting" the lumbar muscles:

1.) Have a balanced training program which gives your back muscles enough exercise yet not so much as to overtrain them. Sufficient recuperation time should lapse between training sessions for the back.

2.) Include loosening-up exercises which "stretch" the lumbar muscles instead of contracting them.

The scheduling of a training program is more difficult since it is an individual thing; however, everyone can add a loosening exercise to retain the elastic quality to the lumbar muscles after having taxed them.

The exercise I am about to describe not only stretches the back muscles but serves also as a tonic to your regular training routine, for though this is not what you would call a "negative" movement, it certainly isn't a muscle contracting exercise as we know it. HEAVY WEIGHTS ARE AVOIDED FOR THIS EXERCISE; WHEN PERFORMED PROPERLY IT REQUIRES A VERY LIGHT BARBELL FOR MAXIMUM BENEFIT.

Again, as in the Olympic-Style Deadlift, I recommend that you perform this exercise with straps so you can concentrate your effort in performing the exercise correctly. THE WEIGHT ON THE BAR IS NOT IMPORTANT, in fact, it is better with extremely light weight and emphasis on the "stretch" of the back muscles.

Description of the Loosening Deadlift

Start Position: Stand perfectly erect with the barbell hanging at arms' length as in the finish of the normal deadlift.

Downward Movement: Start the downward movement by lowering your chin so it comes to rest on your sternum (chest" and at the same time slump your shoulders forward. The bowing of the back should begin in the upper back area.

Once the bow is started in the upper back the barbell is lowered so the bowing of the spine travels to the mid-back. And so on until you've lowered the barbell to the floor and the bow of the back is in the lower lumbar region. (Study accompanying series of photos critically.)

At all times efforts should be made to keep your legs straight so the "pull" can be felt in the buttocks and then in the hamstrings of your legs. Of course, the pull will also be felt in the upper back, then transfer into the middle back and then to the lower back.

A word of caution here when you are including this exercise in your training for the first time: Use an extremely light weight to begin and don't make any effort to stand on a block or a bench to get more stretch. Perform the movement SLOWLY AND SMOOTHLY and breathe out as you lower the barbell.

Upward Movement: This is just the reverse of the downward movement with the idea that the hump of bow of the back begins in the lower back and transfers up through the mid-back until you are again standing straight upright at the conclusion of the exercise. Inhale as you stand erect.

Repetitions: Since this exercise is not an exercise to develop strength but rather to promote recuperation of the back muscles and develop suppleness of the spine, you should perform between 8 to 12 repetitions.

Sets: Even a single set of 12 reps performed after you've finished your Olympic-Style Deadlift works wonders but you can perform an additional set or two without any harm if the weight you are using is light and it is done with the idea of bringing back elastic quality to the stiff and "pumped" muscles.

West Germany's great superheavyweight Rudolf Mang keeps his back muscles in shape during the off season with this exercise. In fact, many times this is the only exercise he performs when he is pressed for time. He gets a real good workout with 220 lbs. even though his record clean is near 500.

A person capable of cleaning 300 lbs. can use 135 lbs. for exercise purposes. As you get accustomed to the exercise, rather than go heavier in the poundage, you should attempt to stand on a box or bench and perform this exercise over a greater range to get a longer stretch.

Former weightlifting champion and phyique titlist and now a prominent chiropractor in Hawaii, William McDonough, recommends this exercise not only for those who practice the Olympic lifts but to everyone in general. It develops suppleness in the spine and hamstrings and promotes overall tone to the lumbar muscles when practiced as described in this article.

A big Thank You to this article's contributor!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Call for Information

Joe Roark is compiling data for a manuscript on 1960s iron game activities: bodybuilding, odd lifts, powerlifts, births, deaths, marriages, weightlifting, all to be arranged in chronological order, with contest references added for further readings. For 1960, ages during that year will be given to show who would later play a role in the game [George Redpath was 45, Clare Furr was 3, Dave Draper 18].

No contest is too small to be included. This will be as comprehensive as his 50 years of study can make it, - with all help appreciated!

If you have info to contribute, please write him at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Olympic-Style Deadlift - Tommy Kono

Photo No. 1: Gary has already tensed his back flat (arched) and bent his legs to reach down to grip the bar. The arching of the lower back can become more pronounced if an effort is made to inflate your chest so your lower rib cage fans outward. It is easier to assume this tensed lower back-raised, lower rib cage position before gripping the bar then to bend over, grip the bar, and then to get the proper tension and raised chest position

Photo No. 2: Back is flat, arms straight and the chest well in front of the bar. The lower back is tensed. To help fix the back even the latissimus muscles are flexed.

Photo No. 3: Start the movement with the leg drive. Note that the back angle has not altered although the weight has left the floor.

Photo No, 4: The leg drive has lifted the bar higher but very little change has taken place in the back angle from the previous position. (The bar is slightly above the knee level position here.)

Photo No. 5: The important point in this photo is that Gary is attempting to keep the shoulders in front of the bar which automatically causes him to bring his hips closer to the bar. In other words the shoulders remain in a fixed vertical path while the hips move forward to get in line with the shoulders and not the shoulders coming back to where the hips are.

Photo No. 6: This is just before Gary brings his shoulders and hips in the same line. Note that his shoulders are still in front of the hips and he has maintained his flat back thoughout the movement. The completion is when the shoulder point is directly over the hips and the bar is across the front of the thighs. DO NOT LEAN BACKWARD AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE UPWARD MOVEMENT.

The Olympic-Style Deadlift
by Tommy Kono (1974)

"As a twig is bent, so grows the tree," is an old and familiar saying, and the idea behind it can well be applied to the Clean. Time and again I have seen the most experienced lifters lose attempts well within their capability simply because they started the pull incorrectly. ONCE THE LIFT IS WRONGLY INITIATED IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO CORRECT THE ERROR AS IT PROGRESSES.

Correct technique is one of two important requisites to reach high levels in our sport. The other, or course, is power. I have always stressed that technique of the lift comes first. Once the proper form is acquired then the bulk of your program can be focused on the development of power for the two Olympic lifts. However, should you develop power first and then try to correct your lifting technique, more likely than not, when the weights become heavy on the lifts you tend to rely more on power than technique to make the lift. The result is unharnessed power -- which spells disaster.

When Stanley "The Flash" Stanczyk was at the peak of his illustrious championship form (six times world and Olympic champion) he appeared on Ed Yarick's annual "Big Show" in Oakland, California. I was an enthusiastic, wide-eyed teenager in the lightweight class destined to make my first Clean & Jerk of 300 lbs. that night while lifting along with him.

Stanczyk's best official lightheavyweight Jerk record was 363 lbs. but he was capable of cleaning 370 or more in the split style. His second pull begged description, so strong was the "whip" from the knee level. I was full of questions that evening for I wanted to know how he developed such a strong pull. In our conversation I learned that his best Squat was 420 lbs. which was not much more than my best of 410 but the information that got me thinking was his ability to Deadlift 600 lbs. which he made as a middleweight to win a wager. I learned also that he never really practiced the Deadlift movement in his regular training routine but he was naturally strong in his lumbar region from all his lifting training.

Like a mathematician, I related the Deadlift poundage to the Cleaning ability of Stanczyk. I had never incorporated the Deadlift in my training program in the past but now armed with this "secret" I intended to specialize on the movement. After six weeks of concentration on my new program I was able to perform 10 repetition Deadlifts with 400 lbs. while standing on a couple of two-inch boards. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I failed to clean any better after all this training. My pull was strong from the floor but by the time the bar arrived at my knee level I had no pulling power to follow through on the Clean! Back to the drawing board with more research to follow.

In this "era' was a fellow who had the world record Deadlift with 725 lbs., making this lift at approximately 179 lbs. bodyweight. He had entered some Olympic lifting meets and his best Clean & Jerk was 310 lbs. No Deadlift-Clean relation here, for sure!

After much thought, speaking to others who were well versed in the Iron Game about technique and training, I realized that the normal Deadlift as it is performed was not the answer to greater pulling power for the Olympic lifts. In fact, the way the powerlifters perform their Deadlifts actually teaches the Olympic lifter to pull INCORRECTLY.

Bowing of the upper or lower back will make you handle heavier weights in picking the barbell off the floor but is severely impedes the "second pull" which begins at the knee level because you sacrifice your leverage of a stiff back necessary for the explosive straightening of the body.

In this two part article I want to cover two types of Deadlifts, and each of them is aimed primarily for Olympic-style lifters. For want of a better name I will term the first one "Olympic Style Deadlift". The second one is more or less required from the outcome of the first one and I will call it "Loosening Deadlift".

Before explaining the details of this Olympic-Style Deadlift exercise, a word of advice if you are an Olympic lifter and have never really trained on the Deadlift. It is best that you use straps even with the lightest of weight in performing this exercise. Only when you have acquired the ability to concentrate correctly on the proper technique would I recommend you use a regular grip with the light and medium weights and use the "hook grip" with the real heavy ones in training. Distraction from your concentration on the correct technique can come about very easily when you experience sore thumbs from hooking or your grip is giving from using the normal grip.

Description of the Olympic-Style Deadlift

Start Position: Approach the bar as you would for the regular Clean. Get into the proper pulling position: back flat (or even arched so your lumbar muscles are tightened), arms straight, and shoulders well in front of the bar.

Upward Movement: While maintaining a flat back (or arched which is better) and the angle of your back in relation to the floor in a fixed position, "PUSH" the floor downward with your feet. If this idea of a downward push of your feet is hard to imagine then perform the Deadlift in the usual manner but with emphasis placed on two things:

1.) Keep your back flat or arched at all times.
2.) Keep your shoulders well in front of the bar throughout the lift.

Downward Movement: In this exercise it is important that once the upright position of the body is attained the lowering of the bar is also performed in the exact reverse of the upward movement; i.e., from the upright position incline the upper body from the hips slightly forward so the shoulders are in front of the bar, and while maintaining a flat (or arched) back, lower the weight by bending your legs.

Never perform the movement hurriedly because the concentration on the correct technique would be lost. The barbell should never rest on the floor between repetitions.

Study the accompanying photos which were especially posed by Hawaii State featherweight champion Gary Kawamura who has Snatched 220 and Jerked 280 to total 500. These photos were not made with a sequence shooting camera but are a series of posed individual still photos.

Repetitions: The amount of repetitions in the Olympic-Style Deadlift should be between 3 to 5 reps. The amount or weight should be governed by what you can handle correctly for the required amount of repetitions. If you perform this movement correctly the weight you use for 3 reps shouldn't be exceeding 10-20 lbs. over your top cleaning ability. If you can handle more weight in the manner described than what is stated, then either your technique for the Clean is poor, or you are not performing the Olympic-Style Deadlift with the proper back position . . . or you have a new personal record on the Clean waiting to be made on your next "heavy day".

Sets: The total amount of sets to perform on this exercise depends a great deal on what you have already performed in your training. 3 to 5 sets is the usual number of sets performed with medium to heavy weights if it is included along with medium weight Cleans or High Pulls. More sets can be performed but only if you are concentrating on this Olympic-Style Deadlift at the conclusion of Cleans and High Pulls on that particular training day.

This exercise should be performed toward the end of your training period because it does tax and tire your lower back and legs.

The Olympic-Style Deadlift is a very simple movement and the range the bar travels is very short; however, this is a critical area and it governs the successes and failures in record attempts. This exercise has a twofold purpose:

1.) To teach the proper start for the Olympic lifts.
2.) To develop power for pull in the Olympic lifts.

When this exercise is performed correctly IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO "EXPLODE" THE WEIGHT OFF THE FLOOR!"

The Snatch-Grip Olympic-Style Deadlift is also an effective exercise to perform; however, on this lift you will be able to handle more than 20 lbs. above your record Snatch for 3 reps.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't Neglect Shrugging Exercises - John Grimek

George Helmer's
Steve Reeves International Society:

Don't Neglect Shrugging Exercises
by John Grimek (1961)

When bodybuilding began growing in this country well over a half century ago, every system of training designed for developing muscle included the regular form of shrugging exercise. The reason is logical enough for anyone who is familiar with the physical benefits that may be obtained by its proper use. And any instructor who has used this exercise himself and knows the true value of it will invariably recommend it to others, especially to the novice. Yet the enthusiasm for this particular exercise over the years has steadily declined until it has drifted into oblivion. In fact, very few of the present training systems, outside of York, include it.

I'm inclined to think that very few contemporary bodybuilders understand the real significance of the exercise upon the body, and the effect it has upon the body's symmetry. For one thing the shrug activates the largest muscle in the upper back, the trapezius. And, perhaps even more significant is the fact that few people realize that when this muscle is fully developed it adds greater mass to the upper back, and even greater all-over depth to the body. The trapezius has its greatest visual prominence just on top of the shoulders where it flanges out from each side of the neck at the base of the head to the acromium process. In well-developed men this muscle is conspicuous without any attempt do display it. But it can be made to stand out boldly by a simple control by those who have the ability . . . and many have.

Many of the well-built men of today are found lacking in full development of this muscle, and in some cases where it does exist, it seldom is in the right proportion to the latissimus dorsi and the pectoral muscles. Much of this can be attributed to a lack of lifting movements which the average bodybuilder avoids because he feels that actual lifting does not develop the pectorals and his other favorite muscles. Yet lifting, any kind of lifting movements, not only activates the large trapezius muscle, which it does very vigorously, but all of the muscles of the back, arms, shoulders and legs. Those who do not include some form of lifting in training always develop better physiques.

It's noteworthy to point out that when full development of the trapezius is lacking in the back it imparts a peculiar shape to the shoulders. Of course any qualified coach or experienced lifter will notice this "difference" and knows that something is missing. I might add, and rather reluctantly, that this particular condition is often favored by beginners. The reason is that when the development of the trapezius is missing it gives the shoulders a straighter line from the neck out to the shoulders, and this creates an illusion of broader shoulders. When the trapezius is fully developed, however, the shoulders do not have that straight line, but have more of a sloping effect which is formed by the trapezius muscle, and this may actually cut down the appearance of width. but when two such backs are placed side by side and studied, there is no comparison. The back with the well-developed trapezius will look stronger and more rugged, while the other back will appear weak and infantile. Such a comparison should prove beyond any doubt the importance of well-developed trapezius in relation to appearance and strength.

I feel sure that all of you must have noticed the varying degree of trapezius development possessed by all lifters, ranging from good to very outstanding. On the other hand, comparatively few bodybuilders have what could be called exceptional development in this area. Specifically this is the direct result of not doing enough lifting exercises or other exercises that work this muscle. More shrugging appears to be too simple a solution for most bodybuilders, since it does not provide them with that pumped up feeling which they experience in other exercises. So they neglect it on the grounds that it is useless, consequently they never really develop the trapezius to the degree they have developed their latissimus, pectorals or arms. The end result is that when all muscles are not developed proportionately the symmetry of the body is ruined and only a handful of experienced people are able to explain the reason why the physique is weak looking.

As I have stated, lifters on the whole have better and stronger looking traps than the average bodybuilders. And as previously pointed out, all lifting tends to activate this muscle strongly. But here is something that very few bodybuilders may realize -- even when a bodybuilder is more muscular than a lifter, but because his back lacks complete trapezius development, he (the bodybuilder) will appear less muscular, at least from the back view, than the lifter, even if the lifter had less overall muscularity and less latissimus development. The lifter's outstanding trapezius development would make him look bigger and more muscular.

It's been proven several times that when the trapezius is fully developed it creates deep muscular ridges on the back that instantly emphasize power. This proves that well-developed traps do accentuate muscularity of the back.

Exercises such as pulling, cleaning, and snatching weights to the shoulders or overhead work this muscle vigorously, as do heavy deadlifts, high pulls, straddle lifts, hand and thigh lifting and other heavy lifting that exerts a downward or backward pull on the shoulders. Other more direct movements include such exercises as the standing lateral raise, bentover lateral raise, most presses, wrestler's bridge, and of course, shrugging in its various forms. So actually this powerful muscle is called upon in many ways, but the question remains, just how vigorously do you exercise it? Being the largest muscle in the back it can withstand almost any degree of work that you impose upon it, and in fact will demand vigorous action if full development is to materialize.

Developing the large trapezius muscle should not be the sole goal of all who include shrugging exercises in their training. The main purpose for including it is the favorable reaction it has upon the whole body. Most fellows are not fully aware or the possibility of this exercise and assume that shrugging exercises are employed chiefly for developing the trapezius. This assumption is wrong. One example, for instance, is that shrugging helps to cover up those deep hollows along the collar bones which many lifters, and especially bodybuilders, are troubled by. A large part of this condition is due to the lack of exercise that develops the trapezius, the upper section of the pectorals, and part of the deltoids. Yet one of the best exercises for this condition is shrugging. It not only develops the trapezius but also involves the upper clavicular section of the pectorals, the area high on the chest at the base of the neck. In most people this region is thin and shallow, with very little more than the skin covering it. Proper shrugging, however, will develop and thicken this region and put more curve on the chest. It is therefore an important movement and one that should find a place in your training schedule.

Shrugging exercises can be done in a variety of ways as you may already realize. And variety should be used so this muscle is fully worked from all possible angles. Bear in mind that it's a huge muscle and can tolerate an amazing amount of training without suffering any reverse effects.

In terms of repetitions, this muscle responds well to high counts and relatively heavy resistance. Much depends, of course, on the number of exercises you do, and whether they are repeated in sets. If sets are used then less repetitions are advisable if maximum development is to be expected.

Excellent results can materialize by including some of the following exercises in your training program:

2-hands shrug, barbell
2-hands shrug, dumbbells
2-hands rotating shrug, dumbbells
2-hands repetition cleaning
2-hands repetition snatching
2-hands high pull
Cleaning, and snatching weights to the shoulders or overhead
Heavy deadlifts
Straddle lifts
Hand and thigh lifting
Standing lateral raise
Bentover lateral raise
Most forms of pressing
Wrestler's bridge

This would lead to a provocative question of whether or not this muscle can be overdeveloped. And while no one seems interested when other muscles become overdeveloped, they are when this muscle is. Over-development of the trapezius muscle is not to be desired and does not add to the body's symmetry. Most muscles are not easy to overdevelop, and as a matter of fact it takes considerable concentration on the part of the enthusiast to reach this condition, On the other hand, development of any muscle can be arrested at any time you feel you have enough development simply by reducing the amount of work assigned to it. To keep it in shape just do a few movements once or twice a week.

The benefits that actually accrue from shrugging exercises far surpasses the development of the trapezius that you might attain. To sum it up -- shrugs help to facilitate more complete breathing by helping to raise the ribs; they strengthen the diaphragm; they help to contract and retract the abdomen; they assist in shaping the outer edge of the pectorals; and they thicken the clavicular section of the chest. It should be obvious that shrugging exercises should not be neglected. No wonder then that all the old training systems used to include it. The instructors knew the value of this exercise and the effect it had upon the overall development, and recommended it. If you have been neglecting shrugging exercises it's about time that you discovered what they can do. You owe it to yourself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training Problems of the Tall Man - George F. Jowett

Alan P. Mead

Training Problems of the Tall Man
by George F. Jowett (1940)
from Vim: Vol. I, Num. I

The most important consideration required in physical training is an intelligent understanding of physical types. All people are relegated into various groups which are divided into distinct types. This is not a theory but an actual fact as evidenced by the varying heights among people with disproportionate bodyweights. Normally, many are not so unusual as to cause much concern, but others, due to their heights as compared with their low bodyweight present a condition requiring earnest consideration. These are those who appear to be the keenest to acquire a better balanced development, but seem to fail for reasons which are invariably blamed on some natural fault in physical make-up that cannot be corrected by them. In failure to identify their type they fail to recognize the common fault which is the detriment to success, nevertheless, a defect is not always a definite reason for unresponsive development except in rare cases which are few and scattered.

Let us first understand that nature has equipped each of us with certain physical limitations, adequately shown by the common diversity in stature. We identify type by age, height, weight, bone structure, metabolism, occupation, and environment which leaves an impression on individuals regardless of height, thus we find short men along with the medium-tall featuring a low bodyweight with a corresponding deficiency in muscular development equal with that of the tall who are underweight, though perhaps not as commonly noticeable among the former as it is with the latter. For this reason we find that the tall man with a pronounced deficiency in weight and development is more conscious of his condition. To him the problem of physical reconstruction seems to present more difficulties than it does for his shorter brothers. Actually, the major trouble is in the time element necessary in his case to procure results, rather then anything else, which is augmented by individual impatience that is always seeking unreliable short cuts.

From experience I find that this type are most inclined to develop a complex which automatically defeats their purpose before they begin. They become victims of their own psychology rather than victims of adverse physical conditions which, whether they are willing to admit it or not, makes of them defeatists.

To prove this, let me place before you a summary of their personal reactions made by themselves.

Some time ago I circulated a questionnaire among several thousand people who had expressed desire to improve their physical condition, but who had gone no further other than to inquire as to the benefits of physical training. An important question asked was, "Have you definitely decided not to improve your physical condition? If so, why?" Of those who replied to this question, 63% were tall and underweight, and of this group 87% stated in no uncertain terms that they did not believe it was possible for a tall man of their particular type to be able to secure the same beneficial results as was possible for a shorter man. They gave many reasons for arriving at their conclusions, all of which we can dispense with as they add up to the explanation already given. Mainly it was because they claimed they were either small-boned or were naturally thin, or else they believed their case was a condition of heredity. Of the other groups, only 16% gave similar reasons, which proves my contention that tall men more than others are inclined to develop a defeatist attitude where their physical condition is concerned. I was able to convince many of them, and later prove physically to their satisfaction that they were wrong, pointing out that while nature had determined for each of us certain physical limitations, making it not always possible for everyone to become 200 pounders, yet nature never ordained that man should be subordinated to a permanent low state of physical efficiency, which always exists among the underweight, and among the underdeveloped. Personally, I would not designate such conditions as an unhealthy state in the true sense of the term, as many do, but it is impossible to refute the fact that a low organic metabolism, responsible for these conditions, is a decided detriment to one's mental and physical efficiency. No doubt there are many who will not agree with me altogether on this statement, but statistics do not lie. Truly, we can all point out some long, lean individuals who have achieved brilliant success in life, but there are other scenes behind the curtain so to speak. Statistics prove that men in the higher mental brackets are less physically efficient, and the least sexually productive. They lack the vigor and endurance of those who have taken the time to create a balance between mental and physical efficiency. The former is dependable upon the latter for its longevity, and as I make this statement let me say that it is not a personal deduction, but a fact substantiated to by our leading biologists and physiologists, who though not physical educationalists do recognize the evidence.

Coming back to the facts in this discussion, let us see what is the hindrance, if any, that is supposed to exclude the tall thin man from acquiring the equal benefits in physical improvement from that of others.

First let me point out that our present mode of living has caused a submersion on much of the average physical qualifications, but, they are not lost, merely responding to an apathetic state waiting to be awakened to the response of vigorous stimulation so that man can enjoy the full physical blessings in health, strength and development that nature originally ordained for him.

The problem of the tall, underweight person begins with a study of his physical geography from which we can learn whether or not nature has made any mistakes, and if there are any compensative features that can make possible the balance of bodyweight for the difference in height. There are plenty, most of which the subject is apt to overlook. All he sees is his long, lean arms and legs, a stem-like neck, and a torso that looks very much undernourished. As for muscles, he says he "don't have any and can't get any." Well, perhaps I can change his mind. I honestly believe I can.

The tall man should never lose sight of the fact that the territory of his muscular spaces are much longer than those of the short man. From shoulder to elbow the bicepital space is longer as is the length of the forearm from elbow to wrist. To a much greater extent the same condition exists between the hip and knee, and between the knee and the ankle spaces. The important fact to consider is that on the average there is not as much difference between the lengths of the two torsos. The difference is being that usually the short man has a longer torso in comparison with the length of his limbs which is one reason why the short man apparently obtains quicker results than his taller friend, and it is also the reason why the shorter statured men are often able to demonstrate a more rapid development in vital energy, or physical strength -- they have less to take care of.

Undoubtedly, the shorter man makes more headway in muscular appearance, but in comparing him with the progression of the taller man we can truly say that the matter or appearance is not the true measure of material, or muscular abundance. Unfortunately, the taller man too frequently compares his progressive development and muscular display with that of his shorter rival. When he does this he is unfair to himself, as the tape measure is no criterion between the two in this case. He forgets that by having a longer physical area to cover it requires far more material structure to make for him a pair of 16 inch biceps than it does for the other. The facts are that a man standing 5 ft. 4 in. with a pair of 16 in. biceps is only comparable witht the 14.5 in. biceps of the man standing 5 ft. 10 in. or 6 ft. in height. A six footer with a 44 in. normal chest does not look so impressive as the man standing 5 ft. 4 in. or less with a 40 in. chest. The taller man, instead of analyzing the facts allows comparative appearance to motivate his mental reactions which always creates disappointment, tending greatly toward discouragement. He should be factual.

In performance testing his strength, the taller man will find that his 14.5 in. biceps and other lesser measurements, except the chest, are capable of demonstrating physical power that is even more than comparable with that of his shorter friend of the same bodyweight. This proves that the law of averages holds qualifications of compensation which the shorter man sometimes finds as difficult to understand as does the taller man. Actually, this law is equally as effective and real with one as it is with the other. For example, the longer back provides a greater leverage advantage in lifting a weight from off the floor to the shoulders in one clean movement than does the shorter back. This movement is additionally aided by the longer ligaments in the longer biceps, therefore, the longer back and biceps of the tall man provide a stronger pull making him more capable in all one, and two-arm clean lifts from the ground to the shoulders, and in the one, and two-arm complete movements lifting from the ground to arms' length overhead in the exercise known as the snatch. In tossing a weight from the shoulders to arms' length overhead as in the one, and two-arm jerk both types are about equal. In either of these feats, the longer bicepital ligaments balance with the shorter arms of the shorter man, but in the one, or two-arms slow lift from the shoulders to arms' length, known as the press, the short-armed man predominates. The compact muscular efficiency of the latter permits him to excel in lifting a heavy weight a few inches off the floor, but if the muscles in the back are strongly developed in the taller man it is possible for him to slightly excel the other in standing erect with the weight once he has got it started from off the floor in the movement known as the two hands dead lift. Contrary to popular opinion that the tall man is always the weaker of the two in the small of the back and that his longer arms make it more difficult for him to toss a weight from the shoulders to arms' length overhead it is scientifically true that longer bones and longer ligaments provide better muscular leverage advantages for the tall man once he has developed his physical agencies. In the untrained condition he is probably not as effective in his efforts as the untrained short man. Being ignorant of positions, his longer back acquires a greater arch which defeats his purpose. The lifting efficiency of a back lies in the ability of the person to keep it flat in order to secure spinal leverage. The undeveloped long biceps are ineffectual in motivating a weight from the shoulders to straight arms because the brachialis anticus which forms in the fold of the elbow is usually much underdeveloped. This is the muscle that comes to the rescue of the arms at the crucial period of its straightening process. Incidentally, this is a much overlooked muscle by all body builders, particularly weight lifters. Nevertheless, it is there, and the longer it is and the better developed it becomes, the more effective is the arm straightening action in conjunction with the the triceps.

On the other hand, the short, compact muscles of the shorter man are compensative in many other ways, nevertheless, on the whole, a taller man, even though his muscular appearance is not so strikingly evident, will outclass his shorter rival of the same bodyweight. These are facts which if the tall man will only keep in mind will dispel any tendency for discouragement.

The matter of muscular development to equal the appearance of the shorter man is simply a training process involving a longer period of time for the reasons explained before, but as the taller man progresses in his developing stages he becomes by far a stronger example than is possible for the shorter man, as evidenced by the fact that the world's most famous kings of strength were men of lofty stature standing between 5 ft. 10 in. and 6 ft. in height. Naming just a few of the strong men of yesterday I recall such giants as Louis Cyr, Apollon, Steinbach, Swoboda, August Johnson, Holtgrewe, Barre, Tureck and Elliot. With the men of today, the reader is undoubtedly familiar. To name a few, Stanko, Davis and Walker. Yet at thhis point it is well not to form too many illusions. I am frequently asked what is the ideal stature of the strongest men. A survey of the strongest group indicates that men of standing between 5 ft. 8 in. and 5 ft. 10 in. with proportionate bodyweight are the most powerful in physical performance, nevertheless, this does not lessen the fact that the taller man as much more to reap if he is willing to work for it than has the short man. Of course there are a few examples where shorter men have prevailed in the realms of strength, such as Karl Moerke, who only stood 5 ft. 2 in. t all, but such is an exception rather than the rule.

While I have pointed out that the shorter man will acquire his physical appearance more quickly, we must realize that this is only because he reaches the limit of his physical possibilities the sooner. The taller man must keep on because he has longer spaces to cover and fill, and therefore, more to gain, and with this goal in view continued progressive body building should be the driving urge.

I realize that all men naturally crave to be strong, but at the same time my experience shows me that the original urge with the majority is an impelling desire for super appearance rather than for super strength, believing rightfully to an extent that strength will follow development, so, knowing that physical development for the sake of a better physical appearance is the major aim I will devote my discussions to that theme. Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely cover the subject in one article, therefore, I am obliged to resort to generalities, nevertheless, it will serve as a potential guide th those who fall within the scope of this subject.

You will recall earlier in this article I mentioned the importance o remembering the little difference between torso lengths of the two types. Except where the very tall are compared with the very short it would appear that the shorter man gains the advantage. He does, but only to the extent as I have already stated because he has shorter limbs and spaces. We can explain the difference in torso length by saying that the short man was meant to be taller but became stunted in limb growth for various reasons which did not materially effect the size of his torso. Actually the tall man gains in somewhat the same manner as illustrated in the difference between two fertile plants,the one being pot bound and the other not, enabling the fertility to spread into a longer range. Within the torso exist all the organs of vital life -- the chemical laboratories wherein are created the secretions that provide nutrition an energy for the the motive muscles. Only through some derangement, or an unusual lethargy o one or more of he many internal systems do the muscles become deprived of sufficient tissue fuel. Paradoxically as the following, yet it is the condition of inertia that causes a glandular overactivity. The glands are compelled to work overtime in their effort to supply a balance. This they cannot actually accomplish as they also depend on other sources for their fertility, the result is increased nervous tension which dissipates body energy, defeating the natural act of replacement and neutralizing any possibility of multiplication which is responsible for the low bodyweight and the other physical deficiencies. The body is deprived of its normal oxygenic level and balance, and since oxygen is the vital life fuel, to the abundant stimulation of this our attention must be turned. We must turn back to the first lesson in physical training so sadly overlooked, which demands that all people, tall or short, thin or husky, must commence their body building by first developing the tone of the internal systems. Only be doing this can one healthfully stimulate the vital processes to secrete abundantly the substances that are necessary for tissue growth. There is an old saying that, "If we take care of the organs they will take care of the muscles," which is sound common sense, for seeds best germinate in fertile soil. The seeds of the body are the tissues, or muscle cells which are governed by the natural law of replacement and multiplication. To fulfill this purpose the cells must be nurtured with natural fuel, the basis which is oxygen. The organs, and particularly the muscle tissues are greedy for oxygen, the latter are capable of absorbing and storing great quantities of oxygen for replacement and as a safeguard against depletion, therefore, it is easy to understand that a starved body as represented by a low bodyweight is the result of a loack of oxygenic supply and balance. this is conclusively proven by the chest dimensions of the underweight particularly among the tall underweight. In the latter case their chest measurement is invariably less in proportion with that of the shorter, consequently, the first step to be taken is to improve the development of the thorax both inside and out.

Here is where the first error creeps in. From the beginning many adopt a wrong working procedure -- their attention is bent on the development of the superficial muscles with no thought for internal toning, which has he effect of developing the muscles at the expense of the organs. Popular conceptions of exercise have camouflaged the importance of toning the internal systems, and particularly the development of the concealed muscles -- those invisible muscles which, while functioning in many cases as accessories of the visible muscles, are really the controlling factors in stimulating the vital organs and other systems with an undulating massage. Body builders in their eagerness are impatient to see results. Unfortunately, it is not possible to watch the progress of the concealed muscles as we can in the mirror the visible muscles, which is inclined to misdirect our efforts. Nevertheless, the improvement of the concealed muscles can be registered by the improved tone of the respiratory system. At this time, let me point out in all seriousness that heavy exercise for the beginner, regardless of the degree of muscular efficiency, will retard the development of the concealed muscles. It also lessens the tidal breathing (normal rested breathing) because heavy movements, being mainly governed by external muscular action, cannot be performed slowly enough with heavy weights to harmoniously coordinate with the vital respiratory act of tidal inhalation and exhalation. The tall man particularly must understand intelligently the true concept of what is termed progressive exercise. He must commence from the beginning graduating into the advanced training stages progressively. Do not be fooled. There are no detours or short cuts. Nature cannot be bent to ignorance, indifference nor unproved theories. We must be factual, following the natural law. Above all else, first develop the internal fields of vitality, gradually progressing as you would build a house, one brick on top of the other. As the concealed muscles respond the thorax will develop in depth and width. The tidal breathing act will become copiously improved, garnering the oxygen into the blood stream where it is caught up by the blood corpuscles which deposit the nutrition along the course of circulation into the organic and muscular tissue throughout the body. With this increased and improved nutrition, fertilization of the body tissues adequately takes place. Muscular exercise carrying on the progressive theme will cause cellular increase in natural sequence registered in muscular growth, thereby increasing all the physical proportions, and naturally, the body weight.

Let us examine these important concealed muscles that govern the respiratory act. Perhaps you are not familiar with them, and if you are, then revive your acquaintance and become more familiar.

There are two groups of muscles forming on each side of the chest between the ribs, known as the internal costals and the external costals, collectively known as the intercostals. Offhand they appear like one double sheet of muscles spreading over the rib spaces, but they are actually attached between each rib and composed of a highly elastic texture. They are very interesting muscles, a study of which depicts their unusual functioning ability over that of any other muscular group. They fit diagonally between the ribs, the internal costals slanting in one direction, and the external costals, immediately covering their mate, slant in the opposite direction. They are the only motor muscles, or true body muscles that have involuntary action. Ceaselessly, from the day you are born until you die they constantly function, being denied the voluntary, and long rest periods of relaxation associated with other costal muscles. Waking and sleeping they never relax from the vigilance of their operation. Operating in accordion fashion they expand and contract the ribs creating the bellow breathing action of the lungs. As development improves in these muscles so does the vacuum process of the respiratory organs increase, voluminously determining the consummation of oxygen and the discharge of carbon dioxide for the healthful conditioning of the body. The other costal muscles with which all are mostly familiar are those which heavily clothe the chest, known as the serratus magnus muscles and the breast pectorals. There are powerful agents in providing vigorous voluntary action of the chest. Mainly, they are protective agencies designed to respond in growth and strength to permanently maintain the constructional chest girth, thereby permitting the intercostals to better function. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that the intercostals must be developed first, and the others developed only as called for in the graduating process of progressive body building. Always remember that the intercostals are delicate members, and that when the body exists in an indeveloped state the intercostals, like other muscles, exist below par. The exercises selected must be such as will provide a complete act of respiration in all the costal movements which are four in number -- contraction, expansion of the ribs, elevation of the chest in the clavicular area, and widening in the diaphragm. Use light weights so as not to interfere with the natural breathing act, heavier weights can be used later when developing the surfacial costal muscles. Ineffectual results in body building are the result, so to speak, of putting the cart before the horse. Many whom I have treated, who previously could get no results, were amazed at their progress and among these I can number the best results being gained were with the tall underweight. It is conclusively proven that being lank and tall is no hindrance to the achievement of success if one will only strive and follow intelligently the natural route of training procedure. As I have point out, nature has provided compensative features among all types regardless of height. Plan your training program according to the demands of your particular type. You cannot change your physiological processes, neither can your anatomical scheme be diverted contrary wise to the physiological order. Each are dependable upon the other for mutual coordination, but the secret, if there is one, is in developing the body from the inside out.

The enthusiasm of youth with its avid desire for speedy accomplishment is only too often misleading, driving many into the spectacular field of exaggerated muscular display, making of them exhibitionists, which has a tendency to promote pronounced isolated development of a commonly more noticeable group of muscles. This becomes their undoing, and becomes later a barrier to effective progress in balanced muscular development. It creates a false vanity. We all should have personal pride in ourselves, but let it be sane. Big biceps or large pectorals alone are never reliable criterions of natural body power. Physical perfection for the tall or short is only achieved in the harmonious symmetry of balance, and with it a superior degree of strength is gained. Keep this in mind always, and you who are tall, slim and underweight take courage. Follow the true principles of teaching. Such are not my particular system of teaching any more than they are those of any other well informed instructor. It is the code and system of nature that has created the physiological and anatomical order of our stature, plainly placed before us all to read and to follow intelligently so that we may enjoy the full harvest of a vigorous body that is ever exemplified in its superb development.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Combining Weightlifting With Bodybuilding - Red Lerille

Red Lerille

Red Lerille, age 15.

Left, Red Lerille,
Right, Mike Stansbury

Acadian Museum article on Mike Stansbury:

Walter Imahara

Mike Stansbury, 1956.

Combining Weightlifting with Bodybuilding
by "Red" Lerille as told to Bob Hasse (1961)

Although I have been bodybuilding with weights for 10 years, I had never competed in any weightlifting meets before 1960, and with the exception of a few presses, had never done any real weightlifting. All of my spare time had been devoted to bodybuilding without any emphasis on weightlifting exercises.

Until I met Mike Stansbury, a weightlifting coach, I was never interested in Olympic weightlifting. Mike had previously coached Walter Imahara, one of the top 132 lb. lifters in the country. When I first met Mike and Walter, I had just been discharged from the Navy and spent my last two-and-a-half years concentrating on nothing but bodybuilding, and I was ready for a change.

Mike and Walter had a hard time convincing me that I should lift, and since I had been a bodybuilder for about nine years at the time, it wasn't going to be easy for me to change my training around to include some weightlifting movements. And so at first I continued with my own training methods, doing a few presses now and then in order that Walter wouldn't pass me up. Walter and I traveled around to many meets in the South. We used to make at least two meets a month. Whenever we heard about a meet, we entered. The physique contests are always held last, which meant that I had to sit all day and watch the meet, and at times this can run into many hours. After two months of this, I decided to take some of Mike's advice and start lifting.

Along with Walter, the rest of the University of Southwestern Louisiana weightlifting team was coached by Mike. I started training with them in the afternoons -- on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was still primarily interested in physique contests, so I continued with my bodybuilding on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, which meant that I was training about four or five hours a day. I had not reduced my bodybuilding any; the weightlifting was added. Previously I had been using a split system of bodybuilding, which I now combined and did all in one day.

Immediately, I started to improve, both in strength and development. I was getting stronger by the day, and continued to improve for about a month, when I lost interest in everything, especially bodybuilding and weightlifting.

I talked to Mike, and he suggested that I continue with my bodybuilding, just adding a few weightlifting exercises, which I was doing anyway. He said to practice a different lift each training day, instead of trying to go all out on both bodybuilding and weightlifting at the same time. After a short layoff, I started training again, using my split bodybuilding routine including a few more heavy exercises, and I continued doing a different lift each workout. I continued to improve, although not as fast as I had been; but I was still improving. I continued this type of training until the Junior Mr. America contest which was held in May. In this contest, I placed second in physique scoring and third in the 181-lb. weightlifting class. After the Jr. Mr. America, I dropped the three lifts from my workout and increased my bodybuilding for the final three weeks of training for the Mr. America contest. I did, however, still continue to use the high pull in my workouts.

Although my weightlifting career has been short, it has proven to be very helpful to me. During this short period of nine months, I noted many changes in my development. In comparing my development at the time I won the Mr. America to the year before when I placed seventh, I noticed many changes -- nothing big, and remember, it's the little things that count -- but many small changes. My muscles were much thicker than last year, especially around the upper back and shoulder area, and my lower back had improved 100%. All in all, my physique had taken on a more rugged appearance with a look of greater power. Many people who had seen me the year before could not believe the improvements I had made during the year, especially since I had been training consistently for over nine years.

As I said before, lifting helps in muscle development, especially the upper and lower back. Heavy cleans, high pulls, and dead-hang snatches, I have found, are some of the best exercises for trapezius development. Even though I am by no means exceptionally strong, these exercises are in part responsible for the improvements I have made recently. I still include them in my workouts, even when I do not include lifting.

A few warnings before I go into my workout combining weightlifting and bodybuilding. Do not try to do everything in one workout. Split your workout, so as to include one of the three Olympic lifts on each training day. Do not try to work on your limit each day. You will find that you will become stronger and also a better lifter if you practice your form during some workouts. Do not place your quick lifting at the end of your routine as it requires all of your coordination, speed and concentration. Do it first, while your energy is high. The following is an example of a thrice per week weightlifting and bodybuilding workout:

Exercise #1 should be changed each training day, rotating the Press, Snatch, and Clean & Jerk.

1.) Military Press, first day||Snatch, second day||Clean & Jerk, third day.
3 sets of 3 reps, 2 sets of 2 reps.

2.) Dumbbell Press - 3 sets of 5.
3.) Bench Press - 3x5.
4.) Dip - 5x10.
5.) High Pull - 5x8-10.
6.) Barbell Curl - 5x8-10.
7.) Squat - 3 sets of 5, 2 sets of 8-12.
8.) Calf Raise - 5x15-20.
9.) Sit Up of Leg Raise - 3 sets.

Many of the exercises in this routine can be changed around to suit your own needs, and others can be added if you feel this example is not enough. I outlined this routine only to give you a general idea of what should be done.

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