Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1984 Casey Viator Seminar - Jack Kirwan

A Rare Seminar With Casey Viator
by Jack D. Kirwan (1984)

The seminar was held in the mirror-walled aerobics room of the All-American Nautilus facility at Sixth and Craycroft in Tucson, Arizona. Casey was not just traveling through, he is staying in Tucson to train for the 1984 Mr. Olympia.

Even though it was a beautiful sunshiny day, he drew a good crowd. As bodybuilding seminars go, it was a rather informal one. Casey, wearing black pants and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled over his huge forearms, sat in a chair on a podium and avoided a standard lecture format. "I want to have a lot of questions and answers," he said, "so that others can benefit from my background." As he spoke he was reflected at all angles by the mirrors in the room (which, incidentally, prevented any pictures from being taken at the seminar).

Since he was in a Nautilus facility, Viator started by discussing that. "I was with Nautilus for 10 years, up until 1979. I disassociated myself from them in 1979. I still believe a lot of the concepts, but my main problem  is that my strength curves have surpassed the machine. It's a joke. 120 pounds feels like 20." (One look at Viator's mass proves he is not joking or exaggerating.) During his time with Nautilus, Viator said he helped with the production, drafted the strength curves and did public relations.

He talked about the famous "Colorado Experiment" done back in May, 1973. "I had an accident and had gotten gangrene in my hand and had to quit training for six months," he said. "My weight went down to 190. Mr. Jones said, 'Go down, see how far you can get.' I went down to 168; I was really skinny. I was on 500 calories a day." Jones then brought Viator from the Nautilus headquarters in Florida to Colorado, where - under medical supervision - "they caged me, force fed me, trained me like an animal." Despite problems acclimating to the Colorado high country, Casey gained 45 pounds in 28 days (it was actually 63 pounds, he lost bodyfat).

"Arthur Jones was always telling me how great my potential was, but I left him because I wanted to compete. I went to California and five months later beat Chris Dickerson in the 1980 Grand Prix." He talks about not liking to appear "ahead of time." "When I am ready, I like to come out and scare people." Unlike too many bodybuilders who are rather glum and lecture like cassette decks stuck in marble statues, Viator is a lively and witty speaker, who laughs a bit and seems like he's having a good time on stage. This liveliness may come from his Louisiana-French ancestors.

When he was just 19 Viator was was Teen Mr. America, Junior Mr. America, and Senior Mr. America. He doesn't think this will ever happen again. Casey, who has been bodybuilding since he was 13, contrasted bodybuilding with football, highlighting the differences between the individualism of the one and collectivism of the other. "When a touchdown was made, it was the team. But the thing about bodybuilding is, whatever I do, it's me! I like individualized stuff."

Getting back to Nautilus for the average trainee and non-professional bodybuilder, Viator said, "The main problem is that people do the sets so casually. They don't pile on the weights (here he did a very funny parody of an underachiever drifting through a routine). These people are like somebody writing their name over and over; they couldn't do it any better. Every set you should add more reps or more weight. It has to be progressive. There has to be that stimulus." Pointing to the adjoining room full of polished Nautilus equipment, Viator said, "The machines were made to be done right. People will tend to do everything wrong, like trying to do deadlifts with a Nautilus leg machine." This is an important point with Viator. On another occasion he said, "Until the bodybuilder has learned to apply the proper force to every repetition, he will never get the mass and cuts he seeks. People often ask for a new exercise for this or that bodypart. I advise them to learn how to perform properly the exercises they already know."

Casey thinks the average person can go through the Nautilus machines in about 20 minutes. He thinks "beginners should stick to Nautilus for six months, then go to free weights." (This goes against orthodox Nautilus theory which says 1 set per machine - at maximum poundage compatible with proper form - 3 times a week is all you need.) Because of logistics problems, especially during rush-hour times at gyms when there are waiting lines anyway, managers of Nautilus facilities are not overeager to promote multi-set routines. However, if you are fortunate to be near a facility that's open either very late or very early a multi-set routine can be advantageously worked out.

"Once you get past a year or so," Viator went on, "Push harder. Spend more time in the gym. Work the big muscle areas with bench presses, deadlifts, squats, military presses." As to the number of sets an intermediate should do, Viator gave no universal answer, because "everybody's different." In answer to a question about negative work on Nautilus, he said enthusiastically, "You get great results. Do it once a week. I was the one who tested it - but you have to start with good weights. I think there's more stimulus to muscle electricity through negatives." Casey added that he does negatives to get deeper muscle cuts for a contest.

Mentioning this led to a question about weight. "I have a real problem," Viator admitted. "I'm 237 and like to compete at 215. I am just about a vegetarian, but not completely." he went on to talk about the adverse effects of the high-fat content of red meat and how it makes him feel "sluggish: - especially if he eats some after laying off for a while. He believes that a diet consisting of about 60% protein, 30% carbs, and less than 10% fat is good for everybody. (He reminded the audience that a gram of fat has 9 calories and a gram of carbs or protein only 4.) As for carb loading, Viator carbs up two days before a contest and dehydrates himself, which he believes gives him greater vascularity.

Casey went on to talk a good deal about food. He asked the audience (almost all bodybuilders and powerlifters) how many knew how to count calories. A few hands went up. Viator held up a number of books showing the calories in various foods. "The formula," he said, "is to physically write down everything you eat. EXACTLY. If you can pinch more than half an inch on your obliques, you've got a fat problem." He reminded the audience there were a lot of strange diets around.

Like many other top level bodybuilders Casey has taught himself about nutrition and practical chemistry. Like a good accountant he knows how to read a balance sheet. Viator knows how to read the label on a food package or a supplement container. He does his own thinking and knows how to separate fact from hype.

In answer to a question about losing muscle mass, Casey said, "If from the bulking-up stage to the contest I lose 15 pounds, it's alright." He doesn't put that much stress on pounds since, "the mirror tells you better than the scales." In discussing diet he repeated his dislike of red meat - "it just bums me out" and told how he cuts out all milk before a show. "In any kind of milk, there are 60 milligrams of salt in every cup. Cottage cheese is just loaded with salt."

Viator recommends doing 20-30 sets per bodypart and doing each bodypart twice a week. A suggested routine was: chest and biceps one day; shoulders and legs; back and triceps the third day - then start over again. "The worst thing you can do is chest and shoulders on the same day." Again putting great importance on diet, he said, "It is very important at all times, and when I get ready for a contest I drop 200 calories every five days."

Viator talked about squats: "I like a nice, deep, full squat for working the quads. If you have trouble going deep and keeping a flat back, stand on a board or use a shoe with an elevated heel."

He is opposed to the full up and down pyramid concept. "Do at least five sets, always going up. My concept is first you pump the muscle up, then you stretch it out." He recommends 10-12 reps for the pump, 12-15 while stretching.

Casey eats four meals a day (never after 8 p.m.) - a big breakfast with lightly cooked eggs and potatoes boiled the night before, a medium lunch, and light snacks.

Finally, there was the inevitable question about steroids: "Is it possible to get muscle mass without steroids?" He said, of course, that it was, but when you reach the highest level of competition it can be "all out chemical warfare." A young man asked about what he would recommend to the hobbyist lifter who didn't want to do steroids. "A good milk and egg protein, decent meals and hard work," said Casey, who is not one who would recommend the casual or non-professional use of steroids. He said that, "if everyone wouldn't take steroids, it would be great." He talked some more about how you can do very well with manipulation of good basic foods and supplements, and had some blunt words about certain manufacturers who promise a lot, charge a lot, and deliver very little. "When you analyze it," he said, shaking his head, "they could do it right and still make money."

On the many things Viator mentioned, the strongest impression he left was of the necessity to be your own expert, that there is no "one size fits all" magic formula, and the way to succeed is to study, learn, pay attention to the experienced, monitor yourself and regard your lifting as an ongoing self-education.    

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation, Part Four - J.M.Blakley

Gut Clearance

The adult male has roughly 30 feet of bowel. The gut can hold between 7-13 pounds of chyme (partially digested food) along its length. This, of course, depends on how much a person eats and how often.

Food takes about 24 hours to pass from one end to the other and this depends on several factors, but roughly speaking, it's in there for about a day. (If you are very interested in how long your food takes to process you can take a fecal marker with your food and when it shows up again you'll have a personal estimate! You can use large amounts of food dye at a particular meal, blue for instance, and look for it in your feces. Otherwise, let's just assume about a day.)

For the time it is held in the lumen of the bowel it counts as bodyweight. It doesn't help you lift (like muscle weight), and it doesn't help stabilize you (like water weight). In fact it doesn't do much of anything except add ballast. It is quite unnecessary for competition. In fact in many sports it is preferable to undertake on an empty stomach. But what about yesterday's food? The body has absorbed most of the calories and nutrients but it is still in there (in chyme form) adding pounds to the scale and benefiting nothing in terms of strength.

It is desirable to weigh in with as little amount of chyme in the bowel as possible.

There are several methods of clearing the gut. The first is to restrict intake of food for several days. The intestines will continue to push the remaining matter out and if it is not replaced by eating, will result in bodyweight loss equal to the weight of the matter defected. If a person is in the habit of eating regularly this can be up to several pounds over the course of a few days. It is not uncommon to see drops of 7-9 pounds in body weight in a person who is fasting for religious reasons. Although some of this is dehydration, a good deal of it is gut clearance (5-7 pounds).

The major caveat presented by fasting is that of energy depletion. For the fast to rid the gut of the majority of fecal matter it takes up to 4 days. It may be even longer because the less one eats, the slower the bowels begin to move. No one wants to go without food for half a week before a major competition. It is draining and can have obvious negative effects on strength. I have been witness to this "starvation" method many times and seldom have I seen it be successful when attempted without modification. It is a rare individual can cut calories for days before a meet and still do well, yet I have been amazed at a rare few occasions where this bull-headed, extreme method was pulled off. Far more often I saw it end in frustration with the lifter making the weight class and performing far below their expectations the next day.

But that leaves an interesting scenario. There is some useless "dead weight" in the bowel at the time of weigh-in that is not needed for the competition. But the process of clearing it without modification involves fasting for long periods which impairs performance.

The idea is to find a way to clear the gut quickly without the extended fasting. The food can be easily replaced in the 24 hour period following the weigh-in prior to competition and the body may hardly miss it.

Enter the use of laxatives. There are all-natural, non-drug laxatives (like the new Ex-Lax senna laxative) and drug laxatives. All perform exactly the same function albeit by different mechanisms. They move the contents out of the bowel.

There is a surprising variety of laxatives available today. The very popular Ex-Lax trade name for yellow phenolphthalein has recently been removed from U.S. and European markets after some 6 decades of common use but there are still plenty of options left. This leaves most athletes in a trial and error situation to find the most effective laxative for them. For all but the most extreme cases, roughly speaking, any one will do. Some commonly used programs are outlined below.

A light program for loss of 5 pounds may consist of simply using an adult dose or two of senna laxative (completely natural) the night prior to weigh-in. This will loosen the bowel and usually cause movement within 12 hours. If little is eaten from the evening until the weigh-in this can result in a 2-5 pound loss. There are other natural options but senna seems the most reliable and well tolerated.

This is a short process lasting little more than half a day. If food restriction is begun at dinner of the evening before weigh-in, and laxatives are taken before bed (let's assume weigh-in is at 10:00 a.m.) then the whole process is only about 15 hours long (depending on how late dinner is eaten) and occurs mostly while asleep! Upon rising there should be a substantial bowel movement and only a short period of fasting ensues (a missed breakfast!).

The athlete finds this to be a good starting point and by keeping accurate records can tailor the duration of the fast and manipulate the amount of food taken the last day to their needs. Often the dinner will need to be missed and sometimes the laxatives need to be taken earlier. With the right timing, an athlete can learn to leave up to 5 pounds in the bathroom with almost no undesirable effects and be able to pass any drug test with flying colors. This is completely natural.

A moderate program of a 5-8 pound loss is a little more involved. Longer fasts are necessary up to 24 hours. And clearing must be more complete. Often drugs are used. The most popular drug laxative is now bisacodyl. There are many varieties available, pills, tablets, chocolate flavored squares, and even suppositories. They all work the same, but begin to work at different times. A suppository will start to work sooner than any of the ingested varieties. A suppository can cause a bowel movement within an hour, while the other administrations may take between 6 and 12 hours to work. Bisacodyl is a strong laxative. It is very consistent. Finding the right dosage for any individual takes several "runs" (pardon the pun). I have witnessed dosages of 2-4 x normal used with good success. I have also seen massive overdoses of 6-9 x normal used with varying results. Too much of any laxative (even the all-natural ones) can cause unwanted side effects including painful deep abdominal cramping, painful gas, irritation of the bowel, and actual dehydration through the bowel (severe diarrhea) which can lead to electrolyte disturbances and muscular cramping just to name a few. Getting the dosage right is kind of like that art stuff that I had mentioned earlier. Athletes find out the hard way what too much is. Sensible athletes start out with tolerable amounts and carefully make adjustments with keen documentation. When unwanted effects begin to show up they back off and avoid the more serious complications. But leave it to some to always go too far. Prudent action with careful attention will tell aware athletes when to limit the dosage.

A moderate program would be considered a 24 hour fast with a double dose of bisacodyl the afternoon before the weigh-in (20 hours prior) and a repeat double dose at bedtime (12-14 hours prior to weigh-in). The exact dosages will vary greatly between athletes. Never take anything for granted.

An aggressive program may include the laxative magnesium citrate. These are bottles of fluid that are drunk by patients who must undergo colonoscopy or other diagnostic procedures for the bowel. They are harsh and thorough laxatives. They can be used in combination with other laxatives such as bisacodyl. They act fast and hit hard. Most require no prescription and can be found at any pharmacy or grocer. Some do require prescription, but are very easy to get. Regular over the counter varieties are plenty strong enough. The best way to describe the way these act is to say they cause a complete flushing of the system. Up to and even over 10 pounds can be flushed with mag-cit. This usually accompanies a 30-40 hour fast and is used as the last in a series of laxative administrations the very day of the weigh-in (quite early in the morning). Most of the gut will be clear already and the mag-cit truly finishes the job. Often bisacodyl has been given on two successive evenings prior but some athletes find that mag-cit is sufficient alone. An administration of mag-cit the evening before the weigh-in (around 9 or 10 o'clock) may result in a less than restive sleep (with frequent trips to the john), but is certainly an effective means of weight manipulation.

Many athletes have been successful with a moderate fast of 30-40 hours accompanied by two evenings of bisacodyl administration and a bottle or two of mag-cit in the morning of the weigh-in. This is too much for most and really unnecessary if some type of water restriction is used concurrently. Many athletes will use mag-cit in one or two doses by itself or in combination with a moderate fast and skip the stacking of two laxatives. Sometimes mag-cit is even used without a fast. There are many variations.

It is my opinion that total reliance on drugs alone without restrictions in food or water will eventually backfire and almost always leads to increased use of the substances bordering on abuse. I am a big believer in discipline and personal responsibility. Increasing dependency on external factors to do a job that could just as well be done with fortitude will erode the individual's self-confidence and almost certainly lead to an unpleasant experience at one point or another. There is the sometimes subtle but always present delineation between use and abuse. The real difference lies in the regard of the thing. Attitude makes all the difference. Is it used as a tool or a crutch? The difference is not really apparent to outside eyes but the individual knows for certain the truth. There is a difference between use and abuse. Every athlete must decide on which side of the line they stand.

Gut Clearance

 * Potential Loss: up to and even over 10 pounds. Depending on total amount normally carried in the guy. Big eaters can lose more because there is more there to start with. 7-13 pounds is the range.

 * Duration: no longer than 50 hours. Often less; 20-40 hours.

 * Technique: restrict food intake and facilitate the emptying of the bowel with laxatives. Methods vary from all natural, gentle compounds to harsh drugs. Timing and dosage is widely varied between individuals and requires trials before the athlete develops consistency.

 * Effort Level: low to moderate. Fasting requires discipline.

 * Risks:
To health - dehydration and all its associated risks are present through the mechanism of severe diarrhea. Reactions to laxatives such as abdominal cramping and intestinal irritation can occur. Any drugs used carry all the side effects linked with that particular compound and are outlined on the package.

To performance - very few. The fecal matter in the guy contributes nothing to performance and its loss is unnoticeable even if it goes un-replaced. But the act of ridding the gut of this matter can be demanding. The fasting can cause fatigue and is not well tolerated by some. If too severe a diarrhea occurs a host of performance problems can arise such as muscular cramping and weakness (how's that for an undesirable side effect!). Aside from the risks of he dehydration, there are very few problems with this technique. It is safe to say that this form of weight loss, when not carried to far, is the least likely to cause any effect on performance.

 * Up Side: easy to accomplish, the risk to benefit ration is high.

 * Down Side: potential dangers of dehydration if pushed too far. Fasting is rigorous. If done moderately a commonly successful technique. Taken just a bit too far and performance is compromised.

Next: Sweating.        

Friday, July 27, 2012

Watch Those Feet - Dave Webster

Click Pics to ENLARGE

Both pics, James Matthews, shown easily celaning 320 as a middleweight.

Watch Those Feet
by Dave Webster (1965)

Having trouble with your form on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk? Let your feet tell you what's wrong.

There are many ways to detect technical flaws in a lifter's form. One of the best and easiest means is by marking the position of the feet at both the start and the finish of the lift. By so doing, you can often save yourself many a trying workout by quickly isolating the cause of your trouble. In the discussion below, I have attempted to relate to you how to detect and correct technical faults on the fast lifts by analyzing the position of your feet at the start and finish of a lift.

Starting Position Correct - See Figure A.
The feet should point to the front and should be approximately hip-breadth apart. In this position the feet will be set at the strongest place in which to pull.

Starting Position Incorrect - See Figure B.
When the feet are turned severely outward, this causes the knees to pull inward as the pull is started and, therefore, places them in a bad mechanical position. When the feet are placed too wide apart and the toes turned out, it is possible that when the lifter completes the pull and leaps into the split, the front foot may go forward and too far to the side. As the lifter lands under the bar, his base will be diagonal and as he pushes his front knee over the toes of the front foot, the body will travel forward and sideways as it is lowered. This will disturb the barbell to one side and the lifter will automatically stop lowering the body under the bar in an effort to check the bar from travelling sideways and out of control. Therefore, concentrate on starting with the feet in the correct position.

Split Technique Correct - See Figure C
The arrival of the lifter in this position depends on the correct direction of the pull. The bar should be lifted vertically from the floor to the knees by raising the head, shoulders, and hips simultaneously. As the bar passes the knees, the hips are swung vigorously forward and upward toward the bar and great effort is made to keep the head and shoulders a little in advance of the bar as the hips are swung forward. It is well to note that the natural tendency is to swing the head and shoulders backward as the bar passes the knees. This must be fought at all costs. At the completion of the pull, if executed properly, the hip joints should be in a position the starting position of the toes. The bar will have the added impetus from the vertical pull continued by the arms and shoulders. When the lifter has reached the completion of the pull, the forward and upward drive of the hips earlier in the pull will cause the body to travel forward and downward when the lifter leaps into the split position. As the feet land, the knee of the forward leg should be pushed over the toes of the foot travelling to the front. The body must be kept vertical throughout the split movement. This will bring you to the position shown in Figure C. The bar, shoulders, and hip joints should be approximately over the starting point of the toes.

Split Technique Incorrect - Figure D
Figure D shows a typically bad position caused mainly by a bad backward movement of the head and shoulders as the bar passes the knees. The center of the balance travels backward over the heels and self-preservation makes the lifter step backward too soon. The pull is therefore continued on one leg and the weight now naturally swings over toward this leg. Body and bar will now be travelling to the same side as the front foot and backward. Once more the lifter will check his body from sinking lower under the bar in an effort to regain control ofthe bar which is being lost to one side. This is, without a doubt, the most common mistake in lifting and of course has varying degrees of severity.

When the barbell and bodyweight are transferred earlier in the pull over onto the leg which will later travel to the front, the bar will be pulled severely to that side and backward. Therefore, when the feet land in the split, the bar will continue to travel sideways; the lifter will then be forced to step out to the side with the front foot in order to check the bar and re-establish a new base. Once more this will prevent the lifter from sinking deep under the bar and may cause him to lose the lift due to the weight being forward. The result of this technical fault is illustrated in Figure E.

When the lifter is striving hard to correct a one-legged backward pull (as in Figure D) and manages to stay longer on both legs during the pull, he will find that the rear leg will still come off the floor if he persists in pulling backward due to incorrect head and shoulder position. When the leg that is to split to the rear comes off the floor first, the barbell will have dipped toward the side of the missing prop, causing the barbell to travel in that direction. Once more the hips will have travelled backward and when the feet land the barbell will drag the center of gravity with it and cause the lifter to step out sideways with the rear foot -- this time in an effort to check the bar, re-establish a new base, and regain control. the result of this technical fault on the lifter's foot position is illustrated in Figure F.

Squat Technique

There is a certain confusion among squat-style lifters -- TO JUMP OR NOT TO JUMP. Some athletes who are extremely mobile in the ankles and hips assume the starting position illustrated in Figure A and then drop into the low squat position asthey merely turn the knees severely outward by pivoting on the heels as in Figure G. You will note that this is done by the toes moving outward and backward. This means that the center of gravity is inclined to have moved backward. When this technique is used the lifter is often forced to poke his head downward and forward (in a snatch) to get his body under the bar. This, of course, largely depends on the mobility of the lifter. The average lifter when dropping under the bar into the low squat position will find that if he keeps his feet in the short-astride position as discussed above, he will have great difficulty in maintaining a good position of the trunk when he reaches the full depth of his squat. The knees will tend to be too close together. This in turn sets the hips too far back, compensated by the head and trunk being forward.

Squat Technique Correct - Figure H
You will see that the lifter, after completing his pull, has jumped astride and turned his toes outward. You will also note that the toes are slightly in advance of the starting position as the center of the foot has moved forward. The feet are in a position whererby the knees can be spread apart widely -- bringing the hips forward and close to the heels -- at the same time permitting the upper two-thirds of the trunk to be nearly vertical.

Squat Technique Incorrect - Figure I
You will note that the athlete has jumped too far astride which causes the knees to come inwards. The hips will automatically go to the rear, causing the trunk to lean forward.

Figure J shows the lifter jumping too far forward. This disturbs the upward pathway of the bar. The fact that the bar is now travelling backward will cause the normal compenstory movement of poking the head forward and downward to counteract the backward pull on the bar (in the snatch). Conflicting forces between these two movements often cause the shoulders and chest muscles to contract so forcibly that the head and shoulders rebound from this forward position backward, causing the lifter to sit down. Or, in the case of a squat clean, cause the lifter to lose his balance backward.

To sum up, the main points one should concentrate on in order to producde a correct pull and, therefore, a correct foot position in either the squat or split position, are as follows:

1.) Feet pointing in the correct directionand spaced so that the legs can exert their greatest force.

2.) The bar should be lifted vertically from the floor to the knees by raising the head, shoulders, and hips simultaneously.

3.) As the bar passes the knees the hips must be swung vigorously forward and upward toward the bar.

4.) The head and shoulders must be kept slightly in advance of the bar during the major part of the pull.

5.) At the completion of the pull, both feet must be taken off the floor simultaneously while maintaining an erect position of the trunk.

6.) In the split technique, when the feet land, the forward knee must be pushed forward over the toes of the front foot and the feet should be in the position illustrated in Figure C.

7.) In the squat technique, the feet should be jumped slightly forward and to the side with the toes pointing outward as in Figure H.

If the previous points are developed as a mental pattern, it will not be long before you have eradicated most of the major mistakes. The next time you re having trouble with your form, instead of asking your training partner what is wrong, check your foot position and decide for yourself. Your feet won't lie but your training partner might due to his inability to correctly analyze your form.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation, Part Three - J.M. Blakley

Methods of Transient Bodyweight Manipulation

Fluid Intake Restriction

The easiest and most body-friendly method of dehydration is fluid intake restriction. This is a sure way to delicately and quite naturally diminish the body's total water content and subsequently lighten the load.

What must be understood is that the body is constantly losing water. The routes of loss are not always obvious. There are three main routes through which the body is always losing fluid.

First and foremost is through urination. The amount varies daily due to fluid intake, diuretic influences (such as caffeine), electrolyte ingestion (salt), and state of hydration.

The body has a remarkable ability to either concentrate or dilute the urine to rid itself of waste products (namely urea( without upsetting the overall hydration method too much. That is to say, if you need to get rid of waste material but are slightly low on body wter, then your urine will be very concentrated, getting rid of the waste with as little water as possible. The body tries to conserve the water and the urine is dark.

If the body has normal hydration, it will dilute the urine and let more water go with the waste. If the body has very high hydration, it will dilute the urine greatly and it will appear clear getting rid of the excess water with little waste product in it at all.

But no matter what, some fluid is lost daily via this route. It can be a small amount of even several liters.

NOTE: 16 oz. of fluid is roughly one pound of body weight. That means that if you weigh 205 pounds on the scale, step off and chug down a bottle of Coca-Cola and step back on, you will instantly weigh 206. That's just the physical weight of the liquid in your stomach. A leter is just over 32 oz. (a quart) and can be thought of a a bit more than 2 pounds of body weight. Thus, if you were to urinate 1-1/2 liters in a day, you would be losing 3 pounds via that route. Which you would not even notice under normal circumstances because you would be replacing it through the day by drinking. But all the same it is being lost and if un-replaced will lead to weight loss.

The second route of fluid loss is usually referred to as moisture loss and occurs through the routine and unending act of breathing. The air leaving the lungs each time you exhale is 100% saturated. That's right. 100%! If you breathe on a cool pane of glass you can see for yourself all the moisture that is leaving your body every time you breathe. This has no relationship to temperature or relative humidity of the ambient air. It is always 100% saturated when it leaves regardless of how it went into the lungs.

You cannot escape this moisture loss. The only thing that affects how much total fluid is lost is how often you breathe and to some small extent how deep the ventilations are. The average breaths-per-minute is 11 to 13. The more active you are the more breaths you take, the less active, the fewer breaths you take. Still, a daily loss of around 500 ml. is not uncommon. That's about a pound. On a particularly strenuous day even more. Just by breathing!

How much moisture is lost to the air does depend on how dry the air is (remember it always leaves the body 100% saturated but it can come in wet or dry). The drier the air the more water that is taken from the body to get it fully saturated. If the air comes in moist then less moisture is needed from the body to fully saturate it. So dry climates are notorious for causing dehydration unknowingly. This is unavoidable. The only remedy is to drink more than normal (this can also work during the tail end of a dead relationship or long visits from relatives).

A third route of fluid loss is through sweating and imperceptible evaporation. It is obvious that water is lost when you are sweating. You can see and feel it on your skin. This is a normal thermoregulatory response that we are all familiar with. When you get hot your body sweats and tries to cool off. Physical exercise causes great amounts of heat to be released metabolically and the body's reaction is familiar to us all. But even if the body is quiet and inactive, sitting still in the sun at a picnic table on a 92 degree day will cause the same response. You sweat profusely! The loss can be large or small daily and depends directly on ambient temperature and activity level. Several pounds can be lost easily.

There is another type of fluid loss that occurs in this way but you never even know it. It is called imperceptible evaporation. The truth is you are pretty much constantly losing moisture through the skin. On all but the coldest of days we are all usually sweating a tiny bit. We don't see of feel it because the rate of sweat production is matched by the rate of evaporation. It never really gets a chance to accumulate on the skin. We are always losing heat this way (and moisture). The body always needs cooling. It's a machine and it's always running even at rest (you still breathe, your heart still beats, etc.). Your body temperature is over 90 degrees but you feel comfortable in the 70-74 degree range of room temperature. Why aren't you comfortable when the room is 94 degrees? At 94 degrees, you get hot! This is because as the room begins to approach the temperature of your body, it can no longer lose heat to it. And if the air temp in the room gets much over 96 your bod will begin to pick up heat from it.

So even when the room is cool, say 72 degrees, you are still losing heat to it by the evaporative pathway (as well as the conductive pathway somewhat). You don't notice this because the process of evaporation, which is dissipating the body heat, is occurring just as fast as the rate of sweat production. Again, all the same, water is lost. How much is directly related to the air humidity and temperature as well as the activity of the body. On a very dry cool day where the body active, one may never noticeably sweat yet lose over 2 pounds of fluid!

There are also small losses through various other routes such as feces and tears but they are negligible compared to he large losses that occur daily via the major routes discussed above.

What is to be understood is that with every hour that passes, water is slowly lost and if it goes un-replaced, will most definitely lead to body weight loss through dehydration with minimal effort.

All of these routes also be enhanced. But that requires effort. It requires no effort to not-do something. And by far, the easiest way to lose 3-5 pounds is to restrict water for 30-40 hours and let the body do all the work.

It becomes quite uncomfortable and of course there is considerable mental effort to avoid drinking anything. But physical effort and strain are at a minimum. This lack of physical effort can be important when trying to conserve energy prior to a big event. Thirst is a powerful motivator and some find it too overwhelming to restrict water totally. Regimes have been set up to taper water intake down and only completely restrict it for 12-20 hours. It has been my personal observation, however, that for many people it requires more discipline to moderate something than it does to abstain from it.

One way of enhancing the process is to super-hydrate the body for several days by drinking abnormally high quantities of water. This essentially tricks the body into a routine where it is constantly trying to rid itself of the excess fluid. The hormones that govern the process get used to pushing out all the extra fluid and are in high gear so to speak. Then when the intake is abruptly cut off, they continue to run full speed for quite some time before the body fully realizes what's going on. Then, of course, it's a big "whoa!" and everything begins to conserve water. But in the interim, it sets off a good start and makes the whole process more successful and easy.

I have read of programs that advise 1 gallon extra (above normal consumption) per day for 4 days. This sounds sufficient to super-hydrate but can be easily checked on the scale. The goal is to hold extra fluid and extra fluid has weight. An increase of 2 pounds minimum would show if the super-hydration was successful.

I have also seen programs that advise increases in sodium and other manipulations of key electrolytes prior to full water restriction. While the idea is sound it will probably only complicate the matter. If the athlete intends on using a diuretic to facilitate the water loss process then certain electrolyte manipulations seem justifiable, but on a simple restriction, could cause more harm than good.

Nevertheless, I have seen athletes consume copious quantities of salt with their food in the 6 days prior to sodium restriction (near total) accompanied by water restriction for 40 hours and do fairly well. But if the water restriction is to be short 20-30 hours, this will probably backfire. The body will begin to rid itself of the excess sodium (and water will follow in the urine) but possibly not have enough time to fully do the job. On long restrictions (over 40 hours without water, this is not an issue).

When the sodium is increased for 4-6 days then a period of sodium restriction is started 2 days prior to the water restriction, results are much more consistent. Hit and miss protocols can undermine weeks and weeks of training and preparation. Athletes have enough to worry about as it is. If an athlete wants to sodium load then deplete, it seems wise to begin the depletion 1-2 days prior to the water restriction and try to avoid any residual sodium retention.

Super-hydration and sodium loading can raise blood pressure significantly. Nose bleeds, headaches and cardiovascular disturbances have all been noted. Athletes with heart conditions, on heart medicines, or with blood pressure issues need to be especially careful when undergoing even the simplest of hydration manipulations. Although this is a simple technique, it has all the potential to cause dangerous health consequences.

 * Fluid restriction
 * Potential loss: 3-5 pounds
 * Duration: 20-40 hours depending on the amount to be lost

Technique: abstain from (or taper) water consumption which includes fluids in solid foods. Super-hydration is attempted by drinking 1 gallon of water above the normal amount for 4 days prior to abstinence. A sodium loading technique can increase the results. Salt is added to the diet in larger than usual amounts for 4-6 days. 2 days prior to water restriction the sodium is removed from the diet as much as possible and remains out for the duration of the manipulation. Water is restricted for about 2 days and sodium is restricted for about 4 days prior to weigh-in.

 * Effort level: exceptionally los
 * Risks:
 To health, present but low; it is a natural process
 To performance: very low. Strength will be unaffected if reconstitution is sufficient.
 * Up side: very easy, natural, and no strength impediment
 * Down side: only a few pounds can be lost and one gets very thirsty.

Next: Gut Clearance  

Intermediate Deltoid Training - Larry Scott

Click pic to ENLARGE

Intermediate Deltoid Training
by Larry Scott

For advanced deltoid routines from Larry Scott, see here:

The goal of most bodybuilders is to build shoulders of really massive proportions. They don't care how, just as long as those shoulders stun the average person with their barn-door width. Unfortunately, this is just about all the average bodybuilder knows about the deltoids. Most are completely unaware of the three heads of the deltoid and how to develop each one. They are:

1. The Anterior, or frontal deltoid.
2. The Lateral, or side deltoid.
3. The Posterior, or rear deltoid.

The lateral is the most popular deltoid head, as it is the one that contributes the most to shoulder width. Steve Reeves was one of the leading proponents of developing this muscle, and it was really a sight to see him working them. He used to do Inclined Side Laterals until the area fairly burst with blood!

Although the lateral head of the deltoid is the most popular of the three, it is not the one worked the most. The anterior head gets that honor. Sounds rather confusing, doesn't it? Well, the answer lies in both the fact that Dips, Presses an Bench Presses work the anterior head very strongly, and also the fact that most bodybuilders simply use improper form in doing their lateral deltoid work.

Finally we come to the posterior deltoid. This poor fellow hardly gets any work at all, it's just left to fend for itself, growing through auxiliary exercises alone. If Nature was quick to do away with dis-used bodyparts, the posterior deltoid would soon atrophy into nonexistence.

Yet this lowly muscle is extremely important in developing depth in the shoulder region, for without it the shoulder will appear flat from the side. And, it appears flat because that's just what it is: flat.

We have a saying around Vince's Gym, where I train . . . "Sure, he looks good from the front but is he a surfboard?" You've all seen surfboards, or pictures of them . . . they are wide and very, very flat. A "surfboard" bodybuilder is just the same . . . wide, but flat. They have no posterior deltoids at all. If you want this thin and round-shouldered appearance, okay, but if you want the well-rounded look of a champion, then posterior deltoid work is a real must.

The trouble encountered in deltoid work is complex and requires a real study of the movement of each individual head of the deltoid throughout an exercise motion. As mentioned before, the anterior deltoid is usually worked while the trainee is allegedly bombing his lateral deltoid head. The reason for this is the position of the elbows . . . it takes only a slight shift in their angle to transfer the stress of the exercise to the wrong deltoid head.

To help correct this, you should remove your training shirt and watch the movement of the muscle as you are working it. This is one time to really be a mirror athlete, to use that mirror to watch the three heads and make doubly sure you are properly working the muscle.

There are many problems such as this in your deltoid training, and in my exercise routines I've endeavored to answer as many of these problems as I possibly can. That is why I urge you to follow exactly as I explain the exercise movements in these courses. Probably one of the reasons deltoid work is so popular is the difficulty in obtaining them. It's the old law of supply and demand; the harder it is to get, the greater the value.


All three of these courses are good. The first course is the easiest to feel, the second is a little more difficult, and the third is the hardest to feel. Try each course for a period of six weeks, then go on to the next. Each course is designed to take up where the previous one left off, in a logical progression. And remember, you are trying to develop your deltoids and consciousness of feeling the correct muscles working with these three courses. After that, the advanced courses will be applicable and will work efficiently, but not before.

The three courses together represent a complete plan of shoulder development up to the intermediate stages. When you're ready for the more advanced training you should have symmetrical deltoid development, with impressive muscle size in all three heads.

Also, a final reminder is in order. Because the deltoid region is one of the very hardest to work correctly, you should read the exercise descriptions carefully and follow them exactly.

Now, here is your beginning course. The movements are not too difficult to perform, and they will help you get accustomed to the feel of the various muscles working.

Course Number One

Exercise 1 - Barbell Press
This is a movement where you can really use some weight. That is, you should do all your exercises in proper form, but in some, such as this one, you should also use as much weight as you can while keeping good form. In other movements the weight is not so important.

Start by holding the bar at your shoulders, with a grip slightly wider than the shoulders. If you wish, you can try it with an extra-wide grip . . . this works the deltoid equally well, and for our purposes where you hold the bar is just a matter of personal preference. I alternate between the two widths for a little variety.

When looking for bodybuilding results, the most important point to remember in doing this exercise is to keep the elbows as far back as possible while you're pressing the weight. If the elbows stray forward, the stress of the movement is transferred to the triceps in large part. Also, don't cheat with your legs . . . keep the knees locked throughout the movement.

Sets and Reps: beginners do at least 3 sets of 8 reps. Intermediates do 4 to 5 sets of 8 reps.

Exercise 2 - Upright Rowing
Try not to get weight-happy in this exercise, for your form is the most important factor. Wait until you have the movement down pat before you start to add more plates.

If you are doing the exercise correctly for our purposes you will notice the front and side deltoid heads and the trapezius starting to grow over time. An important point to remember for correct growth is to try not to lift the shoulders while you are doing the movement. Your arms are supposed to be doing the moving alone, otherwise the trapezius will get too much work.

Hold the bar in the center, either about six inches apart or with your hands together, depending on your preference. I usually do it with a little distance between the hands. Lift the bar straight up to your neck, keeping the elbows out in front of you. Lower SLOWLY and repeat.

Sets and Reps: beginners do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 3 or 4 sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 3 - Incline Lateral Raise, Two Arms
The weight used in this movement is not too important, but the form is. Remember, these courses are designed to help you achieve proper performance of the exercises, and feel the chosen muscles working to the maximum. In doing that, you will prepare yourself for the more advanced work ahead and gain some of the muscle you desire as well.

Don't try to cheat in this exercise at all . . . lie with your chest flat against the incline bench (facing the high end)), and don't try to raise it at any time during the movement. Just raise the dumbbells as high as you can, out to your sides.

If you prefer, turn your head to the side for a bit more comfort. And, if you think the puny weights you're using aren't doing any good, you're wrong. The burn you get from this exercise alone makes it worth it weight in muscle . . . keep it up and you'll get some really sensational results.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 12 reps. Intermediates do 3 or 4 sets of 14 reps!

Exercise 4 - Bentover Side Lateral Raise
The weight is a little more important in this movement than in the last, but form is again of paramount importance. Make sure you do it right, and don't be afraid to increase the weight when you can.

The exercise is excellent for working the side and rear deltoid heads, but you should watch yourself in the mirror very closely to make sure you're doing it correctly. Be sure to keep your shoulder low at all times, and just lift the arm. Do one arm and then the other right away . . . you don't need to rest between them.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 12 reps. Intermediates do 4 sets of 10 reps.

Course Number Two 

The exercises are a bit more difficult in this group. The experience obtained from the previous course should make you ready for this batch, though. Inasmuch as the movements are more difficult, you should pay closer attention to the exercise descriptions and your performance of them. 

Exercise 1 - Standing Alternate Dumbbell Press
This is the heavy one of the group, so you should try to use all the weight you can while still maintaining proper form. Hold the dumbbells at the shoulder, and press one of them overhead. As the first one starts on its return trip down, press the other dumbbell up, so they are working in alternate fashion. And remember, for the desired effect, keep your elbows out.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 8 reps, each arm. Intermediates do 4 sets of 8 reps.

Exercise 2 - Barbell Front Raise
A little cheat may be used in this movement, and consequently use a good, heavy weight. Just be sure you are lifting it up with the shoulders, not throwing it up.

Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, and lift it up and out with your arms locked throughout the movement. Do not use too much upper back motion, rather try to keep your upper body as stiff and motionless as possible.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates also 2 sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 3 - Incline Bench Lateral Raise, One Arm
This is the exercise that the great Steve Reeves used to do all the time, and when done correctly it works solely on the side deltoid head, swelling it to large proportions. But this is another one of those exercises where weight is of minor importance compared to the exercise form, so you must do it properly for best results.

The arm is never locked out during the movement, rather always keep a slight break in it. The most important form factor is the position of your palm . . . everyone tends to bring up the inside of the palm, the thumb side, and this is where they go wrong. This will primarily work the anterior deltoid head, and not the lateral one. And, it's this side head you're trying to work hard.

Well, the answer is to keep the rear of the palm higher than the front. This will severely limit the amount of weight you can use, but it also is the only way to correctly activate that elusive side deltoid.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 4 sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 4 - Shrugs
This is a fairly easy exercise to do right. Remember when a teacher in school would ask you a question you didn't know the answer to? You just shrugged your shoulders . . . and that's all you do in this movement too.

The weight you can use is considerable, as the traps can really stand it. Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, and simply lift the shoulders up and return them to their normal position. You can alternate with a circular motion, if you wish.

Sets and Reps: Beginners should again do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Course Number Three

This is the most difficult of the three courses to perform correctly, but with your previous deltoid training you should be able to get through it okay. Let's get started . . . 

Exercise 1 - Standing Dumbbell Press
This is the heavy exercise of the group, so you should try for all the weight you can properly handle. And, keep trying to increase it whenever you can.

This exercise was one of the great Reg Park's favorites, and we all know what great deltoids he had! It is simple to do, and all the comments I've made before on Pressing still go. Keep the elbows as far back as you can, and simply press the two dumbbells overhead, with the palms facing away from you, to the front.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 8 reps. Intermediates do 4 sets of 8 reps.

Exercise 2 - Alternate Front Raise
Use a fairly heavy pair of dumbbells for this exercise, and make yourself really strain. Hold the dumbbells in front, resting on your thighs. Raise one up to shoulder level, keeping the arm locked and the outside of the palm as high as the inside, then as you are lowering it raise up the other one. Keep alternating until you've completed your set.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 3 - Standing Side Lateral Raise
As in most of the lateral raise movements, form is the most important factor. Use only a weight that will pump the muscle well, and don't allow your form to suffer because of too much weight.

Allow a slight bend at the waist, and hold the two dumbbells in front of you. Bring the dumbbells up to the sides, remembering to keep the outside of the palm higher than the inside at all times. If you do not do this, the emphasis will be placed on the frontal deltoids, and your work will be wasted. Keeping the palms in this position restricts the amount of weight you can do, but will give you much better results in the end.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 2 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 4 sets of 10 reps.

Exercise 4 - Rear Lateral Raises
This movement directly affects the rear head of the deltoid, and there is no better exercise for this bodypart. We use it religiously around the gym. 

Once again, the weight is of little importance compared to the exercise form, and the position of the palms is all-important. If you allow them to stray, the trapezius instead of the deltoid will be getting most of the work. Note also that the arms are not locked out, as this too would weaken the affect on the rear deltoid.

Many times this exercise is done with the head on a bench or something of similar height, for this takes the strain off the back and enables you to concentrate more on the movement. Try it and see if it helps you. Also, do not raise the dumbbells above the level of the shoulders, as this again will affect the traps more than the delts.

Sets and Reps: Beginners do 3 sets of 10 reps. Intermediates do 4 sets of 12 reps.

In Closing

There is a popular phrase that goes, "Little things mean a lot", and in bodybuilding this is especially true. You can see from the comments I have made how important little things like the angle of the palms, the lock of the elbows, keeping the arms back while pressing, all are essential to the success of your deltoid workouts.

Deltoid work has always been one of my favorites, and I hope you are as interested in it as I am. But you must be, or you wouldn't be reading this course. Well then, my best advice is to keep your eye unceasingly on the little things in your deltoid training, and to persevere in your training. As the delts are one of the smaller muscle units of the body, gains are often hard to see, and frustration is easily built up if you don't see new muscle blossoming rapidly. 

You have to work hard for anything you get in life, and in bodybuilding this is especially true. You spend all that time in the gym, sweating and suffering for that body of yours . . . so make sure that training is effective by always keeping your eye on those little things and always putting 101% into your training. That way your success is assured.

Best Wishes.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation, Part Two - J.M. Blakley

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation, Part Two
by J.M. Blakley

Cutting Weight

Cutting weight is not dieting. It has nothing to do with dieting. It has to do with the weight. The idea is to maintain one's bodyweight just over the class limit all through training. Then through as series of drastic manipulations in water, food, and thermoregulation, drop the excess pounds prior the weigh in. Once having weighed in, the process is reversed and a phase of reconstitution ensues. This begins the moment the athlete the athlete steps off the scale. It continues right up to the competitive event. If an athlete is well versed in the process, it is very likely that they will enjoy a "rebound". This is to say that they may cut 11 pounds but with sufficient reconstitution actually gain back 13 or 14! By the time for the actual event they may out-weigh their competition by almost 15 pounds! Even a modest effort will return 90% of what is lost by cutting. Still quite an advantage! But, of course all athletes don't always meet with this kind of success and that is solely due to lack of knowledge. And then, too, there are the horror stories of the foolhardy among us.

The sport of powerlifting has a built in promotion for cutting weight. Almost all the big federations recognize a 24 hour weigh-in rule. A few do not but they are the exception. This rule (always in effect at state, national, and international competitions) allows a lifter to step on the scales for official bodyweight measurement 24 hours prior to their scheduled lifting time. So if the flight a lifter is in starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, that lifter is allowed to weigh in at 11:00 on Friday.

This rule was intended to help those who are very close to the class limit (say 2 to 5 pounds over) to adjust their weight temporarily by sweating, avoiding fluids, and eating light. After they had made weight,they were assumed to eat and drink as usual and it was accepted that they would be a few pounds over by the next day (2to 5). But leave it to some zealous individuals to take that to the extreme!

They realized they could drop copious amounts of water weight, and having a full day to replenish their fluids, be right back where they started in bodyweight by the time it was their turn to lift. Some found this to be quite depleting and it wreaked havoc on their performance, yet others seemed to be unaffected by the swing in hydration. The difference is somewhat due to individual personality, but more due to the timing and mechanism of the process they had chosen. I believe that most anybody can endure the process with little effect on their strength. But certain individuals do adopt an attitude that it just won't work for them. And to that I have always believed that attitudes are more important than facts. And I never agree with a mans who says "I can't."

With even a 12 hour weigh-in much of the lost weight can be recouped. With all this time between the weigh-in and the event, it is only natural for athletes to begin to look for ways to take advantage of the fact. That's just good competitive spirit! But when it is done improperly or halfheartedly or poorly, it can ruin the meet and cause serious health problems. It's not as easy as some people make it look. But the fact that some people are ultra-successful and others abysmal failures at it points to techniques which are better than others. Finding the good ones has been the crux of the biscuit!

What Happens to the Body

The goal of the athlete cutting weight is to hold their weight up as near to the competition as possible, drop the weight precipitously, then reconstitute the weight back on just as rapidly. To quote a line from a popular movie, "That can't be good." And it's not. The body must pay a price. But in an age where athletes willingly put themselves through amazing amounts of what would be considered torture by most, it's not so bad by comparison (think of the damage, stress, and risk of running on pavement for 4 hours that a marathon can do).

One important thing to realize is where the weight comes from. There are only a few options.

First of all, none of it comes from fat. There isn't any appreciable metabolization of fat in this short-term process. Fat is burned in the long term. Drastic manipulations in bodyweight involve negligible amounts of adipose tissue. There just isn't time.

The majority of the weight lost is water. And the body has plenty of it. Everybody knows that the human body is mostly water. 75% in fact. Get this straight. Take a 200 pound man. Completely dehydrate him right there on the scale and all the "stuff" you'd have left would weigh only 50 pounds! That's right! Muscle is 73% water, bones are 31% water, even adipose tissue (body fat) is 22% water or more. It's true to describe humans as walking sacks of water! The 200 pound man has 150 pounds of water on hand. (Of course not all of it is available for cutting, but you get the idea.)

The water that the body chooses to lose comes first from the plasma compartment. This is water that's in the blood. A normal adult has several liters of blood and most of the blood is water. Blood without the red cells (and a few white blood cells) is known as plasma. Plasma is almost all water except for some serum factors and platelets. This is the most labile of compartments from which to pull water.

Sweat ducts pull water from capillaries in the skin and the kidneys filter the blood constantly, and the water they produce as urine comes directly from the blood. When a person sweats or urinates heavily, their blood volume goes down. The water that leaves the body was most recently plasma just minutes prior.

When the plasma volume drops, the blood gets thicker. There are more red blood cells per unit volume because one is not bleeding. The number of red blood cells (rbcs) stays constant one doesn't lose those) but the amount of fluid they are swimming around in goes down quickly. This changes the hematocrit value and makes the blood more viscous. The blood becomes more soupy and less watery which makes it flow a little more sluggishly. This is a normal sign of dehydration.

If the plasma volume loss is great enough the cardiovascular system will see a drop in blood pressure. This can be understood by thinking of a water balloon. If the balloon loses water, the skin of the balloon isn't stretched as tightly and the pressure inside goes down.

The body responds to this drop in pressure by vasoconstricting the arterioles which makes the actual "pipes" that the blood flows through smaller. These arterioles are elastic and can either stretch or contract to cause blood pressure to rise or fall by increasing or decreasing the diameter of the blood vessel that the blood must flow through.

When the blood volume goes down the body tries to squeeze the blood pressure back up to normal. (And I'm using the terms blood volume and plasma volume interchangeably, for our understanding they are the same, although technically a loss of blood volume would refer to bleeding in which rbcs are also lost. For this discussion assume that the term blood volume and plasma volume mean the same . . . fluid lost, not cells lost. One can not have blood loss without plasma loss, but one can have plasma loss without true blood loss although blood volume would be affected.) But it can only squeeze so much. If pressure still is not achieved, the heart rate may increase as the heart attempts to pump the pressure back up. This can be very fatiguing. The heart may also contract more forcefully in an attempt to increase stroke volume.

All this paints a picture of cardiovascular stress upon dehydration. This is only one of the reasons that maintaining a dehydrated state for as short a time as possible is preferable in regard to both health and performance.

The body is very resourceful and if the athlete does not ingest fluids to replenish the plasma volume, the body will look within to get the necessary fluid to replace what was lost and restore proper cardiovascular function. The body begins to siphon water away from the interstitial spaces. This is the area between the cells. It is also known as extra cellular space. The area around the cells. It is highly hydrated and gives up its fluids readily.

This is a passive process and water flows "down hill" from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Water follows an osmotic gradient. That means water seeks to equalize itself between compartments. When the vascular compartment loses fluid, the concentration of things dissolved or suspended in it goes up. There is less water per every molecule of "stuff" in the compartment. The interstitial compartment is adjacent to this compartment and the water in it is pulled away by the imbalance between them. It's as though the membranes say, "Hey, there's lots of water over here with only a few particles swimming in this compartment, and a shortage of water over here with a crowding of particles. Let's even it out some." Water passively flows down the gradient. The plasma volume begins to rise at the expense of the interstitial fluid volume.

This is OK. In the short-term there is no real downside to this. The interstitium serves as a sort of bank for fluid and making a withdrawal has no real impact on the system. It is a good reserve to pull from and can restore plasma volume without any undesirable effects on health or performance. But that is only in the short-term. Keeping the interstitial volume depleted for longer periods can lead to the most harsh form of dehydration . . . cellular dehydration.

If fluids are still not ingested after interstitial dehydration, the plasma will be refilled because that is an immediate concern to the body, but the expense was depletion of the interstitium. This sets up the same osmotic gradient in relationship to the cells. The cell was presents a barrier to fluid loss from the cells into the interstitium which makes it more difficult for water to move out, but the osmotic pull is strong and slowly but surely the cells begin to lose fluid to the cell spaces (which are losing fluid to the vascular space . . . see the cascade of events?

So the plasma pulls fluid from the interstitia and the interstitia pulls fluid from the cells. Where do the cells pull fluid from? NOWHERE! That's the end of the line, pal. Once the cells deplete you've got some very serious dehydration on your hands. The type that can and has sent a few boys to the emergency room.

Cellular depletion is devastating to performance as well. One might as well just go home. The cells lose turgor and everything feels flat. Plasma volume is still not quite up to stat and a massive headache ensues from vasoconstriction for extended periods of time. The body tries to hold fluids with charged particles called electrolytes. Some are elevated and some are depleted and the whole electrolyte balance is blown all to the devil, causing severe cramping. (If the electrolytes are held out of whack for too long, cardiac function can be impaired. The heart can't pump right when the electrolytes are imbalanced. At this point, you're really asking for it.) This is truly no way to compete.

The only resolution now is to administer fluids. That is the body's limit for fluxation. But it is still a quite amazing capacity. Just how many pounds can a person lose? Physiology texts cite that about 3% loss of bodyweight in water will have a detrimental effect on performance. A 200 pound man then could lose 6 pounds and feel little effect. But anyone who has played high school football knows that on a hot day in August in full pads it is not at all uncommon to see boys losing 10 pound in an afternoon session lasting only 2 to 2-1/2 hours. They do this day in and day out for weeks. Even an out-of-shape middle aged man can sweat out 10 pounds mowing his lawn on a hot, humid summer day without much complaining. In all these cases there is also usually little attempt at reconstitution. All coaches and athletic trainers admonish their athletes to drink more water during practice but still at the weigh-in and weigh-out they have hardly kept up.

In a competition where full reconstitution is a real option (24 hour weigh-in) and the dehydration is removed by many hours from the event I am convinced that 10 pounds is a reasonable rule of thumb for anyone weighing 130 and over.

True, 10 pounds is a lot more to a 150 pound man than to a 295 pound man. But the vascular compartment is remarkably similar in size in liters although a larger man will feel the loss less and pull from the cells and interstitial less (a man weighing twice the weight does not have a heart 2x bigger or 2x the blood in his body).

I have been witness to remarkable weight fluxations such as 13 pounds in a 137 pound female, 15 pounds in a 147 pound male, 21 pounds in a 153 pound male, 22 pounds in a 265 pound male and so forth with no apparent ill effect on strength. Amazing! With this in mind it seems that 7 to 10 pounds is a reasonable expectation and just round that up to 10 for convenience sake. The body has a great capacity to endure dramatic swings in water weight. And, to be certain, I have also witnessed lifters crash and burn with only a slight change of only 4 or 5 pounds. How can some lifters undertake a 15 pound shift and see no detriment to strength and others be decimated by dropping only 5 pounds? I suggest that it's all in the way they go about it.

What is reasonable to believe is that if one person can do it, so can others. And if several people can do it, so can anyone. I doubt that genetics or any other self-selecting determinant truly omits anyone from being able to produce similar results. I believe the limiting factor is know-how.

So, how do they do it?

Next: Methods of Transient Bodyweight Manipulation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport, Part One - J.M. Blakley

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport
by J.M. Blakley

The Art of Cutting Weight

Is it wrong to call cutting weight an art? Maybe. But there are those who do it with such style and grace that the word art is brought to mind. Of course there are those who do it so crudely that the word abuse comes to mind. I have always admitted that there is always more than one way to do things. Cutting weight is no different. One of my favorite sayings is, "There is more than one way to kill a cat than by choking it with butter." That says a lot. You can get the job done with elegance or you can just get the job done any which way. There are no points awarded for style but oftentimes the brute way leaves one exhausted and can make quite a mess along the way!

I hope that this course will help you understand the methods of making weight that I have seen used in the last 10 years of top level competition. When it is done right, it is  a remarkable thing to watch. I hope this course will help answer the question, "How do they do that?!"

Understanding the Premise

There are sports in which there exist established weight classes. I suppose that this is to afford some type of relative comparison for competitors of differing body sizes. I do find this a bit inconsistent across the sporting world. For example, there are no weight classes for the 100 meter dash but an individual who weights 30 pounds more than another competitor must carry a heavier load over the proscribed distance. Also, in the shot put, a lighter athlete is not compartmentalized to only throw against others his own weight.

It seems like a good idea to pit opponents of equal size against each other . . . at first. But I think a closer examination begs the question: Why? What if the NBA had different height classes for players 5'6" to 6'0" and from 6'0" to 6'6" and from 6'6" to 7'0" and the like? Wouldn't that dilute the sport? Or if marathon runners had weight classes? It is perfectly logical not to expect a man who weighs 225 pounds to run 26.2 miles just like a man weighing only 135 pounds.

Weight classification muddies the waters. And only certain sports subscribe to them. Most combative sports have weight classes. And while I fully understand reasoning for them, I can't say I totally agree with them. I do respect the fact that if there weren't classes, then much of the participation would dwindle. So for that reason alone I guess it's okay. But having competed across five weight classes on a regular basis, I feel I have a unique perspective on the issue; I've been big, I've been small. I've seen it from both sides and I think that if you want to hold a contest of strength and you have an agreed upon marker for that, then to find out who is strongest should have little to do with bodyweight or size . . . it should have to to with who can lift the most. Period. Not who can lift the most in relationship to their weight or height or hair color. Just how much they can lift. The biggest men would gravitate to the top of the sport because they have God-given advantage . . . they're bigger! (i.e., the NFL). 

But as I've said this would exclude many fine athletes who compete at lighter classes. I have a tremendous respect for these guys. I admire what they do pound for pound and have set goals for myself based on their stellar performances in relationship to their weight. It's not that I don't admire them. I just think that 11 weight classes may be a little unnecessary to do the job. And it has presented the problem which we will address here: making the class limit.

Cutting weight has many detractors for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is health. I'm not going to defend why there are weight classes. There just are. The above intro tells you a little of what I think. Let's deal with it.

But that presents a problem for a lifter who weighs 210 pounds. Should he: 

(a) Gain weight (10 lbs.) to compete in the 220 class and get the full benefit of weighing in at the top of the class (where many of his rivals will weigh in at);

(b) Remain at 210 and give away 10 pounds of bodyweight to his competition;

(c) Diet off 12 pounds and compete in the 198 division again weighing in at the top of this class.

Many of today's best competitors answer D - cut weight and make the 198 class and then reconstitute prior to the event to obtain a 12 pound advantage over those in their class. Actually weighing 210 at the time of competition but being grouped in the 198 category. That is the premise here. To weigh in above the class limit thereby gaining a weight advantage over the competition, yet still be included in the lighter class. 

Next: Cutting Weight.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Olympic Press Styles Compiled

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These three sequence photos of Baszanowski pressing illustrate three basic movements of the lay back style of pressing, or, as it has often been called in the United States, the Garcy style. The three movements illustrated are: 1) the lay back where the lifter receives the clap from the referee to start the press; 2) the drive where the lifter straightens the body and simultaneously presses with his arms and shoulders and; 3) the lay back where the lifter bends under the bar as it goes past the sticking point. A fourth position, not shown, would be the recovery where the straightens the body as he finishes the press.

Escer of Hungary demonstrates a style of pressing that is very rarely seen in international lifting competition - a press with no initial heave and no excessive back bend. Note that the bar is held with the wrists back and the elbows fairly high, in contrast to the form used by Baszanowski above. The elbow and wrist position compares with the position of these body parts on Golovanov (next) of Russia. This is the initial position that lifters using the knee kick employ, although Escer does not use such a style but, instead, drives the bar from his chest with arm and shoulder power.

Golovanov of the USSR relies upon his extremely fast and deep backbend to press world record poundages. He uses a very fast start that includes very little body motion. However, he bends back quite far but with such speed that it is hard for the judges to realize how far he went. This press with 369 was turned down, but his world record with 363 was almost as bad except that he recovered quicker from the backbend thus making the lift look better than it actually was. Any way you look at it, 369 is a heavy weight to be pressed overhead in any style by a mid-heavy.

Norbert Schemansky used a style at the 1964 Olympics that is fast becoming the style of many European lifters. Note that Ski does not bend back to far at the start of the press, but after the clap from the referee he lets the bar sink into his chest as his body sags. He then straightens his body and knees quickly to drive the bar off his chest, and then backbends to keep the bar moving past the sticking point. Note that there is little backbend during the lift, a factor that helps get white lights in international lifting, as does the quickness with which the bar travels.

Gary Cleveland is not only one of the best pressers in the world pound-wise, having pressed 341 as a light-heavyweight, but also is one of the world's strictest pressers. The above sequence taken at the Tokyo Olympics illustrates the point well. He uses almost no body motion to start his presses and, likewise, uses only moderate backbend to keep the weight going. He is undoubtedly one of the strongest pressers in the world.

Veres of Hungary uses a similar style to that used by Schemansky except more extreme in every respect. He allows the bar to sag after the referee's clap as Ski does, but look at those knees. And, look at that backbend. Although he missed this weight backwards (last picture) it was generally agreed that the lift had a good chance of being passed if he had been able to hold it for the clap.

As you can see, when exhibiting maximum strength each lifer determines and perfects a style that suits his physical makeup as well as passes the judging of the time. So too, bodybuilders of experience can be seen to vary performance of their exercises to achieve a  specific end result. To many, especially those with untrained eyes, a lift is simply a lift, and an exercise is simply an exercise. This individual art of digging deeper into strength lifts and/or bodybuilding exercises can take decades to realize. Best on your journey!   


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Much Ado About Arms - Ray Beardsley

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Much Ado About Arms
by Ray Beardsley (1968)

*These ideas can easily be applied to any bodyparts.
This article is indicative of what I remember of my first years lifting. Sure, there were those famous York and Weider basic charts on the wall of the Y weight room, if you can call a converted handball court outfitted with two of the members equipment a weight room. And once you were finished with the first six or so months of those simple but tough lifting layouts you didn't ask 10,000 questions about how much, how often, how heavy, how high the moon. The older guys' advice was always the same. You wanna see if it works, well then, SEE IF IT WORKS FOR YA. There was a great respect for individual learning, one man experiencing what it really takes to find who he is in that tiny windowless room, and what it takes to make progress that particular season be it summer, winter, spring or the other one. I miss this whole innocent yet persistent mindset immensely when reading internet forum conversations, and many times in other parts of life.
Hit or miss. Live and learn. Rise and fall and rise again.

It may appear redundant to write about building arms since most bodybuilding magazines fairly bristle with such articles, nonetheless that it the title I prefer giving to this discourse. First, because the system I am about to explain was used as an arm-building program, and second, because anything related to arms has a certain fascination which few of us can resist.

After training with weights for many years and finding myself with arms that measured 16.75 inches I decided to cast about for a way to bring them up to that magical 18 inch figure. Consequently I did a bit of research and came up with the following, which I feel is unique.

After adhering to this program for a period of three months my arms gained to 18.25 inches. This was accomplished without gaining more than a few pounds and sacrificing definition. At the time I was 33 years of age.

Before going into my idea about building the arms, I should like to explain the "all or nothing" theory. This may seem like a digression, but a knowledge of it is pertinent to my program. Those of you who are familiar with physiology please bear with me.

The "all or nothing" theory is a physiological theory of muscular action which implies that when a muscle responds to a stimulus the fibers that are called into action are contracted to their fullest possible degree. For example, if a person curls but one pound he may use only a few muscle fibers, but the few he does use will be contracted to their limit.

Prior to learning this I had always thought a given muscle responded to a task by having all its fibers contract to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the amount or intensity of the stimulus. However, it seems that according to the powers that be, a fiber contracts completely or not at all. There are no halfway measures.

It naturally follows that if we wish to employ all the muscle fibers in a given muscle we must use a weight so heavy that every single fiber will be called upon. This, of course, entails a tremendous amount of concentration. The above explains why we are often so strong under stress.

The unsatisfactory aspect is that when using an extremely heavy weight it is necessary to rest from 5 to even 15 minutes between sets to recuperate. Consequently it is difficult to get a really good pump, which is necessary of real gains are to be made rapidly.

In my arm routine I worked out three times per week. On Mondays and Wednesdays a very light weight was used, so light, in fact, that the first set was almost too easy. Three sets of biceps exercises were performed, then three sets of triceps movements, with a one minute rest between sets. This constituted one "multiple set", followed by a 15 minute rest. In all, three sets of these multiple sets were performed. The last set being very difficult since the arms were so swollen they ached.

The subsequent day my arms would pump somewhat even when brushing my teeth or combing my hair. In fact, with this system my arms stayed pumped all the time.

On Friday a weight which was sufficiently heavy to allow barely 10 reps with good form for all the sets was used. Consequently more rest was imperative between sets, but my arms were already partially pumped and so "in the habit" of pumping they would stay pumped anyway, whereas normally with a heavy weight there would be little pump.

In my opinion the gains were made on my heavy day only. Mondays and Wednesdays only served to put my arms in a pumped condition for Friday. If I had worked as hard on the other days as on Friday, more rest would have been needed, resulting in less pump and slower gains. On the other hand, if I had worked out every day like I did on Mondays and Wednesdays the gains would have only been inflated tissue and would not have stayed with me. The heavy workouts are necessary to employ all the muscle fibers.

I looked forward to Friday, my heavy day, because I was anxious to see how much my strength had improved. Also, the heavy workouts were more enjoyable because the light days left me a reserve of energy.

The program consists of but two exercises: the biceps exercise is performed on a bench, the head of which is raised about 5 inches. Lie in a supine position with two dumbbells at the shoulders, palms facing inwards. Lower them outwards, away from the body, not forward. When the arms are straight the palms face away from the body. The bells are then curled to the shoulders, palms facing up. It is important to curl the bells slowly without any fast start. In this exercise the biceps are extended to their ultimate and while the contraction is not extreme, it is more than sufficient.

The triceps exercise is executed either on the floor or on a flat bench, also in the supine position, but with a barbell. Hold the bar as in the bench press, the hands approximately 3 inches apart. Close grip. From this position lower it until the knuckles touch the forehead, without moving the upper arms, then slowly press back out to arms' length and lockout.

Although these exercises do not work the muscles from all angles, it is easier to concentrate on the same movement than to confuse oneself with 10 or 12 separate exercises. No particular diet was adhered to while following this experiment, other than the usual three good meals a day, but all other exercises were curtailed for the three months. As a general rule an all-round program is best, but when specializing it is preferable to work only that particular group of muscles. I would be pleased to hear the results any of you might have while following this program. Best of luck with your lifting.            

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