Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bodybuilding is Easy - John Grimek

July, 2014
The ability to walk upright on two legs is one of the major traits that define us as humans; yet, scientists still aren't sure why we evolved to walk as we do. In Born to Walk, author James Earls explores the mystery of our evolution by describing in depth the mechanisms that allow us to be efficient in bipedal gait. Viewing the whole body as an interconnected unit, Earls explains how we can regain a flowing efficiency within our gait--an efficiency which, he argues, is part of our natural design.This book is designed for movement therapy practitioners, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, and any bodyworker wishing to help clients by incorporating an understanding of gait and its mechanics. It will also appeal to anyone with an interest in evolution and movement.Drawing on recent research from paleoanthropology, sports science, and anatomy, Earls proposes a complete model of how the whole body cooperates in this three dimensional action. His work is based on Thomas Myers's Anatomy Trains model of human anatomy, a holistic view of the human body that emphasizes fascial and myofascial connections.Earls distills the complex action of walking into a simple sequence of "essential events" or actions that are necessary to engage the myofascia and utilize its full potential in the form of elastic energy. He explains the "stretch-shortening cycle"--the mechanism that is the basis for many normal human activities--and discusses how humans take advantage of isometric contractions, viscoelastic response, and elastic recoil to minimize calorie usage. This streamlined efficiency is what enabled our first ancestors to begin to migrate not only seasonally but also permanently to new lands, thereby expanding the natural resources available to us as a species.

John Grimek (1959)

Yes, bodybuilding can be easy, if one knows and understands the fundamentals and applies them accordingly. I recall only too well the strict advice I got from some of the more experienced men whom I questioned about bodybuilding at the time I first became interested in it. Every one seemed to stress the importance of following the training program just as it was planned, and especially doing the exercises correctly and to follow the exact number of repetitions. I remember how meticulous I was doing my exercises the first year or so. I was careful not to deviate from the rigid position that was indicated in this course. Naturally, since I was anxious to get the most out of my training, as everyone who undertakes to develop a better body, I followed the training system exactly to the letter, using only the number of repetitions and exercises recommended.

York Courses: 1,2,3,4.
Click Pics to ENLARGE
It may seem odd to some the the bodybuilders today that anyone could improve from such a brief training routine, but I can honestly say that I actually improved on that system, and feel that every beginner should train along similar lines before attempting to use heavier training methods. In time I came to realize that it wasn't necessary to be so strict in my training, and even later learned that bodybuilding was quite simple. Nevertheless, I never regretted my 'apprentice period' and felt it had much to do with the improvement of my muscles later on. This coaxing period is very important to all beginners and should be continued until sufficient improvement and knowledge have been acquired that will them to meet the ever-increasing demands of the muscles.

On the other hand, one of the most common errors that any experienced bodybuilder seems to make is to pattern his own training after that of one of the more experienced bodybuilders who has graduated into the advanced class and is capable of employing a more strenuous training routine. What most beginners fail to understand is that any bodybuilder with enough training experience can train more vigorously and still continue to make improvement, whereas a beginner or near-beginner is bound to overwork his muscles if he attempts to follow such a program. However, if one were to delve into the earlier training methods of such a man one would discover that his earlier training methods didn't differ too much from any any beginner today. But the inexperienced bodybuilder is so enthusiastic that he doesn't realize this. All he knows is that he wants to develop big muscles and develop them fast and feels that any program advocated by a well-developed man is the best to follow. It is, but only if your muscles are accustomed to heavier training and can stand a lot of exercise. It seldom works well for the inexperienced man and he is better to leave such training alone until he has progressed to that point where he is prepared for it.

What's more, whenever an inexperienced fellow employs the training system of a more advanced bodybuilder and fails to obtain the results that he feels should be his reward, he may blame it upon himself, or on his lack of rest or a wrong diet and on almost anything else except on the training program he's following. He just can't believe that there is anything wrong with the training system and continues to follow it in the face of disappointment. Actually, the training system is at fault in most cases because, when the muscles are exercised too strenuously at this early stage they become too 'toughened' and all improvement seems to be arrested. This as you can see is truly a crucial point for many beginners and quite a few abandon the idea and content themselves with the thought that they weren't meant to possess a well-developed physique.

Contrary to different opinions of revolutionary nature expressed by certain 'authorities', I personally don't believe that muscles can be forced to grow at this early stage by employing vigorous training. Muscles respond best only when they are coaxed and eased along at the beginning. Once they have been accustomed to progressive training and require more vigorous training to stimulate further growth, they should be trained harder . . . but not before. The novice should take pains in coaxing his muscles by observing the elementary principles of training and using the correct method of performance, and once this has been achieved bodybuilding is really quite a lot easier.

Furthermore, it is important to avoid being misled into believing that heavy training is as good for the novice as it is for the more experienced. It's not, at least not during the first several months. The muscles must first be conditioned to the training routine, during which time they acquire better endurance and the ability to contract more forcibly during any performance. All this helps to round out the muscle and shape of it.

Of course anyone who deals in problems of this nature, as I do through the medium of correspondence, understands the frustrations of the novice when he fails to make the gains he is training towards. And, frankly, a lot of this frustration can be avoided if the beginner would only reason things out and realize there is a difference between the training for the advanced bodybuilder and the tyro. Once he gets this straightened out in his mind he won't make the mistake of trying to adopt anything not suited to him.

Sig Klein, for example, always starts his students, those who request personalized training, using very light weights, even though some of them have had previous training.

"My First Quarter-Century in the Iron Game" - Sig Klein:

Klein feels that this coaxing of muscles in the earliest stages is the best means of conditioning the muscles for the heavier work that will follow. Through experience he has learned that this period of training is very important to all beginners and should be emphasized in all training systems. Perhaps this is why most of his students enjoy the excellent gains they register at his studio . . . but only when they take and follow his advice.

If you are a beginner, or a bodybuilder who hasn't been able to enjoy the kind of physical progress he had hoped to achieve, analyze your training routine and then if necessary, make up your mind to start again from scratch.   

For the next few weeks, preferably six months or more, forget the heavy weights, the super-duper sets and some of the other intriguing sounding training systems that you either have been using or are so anxious to adopt. They are best left alone until the groundwork for good musculature has been laid, and it can also prove quite productive to return to a simpler, less stressful and complex form of training periodically.

Select just five or six exercises at first, and increase this number as progress is made. Those who have had some previous experience are advised to begin by using at least one exercise for each major part of the body and repeat the exercises in single sets from 8 to 10 times.

The York Bodybuilding Courses #1 and #2, or Hoffman's Simplified System of Barbell Training, for example, should fit the needs of any tyro who wants to start training.

Training if this type will condition the muscles faster and prepares them for that vigorous work that will eventually follow if improvement is to continue. But don't be too hasty in wanting to employ the heavier system before you are ready, and don't be afraid to go back to the basics now and again when a fresh start is needed. Give yourself plenty of time on a basic routine so that the muscles are thoroughly conditioned before moving on to harder and heavier work.

During this period employ only such poundages as as will tire the muscles within the specified number of repetitions. You must realize at some point in your training, of course, how much harder it is to do 10 perfect repetitions as opposed to 15 sloppy ones. And although you can handle more weight while employing the more liberal, sloppy style, this is no assurance that you are exercising the muscles any better . . . perhaps not as well. By doing the movement in a haphazard manner, the muscles are rarely contracted or extended thoroughly; this minimizes the developmental effects in spite of the heavier weights.

The progressive scheme used here is very simple. It requires that you start with a weight that you can handle for 8 counts in Group A.When you can perform 10 reps easily, add five pounds to the bar and go back to 8 reps. 

For the exercises listed in Group B, start with 12 repetitions and work up to 18 before adding 5-10 pounds and dropping back to 12 reps.

Exercises, Group A:
2 hands curl
2 hands press
Regular rowing motion
Upright rowing
Supine bench press

Exercises, Group B
Alternate raise with dumbbells
Stiff legged deadlift
Full squat
Sidebends, barbell on shoulders
Situps on incline

Continue using this program for as long as you feel you need it to accustom or recharge the muscles before employing heavier training. Heavier training can be introduced gradually, either by adding one or two more exercises to your routine, or by employing two or more sets.

But let me hasten to add that a variety of exercises is always more effective than employing repeated sets. For example, if you were to use a specific curling exercise for three or more sets you would obtain far more benefits if you would include, instead, a different variety of this exercise and repeat each exercise in one set only. This has certain advantages that sets lack. It's only common logic that proves that variety will develop the muscle from every angle and make it fuller. Multiple sets of the same exercise tend to favor only one group or section of the working muscle and they don't develop it as completely. Therefore, if ever a question is raised in your mind as to whether you should do many sets of one exercise or include a variety of exercises, think it over and see if you don't agree that a variety of exercises is better than doing them for many sets.

In conclusion let me reiterate, even though you may have access to some of the advanced training methods used by some of the more experienced bodybuilder, ponder the point a little and ask yourself this question: Am I ready for it? If you honestly feel you are, by all means go ahead and give it a fling. But if you aren't, don't jeopardize your progress by trying to emulate the training routine of an experienced bodybuilder who has already gone through this beginner's phase   and is now capable of employing exercises of more vigorous nature. And so will you id you don't rush things at the beginning.         

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