Note: The next series of training article posts, beginning with this first one, are taken from one issue of a magazine I randomly selected from the 3,000 or so scattered all over the floor of my walk-in closet. It's nice to know the mess is getting smaller thanks to me tearing out the pages I use and tossing them when done. Once there's nothing left I have use for, after a couple times through over a few years, they'll all be gone and more than likely so will I. All Good!
I will not be adding anything to any of this series of articles. Just the original authors' words.
I will, however, be omitting all things supplement- and equipment-sales related.
That crap gotta go!
Okay then, Article the First . . .
Bradley Steiner -
"Stick With Your Training"
Staying motivated is always an important part of bodybuilding for beginners. For those who start working out in their teens, training is their first experience with real self-discipline. You make the choice to train, so it really matters.
This lesson - that you can and ought to choose what you desire and that, once having chosen, you must be prepared to invest serious effort to achieve it - is one of the most valuable things you can learn. It's not one you're likely to learn in school, which is pretty much a joke, and a compulsory one to boot. Not only that, but you'd probably be safer in the Army, serving overseas in a war zone, where at least you'd be able to shoot back if someone opened fire on you without warning.
One of life's greatest experiences comes with that first barbell and the desire to develop your your body. You've got to stay motivated to do it, though. Quitting won't do - not for anyone, from beginners to advanced people who are going through a period of discouragement. Stick with it and it just might make everything else in your life more positive and fulfilling.
Yes, training is hard work. Yes, we all face setbacks. That's the human condition. Be tough! Nothing in life worth having can be obtained without hard work and persistence.
Question: Do you recommend stretching as an aid to bodybuilding?
Answer: Yes, I do. I think that it helps speed up recovery from hard workouts by improving blood flow and aiding in the removal of lactic acid. Flexibility is an important part of physical fitness because it helps to protect the body from injury. You actually do a certain amount of stretching, believe it or not, when you work a muscle through its full range of motion.
You are, however, asking about stretching as a specific activity. It's always a good idea to do a few minutes of mild stretching several times each week. It's a terrific exercise to combine with any sports training you do or with jogging or rope skipping.
Extreme stretching, however, can be dangerous. It can result in permanent injury. Always work well within your limits. Stretch slowly, systematically and carefully.
Question: Should I drop the Standing Press and just do Bench Presses? I can use much heavier weights on the bench.
Answer: In my opinion, the standing press is even more essential to develop than the bench press. It's easier and more comfortable to handle heavier weights in the bench press than on the standing press, but the standing press offers greater physical benefits. It requires the lower back to act as a stabilizer, so it builds that area. In fact, the standing press is an excellent whole-body exercise.
That doesn't mean you should drop the bench press! I'd suggest doing two or three sets of heavy standing presses and two to four sets of bench presses. Don't use maximum poundages on both movements in the same workout; push on one or the other.
Question: I've always emphasized Power and Strength in my workouts. Would I lose a lot if I took about six weeks to train purely on a light routine?
Answer: I think your idea is an excellent one. It's always a good idea to intersperse periods of hard training with relatively light work. That gives your body a chance to bounce back and lets you recover your enthusiasm as well. Alternating light and heavy work over a year will result in greater gains than if you try to work heavy all the time.
Question: Should I use wrist straps on my deadlift? Some friends tell me that it's cheating to use them, while others say they're the way to go.
Answer: I believe wrist straps are very helpful when you're pushing to really heavy, maximum levels. Otherwise, I think the grip strength you develop in deadlifting without straps is extremely valuable.
There's no denying that the back can lift a heck of a lot more weight than your hands can hang onto, and when you're moving those kinds of weights, straps are fine. Use a natural, strapless grip for your lighter work, though.
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