Saturday, August 17, 2019

Marvin Eder's Triceps Training - Barton Horvath (1952)

Thanks to Liam Tweed! 

This is the story of one of the most famous arms of all time. 

The massive one, possessed by mighty Marvin Eder, the world's most powerfully and massively developed youth. 

At 19 years of age, Marvin is still far from his muscular or strength peak, yet still he has already thrilled the world with his brawn and physique.

The other day when I fitted a snug tape around his 18 and 5/8 inch upper arm, during one of his workouts at Abe Goldberg's Gym in New York, I realized that here was a really great arm, one of the best of all time, and one worth writing about. Asking Marvin to hold the pose for a moment I examined his arm, trying to discover its secret of impressiveness, and I saw it. 

It's Marvin's triceps which give him that balanced appearance. A powerful arm, full and muscular, without a weak link. 

This wasn't always so. I have been watching Marvin's career for years, practically from the time he began to train with weights. I have watched his arm grow . . . first 14", then 15, 16 and so on, until today, for his height and weight he owns one of the biggest muscular arms of all time. Only Alex Aronis with a muscular arm of close to 19" at about the same height and weight as Marvin, and Ed Theriault wo at 133 pounds and 5' 1.5" tall, has hit over 17" can compare in proportionate hugeness to Marvin's arm. 

Of course there are larger arms. Ross, Reeves, Grimek and Park have all taped bigger sizes, with Reg Park recently reporting a 19.2" measurement. All these men are bigger and heavier though, outweighing Marvin by 30 pounds or more in several instances.

Marvin's biceps were always good. When his arm measured 16" his biceps were full and round, rising in that high curve which indicates complete development. While they have probably grown to some extent in the last several years, the bulk of his new size rests in the triceps, and it is the training of his triceps that that article is about.

When Marvin first began his training, he, like most beginners, thought of the arms mainly in terms of the biceps muscle. It was that bump on the top of his arm that interested him mostly, and nearly all of his upper arm work was directed there. As brought out in a previous interview I had with Marvin, he still feels that this is satisfactory for the beginner, since many of the regular barbell exercises develop the triceps pretty well at the start, while the biceps does need special work at once to make it grow.

Therefore, Marvin feels that the average beginner should not specialize on his triceps for the first six months [i.e. do any "direct" triceps work], but after that time, the triceps should get even more work than the biceps for big arm gains. 

In his own case, Marvin admits it was nearly two years after he had begun his training before he paid special attention to his triceps. He wishes now that he had started earlier, for he feels that his arm would be even larger and more shapely, had he not waited so long before doing specialized triceps exercises. 

The reason he began doing special triceps exercises was due to the fact that his arm had hit 15", and he was stuck. He pumped up his biceps practically night and day, but couldn't budge beyond that measurement. At that time he discovered that he had unusual ability in the bench press, making 250 pounds in that exercise the first time he tried it. In an effort to increase not only his upper arm size, but his bench press power as well, he began to specialize on triceps moves. How well this has worked can be seen by his 430 pound bench press of today and his huge arms. Triceps exercises have done much to make him the great champion that he is.

Over the years, Marvin has made a thorough study of the triceps muscle, and some of his findings will be of interest to all bodybuilders. To begin with, contrary to popular belief, the triceps on the trained bodybuilder is not stronger than his biceps. A good example of this can be seen by comparing the amount of weight he can handle in the one arm standing triceps curl as compared to the one arm strict biceps curl. Most bodybuilders can do considerably more in the regular standing one arm strict curl than they can in the triceps curl. This is even more evident when two arms are used, as seen by comparing what you can use in a standing French press compared with a standing two arm strict curl. 

Only when the triceps work in conjunction with other muscles, such as in overhead press, dips, and so on, does it seem to be stronger. But in direct movements which are locally held to the biceps and triceps, seldom, if ever will the triceps be more capable.

While the above is true, Marvin contends that potentially, because it is a larger muscle, the triceps is actually stronger than the biceps. It will take a lot of concentrated work to bring this about, but if enough attention is paid to the triceps in time it will surpass the biceps in direct power. To prove this, Marvin points to the fact that presently he can perform one arm standing strict triceps curls with a 100 pound dumbbell, while only making about 105 pounds in the standing one arm strict dumbbell curl. In time he feels certain that he will triceps curl 120 pounds or so, while he is close to his peak in the regular curl already. 

In discussing bodybuilders of some years back, Marvin feels that most of them showed a distinct lack of complete triceps development. He explains this with the fact that years ago there were few direct triceps exercises generally practiced, the usual movements being one and two arm presses, both standing and lying, and dipping. Today, with more movements and so on, the arms of bodybuilders today are on a  whole superior to those of oldtimers. And much stronger! 

This is pretty evident when it is realized that a 17" muscular upper arm was considered phenomenal 10 years ago, with only a few genuine arms of that size to be seen, while today there are hundreds of bodybuilders with an arm that size or inches larger. Therefore, better triceps training knowledge has been responsible to a large extent for the big arms of today. Of course more modern biceps training methods have helped too, but more gains have been made in the triceps since this was the most neglected previously.

When I asked Marvin if he thought that bodybuilders like himself, Park, Paivio, Ross, Robert, Aronis and others of the greats represented the ultimate in triceps development his answer was a sound No. He feels that even today, bodybuilders perform comparatively more work for the biceps than they do for the triceps. He does not recommend any less for the biceps, but thinks that the triceps program of the bodybuilder should be stepped up even more, and then the arms will grow bigger and bigger and much more impressive. He is following this plan himself, certain that it will give him more power in the bench press, which is his favorite lift, and add more size to his arms. 

Following up this question with another which I am sure will interest the readers, I asked . . . Do you feel that some of our top bodybuilders have reached the maximum in BICEPS development? Marvin thought that this was likely, with Aronis, Wells, Counts, Zeller. Theriault and other big arm owners having come close to their maximum of biceps size. Further improvement in their arms will have to be in the triceps, since in his opinion their biceps just can't be improved on. 

I next wanted to know who Marvin felt possessed the best triceps in the world. He gives the nod to Floyd Page for the most finely shaped triceps, to Leo Robert for the most massively formed (at 175 pounds, Robert reports 18" arms at this time), and to Reg Park for most powerful appearing. Reg has just recently made 430 in the bench press and crated a new British Professional Two Arm Dumbbell Press record of 235 pounds, so it appears as though Marvin has judged his man very well. 

Marvin has of course been around a lot and seen many unusual feats of strength performed. I asked him what he felt was the most sensational act of triceps power he had ever seen. To him, the 44 consecutive handstand dips, performed by Santos Sanchez, featherweight lifting star, was the greatest feat of pure triceps power he had ever witnessed. However, the 170 pound one arm press of Doug Hepburn, performed in good military style, while not a pure triceps feat, does show how powerful the triceps can be when working with the shoulders and upper back. Both of these strength acts represent tremendous triceps brawn. 

I had now reached the point in my interview where I was ready to ask Marvin for the exercises he recommends for maximum triceps development. Following are a list of these exercises and a trial will show you how great they are. 

Marvin suggests you use them three times a week, placing them in your routine after your heavy chest and upper back work, right after you have concluded your biceps exercises. Marvin likes to do his bench pressing and other chest exercises first, then he goes to upper back and then the biceps, followed immediately by this triceps routine. This is a good way to train for it flushes up the upper body fully.

While Marvin doesn't recommend training more than three times a week as a regular plan, he does believe that every once in a while you can train more often. Therefore, if your triceps are very underdeveloped relative to the rest of your physique, to start them growing fast you could perform just these triceps exercises on in-between training days, taking three workouts a week with them alone, and three general workouts. This should not be continued for more than a month or six weeks at a time, but sometimes in stubborn cases it will work wonders over the total of several specialization periods such as this. Try them first as a part of your regular workout, though, and only use them on in-between days if you fail to make progress that way. Here are the exercises.

Exercise #1 - Seated One Arm Triceps Curl.

This exercise is performed by lowering a dumbbell behind the head and then extending the arm again. The upper arm stays close to the head at all times, with the full strain of the exercise being thrown on the triceps muscle. 3 sets of 10 reps each arm.

Exercise #2 - Triceps Pressdown.

Hold the bar of the lat machine at the chest, and then with no body motion the bar is pushed down to the thighs. The upper arms remain close to the sides at all times. 3 sets of 10.

Exercise #3 - One Arm Pulley Rear Extensions.

Facing the pulley and bent over, the arm is extended from the chest to the rear, forcefully contracting the triceps. 3 x 10 each arm.

Exercise #4 - Parallel Bar Dips.

3 x 10, using additional weight tied to the body as your strength increases. 

Exercise #5 - Seated Two Arm Dumbbell Triceps Press.   

One dumbbell is held in both hands, held on one end. The weight is lowered behind the head and then pressed up again. 3 x 10.

Exercise #6 - Close Grip Lying Triceps Curl.

Lie on a flat bench, barbell held with a very close grip. The upper arms remain in a fixed position and the weight is lowered and raised behind the head with triceps strength only. 3 sets of . . . wait for it . . . 10 reps! Of course, you realize rep recommendations are just that and no more. 

Exercise #7 - Triceps Bentover Contraction Movement.

Grasp a light barbell in the hands, holding it behind the back and standing upright. With triceps strength, move the weight as far to the rear and away from the body as possible, and then bend the body forward, continuing to raise the weight back and up until it is held behind the back, above the head, flexing the triceps strongly. Raise the body again gradually to upright position, lowering the weight while doing so. Sets of reps, eh. 

These seven exercises are the ones Marvin has used the most in his training. When specializing for more triceps development he uses them all in one workout. At other times when some other part of his body demands more attention he picks out 2 or 3 of them, just to hold the gains he has made and to keep his triceps in shape. 




Thursday, August 15, 2019

Working Weights vs Maximum Weights - Greg Zulak

Have you ever been in a gym and compared the way the typical beginner trains vs. the way a very advanced bodybuilder trains? 

The beginner's reps are, more often than not, ragged and irregular as he heaves and throws the weights around. Even though the beginner's weights are light, he moves them with great difficulty. 

The advanced man's reps - even though his weights are quite heavy relative to the beginner's - are smooth, fluid, and piston-like in their regularity. 

Right away you notice that the beginner (and many intermediates) seems to work beyond his means and loses control the the weights he lifts. On the other hand, the advanced bodybuilder always seems to work well within his means and he is able to maintain control of the weights and keep the feel of his working muscles. 

Hmm, what's going on here? 

Don't advanced men always try to lift as heavy as they can? 

Isn't it true that the heavier the weights you lift, the bigger your muscles will get? 

No. It's not true at all. 

This explains why Arnold Schwarzenegger used only 70-pound dumbbells for his curls when he was capable of handling 100's or more. Using these weights Arnold built the greatest biceps of all time, confounding the imitators who used 100-120 pound dumbbells but had half Arnold's development. This explains why Serge Nubret, who once bench pressed 500 pounds - with little pec development to show for it - reduced his bench press training weight down to 225 (sometimes for 20 sets of 20 reps!) built one of the greatest chests ever. Mr. Universe, Dave Draper, the Blond Bomber, could bench press over 450 for 6 but chose to use around 225 when training his chest. Danny Padilla, the Giant Killer, once benched 400 for 6, but again, when he benches for maximum pec development he keeps his weights down between 225 and 250 pounds. I could go on and on with other examples of top bodybuilders who choose training weights of 50-60% of their max weights but the list would run on for pages. 

What's going on here? Why did all these very advanced bodybuilders train with far less than they are capable of, and certainly certainly train well within their means poundage-wise when working for maximum muscle development?   

The answer is . . . the advanced men know there is a difference between trying to lift for maximum muscle development and training to lift maximum weights. In other words, they know the value - and the difference - between using a proper working weight (or training weight) and trying to lift a maximum heavy weight. 

What's the difference? 

A working weight is a weight that can be controlled and lifted in a strict fashion. It's a weight that allows for maximum muscle stimulation and contraction. A working weight allows the user to squeeze and tense his muscles throughout the full range of motion while keeping conscious mental contact with the mind. It's a weight that allows deep concentration and that can be controlled from the mind. You can concentrate on maintaining constant tension on the muscle, on feeling the muscle work as you train, and on consciously firing contraction impulses without letup at the muscles as you do the set. A working weight allows you to pump the muscle to the max while training it to exhaustion. 

A maximum weight is a weight so heavy that it cannot be controlled by the mind. A max weight can only be lifted for very low reps, in the 1 to 6 range. When using maximum weights the user loses the feel of the working muscle and it is impossible to concentrate on keeping constant tension on the muscle or firing contraction impulses. On the contrary, when using heavy maximum weights, the sole objective is to "get the weight up" and to overcome the resistance with as little conscious muscle tensing as possible. Max weights often invite poor form and cheating and actually decrease - not increase - muscle stimulation. 

Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus machines, often pointed out that for muscle building purposes the weight used is not the primary factor, as long as it is heavy enough to cause muscle fatigue and the set leads to, or close to muscular failure after a reasonable number of reps (at least 6 but up to 50 at times. In other words, your muscles cannot tell the difference between a 35 pound dumbbell and a 50 pound one, and by using your powers of concentration and various training techniques you can make a 35 pound dumbbell feel heavier than a 50 pound one. 

The advanced men know and understand this, which is why they understand the concept of working weights vs maximum weights. They know greater muscle stimulation - and muscle growth - is not solely dependent on lifting more and more weight in any style that defeats gravity, but on consciously tensing, squeezing and contracting their muscles as they train, on feeling the muscles work in slow continuous tension throughout the exercise movement, and on trying to continuously force their muscles to contract harder with the power of their mind.

It comes back to the style in which your lift your weights. Do you lift them as a bodybuilder - as hard as you can and to develop your muscles - or as a weightlifter, in an easier way that allows you to lift greater and greater poundages, with scant thought to muscle development, but directed at seeing how much weight you can get up? 

It's okay to lift weights as a weightlifter or powerlifter, as long as you understand what you are doing and why. If you only want to see how strong you can get, with muscle development secondary, fine. The trouble is, most beginning and intermediate bodybuilders train like weightlifters and powerlifters, expecting one day to look like a bodybuilder. And maybe it's not even their own fault. They've been told ever since they took up bodybuilding that in order to gain muscle it's necessary to lift heavy weights, and the heavier the weights they lift, the bigger they'll get. 

Not understanding that this advice meant lifting heavy weights in strict form for higher reps, they mistook this advice to mean lift heavier and heavier weights in any way and at any expense. The trouble is that many bodybuilders in their endeavors to boost training poundages as fast as possible (because, remember, they've been told that the heavier they lift, the bigger they'll get) make the mistake of cheating every set and relying on inertia and/or strictly poundage-based leverages in their workouts. A powerlifting squat is not a bodybuilding squat. A bench press used to develop the pecs is not a powerlifting bench press. A high pull is not an upright row. 

Then, after months - or maybe years - of this type of training they look in the mirror and are surprised, shocked and disappointed to see that, although they are stronger and can handle much more weight, their muscles look nothing like what they wanted . . . and they can't figure out why. 

All of this is not to say that heavy maximum weights don't have their place in bodybuilding, because obviously they do. At times they are very important, especially during the early stages when all bodybuilders should concentrate on the basic, compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, shrugs, bench presses, bent rows, overhead presses, close grip benches, and barbell curls. All beginners and intermediates should spend considerable time on the basic exercises and build a physical base, increasing their strength and development, strengthening their bones, tendons and ligaments and getting some basic conditioning before getting into more advanced training. 

If you can't even bench press or squat your bodyweight for 10 reps, you definitely need to work on your power, but once you've acquired a certain amount of strength and mass from heavy, basic training, and you want more muscle mass and less strength-lifting skills, it's time to back off on the weights and concentrate on correct form, higher reps, constant tension and maximum muscle stimulation and pumping. It's time to use proper working weights instead of max weights. 

This doesn't mean take it easy. Using proper working weights for high reps in constant tension style is a brutally hard way of training if done correctly. It takes guts and grit to grind out sets of reps with constant tension in the 12 to 25 range.

To train to combine both styles of training . . . 

pick one or two basic exercises per muscle group and do 3-5 sets of each, keeping the reps in the 3 to 6 range. Every couple of weeks you might want to pyramid down to a single max rep for added intensity. I suggest you do one light warmup set for 10-15 reps and then add enough weight so you have difficulty doing 7 or 8 reps. Rest two to three minutes and add weight to the bar for that third set. Make it heavy enough so that 6 reps is difficult. Again rest two to three minutes and add more weight to the bar. try to get 5 or 6 reps, whichever, but go to failure. Rest at least three minutes and add more weight to the bar. Go for 3 or 4 reps. Rest another three minutes and add still more weight, aiming at getting 3 reps again.That completes the work for the first exercise.

If you were planning on going on to a single max, you would do two more sets, aiming at 1 or 2 reps on the next set, followed by a max single on the last set. 

I suggest that for large muscle groups like pecs, back, and thighs, you do two exercises with max weights. For smaller muscles like biceps, triceps, calves, hamstrings, and deltoids, you do only one max exercise. For example, max exercises for chest might be bench presses and incline presses; for thighs squats and leg presses; for back bent rows and deadlifts; for biceps cheat barbell curls, for triceps close grip bench presses; and for delts overhead presses. 

After the heavy work do your light, high rep work. This is where working weights come into play. Remember, the emphasis when using a working weight is not power but muscle stimulation, muscle contraction and keeping the muscle under constant tension throughout the full range of motion. How heavy should training weights be, then? 

A working rule of thumb would be no more than 70% of your max weight, and most sets would be with approximately 60% of your max. By max I mean your max weight for one rep (which in many cases you might have to make a rough guess) and the working weight is done for sets of 12-15 reps, and sometimes higher. 

Actually, you would probably start with a warmup set of 40% of max, move on to a set of 50% of max, then 605, 65%, and finish off with a set of 70%. For example. let's say someone has a max bench press of 200 pounds. Here is how his sets should look:

Set 1 - 40% of 200 (80) x 20 reps
Set 2 - 50% (100) x 15 reps
Set 3 - 60% (120) x 12
Set 4 - 65% (130) x 12
Set 5 - 70% (140) x 10-12

You might be thinking those weights are too light. Too light? Not if you tense and squeeze and use every ounce of mental contraction to make the reps as hard as you can. You have to remember that on these working weight sets you control the intensity more from the mind. If you do the sets in the typical strength-training style the weights will be too light and you'll get no benefit. In this style perfect form, tensing and squeezing through every rep of each set, using full range of motion and applying constant tension and going for maximum muscle pump, burns and muscle contraction are what's called for. The weight has to be a bit light so you can control it and lift it in this manner. If you feel lifting lighter is embarrassing or wimpy, then you have an ego problem. The bottom line is - and always should be - RESULTS. 

You have to totally change your way of thinking, your mindset about what you are doing in the gym. You have to forget about sets and reps and about just ramming up heavy weights any way you can. You have to understand that you can work hard on lifting heavy weights, or work hard on building muscles, and the two require different ways of lifting and training. 

In fact, forget about even the idea of moving a weight up and down. When I train beginners and intermediates, I tell them to get totally away from the idea of just up and down. Instead I have them say the words stretch and contract, or stretch and squeeze

So if, for example, they are doing bench presses, as they lower the weight I have them say out loud the word "stretch" so they really focus their minds on getting the maximum amount of feel, of stretch into the movement, instead of just thinking about lowering the weight down so they can push it up. As they start to move the bar upward I have them say the word "squeeze" so they focus their minds on squeezing their chest muscles hard to get a good contraction. This way they forget about how many reps they plan to do and instead focus on working their chest muscles . . . which is . . . after all . . . what they are doing during a chest workout.

I also have them utilize some John Parillo concepts like pulling with the antagonistic muscle to keep more tension on the agonist. 

For example, on barbell curls they are instructed to squeeze their muscles hard as they curl the weight up and as they start to lower the weight I tell them to pull the weight down with the triceps and get a good stretch. So again it's "squeeze" and "stretch" - bringing the triceps into play in a barbell curl. Think of ways to implement this idea on other exercises as well. But every exercise, it's always squeeze and stretch. 

If you feel you have been working hard in the gym but your muscles aren't growing as fast as you think they should, take a good look at how your are training. 

Are you lifting weights . . . 
or stimulating your muscles? 

Do you think more about getting a weight up and doing a certain number of reps, 
or do you concentrate on feeling your muscle work,
trying to keep constant tension on them and
making your muscles work as hard as they can
for maximum stimulation.

Maybe you've been doing more weightlifting than bodybuilding! 

Try the concept of working weights and see if you con't get a better burn and pump than ever before, see if you don't grow faster than ever before.     

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Specializing on Stubborn Muscles - John Grimek (1959)

Specialization is a system of training which is usually employed when the muscles refuse to respond to ordinary training methods and require more thorough concentration to stimulate them. Specialization is often the answer and may be the only system of training that will induce additional growth when other methods fail. 

It is a system of training whereby intense physical emphasis is placed on certain slow reacting muscles with the purpose of jolting them out of their lethargic state and thus encourage great size. 

However, before anyone undertakes this type of training he should first thoroughly exploit the regular system of training and give it a chance to prove its worth. Moreover, a complete conditioning system for several months will prepare the muscles for the vigorous work that is necessary in specialization.

So often a novice, one who has been training only a few weeks, decides that he needs specialized training to hasten the results that he wants. Under the circumstances it would be unwise for any novice, who lacks sufficient training experience, to plunge into specialized exercise on the basis that his "immature muscles" may not be able to cope with the rigors of such training and in the long run, he is apt to do himself more harm than good. 

For that matter, no one should attempt to specialize until he has thoroughly conditioned his muscles and is satisfied with that nothing less than specialization will work for him. Then and only then should specialization be attempted. 

Frequently in the past some writers have stressed the point that specialization is the only method whereby muscles can be fully developed. While this is true up to a point, there are many other training principles that are equally effective and have brought excellent results to those who have employed them. Only when other methods fail to bring the desired results should the specialization principle be tried as a means of inducing growth in stubborn muscles. 

Muscle obstinacy develops because the muscles grow tougher from daily use and require concentrated effort that will jar them into responding. Another thing we must consider is that certain muscles have greater density and need harder work to break them down. Specialization under these conditions is often successful and usually overcomes any muscle stubbornness that stems from dense, tough tissue.

Specialized training holds many advantages for the veteran bodybuilder who knows how to employ this old but useful principle. But I repeat, the novice who doesn't have enough training experience has little or nothing to gain by employing this method. He is likely to overwork his muscles without realizing it and, instead of his muscles increasing in size, they are apt to get smaller, something that could discourage even the most enthusiastic bodybuilder. But most beginners, as a rule, do not have any trouble making physical gains when they first commence training. There may be a few who experience some difficulty at first but they usually overcome this by adhering to sensible training principles and eventually show the fruits of their efforts. Much of this depends on what kind of physical condition they're in before they started weight training. The majority who start exercising are rather weak and somewhat flabby so that any kind of systematic training proves beneficial. The seasoned bodybuilder, on the other hand, has over the years acquired tougher tissue that only a varied and well-planned training program combined with intense concentration can further stimulate into increased muscular size. Specialization, under these circumstances, is ideal and is sure to result in added improvement . . . but only when this training principle is correctly employed. 

It is obvious by the above statement that there is a right and wrong way of employing the specialization principle for best results. Most experienced men will agree there is. And this proves why so many fellows who have tried some kind of specialized training failed to achieve their goal. Once can well imagine how frustrating it is to any fellow who aspires to attain a certain physical goal only to find it escapes him in spite of all his efforts. And, it's mighty discouraging to all those who struggle and sweat over a long period of time and still find their muscles refuse to respond to any kind of exercise or system they try. No wonder such fellows are willing, in desperation, to try any training system just so they can get out of the rut and develop bigger muscles at any cost. But in such cases one is tempted to ask: 

Hasn't the aim been set a little too high by this fellow? 

So many fellows of only average bone structure seek to obtain heavy, massive development which is beyond their potential no matter which system of training they follow. They could, of course, overbulk or get fat but this kind of massiveness is not generally attractive . . . so why cultivate it? 

Most fellows in their zealous desire to increase their muscular size have overworked their muscles while specializing. This is a mistake. 

One should never overtrain except when there is an overweight condition, and even then it shouldn't be done too often. Overworking creates greater physical fatigue and any fatigue seems to lessen the process of reconstruction. While specialized training demands vigorous training it does not imply overworking the muscles. Overtraining can deplete nervous force and may cause one to lose the desire to continue training through enervation and fatigue.

As a matter of fact, all of us should exercise our muscles thoroughly without overworking them. In all concentrated training, which is specialization, more blood is forced toward the center of activity (the muscles being exercised) and, for best results, enough rest must follow this activity if reconstruction and increased size are to be expected. During this time the blood circulates in larger volume throughout the stimulated area and reconstruction or building up of the muscles begins through the nutrients that are in the blood. 

However, when this tearing down process (catabolism) is overdone, beyond the point of fast recovery, reconstruction of tissue is much slower because the vast amounts of acids within the tissue slows up the rebuilding process. 

So one must be sure to exercise the muscles well, but it is not necessary to overwork them. 

All this is sure to bring up the question of which is the correct way of specializing and how can it be used to advantage. 

First, anyone who has been training for several months will certainly realize that not everyone responds identically to the same system. After one gets some training experience he begins to show preference for certain training methods which he reels are best for him. 

So many fellows, when they first start to specialize, add only three to five extra exercises to their regular training and succeed in increasing their muscular girths without training too hard. They found that these few extra exercises were just what the muscles needed to make them grow and get stronger. 

On the other hand, there are those who spend almost all their training in doing only specialized work, and this usually includes more exercises, additional sets and even higher repetitions. Truly, the amount of work these fellows do during a workout is far to much for the average trainee who undertakes to specialize. Yet these fellows seem to thrive on this type of training schedule and show amazing improvement. 

So this only proves that everyone must determine just what degree of specialization his muscles require to respond effectively and, once this is evaluated, better results can be expected when the proper amount of exercise is done. 

It is generally conceded that whenever any specialization is needed it is usually in certain areas that have not kept up in development with the other parts. The most effective results are realized when an all-round training program is followed and then specialization is included at the end of the workout for the parts that require this special attention. This type of an approach is certain to overcome even the most stubborn muscles because they are partially stimulated during the course of the regular training and it requires less effort to flush them. 

However, as I mentioned previously, not all individuals respond alike no matter which system of training is employed. One must determine for himself which manner of training he finds most effective and then continue it. 

So much for specialization that is required in certain areas. But what about the specialization needed when most of the body requires improvement, how should this be tackled? 

In this type of specialization there are two choices. One is to select two or more parts of the body to be exercised and specialized training is confined only to those parts on that training day. On the next training day other areas are exercised. One continues in this way until all the muscles have been covered, which may take three or four days. 

The other choice is to use what is known as the Split Routine, in which specialization is concentrated on the upper body for one training session, and the lower half of the body on the following day. In this plan it is best to exercise on two consecutive days, for example: Monday upper body, Tuesday lower area. Wednesday rest, Thursday upper body, Friday lower half. On Saturday you should either rest completely or you can do a few exercises for those parts that appear a little slow in responding. Or you can rest completely on Saturday and do the few exercises on Sunday. 

Do what you feel is best for you. But bear in mind that you must take a good workout on Monday and should not do so much as to tire you. On Monday you continue your specializing as you've done the previous week, but you can include different exercises or alter your repetition scheme if you like.

Speaking of different ways to include specialized training, I included a rather different method in my training at the time I was preparing for the Mr. USA contest. The purpose of this specialization was not to give any particular part special attention, but primarily to keep my muscularity at its peak. At the time I weighed slightly more than usual and knew that extra bodyweight could smooth out my muscularity unless I trained hard. I hit upon this plan of specialization because I felt it would offer me advantages . . . and did I think.

Here's how I included this specialized training. 

After my regular workout I would select one part of the body and specialize on it until I felt it was enough. The next training period I would include another area and continued in this way until all the various parts of the body were covered, then starting over again. This type of specialization kept my measurements big and my muscularity sharp, much more than I expected. 

However, it must be remembered that I was accustomed to hard and heavy training and could train very vigorously and still improve in spite of it. 

But others may find this system too depleting and would not find it suitable in their own case. 

So it's obvious that some logical reasoning must be done to determine the proper amount of exercise that will bring results. 

There are any number of ways in which specialization training can be employed by the experienced enthusiast to advantage if he uses a little common sense in his approach. 

What's more, it isn't necessary to exercise too strenuously or beyond your faculty of quick recovery. 

In fact, it is always better to work within the limits of your strength and recuperative ability instead of overworking your muscles. Overworking, as mentioned before, tends to encourage physical fatigue and discouragement especially if the muscles fail to respond in spite of the effort you expend. At such times you'll find yourself forcing every repetition, and training in this way is certainly no pleasure. Sooner or later you're bound to get disgusted and give up. 

This article, then, is meant to help those who have this problem, that of overcoming obstinate muscles. This condition can be corrected when proper training methods are adopted, such as advocated within these pages and as is outlined here. 

There isn't any doubt that if you tackle the problem right you won't have any trouble in overcoming it. Be prepared to meet it through the methods described here . . . those of specialized training.                
Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed.

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