Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Big Chest Book - Chapter Nine

How To Develop The Chest

In my capacity as editor-in-chief of Strength and Health magazine a great many articles concerning the chest are brought to my attention. Many of these advocates of lung culture profess to believe that the development of the lungs is the only way in which a man can hope to become strong, and that practicing inhaling a much air as possible is the only way to enlarge the size of the lungs and ultimately the rib box. With these methods a great many men and boys have attained the ability to inhale from 350 to 400 cubic inches of air and to expand their chests from two to five inches by this internal pressure.

Upon being put to a series of tests the abnormal lung capacity they had developed did not help them in any physical tests. In running a brisk quarter mile it did not prevent them from becoming completely winded and it did not aid them to life more weight than the average untrained man, who had not spent so much time at expanding his chest. Undoubtedly the practice of constant deep breathing had made them feel better, had given them clearer heads and purer blood, but it had not built power in the muscles, of wind and endurance, as could be proven by running or swimming for distance.

Many well-known athletes who are stars at their chosen sport were unable to come within a hundred pounds in cubic inch lung capacity of these specialists in deep breathing, but they could lift, run, row or swim for considerable distances. They possessed an effectiveness in performing their normal duty of purifying the blood under enforced pressure which was not possessed by the men who had built increased lung capacity simply through enforced breathing.

This is in line with the fact I offered in a previous chapter that the strongest men have very little actual chest expansion. They do have large-sized, efficient lungs and powerful heart action – ready, able and willing to perform any task asked of them. Their chests are so near perfection that they are normally held at near their limit of expansion. The chest expansion some tell us about is the result of the ability to greatly expand the muscles which are placed upon the outside of the chest. Muscle control results in much of the phenomenal chest expansion about which we hear. As you can determine by trying it for a moment, it is possible to lift the chest, distend the ribs and pull the diaphragm upwards without inhaling, and a man can also take a really tremendous breath by depressing the diaphragm and without distending the ribs appreciably.

With these thoughts in mind, it would be natural for the uninitiated young man to wonder just what he can do to build his chest. I have mentioned several times that breathing alone, such as by standing in front of an open window in the morning, so favored by physical trainers of another and older day which is unaccompanied by exercise, has not proven itself to be of much value as a chest developer. When the lungs are not forced to work at an increased tempo as the result of vigorous physical exercise at a rate well above normal, they cannot be expected to increase in power or endurance.

There are two ways to develop the chest: the first, the size of the rib box, the direct result of exercises heavy enough to cause enforced breathing; and the second, the development of the muscles of the chest. Of these the muscles of the upper back will provide the greatest gain in chest measurement. It’s surprising how few bodybuilders even consider the muscles of the upper back or the sides when they are striving for increased chest girth. It they think of the muscles at all in relation to greater chest size they think only of the chest, or breast muscles which are scientifically termed pectorals. They spend a large part of their time developing these muscles, but very little of their time or effort in developing the much larger muscles of the upper back.

Here we have the same condition that is experienced in arm development, as explained in another of my books, “Big Arms.” Most men and boys think of just one muscle of the body – that is, the biceps of the arm. The biceps is only about 1/100 of the muscular bulk or the body, yet this muscle receives more attention than any other. The triceps or muscles of the back of the arm are more than twice as large as the biceps, and there are other deep-lying muscles of the arm upon which the ultimate size depends. These seldom seen muscles – the brachialis anticus and the coracobrachialis – account for a large part of the bulk of the well-developed arm. To attain the maximum of arm size and strength it is necessary to develop all of these muscles to the fullest extent, yet so many stand in front of the mirror constantly trying to improve their biceps. And with the chest, the easiest-to-see muscles – the pectorals – receive a lion’s share of the training time. In the chapter which follows this one I’ll offer specific instructions for developing the muscles of the upper back, which will result in the greatest possible increase in chest girth.

It’s really surprising that most body culturists think of the chest as only the front part of the body between the armpits. They thus confuse the breast with the chest, while the chest is so much more than just the breast, as it comprises the whole of the torso or trunk of the body from the lowest of floating ribs to well up under the armpits and the clavicles or collarbones. The chest, in other words, is the entire part of the body which is adjacent to the rib box.

In spite of the fact that so many men believe that the chest is just the upper and front part of the body, nevertheless when measuring the chest they pass the tape entirely around them, including within it the sides and back as well as the front of breast. While the measurement they obtain includes the actual size of the rib box, it is greatly amplified by the muscles on the outside of the ribs.

For some reason the usual bodybuilder gives little or no thought to the fact that the muscles of the upper back are included in his chest measurements and that increasing the strength and depth of these muscles will greatly increase the entire chest girth. The accepted method of measuring the chest is to pass the tape entirely around the body with the tape passing across the nipples and around the body under the armpits. Care should be exercised to see that the tape is not held in a slanting position for it is the slanting of the tape which accounts for a good share of the phenomenal measurement of some strength stars.

As the muscles of the upper back are so much larger than those of the front of the chest, being easily twice as large and as deep as the muscles usually termed the chest muscles, when these huge and powerful muscles are developed to an extent that they become an inch thicker, they account for a full three inches in increased chest girth, according to the geometrical rule that the circumference of a circle is 3 1/7 times the diameter.

Lest you come to the conclusion that your primary training object should be the development of the muscles on the outside of the chest, I want to repeat that increased size of the rib box, with more room of living space for the heart, lungs and other organs, is the most-desired end to strive for. And it’s so much easier to obtain a really impressive chest like the greats of the past – Hackenschmidt, Sandow,
Arthur Saxon, Louis Cyr, Joe and Adolph Nordquist, Rigoulot or the modern men who are famed for their chest development – Grimek, Stanko, Deutch, Stepenek, Podolak, Peters, Thaler and many others – if you do not first of all have a big rib box to pack the muscles upon.

We must never lose sight of the fact that the chest and lungs are actually the storehouses of your physical power. Plenty of room for the lungs requires a big rib box, and as we have been constantly stating, big lungs are of tremendous value to any strong man, or to any man for that matter. Big, efficiently-operating lungs enable their owner to continue at intensive work for many minutes, exertion so great that it would exhaust the ordinary individual in a few seconds. This ability may not only come in very handy but be a means of saving one’s life under adverse circumstances. I think of one case contained in a story or three fellows who took a vacation in the north woods as spring was approaching. One young man experienced a mishap – broke through the ice – and was carried by the swift current well under the solid ice. There he lay for several minutes, first looking through the ice to see his companions trying to cut through the space between him and safety – a good foot of thick hard ice. He finally lapsed into unconsciousness but it was possible for one of his companions, Tommy Pedder, former United States junior national weight lifting champion, hailing from Bellville, Ontario, to swim under the ice and save him. The first man would have died without great lung capacity and strength, the result of bar bell training. Tommy could not have rescued him if he had not had such great lung strength that he could remain for over a minute under the ice bringing out his friend.

Although in the subsequent chapters I am going to launch out in describing the means of developing the muscles on the outside of the rib box, front, back and sides, I don’t want you to lose track of what other chapters have contained and to remember that your first aim should be to develop the size of the rib box. And the chief exercises which develop the size of the rib box will not be those which develop the muscles of the upper body. Rather heavy leg and back exercise, coupled with deep breathing, will result in the desired gains in rib box size. Whether you are striving to greatly increase your strength and development, or whether you are just one of the keep-fit enthusiasts, I want to earnestly recommend that you include in your training program many of the exercises which build the chest inside and out.

The practice of these movements for a few months will result in a gain of several inches in your chest girth. It is quite ordinary to gain an inch a month for four of five months, for there are many who have gained as much as three or four inches in a single month’ time by the practice of exercises this book contains. And when the rib box grows, you grow all over. There is more space to pack on the muscles of the chest and back, which add to the body weight and the strength; when the rib box is bigger the shoulders will keep pace with it and adjust themselves so that they too will be bigger; but best of all you will find that you feel much better and have far greater endurance with the increased chest size. If you were to practice no additional arm exercises, using the arms little more than as connection links to hold the weights employed in each exercise – as they are a part of the whole of your body – they increase in size too as your chest grows. Naturally your legs will have grown for they provide much of the effort in the best chest-enlarging exercises.

Some men take up the practice of progressive training with apparatus such as bar bells, dumbells or cables and gain at a phenomenal rate. Invariably these men will possess better-than-average depth of chest to begin. Their organs are in such a position at the beginning that they can do their work well and splendid gains are registered. If the beginner has a smaller chest he will not make real gains until his training efforts have resulted in gains of chest size and capacity, so that his internal organs can grow and be in a better position to perform their normal functions. It is so much easier for the man, young or old, who has good chest size, to pack muscles on his body or limbs and thus gain in weight, strength and size.

The young man who starts out using only dumbells or cables for the upper body will find it quite easy to build muscles on the chest, sides and back, and thus improve his appearance, and while this increased muscular growth will greatly add to the appearance, this man will not be as strong, or as superhealthy, as the man who employs his dumbells and cables so that the big muscles of the legs and back are constantly brought into play, or better still adds a bar bell to his training equipment so that he can make the most of himself physically.

When a man strives not only for muscle building, but most of all for increased rib box size, then things really happen in a physical way. As you will read in the anatomical chapters, the ribs are flexible enough, and so connected to the breast and backbone with cartilages, that they can increase in size even after the age of maturity; remember my own gain of sixteen inches in chest size more than twenty-five years after I reached my present height. And so many others have had similar experiences. A never-ending number of success letters attest to the fact that rib box size can be increased at the age of twenty-five, thirty-five, forty-five or even more. And when the rib box increases in size, we’ll say as much as five to eight inches, there will be changes in the adjustment of the other bones. The shoulder blades in some mysterious manner will become set much farther apart, and this great widening of the upper back is not only nice to look at but gives a much greater surface to develop muscles; and of course the muscles add so greatly to the strength. Starting with a very slender physique, it’s most encouraging to see how my own shoulders have widened, and particularly the upper back, about which I will write in the next chapter, has increased.

When the rib box has enlarged and the shoulder blades or scapula have become set farther apart, there is an improvement in leverage, which greatly adds to the power in the upper body. Another statement about my own physical self (kindly pardon so many references to myself, but it seems to me that they are of importance; for when the author of a book using the methods he offers you has obtained the results you want, it’s the best proof that he offers you proven methods, don’t you think? And lest you think that he might be the exception rather than the rule it is necessary for me to offer you many other concrete examples also) – my shoulders and relative length of arm bones was such that I had a just claim to the not very proud title, “World’s Worst Presser.” Narrow shoulders, short upper arm and long lower arm gave me an almost impossible-to-overcome handicap that caused me to be such a poor two hands presser that I am the only man in the world to my knowledge who two hands clean and jerked double or more than he could press. Six years ago I pressed 145 and clean and jerked 295. Constant training throughout the years strengthened my body and bettered my physique, broadened my shoulders and set the back muscles farther apart so that I pressed 190 pounds in perfect style, and in almost perfect style 200. Not so much for a big fellow like myself but very encouraging for a man who trained for an entire year before he could press 115 pounds.

Most weight lifters believe that unfavorable leverage in the two hands press also results in poor leverage in the one hand press commonly known as the bent press method. Yet in this style I have been able to continuously improve until my present best of 275 is a modern world’s record. Certainly the enlarging of my own chest, the result of the exercises which I am offering with this book, and the adjustments which resulted in much wider shoulders and finally greater strength through more favorable leverage, have resulted in these gains in strength and pressing ability.

It has been my observation, and I am sure that others of experience will agree with me, that a wide-shouldered man with only an average development is stronger than a man with more development and narrower shoulders. Throughout my career I found this to be true to my constant sorrow. It was discouraging to have a sixteen-inch arm years ago and to find men with arms two inches smaller who were stronger than I due to their more favorable leverage. All any of us can do is to make the most of our natural advantages or disadvantages. I did the best I could with mine and would have accomplished much more if I had had more favorable physical features to begin with.

Part of the gain in strength which results from increased chest size is the extra lung capacity, the bigger storehouses of power possessed by the bigger-chested man and part of it is the more favorable leverage which results from the adjustment of other parts caused by this growth of chest. As I go on with the chapters on muscle building, I will include some exercises for the arms and the shoulders which aid in developing the muscles of the chest. This may seem odd at first thought, but not when it is remembered that the deltoids or muscles of the shoulders are involved in all pectoral and most upper back movements. In the majority of big-chested men, the muscles of the shoulders are very well developed and quite strong. From this you can understand that in order to develop the size of the rib box and the muscles which enclose it, exercises which include the deltoids in their action must be a part of the training program.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Leg Specialization - Louis Abele

Milo Steinborn

Clancy Ross

Louis Abele’s Leg Specialization At Age Seventeen

Squat – 340 x 20
One legged dip – 215 x 15 each leg
Barbell leg press – 400 x 20
Step on stool – 180 x 20 each leg
Calf exercise – 25 reps
Barbell leg press – 400 x 20
Squat, holding weight in jerking position – 260 x 10

Two months before my eighteenth birthday I practiced the lifts and while still seventeen I accomplished the following lifts before reliable witnesses:

Press – 230
Snatch – 245
Clean and jerk – 300
I have also squatted (full) 12 reps with 380 pounds and bent pressed 220.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Training Essentials - Mark Berry

A Talk On Training Essentials
by Mark H. Berry (1936)

It should be opportune that we discuss the question of matters that might be looked upon as essentials in the training routine of those who are ambitious to excel in the physical sense of either muscular improvement of in the furtherance or their ability at lifting.

So far as concerns the average reader of these pages, I should presume him to primarily interest in the attainment of some degree of physique shapeliness; in other words, the realization of physical perfection within the limits of his inherited potentialities. A fair percentage of our readers should be included among those who have he supreme desire to reach their goals in competitive lifting and the setting of records in the hoisting of weights.

I believe myself justified in claiming some credit for the dissemination, during the past few years, of correct information relative to the sport of weight lifting; it would appear that my articles and books have had at least some small measure of the job of imparting knowledge as to the most approved methods of lifting. Our widespread publication of lifting photos, showing low squats and wide splits must have had something to do with the advancement this sport has made in
America during the past thee years. As to what might constitute lifting essentials will be dealt with further, later on in this treatise. For the moment, let us confine ourselves to the consideration of the question as it affects those who are primarily interested in improving their possession of muscular symmetry.

The prime essential is, of course, that the enthusiast put forth some effort, or in other words, that he adopt some means of exercise. That he must follow out such system with religious regularity is hardly to be doubted. It would certainly prove a waste of time to attempt the improvement of one’s physical condition and at the same time to allow other activities to interfere with the consistency of the practice. However, I should be inclined to guess that there are literally hundreds who regularly undertake bar bell exercises who do not persist for longer than a few weeks; that anyone should anticipate satisfactory results under such circumstances is entirely beyond my comprehension. But, you will find that a tremendously large percentage of the world’s population acts in like manner; they simply lack persistency to follow any one thing to its conclusion. A friend of mine avers his belief that many persons are simply incapable of doing differently, that they lack the mental qualities and capacity to so what might be termed the right thing. Here you have one of the very best explanations as to why a large proportion of people are failures in life. So, all I can say is that if you belong in any such category and find it impossible to buckle down to one thing long enough to accomplish that which you have in mind – it is just too bad, and we shall have to consider your case hopeless.

Perhaps you are about to conclude that this amounts to something like a pep talk or is intended for the purpose of firing your ambitions, but it is not. What I am getting at is this: it may be suggested for your benefit that a certain procedure be adhered to in order that a definite objective may be reached; in which case, it is intended that you follow such advice explicitly and not to suit yourself as to whether or not you should play games, and indulge in a number of other activities on the side. There is only one plan of procedure that leads to success and that is through specialization. If you would excel in any line, the one and only plan for you to follow is that of concentrating your attentions upon that one thing. The “Jack of All Trades” becomes the master of none, to borrow from an old saying, the wisdom which has never been disproven; and, it is always thus, regardless as to whether your pursuit be mental or physical.

My conviction relative to the satisfactory development of anyone is that an all around routine should be employed for quite some length of time; then, depending upon the manner in which the pupil reacts to the work, the course may be changed to suit the individual requirements.

Even if you have in mind the improvement of no other part of the body but the arms, it is best that you provide the same type of exercise for the entire body in the initial stage; likewise, if the arms seem to be well developed and you desire to build up the legs, it would be proper that the arms be given a fair share of work. I am a believer in the harmonious development of the entire body, and one can hardly be sure of bringing about a proportionate affect upon all the muscles unless the exercises be so directed. Many a fellow has increased his arms through working hard for the improvement of the legs with consequent effect upon the chest, shoulders and arms.

You have only to reason that the limits of your arm development may be ascertained through a study of the size and shape of the upper body in general, and so if we are able to expand the chest and increase the size of the torso through the practice of vigorous leg work, there is every reason to expect that the size of the arms may then be increased; in fact, it is far more than a pretty theory, and has been proven practical time and again.

When an increase in bodyweight is the thought uppermost in mind, various definite plans may be employed once the preliminary stage has been passed; reference is made to the necessity of using the all around routine for the first few months or so or your exercise experience. The deep knee bend had been found most valuable as one of the training methods; nothing less than twenty repetitions should be employed, and many pupils have found it advisable to plug at forty, fifty, and even more; it is chiefly a matter of becoming accustomed to the exertions, plus the manner in which the individual reacts to the efforts; it is also wise to force oneself to a certain extent in respect to the amount of weight used. We cannot forget the limitations of the individual in this respect, as what may be regarded as exceptionally hard work may be easy work for another, irrespective of the size of the person. Age, unquestionably has a lot to do with it and the fellow in his ‘teens or early twenties should have the edge on those who are older when repetitions are to be considered.

As many of my readers are aware, I have in the past recommended refraining from the practice of abdominal exercise when it is desired to add to the bodyweight; the one point in this connection on which it is preferred there should no misunderstanding is that such advice is intended solely for those who wish to increase the bodyweight above all else and want to follow the most certain and short-cut way to the attainment of such objective. Let there be no misunderstanding relative to the culturist who is out after the perfectly developed physique or the thorough prominence of all muscles of the body. If you should be satisfied with your degree of bulk or feel that the bodyweight you have in mind is well within your reach there should be no reason to neglect the abdominals. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that a great many ambitious culturists will become imbued with the thought that prominence of the abdominals is imperative and that the health will be adversely affected unless such exercises be practiced; all in spite of the fact that they may be underweight of at least not very much above the so-called normal for one of their age and height. Therefore my admonition to refrain from exercises affecting that part of the body, until the pupil reaches the state of development where he will be justified in feeling that the general standard of muscularity is suitable to the cultivation of the abdominals. The muscles of the abdominal region are neither so difficult to improve or to preserve once their development has been brought up to a fair standard. In this respect you may accomplish much within a short space of time, so it is just as well that improvement of that area be delayed.

In the building of an architectural structure, the foundation must be taken care of first, and similarly, in the improvement of the body it will be wise to start from the bottom; this does not mean that you first begin the practice of exercises affecting the lower legs and then move up to the neck, last of all; as before stated, the wisest course is that of providing an all around program for all parts of the body; what I do have in mind, though, is to progress as fast as possible on the leg work and acquire as well developed a pair of legs as you are able; by advancing to a high standard of combined poundage and repetitions you will also succeed in the proper expansion of the chest and in this way have a suitable foundation of the torso for the complete development of the shoulders and arms.

The question of suitable repetitions is one that perplexes all, novice and expert alike, and a great deal of experimenting may be required in order to arrive at the correct answer for any individual case. Various, and widely differing plans have been used, and as will be found true, with perhaps an equal degree of success so far as pertains to individual cases. The oldest and most popular plan, in all probability, has been that of working from but three to six up to ten or twelve counts in each month on arm and shoulder movements, and to perhaps double the number on the leg and back work. Another popular plan has been that of working form but three to six within each month; on each of these plans it is of course understood that resistance would be added at the end of every four of five weeks and the lower repetitions again commenced.

More recently, a number of us have become convinced of the efficacy of the flat repetition plan, adopting a certain number of counts and sticking to it; another innovation has been adopted in conjunction with the same, this pertaining to the addition of poundage to the bells as the strength will permit. I should be inclined to suggest that for the beginner either of two plans might be undertaken, either the flat rate fight from the onset, or to work on the scheme of five to ten for the first few months, and later on changing over to the flat rate idea. I also consider it wise for the more experienced culturist to adopt the progressive system when he reaches that bug-bear of all weight enthusiasts – the sticking point, from which it appears almost impossible to make any headway. If you find that progress on poundage seems practically out of the question, try working up to a higher number of counts, even though you find it necessary to reduce the present poundage to some extent, and then from this point try to stay with the higher counts until it becomes possible to add to the weight; sooner or later, you’ll be enabled to progress on poundage and through dropping down on repetitions be capable of continuing the progress.

He who had in mind the strengthening of his muscles moreso than any increase in muscular size may find it to his advantage to follow out a different plan than would, in the average case, tend to increase growth. Here, it is to be understood, the principle consists of acquiring greater contractile power of the muscles plus a toughening of the structure of the ligaments and tendons; contractile power of the muscles is partly chemical in nature, and it is likewise dependent, to a great extent, upon habit, which is something that may appear to possess little in the way of being actual or concrete. Habit is something, however, that is acquired through practice, and results from a coordination of the nerve and muscular forces; as you may be aware, there are certain nerve centers which have to do with subconscious and more of less involuntary actions; these have control of such movements as we may learn to perform through habit. Thus, an accustomed movement becomes easier to perform than one with which we are totally unfamiliar. Nevertheless, and without attempting to become technical, the fact remains that contractile power is not wholly dependent upon the size and shape of the muscles. As before hinted, as well, the connective tissues and principally the ligaments and tendons must become used to withstanding strain.

Taking all the foregoing into consideration, we find that the muscles may be strengthened in this respect through the practice of minimum repetitions while employing an amount of resistance requiring considerable effort. Actual lifting will accomplish this purpose to a great degree, and to a certain extent the average fellow might do better to depend upon the developmental type of exercise rather than actual lifts, but in using few, rather than many, repetitions. There are various plans that may be adopted to advantage in this respect.

One plan would be to simply perform the movements a few times and let it go at that; perhaps employing a wide variety of exercises in order to provide sufficient quantity as well as quality. A different plan would consist of repeating the exercises from two to several times at a few repetitions each time; for instance, let us say that on the curl you took a weight that you could handle about three counts they you would repeat that two or more times; moving on to the press and other movements in the same fashion. Here again, there is opportunity for variety, for you may go through a complete or partial routine as suits your purpose, and then work through it one or more times again. Much, of course, depends upon the experience, the condition, and the will of the culturists. Above all, make certain that you are getting results from the program you are following; if not, be certain to consult your instructor and arrange for some change. On the other hand, just as long as you feel that progress is being made, there can be no sound reason for alteration unless it be proven to you that something else may accomplish more.

In relation to improvement at lifting, it is every bit as essential that you chart a definite course and it is even of greater importance that you adhere to a specialized program. One can never reach his true lifting possibilities without concentrating upon that one game alone; if you choose to fool around at other things you may be sure that you are only succeeding in cheating yourself to that extent.

Moreover, it is of the utmost importance that you do little in the way of pure developmental repetition work if the mastery of lifting technique is your objective. Much, of course, depends upon the abilities and the condition of the man, as well as his natural constitution; one man may stand an amount of work that would undermine the resistance of another.

One of the more important points you must determine is how often you can stand to test your strength; in the case of the average man, about every week or perhaps fortnight is sufficient and there are some fellows who can hope to push themselves to the limit no more frequently than once in a month; I recognize that many lifters insist on forcing themselves to the limit almost daily, and while I am willing to concede that some of them may be able to keep it up for a length of time you may be certain that sooner or later they will reach the time when such procedure must cease. You will learn through experience that the best way to accomplish most in lifting is to practice for form more than anything else and to push yourself to the limit of your powers only now and then. If you alternate your training periods with lifting and the deep knee bend exercise, also including the dead lift, either in regular or stiff-legged style, sufficient strenuous exercise will be provided; that is, say that about once a week you devoted the training period to deep knee bends and deadlifts (solely in the form of exercise and not as limit lifts) with the addition on those days of some snappy exercise for the improvement of your speed, flexibility and agility, then you would have a well rounded program by lifting twice a week. Make the lifting practice consist of repetitions with something well within your limit so that your form may be perfected; take a stiff workout on limit trials about once in two weeks, or say that once a week you would try yourself on a couple of the lifts.

The foregoing offers some hints as to what might constitute the essentials in your training, and it is to be understood that no one plan can be accepted as of the utmost value to everyone. You can read between the lines so far as concerns your own problems.

The Big Chest Book - Chapter Eight

John Grimek

Strengthening The Heart

Anything that affects the heart-beat will have a similar effect on the respiration. And in this connection we also must remember that anything which affects the breathing also affects the heart as these two organs are partners from the day of your birth until the day of your death. Their operation synchronizes perfectly. When you make demands upon the outer muscles through any form of physical endeavor, particularly of a vigorous nature, there is immediately more carbon dioxide and a greater need for oxygen. The lungs start to fill this demand through increased respiration and the heart keeps pace to make the change which is its work – impregnating the blood with more oxygen and extracting the carbon dioxide, then transporting it through the blood to the place where it is needed.

All authorities agree that the heart is a muscle, and it is a well-known fact that muscles strengthen and improve in their action with use. The body has the faculty to repair itself under almost any circumstances; this is well proven in the case of animals who normally have no doctor – particularly not in the wild state; yet they recover from serious injuries and overcome the ills which occasionally attack them. Isn’t it logical from this brief description to believe that regular exercise with a progressive increasing of the action of the heart and lungs, accompanied by a strengthening of all the muscles inside and out, will also strengthen the muscle which is our heart and improve its action? There is a great deal of proof that hearts have been enlarged and strengthened through regular exercise that irregularities of construction and operation have been overcome.

Be sure to consult your physician first before launching upon a physical training program, if you have some slight heart difficulty of suspect that you have. The medical authorities report that the heart being only a muscular pump cannot be injured through exercise, but it is reasonable to believe that long-drawn out or sudden effort, such as in sprinting or the playing of games like football, would not be advantageous for a youth with a weak heart. Gradually stimulating the action of the heart and other organs, through gentle, progressive exercise, has a beneficial effect.

Increased exertion through progressive physical exercise which benefits the lungs also benefits and strengthens the heart. We have heard considerable about enlarged hearts and athletic heart; the medical authorities agree that there is no such thing as “athletic heart.” There are enlarged hearts, just as there are enlarged biceps or enlarged chests, but larger hearts like larger biceps are stronger and more capable. Nearly one-half of the citizens of this country sever their connections with life through the failure of their hearts. The mortality as a result of heart failure has steadily increased with the years – increased equally as fast as deaths through other diseases have been reduced. Isn’t it reasonable to believe that it has come about through the sedentary, indolent lives most moderns live? The hearts of our pioneer ancestors, hard-working men of generations ago, w ere stronger and more durable than the hearts of the present. Regular exercise will strengthen hearts and should be a source of longer life.

If the lungs are strong the heart will work more steadily; and if the heart is strong the lungs will operate with greater force and evenness. There are many kinds of weak hearts; some are actually defective. The heart may have been weak from birth, although a great many of these so-called weak hearts overcome their own condition. At the age of three I had a severe attack of typhoid fever. Like many children who suffer from such an early disease, my life was despaired of. I recovered although I am told the doctor had said I would not live until morning. The report was that I had a weak heart. But a little more than a year later I made it a habit of surpassing the other youngsters in running around a double tennis court across the street from my home. All during earliest childhood I enjoyed what we called “fag” races – might be more accurately termed fatigue races – the object of the race being to see who could run the longest. Another favorite game was “Buffalo.” Our conception of a buffalo herd meant that they went on and on, up hill, down hill, over streams, even over precipices, overcoming all that was before them. We ran all day with our vigorous games and I built such a form of endurance that it was easy enough for me to come home first in a ten-mile modified marathon race for boys under sixteen when I was just ten. Marathons were very popular at that stage of my life and I ran several twenty-six-mile marathons and trained for them regularly. I believe that this regular exercise – chiefly cross-country running – strengthened my heart. Certainly it didn’t hurt it, for at the age of forty, when I was examined for a large insurance policy, the examining physician constantly reiterated that he could not understand how a man as large as I, who had been as active and athletic as I, could have such perfect heart action. The blood pressure was right “on the nose” as he phrased it. Yet through my athletic career I had exerted myself to the limit so many times in races that I finished winner, but collapsed at the finish scores of times. I repeat, I believe this great exertion strengthened my heart. Certainly it didn’t weaken it. Now modern physicians are convinced that regular exercise strengthens the heart as it does all muscles and other organs of the body.

Hearts should be examined by competent physicians and if the report is unfavorable, certainly that man should not run in a marathon race, row in a four-mile race, or take part in a football game, a long and intensive wrestling match or some similar great physical endeavor. But we must remember that many hearts are weak simply because their owners are weak all over. Their muscles are flabby and covered with fat and it’s to be expected that all organs and glands are in the same weakened, sluggish, inefficient condition. If you decide to launch upon a course of physical training and you find that you become greatly fatigued when you walk a half mile, that you pant for breath, and your heart labors when you climb a steep hill, that you quickly become fatigued and breathless when you exercise for a time, you can be sure that your heart and other internal organs are just as weak as the muscles. You can’t see the operation of the heart and other organs, but their condition definitely manifests itself through the weakness and inefficiency of muscles and fatigue which comes so easily.

A fat man with weak and flaccid muscles may receive the report that he has a weak heart. This is natural, for he is weak all over and with his increased weight he has added many miles of additional capillaries and veins and provided so much more work for the heart to perform. That’s the main reason why overweight men are considered to be poor insurance risks. These insurance companies do not take into consideration whether the overweight man has worked enough or exercised sufficiently to have built a strong heart, capable of taking care of a bit of overweight, or whether he is just flabby and soft, and has a heart of similar type. This latter condition is the really dangerous one.

A fat man with a weak muscular heart can easily overtax his weak muscles and it is to be expected that overwork would not be beneficial for his heart, to say the least. But since there is no organic trouble, this man who is out of condition and weak inside and out can by progressive exercise strengthen his heart in conjunction with the lungs just as he can strengthen his back, his arms or his legs through regular and progressive exercise. If such a man will only aspire to attain superhealth, great strength and superb development, there is nothing which will prevent him from attaining that much-to-be-desired physical condition except his own slothfulness or lack of persistence.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two Squat Programs by Tommy Kono

If you’ve never been taught the correct way to squat, you’ll find the following instructions extremely valuable. Incorrect squatting technique not only wastes your time and energy, but it also taxes the wrong muscles other than those of the legs while developing bad habits that you’ll find hard to overcome later.

During the first few weeks of learning to squat properly lifters will want to work on stretching their soleus muscles and either stretching or strengthening their iliopsoas muscles. These two groups of muscles (the former lie under the calf muscles and are activated when the knees are bent, and the latter are attached to your lumbar vertebrae and keeps your back arched when you go into your deep squat) have to be ‘re-educated’, so you achieve the correct body position when you go into the bottom position of your squats.

You must concentrate on very deliberately squatting correctly until the right squatting technique becomes natural. Do not sacrifice form for heavy weights. If you perform the squats correctly, the muscles right above the knees will be sore from the extra stretch of your quad muscles, and your calf muscles will be tender too from the stretch they get because your upper body is upright when you go into the deep squat. (See illustration)

Remember that your knees must travel in the same direction your feet are pointing.

Stand sideways to a mirror to study the profile of yourself performing the squat. Your torso should be as upright as possible with a strong back arch (chest held high). This means your knees have to flex completely for your torso to travel straight down.

Attempt to place your buttocks between your heels without your back buckling. Practice this style of squats regularly even without weights. Perform it daily at home without weights so you gradually stretch the soleus muscles and learn to keep your body upright in squatting. Remember, press down on the floor to come out of the deep squats while maintaining an upright upper body position.


This squat program is based on the premise of taxing the muscles and then giving them sufficient time to recover. This means that you cannot max out on 3 reps more than once a week in your training. There is also a way of “maxing out” which you must understand to achieve the fastest improvement.

1. No single attempts at any time. In other words, no testing yourself for a single or even doubles.

2. Once a week you push yourself for three reps.

3. No “nerving up” of employing adrenaline on your heavy day!

4. No more than eight sets on the heavy day when you push yourself.

5. No more than eight sets including your warmup sets.

6. No more than six sets on the other two days of training where lighter weights are employed.

7. Avoid “pumping” the muscles up. Try to relax the muscles completely between sets so you are “fresh” when you begin each new set. With the warmup weights you can perform the sets much faster, but when optimum weights are used, make certain you have enough rest between sets to recover.

8. Always take a deep, deep breath and hold high your chest before going into the squat. Start with your balance on your heels. As you go into your deep squat you can shift some of the pressure toward the balls of our feet but make certain you are taxing the legs and not transferring the load to your back.

9. Control your downward movement and retain only a small bounce at the bottom of your squat. Concentrate on pushing the floor down when you are coming out of your squats.

Make your leg muscles work . . . not your back.

10. All squatting movements are done with a “feel.” By that, I mean your thoughts must be in performing the movements smoothly and with deliberate concentration. You must be focused on the exact movement, whether it be a warmup weight of with heavy weights. The purpose is to work the leg muscles . . . from the hip down.

Make your legs work!

The following is an example with 170 for 3 reps being near your max effort:









Heavy Day

90 x 5

120 x 3

140 x 3

160 x 3

170 x 3

170 x 3

170 x 3

170 x 3

Light Day

60 x 3

100 x 3

125 x 3

145 x 3

145 x 3


Medium Day

80 x 5

110 x 3

140 x 3

160 x 3

160 x 3


Note: *means you do not need to perform this set if you are having a difficult time performing all the sets. Stress is a necessity on the muscles but over-extending yourself can tax your recuperative power and this can affect your next workout.

Heavy/rest day/Light/rest day/Medium/two rest days

This program is designed to make your muscles work so they become strong without the nervous stimulus being called in. In other words, you are not trying to work yourself up as if you life depends on its performance or to win a bet. You are performing the reps and sets with proper weights that you can handle to stimulate development of power.

Understand that you are performing the exercise the hardest way possible and not the easiest way possible. You can always find ways and means of “cheating” to improve your squatting record but that is not the purpose of this program. You are working on the legs to gain basic power so you can transfer this power to your Clean & Jerk.

The program is a systematic, progressive method of increasing your strength over 6 to weeks. Even an increase of 2.5 kilos every other week will mean 7.5 to 10 kgs. improvement from this program period that would definitely improve your Clean & Jerk.


When this period is over, a good follow-up program would be 4 to 6 weeks of the Front Squat Program. An example of the Front Squat program follows:








Heavy Day

60 x 3

90 x 3

120 x 3

140 x 3

140 x 3

140 x 3

140 x 3

Light Day

60 x 3

90 x 3

110 x 3

120 x 3

120 x 3


Medium Day

60 x 5

90 x 3

120 x 3

130 x 3

130 x 3


Always remember, it is quality you seek and not quantity of exercises.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Increasing Leg Power - Mark Cameron

Mark Cameron
First 110-kg Olympic lifter to
Clean & Jerk over 500 lbs.

David Rigert

Increasing Leg Power
by Mark Cameron

Although Mark Cameron is an Olympic lifter and not a powerlifter, we thought that the information in this article would be of value to readers of MD. Olympic lifters need a great deal of leg strength. Their success is usually proportionate to it. When the Europeans were training in York the week prior to the Gettysburg show we asked them about their squatting poundages. Rigert said he had done 672 for three reps and Alexeev has done an incredible 1014 for a single. We have to remember that these were done Olympic style, the bar high on the traps and going down to a low, low position. We asked the Russian coach about these poundages and he confirmed them.

“The purpose of leg training for Olympic lifting is to increase leg power, not just to increase the squat poundages as in Powerlifting. For this reason we use mostly higher repetitions and a variety of exercises. These exercises increase power, not just static strength which slow, heavy reps develop. Of course, increasing leg power and strength will certainly have an effect on increasing the squat poundage. Plus, constantly grinding out heavy poundages has a deleterious effect on the joints and nervous system.

“In the beginning of a cycle, high reps are used in all exercises, usually 10-12 on leg work. This kind of training develops muscular endurance. It’s only logical; how can you expect to do four sets of three with a heavy weight if you can’t do one set of 12 with a proportionate poundage? What happens when you are not in good condition is that the four sets of three is too light a weight to obtain maximum benefit. Many investigators have found the relationship between strength and muscular endurance to be very high.

“As the cycle goes, the repetitions gradually drop to sets of three to five. This way you are capitalizing on the muscular endurance you’ve developed earlier and can train harder for strength. After a while you peak or begin to reach a plateau in your strength training, then it is time to start a new cycle, working on muscular endurance again.

“The exercises used for Olympic lifting training tend to work the quadriceps more than the hips and lower back as power squats do. Once again, he accent is to strengthen the muscles, not only to increase the poundage.

“My coach, Joe Mills, has always taught his boys to do the lifts the easy way and the assistance exercises the hard way. This is because assistance exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles used to do the snatch and clean and jerk, or in the powerlifters’ case, the squat, bench press and deadlift.

“The back squat is the key exercise to leg strength. It works all of the major muscles of the leg, hips and lower back. No bodybuilder, powerlifter or Olympic lifter ever made it to the top without a lot of work on this lift. Olympic lifters perform this exercise with the bar high up on the traps and torso held upright. If you have trouble staying upright, a raised heel may help until more flexibility is developed. Keep your hand-spacing close the shoulders. This will keep the bar up high and prevent a lot of the leaning forward as performed in powerlifting squats. I have always believed that the best way to do these is to go down controlled and come up as fast as possible . . . and go all the way down. The amount of weight used in the squat is very important, usually the trainee does not use enough weight. This is usually determined by the amount of fear the squatter has. My good friend, Ira Wolfe, once said that when you go to get under the bar and your life flashes before your eyes, then that’s a heavy weight.

“Front squats are probably the second most used exercise to develop leg power. These throw even more stress on the quadriceps because of the extreme upright position used. Again, a raised heel may aid the balance.

“Leg presses are great for strength development. They are good for developing pull from the floor too. In Olympic lifting it would be the pull for the clean or snatch but in Powerlifting they would be great to get those heavy deadlifts started. It is important to lie on an angled board.

“When the legs are being worked hard with exercises like the ones mentioned above, it is important to do some kind of remedial exercise as an anti-fatigue measure and to help prevent injuries caused by disproportionate development. Leg extensions and leg curls on an apparatus or iron boot exercises, using a light weight for reps ranging from 12 o 15. You’ll be surprised how much these reduce the soreness in the knees often present after a heavy leg workout. Another trick several lifters use is to use kneebands when squatting to keep the knees warm and loose while training.

“There are many other leg exercises which can be used to prevent boredom of when you just don’t want to squat anymore. Exercises such as the Jefferson of straddle lift, hack squats and hip-belt squats are all good leg developers but there are not substitutes for the two major leg exercises: Back squats and front squats. These others can be done when you want to take a break from squatting and just do something totally different for a short while.

“There are many variations of any exercise. If you have a particular weakness anywhere, choose a variation which puts the most stress on that area. If you have trouble in the low position of the squat, dead-stop pause squats may help. Or, if the last part gives you trouble, half squats or squats to the high bench might work. Be imaginative, design your own exercises to improve your own weaknesses. An exercise is only as good as the job it does for YOU.

In order to work a muscle to its maximum it becomes necessary to maximize recovery rate. Static stretching before and after a workout will relieve much of the soreness which may occur, as will a brisk walk following the workout. Many Yogic exercises have been found useful as well and hot and cold showers after a workout help “milk” out lactic acid, thereby facilitating a more rapid recovery rate. After a hard workout I usually sit in a tub of cold water so that it covers my legs and lower back for about 15 minutes. I’ve found this to be very beneficial to increasing recovery."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One-Arm Pressing - Paul Anderson

One-Arm Pressing Power by Paul Anderson

In the past century the One-Arm Press was quite popular, whether it was the “contortionlike” Bent Press, One-Hand Military Press, or the Side Press. With the growing popularity of the Two-Hand Olympic lifts and the decline of the professional strongman, One-Arm lifts almost disappeared from the strength world scene. There are other reasons for the vanishing of these lifts, but I guess the death of vaudeville, which actually causes the disappearance of the professional strongman, was the greatest blow. Of course, during this same period of time and even up until the early 40’s, the One-Arm Snatch and One-Arm Clean and Jerk were performed in some circles. Even though these lifts required much strength and athletic ability, they were never really popular outside the weightlifting world. Before a general audience they were usually viewed with a little suspicion, because they had to be done with quick and agile movements. The viewing patron seemed to feel that there was some slight of hand or trickery employed when the One-Arm Snatch, and Clean and Jerk were done for his entertainment.

In the past several years I have found out why the old-timers usually included a One-Arm lift in their acts. During this time I have doe a kind of half Military, half Side Press, during my public appearances. As a rule, this has been the most popular feat of strength that I do. I first started including it because it was a convenient thing to include, since I could write ahead for the weights that I needed and take along a bar that was suitable for loading the plates on. I have a bar that is collapsible, and can be put in a small brief case. It is also convenient because it does not take up much room in a church sanctuary, where I often do several feats of strength along with my messages.
My first purpose in taking up the One-Arm Dumbell Press was to build arm strength for pressing and bench pressing. This is basically what I want to discuss here.
I first inaugurated the One-Arm Press into my workout in 1954. At this time I had been training for two years and had tried pressing tow dumbells together during my training sessions. This exercise did not seem to help my regular press so I abandoned it. Later when the “finish out” of my pressing power did not develop as fast as the start and intermediate part, I thought of going back to the dumbells to increase my triceps power. Before doing this I remembered my disappointment during my past training with dumbells and disregarded the thought all together.
Then I thought of the rule I have used throughout all the years of my training. That was to handle the greatest poundage possible with every muscle group. This was definitely not being accomplished with the two dumbells. By pressing them together I was handling less weight than I could press with a barbell. So, naturally, my theory was not being carried out. But then I though of lifting only one dumbell at a time. This way the one arm was lifting much more than its share in a Two-Hand Barbell Press. I found this to be a great help in giving the deltoid and triceps that extra power needed for the finish out in the Press and Jerk.
In performing the movement I have worked out several variations for training, but for my exhibitions I do lift in an orthodox manner. The variations I speak of in my workouts are mostly adapted to overcome the problem of balance and control of the weight while doing repetitions. Anyone who has tried the One-Arm Dumbell Press knows that on many occasions the weight can get a little too far out to the side or out front and the lift has to be terminated. This difficulty is especially prevalent when eight to 10 repetitions are being attempted. I have worked out tow effective ways to overcome the problem. One is to grip a stationary object with the opposite hand, after cleaning the weight, and holding onto it to keep your balance while lifting with the other arm. The other is to build an apparatus to simulate the Dumbell Press. This can be done by using a regular exercise bar. On the bar weld a large hinge to one end. Attach the hinge to the wall (about shoulder height). To hold it at this level another bar or support has to be welded to reach or extend to the floor (as shown in the picture). By placing the weight on the end of the horizontal bar the lifter can get into position and press overhead without the fear of getting off balance, or losing the weight. Another advantage is that you can vary the grip. The closer to the wall (or whatever the hinge is attached to) that you grip the bar, the heavier the weight becomes, because of the change in leverage.
To carry the One-Arm Dumbell Press even further, I have used it for the improvement of the Bench Press. Again, the orthodox Two-Hands movement in the Bench Press does not allow one to handle as much as he needs to give that extra something to the muscle group being worked. A variation of the Dumbell Bench Press can be used to as great an advantage here as in the standing position.
To perform the exercise, with the assistance of a couple of friends, take a heavy dumbell in one hand while you are in a supine position on the bench. You must distort this position a little by moving to one side and grasp one of the uprights with the free hand. With yourself secure in this position lower the dumbell into an extreme One-Arm Bench Press position as shown in the picture and press it up again. When doing this, try to almost perform what once was called the “Flying Exercise” as done with two dumbells. By using only one dumbell and supporting with the other arm, which really helps, you can perform this in a cheating manner and handle a great weight. This goes back to my original theory of handling the most weight that is possible with every muscle.
Try working these variations of the One-Arm Dumbell Press into your routine, and I feel that you will gain much strength for the poundages you desire to handle in the Bench Press, Jerk, and other pushing movements.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Big Chest Book - Chapter Seven

All photos - John Grimek

Anatomical Description of the Lungs

In the two lateral chambers of the thoracic cavity are the two cone-shaped organs we know as the lungs. They are separated from each other by the heart and other contents of the mediastinum. The outer surface of each lung is convex, a concave base to fit over the convex portion of the diaphragm, and extending about an inch and a half above the level of the sternal end of the first rib is an apex. The pulmonary artery connects each lung with the heart and trachea, the pulmonary vein, bronchial arteries and veins, and a number of other parts constitute the root of the lungs. The hilum or vertical notch is located on the inner surface. This provides a passage to the structures which form the root of the lung. Below and in front of the hilum there is a deep concavity, called the cardiac impression, which accommodates the heart. It is larger and deeper on the left than on the right lung, because the heart extends farther to the left side.

The right lung is the larger and heavier of the two. It has greater breadth than the left, owing to the inclination of the heart to the left side, and it is shorter by one inch, because the diaphragm rises higher on the right side to accommodate the liver. The right lung is divided by fissures into three lobes, which are titled superior, middle and inferior. The left lung is smaller, narrower and longer than the right and is divided into just two lobes, the inferior and the superior.

The material of which the lungs are formed is porous, soft and spongy. It floats in water owing to the presence of air which crepitates when handled. The lungs consist of bronchial tubes and their terminal dilations, numerous blood vessels, lymphatics, nerves and a great many fine, elastic, connective tissues which bind all parts together. Each lobe of the lung is composed of many lobules, and into each lobule a bronchiole enters and terminates in an atrium. Each atrium presents a series of air cells. In this way the amount of surface exposed to the air and covered by the capillaries is so immensely increased that it is estimated the entire surface of the lungs amounts to about ninety square meters, more than one hundred times the skin surface of the entire body.

There are two sets of blood vessels in the lungs. First the branches of the pulmonary artery, which transports the blood to the lungs to be aerated and the branches of the bronchial arteries which bring blood for nutritive purposes. Immediately beneath the layer of flat cells, and lodged in the elastic connective tissue, is a very close plexus of capillaries, and the air reaching the alveoli by the bronchial tubes is separated from the blood by the capillaries, which coalesce to form larger branches. These run through the substance of the lung, communicate with other branches, and form larger vessels, which accompany the arteries and bronchial tubes to the hilum. Finally the pulmonary veins open into the left auricle.

The branches of the bronchial arteries supply blood to the long substance – the bronchial tubes, coats of the blood vessels, the lymph nodes and the pleura. The bronchial veins formed at the root of each lung receive veins which correspond to the branches of the bronchial arteries.

Each lung is enclosed in a serous sac – the pleura, one layer of which is closely adherent to the walls of the chest and diaphragm; the other closely covers the lung. The two layers of the pleural sacs, moistened by serum, are normally in close contact, and the so-called pleural cavity is a potential rather than an actual cavity. They move easily upon one another and prevent the friction that would otherwise occur between the lungs and the walls of the chest with every respiration. If the surface of the pleura becomes roughened as occurs in inflammation (pleurisy) more of less friction results and the sound produced by this friction can be heard if the ear is applied to the breast. In health, only a small amount of fluid is secreted and its absorption by the lymphatics almost keeps pace with its secretion, so that normally the amount of serum is very small. In pleurisy the amount may be considerably increased, due to the extra activity of the irritated secretory cells and excessive transudation from the congested blood vessels. The amount may be sufficient to separate the two layers of the pleura, thus changing the potential pleural cavity into an actual one. This is known as pleurisy with effusion. The mediastinum, or interpleural space, lies between the right and left pleura in the median plane of the chest. It extends from the sternum to the spinal column and is entirely filled with thoracic viscera, namely the heart, aorta and its branches, pulmonary artery and veins, with other parts, various veins, lymph nodes and nerves.

The main purpose of respiration is to supply the cells of the body with oxygen and rid them of the excess carbon dioxide which results from the oxidation. It also helps to equalize the temperature of the body and get rid of excess water. To accomplish these purposes three processes are necessary:

1. Breathing. The process of breathing may be subdivided into inspiration or breathing in, and expiration or breathing out. 2. External respiration. This includes two processes – external oxygen supply or the passage of oxygen from the alveoli of the lungs to the blood and external carbon dioxide elimination or the passage of carbon dioxide from the blood into the alveoli of the lungs.

Internal respiration also includes two processes: internal oxygen supply or the passage of the oxygen from the blood to the cells of the tissues; internal carbon dioxide elimination of the passing of carbon dioxide from the cells of the tissues to the blood. It is evident that external respiration is a process which takes place in the cells that make up the tissues of the body. The thorax is a closed cavity which contains the lungs. The lungs may be thought of as membranous sacs, the interior of which communicates with the outside air by way of the bronchia, trachea, glottis, etc., while the outside is protected from atmospheric pressure by the walls of the chest.

During life the size of the thoracic cavity is constantly changing with the respiratory movements. When all the muscles of respiration are at rest, that is at the end of a normal respiration, the size and position of the chest may be regarded as normal. Starting with this normal position, any enlargement constitutes active inspiration, the result of which is to force the air into the lungs. Following this active inspiration, the thoracic cavity may return passively to its normal position, giving a passive expiration, that is, an expiration involving no muscular effort. Normal respiratory movements are of this type, an active inspiration followed by a passive inspiration.

Mechanism of inspiration is the result of the contraction of the muscles of inspiration; passive expiration is due to the elastic recoil of the parts previously stretched. The thoracic cavity is enlarged in all directions – vertical, dorso-ventral, and lateral. The increase in the vertical diameter is brought about by the contraction of the diaphragmatic muscle, which draws the central tendon downward. The dorso-ventral and lateral diameters are increased by the contraction of the intercostals and other muscles which cause the sternum and ribs to move upward and outward. The lungs are expanded exactly in proportion to the expansion of the thorax. As in the heart, the auricular systole, the ventricular systole, and then a pause follow in regular order, so in the lungs the inspiration, the expiration, and then a pause succeed one another.

There is considerable variation in the number of muscles employed in the inspiration, depending upon whether the breathing is quiet or labored. All the muscles which contract simultaneously, including the diaphragm, are classed as inspratory. Those classed as expiratory contract alternately. The external intercostals, levatores costarum, the scaleni, the sternocleidomastoid, the pectorals minor and the serratus posticus superior are the inspiratory muscles. The action of the muscles enumerated is supplemented by additional muscles of the trunk, larynx, pharynx, and face, in forced inspirations.

It is considered that gravity and the elastic recoil of the lungs cause normal expiration which is usually a passive act. Diminution of the thorax may be caused in two ways in forced expirations: Forcing the diaphragm farther up into the thoracic cavity, a result obtained not by direct action of the diaphragm but by contracting the muscular walls of the abdomen, the external and internal oblique, the rectus and the transveralis, and by depressing the ribs. The muscles which depress the ribs are the internal intercostals and the triangularis sterni.

It is noted that there are two distinct types of respiration. The sequence of movements is the distinguishing factor. In the costal type the upper ribs move first and the abdomen second. The elevation of the ribs is the more noticeable movement. In the abdominal type, the abdomen bulges outward first, and then is followed b a movement of the thorax.
Abdominal respirations are deeper; restriction of the action of the diaphragm by tight clothing is thought to be the cause of costal respiration.

The respiratory center which controls the inspiration and respiration has been described as an automatic center, but sensitive to reflex stimulation of any of the sensory nerves. This brings us to the question of the nature of the automatic stimulus. Experimentally it has been demonstrated that the condition of the gases in the blood has a marked effect upon the activities of the center. The activity is always increased in proportion to the venosity of the blood. On the other hand, the activity is decreased and may fail altogether, if the blood is more arterial than normal. In venous blood the carbon dioxide is increased and the oxygen is decreased. Which of these conditions, the increase in carbon dioxide or the decrease in oxygen, is the more effective stimulus has not been definitely determined. There is much evidence that either factor may act as the stimulus, but the accumulation of carbon dioxide is the more effective.

The average rate of respiration for an adult is about sixteen to eighteen per minute. This rate may be increased by muscular exercise or emotion, in the healthy body. Anything that affects the heartbeat will have a similar effect on the respiration. Age has a definite influence. The average rate during the first year of life is about forty-four to the minute, and at the age of five years about twenty-six per minute. It reduces during the age of fifteen to twenty-five and after that to the normal standard.

The term external respiration is applied to the interchange of gases that takes place in the lungs. Two or three times each minute all the blood of the body passes through the capillaries of the lungs. This means that the time during which any portion of the blood is in a position for respiratory exchange is only a second or two. Yet during this time the following important changes take place: It loses carbon dioxide and moisture, it gains oxygen which combines with the hemoglobin of the red cells and transforms it into oxyhemoglobin, and as a result of this the crimson color shifts to scarlet, and the temperature is slightly reduced.

It is helpful to compare the average amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide found in the venous blood, and the amounts found in the arterial blood. Average figures for the dog are: Venous blood contains 12% oxygen, 45% carbon dioxide, 1.7 % nitrogen. In humans the actual amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in venous blood vary with the nutritive activity of the tissues, and differ therefore in the various organs according to the state of activity of each organ and the volume of the blood supply. There is always a considerable amount of oxygen in venous blood, also a considerable amount of carbon dioxide in arterial blood. Consequently the main result of the respiratory exchange is to keep the gas content of the arterial blood nearly constant at the figures given. Under normal circumstances it is not possible to increase appreciably the amount of oxygen absorbed by the blood flowing through the lungs. For the relief of pneumonia, a patient will often absorb unusual supplies of pure oxygen when administered to him which is the result of the oxygen content of the blood of the pneumonia patient being below normal.

The lungs when once they are filled are never completely emptied of air until death. No expiration ever completely empties the alveoli, neither are they ever completely filled. The quantity or air which a person can expel by a forcible expiration, after the deepest inspiration possible is called the vital capacity, and the average about 3500 to 4000 c.c. for an average adult man. Tidal air designates the amount of air that flows in and out of the lungs with each quiet respiratory movement. The average figure for the adult is 500 c.c. Complemental air designates the amount of air that can be breathed in over and above the tidal air by the deepest possible inspiration. It is estimated at about 1600 c.c.

Supplemental air is the amount of air that can be breathed out after expiration by the most forcible expiration. It is equal to about 1600 c.c. Residual air is the amount of air remaining in the lungs after the most powerful expiration. This has been estimated to be about 1000 c.c. Reserve air is the residual air plus the supplemental air in the lungs under conditions of normal breathing, that is about 2600 c.c.

There are other conditions that occur during breathing. However dry the external air may be the expired air is nearly or quite saturated with moisture. An average of about one pint of water is eliminated daily in the breath. On cool morning this vapor is easily visible. The expired air is nearly as warm as the blood regardless of the temperature of the outside air. A temperature of between 98 and 100 degrees F. is usual. Breathing is one of the subsidiary means by which the temperature and the water content of the body are regulated. The heat required to warm the expired air and vaporize the moisture is taken from the body and represents a daily loss of heat.

The exchange of gases in the tissues constitutes internal respiration and consists of the passage of oxygen from the blood into the lymph and from the lymph into the tissue cells, and the passage of the carbon dioxide from the tissue cells into the lymph and from the lymph into the blood. After the exchange of gases in the lungs, the aerated blood is returned to the heart and distributed to all parts of the body. In passing through the capillaries the blood is brought into exchange with the lymph, in which the oxygen pressure is low. The compound of oxygen and hemoglobin, oxyhemoglobin, is only stable in an environment where the oxygen pressure is relatively high. Consequently the blood in passing through the capillaries gives up much of its oxygen, which passes to the lymph and from there to the tissue cells. On the contrary, the pressure of carbon dioxide is higher in the cells than in the blood, and this facilitates the passing of carbon dioxide from the cells to the lymph, and from the latter to the blood.

It is important to remember that the blood does not give up all its oxygen in the tissues, nor all the carbon dioxide in the lungs. Excessive amounts of carbon dioxide will cause death by asphyxia, but in normal amounts it is as essential to life as oxygen.

As everyone knows the air we need to keep us alive should enter through the nose. Mouth breathing is not normally healthful, for the nose is so designed that it tests the air to see if it is hot or cold, too dry or it contains dust or other foreign particles. If it is cold it warms it; if too dry it moistens it; if dust-laden it filters it. Incidentally the nose is of paramount aid in making the sounds of talking and of singing. In mouth breathing there is no way to condition the air before it reaches the delicate linings of the lungs.

The function of filter the air will go on even for two or three days after death. Numerous glands keep the walls of the air passageway moist and thus the dust adheres to them. This lining is called epithelium, and the tiny outcroppings from it which stick out like hairs on a brush, and perform the function of filtering, are known as cilia. They sweep out the dust of the air we breathe and expel it through the nose openings or up into the pharynx.

Although we breathe normally seventeen times a minute, when we are quiet or sleeping, respiration will automatically speed up to seventy or eighty times a minute during severe muscular effort when the need for air is great. Breathing is done so automatically, so unconsciously, that few if any of us give the slightest thought to why we breathe or how we breathe. This important and amazingly complicated function is taken for granted. But it’s one of the most important phases of operation with this wonderfully made machine of ours, which is our body.

We need to form combustion which in turn produces motion, heat and chemical products. Every one of the millions of cells in the human body is a tiny engine designed to work somewhat similarly to man-made engines. The engines of our automobiles or factories utilize oxygen and throw off carbon dioxide to produce the motion, heat, electricity, etc., which cause the wheels to turn in factories or with transportation machines such as the truck, pleasure car, locomotive and tractor. Solid fuel formerly in the form of wood, now usually coal, or liquid fuel, oil or gasoline, provides the combustion which produces this power.

Each cell of the body obtains its energy from burning liquid fuel, similar to man-made machines. To do this they must burn oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. The operation of this tiny human engine is so much more complex than that of engines in a factory or in our transportation systems. In a factory and in the case of the locomotive the combustion chamber is separate from the part of the machine which produces the energy. The fire is under the boiler. In automobiles or tractors and in the body cells both combustion chamber and energy-producing parts are combined in one unit. Fire produces heat and light. The slow combustion in the cells of our bodies, while producing a fair amount of heat as in the cells of the muscles and liver, produces other forms of energy too – chemical as in the cells of the glands and electrical as in the cells of the nerves. Light is never produced in the human body, but it is produced in some other forms of life, such as the lightning bug, glow-worm, the little deep sea animal with the big name, Noctiluca miliaris.

Each tiny engine in the human body, each of the estimated twenty-five million millions, must be supplied with a regular supply of oxygen and must perform the function of throwing off the carbon dioxide. If the oxygen supply should fail for just one minute, some of the cells are injured and asphyxiated. To keep the body alive it’s evident that the supply of oxygen must be constant. In fact, in a reasonably active man, twenty square feet of oxygen is absorbed, transmitted by the blood and used for combustion in a single day. A similar amount in square feet of carbon dioxide is thrown out or excreted from the body. During intensive work a much greater supply of oxygen is required. Unlike some of the smaller animals it is not possible for a human being to absorb oxygen directly from the air through his skin. There is too little surface to supply the body requirements. This problem on which our existence depends has been solved by the action of the lungs. The lungs are an automatic, self-regulating bellows-like organ, which works and continues to perform the same function as long as there is life within us. Presently we well endeavor to explain and describe just how this huge and powerful bellows works. The lungs have mysterious power, in spite of the fact that they are made of soft, spongy, elastic tissue.

The lungs through the function they perform constantly supply the blood cells with oxygen and remove from the blood the waste in the form of carbon dioxide. They are so constructed that they include a surface fifty times as great as that of all the skin on the body. This surface brings in constantly fresh air on one side and with the constantly moving red cells and fluid blood on the other side it makes the exchange of molecules of oxygen for carbon dioxide on the other.

This exchange must take place about three times a minute, more frequently when training or in working intensively. The blood hurrying back and forth has much work to do as it must go through both sets of capillaries to the farthermost points of the body in this normal twenty seconds for a round trip. All of the blood of the body must pass through the lungs, just as it does through the heart and each capillary. The exchange, which takes place in the inner part of the lungs, finds as organ perfectly adapted for this exchange. It is a moist, spongy jelly-like substance designed to dissolve oxygen and carbon dioxide and pass them from one side of the lungs to the other. This vital function, the exchange it is commonly called, which is the essential part of respiration, takes place between the capillaries and the respiratory surface. The remainder of the breathing apparatus merely aids these functions by bringing the fresh air to the respiratory surface and forcing away the used air, rich in carbon dioxide and poor in oxygen. To us breathing is simple, and automatic. It takes place twenty-four hours a day as long as there is life within the body. As you must have gathered from this brief discussion, however, the apparently simple process is amazingly complicated when considered more carefully. We will describe the construction of the breathing system, so that you readers who are interested in “what makes us tick” will know more about what takes place within us to maintain or build our strength and our health.

The main part of the lungs is the bellows and it can be seen in the drawing which accompanies the article. It is connected to the outside by a stem, the end of which is the nose; farther along the stem we find the pharynx, the larynx, and the trachea. Man-made bellows have been in use for thousands of years. They have been used since the value of iron or other metals has been discovered. Ancient or modern, complex or simple, they work in a similar manner, with a valve to let the air in, near the handle, a nozzle to let it out where it can be applied to do the work for which the bellows is designed. This is not practical in the human body; the nozzle is the only opening and through it the air must pass in and out. To further complicate the process the passage of the air must cross the tunnel through the pharynx and the esophagus must pass.

The passage of both air and food is controlled by valves. It’s only occasionally that traffic becomes mixed up at these crossings and then you experience the condition of something going down the wrong way. The imaginary green light of the Go system is usually turned on for the air. At brief intervals when food is being consumed, the go sign is turned on for food and it rushes across as the air is held up momentarily.

The lungs are situated in the cavity of the thorax. You can visualize their position and their function if you imagine a rubber balloon inserted in a bottle. The normal air pressure at or near sea level is fifteen pounds per square inch. Therefore if the air surrounding the balloon is pumped out, air will be drawn in by atmospheric pressure until the sides of the balloon will be pressed out everywhere until they flatten against the sides of the bottle. The action of the lungs in the thorax is similar. A vacuum is created between the thoracic wall and the lungs, so that the outside air pressure is always distending or pressing the lungs against the wall and the lungs by their natural rubber-like elasticity are trying to contract. But the air pressure is always greater than the power of their elasticity, keeping the lungs always distended. It is not far from a balance and very little exertion is required to cause the lungs to function.

In a bellows there are two sides which move toward each other, to draw in and force out the air. In the thoracic cavity of man or all animals higher than the fish, which does not have lungs, an improvement has been made over the bellows because the four sides of the thoracic cavity move in and out. The walls of the cavity change their form with every breath, as they expand and contract. Both sides move in and out; the front wall moves in and out a great deal. There is little movement in the ceiling of the cavity or the back, but the floor moves up and down considerably. The expansion of this cavity sucks in the outside air; its contraction or expiration blows a current of air out.

The sides of the thorax of course are the ribs. Each of these is curved like a bow and to aid expansion they are made flexible through a cartilage which is inserted in the anterior part. The middle of each rib hangs down and when the muscles lift the ribs together, the chest gets wider from side to side. At the same time, the breastbone is then lifted up and shoved forward so that the chest becomes deeper from front to back. The outside air pressure forces the lungs to expand, and out against the rib box, so fresh air comes in. If the ribs were made entirely of bone they would break easily, but the cartilages, which have a capacity for twisting somewhat, permit the chest to expand; and yielding as they do to blows or unusual outside pressure in any form, usually prevent the bones from being broken.

It’s more difficult for the lungs of humans to work, for with the shoulders not fixed, their weight must be carried by the thorax, and lifted with each movement of breathing. You may have noticed that when a man is out of breath – as after a race or heavy, high-repetition deep knee bending – he will lie down of lean over a fence in the former condition, resting his elbows upon the fence. After the deep knee bend in the York courses, the breathing exercise is practiced in the supine position, lying upon a box or a bench, which serves the dual purpose of taking the load from the thorax, while enforced breathing is required, but makes possible greater temporary expansion which in time results in a permanent enlargement of the chest. In animals, the canines or quadrupeds who deep their four feet on the ground, the ribs are lifted from the shoulders which are fixed place. The animal’s breathing, you must have noticed, takes place almost entirely from side to side, while in the case of a human being, most of the movement is up and down, a movement of the chest floor which is created by the action and power of the diaphragm. That gives rise to the expression stomach breathing and chest breathing, most persons being comparatively shallow breathers and breathing principally through the diaphragm. Needless to say, any man who trains vigorously, especially with weights, will utilize all the space, all the expansion of his entire rib box or thoracic cavity.

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