Monday, October 13, 2008

Broad Shoulders - Chapter One

Maurice Jones

On the shores of Muscle Beach
Fred Curry, Stan Freed, Jules Bacon, Armand Tanny, John Davis

Anthony Ditillo

Chapter One You Should Build Broader Shoulders

Broad shoulders are always admired. There probably isn’t a man anywhere in the world who would not be pleased to have a broader pair of shoulders if he had his choice. You see proof of this around you every day, for almost without exception the shoulders of men, and of women too, are broadened by padding of some sort. You will notice this particularly in the movies, for there the art of shoulder padding reaches the acme of perfection. The padded shoulders of the coat stand out inches beyond the arm and real shoulder which lie beneath them. When a man has narrow shoulders he has this tailor build them out as far as possible, and when he already has broad shoulders he tries to make them appear still broader than they are, by the shoulder padding.

For if there is any one feature of a man’s physique which is noticed more than any other when clothed or in athletic, sport or summer clothing, it is the shoulders. People turn around to take a second look at the man with broad shoulders, perhaps unconsciously they form the impression that there is a strong, virile man, a real man. And particularly now when it is the style for every man to have broad shoulders, it is more important than ever that the man who wishes to look well should do something, should do considerable in fact, to develop his shoulders. For the most expert tailor can not build up a pair of shoulders of cotton or wooden pads which will compare favorably with the genuine article, really broad shoulders which are broad because the muscles of the shoulder girdle are well developed and as a result of regular, progressive exercise the shoulder bones have thickened and the attachments have stretched to the point where the shoulders are much broader.

The man who has narrow, thin, muscle-lacking clothes rack type of shoulders can only partially disguise the fact even though he employs the best of tailors. And a man does not and can not always be wearing his coat. When the coat comes off, what a sad difference in appearance is presented by most men. During the summer months especially, there are more times when a man is not wearing a coat than when he is wearing it. To keep the shoulders of movie stars looking presentable their shirts must be padded too, and it is not possible for this type of star to look well when the shirt is removed. Even in very formal, particular sections of civilization there are times when a man takes off his coat. At parties, where the temperature is kept high enough for the comfort of the thinly clad ladies of the gathering, the men become overheated and in the course of the evening someone may suggest that the coats be taken off and make everyone as comfortable as possible. And because of the knowledge that they has thin, bony, scrawny shoulders many men refuse to take off their coats and be more comfortable. Certainly there are many in such a gathering who will know why the thin, underdeveloped man refuses to take his coat off. He pretends that he feels more comfortable with the coat on, and spends an evening perspiring and sweltering while the men who have enough muscle to present a good appearance have most of the fun, have pleasure from the company of the ladies and completely enjoy the party.

A man of any age who knows that he has a presentable pair of shoulders does not need to be asked the second time to take off his coat when it is uncomfortably warm. And why shoud he, when he knows that he has a fine, broad, well developed pair of shoulders? He has a right to be proud of them and also to be proud to show them. The fact that it is a universal practice to pad the shoulders is conclusive proof that every kind of person, boys and girls, men and women, old and young, all admire and are pleased to see a pair of good shoulders. There is not a man who would not like to possess the broader, sloping, well developed shoulders they openly or secretly admire.

Throughout the ages, through observation and experience, people have come to realize that the man with broad shoulders is more of a man, that wide, broad, well rounded, thick, powerful shoulders mean more strength, endurance, vitality, vigor, power and superhealth. And this idea is exactly right. Broader shouldered men do have the qualities we have just enumerated. For when shoulders are wide, the thorax or rib box is also sure to be broad, deep and round, supplying plenty of space for the important heart and lungs, and when the rib box is bigger the abdominal cavity is also larger, permitting more space for the digestive and eliminative organs. Broader shoulders permit more favorable leverage which invariably means more strength. The broad shouldered man is more of a man in every way than the narrow shouldered, thin, undeveloped individual.

Men exercise for two chief reasons, to look better and to feel better. The man with broad shoulders will be healthier, he will feel better, and it’s very evident that he will look better when he is developed than when the body, especially the shoulders, is permitted to continue in an undeveloped state. If you visit the beach some afternoon it’s very easy to see what is best to look at, and what is most admired, to see what pleases the eye more. No one pays much attention to the thin individual who has a pair of shoulders that look like the wooden hooks of a clothes hanger. Perhaps they may unconsciously note that he is a very poor specimen of a man, but when they see the well developed strength athlete, the man who trains with apparatus, with barbells, dumbells, swing bar, cables or springs, who hand balances, tumbles and is consistently active in a manly way, they openly express their admiration.

Women are fortunate in the fact that they present a good appearance with less development of the shoulders. Yet you will note that while women of the movies must maintain a bodyweight which places them a bit on the thin side, they wish for broader shoulders and have their shoulders padded. In fact as this is written the ladies too are seeking to have broad shoulders, which causes their hips and waist to look even narrower. The undeveloped woman can still be attractive, not nearly as nice as looking as she would be if she had the proper curves and padding, but still can look girlish and attractive. But the undeveloped man never can look well, for the masculine physique is designed to carry enough muscle to impart shapeliness to it. The undeveloped man is almost muscle-less, thin scrawny, ugly. It is so important to present a good appearance, so time spent in developing a better looking, more masculine type physique is time well spent. It will require some effort to build this manly pair of shoulders but the man of any age who does it will receive a very valuable reward for the effort he puts in.

People spend a great deal of time in the open in this day and age, and during the majority of this time they wear scanty, revealing clothing, and when they are undeveloped and present a sorry appearance too many of the better things of life are missed. You have but one life to live, you may have missed a lot by being undeveloped, and very evidently weak, and you should make up your mind right now that you will be a different man in the future. With a moderate effort you will greatly improve your appearance and as an additional reward you will be stronger and much more vital.

If you are young, still in the growing stage, you’ll find it very easy to build broader, better developed shoulders. It’s nature’s way to meet the demands that are made upon the body. And when these demands consist of continual progressive training with ever heavier resistance, particularly with barbells and dumbells or with continuous, arduous, daily labor, the bones will acquire considerable bulk. The shoulder girdle’s primary purpose is to join the arm to the body so that the power of the body may be transmitted to the task at hand. The shoulder girdle includes the clavicle or collarbone, the scapula or shoulder blades, which are very flexible in construction and fastened to the thorax or rib box by muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is easy to not only cause a readjustment of these bones which will result in broad shoulders, but to cause them to enlarge in size and width also.

While gains are most easily made when the man is still growing, there are a great many cases of much increased growth, particularly in shoulder girth after the age of maturity is reached. My own case is one of these. I grew to my present height of 6-3 with a bodyweight of only 140 pounds. In the next several years through constant training, exercise and normal growth, my bodyweight increased only to 167 pounds. Years later, after I returned from France as an officer in the first world, after I had won some hundreds of prizes in my favorite sport, I was still very, very slender, weighing only 10 pounds and was particularly narrow shouldered. For various reasons, I remember so well that my chest was 36 inches, and my shoulders only 42 inches in circumference at this time, when I first learned of barbell training and procured a set or weights for myself. Although my training was rather irregular owing to many other duties, I immediately started to grow all over and improve in the forms of athletics which I enjoyed. Nearly twenty-five years of age at the time I started weight training, having been very slender all my life, so slender that my friends laughingly said that I had to stand twice in one place to cast a shadow, I immediately became larger and somewhat broader. I gained from 170 to 191 the first year, to 206 the second, and then to 230 pounds after three years of training. Later I became much larger and stronger, until the day when the well known photo was taken on my 41st birthday, which appears in my books and training courses. I weighed 266 ½ pounds, had a 52-inch chest and measured 58 inches around the shoulders; a gain of 16 inches in both chest and shoulder size.

I am not the rare exception. A host of other men, even those of more mature years, have increased the circumference of their chests by expanding their rib boxes, have widened and thickened their shoulders, and even thickened the bones. While it is easier to gain when you are still young during the period of normally rapid growth, it is possible to make gains until a rather late period in life. The annual Self Improvement contests in Strength and Health magazine have brought the reports of a host of men over the age of 25 who have made splendid gains in development. It’s the common thing for these men, of any age, to gain 3 ½ inches in chest circumference in 13 weeks of special training. While it is true that some of this gain is increased by muscular development, most of it is rib box expansion, and when the rib box grows you grow all over. Your shoulders which are fastened to the rib box are readjusted and broadened, the arms and legs thicken. More about this later.

Time will prove to you that the shoulders are one of the easiest parts of the body to develop. If you are one of the favored few, who through heredity naturally have a broad pair of shoulders, you are fortunate to have this wide bony framework on which to build. But if you are not favorably endowed by nature don’t despair, it will require longer for you to develop a broad, powerful admiration-creating pair of shoulders which are a source of continued satisfaction and value to you, but with the right methods, with persistence, you will succeed in the end. Progressive weight training is very stimulating. If has proven to develop men until a very advanced age is attained. Vigorous, progressive training vitalizes the internal works of the body, amplifying their action so that increased muscular development, wider shoulders, bigger rib box are not only possible but the normal thing. The experience of the writer points to the fact that men who live right and continue to train progressively can and do gain physically until well past the age of 40. Many improve until they are 50 and then after they have realized their physical desires, with a minimum of effort keep themselves at their physical peak until well along in life. Certainly until they have passed the age of 60.

It is a well known fact that bodily growth continues almost as long as there is life in the body. The nose and ears grow until the age of 100, hair and nails have grown a little even after death, so it is not unreasonable to expect that shoulders can be broadened, chests rounded and deepened and muscular development continued until a very advanced age is reached. First you must desire broad shoulders badly enough, be willing to work for them, adopt the right methods, persist, keep trying, keep striving and you will be rewarded with a wide spreading pair of powerful shoulders in time.

Actual lengthening of the bones can not be certain after maturity even with the stimulating effect of weight training, but there are exceptions to all rules and there have been many exceptions in the strength world. Steve Stanko, as he increased his strength to the point where he was the world’s strongest man and was establishing world’s weightlifting records, grew two inches in height. Dave Mayor, former United States heavyweight champion, increased his bodyweight from 120 to 265 pounds in well muscled condition and grew a full inch in this period, during his twentieth year. He developed the largest muscular arms in the world, 19 ½ inches in circumference, and great strength to accompany it. A few years ago a man by the name of Al Manger, past 21 years of age, weighed less than 100 pounds. He learned of weight training, bought a set of barbells, trained persistently and enthusiastically in his bedroom and a few years later was the strongest man in the nation, the U. S. light-heavy and then the heavyweight lifting champion with a bodyweight in finely drawn muscular condition of 192 pounds. He grew two inches while he was making these gains in strength and development.

Even should you be one whose bones do not increase in length you still can expect outstanding gains. You can revolutionize your physical condition as you continue with your ambition to build a pair of shoulders as broad as a barn door, shoulders which will cause the passerby to turn around and stare and to admire your build. The easiest gains in shoulder width are made by building the deltoid muscles, the muscles on the point of the shoulders. Gains in muscular development alone will make the shoulders inches broader. Then you will thicken and lengthen the attachments which hold the shoulder blades and the clavicles or collarbones in place. With this adjustment of the shoulder girdle and this thickening of the shoulder muscles it would not be unusual for the average man over a period of reasonable training time to gain from two to four inches in shoulder width. And this is enough to mark you as a man apart, a man who is definitely and emphatically broad shouldered, and a man who will be noticed and admired by others wherever he may go. A man who will look inches broader than his companions with their padded shoulders and will definitely outclass them when participating in sports or wearing athletic costume.

And if you are young, in addition to the thickening of the muscles and the readjustment of the bones of the shoulder girdle you can expect increased bone growth, lengthening and thickening of the bones of the shoulders. Young men are starting the practice of weight training earlier in life at the present time. During the age of puberty, of most rapid growth, phenomenal gains are made. The number of magnificently built young men who are already attaining fame for their builds although only in their middle teens is legion. In a year or two of training these young fellows not only build splendid, fine appearing physiques but they lay the foundation for an even more powerful body as they grow older. There are so many younger brothers who grew to be much larger and stronger than their older brothers because they were initiated into the benefits of weight training at an earlier age. One of the most prominent of these is Armand Tanny of California. His photos at 13, at 15, showing phenomenally rapid increases in development, and then ten years later as one of the world’s strongest, best built and widest shouldered young men is good proof of the value of starting young – a man who with continued practice will exceed world’s heavyweight records. There are a host of younger brothers of famous strength athletes who, having learned of weight training earlier in life, have gained so much more strength and development than their elder brothers and fathers.

There are a great many good exercises which will be offered later in this book which will bring about these transformations in bodily construction about which we have been talking. Regardless of your age or your current physical condition, you too can, by following the methods offered in this little book, develop a pair of admiration creating, powerful, useful, broad shoulders.

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