Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The One Movement Program - Walt Boucher

Arnold Snell, cleaning an 85-pound dumbell gripped by the middle finger then pressing it overhead.

Charles MacMahon, Henry Sincosky, Antone Matysek

Melvin Wells

The One Movement Program
by Walt Boucher

Are you looking for variance in your training? Have you been plodding along doing the same old exercises time after time? Do you want to jar yourself out of a rut and bring concentration and fun back into your training? Don’t go away, because I’m going to tell you about a simple idea that is going to change the way you may think about planning your workouts. What may first appear to you as a monotonous system at first could very well prove to be very stimulating after you have tried it. All I ask is that you try it before passing judgment.

We all know what spectacular results are had when the sun’s rays are brought to focus on a given point by means of a magnifying glass. The power of the great star is concentrated and achieves tremendous results. One thing at a time has been the rule of the sages thru the ages. I’m not going to tell you that I have something new, because I haven’t. Perhaps my little system is new, but it embodies the timeless philosophy of “one thing at a time.” Wasn’t there something written by William Shakespeare in one of his great plays about a man with double duty found pausing, reflecting on both and thus neglecting both?

What in the world am I getting at! What have sages, old Bill Shakespeare and the sun’s rays got to do with it. I’ll answer and say I believe it has everything to do with building both physique and strength. My system allows you to take the “this one thing I do” philosophy and exploit it rightfully for your own advantage. It will do things for you. Am I asking you, judging from the title of this short article, to take one exercise and play it for all it’s worth for hours on end several training sessions a week? No! I’m not! But let’s not scatter our shots.

Here is what I’m getting at. Normally you do from 8 to 12 exercises during a training session; sometimes more, sometimes less, but you, more often than not, regulate yourself between this figure. You may use light dumbells to top off your heavier barbell work, which is good, but the barbell (unless you’re specializing on dumbells) gets the brunt of the attack and keeps you busy most of the time. The barbell seems to be the instrument of choice most often when it comes to serious lifting. It has been in my case, certainly. In the past it has been my custom to do about 10 barbell exercises and then at the end of my session to do several shoulder movements with a lighter pair of dumbells. Side raises, real laterals, etc. Yes, I have used dumbells in the past and I like them a great deal. In fact, 25 years ago when I first got my dunking into the weightlifting waters I, at the advice of a brother who had a lot of experience in training, used dumbells exclusively until both he and I tackled the barbells seriously. I honestly think that barbells render the better body and greater strength. You can concentrate right on them; no swaying this way and that, no going off balance, just get set right and go. You can really dig into barbells. This doesn’t mean at all that dumbells are inferior as a lifting instrument. No, no, no! Cyr, Appolon, Grimek and Sandow to some extent used dumbells to their decided advantage. But it’s hard to do heavy bench presses, repetition jerks and big squats with dumbells; you can, but it is unwieldy and awkward. So the barbell is best, in my opinion. And no one standard exercise is necessarily better than another because they are all needed to mold and strengthen the man. There are countless barbell exercises, but if we were to segregate the basic movements we would find about a dozen basics. But let’s see what happens when we do one thing at a time.

Let’s start with the basic press. Am I suggesting that you just practice just this one exercise and none other on a training day? Yes, I am. You might wonder where the inspiration and variety are in this idea. Just to work on presses for a long time at once and nothing else would bore you, more than likely.

In the press you have countless variations, too many to list them all here. Strict military press, Olympic press, press behind neck, continental press, narrow and wide grip presses, one dumbell military presses, side presses, see-saw presses, dumbell push presses, one and two arm variations, etc., etc., etc. An endless variety, and nothing written in stone says you have to stick with just one form of the press each session, does it? You can drop it if you want to. You can always go back to your customary routine.

Everyone knows how to curl. There are countless variations here as well. Barbell, dumbell, swingbell. plate, standing, seated, incline with bar or dumbell, spider curls, reverse, Zottman, hammer, pulley, etc., etc., etc.

The rowing movements, pullovers, squatting, etc. all lend themselves to endless varieties. No monotony here. What sometimes causes exercising to lose allure is lack of creativity.

To recap. Select a movement: pressing, curling, pulling, squatting, benching, etc. Now, for that day’s session perform several variations on the basic theme. Did you ever consider how many forms of prone pressing there are?

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