Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Do You Seek Greater Bulk & Power? - Anthony Ditillo

Why Do You Seek Greater Bulk and Power?
by Anthony Ditillo

Just what is a power lifter?

He does not possess, generally speaking, the graceful lines of a champion bodybuilding enthusiast. He does not have the overall flair and speed of foot of the average Olympic Weightlifting champion. No, the power enthusiast is a very special, different type of man. Physically speaking, the average power lifter is a very, very dedicated athlete, the type of man who has the urge of creative power embedded in his very soul. There are no worldwide competitions in which he has a chance to win for himself some glory; in fact, most international coaches are a bit wary of allowing such international competitions to ever take place. They feel, some do, anyway, that such incredibly heavy lifts may damage the body, internally as well as externally. So you see, we power trainees cannot claim ourselves as internationally known athletes, in the strict sense of the word. Moreover, these very lifts with which we are so happy to perform are not in themselves a true indication of good health, coordination, speed of reflex or flexibility; yet we are absolutely dedicated to training on such torturous movements as the full squat, the half squat, deadlifts, etc., and all for the sheer joy of it. What is the motivation behind this apparent fanaticism? Just how can one enjoy placing such physical stress upon oneself? Why not sacrifice some body bulk and obtain a more pleasantly proportioned physique, one which would create comments from friends, relatives and neighbors? These questions are very intricate and self-involved to answer and they only go to show you just how involved and intricate the power trainee really is.

Generally speaking, the average weight trainee was once a sickly, weak, individual who, is a last attempt rose up from the depths of physical, emotional and psychological distress to his well-deserved 'place in the sun'. If this be the case, why, then, would there evolve from the quagmire of training drives, a type of enthusiast who would be willing to ostracize himself from the rest of his fellow weight enthusiasts and alone, and solely on his own seek to develop in himself those qualities in which he alone can perceive any worthwhile socially redeeming value?

There is something about bulk and power training that invades your very soul. It is extremely hard to put into words. The exercise movements themselves are quite simple to perform. The routines one must utilize in order to gain rapidly that much sought after strength are not especially interesting or dynamic in appearance. All in all, power lifting and bulk training is a rather mechanical robot-like procedure, which is performed methodically, yet undoubtedly with great zest and enthusiasm running rampant in the minds of its devotees. There are many en who will do absolutely anything in their quest for greater muscular bulk and power, and when I say anything, I mean anything. Special foods, special diets, special routines, 'the championship way to train', the cheating principle, the power overload principle, these are a few of the many varied thoughts which run through the average power trainer's mind. They are part of his 'bag', so so speak. They make him what he is, that no one can deny.

I became interested in bulk and power training, surprisingly enough, not too long ago. In the beginning of my athletic career of using weights, I, too, was a young ambitious bodybuilder in my early teens, who thought Steve Reeves and Clancy Ross were the living end. I ate, drank, worked, slept and strained for bodybuilding. I had all the various pictures of various champs pasted all over my little cellar walls. I would wear nothing but formfitting tee shirts in winter and summer. When walking around in public I would continually spread my little lats and swell out my 'massive' chest. As you can see, I was a perfect example of a 'musclehead'.

As I now recall my early training years, I realize I was not at all odd or unusual in my emotional desires or my physical makeup. There are even now, in this day and age, literally thousands of young trainees walking around, their heads in a daze, seeking an extra half-inch on their calves and greater definition in their upper pectorals. This is really nothing unusual. Rather, this occurrence is something to be expected; I mean, bodybuilding is such a popular type of pastime for the young physical culture devotee. Since most young men are very concerned about their physical appearance even before they may actually begin bodybuilding, you can see how it would only seem normal and in perfect accord with the average adolescent's mind and emotional makeup to put the preferred interest they show in a kind of sport which would most assuredly improve their own self-image, as well as the image they would constantly see in their training mirrors.

After my relating to you the vast interest there is in bodybuilding, not only in America, but all over the world, it may shock some of you now when I tell you that the majority of power lifters come from the ranks of those young teenage bodybuilders mentioned in the last paragraph. What happened? What made them change so drastically? Why and how such an acute transition? Like all intricate and involved things, the answers are great and many.

I changed over to strict power training not too long ago. I had been bodybuilding for some time, and just as I have already related to you, I followed all the rages of the day. Then something happened; a dark wind came blowing up from out of my future and after reaching me, left me with such an indelible memory that it managed to change, for the most part not only my training, but my entire life as well.

One Friday evening I was down in my cellar as usual, awaiting the arrival of my training partner who, as usual, was a little bit late. I was really 'hopped-up' for this workout, so I decided I had waited long enough and began the workout without him. The first exercise movement on our agenda was that ever-popular bench press. The routine called for five sets of twelve reps, using 200 lb. I got through the first set all right. The second was a little tougher an the third was positively fatiguing. Now, since I was a young and reckless fool, and since my training partner had not yet arrived, I began that fateful fourth set all by my lonesome. I did pretty well up until the tenth rep; then in the middle of the eleventh repetition something strange began to happen. All at once my arms began to tremble and ache; they twitched and shook as is they had a well of their own. And all this happened while the barbell was overhead and I was lying on the bench! Frightened and surprised, I tried cautiously to replace the infernal bar back on the bench pressing rack. Inch by inch I strained my way to the rack, and just when it seemed I was safe and out of danger, the bar came crashing down on me, hitting full force, my mouth and teeth. All at once I realized I must, at all costs, remove the bar off my face and somehow force myself to my feet. Don't ask me how I managed it, but the next thing I knew I was standing upright, holding a towel to my face while the bar which had seemed so ponderous to me only moments ago, was lying five or six feet away, where I had thrown it, in the corner of the cellar floor. Outside of a quick rush to the local emergency ward and the terribly pinching sound of the stitches being put in, and later the insidious pain of having four teeth capped, there is nothing left for me to relate to you concerning this little episode except perhaps a brief explanation of how such an unfortunate occurrence could shape my entire life.

A short while after the accident, whenever I would begin to train again, a short but nauseous felling would leave my mental and physical state in total upheaval. You see, it had finally dawned on me that something that I had wholeheartedly loved and respected had 'turned its back on me' so to speak, and left me with scars and psychological doubts concerning the accident itself, the aftermath (being stared at by parents, by friends, teachers at school, etc.), and also, in this particular case the most important, it left me with the knowledge of my physical weakness in time of sore need and dire necessity, and it was at this time that I first began to doubt the effectiveness of my particular type of physical training.

Being quite honest with myself, I came to realize that although I had drastically altered my physical appearance, strength-wise I was just a little stronger than the average untrained man. This hurt. It meant that for all the hours I spent super-setting, tri-setting, cheat-curling, and all the rest, I was still basically a weak fellow. What was I to do? Should I give up weight training altogether? If I became a weightlifter in the true sense of the word, would I lose all semblance of a symmetrical physique? These questions were very puzzling and had me worried for quite a while. During this time of my life I took my first layoff from training. I spent my days looking though back issues of various magazines in search of an answer to my problem. How could one develop superior strength and a superior body at the same time? Just what type of training was necessary in order to insure your body of adequate physical strength and muscular bulk and impressiveness? These were only a few of the many questions which were in my dark and dreary mind at the time.

It was around this time that I made one of the most important discoveries concerning my future in bulk and power training. It was at this time that I began reading articles concerning Paul Anderson. Shortly afterward I found a few of my back issues which contained some articles about and by Doug Hepburn. And it was by using the example of these two great strong men that I was able to instill within myself my basic power training philosophy.

After reading and rereading the various stories and adventures of both these strong men, I began to notice very many new and interesting things. First and foremost was my initial interest and fascination, so to speak, in their huge physical measurements; why, Hepburn's chest was at least 55", and he almost bench pressed 580 pounds! Outside of a slightly large waist (compared to a bodybuilder's), he was very impressive, physically speaking. What huge bulky arms, and what a deep broad back! This man was a proverbial giant in power musculature. In fact, his fleshy physique actually suited him! No, I just could not realize his appearance with a bodybuilder's type of physique and the ability to lift all those huge weights like he did.

While on the subject of my initial motivations to dedicate myself to bulk and power training, it would be frail indeed not to mention the other part of this dynamic duo, Paul Anderson. Now here was, and is, most assuredly, the strongest man who ever lived. There is no need to try and exaggerate his physical abilities; the lifts speak for themselves. A full squat of over 1200 lbs., a press off rack of nearly 500, a deadlift of over 1000 lbs., a bench press of 600 with little training on the lift and with a narrow grip! As you can readily see, there is no reason to exaggerate the feats of this "monster". And let's not forget his physical measurements altogether either. Now I believe Mr. Anderson will himself admit he is not very pretty to the eye; for one thing his hips and thighs are enormous, and all over he carries quite a bit of fat. But there lies, under this layer of fatty tissue, the largest muscular body in the world! There is no doubt in my mind that if Mr. Anderson ever decided to train down his bodyweight somewhat, although he would never develop into what one would call a champion type of physique, he would still be able to carry 260 lbs. of solid useful muscle quite easily. Even at his huge bodyweight of 360 to 380 lbs., there is still visible muscle all over his arms and shoulders and back, and those muscles of his appear quite firm to the touch! Truly, here were two of the greatest power lifters who ever lived. And all power lifters, both young and old, should be thankful to both these men for their sterling example of just how far the proper training motivation and dedication can take one is his quest of body bulk and greater power.

While I did not want to go all out for strength and therefore pattern Anderson's method of adding bodyweight for the purpose of adding greater power, I was, however, interested in Doug Hepburn's method of greatly adding to his body bulk. If you care to follow his athletic career as I did, by using refernce to the old issues of various magazines, you will also find, as I did, that at the beginning of his career Doug was by no means a large, strong fellow. On the contrary, he was quite normal in every sense of the word, outside of an injured ankle and calf. But somehow, by using a power and bulk routine he was able to greatly add to his bodyweight and measurements and also he became an Olympic weightlifting champion and one of the strongest men in the world.

So it was by using the training principles outlined by both these men that I began my initial attempts at developing a bulky and powerful physique.

So you see, it took an almost critical accident to turn my mind's eye from adolescent bodybuilding to finally advanced power training. And I feel that by relating to you the changes in my emotional and physical development into its present state, that somehow along the line I have enables you to answer the question I first asked at the beginning of this rather wordy dissertation: "Just why are you seeking greater body bulk and power?" Was it due to a sudden realization that you had no real 'future' in the bodybuilding field? Did you somewhere along the way realize you were heading nowhere in your training? Did the whole rigamarole of spread lats and inflated chests begin to disgust you too? Or perhaps you were inspired by some well known star as I was. Or was it the local lifting champ at your neighborhood YMCA? Did you see him literally toy with weights that you could hardly budge? Was there something physically 'attractive' about his musculature? Did you secretly begin to admire his massive proportions?

The answers to these questions belong to you and me alone. No one else could possibly understand the power lifter's enjoyment in lifting heavier and heavier weights, in seeing his massive proportions become bigger and more huge. "Why are you a power lifter?"

If you do not know, who does?

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