Friday, June 29, 2012

Effect of Paired Sets on Volume Load and Efficiency

The Effect of an Upper-Body Agonist-Antagonist Resistance Training Protocol on Volume Load and Efficiency
by Robbins, Young, and Behm (2010)

The objective of this study was to investigate the acute effects on volume load (VL) (load X repetitions) of performing paired sets (PS) vs. traditional set ((TS) training over 3 consecutive sets. After a familiarization session 16 trained men with several years of training experience performed 2 testing protocols using 4 repetition maximum loads:

TS - 3 sets of bench pull followed by 3 sets of bench press performed in approximately 10 minutes, or

PS - 3 sets of bench pull and 3 sets of bench press performed in an alternating manner in approximately 10 minutes.

Bench pull and bench press volume load decreased significantly from set 1 to set 2 and from set 2 to set 3 under both the TS and PS conditions. Bench pull and bench press volume load per set were significantly less under traditional sets as compared to paired sets over all sets, with the exception of the first bench pull and bench press. Session totals for bench pull and bench press volume load were significantly less under traditional sets as compared to paired sets.

Paired sets were determined to be more efficient (Volume Load/Time) as compared to traditional sets. The data suggests that a 2-minute rest interval between traditional sets, or a 4-minute rest interval between paired sets may not be adequate to maintain volume load. The data furthers suggests that that paired set training may be more effective than traditional set training in terms of volume load maintenance and more efficient. Paired set training would appear to be an efficient method of exercise. Practitioners wishing to maximize work completed per unit of time may be well advised to consider paired set training.   

Because of the nature of paired set training, coactivation (the concurrent activation of agonist and antagonist muscles) should be considered. Muscle activity is partially dependent on contractile history, and it is therefore possible, although perhaps unlikely, that the mechanisms associated with coactivation played a role in the attainment of greater volume load observed under the paired set protocol. It has been suggested that preloading may alter the braking phase of the triphasic pattern of the previously loaded musculature when acting as an antagonist during subsequent power exercise (triphasic or ‘‘ABC’’ pattern: This pattern is characterized by a large action burst of activity by the agonist musculature followed by a shorter braking burst of activity by the antagonist musculature of th limb and finally a short clamping burst again by the agonist muscles to complete the movement.) . See here:

However, the triphasic pattern is associated with ballistic movement and is unlikely to have been a factor in protocols that used 4-rep maximum loads. It is possible that fatigue associated with coactivation influenced results. That is, activation of the musculature when acting in an antagonistic manner resulted in fatigue, which negatively influenced performance of that musculature when acting as an agonist.


Under designations such as "super sets," "compound sets," "contrast sets," and others, paired set-type training has been prescribed by practitioners for years. Incorporation of paired set-type modalities into training programs is commonly performed as a time-saving measure. However, scientific research investigating paired set-type methods in terms of time efficiency is limited.

Given similar timelines, it would appear that performing agonist and antagonist work in an alternating manner allows for greater recovery and subsequently greater total loading. More complete physiological recovery will allow higher volumes of work to be performed.

When tracking performance measures over a training cycle, practitioners should be cognizant of the order in which the exercises have been performed in each session. Also, it would appear that the musculature involved in pulling movements may be more fatigue-resistant than that involved in pushing movements. If this proves to be the case, practitioners may wish to account for this when prescribing pushing and pulling exercises.

Predictions regarding the chronic effects of paired set training would be speculative at this time. However, it is very possible that paired set-type protocols are an effective and efficient method for developing strength.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Shape & Power in the Upper Back - Charles A. Smith

Khadr El Touni
Click Pics to ENLARGE

Anton Matysek
The Letters of Robert Burns, courtesy of

Shape and Power in the Upper Back
by Charles A. Smith (1950)

The men of strength who read these articles will have noticed a definite pattern. They have been written to aid not only the lifter but the bodybuilder, and the exercises have been designed so that BOTH could use them. I dealt with the larger muscle masses of the body, and then shifted into the more detailed groups. Now, with the closing chapters of this "Foundations of Power" series, I am getting more specific. You may have observed that the mention of "proportion" and "shape" was more frequent as this series progressed.

Ten or fifteen years ago a famous authority said that if you trained for shape, strength would follow - these articles have been DESIGNED TO REVERSE THAT PROCEDURE. I have always advanced the opinion that if you trained for strength you could be more than sure shape would follow directly in the path of power. As so many of our famous authorities are aware, you can build an extremely "shapely" and "proportionate" physique but be utterly devoid of anything but average strength. It is my firm conviction and honest opinion that a weight trainer must not only "look" strong but must be strong also.

The man of power has that indefinable "something" about him, that certain combination of size, thickness and definition which seems to throw an "aura" of strength and vitality around him - a "glow" as it were. There is no mistaking him for what he is - A STRONG MAN. Build a rock solid foundation, and placing a house on it is an easy job. Build up the power basics and the finishing touches to the physique are minor details. How much easier the weaker muscles respond if the strongest muscles are, or have been working regularly. How much more rapidly they gain in size and strength when you are able to use heavy poundages, which COMBINE THE LARGER MUSCLES GROUPS WITH THE SMALLER, in certain exercises.

Now, you have been practicing the power movements for some time and are ready for those which will add finishing touches to the body and that little bit of extra strength. These exercises are going to work the muscles from different angles and positions than those you may be accustomed to, angles and positions which are not usually encountered in the normal training schedules and exercises. The movements deal with the muscles of the upper back - the latissimus dorsi, the trapezius, the terres majore and parts of the posterior deltoids.

Four strength athletes stand out in my memory as perfect examples of everything that I have been striving to convey to you in these thousands of words. Some score of years ago I managed to see a copy of that wonderful book by Alan Calvert - "Super Strength" - and one picture in it, the frontispiece, captured my imagination and admiration. It was of Anton Matysek and a magnificent back pose. It was the finest of its type I had seen then, and these first impressions have remained with me. There is another picture which has impressed as much, and in some respects more. It is a photo of John C. Grimek. I believe it was taken soon after he returned to the States following the 1936 Olympics. Standing on a beach, John is flexing his trapezius and the effect is sensational. I doubt if any other picture gives such an impression of power and proportion.

So much for the "good lookers". Now to the men who have power, but who are not so proportionate as the famous models named above - Goerner of dead lift fame, and Khadr el Touni of Egypt. Both of these men of might and muscle fairly exude that primitive, stark, naked strength, that "aura" of power possessed only by those of outstanding might. Yes and Wow, that fair aria of bulk and power sung in physical form! The trapezius development of Touni is among the foremost in the world and the upper back power of Goerner unsurpassed. Hermann was able to make a one-hand dead lift of over 700 pounds and a clean upright rowing motion of 287.

From the standpoint of strength and appearance, the development of the lats and and trapezius can make or mar a physique. Nothing looks worse than a good upper body, arms and legs, and a long swan-like neck caused by a lack of trapezius development. Strictly for the birds. You all must have read some novelist who speaks of his hero as possessing the "sloping shoulders of the true strong man." How surely he hit the mark there, and if the phrase doesn't sound familiar to you, consider making it so, give serious thought to the art and practice of learning from the greats of literature. And, as a distinct bonus, the odds of rutting with those of your ilk shall increase tenfold thereafter!

With no trapezius development, the neck looks thin and skinny. It appears devoid of strength and it gives the appearance that the man carrying it around has no vitality to speak of. When a man is sick or well advanced in years, the neck and upper back can become thin and stringy. When an athlete is in the pink of condition, his neck is thick and full, the upper back solid and powerful. Instead of the shoulders looking like a board - all length and corners - they set off the entire physical makeup to the very best advantage,and they convey the appearance of superabundant energy.

An outstanding example of a specialized routine for shoulder improvement is our own Abe Goldberg. Abe's colossal musculature was a little set back by trapezius which were a trifle less developed than the rest of his marvelous body. By following a routine designed to work the upper back in its entirety, he has made some wonderful progress. Everyone is now telling him how thick and powerful he appears. His deltoids, trapezius and neck are in grand shape since he commenced a special POWER schedule. Right now, Abe would be a hard man to beat in any physique competition.

There are other and equally important reasons why a weight trainer should pay plenty of attention to the trapezius and lats. A well built up trapezius muscle is a good preventative against round shoulders and a sunken chest. There are some bodybuilders who allow pectoral movements to bulk too much in their programs and as a natural consequence they are in danger of getting a "pulled forward" effect to the shoulders. All strength athletes who concentrate on pectoral exercises should compensate for the specialization by a well worked out series of upper back exercises. The lats, the erector spinae and the trapezius muscles are POSTURE groups.

The lats through their function of pulling down and back make for a more erect carriage and a larger chest measurement. They not only add size, but they also add shape. They turn a physique from the commonplace into the outstanding. Can you imagine what a body would look like if it was devoid of latissimus development? What a straight up and down appearance would do to an otherwise perfect physical development. Imagine then, the transformation which takes place when a sweeping curve swells up from the waist to the shoulders - it makes all the difference in the world.

So now we have come to the exercises. 

Hitherto, the latissimus and trapezius movements have been performed with the use of various rowing motions and pulleys and latissimus machines. However, the exercises here (use a set/rep scheme that will ultimately aid you in attaining your personal goals) are designed to make full use of barbells and dumbbells, and also for those who do not have the dough, the space or the temperament for pulleys and lat machines. They are also appropriate for both bodybuilders AND lifters (use a set/rep scheme that will ultimately aid you in attaining your personal goals). They can be more than valuable aids to both. 

It has been the previous fashion for trainers and instructors to give rowing motions as trapezius developers. The term "rowing" is not entirely accurate. As anyone who knows who lives near a body of water (ducks doing ninety downwind), rowing or sculling involves the use of the entire body, for the arms play a secondary role to that of the legs and trunk. It is a combination of power from the body, shoulders, legs and arms. The rowing motions develop primarily the pulling and shrugging muscles and the effect on those muscles is nullified if any large body motion enters into the exercise. The movements given in this particular article are unusual and there are three of them which have never before been published.

You may perhaps ask if it is necessary to depart from the orthodox to the unusual.


If you have been in a slump for some time, or are experiencing a stale period then these exercises are just what you need. Novelty means a change, and a change is always good when in a slump. Progress will commence again, and when you have reached the limit of exploiting these exercises you will be able to return to whatever you consider a regular schedule, refreshed and with the energy of a giant. Not Mothra. More like Godzilla.


An incline board is needed for this exercise. If the incline board isn't available, then use an ordinary exercise bench and raise it on one end by setting it on a box (use your head, adapt to supposed setbacks and kick ass nonetheless). Lie with the feet at the top, the high end, and the head, face up, at the lower end. Take two dumbbells and hold them straight out and level with the shoulders in a cross formation. Raise the dumbbells from this position until they touch the body at the hips. Do not allow them to travel back or front of the body but keep them in line with the trunk at all times. Start off with a weight which will enable you to get 8 reps (use a set/rep scheme that will ultimately aid you in attaining your personal goals) and work up to 15 reps for 4 sets. This is an extremely effective latissimus exercise.


Chest supported barbell row. Take an ordinary exercise bench, or lay a board across two boxes. Nothing fancy needed here aside from energy, drive, and ambition. Place a barbell under the bench. Lay face down on the bench so that the head is over the end of the bench. Grasp the bar with the hands a little more than shoulder width apart. Pull the bar upwards until it touches the underside of the bench or board. The bar must be held clear of the ground throughout the exercise, unless you decide otherwise. If you bench hasn't the height, then place the ends on boxes. The advantage of this exercise is that the body and legs are unable to help and the effects of the movement are entirely on the upper back. Variety can be added to the exercise by narrowing or widening the hand spacing and/or changing the location the bar is pulled to. When using a narrow grip the shoulder blades can be brought more closely together and a greater contraction of the trapezius can take place. Commence with a weight which will allow you to use a set/rep scheme that will ultimately aid you in attaining your personal goals, okay?


Lying rear lateral raise. As in the previous exercise, lay face down on a bench with the head over one end. Take two dumbbells and, holding them straight down and touching the floor, raise sideways and up until they are level with the shoulders. When the weights reach this position hold there for a brief pause and then lower and repeat. Get familiar with the movement and then try different set/rep schemes. I mean, how many people even bother to try triples on this kind of thing? Your shoulders are in a fairly safe position and thanks to the traps being potentially a very, very strong muscle group, there's no real fear of dinging and unstringing your rotators and all that en route to reaping some pretty big rewards over the years. Why not, and by the way, who's the boss here? You are. Right? Force out the reps with all you have, as always.


This movement is about he most complete trapezius developer that is  - that is, insofar as exercises go which simply and solely "function" a muscle. As far as non-compound movements go. Take two heavy dumbbells in the hands - they would be around the weight you could clean with a pair of dumbbells for the same number of reps. Actually, how many people do dumbbell shrugs for singles? Just one rep, taken from the floor then shrugged up high, held for a second and then returned to the floor. This could be good, a grip test in a trap dress. Very sexy at your next gym cotillion. Or, go lighter. Keep doing reps until the bells drop out of your hands. There are no definite number of sets or reps with which you should commence and work up to. Just make as many as you can until it's virtually impossible for you to perform another. And no, I didn't add that last bit on my own. It's there in the original article, God Bless this Charles Smith.

Force the sets, reps and poundage with all you have.


Hise Shrug. Here is an exercise which is expressly for strength. I have always felt that a great deal of weight should be handled in movement which involve the trapezius and the other muscles of the shoulder girdle. That's two God Blesses! You need adjustable squat racks or jerk boxes here. Load a bar up to your best dead lift single. Get under the bar as if you were going to make a squat, and lift it off the rack. Pull the hand in until they almost touch the deltoids - use a close grip for these, it makes a difference - press the neck back, and then shrug the shoulders HARD. As they raise, PUSH UP WITH THE HANDS and then SQUEEZE THE SHOULDERS BACK AND TOGETHER - or at the least try to make them touch. Thrust the chest out and breathe in as deeply as you are able, exhaling with great force when you relax the shoulders. Start off with 8-10 reps and work up to 15 or 20 for as many sets as you can take.

If you've done this exercise in the past, try it again, but with the exact instructions given above. 
Not quite the same, is it.

Work hard on all your lifting, force the reps, and success will be yours. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Terlazzo and the Tranquil Mind - Roger Eells

The Value of a Tranquil Mind
by Roger Eells (1941)

While I had previously observed the value of conservation of energy and the maintenance of a tranquil mind, it was never so forcibly brought to my attention as when I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in the company of Bob Hoffman, John Grimek and Anthony Terlazzo at the time they visited Columbus for the purpose of giving a weightlifting demonstration.

It is around Terlazzo this article is written, for he so strongly exemplifies the point I desire to bring out. He is the one person I know who has developed to perfection this ability to completely relax, to conserve his energy, to maintain a tranquil mind.

It would be superfluous for me to discuss his merits as a weightlifter. You are all (or should be) familiar with his ability along those lines. You know he has reached the very top in his class as either a 132 or 149 pounder, but have you considered WHY he has attained this enviable position?

Certainly it is not entirely due to the fact that he was born extraordinarily strong. His lifts were not far above average during his very early competitive days, nor can the entire credit be pegged to his leverages or proper use of them. Even granting that he was was so situated as to have serious competition, this and the preceding attributes would still not make him such an outstanding lifter as to exceed many of our good heavyweights in North America, and the entire world for that matter. No, there is still something else.

I remember well the Terlazzo of 1934 when I first saw him compete in the National Championships in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a 132 pounder then and at the top of the heap, even as he is today at the 148-pound class. However, he was an entirely different boy in those days. He lifted no more for only one reason . . . he had not developed the art of relaxation. He was nervous, paced, moved about constantly the evening before in the hotel. He had a bad shoulder, as I recall, and this helped aggravate the condition.

Each year after that, when I would again see Anthony, he would strike me as being much more composed than the year before. He once told me that he was on to and he intended to stay there. He asked me if I knew how he was going to do it and I replied that I had no idea. There were other boys moving up all the time, and unless a lifter keeps on his toes he is likely to wake up some morning to find his crown resting on another fellow's head.

"Well," Tony replied, "I don't expect to do it with muscles alone, but with this up here too," as he tapped his forehead.

There you have it. He had learned and applied another secret. He had recognized the value of conserving his nervous energy rather than wasting it on useless pacing about and worrying. Now Anthony directs his energy into the right channels. He WILLS that when the time comes to lift he will have sufficient strength to accomplish the task he has set as his goal. He KNOWS what he wants to do and he DOES it.

But now to the Terlazzo of December, 1940.

The telephone rang and as I answered it a voice said, "This is Anthony. We're out at the edge of town getting some gas and will be down to the hotel in a few minutes. Why not come and see us?"

When Saramarie and I arrived they were already there and Tony was stretched out on the bed. He didn't look like he had just had a trip of over 400 miles by car. Certainly he must not have driven the car as he didn't look it . . . but neither did the others.

The next morning when we again went to their room there was Terlazzo still stretched out on the bed, waiting to go to breakfast. We walked to the elevator and someone rang for it while Tony dropped into the nearest chair. Upon our return to the room he didn't sit down but again chose the bed upon which to recline.

It was the same during the entire time they were here. Terlazzo has developed the very valuable habit of never standing when he can sit, and never sitting when the opportunity presents itself to lie down. It isn't a case of laziness on his part. He worked hard to develop this ability and it has paid him great dividends. He's been the world champion for a year or two, and he will likely be the world champ for a year or two to come.

Did you ever notice a cat . . . its actions and habits, I mean. Did you ever see one just standing around, unless it was just for a moment to listen to some unusual noise that had attracted its attention? No, I'm sure you didn't. But then, most people are too ignorant to look to animals when they want to reach a goal or fix a problem, aren't they. Anyway, notice that when they're not moving about they lie down and relax completely.

Sometime, when you have the opportunity, feel the muscles of a cat and then the muscles of a dog. Notice the difference. The muscles of the cat in relaxation are extremely soft and pliable, while the muscles of the dog are much harder. Frighten a sleeping cat and it will move out of repose so rapidly that the human eye can scarcely follow it. The dog's movements are tortoise-like in comparison.

If one has the desire to learn composure, the art of relaxation and poise, then study the habits and actions of a cat. I don't know whether Terlazzo has ever done this, but if not he has unconsciously developed the same characteristics. He relaxes at every opportunity, conserves his energy much as our feline friend, then when the time comes to release this stored energy he does so with explosive force. So easily, so effortlessly does he lift in excess of 300 pounds that we cannot bring ourselves to believe it is done with muscles in the ordinary sense of the word.

Terlazzo has made this habit a valuable asset in more ways than one, but particularly has he used it to excel in his chosen endeavor as a weightlifter. You may not have the desire to become a champion in the weight game, but certainly you must be interested in the development of your body or you wouldn't be reading this.

If you are thin or weak it is entirely possible you are in that condition for no other reason than you have never made the effort to conserve your energy or to maintain a tranquil attitude towards the world about you. It is a difficult task to control oneself if of a nervous disposition but the rewards are well worth the effort.

I have seen men who were of highly nervous temperament who, after gaining control of themselves, increased their strength to the extent that you would not have believed they were the same people. There is a lesson behind the success of Terlazzo.  He is a fellow who has made his own success. He has used his head as well as his muscles to better advantage because first of all, he used his head.

Exercise Intensity and Body Fat Loss - Susan Puhl and Kristine Clark

 "Journal of Sport Behavior"
03/01/1990 to present
Four times yearly 

Exercise Intensity and Body Fat Loss
Susan M. Puhl and Kristine Clark (1992)

Aerobic exercise is often added to a weight loss program as a means to both increase caloric expenditure and improve muscle tone and fitness. Many individuals who include aerobic exercise in a weight loss program believe that in order for exercise to aid in fat loss, the exercise must be performed at low intensity.

Anyone who watches a 10K run, marathon, triathlon or other endurance sports event will realize the fallacy of this belief. The top finishers in such events are invariably lean individuals. Yet these athletes train at very high intensities. Why, then, does the myth persist that exercise must be of low intensity if it is to lead to fat loss? The question might be answered by identifying the type of fuel substrate (fat vs. carbohydrate) the body uses during exercise.

During prolonged exercise at low intensity (for example, a young healthy adult walking three miles in one hour), exercising muscles derive the majority of their energy from the aerobic use of fats. However, a significant amount of carbohydrates are also being used. As exercise intensity increases, the proportional use of carbohydrates as a fuel source increases, while the proportional use of fat decreases. Hence, during high intensity exercise, the muscles are deriving more of their energy from carbohydrates than from fat. This is advantageous, since the body gets more usable energy from the oxygen in uses when it burns carbohydrates.

Identification of the major fuel substrate used during exercise of varying intensities provides the basis for the belief that only low intensity exercise is beneficial to fat loss. Since the body derives a greater percentage of energy from fat during low intensity compared to high intensity exercise, many individuals believe that low intensity exercise is better for fat loss than high intensity exercise.

This seemingly simple explanation fails to consider two important factors. First, an exercise bout is a single event occurring during the day. During an average day, a person will participate in many activities and ingest quantities of various foods. The activities will draw from both the carbohydrate and fat fuel stores, while the ingested food will act to resupply both stores. Withdrawals and replenishments are continually occurring throughout the day. However, it is the balance between total calories consumed and total calories used, NOT the source of the calories used, which determines whether a person actually loses body fat. Second, while the body does indeed derive a greater percent of its energy from fat during low intensity exercise, the total amount of energy derived from fat may, in fact, be greater during high intensity exercise.

During low intensity exercise a large portion of the fuel is from fat stores, and relatively little it taken from the carbohydrate stores. The food ingested at the next meal is used to replenish these stores. Some of the fat in the meal will be used in essential body functions, but most of it will not be used immediately. Instead, it will be put into fat storage for use when needed. The carbohydrates in the meal will be used to refill the carbohydrate stores, but since relatively few carbohydrates were used during the exercise, only a small amount of carbohydrates will be used to replenish the stores.

Over the course of the day, if the body burns the same amount of carbohydrates and fat as was taken in through the food ingested, then no weight is lost or gained. The fact that an exercise bout may have used a greater percentage of fat than carbohydrates during the event will not affect the overall fat stores, if there is a balance between caloric intake and caloric expenditure. If, however, over the course of the day, the body withdraws more from its stores than it deposited (burns more calories than consumed), then there well be a weight loss. Since stored energy in the body is in the form of fat, the excess energy used must have been withdrawn from the fat stores, regardless of the fuel source used during the exercise.

Consider the exercise sessions below, completed by a typical 35-year-old woman, weighing 140 pounds:


- Distance 4 miles
- Speed 4 mph
- Duration 60 minutes
- Total Calories 270 kcal
- Calories from Fat 60%, 160 kcal

- Distance 4 miles
- Speed 6 mph
- Duration 40 minutes
- Total Calories 450 kcal
- Calories from Fat 40%, 180 kcal

- Distance 6 miles
- Speed 6 mph
- Duration 60 minutes
- Total Calories 680 kcal
- Calories from Fat 40%, 270 kcal

During the four-mile walk she will indeed derive much of her energy from fat stores, but it results in only a 270 kcal expenditure. Completing the same distance (four miles), but increasing the intensity of the exercise to a jog, increases the caloric expenditure to 450 kcal. If the exerciser increases the intensity and jogs six miles in one hour, there is a further increase in caloric expenditure to 680 kcal - more than double the caloric expenditure of the one-hour walk. High intensity exercise (in this case the jogging)  burns more calories than low intensity exercise (the walking) when both are done for the same distance (four miles) or the same time (one hour). Additionally, the total calories from fat are greater for both examples of high intensity exercise than for the low intensity exercise. If weight loss is a major goal, high intensity exercise (jogging) will lead to quicker weight loss.

A 40-minute session of jogging will result in more calories burned and faster body fat loss than a 40-minute session of walking; however, low intensity exercise does provide other health benefits, including improved blood cholesterol, reduced hypertension and improved ability to manage stress. Additionally, low intensity exercise programs are often easier to fit into daily life and to continue over time than high intensity programs. Because of that, greater long term weight loss may occur through a low intensity program, since the exerciser is more likely to continue a low intensity program as a normal part of his or her lifestyle. For example, much more fat can be lost through six months of daily four-mile walks than through two months of daily four-mile jogs.

As discussed above, weight loss or gain is determined by the balance of caloric expenditure and intake. If weight loss is a primary goal, and low intensity exercise seems most appropriate based on lifestyle and interests, then managing caloric intake may provide an alternative method to higher intensity exercise for more rapid, safe fat loss. Several key elements described below will assist in successful management of food intake in a weight management and exercise program:

1.) The fat (or carbohydrates) burned during exercise (whether high or low intensity) will be replaced if enough calories are consumed. Consequently, an overall reduction in food intake - with special emphasis on reducing fat-rich foods owing to their high caloric counts - will assist in weight loss. A loss of one pound of body fat requires a 3,500 calorie deficit - either through additional expenditure (movement) or a reduction in food intake, or both. As discussed above, low intensity exercise does not make a large contribution to a caloric deficit. Reduction of caloric intake by up to 700 calories per day (provided total caloric intake does not fall below 1200 calories per day) may help in speeding weight loss safely.

2.) A greater volume of food, with fewer calories, can be eaten if the fat content of the food is low. For example, two cups of cooked carrots provide about 100 calories (8 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fat), whereas one cup of potatoes fired in one tablespoon of corn oil provides approximately 235 calories (14 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat). Be eating the carrots rather than the fried potatoes, not only can a larger portion be eaten, but more vitamins and minerals are consumed.

3.) Water is an essential nutrient often overlooked by individuals interested in weight control. Low intensity exercise typically does not result in sufficient water loss through perspiration to significantly stimulate the thirst mechanism. Drinking 64 ounces of water (8 cups) each day will help maintain both proper hydration and a level of fullness that may help reduce caloric intake. Since many people choose to eat when they are actually thirsty, careful attention to fluids consumed may help reduce caloric intake.

Practical Application

The choice of exercise intensity in a weight-management program should be based on a clear evaluation of goals. 

If relatively rapid, safe weight loss is the primary goal of the exercise program, higher intensity exercise may be preferable to to low intensity exercise, provided the exercise is not so stressful that it is discontinued after only a few weeks or months.  

If, on the other hand, reduction of coronary risk factors, an improved outlook on life and socialization are significant goals, then low intensity exercise can provide these benefit (along with fat loss) as much or more than higher intensity exercise.

Individuals who choose a low intensity exercise program, yet want a more rapid weight loss than is possible with exercise alone, can increase the rate of fat loss through diet manipulation which emphasizes low-fat foods and plenty of fluids.      


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Breathing Squat is Foolproof, BUT - Roger Eells

With all that has been written on the correct manner of performing breathing squats one would naturally think there could not be one last person who would but understand exactly how to perform this movement.

The title of this article covers the situation entirely except for the word BUT. The squat is foolproof, and especially is this true of the breathing squat (and here's that word again) but for the fact that too many readers skip the details when reading the instructions on its performance.

There is no padding in the articles that appear in VIM. I'm careful to cut all material, whether in my own writings or those that are sent in by other authors, which does not say something that is to your advantage to know.

In spite of the careful editing of the articles it is surprising the number of men who drop in on me who swear they perform my version of the exercise correctly. If they haven't gotten good results I know that are incorrectly executing the exercise, and request them to demonstrate. Invariably they perform it in the wrong manner. I show them how it is done only to be informed that it wasn't in the magazine that way. A reference here and there in VIM convinces them that they were mistaken and they return home to write in a few weeks that they are registering more rapid gains than ever before in their life.

Let me urge all who have not increased their chest size and bodyweight to go back over the articles; this time don't just scan them but really study them. VIM is the bodybuilder's handbook, a manual. It isn't just a magazine full of photographs for your entertainment; it has high quality instructions that will assure you of reaching parts of your physical goal if you will only take the trouble to read the articles carefully and apply the suggestions contained in them.

There are rules that govern the correct way to implement the squat in this manner and I shall take them up one at a time, discussing them to whatever extent is necessary in order to prevent any misunderstanding in the future.


Experience has revealed that the correct amount of weight to use when performing the breathing squat for chest development, bodyweight increase and, yes, even to increase the size and shapeliness of the legs, is no more than bodyweight. Strangely enough, the more advanced man may often find it to his advantage to handle considerably less than bodyweight. Observation has revealed in a number of cases that advanced men progress more rapidly when using a weight lighter than is being handled by by men whose exercise experience is no longer than two or three months. Now don't jump to conclusions, there are substantial reasons for this. In the first place the beginner must strive to handle more and more weight for that is the initial problem to overcome, i.e., getting his strength up to the point where he can stop burning so much energy through heavy exertions and reach the point where he can drop the poundage to the place which will permit him to squat with a light weight to a greater advantage. Not using all his strength and conserving a great proportion of his energy he now approaches the condition which will result in more rapid gains.

That is the secret behind the rapid strides of the advanced man who realizes the benefit of lighter weights at higher repetitions in the breathing squat.

Another sound reason for using a weight no more than bodyweight is, the bar bell is so light it does not compress the shoulders and cramp the chest. It leaves it flexible . . . an extremely important condition if rapid chest growth is expected.


Abdominal breathing will not give results excepting in bodyweight gains. Chest gains will be no more than that which can be expected from ordinary squats. The bodyweight increase will be greater in abdominal breathing-squats than with the regular squat and for that reason is the better method . . . but, why look for a zircon when a diamond lies before you? When practicing the breathing squat do it in the manner that assures you of all its benefits. That is, breathe costally (inspiration and expiration produced chiefly by movements of the ribs), and not abdominally.

When you breathe do it in such a manner that your chest will rise and fall, not your abdomen. This stretching, concussion effect on the ribs loosens the cartilage attachments of the sternum and results in greater flexibility of the entire region. It gives you a greater expansion. You job then is to carry yourself erect. In addition, incorporate the pullover, rowing motion and the exercise with a cable that affects the latissimus muscles in order that greater tone will result in the back muscles which will in turn hold the chest in an elevated position.

As to the number of breaths to be taken between squats we must determine through experimentation. No two individuals react in the same manner. For the beginner three deep breaths are about right, but as he progresses he should take more breaths between squats, shortening them to the panting style. By panting, I mean the condition which you experience when you have run 100 yards or so. Copy your breathing after that. The more advanced man . . . one with several years incorrect exercise experience behind him . . . may find it necessary to 10 to 15 breaths between squats. Now that is not such a chore as you would first think. That number of breaths can easily be accomplished and 20 squats executed in 3 minutes. When the poundage is no more than bodyweight it is not so uncomfortable, I assure you.


To work at high reps it is almost a necessity to use a cambered bar. It prevents the bar from rolling on your neck and shoulders which, besides being most uncomfortable, wastes a lot of energy because of the necessity of fighting to keep your balance when squatting with a straight bar.


I encourage the beginner to squat with a straight back until such time as his muscles have strengthened sufficiently that injury is unlikely. After this initial period he is left on his own, and will eventually go into the positions which are most advantageous for his particular leverages.


20 is about right for the beginner and may prove satisfactory for the more advanced man. However, two, three, and even four sets of 20 each are often needed on the advanced body culturist. Sometimes the problem can be solved by remaining at 20 reps and increasing the number of breaths. On the other hand, if the fellow in question has exercised over a period of years, has become tough, and hasn't registered gains for a year or two he may find it necessary to increase the number of reps both in the squats and breaths between.

There is a solution in one of the above methods for every one of you regardless of your past experience. Make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly and then experiment to determine which is the method needed in your case.

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