Friday, October 31, 2014

A Guide to Shoulder Training - Don Ross

Don Ross
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Lou Ferrigno

Don Ross (1973)

Big shoulders are indicative of a powerful man, even more so than arm development. When a weightlifting champion, pro wrestler, of heavyweight boxing champion is seen wearing a coat or sport jacket, it is the width of his shoulders that makes him stand out in a crowd. Record bench presses and Olympic lifts are largely the result of superior shoulder strength. 

Those who begin bodybuilding with wide shoulders are very fortunate. Bone structure largely determines a person's shoulder girth. Those with wide scapula (shoulder blades) can more easily achieve that tapered look that is very much emphasized in modern physique competition. If you re not blessed with wide shoulders, you have special work to do to make up for this and your shoulder routine will be different from that of a broader person.

A) Training for Width

When I began bodybuilding, my shoulders were considerably under par. It seemed as though my hips were wider than my shoulders. I did not let this discourage me and, in fact, worked my shoulders more than any other body part in many of my workouts. Shoulder work cannot be over-emphasized. I have yet to see a pair of overdeveloped shoulders.

To begin with, shoulder width by skeletal structure can be broadened somewhat. This can be done by stretching the ligaments of the scapula. The best way to do this is with wide grip chin-ups. Spacing your hands far apart on the bar, do two sets of as many chin-ups as possible. If you have wrist straps available, use them to help you hang onto the bar. After each set, when you are no longer able to perform any more reps, let yourself hang for a minute or so. 

The next two exercises in this routine are for enlarging the outer head of the deltoid muscles. This will complete the wide look by thickening the shoulder muscles themselves. Using a collar-to-collar grip on a standard barbell, do four sets of presses behind the neck. Bring the bar all the way down to the base of the neck, then lock out overhead. Do between 6-8 reps. Use a weight that makes that final rep of each set a real struggle.

The last exercise is the upright row. This is great for shoulder width, but it also builds the trapezius muscles between the neck and the deltoid. If narrow shoulders are your problem, it is best to avoid too much trap work since large trapezius muscles can detract from the width of your shoulders. The same goes for neck development. Some neck work should be done, but avoid an excess of these exercises. Grip the bar with your hands only a couple of inches apart. Keep your body straight and pull the bar up to the t op of your pectoral muscle, just under the clavicle. Do two sets of 8-10 reps.

Course A - 
1) Wide Grip Chin, 2 sets of as many reps as possible.
2) Wide Grip Press Behind Neck, 4 x 6-8.
3) Upright Row, 2 x 8-10.

B) Build Giant Deltoids

After six to eight weeks on the above shoulder widening course, it will be time to concentrate on training the deltoid muscles for muscular mass. If your shoulders are naturally wide, you can start off with this routine. 

The first exercise is the incline barbell press. Use a grip beyond shoulder width while lying on an incline bench. Do 3 sets of 6 reps. This exercise will add size to the frontal deltoid head as well as building the area where the pectoral muscles of the chest tie in with the deltoids. 

The standing alternate dumbbell press is one of the best all-around upper body developers. Use heavy dumbbells and try to do your first three or four reps without too much bending from side to side. Do your last reps using the bending motion to assist you. This will enable you to use a heavier weight and hence add muscular bulk to the deltoid. This exercise will also firm up the obliques and bring out those finger-like serratus muscles below the chest. Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

The high pull is similar to the upright row. Use a wider grip, about shoulder width. Use as heavy a weight as possible for the number of reps recommended. Start with the barbell on the floor. Pull hard till the bar is pulled up to chest level. Unlike upright rowing, the bar goes down to the floor with each rep. In all of these exercises try to add weight every few workouts, whenever you can do more reps than are recommended. Do 4 sets of 4 reps in the high pull.

Course B -
1) Incline Press, 3 x 6.
2) Standing Alternate DB Press, 3 x 6.
3) High Pull, 4 x 4.

C) Definition Training

Use the deltoid size routine for at least two months. During this time increase your intake of high protein foods, especially meats and dairy products. The next routine will accomplish several purposes. First, it will concentrate on areas we didn't use much in the last routine. This will develop seldom used muscle fibers, spurring your deltoids on to even greater size gains. It will complete the development of all three sections of the muscle, creating symmetry. Finally, it will chisel out striations and separation.

This will be accomplished by the use of concentration exercises for each muscle area. The first exercise is the seated lateral or fly. Sit on a bench holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Sitting on a bench will discourage back bending. Keep your palms facing downward throughout the movement and your arms slightly bent. Raise your arms until your hands are directly over your shoulders. Do 5 sets of 6-8 reps.

For the next exercise you will need a rubber chest expander or a set of cables. This is a great piece of equipment and is a must for a traveling bodybuilder. Make sure you buy an expander set of the right strength. You should be able to do at least eight reps of the following exercise with it. Keeping your elbows locked and holding your arms straight out in front of you, pull your straight out to your sides. Don't bend your elbows! Do as many reps as possible. These will develop your posterior, or rear deltoids. Bentover lateral raises accomplish similar results, however, with the expander resistance increases toward the end of the movement where the most work is needed. Do 3 sets of as many reps as possible and stay on this course until the acronym AMRAP becomes popular with weight trainers.

To build size and definition in the frontal deltoids, hold a light barbell with a shoulder width grip. Keeping your arms straight and not bending your elbows, raise the barbell over your head. This is the front delt raise. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

In this final program don't rest for more than a minute between sets. Do each rep strictly. Get a maximum amount of reps out of each set in all three programs. Work hard and diligently on each program for two months. At the end of the six months you should notice quite a difference in your shoulder development.

Course C -
Seated Lateral Raise, 5 x 6-8.
Expander Rear Delt Exercise, 3 x maximum.
Full Front Raise, 3 x 6-8.   


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arnold's Body of Work - Sean Hyson

                                                           The History of Muscle Beach
 Article by Sean Hyson:

 Carb Backloading,
What's Old is New

Click Pics to ENLARGE

The most famous physique in the history of the world has had many shapes and sizes. See how Arnold has transformed his body as he's moved from bodybuilder to movie star to Governator - -
and back.

Trying to choose Arnold's best look is like attempting to pick his best movie one-liner. His physique has undergone so many changes over the years, each one awesome in its own way, that it becomes the proverbial apples vs. oranges debate. But many bodybuilding pundits agree that Arnold's peak shape - onstage, anyway - came at the 1974 Mr. Olympia, a year prior to the contest filmed for the movie Pumping Iron (which causal fans assume was Arnold's most impressive showing). On the 40th anniversary of that competition, we look back at how Arnold's physique has followed his amazing career, changing for contests, movies, and the demands of a life as public as any ever lived.

1974 Mr. Olympia Chest/Back Workout

Arnold cut the range of motion on his bench presses one-quarter of the way from lockout in order to keep tension on his pecs. On wide-grip pullups, however, he lowered his body until he felt a deep stretch in his lats, which activates them better. Arnold used this routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bench Press superset Wide Grip Pullup, 5 x 10-12.
Dumbbell Flye superset Seated Cable Row, 5 x 10-12.
Dip (to failure) superset Bentover Row, 5 x 12.
Cable Crossover superset Dumbbell Row, 3 x 12.


  On Oct. 12, 1974, Arnold swaggered onto the stage at New York City's Felt Forum to meet Lou Ferrigno. Though the man who would be Hulk was four years younger and 20 pounds heavier, Arnold's smirk grew wider as he hit his first few poses. At 240-plus pounds, yet with a waistline that still measured just 34 inches, Arnold had brought his best-ever body to the Olympia dais -- and he knew it. He'd decided months earlier that he'd retire from bodybuilding after that night, and wanted to punctuate his reign over the sport by leaving no doubt that he was the greatest bodybuilder ever.

His blend of mass, symmetry, and definition was absolutely perfect. His arms were thick, his already legendary biceps fully peaked. Even Ferrigno, at 6'5", couldn't out-muscle him.

At the same time, Arnold hadn't sacrificed any of the definition he'd shown the year before. When he hit his chest poses, lines etched across his pecs as if being chiseled in right before your eyes. His abs and thighs, though never his strong suit, were sharp and fully formed.

He had no weak point. He was the best bodybuilder in the world.


Arnold began training at age 15. While his focus was always on bodybuilding, he wanted his muscles to be not only aesthetic but also powerful. Heavy training in the form of Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting were part of his routines almost from the beginning. Understanding that the traps and spinal erectors developed best with heavy clean and deadlift movements, Arnold worked up to sets of only 5, 3, and from time to time, single reps. "By forcing myself to go to the limit," he wrote in his 1985 book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, "I counterbalanced the lighter-weight, higher-rep training that made up the majority of my workouts."

After less than a year of training, Arnold made his first contest appearance ever, in a weightlifting competition held in a beer hall by the Athletic Union in Graz, his hometown. He clean and pressed 150 pounds. "The crowd gave a big cheer," he wrote in his 2012 biography Total Recall. "The applause had an effect like I'd never imagined." Buoyed by the audience, Arnold pressed 185 on his next attempt -- "35 pounds more than I ever had before . . . I discovered that I performed much, much better in front of others."

Arnold's Weightlifting Workout

This routine, which Arnold followed in the mid-60s, combines conventional bodybuilding training with Olympic weightlifting exercises that build brute strength. He rested as long as needed, sometimes up to five minutes, between sets of heavy exercises.

Clean and Press - 5 x 5.
Push Press - 6, 4, 2.
Upright Row - 10, 6, 4.
Lateral Raise - 3 x 10.
Barbell Curl - 3 x 10.
Overhead Triceps Extension - 3 x 10. 

Later, Arnold had other victories in strength competitions, including the International Powerlifting Championships and the 1967 annual Munich stone-lifting contest, in which he hoisted a 560-pound stone -- with no warmup. By the end of the 1960s, Arnold weighed 250 pounds, had a 520 bench press, and carried a physique that was rough and lacking definition, but undeniably Herculean.

Of course, Arnold's flirtation with powerlifting led to his friendship with future Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu, who Arnold in turn encouraged to take up bodybuilding. As Arnold wrote in his Encyclopedia, "Franco and I started out as weightlifters, which gave us a muscle density that bodybuilders who have not done power training lack."


As Arnold's film career took off in the late 1970s, his training shifted to suit whatever role he had to embody. As he told Men's Fitness in 2012, "When I did Stay Hungry, [director] Bob Rafelson made me lose 30 pounds. So two-thirds of my training was cardio and one-third was weight training." In contrast, when Arnold made Conan the Barbarian, "they wanted me to look like a powerful guy who had gotten his body through fighting and hard work. I had to be big and strong but not as defined so I did heavier weight training."

In general, throughout Arnold's prime film-making years, he used lighter training loads and incorporated more circuit work, sometimes doing a set of up to six exercises in a row without rest. The intense pace kept his heart rate up, allowing him to burn more calories and stay lean while keeping every muscle group pumped. It also allowed him to accomplish workouts in well under an hour, which made his travel and shooting schedules more manageable.

Arnold was renowned for having a massive trailer delivered to sets of his movies, so that he could train between shooting scenes. He even allowed his coworkers to work out in it, included ex-wrestler (and fellow future governor) Jesse Ventura, while making Predator in the Mexican jungle.

In 1997, Arnold underwent open heart surgery to repair a defective valve, and doctors cautioned him to reduce the intensity of his training going forward. In 2003, he needed shoulder surgery after an accident on the set of Terminator 3 -- the shoulder was operated on again in 2012. 

Arnold's Workout Today

The exercises are done as a circuit. The number of circuits depends on how much time he has. He rests two minutes after the calf raise, and after the circuits are done, finishes off with the Swiss Ball crunch.

High Intensity Intervals - use an exercise bike or elliptical machine. Work hard for 30 seconds, then go easy for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Circuit (15 reps throughout)
Bench Press
Lat Pulldown
Lateral Raise
Lawnmower Row
Barbell Curl
Single Leg Calf Raise

As governor of California from 2003 to 2011, Arnold relied more on cardio, for heart health and to burn off fat. Though old age and injuries have tempered his weight training in recent years, as his latest movies and photos show, he is still in incredible shape, and shockingly muscular for a man of 67 years. He still performs many of his own stunts, and commits to performing some physical activity daily.

"My dream now is to live forever," he told us. "But I doubt it."
And then he let out a big laugh.      

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Crossfit at Any Age - Lindsay Berra

Lindsay Berra (2014)

The sport of fitness may seem like the playground for the young, but as anyone who's walked into a box knows, athletes of all ages are throwing down on the daily. Still, the body changes as it ages, and the smart athlete is the one who pays attention, learns, and adapts . . .

Don't you dare complain. Don't you dare quit. Don't you dare back off for even a second. That's what every athlete slogging through a brutal chipper workout at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen on a 92-degree, thick-as-pea-soup July day in New York City is telling themselves. The workout is dubbed the 'Jacinto Storm' in honor of Hell's Kitchen's oldest member, Jacinto Bonilla, who happens to be turning 75 on this very day. The WOD: 75 double-unders, 75 air squats, 75 pushups, 75 pullups, 75 wall balls, 75 kettlebell swings, 75 deadlifts, 75 double-unders. If you're fast, you can do it sub-30. For most, it's more in the 40- to 50-minute range. But no one wants to slack off because a rule is a rule. The white-bearded Bonilla is grinding away along with everyone else, and if the relentless septuagenarian beats you, a 75-burpee penalty will be assessed.

Jacinto Bonilla

 Bonilla, no doubt, is inspiring. He began CrossFitting in 2008, despite rotator cuff tears in his shoulders and a herniated disk in his lower back that he's had since "sometime in the late '70s." Now, the oldest-ever CrossFit Games competitor has a 400 pound deadlift and an engine - and bodyfat percentage - that puts a lot of teenagers to shame.

He's motivated by the same things that motivate nearly every CrossFitter: He wants to continue to get stronger and faster, and he wants to be healthy. "People my age, they have canes," he says. "I see my friends getting older and I see their big guts and say to myself, 'I am never going to be like that.'"

Now, not everyone can be Jacinto Bonilla, and as amazing as he is, even Bonilla isn't the same athlete - or the same human - he was 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Like the rest of us, Bonilla remembers a time when he could eat whatever he wanted, sleep little, work out twice a day and never be worse for the wear. But as he's aged, he's had to battle the degeneration of his tissues, an increase in dehydration, and a decrease in mobility, metabolism and hormone levels. Sure, Bonilla still cheats with some rice and beans every now and then, but he's managed it all like a champ. With a little knowledge, so can you.

 -- "Mobility issues in the older athlete are one of the reasons muscle-ups are not part of the 55-and-older WODs in the CrossFit Games. It's smart to adjust movements and WODs based on mobility issues that stem from injury or age-related problems. The bottom line is to assess mobility. Document previous mobility-related problems and educate the athletes on how to make the necessary modifications.
Bob Lefavi, 55, Rincon Athletic Crossfit in Georgia.


"At no point in your life is it OK to lose range of motion," says Kelly Starrett, CrossFit's mobility guru and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. "There are normal ranges that everyone, no matter their age, should maintain." 

 But certainly, as we get older, that becomes more and more difficult. Nearly every athlete in their 40's suffers from injuries like a rotator cuff tear, a herniated disk or some degree of spinal stenosis. Or all three.

With age also comes the onset of global hypomobility; the normal movement of joints will decrease and tissues will become stiffer. The cumulative effect of everyday life - like sitting in a chair from 9 to 5 - makes it even worse.

Every CrossFitter loves their foam roller and lacrosse ball, but the aging athlete must have a much greater focus on tissue quality and must devote much more than the obligatory five-minute post WOD to maintain it.

If you're sticking to a CrossFit training model, which is mechanical and consistent, you can avoid getting into slumps of immobility. But if you move improperly, your bones will adapt. Load them too little and they'll become weaker; load them too much and they'll become thicker. Tissues also become too tight or too loose based on poor movement patterns. And once you lose mobility, fascia can take upward of seven months to remodel, while bony changes can take 18 months. Still, there's always a way back. "Our muscles are like obedient dogs," Starrett says. "There is no point at which you can't reclaim normal function."

It doesn't matter whether you can't do a pistol, but barring any major structural limitations, you should be able to get into the bottom position to maintain the mobility of the ankle joint. And you should do it often. Kettlebell swings would go overhead. Sure, everyone can do a Russian swing, but in rel life if the pasta bowl is on the top shelf or that light bulb needs to be changed, you need to be able to extend your arm straight overhead. "Training consistently to full range of motion is important," Starrett says. "These are normal, physiological ranges everyone should have throughout life."

 -- "I don't believe that getting older means I should slow down or even stop working out. It does mean that I've just become a little smarter about it. I work out on a 3-on, 1-off schedule, and I've noticed since about the age of 35 how important scheduling rest into my week is. I always feel rejuvenated and excited about my training. Those rest days have kept me injury-free since I started Crossfit."
Wendy Reo, 40, CrossFit Nutley in New Jersey.        


As a CrossFitter, you think you're doing everything right by eating Paleo, right? Well, maybe not, at least when it comes to hydration. If your postworkout meal is a sweet potato mash with some grilled chicken, chances are you're missing out on the sodium your body needs to help it absorb water. Sodium is the most important of electrolytes, and it helps to regulate the amount of water that's in and around your cells. Without enough electrolytes, the water we drink just runs right through us; that's why so many people who hit their goal of drinking 2 liters a day of water are running to the bathroom every five minutes.

Hyponatremia occurs when the level of sodium in the blood is abnormally low, which will prevent the proper absorption of fluid. CrossFitters get away with mild cases because met-cons rarely run longer than 20 minutes.

List of CrossFit Acronyms and Abbreviations:

"The real issue, though, is that poor hydration creates brittle tissues that are more susceptible to injury," Starrett says. Even young athletes with dehydration issues will see more cartilage damage, tissue friability (the condition of being easily crumbled or pulverized), tendinopathy and greater stiffness problems, but because the body naturally dehydrates over time, older athletes must pay even more attention to their fluid/electrolyte balance. Dehydration also causes a decrease in the production of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, and a decrease in the fluid level in our spinal disks, which can lead to spinal and nerve problems that can affect muscle activation in the entire body.

To aid in hydration, Starrett recommends adding a pinch of sea salt or a low-sugar electrolyte supplement such as a Nuun tablet to your water bottle. Or simply get some salt in your food and drink some water when you eat.

 - - "Eat like when I was 20? No way! I don't work out like when I was 20, either. So I take more rest and have to pay close attention to what I eat. Now that I'm 40, it's the quality and not the quantity of food I eat that has proven to be the dominant factor in how fit I am and how I look at any given time. For me, excluding sugars, alcohol and complex carbohydrates and increasing healthy fats and lean proteins works best to increase performance and aesthetics." 
 -- Greg Arsenuk, Guerilla Fitness Crossfit Montclair in New Jersey.


It's infuriating to older folks. The young CrossFitter comes into the box on a Saturday morning, bragging about the whole pepperoni pizza and the case of beer he demolished the night before, then blows through the WOD no worse for wear. But sooner or later, things catch up.

"Every athlete at every age needs, at the very least, the proper amount of micronutrients, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D to recover properly," says Dr. Rick Cohen of Core 4 Nutrition in Santa Barbara, California.  "It's just that the younger fellows haven't drained the pot yet and have a greater ability to recover without it. Older athletes need to keep the reservoir higher.  

Essential to the 30- and 40-year-old athlete is a good level of nitric oxide, which is found in vegetables like beets, spinach and kale. Cohen calls it "the K-factor for the aging athlete" because it can increase recovery rates, energy and endurance. 

As athletes enter their 50s, coenzyme Q10, found in meats, fish, beans nuts and seeds, becomes more important for the support of mitochondrial efficiency or energy production within their cells.

Once athletes reach their 60s and 70s, good nutrition is critical. "If you're an aging athlete and still pushing hard in the gym, you'd better be paying attention to everything," Cohen says. "If not, a deficit in one of those areas will get you."

But how do you know whether you're getting enough? Normal blood tests done at a physical won't cover it, but there are several companies that offer assessments through the mail, including Core4, WellnessFX and Genova Diagnostics. "Get some tests and figure out what your body needs, as opposed to following blanket recommendations," Cohen says. "If you optimize your nutritional your nutritional levels, really good things happen and your decline will be slower."

Another nutritional nugget for older CrossFitters is to pay attention to how the body uses protein. Many will notice that as they age, they don't digest protein as well. If your protein powder or skirt steaks are running right through you, your amino-acid levels will decline. Cohen suggests taking a digestive enzyme supplement when you eat protein or mixing an essential amino-acid blend into your water bottle. 


When you drop body fat, good things happen. But as you age, your metabolism naturally slows down, which causes the body to more easily store fat. The fitter the heart, the easier it is to maintain a faster metabolism. And to keep the heart fit, you have to train aerobically.

"CrossFitters pound themselves with interval training and can overdo it at 80 to 85 percent of their max heart rate," says Eric Cressey of Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. "As we age, we can benefit from lower lows and higher highs." That means hopping on the rower or going for a jog a few times per week, with the heart rate at around 60 percent of its maximum.

But how can you tell whether you need this type of training? Cressey recommends simply monitoring your resting heart rate. Check your pulse rate first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. If you're reasonably fit, it should be below 60 beats per minute. If not, you are someone who would likely benefit from the addition of some lower-intensity aerobic exercise.

An elevated resting heart rate also speaks to recovery. When we exercise, metabolites build up in the bloodstream. As the metabolites increase, your average heart rate will rise. If your body is fully recovered from a workout and the metabolites have cleared from the bloodstream, the heart rate will normalize. So if your resting heart rate is elevated in the days following a workout, odds are you could use an extra day off.

-- "It's become very helpful for me to get a thorough warm-up. The days of walking in and throwing down are gone. I spend time doing mobility, some basic flossing and then some sort of active warm-up before I start any kind of training, even on days I'm only doing strength. The shorter the workout, the longer the warm-up. [Floss Bands are an essential performance tool and should be a staple in the gym bag of every athlete looking to improve range, restore joint mechanics, or unglue matted down or previously injured tissue.  Compression tack and flossing works on many levels; including re-perfusing tissues that have become stiff or gone cold after injury, and by compressing swelling out of tissues and joints.]
Ryan Southern, 35, North Plano Crossfit in Texas.

Flossing Primers:

 -- "I had major hip surgery when I was 30, and I have to work to maintain mobility. That means taking lots of fish oil, warming up thoroughly and before I work out, stretching and rolling out after workouts, being diligent about movements to maintain range of motion and doing yoga a few times per week. It also means I have to listen to my body more. There is no shame in dumping a back squat, using lees weight or modifying a workout in some way if it will prevent a spasm or further injury and keep me moving."
Lindsay Berra, 36, CrossFit Nutley in New Jersey

Warm Up

 You know it because you hear it all the time, usually in the form of a metaphor related to an automobile. The engine has to be warm before you rev the car. You cannot expect to go from zero to 60 without getting injured. It makes perfect sense, but so many CrossFitters ignore the logic and jump right into a WOD without a proper warmup. Again, this is something you might be able to get away with when you're 20, bet even then, it's a bad idea to push a cold muscle. And as you age, a bad idea can turn catastrophic.

The science is clear. When you're relaxed, lounging on the couch or sitting at your desk, most of the small blood vessels, or capillaries, are closed, with very little blood flow going to your muscles. After 10 minutes of warming up, the capillaries are open and blood flow to the muscles increases dramatically. With better blood flow comes an increase in temperature. At higher temperatures, the hemoglobin in your blood releases more oxygen and muscles can contract and nerves can transmit faster, leading to maximum efficiency. And when muscles,tendons and ligaments are warm and supple, they're much less likely to be forced into a dangerous position. "It's pretty simple," Starrett says. "Not warming up is a barrier to performance."

When you're young, you at least want to crack a sweat before you begin to really push or stretch your muscles. As you age, your warmup needs to be more substantial. "We expect our older athletes to warm up for a lot longer," Starrett says. "Before our CrossFit classes, we want everyone to have been there for 20 minutes and be hot and sweaty before we start."

Cool-Down and Recovery

On the other side of the WOD, a cool-down is equally as important, especially for the older athlete whose heart is already less efficient than his or her younger counterpart's. Another automobile analogy: If you run an engine hot, then suddenly stop it, it can backfire. This is the CrossFit equivalent of finishing "Filthy 50" (see link below) then flopping on the filthy floor.   

When we work out, blood is preferentially directed to the large muscles used for exercise with less return to the brain, heart and lungs. When you're done working out, a cool-down period helps return blood to the heart and the body to its resting state.

Skipping a cool-down also can cause lactic acid to build up more quickly in the muscles and blood, causing fatigue and soreness to set in faster. This can be especially frustrating for older athletes for whom recovery is already going to be slower.

As we age, our hormonal levels decrease (see below), which causes cellular turnover to happen at a slower rate, which means it takes muscle tissue longer to heal after it is broken down. Sleep becomes more and more important; a minimum of eight hours per night is recommended for adequate recovery.

 -- "I train hard, but recovery is key. If I feel tired, then I know I need to give myself a rest. mabe it's just bringing down the intensity or going through the motions that day. It may be an active rest day of a hike, swim or surf. Something fun! More fun than a workout. Or maybe it's just complete relaxation and just doing nothing. Okay, honestly, that doesn't happen much. But when it does it's really nice."
Bill Grundler, 45, CrossFit Inferno in California. 


As we age, growth-hormone levels, along with other hormone levels, decrease, which means recovery at the cellular level takes longer. After the age of 20, growth-hormone levels decrease rapidly until around age 60, with the sharpest decline between ages 40 and 60. 

"The decline of testosterone and growth hormone in men directly affects stamina and recovery time," orthopedist Dr. Michael Kelly says. "Normal aging does not prohibit an athlete from making gains in endurance and strength, but they will happen at a slower rate. In women, the hormonal decline has similar effects on muscle changes and endurance but less of an effect on overall athletic performance. As we age, we also develop a greater percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which causes a decrease in speed and explosive power. But, in both sexes, weight training can mitigate the decline."

Lifting heavy loads counters the loss of bone density and stimulates testosterone release. While women have just 5% of the testosterone that men have, the hormone is crucial to both sexes for metabolism, recovery and maintaining bone density, tissue elasticity and energy levels. 

While many aging athletes will feel compelled to increase the duration of their workouts at the expense of intensity, workouts about 80% intensity better stimulate testosterone release and help to maintain muscle mass. That's not to say all workouts should be that intense. As discussed above, workouts at a lower intensity can also be very beneficial. 

When it comes to hormones, women have more of a time clock, while men see a more gradual decline. Women want to keep their estrogen levels low and their progesterone levels high, and the balance is even more important as they approach menopause. Estrogen plays a crucial role in bone density, fat deposition and regulation of the cardiovascular system. While it's difficult to increase progesterone with diet, foods rich in vitamins B-6 and C, zinc and magnesium can help.

Men have an easier time boosting testosterone levels through the consumption of healthy fats. While young men may never think about it, it's not a bad idea to pay attention to testosterone levels early on so there's a baseline to revert back to over time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Muscle Density and Apparent Mass - Don Ross


While the previous program was one of power bodybuilding to stimulate growth through the use of heavy  weights and basic muscle-group exercises, this routine in our mass building program will further enlarge your muscles by METHODICALLY CUTTING DOWN YOUR REST PERIODS BETWEEN SETS. 

The exercises, this time, are meant to isolate individual muscles and emphasize those areas that will add AN ILLUSION OF SIZE. The increasingly shorter rest periods will help burn fat, reducing the waist and adding to this illusion.

This routine and diet was what I used in 1972 to go from a 190-lb bodybuilder to a full-fledged heavyweight in a very short time. It got me up to 215 in just three months. The fourth month, I cut down to 210 to win the Heavyweight Class in the Mr. World Contest. 

The routine is a 2-way split. You will work your upper body 3 days a week and your lower body and neck twice. You will do 2 exercises per body part (3 for thighs) and 5 sets per exercise. Start with a mild warmup, and then go immediately to the heaviest weight that you can properly do the prescribed reps with. Train down the rack, going to the next lighter weight and do on down the line. (Step bombing - each set is a maximum effort. Use a lighter weight each of the five sets so that you can keep your reps about the same with a maximum effort on each set. You will finish with a comparatively light weight but it will feel like a ton and have the same effect on the muscle as a heavy weight.) Do each set until no more repetitions can be performed. Then try to force out an extra rep. Rest as little as possible between sets. Also, lower the weights at a controlled speed to take advantage of negative resistance.

You all know how hard it is to get calf muscles to respond, so I needn't remind you to put every ounce of effort into the two calf exercises here. Go from the ab crunched to the leg raises without rest. Exhale hard on each upward movement. Finally, while most bodybuilders neglect their necks, we will work outs with neck bridges and partner (or solo) resistance movements. 

These routines will build size and the kind of proportion that will create the illusion of even more size.


1st, 3rd and 5th Days

Incline Barbell Press - 5 x 6.
Decline Flye - 5 x 8.
Standing Lateral Raise - 5 x 8.
Upright Dumbbell Row - 5 x 6.
Lat Pulldown - 5 x 8.
45 Degree Pulley Row - 5 x 6.
Barbell Curl, Back Against Wall or Post - 5 x 6.
Seated Dumbbell Curl - 5 x 8.
Dumbbell Triceps Press - 5 x 8
(hold two dumbbells with palms toward each other,
elbows pointing straight up and dumbbell on either side of your head).
45 Degree Pulley Overhead Triceps Extensions - 5 x 8.

2nd and 4th Days

Hyperextensions - 3 x 10.
Hack Squat - 5 x 8.
Leg Extension - 5 x 8.
Leg Curl - 5 x 8.
Standing Calf Raise - 5 x 15.
Seated Calf Raise - 5 x 15.
Ab Crunch superset with ->
Leg Raise - 4 x 25.
Neck Bridge - 3 x 10.
Front Neck Resistance - 3 x 10.  

Bulk and Power Routine - Don Ross


The goal behind this first advanced program is to stimulate muscle growth though heavy exercise. Power-building movements that work general areas of the body are used. There is no emphasis on isolating individual muscles.

You may be used to doing a larger variety of exercises and many more sets per body part. Despite this, follow the program exactly as outlined, without adding anything. You will have a tremendous reserve of energy from back-cycling to a smaller amount. This will allow you to apply MORE EFFORT WITH EACH SET. In other words, you will SUBSTITUTE QUANTITY WITH QUALITY. The strength increases you will experience will be proof of muscle increase.

The workouts will be done 4 days a week - Part 1 on the 1st and 4th days, Part 2 on the 2nd and 5th days. Rest and allow the muscles to grow on the 3rd, 6th and 7th days.

Constantly strive to lift heavier weights. 
Always use good form. It is important that each exercise be performed correctly.
Use the progressive resistance method. With each progressive set of an exercise, increase the weight.
Rest about 2-3 minutes between sets, or longer if you feel the need.

Before each workout ride the stationary bike for a warmup, and to provide cardiovascular work to keep bodyfat at a minimum. You should notice continued results from this routine.

Remember that your gains are in direct proportion to your effort and determination.

1st and 4th Days

Stationary Bike - 15 minutes.
Squat - 2 x 20, 2 x 12, 2 x 8.
Leg Extension - 4 x 8.
Leg Curl - 4 x 8.
Standing Calf Raise - 8 x 15-20.
Barbell Bend-Overs (Good Mornings) - 4 x 8.
Decline Weighted Situp - 4 x 10-15. 

2nd and 5th Days

Stationary Bike - 15 minutes.
Alternate Dumbbell Press - 4 x 8.
Upright Barbell Row - 4 x 6.
Shrug - 3 x 8.
Pullover Machine (or Straight Pulldown) - 3 x 8.

Click Pic to ENLARGE
Bentover Dumbbell Row (one dumbbell or two) - 4 x 8.
Dumbbell Bench Press - 4 x 8.
Seated Dumbbell Curl - 4 x 8.
Lying Triceps Extension - 4 x 8.

Next: Muscle Density and Apparent Mass.

Foundation Building - Don Ross

Your present condition governs what level of training you should begin at. If you've never lifted weights before, whether or not you've been physically active, start with this Foundation Building Program. 'Beginning beginners' should go easy the first two weeks, using weights that are easily handled for the prescribed repetitions. Advance frequently in poundage and intensity. In-shape beginners can start with heavier weights, less rest between sets and can push a little harder. Experienced readers can skip the Foundation Program and go on to more advanced training. Work hard and experience immediate and continued improvement. 

Progressive Resistance Method

Muscle building is the process of your body adapting to work it's not accustomed to doing. In the beginning, a simple basic program will cause rapid growth. As your muscles adapt to the workload, you continue to add resistance in the form of increased poundages.

The most frequently used method of weight training is the progressive resistance method. You start with a fairly light weight that you can easily do the prescribed repetitions with. With each progressive set, you increase the weight. On the last set, you will barely be able to perform all your reps. The other sets provide you with a warmup and a "pump". The final set is the maximum effort set. It is the one that produces the majority of the results.

When you are able to surpass the prescribed reps on your final set, you add more weight to all your sets for your next workout. This is how intensity is created. This method has been used successfully by many champions for decades. Many of you will find it intense enough to produce continuous gains.

Foundation Building Routine One - Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments.

So this basic routine 3 days a week with 1 or 2 days between each workout. The 1st week, do 2 sets of each exercise. Perform the exercise, rest, then perform it again. Use a weight that you can do 10 repetitions with. The final rep on the last set should be difficult. The squats and calf raises are a compound exercise, or 'super-set'. After completing each set of squats immediately do a set of calf raises.

The 2nd week do 3 sets of each exercise. Add weight with each set. For the final set, use a weight that you can handle for 8 reps, and try for 10. Aim at increasing the weight you use as frequently as possible, but never sacrifice good form for heavier poundage in this program. Rest 3-5 minutes between sets for plenty of recuperation time, and you might have to time that the first few workouts just to get an idea in your head of how long it actually is. Follow this program for 6 weeks before tackling the next routine.

Foundation Building Routine One

Standing Overhead Press - 3 sets of 10 reps.
Bench Press - all exercises for 3 x 10.
Bentover Barbell Row.
Barbell Triceps (French) Press.
Barbell Curl.
Squat, superset with ->
Calf Raise.
Stiff Legged Deadlift.

Foundation Building Routine Two - Enlarging Your Basic Structure

This routine is designed to widen and thicken your basic structure. Instead of sets of 10, the reps will be lower in some cases, enabling you to lift heavier weight.

Hang from a chinning bar before and after each workout. At first, you may find it hard to recover, and find gripping difficult in your next few exercises, but you will soon adjust. Enlarge your rib cage with a superset of breathing squats and breathing pullovers. Your rib cage size constitutes most of your chest measurement. A large rib cage minimizes your waist, for those of you who are naturally thick-waisted. While you are still winded from the breathing squats, do the breathing pullovers. Go to a flat bench with a very light barbell. This is strictly a breathing exercise. If you feel a muscle pump in your lats or triceps, you are using too much weight.

Do 2 sets of 8 in the half squat with the heaviest weight possible. Do 3 x 6 in the bench press, then take 20 pounds off the bar and do 3 sets of bench presses to the neck, doing 6 reps per set.

Stay on this program for at least 2 months. Keep it as long as it works. Once you've completed these two foundation routines, you'll be ready to tackle a split routine, the next step in size training.

Foundation Building Routine Two

Chinning Bar Hang
Lat Machine Pulldown - 3 x 8.
Breathing Squat, 3x 20, superset with -> 
Breathing Pullovers, 3 x 20.
Half Squats - 2 x 8.
Standing Calf Machine - 3 x 15.
Bench Press - 3 x 6.
Bench Press to Neck - 3 x 6.
Incline Flye - 3 x 8.
Press Behind Neck - 3 x 6.
Deadlift Shrugs - 3 x 10
[deadlift, shrug the bar and hold contracted for 1/2 second, repeat].
Dumbbell Curl - 3 x 6.
Two-Dumbbell Triceps Press - 3 x 8.
Weighted Situps - 3 x 10.

Next: The Bulk and Power Routine.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cambered Bar Variations - Bob Gallucci

Click Pics to ENLARGE

 "Bodybuilders' World"
photos by Kurt Stallaert

"Athletes Among Us"
photography by Jordan Matter

  Schwarzenegger Before and After Photos





In most weight training establishments there is a myriad of physical training devices which, to the general public, must resemble some of the equipment that was used in a Vincent Price movie. Most young trainees are attracted to the shiny, padded machines and often will pass by some of the more conventional pieces of apparatus. One such neglected and misunderstood device is the cambered bar.

I first saw a photo of a strange shaped bar in a 1967 magazine which depicted former Mr. Universe, Bruce Randall, performing a good morning exercise with a monstrous weight. The weight was so heavy that the Olympic bar he was using was actually bent somewhat by the stress placed on his wide back due to that excessive weight.

I next encountered this strangely formed bar at the local Hartford YMCA where I learned the rudiments of weight training. Because lifters had left large weights on the one Olympic barbell overnight for many nights, the bar was bent in a curved position which seemed to make performing the good morning exercise easier and allowed me to do a deeper bench press. 

Deciding that this bend in the bar could be useful for bench pressing, I asked one of my Dad's friends if he would weld a barbell according to my instructions (the bar was U-shaped towards the center and its measurements were specific to my shoulder width in 1968). Upon receiving the bar, we named it the 'horseshoe barbell' because of its unique shape in the center. Other people began  to use the bar and in the early 1970's I noticed that this horseshoe bar could be purchased from various equipment companies which labeled it the cambered bar.

Although the use of the bar spread, I noticed that most people used the horseshoe bar primarily for one use only, the bench press. It is the purpose of this article to explain the many uses of the horseshoe bar, which most of our trainees at Gallucci's Gym include frequently in their routines.

1) Horseshoe Bench Press.

The horseshoe bar can be used for increasing the depth (stretch) in the bench press. This will allow greater flexibility at the shoulder and increase strength and hypertrophy development. Because the most severe muscular contraction is a contraction while that muscle is stretched (in this case the the pectoralis and anterior deltoid), you must warm the area thoroughly by using a progressively heavier load (this will decrease the incidence of injuries which can result from this exercise). Personally, I use 3 to 4 sets of progressively heavier warmups before I reach my first set of 6 reps in the horseshoe bench press. If you want to increase your bench press, stimulate muscle growth, and experience the soreness which is commonly associated with growth, try this exercise on a regular basis for 5 sets of 6-8 reps.

2) Horseshoe Good Mornings

The old Bruce Randall exercise! Using a straight bar and placing that bar on the cervical area (neck) of the back, I maximally used about 200 pounds with great discomfort. I always felt like my neck was worked harder than my lower back and hamstrings. The horseshoe bar can be placed on the thoracic vertebrae (between the two scapulae-shoulder blades). This allows the trainee to hold the outside sections of the bar while placing most of the stress from the resistance on the upper back rather than the neck. 

Lock the knees and go from the upright position to a position where the upper body is parallel to the floor (see photo). Keep the head up and breathe in on the way down. When completely coming erect, forcibly blow air out from the mouth (his helps to clear the head and curtails the Valsalva movement - the restriction of blood flow to the head causing blackouts). This exercise greatly works both the hamstrings and the lower back muscles.

3) Horseshoe Bar Squat
For many years, I tried to do a front squat and found that:
A) It is a very difficult exercise (balance is hard to maintain due to supporting the bar on the shoulders. Slight movement can cause loss of balance).

B) It is a very dangerous exercise (tremendous stress is placed upon the acromio-clavicular joint of the shoulder.

C) It is  a very discomforting exercise (depending on one's anatomical development, i.e., if the trainee does not have sufficient anterior deltoid development he may find it extremely difficult to support the bar.

Because the benefits of the front squat are so great, I have many trainees who want to do front squats but who never excelled at them because of the 3 D's (difficult, dangerous and discomforting). The horseshoe bar provides a means of performing the front squat by placing the bar in the same position as the horseshoe good morning exercise (upper back area) and squatting down to a parallel position. There is no stress on the neck. There is less stress placed upon the acromio-clavicular joint (especially if the bar is slightly less than your shoulder width - see photo above). Balance is greatly improved. The greatest improvement is the stress placed directly on the quadriceps and the thigh in a straighter position which places the resistance on these areas and not as much on the gluteal area.


4) Horseshoe Bar Lunge

The bar should be placed on the upper back (same position as in exercises 2 and 3). Standing in an upright position, lunge forward with one leg so that the thigh is parallel to the floor. Push off with the extended leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the alternate leg. This exercise offers the trainee greater balance and less discomfort in the cervical area because of bar placement. This exercise works the quadriceps and thigh adductors.

 5) Horseshoe Bar Shrug

Simply hold the bar  by the outside grips and allow the bar to hang at arms' length from a standing position. Begin rotating the bar in a circular fashion from front to back without bending the elbows. Notice the improved range of motion that the horseshoe bar allows when compared to a regular barbell. This exercise works the trapezius and upper back muscles primarily.

6) Horseshoe Bar Overhead Press

I love to press behind the neck. Unfortunately, I have developed a severe acromio-clavicular problem from this activity. By using the horseshoe bar I am able to press the bar in a straight line from earlobe level to a full extension. Grasp the barbell on the outside grips and remove it from the rack or stands. The horseshoe part of the bar should be directly rearward. Press the bar straight up. This exercise allows the trainee to place great stress on the deltoid and triceps muscles with less stress on the shoulder joints relative to the press behind neck. It is a little difficult to perform at first, but allow time to physically and mentally understand the exercise and you should find it most helpful.

7) Decline Horseshoe Bar Bench Press

One of the biggest complaints when performing a decline pressing motion with the regular barbell is the lack of range of motion. The horseshoe bar remedies this problem. While lying on a decline, take the bar off of power stands. Grasping the outside gripping area, lower the bar towards the chest. Press straight up and exhale. You will find that you are able to increase your range of motion in this exercise by 4-5 inches and that you are placing increased stress on the muscles of the chest and shoulder areas. It is one of my favorite exercises and it requires a spotter to do forced reps.

These are the main exercises that have found to be of outstanding value when used in conjunction with the horseshoe bar. There are others as well.        

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Total Tonnage - Jon Smoker

The author at 66 years of age in 2013.


Total Tonnage: The Secret of Progress
Jon Smoker (1985)

A few years ago when information first began leaking out about Eastern bloc training systems, one of the more significant items to emerge was that the athletes engage in a preparatory phase prior to cycling for competition, in which the main concern is an increase in the total tonnage over the previous preparatory stage. The research done by the scientists in those countries had proven rather conclusively that this type of training is paramount to increased performances on the platform later on. The physiological reason as to why this is the case is complex and even open to debate on the theoretical level. 

Suffice it to say that, in a very abstract sense, the body is an electromagnetic force field whose parameters expand as a response to increased gravitational demands. In other words, the more total weight that the body is subjected to endure, the more it will grow as a result. The bottom line, all theories aside, is that it works.

The next thing I am going to say will not be so free from controversy: Namely, that apart from the actual exercises selected, which will depend on which branch of the iron game the individual is in, the actual method used to increase one's total tonnage is irrelevant. Or, in other words, if one wants to subject the body to C tons of work, there is no easy way to do it. No matter how the sets and reps are broken down, it is going to hurt, the body is going to feel blitzed or beyond. And with proper rest and nutrition, there will be growth as a result.

Now, I am sure that the first people to recoil with horror at my suggestion would be the Eastern bloc scientists. But then, politics has a way of infiltrating everything and so the regimentation of their societies has found its way into the locker room. One of the things that I have always found most beautiful about the iron game in the West is the freedom to experiment. And when one begins to look through the training systems of the great iron me in our country, one does find the total tonnage system popping up everywhere, mostly implicitly, but in different guises - all of which seems to work. which lends evidence to my theory. And the fact that there is no uniformity has definitely not hurt our results. Our country is far superior in two out of the three branches of the iron game - powerlifting and bodybuilding.

And now, if I may be permitted to to digress for a minute, since it is germane to my argument, I would like to say that although we are not very competitive in Olympic weightlifting, I have always felt it to be an unfair criticism that Eastern bloc writers have leveled at the United States, that we have somehow failed because we are not superior in that branch of the iron game, too. Ask yourself, what kind of attributes does a top Olympic lifter need? Speed, strength, timing, quick reflexes, balance and explosive power and flexibility. And now ask yourself where these qualities are most often manifested in American sports. Why, in football of course. There is no doubt in my mind that Walter Payton would make a phenomenal Olympic lifter, and yet why would he want to do that when he can get rich toting a pigskin around?

Even the smaller guys with these athletic attributes go into wrestling since there is no high school weightlifting, although most are good enough to play high school football and intramural college football anyway. So, by the time they leave college and size does become a factor, it is really too late for them to start Olympic lifting. And, to further blunt the Eastern bloc critics, most all football players pump a lot of iron, including some total tonnage work (though it is not labeled as such), such as the very popular circuit training now used by many teams for part of the year. It is a nebulous comment indeed to say that there is more iron pumping going on in communist countries and, even more so, that regimentation is the only way to get results. Look at some of the behemoths we have on the football field to go along with our superior bodybuilders and powerlifters. And yet countless different systems have been used, based on a few key concepts, one of which is total tonnage. To criticize the United States for having inferior Olympic lifters is tantamount to criticizing communist countries for having no decent football players. Now, that is not to say that the regimented tonnage systems used in communist countries will not work; obviously they do. But, to get back to my original point, they only work because any system will work as long as the correct exercises are employed and the total tonnage is increased. And, the bottom line here is that the superstars in communist countries like Alexeev, are allowed freedom in training anyway.

To further prove that high tonnage training works, let us look at two of the very best people in the West. Paul Anderson is still the all-time unofficial leader in the squat, and, at various times in his training, the amount of total tonnage he used was incredible. In fact, he sometimes did hundreds of squats with no weight at all. Tom Platz, on the other hand, is almost unanimously credited with having the best developed legs ever and, although he varies his workouts frequently, he also includes some total tonnage in his work using 30 to 50 or even 70 repetitions per set.

Of course, these are not the only methods. Other ways of working on one's total tonnage would be Johnny Fuller's 10 sets of 32 reps on all exercises; the rest-pause system whereby a weight is used that can be handled for 15 repetitions, and with very little rest between sets, seeing how many reps can be performed in 15 minutes, or doing one rep with a certain weight every minute until 100 sets have been completed.

My own system is based on the principle of getting something painful over with as fast as possible, so i just use on set of mega-reps. This idea was originally suggested to me a number of years ago when I was reading about a female marathon runner who used 100x100 in the squat as part of her training.

Liking a challenge, I worked at if off and on between heavy cycles until I could perform this feat. Along the way I realized that this was another method of increasing my total tonnage prior to cycling for heavy lifts. So now when I am in this preparatory phase of my training I can increase my total tonnage by a 1/2-ton by increasing the weight and repetitions by five. So the next time around I did 105x105 and then 110x110 and so on. But it has worked, you might ask? Have my individual lifts increased?

Of course this is only one phase of my training, but it certainly hasn't hurt. My squat goes up every year, starting with a 235 at 123 ten years ago, to my latest effort of 656 at 179 (adolescent growth was not a factor either as I was 25 at my first meet). Because I am more of a scientist interested in discovering the immutable laws of weightlifting, rather than being strictly an athlete, I experiment on myself with the one event that I happen to enjoy. However, this type of training can and should be used for any muscle group or weightlifting event. Almost all other successful powerlifters use some type of total tonnage training at various points in their training. The Finnish deadlift routine that is being widely used currently employs this type of training in the early phase with 10 sets of 10 reps in the stiff-legged deadlift off blocks. Lamar Gant, the world's top deadlifter pound for pound, has been known to work many sets of 20 reps in the deadlift until he was ready to drop. And Don Blue, a light-weight champion of the mid-seventies, used 10x10 in all three powerlifts.

Now remember, I never said that the exercises used in this type of training is irrelevant. Thus, Olympic lifters working on their total tonnage training phase would surely want to use squats and various pulling and pressing movements, which ones exactly would be open to a certain amount of debate. This is how the Eastern bloc athletes handle this phase of their training. They have no jobs, aside from their event, so what they are doing in actuality is stimulating hard work, but in a methodical fashion. Basically, that is all I am talking about - hard work.

Take any human being, have him work very hard, give him all the rest and nutrition he wants, and if he has the proper heredity for growth he will get bigger and stronger. It is exactly what goes on in Eastern bloc training centers. It is just that the exercises are selected to stimulate growth in the most important muscle groups for the specific sport involved. The same thing goes on in football training camps; plenty of hard work, all the food they can eat and curfew hours. And this is the same kind of regimen that has produced, in a haphazard way, all the countless asymmetric muscular giants that one sees walking around who have never touched a barbell, but who work long hours on a construction crew or loading dock, etc. In fact, a few years ago Dr. Terry Todd did an informal experiment in which he took kids from the city and had them do hard work on a camp, like chopping wood. After a certain amount of time, they all showed increases in their measurements and strength. Boxers are doing the same thing to improve their upper body strength and endurance when they chop down trees before a fight; and the bigger the fight, the more trees they cut. It is the same principle - total tonnage. I even experienced the same thing when I was in the Army. I did not lift weights those days and the basic training was especially physically grueling. We were required to run everywhere, even back to the barracks after mess-hall with a full stomach. And when I got home, a pair of pants I had bought just before I went in was much too tight in the legs and hips to wear anymore. The same principle was involved; good hard work, total tonnage. And actually, I do believe that most strength athletes do employ a certain amount of this type of training without calling it such nor computing their total tonnage. The latter is a mistake for how does the athlete know for sure that he is forcing himself to work harder without the empirical evidence of the total tons involved.

Now, it is not only important to do this type of training; it is equally important to choose a system that can be done twice or three times per year and not vary it. Only by repeating a certain system and computing the tons involved will the athlete be sure that he is forcing his body to work harder. Or, in other words, doing a bunch of haphazard exercises and computing the total tonnage would be as bad as not computing the tonnage at all. As I said, the original scheme of sets and reps chosen for the specific exercises is not all that important, but once a scheme is chosen, it should be adhered to in preparatory training cycles. Only in this fashion will the athlete have a benchmark to go by.

Apart from the fact that this type of training gets results, why is it beneficial? First of all, we strength athletes are always being cautioned that lifting heavy all the time will 'burn you out'. So, concentrating on total tonnage training now and then gives one a break from heavy lifting without just taking a non-working break. But, even more importantly, if is also a natural compliment to heavy training. One 'burns out' doing heavy lifts because 1) it is hard on connective tissues, 2) it is not really conducive to muscular gains and 3) it becomes a chore psychologically to deal with heavy weight all the time. Total tonnage training on the other hand places more of a strain on the muscles, producing a tremendous overload on them, so that at first when one goes back to heavy training, the freshly strengthened muscles take some of the strain off the connective tissues, giving them a chance to get stronger. This is why I have found that when I go from total tonnage training to heavy lifting, it takes only a two-month cycle to surpass what I was previously hitting for singles. And conversely, when I go from heavy lifting to total tonnage training the connective tissue is stronger and so it only takes a few weeks and I can increase my tonnage. The two definitely compliment each other.

On another level, total tonnage training will help one make gains because increases are basically a matter of will, whereas with heavy lifting, there comes a point where the body rebels and no matter how badly one wants another five pounds on a lift the body will not respond, or worse yet winds up injured. Total tonnage, on the other hand, requires a mindset or will to punish one's body a little more than last time and pick up the extra ton or whatever the goal is. However, this type of training is also not without risk. Because there is such a tremendous overload on the muscles, the chance of cramping is ever present. Stretching before and after a workout is should be employed, and an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and water should be used.

Another facet of this training is that it obviously taxes the cardiovascular system more than heavy training. This is one more reason that this type of training is important. One only has to lift in one contest or pump all day in one physique competition to know how important endurance is. And, along with this being excellent cardiovascular work, it is an excellent way to expand the rib cage. I can guarantee that you can hang more meat on a larger rib cage, so it most definitely helps the athlete in the pursuit of muscular gains later on when he goes back to heavy training again. The question of whether or not muscular gains will be realized while on this type of program is an individual matter, depending on one's metabolism. Almost everyone will experience an increase in appetite on this type of routine because of the calories being burned and the muscle tissue being torn down, which must be replenished. But, if a person's rate of metabolism is high enough, there will be no increase in weight - some guys get very big from heavy construction and others just get wiry strong. The bottom line here is that at least this type of training does not allow fat to set in and, for the aforementioned reasons, it will give one a base to realize the muscular potential that any given individual's heredity will allow.

There is one last criticism that I can anticipate against this type of training - that it stimulates slow twitch muscle fibers instead of fast twitch. Of course this is no criticism for a bodybuilder; muscle is muscle as far as he is concerned. But what about a strength athlete? I am convinced t hat slow twitch muscle fiber can be used in a strength movement. In a chicken, for example, the wings are mostly fast twitch, and yet their wings could be use, theoretically at least, to lift things. From my personal experience, I cannot be convinced otherwise, since although I was at my heaviest for my last meet (179), I made my best squat pound for pound (3.7). So, if I have added slow twitch muscle fibers, it certainly has not hurt. Or, as Pacifico has put it when discussing bodybuilding for powerlifters, "One needs a cushion of muscle to go down with 6, 7 or 800 pounds in the squat." And that cushion of muscle could include slow twitch muscle fiber. I rest my case.

In conclusion, I believe that the periodic, systematic employment of total tonnage training is one of the immutable laws of the iron game. To not employ this type of training is to invite stagnation to set into your lifting career. In fact, I am so convinced that this type of training is essential that I think even the fast gaining naturals can prolong their careers and avoid training injuries by doing this type of training, even if they do not seem to need it over the first few years of their careers in order to make gains.

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