Thursday, March 24, 2016

Intensity Training for Better Gains - Anthony Ditillo (1977)

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"Strength training is a topic which has an interesting past, a past which is swiftly disappearing because much of the artifacts, books, courses, magazines, articles and the like just aren't to be found any more. The Iron League is an organization where we are preserving the muscle building secrets of the past. 

Some have called it "The Iron Game Library of Congress" which is a very good way to put it, and it is our goal to create our own "place" ...where everyone speaks a common language... and can 'talk shop' on what works and what doesn't in the world of serious training. You'll find material from the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, Olympic Weight Lifting, Powerlifting, Gymnastics, Boxing, Wrestling, Conditioning workouts and just about any other training topic you can think of."

 Table of Contents

How Your Mind Controls Your Body

Mental Training Tactics and Techniques
Achieve the Strength and Body You Desire with
Well-Formed Outcomes
Easy to Use Methods You Can Put Into Practice Today for Hypnotizing Yourself and Others
Making Your Mental Movies So Powerful They Deliver
Instant Real Life Results (Most People Visualize Incorrectly—If They Do It At All!)
Psyched Up, Focused or Relaxed at the Snap of the
Fingers with Anchors

Peak Performance Drills for Strength, Muscle, Fat Loss and Performance
Mental Training Drills for Strength
Mental Training Drills for Fat Loss
Mental Training Drills for Muscle Building
Mental Training Drills for Gaining Skills
Entering the Flow State

Word for Word Transcripts of Mental Training Drills with Clients including the Results They



IronMan Editor Peary Rader's Note: Intensity training may be defined differently by various lifters but all agree that it is an advanced system which can and does produce increased results. Without intensity of application of both the mind and the muscles, advanced development is very unlikely. Too many men fail because they will not discipline themselves in the application of intensity training. In IronMan we continually emphasize the need for intensity of application.  

This first of a series of articles will  deal mainly with correcting the mistakes most of you fellows have been making in your workout schedules. What I am going to try to outline for you is the PROPER way to use your training time so such time is not wasted but instead utilized for your utmost physical benefit.

I'll begin by asking you a simple question.

Why are you exercising with weights?

Is it not to gain in physical size and strength? Are you not trying to make your muscle size increase and your strength along with it? And if the answer is "yes" to both these questions then why do you waste so much time during your routines? Do you think you can "wish" your muscles to respond without any effort on your part? 

Well, if you do, you're greatly mistaken. Sometimes you have to grab your muscles by the neck and force them to grow. And how do you do this? For one thing, you DON'T train six days weekly for three hours each day using light pumping movements. You can accomplish just as much by training no more than twice per week around two hours each workout. And I am NOT speaking about Nautilus style training here. I KNOW these machines are MUCH too expensive for you to afford (myself included), and not too many gyms currently carry them. 

No. the kind of workouts I intend to outline for you require simple, basic equipment and either a store bought or homemade POWER RACK. And even the rack is not ABSOLUTELY necessary. But it does afford you the safety of doing heavy partial repetitions without spotters. Power rack training is the most severe training I know of and I intend in the near future to dedicate an article or two to such training procedures. 

[Here are some of them. You may find more on this blog.]

Proper training for muscle size and strength improvement requires no more than two workouts per week. No matter what you may have been told to the contrary, you only need two workouts a week for steady improvement. The difference between two workouts a week and six lies within the intensity and severity of each workout. There should be no "wasted sets" and "saving energy on this set for the next one." Each set must be worked into the ground.

Also, the weights used must be heavy enough so "pumping" cannot come into play. Muscle shaping movements may be employed but they are NOT necessary. 

Rest between sets must be kept at a bare minimum because the secret of continuous muscle growth lies within the amount of work you can perform, using the heaviest weight, within the shortest time. 

There is no need to perform "cooling off" sets, since these waste your time, deplete your energy and do not increase your development or strength. To properly warm up a muscle does NOT mean to waste twenty minutes on light sets which will only tire you out. It does mean, however, that you should perform perhaps two sets of medium reps with a medium to heavy weight to get yourself prepared physically and emotionally for the work to come. Too many of you, myself included, are following outmoded training methods which are doing next to nothing as far as increasing our development or strength. And to try to make my point I'll use an example for you.

We all know how result-producing 20-rep squats can be. I mean, all the champs and trainers of yesteryear have written about them at one time or another. The real secret to 20-rep squatting is the intensity and severity that one puts into that ONE SET. Such squatting is not accomplished by using a light weight and merely pumping out 20 quick reps. Here is the way you squat for gaining the most in the shortest possible time: 

Take one warmup set with a fairly light weight and squat 20 times with one or two breaths between each repetition. Begin the first few reps squatting only halfway down and as the repetitions progress squat lower and lower until you are hitting rock bottom (as low as comfortable given your current flexibility). If balance and forward lean is a problem use weightlifting shoes with a heel or a thin block of wood under the heels. 

After this warmup set rest for between two and five minutes.

NOW, load your bar with a weight you can PARALLEL squat with for five repetitions. You should perform as many parallel squats as you possibly can. When you feel like the next rep will be your last, stand there with the bar on your back and catch your breath and concentrate! If you can't go all the way down cut the rep a little short, just enough so you can get back up. Keep breathing between reps, concentrating, and forcing yourself until you fall to the bottom after you bend your knees trying to descend. This "collapse" would terminate the set (although if you're a glutton for punishment you could include at this point a few attempts at rising out of the bottom). Then and only then should your spotters remove the weight from your shoulders, or if you train alone in the rack, at that point you should allow the pins to take the strain of the weight and slip out from underneath it. 

As you can plainly see by the above description, such training will not require much time. And more than three times a week on such training would definitely be overworking for the vast majority of trainers. When you work each set in a routine to the maximum, you can't use and do not need to use many sets or many exercise movements. 

This type of intensive workout is a boon to the beginner and the underweight. Also, the busy working man, who does not have many available nights or hours to train, will definitely continue to progress on such a routine. So, as you can see, both the underweight and the working men can progress on only two training days a week and depending on their level of available training energy, the workout should last between 1.5 to 2 hours.

I mention "level of available training energy" because it IS possible for some men to overtrain mentally on such a short but extremely severe routine. And while these fellows are for the most part in the minority, I still feel I should also help them in improving their training routines and conserving nervous energy. For you men who either cannot or will not as of yet work each set into the ground, here is the present routine and training theory I am presently on.


Place the bar for bench pressing in the power rack and set it so that when you squeeze under it, it is just barely grazing your chest when in the same position you would assume had you lowered the bar from the top. Slide under the bar and perform 2 sets of bench presses from the bottom position using medium weight for 5 to 7 reps. This is the warmup. Now jump the weight so that you CANNOT POSSIBLY perform more than 5 repetitions with such weight and force out as many reps as you can. Now, on the last possible rep, as you are lowering the bar back down to your chest, HOLD and support it momentarily in midair until it literally FALLS down onto the pins of the power rack at chest height. Finally, before ending the set, try now to do PARTIAL repetitions until it is impossible for the bar to be moved at all. THIS WOULD CONSTITUTE ONE SET!

How many of these sets do I perform? 

Two, sometimes three. And when I can go through three such sets, I KNOW it is time to increase the weight. I do TWO such workouts per week using ONE movement per bodypart, sometimes two. I definitely cannot recuperate for a third weekly workout.

I feel only your mind and your previous mental conditioning can hold you back from "the ultimate routine" and I have much work ahead of me undoing all the mistakes I have picked up from so-called experts in all my past years of training.

In future articles, I will deal with the problems I know you men will be facing in trying to formulate the proper routines for yourselves.  

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