Thursday, December 29, 2016

Peary Rader on the 20-rep Squat and John McCallum (1967)

From this issue.
Big thanks to Jarrett Hulse for spotting it! 

Iron Man, March ’67, Peary Rader:

The other day John McCallum, a barbell man from Canada stopped in our office while on his vacation. We enjoyed this visit with him and his wife here, and we talked at length of the days past, and he told us how he got started in the game.

It seems that as a youth he had long been interested in developing himself from a very skinny condition, but after years of struggle wi8th first one course and then another, he found himself weighing only 140 lbs. This is not much weight for a fellow of about 6’ or more.

Then some friend gave him some old copies of Iron Man Magazine and he read in there about the squat and dead lift as great growth stimulators, especially when used for 20 or more repetitions. John learned to squat, Squat, SQUAT. He really worked at it and followed the full diet we recommended in Iron Man.

Suddenly, after years of no gains a miracle happened. He started gaining like mad, at the rate of a pound a day, and quickly went up to a fabulous 305 lbs. bodyweight at a 6’2” height and tremendous measurements. He developed an enormous chest and it is still huge. It was an unbelievable 54.5 inches. The chest cage or rib box is tremendous and this came from squats and pullovers and chest pulls.

McCallum performed all kinds of squats but finally settled on the style he liked best with a belt around the waist which held the weights between the legs. We will tell you more about this squatting belt in the next issue, but this issue we want to talk to you about the squat itself and what it can do for you when you perform 20 repetitions of it.

This may seem like a repetition of what we have said before, but we find modern lifters and bodybuilders shy away from the squat partly because it is hard work and partly because they are afraid they will get big legs and hips. We don’t have the space here to argue about the values of big legs and hips but will pause long enough to mention that in the last few days we have received many calls and letters about certain bodybuilders who might have become among the greatest of all time except for the neglect of their legs, and I might say hips since these two are closely related.

Don’t let anyone kid you about the legs – you must have them if you want the best physique. You must have them if you want to be the strongest. We can name you many great weightlifters who only became great after they started squats.

The two men whom most people consider the greatest bodybuilders or physique men of our time, Reg Park and Bill Pearl, both have tremendous legs and both are capable of 600 or more in the squat and both know the great value of the squat as an exercise. Neither has any great fear of its effects on his physique. Both have found it of tremendous value, especially in their early training when they were trying to bulk up.

The other day, the man who really gave the deep knee bend the big start by his experiments about 30 years ago, J.C. Hise who had been inspired by Mark Berry to take up the squat, stopped in at our office while on his way back to Homer, Illinois, from several years in the uranium mines in Colorado.

Hise, still weighing about 260, and over 60 years of age now, looks about 35 except for some gray hair. Even yet he occasionally goes on a heavy squat program and says he works up to 20 reps with 500 with the magic circle. He carries his magic circle and a lot of weights with him in his pickup wherever he goes.

Hise had worked with barbells for some time and while weighing about 180, was not satisfied, and at the insistence of Mark Berry, then editor of “Strength Magazine” and later “Physical Training Notes,” Hise decided to try it.

He started doing nothing but the squat and the press behind neck and drinking a gallon of milk per day along with his regular foods. After a long time with no gains, he suddenly gained 29 pounds in one month. This progress continued until he finally weighed nearly 300 pounds. He became quite strong and, I believe Andy Jackson reported seeing Joe dead lift 700 in his basement gym one day.

This started the squat craze. Inspired by Hise and his gains, I myself, after 12 years training and a steady herculean bodyweight of 128 lbs. at 5’10” height, which no system seemed to change, suddenly began gaining, and added nearly 100 lbs. in one year, and from that time on for nearly eight years was Midwestern heavyweight champion.

It was shortly after this that we began publishing Iron Man, the magazine that McCallum was given, and which started his squatting spree. We might even say that the squat success was responsible for Iron Man, as at that time the old Strength magazine had discontinued, and Iron Man was the only method for telling the world about the squat program, as the only other magazine then being published fought the squat like it was poison.   

McCallum, who has now trimmed down to a well-proportioned 240, tells of his training with the squat – how the chest ached from the super deep breathing which this work forced on him and how his legs ached and cramped after a squat workout. You may have read articles from this man’s pen in “Strength & Health.”

Bodybuilders of today are not aware that the great John Grimek once made terrifically fast gains on a squat program while under the influence of Mark Berry’s training. However, Grimek was always a fine gainer and developed the ability to vary his weight 30 lbs. or so in a couple of weeks or so, either up or down, and at one time went up to around 240 lbs. His measurements were tremendous at that bodyweight.

Many men shot up at 300 lbs. bodyweight almost overnight about this time. At a later date Roger Eells came along with his body weight squats (that is, using no more than the amount you weighed on the bar) and lots of deep breathing. He had great success with this.

Well, we don’t have to tell you much more about these men who gained so much though we would like to tell you the full story of Norman Fay and his unbelievably fast gains, then his equally fast reduction in bodyweight quickly and easily. It is a fascinating and instructive story in exercise and nutrition and we will bring it to you soon.

Right now you must be interested in finding out how to use the squat for these great gains. You know, the squats, and the squats alone, are mostly responsible for the enormous power and physique of Paul Anderson. He went from 180 to nearly 380 in bodyweight. Now I know that few of you will want to weight that much and it probably wouldn’t be possible, but you can use the squat to weigh what you wish. Paul did nothing but squats for a long time, even though he disliked the exercise very much; he knew it was the secret to the size and power he wanted. A 1200 lb. squat certainly shows that he obtained the power he wanted.

We might mention that those people who use the squat develop an eventual ability to go up in bodyweight or down, as they wish, very rapidly.

I also want to point out that the success is not due to the squat only, but to a combination of the squat and proper and increased feeding and nutrition. Every one of these fellows used heavy diet of one type or other, with most of them relying on lots of milk. They would drink milk after their meals, with their meals, between meals and before bed time. I never used more than two quarts daily myself, but some of the fellows went up to a gallon or even six quarts. Some added vitamins and minerals to their diets, though this was later, as not much was known about the value of vitamin and mineral supplements for bodybuilders 30 years ago (1935). I recall that Hise once tried salt pork because it would make him drink more water and milk. It put weight on, but I’m not sure what kind. Still, we must realize that the body is about 75% water, so we must supply lots of moisture if we expect to gain fast. I can recall when Hise came to our house for a visit, my mother would place a quart bottle of water at his plate and had to fill it once or twice in addition. She also brought out all the food, for Hise was a tremendous eater.

Many of the fellows drank water during their workouts, and some drank milk at this time. I well recall walking into the home gym of another great gainer and weightlifter in Denver by the name of Ed Shepperd. There he was, resting after a set of squats and drinking milk from a quart bottle. Many fancy concoctions of foods were worked up and many of them seemed to do the job, but milk seemed to be the universal food they all liked to use.

Today bodybuilders feel they have to do a lot of sets and pump up the muscles a lot in order to make gains. In those days we did one set and that was it We worked so hard that we couldn’t do another set if we had wanted to, and anyhow we didn’t know about multiple sets then. Sometimes someone would do sets but he didn’t really work them with a purpose or understand what he was doing. There was no pump because we only performed one set. Also, because we practiced what we later called the rest pause in the squat, though we did it for a different purpose then; we unconsciously used what we are now pushing as the PHA system, though it certainly was in a crude form.

You see, this is the way we performed the squat. We would put on all the weight we thought we could use for 10 repetitions, then we would get under the bar and back off and perform 20 reps. Between repetitions we would take 3 to 6 breaths, depending on how tired we were, and often by the time we reached 20 repetitions we were breathing so hard it took 10 breaths to get ready for the next rep. Anyhow, those pauses permitted the blood to circulate in our legs and enabled us to reach the full 20 count.

It has been years since I have seen anyone work as hard on squats as we worked in those days. You can’t believe what hard, heavy breathing we did, and after we replaced the bar on the racks it would be 5 or 10 minutes before we could breathe anywhere near normal again or were even able to stand up and walk. Talk about tired legs! Many a man has gone down to the pavement when he tried to walk downstairs after doing his 20 squats because his legs wouldn’t hold him up.

I recall Chris Dinkelaker of Columbus, Ohio, who was a skinny lifter whom Harry Paschall had talked into doing squats to gain weight. He then went out to the races, and on his way out his legs gave out and he tumbled to the bottom of the stairs and some dear old lady came over and was so solicitous because she thought he was suffering from a fit.

I was not kidding when I said that we loaded the bar to what we thought we could use for 10 reps, then did 20 reps. Nearly every workout I felt that the 10th rep was the last, but I would breathe a while and get my mind set to it (this was very important – without mental control you will never make it), and do another one. I would continue this until I had 20 reps, with every rep over 10 a real fight. It’s hard to get back to the squat racks, but you make it and replace the bar and try to walk away but your legs feel like rags. You pant for a long time and as soon as you’re able you grasp a 20 lb. bar and do about 20 or 30 breathing pullovers. By the time you have finished these you are breathing about normal again, but your legs still don’t feel like they want any more.

When working the squat in a routine, we always performed it last for a very obvious reason. We didn’t have anything left for other exercises. Most of the fellows squatted to parallel, not because of any rules as we now have, but because they seemed best for maximum results. A few insisted on going to the bottom but this was considered too dangerous for the sacroiliac area.

Nearly everyone squatted flat footed, with very few using a block under the heels. All squatted with the feet well apart and toes pointed well outward. Most of them used a cambered or bent bar. This kept the bar from rolling up on the neck if they came up hips first. This did not bother me as I squatted almost vertically. Most used some padding on the bar though some got tough enough to stand it without padding.

The biggest problem was with the arms going to sleep from their long cramped position holding the bar, but you get used to this in time and just ignore it.

If we got stuck at the bottom we just pushed against the thigh with on hand and came up. We might get stuck on the 10th rep, but we went on and finished the full 20 repetitions. Getting stuck early was no indication we were through. We always seemed to be able to fight it through to the full 20 reps.

We always took that workout even if we didn’t feel like it. Nothing interfered with it.

I did squats twice per week, but most fellows worked them three times per week; also most fellows did something else with the squats but few of them used a large program.

I used the chin and press behind neck, nothing else. Hise used the press behind neck and the squat. Some used four or five other exercises but no one had a big program. All seemed to gain all over, including arms and shoulders.

You can get some sore muscle from this type of work. I tried to increase the squat poundage by 5 or 10 lbs. each workout even though it seemed I couldn’t make it.

Starting with about 135 lbs. I gradually went up to 20 reps with 340 in a year or so. Some went higher than this. Even though we were doing high reps, it was amazing how our strength went up so rapidly. You are usually a little tired the next day after a workout, but you were ready for the next workout when the time came.

I have told you about men who went up to 300 or so pounds in bodyweight. I tell you this only to show what can be done, and do not recommend that you go that high, as it is not necessary or desirable. I stopped at about 220 and feel this was plenty heavy enough for me.

Many fellows have gone quite high and then found they didn’t care to be so heavy, and have trimmed down to a fine physique. You can stop anywhere you desire. In fact, you will find it hard work all the way, but you will not make it without hard work. Because it is very hard work you will also require a great amount of sleep and rest. If you neglect your rest you are not going to be happy with the results you get.

This article has been a recital of what has been done, with details given so that you can do likewise if you desire. If you go on a squat program, remember that the squat is the main exercise. Anything else you decide to do will be in the nature of accessory exercise. You will probably do only one set of about 10 reps on them.

Don’t forget that nutrition is the real secret of gaining or reduction, but you must also have exercise with it.

One thing this program will do is put you into condition. Most of us used 20 reps in the squat, but Hise experimented with as high as 30 and 40 reps, but found 20 to 30 best.

I can very well remember how easy it was to run around over mountains like a goat after being on this intensive program for a while. It was hard then for me to understand why other people got tired and winded while climbing. I can understand it now after being off 20 rep squat for a few years.

Good luck with your squatting, and let us know how you get along. Incidentally, you don’t jump into this full force all at once. Start with light poundages that seem easy, and then add 5 or 10 lbs. each workout.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Simple Workout Variation - Don Pfeiffer (1987)

More by Don Pfeiffer:

Don Pfeiffer (1987) 

Every year thousands of people take up bodybuilding, either competitively or for their own enjoyment. Unfortunately, the majority of these individuals will quit in less than one year. Why? 

In some instances a person quits because he or she is simply not willing to work as hard as is required. To them, the necessary effort is not justified by the potential benefits, and they often opt for a much less strenuous activity.

Others quit because they are not satisfied with the progress they are making. However, this is usually the result of unrealistic expectations. Many novice trainees have delusions of grandeur, expecting to be Mr. America overnight. When they discover that six months of hard effort has resulted in only modest gains, they quit in disgust.

Of course, there are other reasons why people give up on bodybuilding training, but the two already mentioned are the biggest reasons why people quit. In their excellent book Lift Your Way to Youthful Fitness, Dr. Terry Todd and his wife Jan state that boredom kills more fitness programs than any other causes. In other words, there is a lack of variety. 

To me, this is utterly ridiculous because there are so many variables in training -- sets, reps, poundages, exercises, methods of training, etc. -- that if one so desired he could train every day and never do the same workout twice. 

Without a doubt, the greatest variation lies in the area of exercise selection. In his monumental work, Keys to the Inner Universe, four-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl lists well over 1,000 different exercises and by no means is this a complete directory. In past issues of this magazine (Muscular Development), Dr. Ken Leistner has presented several innovative and effective exercises. To this list I would like to add a few more that will put new life into your workouts and prevent boredom from setting in. 

Seated Shoulder Shrug

Have you ever used the Nautilus neck and shoulder machine? This apparatus, which allows the user to perform a shrugging movement while seated, is my favorite method of performing the shoulder shrug. When I don't have access to this machine I simply substitute the seated shoulder shrug. To perform this exercise you will need a cambered bar. 

Begin by sitting on a bench with the bar on the floor directly underneath the bench. Bend over and grab the bar and then return to an upright sitting position. From there, simply shrug your shoulders. It is important that the cambered part of the bar is facing downward. A pair of heavy dumbbells can also be used.

Prone Barbell Row

There is probably no better exercise for the upper back than the bentover barbell row, having been used by generations of bodybuilders with equally good results. Because of the nature of the exercise (the bent over position), many bodybuilders experience lower back problems and as a result have to discontinue the exercise.

Some are able to circumvent this problem by using a head support positioned slightly above waist height. While this effectively removes the stress from the lower back, there is an even more effective and result producing version -- the prone barbell row. As with seated shrugging, you will need a cambered bar (or heavy dumbbells). Assume a face down position on a bench, with the bar underneath the bench -- once again with the cambered part facing downward. From there simply pull the bar to your chest.

To start the exercise it's best to place the ends of the loaded bar on two small blocks, enabling you to reach the bar while face down on the bench. On each rep do not touch the blocks as you'll only shorten the range of motion. After the last rep put the bar back up on the blocks.

Not only does this exercise eliminate the low back problem, it enhances the exercise by providing a slightly increased range of motion.

Serratus Shrugs

Few bodybuilders give any consideration to developing their serratus muscles. Here's an exercise that does exactly that.

Taking the same position as you would for the bench press, press the weight over your chest to lockout. Now, instead of letting it back down, with your arms fully extended, shrug the bar for several reps. I strongly recommend that you have a spotter when performing this exercise.

Decline-Press Triceps-Extension

The name of this exercise might be a little bit confusing as it is not a triceps extension performed while in a decline position. However, it is a form of triceps extension that is performed on the Nautilus decline press machine. Please note that this exercise can also be performed on the Nautilus double chest machine.

To perform this exercise you'll need the proper Nautilus machine and a board approximately 40" x 5" x 1". It may be necessary to laminate two 1/2 inch pieces of plywood together to get a one-inch thick piece. Once you are seated in the machine, place the board against the top inside part of both handles. Grasp the board with your palms facing out and your fingers wrapped over the top. Using a close grip, push the board outward and then slowly return it. The movement is the same as the decline press except you are using the board and the closer grip places more stress on the triceps.

Wide-Grip Drag Curls

Compared to conventional barbell curls the the wide-grip drag curl has two basic differences: it is a straight line movement, and it has resistance in the contracted position -- unlike the conventional curl, which is a rotary movement and does not have resistance in the contracted position.

As its name states, begin by taking a wide collar-to-collar grip on the bar. You should also use a "false grip" -- that is, a thumbless one. Keeping your elbows as far back as possible and the bar against your body, 'curl' the bar up as far as possible. Upon reaching this position, forcibly contract your biceps and then slowly lower the weight and repeat. This exercise will never replace regular curls, but it is certainly an excellent complementary variation.

One-Legged Squats

Why would you want to perform one-legged squats when the regular two-legged version is the one of the most productive exercises around? First of all, it will add more variety to your workouts. Unlike the regular squat, the one-legged version requires that you balance yourself, which results in improved coordination and stability.

Also, the potential for back injury is greatly reduced because there is no compression on the spine. The resistance is in your hands, not on your back. Finally, if one leg is substantially weaker than the other you can direct your efforts towards that leg with this ipsilateral version.

To obtain maximum benefit it is best to perform the exercise on a box with a dumbbell in each hand. This will allow you to squat down as far as possible, and to increase the resistance as you get stronger. Unless you are concentrating on one weak leg, be sure to switch legs each set.

Decline Cable Pullovers

Concluding this very short list is an excellent exercise for developing the outer pectorals. To perform this exercise start by taking the proper position on the decline bench -- you should be in a supine (face up) position and your head should be below your hips.

With your arms out at your sides and your palms facing toward your feet, pull the cables forward until your hands meet at a point just over your hips. Be sure to keep your arms slightly bent throughout the movement.

Please remember that the intent of these exercises is to add variety to your workouts. While they are also productive exercises they are by no means total panaceas. Therefore, be realistic about your expectations when using these exercises.

In addition, whenever you add one of these exercises to your workout, go into it gradually. Start with a light weight and terminate the exercise before it gets too difficult. Only after you have become familiar with the movement should you increase the resistance and challenge yourself.

In closing, I would like to quote a passage from Fred Hatfield's excellent book, Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach: "The absolute key to bodybuilding success is variation." 



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Squat to Get Lean - Lara McGlashan/Justin Grinnell (2016)

More by Lara McGlashan:

What business do we have discussing squats in a column called Burn? Shouldn't we be talking about high intensity interval training or the latest, greatest supplement/diet/programming to lean you out and shred you up? 


Squats are probably the most underrated body-composition tool in your arsenal. If you're not squatting, you're probably not getting stronger, not adding muscle as quickly as possible, and not burning nearly as much fat as you could if you were hitting ass to grass at least once a week.

"The squat pattern is one of the fundamental human movements that everyone should master, with or without load," says Justin Grinnell, CSCS, and owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. "It sets the foundation for almost all other movement patterns and lifts, and works the body as a unit, causing a large metabolic cost and leading to more calories being burned." 

More by Justin Grinnell:

 Any exercise that allows you to build more muscle and increase strength will burn more fat because a muscle cell requires energy in order to thrive. When it comes to muscle building, the squat is second to none, engaging just about every muscle in your lower body as well as your core, back and shoulders. And the burn extends beyond the workout itself. 

"The squat causes such a large metabolic cost that it causes a cascade of hormonal release, increasing anabolic hormones such as testosterone, IGF-1 and growth hormone," Grinnell says. All these hormones mean additional muscle growth potential and a boost in metabolism. Translation: More fat burned, more lean tissue built, more forward progress no matter what your goals.

You're also able to hit ass to grass squats more than once a week because the legs have been shown to respond well to high-volume training (i.e., more reps, more workouts per week, more exercises per workout). While Olympic lifters and some powerlifters squat upward of four to six days per week, their goals are different from those trying to lose bodyfat. 

"The sweet spot for body composition change seems to be about two to three days (of squat training) per week," Grinnell says. "In order to see progress without overtraining, it's crucial that you vary your sets, reps, loads and total volume and have the proper intensity to elicit some type of response. On the flip side, you also need to back off in order to let your body recover and rebuild." 

These two programs, designed by Grinnell, outline a high-rep/high-volume day as well as a low-rep/heavy-weight day. "It's good to vary the rep rotation and squat variations to ensure that progress is consistent and that recovery happens," Grinnell says. "Vary the intensity for your chosen goal every four to six weeks for long-term gains." Implement these workouts starting now, and tell HIIT to take a hike. 

Squat to Shred

Overhead Squat, 2 sets of 5 reps, 1-2 minutes rest. 

Back Squat, 2 x 20 reps, as much rest as needed.
 - squat the equivalent of your body weight. 

Goblet Squat, 3 x 15, 1-2 minutes rest.

Walking Lunge, 3 x 10 each leg, 1-2 minutes rest.

Kettlebell Swing, as many sets as needed to complete 100 reps total.
 - perform sets of 10-20 reps until you achieve a total of 100 with a 24-kg kettlebell (men) or 16 kg (women). 

Farmers Carry, 1 x 100 meters. 

Squat for Strength

Squat Jump, 2 x 5 reps, 1-2 minutes rest.

Back Squat, 3 x 5, 3, 2, 3-6 minutes rest.
 - Do 3-5 warmup sets before going for the 5, 3, and 2 rep maxes.

Paused Front Squat, 3 x 3, 3-5 minutes rest.
 - Pause for 2-3 seconds at the bottom of each rep and stay tight. 

Pistol Squat, 3 x 5, 1-2 minutes rest.

Glute Ham Raise, 3 x 8, 1-2 minutes rest. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

An Example of My Training Approach - Anthony Ditillo

When deciding just what type of bulk and power routine you are going to use, you sooner or later will have to come up against the following question: What number of sets and repetitions is best for gaining bulk and power? 

You see, you are not going to be the only one who has ever asked such a question. No, for surely this question is one of the most commonly asked by all beginners. The real problem here is that since we all are basically different, then it seems natural and logical to assume that sometimes what will work for one will not work for another. Some fellows will be able to use a certain number of sets and reps and for them it will be the answer to their prayers. 

However, you or I might try the same routine and for us, we not only would we fail to gain, but we might actually lose in the process! This is what makes it so hard to deal with this problem. There are just too many different kinds of men for us to be able to use any one certain set rule to govern repetitions and sets in lifting exercises. There are too many variables involved within this problem for us to come up with any clear cut answer for everyone once they're out of the beginner stage. And it's too bad we can't, for this would make it very easy for us indeed, to decide just what it is we should do. This would take al of the guesswork out of it. 

But we would also take away THE INDIVIDUALITY of the 'man at work' so to speak. The right for us to choose, competently, comprehensively, and most of all, logically; this most assuredly would be done away with. We would become so bored with the same dull and drab training routine, using the same set scheme of sets and repetitions that in the long run most of us would give up training anyway. So you see, it is actually good for us to have to choose among so many different, possible schedules of sets and repetitions. This way we will enjoy more interesting training periods and in the long run will develop quite a bit of a training background and have interesting memories and topics to discuss with out friends and those who are interested in physical culture.

However, setting aside the idealistic attitude involved within our problem of selecting sets and repetitions in order to achieve our aims, we will have to use as a basis for our choice the experiences of ourselves and others we know and read about, and how we ourselves react to certain sets and reps and how others have reacted also. [Mr. Ditillo seemed to have a real desire to write long, winding sentences. Shortly after, well, a couple years after first being drawn to his stuff, I set out to find some of the 'outer reaches' of authors who did likewise. No, not jokers who intentionally wrote some very long sentences with the length as the actual goal. Writers who chose to write very long sentences, used semicolons repeatedly in single sentences and . . . you get the idea of what I was looking for. At the far reaches I came up with Sri Aurobindo, born 1872, died 1950, which gave him plenty of time to write these long and winding sentences. Because he dealt with mysticism and the philosophy of spiritual evolution his choice of very lengthy snaking sentences proved to be the perfect match for what he was trying to share with his readership. This guy can take you, in the space of a sentence that runs on for two or three pages, so far into your own head that it often becomes questionable if he's ever going to help you come back. And that, my friends, is the joy of running a blog that takes on absolutely no for-profit adverts or like promotions. The author can just ramble on and get lost following a tangential flight plan whenever he or she so desires. Seriously, Mr. Ditillo did have a penchant for the longish sentences.] 

Basically, though, past the beginner stages the only trainer you can trust in handling your personal training problems is yourself. [This was written well before the personal trainer/coach business of idolatry blossomed out and became what it is now. If you has money you has to haves a personal trainer/coach or you simply is not reaching your maximum progresses, eh. Written long before nonprofessional lifting (read 'hobby') became the somewhat perverted for-profit fiasco it now is. Or might be, depending on how you perceive things. Personally, I've always perceived 'fiasco' to be a word of the highest order.]  

However, to carry on before I'm rudely interrupted once more, what I am getting at is this: Only you know exactly how your body responds toward a certain type of exercise and only you can logically determine just what kind of workout will benefit you the most. So, in a sense, you are your own best trainer. But since you are most likely not yet an expert in the field of physical culture when it comes to the best form of training for your own specific goals, you will have to look everywhere for quite some time in order to find the suitable information you need. It can be done over time, and with perseverance, consistency and adequate keeping of records you will become your own best coach and trainer. 

And after all that . . . here is a good example of one of Anthony Ditillo's favorite style routines: 

I, myself, have a definite opinion as to how my body adjusts to to various stimuli (in this case the stimuli would be reps and sets). 

I have found that I gain in bulk and power most readily when I use four training periods per week. 

I perform one pressing movement, one pulling movement, and one squatting movement each workout.

I do not perform the same movement two days in a row.

For example: 

Monday - 
Bench Press
Bentover Rowing
Full Squat

Tuesday - 
Seated Press
Half Squat

Thursday - 
Floor Press
Bentover Rowing

Friday - 
Seated Half Press
High Deadlift in Rack

And there you have a perfect example of the type of training routine I seem to thrive on. As for the sets and repetitions I perform, my schedule usually looks like this: 

A) First set use 5 reps with 50% of 1-rep max.
B) 5 to 7 singles using 90% of 1-rep max.
C) One set of as many reps as possible with 75% of 1-rep max.  

For me, this type of routine has always been most gratifying. I have gained the most bulk and power ever, using this type of routine. 

Now, I cannot positively tell you that if you perform the same routine you will gain also; this is because of many possible things. For instance, suppose you did not particularly like my type of routine but decided to try it nonetheless. Why, your mental attitude would cause you to fail in obtaining results right from the very beginning. You did not want to follow my type of routine in the first place, so it would be foolish of you, indeed, to expect outstanding results with this type of mental attitude. 

However, there is also the possibility that such a routine would either be too fatiguing (or not severe enough) for your particular system to accept it as being good. Such a routine might cause you to become too fat and on the other hand it might also cause you to not gain at all. 

So you see, you can use my sets and repetitions as examples for your future training routines but you cannot and should not consider (once past the beginner stages) any information you receive from me or from anyone else as being completely correct and true as far as everyone else is concerned, for this would be a grave mistake. For by taking such an attitude of blind acceptance you would be denying yourself the ability to think, to decipher, and to decide. You would become a robot able to perform only the tasks which are computed into your brain. 

 ----- Okay, the obvious question about that routine above. Full Squat on Monday followed by Half Squat on Tuesday. Regular Deadlift on Thursday followed by Rack Pull on Friday. You can't do that and still gain! 


Have you even tried any of the 'You Can't Do It Like That and Gain' approaches 
before condemning them?   

All's good as long as it's in the right place at the right time.


The Conservation of Training Energy - Anthony Ditillo

As I have mentioned repeatedly in my previous articles, "No training routine, no matter how good, will work for you if you do not work." And this is so very true. Many times it is not the training routine at fault, when a man claims he can't seem to make any more gains, but in reality, it is the man himself who is to blame for his apparent physical breakdown. Now, this inability to gain can stem from one of many reasons. We have come over quite a few of these reasons during the course of my articles, but there are still two more which we will be getting into shortly. 

One of these reasons for not being able to gain is working too hard, and the other is working out too often. Since both of these occurrences will result in a loss of muscle tone, endurance, willpower to handle heavy weights and most especially a loss of desire to train altogether, you should be able to realize quite easily just how important it is to keep a steady pace or 'tone,' as it were, on your training periods to make sure that you do not train yourself into staleness and despair . . .

 One of the biggest mistakes any trainee can make is to train too hard and too heavy for himself to recuperate adequately. This is really foolish because if you do not recuperate you will not be able to continue to gain. You will be tearing down much more than you could possibly build up. In the following paragraphs I am going to briefly outline for you some of the types of routines which usually lead to staleness and a wasteful use of your training energy, energy which is totally responsible for gains.

One of the most common mistakes a beginner, and sometimes an advanced man can make, is to substitute growing exercises with isolation exercises. Now, I can readily see the value of isolation exercises as used intermittently during the entire year, for the sheer purpose of breaking a spell of boredom, perhaps, but I cannot understand what will make an underweight trainee substitute the full or half squat with an exercise such as the leg extension or the hack squat. Doesn't it make sense to you that if the main thing you need is muscular bulk, then you should dedicate 99% of your training time and energy towards this aim?

And if this be the case, then why do so many fellows waste precious time and energy performing halfway decent exercises in place of the very movements which are almost guaranteed to give them results?

The answer is, they enjoy performing the isolation exercises mainly because they are easier to perform, require less hard work, and they have seen too many training photographs of the 'stars' in the various magazines performing these light exercises, and do these misguided souls feel that they too must use these movements in order to obtain their ultimate results. What they cannot seem to get into their thick skulls is that the routines which show top men doing little things like concentration curls and triceps presses with pulleys are only trying to give you an idea as to what kind of 'pre-contest training' such an advanced man has to do in order for his muscles to obtain the definition needed for him to win this or that contest.

Do you think for one minute that Bill Pearl built up the greater mass of his chest using the lying lateral raise with pulleys? Or do you think that Larry Scott developed his twenty inch arms doing 35-pound concentration curls? Of course they didn't. Only a fool would believe so. So don't you think it is foolish for anyone who knows that these greats of the bodybuilding world did not build up on light cramping movements to continue to use them in his own routine?

You see, the trouble here is that what this guy is actually doing is wasting his training energy. And training energy is one of the most important aspects of successful training to be taken into consideration. Without the needed amount of training energy you will not have the endurance, stamina, or strong willed constitution necessary for positive mental attitude and physical force in the performance of a repetition. If you can't forcefully contract the muscle as you are performing the repetition, then you can be sure that either the weight is too low in poundage or you are overtired. Not obtaining and not maintaining the proper level of training energy can make or break you as far as obtaining the gains which you desire.

So you should now be able to readily understand the importance of conserving your energy for profitable use in your workouts. You should know that for the most profitable use of such important energy it is vital to realize just what types of training to avoid. I have just mentioned to you the importance of not allowing isolation exercises to take the place of the growing exercises. But there is much more to it than just that. What about multiple sets? What about tri-sets? And how about split, double split, and triple split routines? Will they do you any good? Are they of any value? Will such apparently wild methods enable anybody to gain?

Well, keep reading and you will find out.

Tri-sets and supersets are nothing new. They have been with us for quite a long time now and the results they can give have a lot to do with just what kind of results you are looking for. For the bulk and power trainee such methods of muscle pumping have no place in his routine. For the pure bodybuilding enthusiast who has no desire whatsoever in developing strength to any appreciable degree, I feel they are all right. However, I once again repeat: for the bulk and power man supersets and tri-sets are no good for anything other than burning up valuable training energy and wasting precious time. The chief reason for this is due to the fact that in order to perform such multiple sets without resting between each one requires you to use lighter weights in your exercises and this, of course, will not build great power. No, this type of training is very strenuous on your nerves because it taxes your system so much, but it most definitely will not make you strong.

Strength needs rest, and there is almost no rest in this type of routine. In order to develop strength you must use a weight that is heavy enough for you to have to perform each repetition quite slowly [although you may be moving the weight as fast as possible], due to the heaviness of the weight. It is this constant straining against such heavy resistance that will develop for you a constant and steady increase in your muscle size and power. Multiple sets, on the other hand, require that you use a weight light enough for you to quickly go through the motions so you can pump out more and more reps and, therefore, blow the muscles up more. And, since light weights and forced repetitions will not build great power, nor will they build useful bulk, it should be easily seen just why multiple sets have no place in a bulk and power trainer's routine.

While on the subject of conserving training energy for furthering your bulk and power gains, we now come to another misconstrued aspect which is most definitely inter-involved within the entire training scope. This is the FREQUENCY of your training.

Long ago, when physical culture was in its infancy, it was a natural procedure for a man to exercise his entire body three days per week. This enabled him to enjoy a normal life and he did not have to look forward to spending the rest of his life going to and coming from a gym. There were many, many men who reached the pinnacle of success by using this type of training routine. These men did not try to overdo a good thing. They realized the value of a proper balance between exercise and rest and they also knew quite well that if they were to become well rounded men, they would have to spend time at additional interests, not just at their training.

But somewhere along the line fellows began to feel that if a little training is good, a whole lot of training will be better. So they began to experiment with using additional training periods in the course of the week just to see what the results would be. Some went to four times a week. They wouldn't work the same muscle groups each day because this, they knew, could bring on staleness over time, so they would perform upper body work one day and lower body work the next. And the results were quite rewarding. They began to gain faster and they had more training enthusiasm and drive. But were they satisfied with such an improvement?    

No, they were not. Instead they began further experimenting using more than one training period per day! Arms in the morning, before going to work; the midsection during lunchtime, and the chest right before supper. Then the following day they'd perform leg work in the morning, forearm work during lunch, and arm and back work in the evening. And did this type of training work?

Yes, for a very few advanced men it did. However, it didn't allow them much time for anything else other than training, and for the beginner it was a total disaster. But the various magazines must have felt that such a training regimen was most commercial in its value, so they started publishing various routines for the beginners and intermediates to follow. This time around, however, the results were not as good. The men who tried to follow such routines would either burn themselves out completely from the extreme stress they were putting upon their energy reserves, or else they became so disgusted with their training that they gave up completely. Although double split and triple split training did not appear successful in its attempted venture, it did leave in its wake one clear, concise mark: in order to continue to gain you must not continually drain your energy.

What kind of training is suitable for the bulk and power trainee? Heavy, low rep training is the answer, for with this training the bulk fanatic can properly utilize his training energy without depleting himself of nervous energy which he most assuredly needs to get through his working day. By using heavy, slow moving, low rep work the bulk and power trainee can gain the most muscle and the most power in the shortest possible time. And because this type of heavy training is physically demanding but not especially physically tiring, the follower of such a course will have more than enough energy for the proper utilization of the rest of his day.

After definitely deciding against multiple set or double split types of training, we now come to another very important factor to be taken into consideration when discussing the importance of conserving training energy. We now come to the actual performance and rest periods involved within a successful training program.

How many times have you heard two fellows arguing as to how much time constitutes a correctly spaced rest period? I have heard this same argument time and time again. The reason why no one has been able to come up with a suitable answer to this problem is because of the vast amount of training variables that come into the picture. The only feasible answer to this question is to judge for yourself just how much time it takes you to rest completely between sets of extremely heavy exercise.

I have found that too many fellows rest far too long between sets of power movements especially. Now, many feel that in order to gain the greatest amount of strength you need to take long rest periods between sets. But let us not forget that when you do rest for a long time between each set you also take the chance of becoming 'cold' and tearing a muscle or doing other damage. You see, when you are doing lighter weigh bodybuilding the high number of repetitions will keep the muscles warm and pumped while you are resting, but when power training the muscles will easily get cold if the rest period between each attempt becomes too long. You need the proper balance between the heaviness of the various exercises and the amount of rest you allow yourself to take. And we must also realize that certain exercises done certain ways require more energy to perform and therefore require longer rest periods between each attempt.

For instance, the full squat and the strict curl are two accepted power lifts at this time. Of the two, which one do you think requires more energy to perform? Why, the squat does, of course. Then wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that if this be the case, you would actually need more of a rest period between sets of heavy squats than you would between sets of heavy curls? And if this be the case, why then would you set for yourself a certain time limit between each set during your workout, not taking into account just which particular lift you would be working on at what particular time? It doesn't make too much sense, does it? Of course not, but this is exactly what some of you fellows are trying to do, and for you the answer is not yet within reach, for there are too many of you fellows who are trying to take the certain laws which you found applicable in lighter weight bodybuilding and attempting to place these bodybuilding laws into the spectrum of bulk and power training. Power training is not like bodybuilding. They are both totally different sports with differing goals and require totally different codes of conduct. In other words, the rest periods which may be quite all right for bodybuilding will not be suitable for bulk and power training, and also the rest periods suitable for bulk and power training will not be especially suitable for bodybuilding.

When in strict power training the amount of rest you take between each exercise must be governed by the amount of energy you have used in performing the set. Use the amount of heavy, hard breathing you must go through after the set to judge just how hard that set was. Between each set sit down or walk around quietly until your breathing comes back to normal and then you will be sure that you are ready to commence the next heavy set.

Never rush yourself, but never pamper yourself either, as both of these faults will put a stint in the success of any particular training period. Let your natural breathing be a sign to tell you when it is time to begin the next set.    

Never fail to adhere to that 'little voice' which will tell you when it is time to begin again.


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