Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Unusuals

Taken From This Issue (June, 1956) 

Try These "Unusual" Exercises
by Barton Horvath

Want to try an interesting bodybuilding layout change? Something new? Then this special routine is tailor-made for you. Just forget about your regular routine for the next while and substitute this one. The variety might do you good! 

Don't think that if you're tired of the usual routines that it is a bad sign. In fact, it's a very good one, for all experienced trainers agree that anyone who lets himself get into an exercise rut will never reach the top of their game or enjoy their training as much as they could. 

To get anywhere in bodybuilding you have to be aggressive, anxious to test new ideas. You must be willing at times to stray away from the beaten path and go on an exercise binge out of the sheer delight you derive from such training. 

In previous articles you've read about Ross, Reeves, Stephan, Robert, Theriault and others, and how they ma a radical change in training every once in a while, knowing that such a plan helps them in many ways.

It gives them a chance to  fully indulge their exercise appetites, to try new and different exercises they couldn't find a place for otherwise in their usual routines. They also can blow off steam an get rid of accumulated energy in this manner, which keeps them from getting irritable and sometimes frustrated in their training. So, if an exercise binge of unusual movements is good for them, you can be sure it will work for you. 

When you do try the exercises listed here, you may be surprised to learn that your body possesses certain certain WEAK LINKS you didn't know about, in the arms, shoulders, waist, lower back, or legs. Then, while you are enjoying yourself with this novel routine, you will also be bringing these weak links in your muscle chain up to par to help you in your regular lifting routine when you go back to it.

I recommend following this novelty routine for six to eight weeks, training three or four times per week, depending on how much energy you have stored up.

Instead of following a certain prescribed number of sets and reps, in the exercises, try to work up in poundage during each training session. Start off with a light weight (buddy) and perform a few repetition with that. Then, add a little weight and perform a few reps with that. Keep adding weight in this manner until you either fail to make one rep or are sure that the weight you have last used is your limit for that workout.

Keep a chart listing the top weight you can use in all the exercises and make this your workout challenge. Try to better your record each session, and you'll be surprised how such a determined mental approach, especially when using new movements, will pay off. 

Here are the novel exercises I want you to use in this program:

1) Dumbbell Rollout -
Start this exercise in the regular floor dip (pushup) position. However, instead of having the hands on the floor, have them gripping a pair of plate-loading dumbbells. Keep your elbows stiff, and roll the dumbbells off to each side until the arms are completely outstretched. If you hold your body rigid, which you should, then, when the arms are outstretched your chest, waist and thighs will be only a few inches above the floor. Don't permit your body to actually touch the floor. Merely lower yourself in a controlled manner as far as you must to permit your arms to be fully outstretched. When you arrive at this position, hold it for several seconds, then draw the dumbbells together again to the starting position.

At first, you may not be able to extend your arms fully and still keep your body under control. You may find that you can move them out to the sides only a foot or so and then a weakness in your shoulder and upper back muscles make it impossible for you to move them further out without losing control of your body with its lowering through your arms toward the floor.

However, with practice you will soon succeed. Then, the next step is to work up to several repetitions, about five or so. Once you can do this, have a light barbell plate placed on your upper back, and from that point on try to work up to several reps with progressively higher poundages.

The late Adolph Rhein, when 70 years of age, once performed 10 perfect repetitions of this exercise in front of me. When he was younger he was able to perform 20 and could do several repetitions with a 50-lb. plate on his back. It's a rough and tough shoulder, back and chest strength test, so if you work up to 5 reps without weight or one with a 25-lb. plate on your upper back, with arms locked and elbows stiff, you'll top almost anyone you know.

Note: Adolph Rhein originally owned the facility that became John Terlazzo's Gym.
From here:

2) Barbell Extension to Rear -

This exercise is a fabulous triceps builder. It will give you that impressive horseshoe formation with consistent work over time. To start the exercise merely stand with a barbell in the hands, bar behind the back, palms facing to the rear. Now, without any bend from the hips, keeping the body rigid, raise the barbell back and to the rear until you feel the triceps lock. Hold the barbell in this position for a count of two, then lower to the starting position.

Keep your elbows locked throughout the movement, and you have to raise the barbell at least a foot behind the body in order to have the exercise work properly. At my request, Joe Weider made a test of his power in this movement and he made 75 lbs. without too much effort. Use that weight as your goal, but don't be disturbed if 40 or 50 feels tough at the start. If you can make 75 or 80 lbs. in proper form, you can boast of really powerful triceps.

3) Seated Goose Neck Dumbbell Curl -

Sit on an exercise bench, elbow resting on the knee, and hold a dumbbell in one hand, the palm of the hand facing your body. Do not move the elbow off the knee, and curl the weight, allowing the wrist to bend forward to produce a "goose-neck" appearance of the wrist and forearm. Curl the weight up as close to your shoulder as you can and then lower again. Repeat with each arm.

George F. Jowett, whose gripping and forearm power is still most outstanding at over 60 years of age (1956), was able to use an 80-lb. dumbbell in this movement as an exercise, when he was in his prime. Don't be discouraged if 40 or 50 lbs. stumps you. As you get up in poundage your forearms will really respond to this novel exercise.

4) One Arm Get Up - 

Lie flat on your back on the ground and raise either a dumbbell or a barbell to arm's length above the body. It makes no difference how you get this weight to arm's length; you can use either one or two arms to do this for getting it to arm's length is not part of the exercise.

Once the weight is held above the body, your work starts. You are to hold the weight at arm's length and then, by shifting your weight and getting your legs under you, you are to sit up and finally stand erect, still holding the weight at arm's length.

You need a lot of balance for this movement and you will have to work out the best style to use which will permit you to rise from a lying position to a standing one, without losing control of the weight.

Exercise both sides equally and try to use the same weight in the your right arm as you do in your left. at first, 100 lbs. will be tough. But with practice you should make 150 over time. One West Coast bodybuilder, I believe his name is Jimmy Collins, succeeded with a weight of 200 lbs. You can try to break his record if you wish, but I suggest 140 lbs. as being your immediate goal.

5) Kneeling Clean - 

Kneel on the ground with a barbell in front of your body. Bend forward and secure a good grip on the bar, hands wide apart. Now, pull up with the arms, lower back and upper back muscles and clean the weight to the shoulders. This exercise is a severe test of the trapezius muscle especially and will quickly reveal any weak points if they exist. It is one of the favorite novelty exercises of Steve Reeves, who has succeeded with well over 200 lbs. Anything above 150 lbs. is really good. 

6) One Legged Squat - 

If you think that you possess unusual leg power and muscular coordination, then you might change your mind when you try this exercise. To start, lift a barbell above the head with one arm. Support all your bodyweight on the foot of the same side. Hold your free arm off to the side to give you a balance and then raise your free leg to the front. Now, maintaining this position, squat down on one leg as far as you can go. Hold the low squat position for a count of two and then return to a standing stance. 

This used to be one of my favorite exercises and I was able to make 125 lbs. with a barbell, holding the weight with either the right or left arm, squatting with the corresponding leg. At first you may have trouble performing a one legged squat without any extra weight, but soon you'll be making 100 lbs. or more with either leg.

7) Two Finger Deadlift - 

This exercise is exactly the same as the regular deadlift, except that instead of using your full hands, you only use the middle finger of each to grip the bar. Use a standard width bar for this exercise. Several years ago I saw Jack Walsh, the Trenton strongman, handle well over 400 lbs. in this, and it was nowhere near his limit. He merely wanted to show me the strength of his middle fingers. He bent down to pick up the first barbell that he saw was loaded with a heavy weight. He only weighed 150 at the time, so even though this was far from his limit, for his bodyweight it was a most credible lift. 

If you can make 300, your finger strength is above average. If you make 400, you will certainly be a good match for anyone you know.

Jack Walsh performing a One Finger Barbell Snatch with 115 lbs.

8) Barbell Situp - 

While you won't think so at first, you'll eventually be able to sit up with more weight in this style than in the regular, weight-behind-neck version. And in many respects, this method will build stronger, better developed abdominals than any other style.

To start the exercise, lie flat on the floor. Raise a barbell to arms length above the chest. now, raise your feet up about a foot and then lower them quickly. At the same time, move the weight in your arms forward about a foot, and using the drive from legs and the movement of the weight in your hands to help you, sit up, with weight overhead. Lower the body to a reclining position again and repeat.

Even without practice you should make 50 lbs. the first time. 100 lbs. is a fair lift, but to be outstanding you'll have to make between 150 and 200 lbs. Under-standers in professional handbalancing teams often do a similar sit-up with their partners held in their hands, and it's not unusual for such top mounters to weigh 150 lbs.; sometimes even more. So if they can sit up with that amount of weight as part of their regular balancing routines, with practice the 150 and 200 lb. figures I have set should be attained by you.

So there you have it, something really new. Something to pep up your workouts and give you real training fun for a while. And when you follow this program, make sure to keep a list of your personal records. I've given you some working figures to use as your guide. So get to work and have some fun with this routine.    

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