Friday, October 30, 2020

Charles A. Smith Letters, Part Eight- Dennis Weis



Somato-type training? This goes back some time, at least to the middle 1930s when some English guys were thumping it for all it was worth. There were George Walsh, Frank Miles and Irving Clark, the latter an attorney who had taken up bodybuilding and was a BAWLA referee and had magnificent arms - 11 inches, and here he was telling people how to build 16 inchers - a fair size in those days.

George Walsh was a bit of a snake oil salesman, hooking onto any bodybuilder with a good build - or lifter for that matter, and mail ordering his muscles with a course. One of them was Harold Laurence who saw little of the hundreds of pounds taken in via the selling of his course. Another was Ron Walker, who also put out a course, under the aegis of Walsh. Frank Miles was of the same kidney. He had tied up with Walsh and Clark and all three wrote for the old time HEALTH AND STRENGTH.
Suddenly articles began to appear in the mag about type training. This idea was based on what Walsh et al called two body types. One they tabbed Thoracic and the other Abdominal. The Thoracic type was the individual with a high thoracic arch. This man, they said, would forever be "slim."

The other type, the Abdominal, had a low thoracic arch and was liable to be heavy in build and have larger measurements. It was all nonsense of course. I wrote an article knocking it in an early edition of one of Weider's mags - some time in either 1950 or 1951 - Muscle Power or Your Physique. 

Note: Your Physique, July 1950 - "Type Training is Bunk."

In the article I mentioned a meeting I had with one of the Type Training gurus in which he told me I was a Thoracic type and could never have arms over 15 inches. At the time I chuckled inwardly since than, at  bodyweight of around 160, my arms already measured close to 16 inches. The figures I give are an approximate since close to FIFTY years have passed since the time of the "interview." But I am sure you can look it up, or contact someone like Bill Hinbern who will do it for you. Sooooo, so much for the early boosters of "Type Training." 
Then round 1950 a Dr. Thomas [should be William H] Sheldon, M.D. wrote a book titled "VARIETIES OF HUMAN PHYSIQUE," 
followed by another book titled 

He divided up physiques into three types which he called the Endomorph, the Mesomorph, and the Ectomorph. The endomorph was the roly poly fat type who was easygoing, liked to eat a lot and had little or no muscular definition. The mesomorph was the natural athlete type, muscular, middling height and powerful. The third type, the ectomorph, was the skinny type, tall and wiry, likely to be nervous, suffer from stomach troubles, and often with bad cases of acne.
While in England in 1951 with Weider - we had gone over to help set up Reg Park in the business - I got a copy of Sheldon's "Varieties of Human Physique." I was extremely interested in its profuse collection of pictures which claimed to exhibit the three types outlined by Sheldon.
Sheldon's theories - for this is all they were - were soon discarded. To test the validity of his claims, all one has to do is attend a power lifting or Olympic lifting meet and watch the guys with short arms and long bodies and medium length legs; the guys with long arms, wide shoulders and long legs; the guys with short arms, short bodies and long legs etc etc ad nauseum. 
George Walsh committed suicide. One day, overwhelmed with his debts and seeing no way out of them he walked to the local railway station, placed his head on the rails and waited for a train to trot along. They told me he never suffered from sinus troubles again. Frank Miles died long ago of some unknown complaint. Irving Clark became an alcoholic and while an officer in Germany in the immediate postwar period, walked into the woods one day - while he was stationed in Germany and blew his brains out.
Anyway,  I shall jog the elbow of Reverend Todd when next I see him on this coming Thursday and see if he has other books to recommend and also what info he can offer. But Somato-type training a LONG LONG a thing of the past and discredited with good old common sense - WHICH IS WHAT WEIGHT TRAINING IS REALLY ALL ABOUT ANYWAY. 
It always amazes me that kids - beginners - think that by following the routine that any famous bodybuilder, or whoever graces the cover of whatever mag - they too can become like that person. Few seem to realize, or WANT to realize, that after the beginner's stage when ANY routine will benefit them, they assume different, persona training attitudes and problems. They are as unique as their fingerprints, as any snowflake, in their potentials, their training needs are unique one in that they can only be solved by paying attention to THEIR OWN PERSONAL NEEDS and not seek to gain the mountain top by trying out something that has been successful for others. It might not suit them at all. Never was there a truer phrase coined than the one which says, "One man's meat is another's poison." But don't try to tell them that. They readily seek, and enter entirely the path of generalization, when it is the path of their own special needs that should be sought. I could no more look like Frank Zane or Sergio Oliva if, given my health and youth back again, than I could coax my gonads into becoming kippered herrings. I AM ME and I can only develop MY OWN potentials and become a BETTER ME and not an Arnold Schwarzenegger. 
Yes . . . I know Leroy Colbert VERY VERY WELL. I worked with him, that is in the same establishment back when I was Weider's editor and he was one of the "shipping clerks." He went back a lot further than than the '60s. He was already going strong in the '50s You of course have seen some of his shots. Remarkable for his arm development and very small waist. But he didn't compare with Melvin Wells, whose only fault was that he was TOO good. Amazing development that would have, if he had been in his prime these days, won him many a contest. About the only thing wrong with Melvin was his calf development, that could have been a little bigger. 
But an amazing upper body, arms and thighs. Poor calves in comparison.
Getting back to Colbert. He claimed to have had 20" arms. He may have. I recall measuring them at right on 19. I can't remember how much he weighed, but he must have been around 5'10" and at least 200. I know a lot about him but nothing I'd care to write about.
I had a shock about a month ago. I was leafing through the pages of British mag STRENGTH  A______ when I saw an article under the authorship - so it said - of a Graham B______ It was an article about the Shoulder Belt, but word for word, title, sub head and body copy, it was MY ARTICLE which I wrote for Muscle Power and which appeared in the October 1952 issue. I wrote at once to the publisher pointing that what had been done was illegal in that it was plagiarism, asking what he intended to do about it. No reply so far. So keep at these birds. In their latest issue they also published an article by T_____ ______ without his knowledge or consent. They are also using articles written by Armand ______, Fred ______, and Ellington ______.
Enjoy Your Lifting and Lifting History! 













Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Power and Bulk Routine - Bradley Steiner


Train three days a week. Let's say your training days are Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Train HARD on Monday and again HARD on Friday. On Wednesdays you ease up considerably, working at only 60-70% of your full capacity.
Here is a sample Power and Bulk routine. There are many exercise variations you can select to avoid becoming stale. Just make sure all the variations are big movements and not isolation-style exercises. 
Press Behind Neck - 1x6, 1x4, 2x2-3.
Squat - 1x8-10, 1x5, 2x2-3.
Bench Press - 1x10, 1x5, 2x2-3. 
Bentover Row - 4x8
Deadlift - 1x8, 1x4, 2x3.
Poundages should be regulated by how you feel on your training days.  

Power and bulk programs can be stripped down to the bare essentials at times. Not to say you will be training any less strenuously; you will simply be using fewer exercises and working them for more sets. 

Use lift variations to avoid staleness. Pair a squatting movement with a pressing movement and do only those two lifts for a full session called Day One. On your next session, Day Two, pair a pulling movement with a different pressing movement, possibly overhead one day and horizontal-variety the other. 

Keep rotating from Day One to Day Two. Build up an arsenal of lift variations you have mastered the performance of and keep going through your list to avoid staleness, maintain interest, and challenge yourself. Keep a record of your performance on each lift and attempt to beat it. 
You may want to include a day of higher rep lifting using other exercises. Not preacher curls and wrist curls, but solid multi-joint movements, possibly using dumbbells. In this case, try doing Day One on Monday, the higher rep day on Wednesday, and Day Two on Friday, taking Saturday and Sunday away from lifting and returning to a Day One variation on Monday. 
I am certain you will come to understand over time how many variations of power and bulk training there are. 
Note: Older lifters can benefit from higher reps and faster "quality" workouts as well as heavy weights and longer rest period workouts, and everything in between. Here I am not referring to those in their 40's and 50's but to those who have passed the six-decade mark and beyond. At this point you simply can't go heavy as often as you'd like, if you're like that. Short "cycles" can be very useful to an older lifter who is attempting to coax and convince his body that it ain't over yet. Here is a simple 14-day repeating cycle as an example. Just a quick sample showing one form of a rough framework that can be adapted to individual aims and abilities. I am sure that with a little thought you can come up with hundreds of others. 
Hypers/Abs/Reverse Hypers to warm up each day. 
Day One: Chest/Back. Reps in the 10-15 area.
Bench Press superset with Pulldown
Low Inc DB Bench with BB Row 
Flat Flye tri-set with Rear Lateral and Seated Cable Row

Day Two: Legs. Reps in the 12-20 area.
Squat superset with Leg Curl
SDL superset with Let Extension
Standing Calf superset with Seated Calf
Day Three: Shoulders/Arms. Reps in the 10-15 area.
Lateral Raise superset with Seated BB Press
Rear Lateral superset with See Saw Press
EZ Curl superset with Pressdown
Alt DB Curl superset with French Press
Wrist Curl superset with Reverse Wrist Curl

Day Four: Rest 

Day Five: Chest/Back. Reps in the 5-7 area.
A.) Bench
B.) Pulldown
 - do a set of A, rest, do a set of B. Repeat. Lots. 
A.) Low Inc DB Press
B.) BB Row
Day Six: Legs. Reps in the 5-7 area.
A.) Squat
B.) Leg Curl or GHR
Calf Raise

Day Seven: Shoulders/Arms. Reps in the 5-7 area. 
A.) Seated Press
B.) BB Curl 
A.) DB Press
B.) Pushdown
Superset: Wrist Curl/Reverse EZ Curl to failure. 
Day Eight: Rest.

Day Nine: Chest/Back. Triples, Doubles, Singles (depending).

Day Ten: Rest.

Day Eleven: Legs. Triples, Doubles, Singles (depending)
Day Twelve: Rest. 
Day Thirteen: Shoulders/Arms. 
Standing Press. Triples, Doubles, Singles. 
Curl. 3-5's. 
Dip. 3-5's.
Day Fourteen: Rest. 
You get the picture I'm sure. Go back to higher rep, quicker "quality" workouts again, and once again work your way down in reps and up in weights over a couple week period. 
Another approach the older lifter can make hundreds of variations with is to combine the heavier lift with a lighter lift. Here is one sample framework, with rest days of course factored in according to the individual's ability to recover during any specific time period:
First Day:
Bench heavy, low reps.
Press variation light, higher reps.  

Next Day:
Squat heavy.
Pull variation light.

Next Day:
Press heavy.
Bench variation light.

Next Day:
Pull heavy.
Squat variation light.
Enjoy Your Lifting! 


Training for the Press - George Walsh (1947)


Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed
Great Pressers are born! If two men could be equal in all else - height, bodyweight, condition and bulk of muscular tissue - the better presser of the two would be the one whose forearm was shorter in relation to his upper arm. It is hard, perhaps, on the man who can show a difference of no more than two inches or so; but it is a fact, based upon leverage, that no amount of training can overcome.
It is a fact, also, that every beginner should study in relation to himself, for it governs his possibilities in the future and explains that baffling point: why his Press is greater or better than his Snatch while with another apparently similar lifter the position is reversed.
If he is an extreme "victim" of poor leverage on the Press he will never be a champion. It is best to be frank about such matters and the fact is that the compensations which accompany the disadvantages of skeletal structure are not sufficient to make up the leeway. If his disadvantage is only slight and all else is favorable he can accomplish higher totals; partly by overcoming his structural handicap and partly by utilizing to the full his compensating advantages on the other lifts.
The important thing is that he first establishes the relationship between his maximum Press and maximum Snatch which his type permits - and remains content with it. He must not be lured into special schedules designed to bring his press "into line." 
Special schedules for improving pressing power are easily compiled and invariably effective if followed. A lifter who is "stuck" can usually make quite a sensational jump in he is prepared to drop general training and confine himself to pressing a weight three times from the shoulders, 10 or 12 times at intervals throughout the day and adding as little as one-half to one pound per week. [Sound familiar? This was over seven decades ago, and the approach is much, much older than that]. 
London lifters will remember Wilf Muirhead, who lost his life in the blitz. Nearly 20 years ago his Press, I remember, was a little over 140 pounds. Business reasons compelled him to drop general training for two or three years but, each day, he performed a few presses with a bar which lay at hand "just to keep his hand in." He added a few ounces each week. I forgot the original and ultimate weight of the bar - I know that he reached 190 pounds! 
Schedules based upon dumb-bell exercises, lateral raises, the Press from Behind Neck and variations of the Press itself such as gripping the bar with different hand spacings can also increase pressing power. 
But schedules based upon extraneous lifts and exercises are not for the championship aspirant. For the potential champion these rules must be observed: 
1) Training for the Press must be part of a general training plan, not a separate entity.
2) The basis of training for the Press must be the Press itself. 
I differ from John Davis, whose fabulous total on the three lifts is the highest in weightlifting history, on many points of training. I am with with him when, in special reference to training for the Press, he says, if you expect gains you must do that lift and nothing else or more. Dumb-bell work, deltoid exercises and specialized muscle work won't make one iota of difference. A system involving nothing more than the lifts you are training for is the correct way to train. 
Davis also believes that daily training on the Press is too exhausting; that three training sessions per week is not sufficient; and that 10 sets of 3 repetitions with as much as 85-90% of maximum may be the ideal amount of work.
I do not agree that daily pressing is necessarily too exhausting for every type of lifter though it certainly is for many. I do agree that three sessions on the Press each week is insufficient for the majority. The ideal, for most men, is five weekly training sessions on the Press. Two such sessions (apart from a light warming up exercise) consist only of pressing while the other three should embrace the Snatch and Jerk and any auxiliary training that is necessary. The heaviest pressing work should be carried out during the two "pressing only" sessions.
In respect of poundages I know of no other great lifter who uses so heavy a "static" weight as 85-90% of maximum. When champions use the same poundage for training on the Press it is usually 75-80% of maximum ability. None perform less than two consecutive repetitions from the shoulder; very few exceed four. The majority favor three repetitions throughout - and the total number of presses in one such session varies from 20 to 50 according to the lifts, if any, which follow.  
A novice could "play safe" with 10 sets of 3 repetitions on his "pressing only" training sessions, reducing the number, of course, on his general training days.
The "static" (same weight across) poundage system of training on the Press is more productive of results than most people realize. The promising beginner will not be making a serious error if he employs it and it may possibly suit better than anything else. It is a fact, however, that the variable poundage system is more generally used by the champions and is more popular with them if only for the variety which it introduces.
The rules governing the system are simple: 
1) no more than 4 consecutive repetitions even with the lightest weights.
2) no lighter poundage than 60% of maximum, none heavier than 90%. 
The standard, followed by the French for many years and proved by results to be a sound one, was as follows: 
4 repetitions with 70% repeated 5 times (70% x 5 sets of 4)
3 repetitions with 75% repeated 3 times
2 repetitions with 80% repeated twice
2 repetitions with 85% repeated twice
During the last 15 years the German system has gained some favor. The lifter works up quickly to 90% and then drops down to 65-70% and works up again to 85% with a decreased number of repetitions. I have found to particular advantage to this method.  Or, the Germans in prewar days (and the modern American lifters have largely followed their example), worked up from 70% to 95%, gradually reducing the number of repetitions and sets until single lifts were performed. They then reduced the weight again for 75% for further sets of repetition work, concluding this second stage at 90%.
Progress on the Press is largely a matter of work. It calls for more than the other lifts; hence the suggestion of two "pressing only" training sessions. It is, however, only one of the three important lifts, and lifters (more experienced lifters as well) are prone to spoil the effect of a general training session by pressing poundages that are too close to the maximum. When the Snatch and Jerk are to follow it is better, in the long run, to do too little rather than too much work on the Press.  
The novice who decides to train 5 times each week on the Press can, if he follows the variable poundage system, work up to 90% of maximum on his "pressing only" days and can total as few as 20 and up to as many as 40 lifts from the shoulders. Experience will teach him the total that suits him best though he should remember that this will inevitably be rather less than his enthusiasm indicates. On the general training days the total number of presses should be drastically reduced and, except on "all out" try-outs, the maximum weight lifted should not exceed 85%. Experience will not teach him the most suitable poundage or tell him whether he is overdoing his pressing on these occasions. It is up to him to make sure in advance. 
Here we show the starting position for the Two Arm Press. Head high, back stiff and muscles flexed, hips tensed, elbows raised high and bar gripped shoulder width apart. There are various positions in which the Two Arm Press can be performed and in a following issue we hope to thoroughly illustrate them all and explain them in detail.
This photo shows the "sticking" point in the Two Arm Press, where most lifters bend backwards and ruin the lift. By breathing in deeply and contracting the small of the back muscles and hips, this will sometimes help you in overcoming this difficult position and save the lift. 
Here we show the completion of the Two Arm Press. The feet are flat on the floor, placed comfortably apart, the head facing forward and body erect. This position must be held for two seconds before the weight is  returned to the floor.

Enjoy Your Lifting!


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Three On, One Off, Double Split - Sam Fussell



Hey, if you haven't read this book from 1991 you might dig it. 
Okay . . . around two hours twice a day, three days in a row then a day off.
Have at 'er if you're so inclined at some point. What the hell, it's your life, right? 

Monday A.M.
Deadlift (alt with BB Row)
Seated Cable Row
Monday P.M.  

Bench Press
Incline DB Press
Flat Flyes 
Decline Press
Tuesday A.M.
Leg Press
Hack Squat
Leg Extension  

Tuesday P.M. 
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Leg Curl
Standing, Seated, Donkey Calf
Wednesday A.M.
Seated PBN
Rear Laterals
Wednesday P.M.
BB Curl
Alt DB Curl
Preacher Curl
Close Grip Bench
Wrist Curl
Rest Day












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