This is one of Peary Rader's longer mag articles.
If you aren't familiar with the "Rader System" he is referring to . . . here:
The field of weight training is filled with conflicting claims and arguments about the proper way to train for body building, that is, I should say, the proper weight training procedure for all people.
I should start out by saying that there is no proper way of training for all people. First, everyone has certain specific requirements and needs. Their bodies are not the same and they respond differently, or to a different degree to certain growth stimuli. Most bodybuilders fail to realize this, even those of many years experience.
Much of the materials published in various magazines and books on body building fail to recognize the fact that some people cannot respond to what is commonly called a standard program of training, simply because their metabolism, their body function, is not what might be termed normal.
Actually, what is normal? There probably is no such thing. There is only an average which we will term normal. The average man can probably make reasonable progress on the standard programs that you usually see practiced. The man who is above average will make remarkable progress on almost any type of program regardless of what it is. We have seen some of these men and they incidentally are the men who usually reach the top, although not always, since it comes so easily to them it seldom means that much to them. However, if such a man becomes intensely interested in bodybuilding so that he applies himself, he can reach the top if he is above average in body metabolism and body function, and by this I refer to the function of the internal organs which is so important to progress in body building.
Your muscles are organs in themselves. In some instances these muscles are in such condition that they cannot respond properly to exercise or if the other internal organs such as the heart, stomach, and others involved are not functioning efficiently and so-called normally, you will not be able to make the progress you should.
A man who is much below par in this area will not be able to progress at all. We find a great number of people like this who need something special to stimulate their growth and progress. I know what I am talking about because I was one of those persons who trained very hard for about 10 years without realizing one particle of progress. Then I found the correct program for me and I gained almost 100 pounds of body weight in two years, and not only did I gain weight -- I became a lifting champion.
In those days there was almost no physique competition and I did not train for physique and did not have the necessary shape factors to succeed in it at any rate, and was sensible enough to realize that weightlifting was my type of activity. After discovering this, I realized that were many other people in the world who had similar problems.
We therefore started Iron Man magazine in order to reach those people and help them. This explains the reason for including so many so-called basic training programs in Iron Man. We know from experience of our own, and from the experience we subsequently had, of many years of operating a bodybuilding gym.
There is a tremendous amount of people like this in the world. When they go to most gyms they do not make progress, and become so discouraged and drop out, and they are not even numbered in the statistics of training. They are the forgotten people, and most trainers, magazines and gymnasiums do not even recognize their existence even though there are hundreds of thousands of them.
We have discovered that the most efficient way of stimulating the growth process in these people is to use heavy poundages on large muscle groups, and the squat is found to be the most efficient method of this application. It was for these people that we developed the "Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weightgaining Course" [see links above], of which many thousands have been sold. Subsequently, many other people copied this course both in articles and other respects as their own ideas. However, they did make several mistakes. Not having gone through the whole system and not realizing the real problem of these people, they often fail to include most important items. They fail to recognize the absolute needs and requirements of these people. Consequently, the program recommended is frequently ineffective, thus giving the system a bad name which it does not deserve.
Here's a book you might be interested in. Over 200 pages dealing with
"Course 1" -- a layout based on Peary Rader's main course, and it's dealt with in great depth.
Another book that may interest some of you, available in full online:
Another fallacy often accepted by some people who have found the effectiveness of this type of program is that it is suitable for a permanent program. It is true that this is a good program for those who are to be satisfied with a certain degree of physical fitness and size and strength. However, if a man has ambitions for competitive physique activity, he needs to make a change to a different type of program in order to attain maximum size, definition, and shape.
I do not like to name names in our magazine. However, should it be necessary, I could give you names of people who have used this system, as I have recommended and developed, in order to attain a certain degree of size and development, then changed over to a more extensive, sophisticated program and trained for physique competition, ultimately reaching the top in the field.
Now, before going further, I had better explain somewhat, even though in brief and rough form, why we recommend the abbreviated system for beginners who find it almost, if not impossible to gain on anything else.
THE KEY TO THIS SYSTEM IS THAT IT
DEVELOPS A GREATLY IMPROVED METABOLISM.
The reason it does this is that it makes tremendous demands upon the body and yet does not exhaust the body's resources of energy and nourishment. For the uninitiated, this is rather a touchy balance, but to someone who knows what he is doing and has the background, it is a simple enough application for people training under his supervision. A man training alone, however, will only succeed by accident or by long study and experimentation so that he understands the practicality and the theories behind the system.
If you will look in a dictionary and find metabolism, you will find that it says it is the chemical and physical process continuously going on in the living organisms and cells comprising those by which assimilated food is built up into protoplasms, and those by which protoplasm is used and broken down into simpler substances or waste material, with the release of energy for all vital processes. This explanation could be greatly expanded. However, in our limited space we will only tell you that after the metabolism is improved by the system of training which we have recommended, a man finds that he is then able to convert to a standard program for a greatly improved physique.
At this time he is ready for the type of program advised by Bob Green and other top physique trainers or bodybuilders, assuming this is the direction in which he wishes to go. At this time he is faced with making another decision. What type of training should he follow?
We find basically there are several types. In one of these you use maximum poundages for 6 to 8 repetitions and several sets and working to what Art Jones terms failure. We personally prefer this type of training program simply because it not only develops size but it also develops strength and efficiency in the muscles. It is extremely hard work and requires great dedication for success. This is the type of program followed by some of the greats such a Bill Pearl, John Grimek, and others.
The other extreme in the cultivation of physique is the one in which the man takes medium poundages and works until he is comfortably tired but seeks one main thing, and that is the pump. He will work in this manner doing many sets with a very short period of rest of about 20 or 30 seconds between sets. This results in an enormous amount of blood being pumped into the muscle being exercised. Such is the physiology of the muscular system and circulatory system that this type of exercise pumps more blood into the muscles than escapes from it in proper circulation. This results in great enlargement of the muscle and some of these fellows become able eventually to increase their upper arm by at least 3/4" from pumping. Of course most of this goes down as soon as the pumping ceases; a very slight increase remains each time. However, this does accomplish one thing. It increases the size of the muscle.
In order to explain what happens in increasing the strength of the muscle and also increasing the size of the muscle, I would like to describe what is supposed to be happening in the muscles, and why. This becomes a little difficult, so bear with us a while as we make this explanation. We don't often try to explain this since so many readers are too disinterested in the whys and wherefores of muscle strength and size, and refuse to read anything that gets a little heavy.
A man by the name of Charles Rosenburg conducted a great deal of research into this field many years ago for Iron Man, and it was published in issues back in in 1950, the
March/April 1950 issue.
Volume 10, Number 2
to be exact, if you would care to refer to it. "Why Muscles Grow - How to Stimulate Muscle Growth" on page 16.
Muscles are composed of individual muscle fibers. The fiber proper is known as the sarcostyle and is surrounded by a viscous fluid, the sarcoplasm. The sarcostyle and the sarcoplasm are encased in a sheath, the sarcolemma as it is called. The sarcoplasm is the storehouse of the fuel for the working sarcostyle, a local food supply, so to speak, and it supplies energizing material as it is needed for contractions of the sarcostyle, as the sarcostyle performs its contractions upon command from the nervous system. As the main trunk nerve enters the muscle, this large nerve splits up into smaller nerve fibers each of which is attached to groups of muscle fibers.
Contrary to the general opinion, the entire muscle does not contract upon receipt of nerve stimulus. A moderate stimulus excites only a limited number of these muscle fibers to contract. The other unused fibers go along for the ride, so to speak. They are crumpled, as we might say, as a greater and greater stimulus is sent into the muscles through the nerves, more and more fibers contract together to the limit of their collective ability.
No fiber ever partially contracts. They always completely contract, though not all fibers contract. Most people are unable to force all their muscle fibers to contract at one time. When a man is able to do this he has reached his maximum in strength. Probably nobody has ever attained this degree of efficiency. An untrained man can only contract a few of these muscle fibers. A trained man can contract many more as he becomes better trained or more efficient as he contracts more muscle fibers, therefore exerts more strength.
The number of steps or graded responses is never greater than the number of motor nerve fibers running to the muscle. Each step in the increased contractions means that another nerve fiber has been excited and that the muscle fibers to which that nerve fiber runs have consequently contracted. It is obvious that the graduation of contractions is brought about for the most part by a variation of the number of nerve fibers called into action.
In training for strength, a lifter therefore tries to increase the maximum number of muscle fibers which can be called into response simultaneously. This means that the function of the nerve fibers must also be improved and we feel that it is a combination of increased function of nerves, nerve fibers, and muscle fibers that result in maximum increases in strength. As a lifter continues to train, he becomes able, by concentration, to increase the capacity of nerve fibers, activating more muscle fibers for greater contraction of the muscle involved. The increase in body efficiency or muscle efficiency cannot be attained in the same degree by all trainers.
First of all, there is the question of internal resistance in which two important factors participate. Viscous fluids shift within the muscle fibers and asynchronous or delayed response of muscle fibers occurs. This internal resistance governs movements of speed, determining whether or not the lifter can move rapidly enough to move heavy loads as in snatching or cleaning. This internal resistance can also explain a variation in the overall or attainable strength of different people. This partially explains why some people become much stronger than others can ever hope to be.
Authorities believe that muscles are stimulated to contract directed by the brain through the muscles into the muscle fibers where what we might term an explosion happens, creating the contraction of the fiber. This is a very rough explanation but we believe it must be rather simplified for the reader to grasp it from this short explanation.
This is only a very, very brief sketch of what is thought to be the process of strength improvement in a muscle. If we have stimulated your interest, we recommend that you attend your local library if you have a large one, and get into medical research in these subjects. It's a huge, tremendous study and we would not blame anyone for not wanting to get into it very deeply unless it has become an obsession for him.
We will now try to give a brief explanation of the cause for hypertrophy or the increase in muscle size. The medical profession and researchers are not too clear, generally speaking, on the exact reasons for the increase in muscle strength or the chemistry of muscle contractions and hypertrophy.
Remember, we talked about the sarcostyle. It is the storehouse of the sarcoplasm. Exercise causes a breakdown of cell material. This is known as autolysis in which consumption of stored glycogen in the sarcoplasm is very prominent. In the restorative process, synthesis, the storehouse of glycogen and other body building elements, are replenished in the sarcoplasm. Hypertrophy is due to this increase in the sarcoplasm. In other words, increase in muscular size results when there is an increase of the sarcoplasm. The muscle fiber becomes enlarged because of the above action. The controlling factor in this increase of sarcoplasm is a rapid and abundant blood supply. This is why muscle builders attempt to flush the muscle with a large blood supply. In other words, they pump the muscles up.
Research by scientists over the period of the past half century indicates that it is best produced by increasing the blood supply so greatly that cells can assimilate large quantities of cell-building material, thus encouraging the growth of the cell. Scientists agree that hypertrophy is caused by the increased store of sarcoplasm produced by severe work rapidly performed. Training increased the capacity of the muscle to do hard work.
Training increased the capacity of the muscle to do hard work.
This increased capacity of the organism was entirely due to the increased amount of energizing material available for immediate use.
Now, if you've been able to follow us thus far, you realize that increased strength and efficiency results from several things. Most important is the ability of the nervous system to activate more and more muscle fibers. In other words, they are bringing an electric current to these muscle fibers; as this current is brought to the muscle fibers, let us try to imagine a little explosion in this muscle fiber or an energizing action taking place.
Let us also remember that this energizing activity apparently is measured by the amount of energizing material contained in this muscle fiber or in the sarcoplasm.
Try to imagine your brain as being a huge electrical generator and of the nerves as being the cables which carry the electricity so generated to the muscles, which you may visualize as electric motors. Let us say that each little fiber is an electrical motor; we must also visualize a converter type unit in connection with this motor so that when the electrical current is driven by the mind to the motor or nerve fiber, this little converter can increase the power of this current as it goes into the motor.
Now, the more of these motors or fibers you are able to activate, the more power you can generate into your muscle contractions. The little converter attached to the motor is able to greatly increase the response of the motor to this electrical current. In other words, it takes this current and ups its voltage considerably before it enters the motor. This, I realize, is a very crude explanation, but I know of no other way to bring it to the readers in so short a space. Otherwise it would take a large book to give all the details that would be necessary to properly explain it in a scientifically acceptable manner.
We hope the reader is able to visualize the needs that he has, the procedures necessary to follow, and the results of these procedures in developing larger muscles and greater strength. He must develop and improve the generator which we assume is his brain and he must improve the transport cables for this electrical current which are his nerves. He must increase the size of the muscle, by increasing the size of the fibers, by increasing the sarcoplasm within these fibers as well as certain other chemistry to improve the performance of these muscle fibers.
It is to this end that we have developed so many programs, many of them experimental, many of them fairly well-proven, but still we have not attained the perfection of training routines which we should have or will have in the future.
The explanation we have given is only one small phase of the total procedure of physical improvement. However, it is probably the least understood of all. Most body builders and weightlifters, even the advanced men, have no concept of what goes on in their bodies during their training sessions. Many readers ask us for scientific articles on body building in Iron Man. This would be wonderful in some respects. However, should we provide these scientific articles written by scientists, and should we be able to get scientists interested enough in body building to devote their time to this research, which incidentally would cost millions and millions of dollars to do properly, not one in a thousand of our readers would even attempt to read it. It would be dry and readers would be completely unable to understand it unless they were scientists also and particularly involved in this field.
I'm sure that much of the superiority of the Russian lifters and other of their athletes is due to the fact that their government has set up research centers and employed scientists who spend their whole lives researching this type of thing. Undoubtedly they have gone much deeper into this than we ever dreamed of doing.
Now we can leave this for a time and go back to our original discussion on procedures in training for various end results . . .
When I was a very young man I was so deeply involved in a study of physical training that it consumed my whole though and life. I therefore went to school to study to be a doctor not because I wanted to be a doctor but because I wanted to understand physiology, neurology, and anatomy enough to be able to train myself and to train others properly. In our discussion of ABBREVIATED PROGRAMS, there is a great deal that I have not told you relating to the chemistry and metabolism of the body as stimulated by these programs.
An in-depth study is neither necessary nor desirable. It would only serve to confuse the reader who only needs to know HOW to do what he NEEDS to do and a basic explanation of WHY.
Without an explanation of why he needs to do something, it becomes very tiresome and a complete bore to proceed very far in the program. A man must be completely dedicated to what he is doing is he is to succeed at all. To be dedicated to it he must know positively that if he does certain things he will receive certain results and he should expect these results when he performs properly according to instructions.
The basic programs and the abbreviated programs which we have previously mentioned have been developed for the sole purpose of putting a main in condition where he can then go to a more advanced body building program and thrive on it. It is a basic rule of life that in order to be a success in anything you must start at the beginning. The beginning is not halfway up the ladder but at the bottom of the ladder.
In other words, you must BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION if you are to build a fine, beautiful and permanent home on top of the foundation. You would not expect any builder to start building a beautiful, fine, big, grand home on plain dirt. If you have ever visited a big city and observed the huge buildings going up there, you will notice that they dig clear down to bedrock where they can place their foundation and know that it will be absolutely solid and never move. I recently read where some buildings in New York were moving somewhat simply because they had not had the foundations deep enough into the solid rock. This is what happened to the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. They did not build a solid enough foundation and the building began to lean and as years go by, it leans farther and farther until someday it will fall over and destroy itself.
Many body builders try to start too far up the ladder.
In other words, they do not build a strong foundation.
We are talking about building strong foundations when we talk about basic programs which are aimed at IMPROVING THE METABOLISM. In other words, they convert you from a poor gainer or a non-gainer into an easy gainer. When you have reached a point where you are an easy gainer or have good and generous responses to exercise, then you are ready to advance to the more difficult programs.
Too many of you write us about your disappointment with the programs as promoted by some authors. The reasoning is that you have tried to start too far up the ladder. You ignored the basic programs which we have provided and tried to start halfway up or near the top of the ladder of progression. You weren't ready for that position.
If you will notice, most of our authors writing on advanced training caution you against entering this phase of training without a preliminary period of preparatory training to put you in proper condition.
Note: See Stuart's book above for much more on that.
This condition simply means that you are able to go into this training program and make progress because you have PREPARED your body by the original basic program. Many of our advanced authors fail to write about basic programs because they feel the problems most men encounter are in the latter phases of their training. It is true that these problems often become very serious and perplexing to advanced men and they do need help.
However, we feel that it's EQUALLY IMPORTANT to help those fellows who cannot even get a start because they do not have the basic metabolism to respond to any type of training. As publishers of a magazine devoted to body building over a period of approximately 50 years, we have come to realize that that are thousands of these fellows who need this help.
Some of our readers complain about our continual publication of these basic programs. However, it is absolutely necessary if we are going to properly serve every one of our readers.
Don't go to an advanced program until you have made sufficient progress on a basic program and are able to gain what we would call easily. If you are not able to make fairly easy gains on a basic program, then you are not ready for advanced programs.
It may seem that we are taking too much space to explain these things, but we want you to be sure you understand exactly what we're talking about. Over a period of the past 50 years, many, many different systems of training have been developed, all of them giving a certain degree of results either in strength or development of both.
In addition to the basic programs, we have also published research on the Rest-Pause system, which is one of the finest general conditioning and body building fitness systems in existence. Also the P.H.A. or Peripheral Heart Cation system sometimes known as circuit training which we presented some years ago. Then we have various phases of the pumping system which we have to discuss at various times and analyze the total benefits. Then there is the Heavy Poundage system which is used for both muscle building and for strength training. There are many variations of these systems which we hope to be able to discuss at various times in Iron Man. We have already mentioned the pumping system where reasonably light poundages are used and the exerciser does not train to the maximum number of repetitions possible. As we have mentioned, this system does not give rapid increases for many a trainer, in muscular size. As we have also mentioned, on discontinuing the training, this muscular size often deflates rapidly, though this is not always the case. If you followed the original explanation of why muscles grow, you will understand why the pumping system which brings a great deal of blood into the muscle creates rapid growth. The heavy poundage system also uses many sets and usually in this system a man will train his repetitions to the point of failure. In this type of training, in addition to attaining muscular size, the man also develops a great deal of strength due to the use of heavy poundages and training to the point of failure. Should he cease his exercises before the point of failure, he is often wasting much of his training time as far as strength is concerned and many authorities think as far as muscular size is concerned.
Almost always a man who develops large muscles and great strength through the use of heavy poundages and training to the point of failure develops a quality of muscle which remains with him even after he ceases his heavy training.
Of course, there are exceptions to all of these rules and many reasons for these exceptions which we will not attempt to go into at this time. We have many proponents of all these various systems of training; each on believing that his system is the best and frequently criticizing very severely the systems promoted by other people.
What we fail to realize is that we must take an overall view of the whole training picture. This is not always easy to do since we all have our prejudices which creep up on us without our knowledge. I personally have gone through all these phases during my 50 years of publishing Iron Man. It is not always easy to look at another man's system and analyze it and try to understand why he feels it is the best.
We have come to realize over the years that every man has something he can contribute to the knowledge of training and we give all these people a chance to present their stories. We want readers to realize that over the years we have had a chance to study and try every known system of body building and physical training and there are no deep dark secrets that the champions have that the rest of the people do not know about.
Note: I heard that, that thought you were just thinking.
When new discoveries are made, Iron Man is always in the forefront to present them first and give the readers an opportunity to try them. We welcome suggestions from readers who have experimented and who wish to make contributions to Iron Man. Most of the great discoveries in our field have come about through experimentation of body builders and weightlifters on their own rather than through scientific research which is almost non-existent in this field -- at least effective and dependable research. Anyone, it must be understood, can conduct research to prove his point, and this is often done and it has resulted in much misinformation in the guise of scientific knowledge.
Training knowledge in both body building and weightlifting has advanced a great deal during the past years, but we foresee tremendous strides in the future. As this progress is made, Iron Man will bring it to readers as quickly as possible.
Enjoy Your Lifting!