Saturday, January 30, 2021

Exercising for E-N-E-R-G-Y - David Martin (1949)

 

 Harold Cleghorn. 
Not a lot of photos taken of this man mentioned in the "For Size and Strength" article in McCallum's Keys to Progress series, here:
 
 
Courtesy of Liam Tweed . . . 
Thanks, Brother!
 
 



Probably the greatest difference between the professional physical culture consultant and the physical culture writer is that one claims to have "secrets" and keeps them - and the other claims there are none, and airs his theories. The tailor may awe us with hieroglyphics in chalk, but the TEACHER wants us to understand what his chalk-marks mean.  

My late father endeavored to claim omniscience with the wisecrack: "It's not do as I do, but do AS I TELL YOU." With all the wisdom of a babe and suckling, I later converted this into: "It's not do as I tell you, but DO WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE RIGHT." In order to convince you that what I tell you IS correct, I am forced to give my reasons. No secrets, no mumbo-jumbo, but reasons and explanations . . . OKAY? 
 
In my last article I gave you the bare bones of an energy-building routine. This article, and my next, supply the reason. One article inspirational, one article perspirational, and lastly one article rational . . . OKAY?
 
You will note that in my last effusion I prescribed no "warm up" exercise. This omission arose from the fact that in our own club all our weights have to be packed away in a cupboard (the room is a school canteen in the daytime) and fetched out and assembled each evening. This fetching out and assembling is our "warmup" and I have a distrust of fast, light movement so often prescribed, for they often lead to sprains and minor sprains, which it is the object of a "warmup" to prevent. 
 
For those whose weights are lying at hand more or less, I can do more than recommend the "Surya Namaskars" so clearly explained by Mark Lewis in the December issue. 
 

 
They are ideal as there are no fast movements to strain cold muscles, and yet, at the same time, they do not exhaust your energy reserve . . . OKAY?
 
First in order comes the Two Hands Dumbbell Curl, as it functions as a safe warmup. There is more to it, though . . . much more.
 
Dumbbells catch all the minor muscles of the arm which control lateral movements as well as just the biceps, and require much more control than a barbell. I also stipulate the THE DUMBBELLS MUST BE CURLED SIMULTANEOUSLY, as this obviates swinging and slipshod movements. I am endeavoring to increase your ENERGY. A fair percentage, not all, of energy lack is attributable to sheer laziness and lack of concentration (will power). Curling two dumbbells at once requires and develops both concentration and WILL . . . OKAY?
 
Next is the Press on Back with Half-bridge. I place this second to give the legs a rest (they are going to WORK later on!). Also, the triceps are being exercised while the blood is still in the arms. That is why it is second . . . but why is it here at all? The act of half-bridging exercises the spine, drawing blood to the base of the spinal cord, the fount of all your nerve-roots AND a vital energy spot. Further, the semi-incline position is most invigorating if indulged in for short periods. All the vital organs - liver, kidneys, etc. - are temporarily relieved of the permanent drag of gravity. Grimek recommends lots of work on an abdominal board for this very reason. As we wish to exercise the spine, however, the half-bridge kills two chickens with the same axe, so to speak. To hold a half-bridge without another exercise would cause the blood to run to the head - hence the press. That is not all, however. With the use of the latissimus dorsi, triceps and pectoral muscles, you can with this elevate COLOSSAL poundages . . . all of which help to increase muscular bulk and thus increase your latent energy (latent in the relative sense and not in the absolute sense). It is quite usual to handle at least 20% over bodyweight for 10 reps in this lift . . . the psychological benefit of this is immense. The wrists too will take a pounding, and the vice-like grip that is thus engendered will increase your confidence. For lack of energy is partly (not entirely) a symptom of inferiority complex, and we have got to eliminate that too . . . OKAY? 
 
You see . . . no mumbo-jumbo . . . no secrets! 
 
Back on to your tootsies for No. 3 - The Clean from the Hang. This exercises the trapezius and builds a powerful neck, feeding the spinal cord at the brain end. The grip and legs also benefit. To enable you to use a heavy weight without tiring the wrists too soon, the start of the exercise is with the barbell across the knees in the midway rest position for the Dead Lift, except that both palms are facing downwards. The back should be straight, the shoulders square, the chest inhaling a deep breath. At the full inhalation, the bar should be allowed to drop from the knees towards the ground, but just before it does so the bar is HAULED as high as possible into the air. If your split [or squat here] is normally bad, you should now split or squat, but if on the other hand your pull is normally not high enough you should try to pull high and just sag at the knees to pull the weight to the shoulders. In any case, the weight should be fairly heavy, and in many cases 10 will be too many reps for the exercise. In any case, try 10. If the wrists and lungs protest, perhaps 8 will be best for you. This exercise should improve your style, enabling you to handle more weight . . . and give you a sense of power.
 
POWER IS CONCENTRATED ENERGY . . . OKAY? 
 
Now for the Parallel Bar Dip. I must  contradict my friends and my opponents on a matter of DEFINITION here. This exercise IS NOT a non-apparatus, non-weight-lifting exercise. Parallel bars are an apparatus. When I kill a man with an axe the tool thus becomes a weapon - a plowshare into a sword. This dip is an apparatus exercise, using the bodyweight and lifting it. Terminological exactitude is the one philosophical point on which I find myself in agreement with Dr. Joad. The Dip is a weight-lifting, apparatus exercise . . . OKAY? 
 
Now, why the Dip? Primarily because it is the only exercise which permits full contraction and full extension of the triceps with a considerable weight.
 
A full and heavy triceps muscle gives you a desire to punch things. As Barton Horvath has pointed out, it is a naturally quick-moving muscle. Its development leads to extroverted movements, creating an extroverted mind. Introverts lack energy. That is (partly) why they ARE introverts. The triceps and pectoral muscles toned up by this exercise will square your shoulders, lift your chest and give you that "I look the whole world in the face and owe not any man" (not even my tailor) kind of an outlook. Also, the legs, which had previously been working hard, have been hanging more or less relaxed with the blood coursing through them. When you can do this exercise for more than 10 perfect reps, add weight by either using a belt or loading up a swing bar and hanging it across the backs of the bent knees. 
 
We now have you squaring your chest, with a gleam in your eye, fists clenched, triceps flickering, lungs filling with energy-producing oxygen . . . OKAY (Sure, you're Okay. A bit skinny perhaps, or a little plump possibly . . . but feeling fitter already and starting to push life around.)
 
 

 
Now, with your triceps tingling, we turn to the One Hand Snatch (I don't mean at mealtimes, but your appetite should be tempting you to do that too). As you are  safely warmed up by now, you can move fast with impunity. This fast movement with a fairly ponderous weight will force you to SMASH the bar overhead energetically with all the JOY that there is in executing skillful, powerful movement with abandon. 
 
Here's how . . . Stand square to the bar with the feet parallel, about 18 inches (depending on your size), and the instep underneath the bar. You now bend and test your grip for center (make fur of CENTER), the free hand rests on the knee, the shoulders are square and the eye is looking over the lifting deltoid at the disc on that side. 
 
With a powerful heave, mainly from the back and legs, the bar should sizzle aloft, the center passing in front of your nose and close to it; the lifting elbow should be high and a thrust should be obtained from the hand on the offside knee. Quick as a flash you should squat again, just as the bar reaches the full height of the pull; the free hand should have been transferred to the nearside knee, bringing the shoulder down between the legs. The eye should still be fixed on the same disc, but you will now regard it (with some triumph!) from under the armpit of the lifting arm. In an ideal snatch, but until you are skilled you may have to stagger for balance. You can use a dumbbell at first if you find the balance awkward. [Note: I found that cutting up a few old standard bars into various lengths, "long dumbbell" to "short barbell" lengths, and putting inner and outer collars on them, I could transition from a dumbbell to a long dumbbell to a short barbell to a not-as-short barbell to a full sized bar.] 
 
Coming erect slowly, you fix the weight and lower it WITH BOTH HANDS to the  ground, and then whirl it aloft again. 5 times with each hand for this exercise please, and make it SNAPPY! This is the one really fast movement in your routine, and you should ENJOY it most of all. I never "pity" any of our boys when they "grunt and sweat" . . . they are enjoying themselves (for the  seven reps anyway!). They don't look for pity; them want encouragement, exertion, inspiration and results . . . and they get them from weight-lifting. A few (not too many) fast movements to get you used to exerting yourself spontaneously. Spontaneous exertion is the hallmark of physical energy . . . OKAY?
 
Having had a holiday on the One Hand Snatch . . . now to work on that Squat. The vastus externus muscle of the thigh is the triceps of the legs. Exercise on this muscle puts snap in the stride as well as speeding up the metabolism. Squats will also make you sleep soundly, and a sound sleep is a great nerve-soother. Frayed nerves cause you to dissipate energy It is axiomatic that you must WORK before you can appreciate REST. During a restful sleep your energy batteries are recharged . . . OKAY?
 
Finally, the Pullover, to give the legs a rest after the squats, to restore your stertorious breathing [I hadda look it up . . . "characterized by a harsh snoring or gasping sound"] after the squats, to lift and stretch the rib box, and give those triceps a final stretch. 
 
You are now fit to go all through that whole lot again, though your repetitions may not make 10 this time, and the THIRD go-around will find the weak spots. 
 
 - Aim for 10 reps on each exercise. Perform one set of each [you might want a warmup set or three or each or some exercises here], then go back to Exercise One and begin again. Three go-arounds. I DO NOT FIX POUNDAGES. THE POUNDAGE YOU CAN DO CORRECTLY FOR 10 REPETITIONS THAT DAY IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT.
 
Are you overdoing it?  . . . Shucks, for every would-be bodybuilder who overdoes it there are a hundred who under-do it. Unless you are really deficient in stamina, this program will not send you into a decline. 
 
When I used to exercise at Harold Laurance's Church Hill Gym at Yardley, Hastings, I used to have to cycle home eight miles to Northampton after the workout. If you feel you could cycle eight miles after getting dressed and bidding the usual fond farewell to club mates . . . then your routine is just right. If not, then ease up a little by all means, but for goodness sake DO BE HONEST with yourself about this . . . Most of our boys feel MORE energetic after the workout than before it, so don't set your limit until halfway through the second go-around of repetitions. You will usually finish all three sets!  
 
I have one point of agreement with the professional mumbo-jumbo men. That is the point of APPLICATION. Criticize me if you must, but having decided on any course of action, whether it is the body-building course in Vigour, December 1947; my energy-building course; of the strength-building course in the December 1948 issue of Vigour; or even the precious "secrets" of the high priests - you must CONSISTENTLY follow the instructions for at least 12 weeks.
 
My point of difference is - I don't expect blind faith; I want intelligent enthusiastic cooperation
 . . . OKAY? 
 
Enjoy Your Lifting! 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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