Sunday, April 4, 2021

On Building Muscle and Strength - Charles Coster (1958)

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Moses Maldonado
 How the hell do you spell symettry.
Always remember this point . . .   

The human body does not react exactly the same way in any two people. 

Also, an individual will not react to the same stress the same way at all times. 

Likewise, -- stamina, recuperative power, general health, etc., will not always be at the same level, and these are factors that will have to be allowed for from time to time, as they fluctuate. 
The chosen task of building a solid muscle and strength structure is a great undertaking that calls for a sensitive, receptive and persistent personality. 
Disappointment is experienced frequently during training schedules; but there is always a reason, and once the cause of the trouble is know a remedy can be applied. 
The important thing is to remain on the alert - so that training errors can quickly be detected. 
Even a successful schedule that is bringing good results should be reexamined occasionally - for it could easily mean that you are ripe for even greater progress on a more demanding routine. 
You may have gained a lot of training knowledge already - but remember there is always room for more. 
Correct eating along appropriate lines is most important. Your body can be likened to an engine - it must have sufficient fuel of the right kind if it is going to function as close as possible to your satisfaction.   
If you desire the best results available to you, a sustained effort is paramount in importance. Spasmodic enthusiasm is not nearly so effective. 
Always try to understand what is happening to your body at the particular time you are doing it. 
Remember - all lifters, from the champion to the novice, have experienced setbacks at one time or another. A particular combination of sets and reps may have brought them good results at one time, but may subsequently seem to lose their effect on certain muscle groups. Then, they would have to make a careful examination of the position, and supply themselves with alternative procedures.   

Staleness is a monster that all athletes in all fields of training must constantly try to forestall and prevent. 

REST also plays a vital part in the weight training world, and for a very interesting reason. Most young lifters are overenthusiastic in their desire to become stronger and better built, and nothing will produce staleness quicker than the prolonged over-expenditure of energy on regular routine tasks. So guard against the risks of staleness by taking regular rest periods -- whether you feel like you want them or not. And of course, the length of your rest will depend entirely upon your type of physique. 

When you can understand, control, and anticipate the problems I have mentioned -- you will be in a much better position to attack your main objective without irritating and unnecessary losses of time caused by baffling sticking points.
As time goes on you will find that your body will respond differently, for better or for worse, to a routine used in the past. 
If your program is well-balanced, you will know exactly how hard certain groups can be worked without handicapping yourself for the following workout.
Alternately, if certain groups are worked to their absolute limit capacity on, for example, Monday, knowledge and control of your own physical capacity will lead you to not expect another peak performance on the following workout, depending on how long you wait to take that next workout. 
Muscle and skeletal aches can also be avoided by a wise grouping of certain exercises. Never "mix" an extensive squat program with a deadlift workout on the same day; your lumbar region can easily become overworked this way. 
Most people have a "weak section" that lags behind the rest, and it worries them. If YOU have a section that needs extra cultivation for a time there are several ways of going about it. One way is to temporarily suspend your general lifting program and concentrate completely on the part that is weak. You may be afraid that your earlier gains will suffer by this experiment, but such will not be the case. Be bold -- concentrate upon your weak parts almost exclusively for a time, giving the other sections of your physique a maintenance workout once a week to prevent any great amounts of loss that may otherwise take place. Don't worry about any minor temporary losses. Once gains are made they are much easier to regain than they were to establish originally. 
If you do decide to strongly specialize the section that is seriously lagging behind, you will have to make several experiments to find out your best way for maximum results. How much training can your particular physique absorb with benefit and how often can this training be done? You will have to make some very thorough experiments before drawing the right conclusions and then proceeding upon definite lines. This response to training and the ability to recuperate from training will vary over the years of your lifting. 
Training of a very high intensity level cannot be put into effect suddenly -- the upper levels of intensity have to reached gradually over time, otherwise the experiment will derail quickly into failure. 
Tone, stamina, and mental toughness must be obtained before you can realistically expect to greatly alter the size and strength of your body; therefore, a foundation based on the fundamentals is extremely important to establish. 
Your mental attitude is most important in determining if your will succeed or fail in this endeavor. Never allow yourself to be ruled by an inferiority complex; but never allow yourself to be ruled by an inflated ego either. 
The importance of mental mastery in your lifting experiments cannot be exaggerated. Like developing an appreciation for music . . . mathematics . . . chess . . . poetry . . . hunting . . . carpentry . . . literature, BIG etc. (hint hint), the task of getting closer and closer to your own level of physical perfection is integral to realizing the full beauty of life. [The shallowness of a one-dimensional, lifting-only "life" leaves much to be desired. Just ask any one of the many whom you've noticed yawn a lot and look longingly at an exit door when you're conversing with them. The problem may be you and not widespread insomnia, moron.] 
Now, the overall problem here can be divided into several parts. There is the beginners stage, the intermediate stage, the advanced stage, and the very advanced stage which very, very few people reach. 
The first phase is simple and straightforward, the second is quite strenuous, the third requires much hard work and determination, and the fourth often requires specialization and fine tuning. 
Whichever stage YOU have arrived at, be thorough in your efforts. The Weider Principles yada yada . . . 
There are, of course, certain arguments against a general, full body workout which are hard to overcome. By subjecting the entire physique to weight training exercise during one single workout, the energy of the lifter becomes dissipated over too wide an area, too vast an array of exercises, and the problem of waning concentration has to be dealt with. Going beyond a certain point, the lifter becomes focused more on just completing the ordeal and has no energy for actually concentrating on what he is doing.
Naturally this can be remedied, often without "splitting" the workout. Using fewer exercises, focusing on the big exercise movements such as squats, pulling and pressing movements will get the job done without ravaging the energy stores of the lifter, stores needed to properly recuperate AND rebuild beyond the previous levels. Factoring in more days away from the gym between these sessions is also to be considered and experimented with.
However, many people do see a higher rate of progress, at times, by dividing or "splitting" the body into "areas" and training more frequently but for shorter periods of time each session. You will have to experiment and find out when this is true for you, and it will be dependent on many, many other non-lifting factors occurring at that time in your life. Just remember that, even though you will be lifting more frequently, you still must not go beyond the point that you can recuperate from before the next session. 

By proceeding in this way, by dividing up the work over more training days, we are able to direct the whole of our energy into a certain section that calls for more attention, which means that some muscles receive specialized attention when the energy of the lifter is at its highest. The amount of work that you will be able to apply in a session to the weakest part of your physique can only be determined by yourself at the start.   

But remember . . . the amount of success you hope to achieve will be closely related to the mental understanding and control you develop over your own body, and your capacity to exercise these special parts will be changing all the time as tone and quality improve. 

When a certain part is particularly weak in relative strength and muscle growth, try to plan the workout so that the muscle receives a maximum amount of exercise stimulation without becoming overworked or jaded. 

Whilst you are trying to remedy a deficiency of nature the keynote must be encouragement -- not punishment. 
Broadly speaking, there are five objectives closely associated with the practice of bodybuilding. Some people are overweight -- and want to reduce. Many people are underweight, and want to increase. Others take to weight training because they know it will improve their general health, whilst the more ambitious want to possess bodies like the physique stars, and others aim at becoming Olympic weightlifters of note. 
Whichever classification you belong to -- once past the foundation stage you will have to plan ahead intelligently in order to get the results you want, and ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO DO THIS IS BY KEEPING A WRITTEN DIARY, briefly recording the details of all workouts.
If, for example, you experienced outstanding progress about nine months ago, but have recently run into a bad sticking point -- you will not be able to successfully analyze the cause of the trouble unless you possess an accurate training diary to refer to. 
If you have to rely upon your memory alone to trace the cause of the trouble, you may remain baffled (flummoxed!), or draw the wrong conclusions; but a carefully kept training diary can supply you with the key to the problem quite quickly based on the actual facts from the past (perplexed nevermore!).
It is a good thing, a positive thing to work certain muscle groups "hard" . . . but it is equally important to know just how long they should be rested afterwards; and this is where your training diary can also prove its value, for it will enable you to easily compare dates.
Remember -- if you plan to bring yourself to peak condition at a set time, this is something you will have to learn to do, and much of your future reaping of rewards will be controlled by the record of your mistakes in the past. In other words -- unless your mind makes progress with your muscles in this respect you are going to waste a lot of time in unnecessary effort

Whatever your ambitions are -- 
your understanding of "rest" -- "nutrition" -- and "exercise" is most important. 
The Ancient and Mystical Way of the Guinea Pig.
If an experiment is unsuccessful, discard it for now, but realize it may be the key to continuing gains later. A "good combination" of sets/reps/intensity/exercise style/frequency doesn't necessarily mean that it is the "best combination" forever, and the astute person is always on the lookout for some "twist" or "tweak" that will make it even better. 
If you can honestly examine your own affairs and say that you are constantly on the alert, and working just as hard with your mind as you are with your body -- then there will be no mental barriers to strength and muscle building as far as you are concerned, and you will be able to look to the future with confidence.
One detail may be important -- but many details make perfection.
Enjoy Your Lifting!  



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