Courtesy of Liam Tweed
From Vigour Magazine
Life today is tough. It needs STRENGTH, ENDURANCE and TENACITY to master it successfully. The relentless law of evolution, the survival of the fittest, is still grimly predominant. Thus, it follows that the man who keeps his body perennially young, is the one most likely to achieve the art of full and happy living.
For untold centuries, man has ceaselessly sought some secret which would stay the obvious mark of time and restore the vanishing vitality of youth. Even the most ancient of civilizations had various deities who had the supposed guardianship of youth. Endless rites and countless incantations have been used by past generations in the vain hope of remaining agile, vigorous and young throughout a long life. This craving can be clearly traced down the ages until, in the 15th century, we find evidence of a yet more insistent search for some means of retarding the corrosion of age.
In these times there sprang up a group of alchemists, and they in the course of their experimenting discovered many legitimately valuable processes. On the other hand, they also practiced quackery . . . yes, much of it. One of their most precious secrets was the ELIXER VITAE concoction. It was blatantly claimed that this stimulant would prolong life indefinitely. It was also claimed that it would restore the fullest vigor of early youth to the withering tissues. Charlatans were quick to seize upon the gullibility of an ignorant public. Such weird compounds had a ready market.
Fortunately, with the advance of education, many of these crude beliefs have been destroyed. We should know better now than to trust the maintenance of vitality to patent potions, however magical their repute - though, sadly enough, many yet persist in thinking that drug combinations will give this end. The body-builder knows differently. He realizes that the preservation of youth comes only from right habits of living and thinking. And chief of these habits is exercise . . . regular exercise. Diet, breathing, massage, tranquility and environment are all interdependent ingredients of our modern recipe, but of them all, effective exercise is the true master element. And effective exercise in its most complete sense is, weight training.
It quickens every physical process. The lungs, the heart and the internal organs all function more efficiently as a result of its stimulus. The legs, back and abdominals soon strengthen rapidly from its practice, and it is in just these parts where age makes its first insidious inroads. Super-activity of all these physical units galvanizes the entire body with new energy.
Man has always appreciated the especial importance of a strong, flexible and well developed back. It readily betokens physical power. Betokens! Just as soon does it betray creeping age as it begins to stiffen. If you have only a few minutes daily for exercise, then work on the back and waist exclusively, forgetting the rest for the time being. It will do more good than ten thousand repetitions for the biceps.
Remember, the spinal column is the protective channel through which the spinal cord passes. From this cord, branching out throughout its length, are various nerves which emerge though small openings in the walls of each individual vertebrae. These bony segments re all padded between with resilient cartilage. This enables the spinal column to move freely in many directions, and also absorbs the impact of any sudden shocks, as when jumping. This device also serves as an added safeguard to the nerve junctures, so that the impulses may pass along without interruption. All these nerves have a remarkable direct and indirect effect upon the many internal processes of the body, and if the spine is immobile and not properly aligned, the neural flow is impeded and so various disorders arise.
Especially do vigor and abundant energy depend upon the building and strengthening of the lumbar regions. This lumbar toning has a very direct and deep stimulating effect upon the wellbeing of the gonad system. Go Nad. Go! The virile man is inevitably muscular. He is vital and young looking. Thus we find the REAL strength athlete paying very particular attention to these parts. He knows that therein lies one of the chief sources of his enviable power, and that so long as he preserves powerful loins he will continue to be a strong man.
The schedule of just FOUR lifts that I give you here will works wonders at "youthifying" the entire body. Used four times weekly for a few months, with moderate poundages, it will stimulate remarkable flexibility of the spinal column in its entirety. All stiffness, wobbliness, awkwardness of action soon smooth out into an effortless rhythm. The "set" of the shoulders and shape of the chest soon improve, and so better posture follows. Pep, bounce and spring gradually develop in the legs, resulting in added litheness in action.
Yes, this concise plan is a real muscle-builder, and if used with heavier weights is a real strength builder in the bargain. You know in what line lies your ambition . . . either method will give amazing results.
Exercise One: The One-Hand Snatch
The One-Hand Snatch is one of the most satisfying lifts to perform, and certainly one of the most fascinating. It can help to build superlatively shaped arms and shoulders, and effectively eliminate all stiffness in the region. But its real value lies in its singular capacity for increasing suppleness in the back and legs and obtaining complete bodily coordination.
Load your barbell with medium diameter discs, the poundage to be about half of your best barbell press . . . that is if you have learned the lift. Empty bar on boxes if you are not used to the movement. Then take up the starting position as shown in Figure 1.
Note carefully the foot placings; the low set of the buttocks; the flatness of the back; the straight lifting arm and the placing of the non-lifting hand upon the thigh, with fingers INWARDS. Also watch that sideways thrust of the elbow. "Sight" the lifting hand on the bar, AND KEEP THE GAZE THERE THROUGHOUT THE LIFT. Get all these factors correct and you are well on your way to a good snatch.
Breathe, deeply, summon all available power and thrust strongly away with the non-lifting hand. Straighten the legs powerfully and pull the weight up strongly, slightly in the direction of the opposite shoulder . . . all this must be in perfect rhythm. As the initial impetus of the bell slackens, about waist height, continue the pull of the lifting arm, but start to dip swiftly into the position shown in Figure 2. Note that here the non-lifting arm has crossed over to the opposite thigh, while the shoulder rests on the corresponding leg. In performance, however, there must be no pause at this stage . . . you must "bounce" up from this position to the finishing stance. This is, body erect; bell at full arm's stretch overhead, with the bar parallel to your FRONT. The free arm should be held out horizontally to the side and feet retracted heels together. Try and work all this into one smooth, fast and faultless performance. During the actual lift I want you to keep the feet immovable. This makes for greater demands upon the flexibility of the spine, and at the same time encourages its establishment in much greater degree.
Perform 3 groups (sets) of 5 repetitions, with each hand in turn - 30 reps in all.
Exercise Two: The One-Hand Push
The one lift that I get really enthusiastic about for body-builders is the One-Hand Push. For the back-building specialist it is imperative. It bestows power where it is most needed with most men, in the lateral movements of the erector spinae muscles. It plays a big part in the sculpturing of these twin columns that buttress either side of the spine. BUT, the lift must be used regularly, with ample repetitions, if it is to provide maximum results, and the side-bends must be made to the limit. There must be no easing off if it hurts the "spare tire" or makes the "old lumbars" a bit sore . . . that soon wears off.
Load a DUMBBELL to about your very best One Arm Military Press. Pull it in to the shoulders and keep it clear of the deltoid, with the bar running parallel to the back and the rear end tipped down slightly. Part feet about 15 inches. Legs locked and the toes of BOTH feet should point in the direction of the trunk bend, free arm out to the side. This gives counterpoise. Now thrust the bell STRONGLY overhead, with a simultaneous bending sideways and a little forwards. This "skews" the trunk into a much easier action. Figure 3 shows the halfway stage of the lift. Continue bending until the lifting arm is locked strongly overhead and the free hand ALMOST touching the floor. Again, throughout this lift, "sight the bell." You will never do this lift properly if you don't sight. At this point, begin to erect the trunk again, lowering the bell to the shoulder at the same time. Repeat thus for 10 repetitions for each arm, and do 3 such groups in all. This make 60 reps altogether, so you see your back will get quite a "bending" with this little plaster.
Exercise Three: The Wrestler's Bridge
One of the most vital factors in the maintenance of highest physical condition is the adequate exercising of the neck. Most novices ignore it . . . many body-builders neglect it.
To keep the body looking young, the cervical section of the spine must be kept supple, must be made strong and must be amply supported by muscle. Apart from the beneficial result on posture, the deeper and hidden biological effects of neck exercise are most important. So, to take care of this, the wrestler's bridge is now introduced.
This is on of the real "musts" of physical training. It helps to keep up an untrammeled circulation in the neck, with the consequently better nourishment of the brain, and also aids in freeing any possible impingement of the spinal nerves. Yes, let us learn well the lesson of the wrestlers . . . they are massive, alert and supple . . . they have all specialized on building the neck to its maximum.
Lie supine on the floor. Hold swingbell at full arms' stretch over the face. Head should rest on a thick pad or cushion. Draw the heels up as close as possible to the buttocks, feet flat on the floor. Now "bridge" the trunk as high as you can, so that only the head and the feet give support. Keep trying to arch the body a little higher with every tryout. Take it gently at first. Lower and repeat, using 3 groups of 7 repetitions. Use a bell that is about one-third of your best One-Hand Military Press to start with. If the movement is new to you, then just fold your arms over your chest for the first few weeks. Massage well after each workout.
Exercise Four: The Two Hands Snatch
The Two Hands Snatch is inevitable in any scheme that aims at fostering maximum agility in lifters. It builds every physical quality owing to its stimulating reaction on the entire system. But what we are concentrating on at the moment is its capacity for increasing back and leg power.
The man who keeps the "bounce" in his legs never feels weary and never looks weary. He has pep all day long, which is just what we are after now, and that is what the Snatch will give you. However, to get the fullest effect we are going to alter the performance slightly from the standard lift. Chiefly we snatch from the "hang" so that greater strength is built up in the back.
Stand erect, feet slightly parted, bar resting across the upper thighs and arms dead straight. The knuckles must be forwards and the grip rather more than normal width. Now breathe out and lean the FLAT back slightly forwards and bend the legs a little, thus lowering the discs to within a couple of inches of the floor. At this point take a deep breath and snatch the weight up close to the body, using a vicious combined effort from the legs, back and arms. As the bar approaches the line of the nipples, split fore-and-aft with the feet [or squat style] The bell continues traveling to full arms' stretch overhead and settling there simultaneously with the maximum dip caused by the split [or squat]. Recover IMMEDIATELY and lower the bell to the starting position again. Repeat, but this time split forward with the OPPOSITE foot, and so on alternately throughout the set. Perform 5 groups of 6 repetitions, using a poundage that is about three-eighths of your best snatch weight.
Enjoy Your Lifting!
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