Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Abdominal and Calf Development - Sergio Oliva (1968)



 To win a top physique contest takes more than bigger than big arms, wider than wide lats, or an impressive torso taper. From experience I can tell you that my 20 inch arms or 50 inch chest alone do not win contests for me.

Sound strange? Not at all. Just imagine in your mind's eye how my 20 inch arms would look if I only had 14 inch calves. Or how my 50 inch chest would stack up against an overpowering 36 or 38 inch waist! 

These two areas are what I call the 'forgotten' muscles . . . they are either forgotten or neglected in training by too many bodybuilders overcome by their desire for big arms, cannonball delts . . . barn door lats and beefy pectorals. Yet when the abdominals and calves are especially well developed they can, almost in themselves, win for you because so many bodybuilders, even otherwise outstanding ones, are lacking in the purest and most refined development of these important muscle groups. When your calves and abs are super developed they become showcases for all the rest of your body's muscular appearance. 

A complete and balanced development means that you should have a maximum of: 

 - Strength
 - Bulk and density of muscle
 - Outstanding muscular definition
 -  Varicose veins sticking out everywhere.. 

The greats are those who are well developed, having power, bulk/density and terrific cuts built into that much desired overall proportionate symmetry and muscular contour. 

Don't be discouraged if, for the moment, you lack the superior development of the abdominals, the calves, or perhaps some other muscle group which seemingly defies development. We all have developmental problems. Some arms grow faster, others slower. Some have 'natural' calves, others' respond slowly to training. Some have a natural shoulder width, others have to work harder on the delts to widen the shoulder appearance.

The point is, if, say, your arms are easy gainers, don't spend 90% of your workout time on them. Work on the neglected, the stubborn, the lagging muscle groups more, to equalize them with your easy arm development. 

Think "balanced" all the time. Keep a harshly critical eye on your whole body, not just an affectionate and admiring eye on the muscle group that is already outstanding.

The Force of 'Determinative' Training

Be a determined bodybuilder . . . determined to achieve complete success by being determined about your training. Determination. It is one thing to just pick up a barbell . . . and quite another to pick it up decisively and determinedly -- acknowledging your weak spots -- and unhesitatingly and unerringly work for the correction of any physique imbalance before going on to 'flesh out' the entire body. 

Sergio seems to have developed his English speaking skills quite nicely! 

Never look into your mirror just to see your good points. Look for the flaws and honestly admit whether you are making substantial progress in correcting them. Always keep after those body parts that lag behind . . . don't just work those muscles you enjoy, or in which easy results are easily seen. Always compare . . . Compare . . . COMPARE! Any imbalance of physique, any lagging muscle group will therefore stand out like a bandaged hand, and you will, all the more decisively, work to make it symmetrically developed with all the other muscle groups. 

Almost invariably it is the bodybuilder who works for slabs of muscle, for bulk along, who neglects the already neglected or forgotten muscles . . . the abs and calves, and I hope that my abdominal and calf routines will help the bodybuilder whose physique has suffered the vagaries of such neglect. I offer them here. 

My Abdominal Routine

In training any lagging bodypart, muscle priority should be strictly observed. In this way the weak or less developed bodypart is worked first in each workout. Thus, on your upper body training days you may well begin the workout with abdominal exercises. You will find this advantageous in more ways than one, a principal asset being that abdominal work is so great for warming up and conditioning all the other upper body muscles that they are in superb readiness when you begin to bomb your arms, pecs, and shoulders with the heaviest weights.

Although I use a split routine throughout the week, exercising my upper body muscles on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and working my legs on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, nevertheless I include some ab work even on my leg training days, making them get a six day workout each week.

I do all my abdominal work in Tri Sets. In tri sets you choose three exercises for a particular body part, in this case the abdominals. You do one set of each exercise without pause, then take a two or three minute rest. This is one tri set. I never fail to do a full 6 or 7 tri sets each workout day. The exercises I find most effective in tri-setting abs are: 

Situps, 6 or 7 sets of 10-15 reps.
Leg Raises, 6 or 7 sets of 20 reps.
Twists, 6 or 7 sets of 50 twists to each side.

Now, each exercise of this tri set exists for a specific purpose:

a) Situps are best for the two upper layers of abdominals.   
b) Leg raises are best for the two lower layers of abdominals.
c) Twists are best for the sectors at the sides of the abdominals. 

Thus you have in this tri set exercise for each sector of the abdominal area, and faithful daily performance of the tri set will reward you with an outstanding midsection that is not only dramatic in appearance, but is steel hard underneath.

Some Tips About This Tri-Set

a) When you have made a full situp, on the next repetition, when you have reached upright position, begin the return to starting position but retard the back about 12 inches from the board and make a return "partial" situp. You will have maintained a strong continuous tension in the upper abs, and this variation will make the exercise even more effective. 

b) In leg raises, do not always so these lying on a bench. Try them hanging from a chinning bar. You can't do as many as the lying variation but because they are more concentrated on the lower abs in this position, the tensive effect is all the more pronounced, just as it is in the "full to partial" situp just mentioned.

c) In twists, do them several ways. Try them bent over at right angles to the floor with a light stick across your back. Try them in situp fashion, but twisting the right elbow to the left knee, and left elbow to right knee. Try them with hands held behind the head while sitting up on the board . . . stationary . . . not in situp fashion. Twist until the elbows almost touch the hips opposite, keep trying for a larger range of action and a more tensive twist.

My Calf Routine

When I began training my calves they were quite thin, and I not only prioritized them, principally working them on my leg training days, but found extra time on my upper body training days at the conclusion of each workout. Now I work them four times a week.

The calves are amazing muscles. They are so used to hoisting you, pushing you, shoving, pulling and supporting you, that they become somewhat resigned and ingrained in their stubbornness to do more than they are required to. Hence they must be jolted out of their rut with stronger force, applied in new ways, through new angles of attack, to blitz them fully. I have found this routine very effective. 

I do my calf work in Super Sets. In super sets you choose two different exercises (in this case for the calves). You perform just one set of the first, then without pausing do one set of the second. This constitutes one super set. I repeat this process until I have done 10 sets of each, or 10 super sets.

On Mondays and Thursdays I do super set number one: 
Standing Calf Raises
super set with
Seated Calf Raises 
10 sets of 15. 

Make these exercises go quickly . . . don't dawdle. Quickly do one set of the standing raises then quickly do one set of the seated raises. Take no more than a one minute break then begin the second super set, continuing in this manner until all 10 super sets have been completed. 

On Tuesdays and Fridays I do super set number two. 
Standing Calf Raises, 6 x 15
Seated Calf Raise, 6 sets with light weight, 20-25 reps.

You will note that while the exercises in this super set are identical with those in super set number one, they are reversed, and one is done with a light weight to get a maximum pump. On Monday the calves were worked to the utmost, both with high reps and heavy resistance exercise. Now on the next day (Tuesday) they are still quite blown up from Monday's blitz, hence, by concluding the Tuesday workout with light seated calf raises the blow-up is made almost continuous from day to day. In this way the calves cannot fail to increase in size and shape. 

The beauty of this workout is that the calves are not only blitzed into greater size, into more muscle density . . . but the sculptural outlines along the sides of the calves that give that diamond shape effect are brought into prominence.

Enjoy Your Lifting! 











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