Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Best Form of Bodybuilding, Part Nine- Dennis Weis

How Long Should a Workout Session Last?

A training session properly performed should never take much longer than 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. This should be adhered to regardless of the training endeavors (body building, powerlifting or training for a specific sport, etc.). 

This time factor for training will allow for the maximum of 1 to 2 minutes rest between sets, two minutes rest between different bodyparts, and the average time of 1 minute (6 seconds to perform one rep) to properly perform 10 reps. Also taken into consideration is the time needed for sufficient warmups preceding the various exercises. Following brief and intense workouts in the manner we have discussed thus far will allow you to do as much as possible in the shortest amount of time, and you can fully recuperate while almost constantly stimulating your muscles into growth.

Best Time of the Day to Train

Scientific research indicates that energy and strength levels in the human body reach a peak around 3 to 4 p.m. each day. Society demands that we buy food and pay rent, etc., so in order to meet these demands we are obliged to seek employment. Due to our obligations in this area we find that the average body builder works on an average job from 8 to 5 p.m. daily five or six days per week. Unfortunately the vast majority of us can't train at this seemingly IDEAL TIME. The one and only suggestion I can make in this case is to "Train at that time which is at your convenience. Train either before or after your evening meal if this is your preference.

Some body builders who work on night shifts (graveyard -- midnight to 8 a.m.) find training time difficult. For you individuals in this situation may I offer these brief suggestions. The BEST plan is to take a nap of several hours and then begin your training session an hour after waking up. Now after your training session you might like to eat a meal, then you can get the rest of your sleep before going to work. If you are one of those who CAN'T break up the sleep in this way, I think the next best solution is to train IMMEDIATELY after work IF YOUR WORK ISN'T TOO STRENUOUS. Above all, you should never skip your training sessions while on this shift. 

The Importance of Sleep 

Our muscles grow when we are resting or sleeping. It is during this period of deep rest that the body's chemical processes are given a chance to supply the muscle cells with vital food components, obtained from proper nutritional habits, so necessary for building size and strength.

So one can immediately see the need for sound sleep and/or rest to make reasonable progress.

How much sleep is necessary? For the body builder or athlete a minimum of eight hours per night is a must. Depending on your daily expenditure of energy (job, family, workouts, involvement in sports, etc.) you could sleep as much as nine to 10 hours per night.

How to Warm Up Before Exercising

It isn't enough to do only one or two general warmup exercises (calisthenics, running in place, pushups, etc.) at the beginning of your workout schedule. You should warm up with each specific exercise that you will be using for a certain bodypart, before giving it everything you're got. The secret is to warm up the muscle without fatiguing it in the process. 

A good warmup procedure to follow is to perform 1 or 2 sets, resting 30 seconds maximum between sets) per individual exercise using 2/3 of your maximum repetition poundage. For example, if your maximum poundage for 10 reps in the bench press is 200 pounds, you would use approximately 135 pounds for two warmup sets. Proper warmups will benefit you in many ways.

1) Warmups help to reduce muscle injury. When a muscle hasn't been warmed up sufficiently, it may tear or pull if it is suddenly required to contract against a maximum application of effort.

2) Warmups increase blood flow to the muscle area being worked. 

3) Warmups tune up the nervous system. This opens up the nerve pathways between the brain and the muscle being worked. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


Triceps: Three Heads, Two Functions - John Ayers (1976)

Jusop Wilcosz

One of the most important muscles of the upper body is the triceps brachii. The function of this muscle is particularly evident in the elderly population, who must use their arms more for mobility, such as using a cane, walker or getting up from a chair. Paraplegics could not transfer or even push their wheelchair without the aid of the triceps. 

There are three heads that comprise the triceps (long, medial, lateral) and they make up the entire mass of the back of the arm. The lateral head, when viewed at the side of the arm below the deltoid, is the strongest of the three, the long head is a biarticular muscle (crosses two joints). It originates on the scapulae (shoulder blade) and therefore, elbow flexion combined with shoulder flexion enhances the action of the triceps. The long head is very cosmetic, as it gives the arm that rounded look at the back when viewed from the side. 

To work the triceps entirely, there should be some emphasis placed on its two  functions, bringing the shoulder down from a flexed position and elbow extension. Working the muscle throughout a complete range, involving a pre-stretch, and keeping the program brief are the other factors to consider.

There are four exercises which will produce a very good triceps workout, and involve the factors I have mentioned.   

Exercise 1 - Supine French Press. 

Handle a heavy weight for this exercise as it is being used for maximum overload. DO NOT PERFORM IT STRICT, that principle will be covered later in the program. It is best to use wraps on your hands during this exercise. This will allow you to handle more weight, and prevent the bar from slipping from your grip. This can be a dangerous lift, considering the bar is moving directly over your head and neck, and a spotter would be an excellent idea.

Do a bent arm pullover to the chest first. If you cannot get the bar to the chest, then you have no business trying to do a French press with the weight. Press the bar like a bench press, and allow the bar to drop down over the top of the head, medium speed, and return in a pullover-press movement to the original position. Try 8-10 reps, then finish up with a rep or two of close grip benches. You should perform your reps in a smooth arc motion, do not pull it to your chest and bench it up, except on the last reps. Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps. This exercise works the triceps with the shoulder in partial flexion.

Exercise 2: Triceps Pushdowns. 

Do these as usual on the lat machine. Lean into the first set, and allow some upward movement of your elbows, to work the long head of the triceps. Handle as much weight as possible for 8-10 reps. The second set should be strict, so reduce the weight by 15 pounds and do 8-10 reps. This exercise works the triceps with the shoulder in a neutral position. 

Exercise 3: Prone French Press.

How do you do a prone French press? With your bodyweight, not a barbell. Place a bar on the squat or power rack at shoulder height, then a bench three feet out from the bar. Stand on the bench and lean forward, gripping the bar with the hands 8 inches apart. The body should be on an incline and straight at the hips. Lower yourself forward so that the head drops beneath the bar, and then press back to the start position, repeat 10-12 reps for just one set. Add weight around your waist to increase resistance. This exercise will work the triceps with the shoulder in a flexed position. 

Exercise 4: Pulley Overhead Press.

Grab a lat pulley bar behind your head, with your back facing the machine. Incline your body forwards so that the elbows are brought back as far as possible, creating extreme flexion of the shoulder. This exercise will keep great tension on the triceps throughout the entire movement, and will finish up the workout, as you gring out the final 10 repetitions of elbow extension. 

This program gives you six sets of good triceps work, which works the muscle from different angles, and takes into consideration the function of the long head and its two joint arrangement. If you would like to work the triceps with the shoulder extended, then add an extra set of reverse dips or triceps kickbacks at the end of the workout.

One point in closing is that THE TRICEPS SHOULD NEVER BE WORKED MORE THAN ONE TIME A WEEK. This mistake of overtraining is emphasized in Iron Man every issue, and this is the bodypart that is overworked the most. It is heavily involved in all chest and shoulder programs, and the long head is affected in many of the back movements.

You must remember that every muscle has another one that counteracts its movement. So even when doing a set of curls, the triceps is involved as an antagonist to stabilize the joint, and help control the speed of the movement. Body movements are very flowing and beautiful. They are performed in arcs and circles, unlike the jerky movements of a mechanical device. You must, therefore, work them throughout these arcs for a symmetrical, flowing development. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 



Monday, December 27, 2021

Deadlift Tips - Dave Tate

Starting With the Hips too Low

This is the king of all mistakes. Too many times lifters try to squat the weight up rather than pull the weight. Think back to the number of times you've seen a big deadlift and thought to yourself how much more the lifter could have pulled if he didn't damn near stiff-leg it? I see it all the time. Someone will say, "Did you see his deadlift?" Then the other guy will comment, "Yeah, and he stiff-legged the thing. Am I telling you to stiff-let your deadlifts? No, not at all.
All I want you to do is look at your hip position at the start of the lift when you pull and watch how much your hips move up before the weight begins to break the floor. This is wasted movement and does nothing except wear you out before the pull. The closer you can keep your hips to the bar when you pull, the better the leverages are going to be. 
Once again, next time you see a great deadlifter, stand off to the side and watch how close his hips stay to the bar throughout the pull. If you're putting your ass to the floor before you pull, your hips are about a mile from the bar. You're setting yourself up for disaster when the lever arm is this long. This is also the second reason why lifters can't get the bar off the floor. The first reason is very simple: The bar is too heavy! 
You need to find the perfect spot where your hips are close to the bar, your shoulders are behind the bar, your lower back is arched, your upper back rounded, your belly full of air and you can pull toward your body. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy, but than again, what is? Definitely not training in a commercial health club . . . 
Where to Look When You Pull
Your body will always follow your head. If you're looking do3wn then the bar is going to want to travel forward. At the same time, you don't want to look at the ceiling. Focus on an area that keeps your head in a straight up-and-back position with the eyes focusing on an upper area of the wall.
Dimel Deadlifts
This exercise helped Matt Dimel increase his squat from the mid-800's to over 1000 pounds in a two year period. To perform this exercise, grab a barbell with an overhand grip, hands about shoulder width part. Pull the bar up to a standing position. At his point, arch your back and get your abs tight. Keep the back as arched as possible, push the glutes out, and keep the knees slightly bent. Lower the bar by pushing your body weight back into your heels while pushing your glutes out. Try to lower the barbell to a position just past the knees. At this point, you should feel a tremendous stretch in the glutes and hamstrings.
Raise by contracting your glutes first. At the top of the movement, contract the glutes as hard as possible. Perform the exercise in a ballistic fashion. You want to drop to the midpoint position and explode back to the starting position. This is best trained with moderate weight for sets of 15-20 reps.

Training Mistakes in the Dimel Deadlift

 -- Going too low. Make sure to keep the tension on the hamstrings. 
 -- Not pushing the hips and glutes back. This is also to keep the stress on the hamstrings. 
 -- Rounding the back. Keep your back arched to help keep the stress on the hamstrings.
 -- Using a slow tempo. This movement is designed to help KEEP STRESS ON THE HAMSTRINGS. This movement is designed to be trained fast. You'll begin with a slow tempo, and build the speed up with each additional repetition. 


 - One of the best ways I've seen this implemented is as a finisher movement (using 2 sets of 15-20 reps) at the end of 3-4 workouts per week for 3-4 weeks. 

 - The most popular way is to just toss them in once a week on your squat or dead day. 


A Handful of Tips

 -- Dumbbell Holds: There are very few things that I've seen work when it comes to dropped deadlifts due to grip. Dumbbell holds, however, are one movement that's shown great results. Grab the top of a hex dumbbell, and make sure that you don't touch the numbers. Grab, stand, and hold for as long as you can. If you can go over 20 seconds, then up the weight.
 -- Binder Clips: One easy thing that will keep yo8ur grip for pulling is to use binder clips. These are the big paper clips that have a black end on them (and other colors). Use these like you would use grippers, but only use your thumb and little finger. You can work all fingers, but the little guy is the first to go. Ed Coan told me this one a few years ago at the SWIS conference. 
 -- Get Strong(er): If you drop your pulls, one solution is very simple -- get stronger! Let's say you always drop 700 obs. but can pull 650 easily and pulling 700 with straps is no problem. Well, get strong enough to pull 750 with straps and 700 will fell like 650 pounds. 
 -- Get Your Head Right: Get your head right. Training isn't easy and won't always be a walk in the park. There's more to getting strong than just lifting the weights. You have to get an attitude with the weights and bust your ass. Louie (Simmons) once told me he would NEVER train with anyone who didn't scare him in one way or another. This is some of the best advice I've ever heard. I'm not saying tht you should be a dick, but there's a HUGE difference between "training" and "working out." 
Multiple-Rep Deadlifts
Next time you see someone doing multiple reps on the deadlift, take note of each rep. You'll notice that the later reps look nothing like the first. In competition you only have to pull once, so you need to learn how to develop what's known as, starting strength, for the deadlift. This is the strength needed to get the bar off the floor without an eccentric (negative) action before the start. 
In other words, you don't lower the bar first and then lift the weight as you do with the squat and bench press. When you train with multiple reps, you're beginning to develop reversal strength, which isn't needed with the deadlift.

These two reasons are enough to keep the deadlift training to singles. If you're using multiple reps with the deadlift, then stand up between each rep and restart the lift. This way you'll be teaching the proper form and developing the right kind of strength.
Not Pulling the Bar Back
The deadlift is about leverage and positioning. Visualize a teeter-totter. What happens when the weight on one end is coming down? The other end goes up. So if your body is falling backward, what happens to the bar? It goes up! If your weight is falling forward the bar will want to stay down. So if you weigh 250 pounds and you can get your bodyweight to work for you, it would be much like taking 250 pounds off the bar. For many natural deadlifters, this is a very instinctive action. For others it has to be trained.

Proper positioning is important here. If you're standing too close to the bar it'll have to come over the knee before you can pull back, thus going forward before it goes backward. If your shoulders are in front of the bar at the start of the pull, then the bar will want to go forward, not backward. If your back isn't arched the bar will also want to drift forward. For some lifters, not being able to pull back can be a muscular thing. If you're like myself, I tend to end up with the weight on the front of my feet instead of my heels. This is a function of my quads trying to overpower the glutes and hamstrings, or the glutes and hamstrings not being able to finish the weight and shifting to the quads to complete tghe lift. What will happen many times is you'll begin shaking or miss the weight. To fix this problem, you need to add in more glute ham raises, pull-throughs and reverse hypers.

Shin Placement

I'm not too sure where this started but I have a pretty good idea. Many times the taller, thinner lifters are the best pullers and they do start with the bar very close to their shins. But if you look at them from the sides they still have their shoulders behind the bar when they pull. This is just not possible to achieve with a thicker lifter.

If a thicker lifter with a large amount of body mass -- be it muscle or fat -- were to line the bar up with his shins, you'd see he would have an impossible time getting the shoulders behind the bar. Remember you need to pull the bar back toward you, not out and away from you. So what I believe happens is many lifters look to those who have great deadlifts to see how they pull, then try to do the same themselves. What they need to do is look to those who are build the same way they are and have great deadlifts and follow their lead. 

Pulling with Big Air 

As with most exercises, you must learn how to breathe. Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath. Do your shoulders rise? If so, then you need to learn how to breathe. Learn to pull your air into your diaphragm. In other words, use your belly! Pull as much air into your belly as possible, then when you think you have all you can get, pull more. The deadlift isn't started by driving your feet into the floor, it's started by driving your belly into your belt and hip flexors. 
One note on holding air while you pull: you need to try and hold your air for as long as possible, but this can only last for a few seconds while under strain because you'll pass out. So for a long pull, you're going to have to breathe or you'll hit the floor and people will stare. While there are several people out there who may think this is a cool thing, I disagree. It's much cooler to make the lift! 
So when you reach the point where you begin to really have to fight the weight. let out small bursts of air. Don't let it all out or you'll lose torso tightness and cause the bar to drop down. By letting out small bursts you can keep your tightness, continue to pull, and lock out the weight. 
Rounding the Lower Back when Deadlifting
This is another mistake I see all the time and most lifters know better. It happens most of the time because of a weak lower back or a bad start position. Even though your shoulders should be rounded, you must keep your lower back arched. This will keep the shin straight and the shoulders behind the bar and then your body will be in the proper position to pull big while keeping the back under minimal stress. 
If you pull with a rounded back, the bar is going to drift away from the legs, thus putting you back into a very difficult position from which to recover. When the bar drifts forward, the weight of it will begin to work against your leverages and cause you to have a sticking point just below the knees or mid-shin level. When you pull, you can either arch your back in the beginning standing position before you crouch down to pull, or once you grab the bar. Either way, it's important to keep the lower back arched and tight.
There are many ways to strengthen the lower back for this. Good mornings, reverse hypers, and arched back good mornings are a few. You can also use a band around your traps and feet for simulated good mornings. With this technique you only use the bands and train for higher reps (in the 20-30 rep range) for local muscular endurance. 
Pulling Your Shoulder Blades Together when You Deadlift
This is a mistake I made for years. Stand in a deadlift stance and pull your shoulder blades together. Take a look at where your fingertips are. Now if you let your shoulders relax and even round forward a little you'll see your fingertips are much lower. This is why we teach a rounding of the upper back. First, the bar has to travel a shorter distance. Second, there's less stress on the shoulder region. It'll also help to keep yo8ur shoulder blades behind the bar.
Enjoy Your Lifting!  





More on Strength Cycling Programs - Dennis Du Breuil (1976)

Reg Park Photos Courtesy of Jarett Hulse.

Recently I wrote and article for Iron Man that was intended to stir up some controversy about accepted ideas of cycling as used in weightlifting programs.

July 1975. Individuals Require Different Training Methods
September 1975. Strength and Cycling.
January 1976. How to Be an Easy Gainer.
Several months have passed and I have found that the article did promote the controversy that I expected, but did not generate much understanding of the ideas that were presented. 

Basically, the article was intended as a recommendation of high intensity training. It will be helpful to agree on a meaning of maximum effort in order to do so, and at that same time, I would like to clear up another misconception. 

Many people interpreted the article as meaning that nothing less than an all-out effort should ever be done in training. This is untrue. In the days when we still did the Olympic press, I have seen men fight a press for as long as 10 seconds. After one attempt like this, the man was exhausted. Clearly, this is not always what we mean by a maximum attempt in training, since this kind of effort will make any further training very difficult.

Usually we mean maximum effort in training to be a set in which all the reps possible were done, keeping good form, and then perhaps a couple more were cheated out. Or perhaps a single that did not allow a second rep to be performed with the same weight in good form.

Iron Man author Arthur Jones has said a great deal in print about working to a point of failure. 

I believe Arthur Jones has been working in moviemaking long enough to understand the value of overstatement in getting his point across. You don't just say,  "I have invented a machine that might be somewhat helpful to body builders,| you say instead, "I have invented the greatest machine in the history of exercise." The people are interested enough that you can show them what you have, and Jones has some very useful ideas, indeed. 

In the same way Jones has been in the lifting field long enough to know that if he told lifters and body builders they would have to work very hear, so all the reps in good form they were able to, and then cheat out a couple more, people would reply that they were already working hard enough. So Jones talked about working to a point of absolute failure, working until the weight fell out of your hands, and working until you fell on the floor, and sure enough, weight men everywhere accepted the idea that many others had said, but were not gifted in their skill with words as Jones. Weightlifters and body builders have indeed, seemed to begin working a little harder in their training. 

By exaggerating his point slightly, Jones was able to communicate his intended idea. This is, of course, my own interpretation of Jones' intention, and should be regarded as such.

We should be able to agree by now that the term "maximum effort" can mean either the kind of effort we make in an emergency, a clutch lift in a contest, or a training lift that simply taxes the available strength of the lifter. 

Virtually every lifter cycles his training to some extent. Some use an intricate method of calculation, it is true. Some of us work up to a point on a lift where progress seems to stop, and then we drop the poundage back, tighten up our form, and try to work back up over our former best. This is virtually every form of cycling.  

Some lifters have certain days when they do high reps and some when they do lower reps with heavier weights. Others do as much as their bodies seem to indicate they need on the particular training day, and this generates results that can be compared in cycling.

One reason we cannot avoid cycling even if we tried is something that has come to be known as bio-rhythm. Suppose that every other day you were taken to a machine that measures force, called a dynamometer. You press on the machine as hard as possible, but you are unable to see the results on the dial, perhaps being blindfolded for the test.

You press on the machine every other day for three months, always in the same position, the same distance away from the machine, and all other variables eliminated as much as possible. What would be the results at the end of three months? 

You would probably be stronger in the position you used on the machine, but you might be surprised at the results if the force you had expended each "workout" was put on a graph. Rather than rising in a simple manner, you would find that the amount of force you were able to produce each time would vary. Sometimes it would be more and sometimes less, but with the long  range trend going up. 

There is a well known theory that the physical body goes in 23-day cycles. This does not mean that your results make a neat wave on the chart every 23 days, because there is also a 28-day emotional cycle that is frequently out of phase with the physical one. This can reinforce the physical cycle if they are both high, or detract from the results if the emotional is low. This theory is made more complicated by the fact that these are not the only cycles known, there being longer and shorter ones as well. This means that it is probably almost impossible to make a simple, steady increase every workout. You simply are stronger sometimes than others. So EVEN IF YOU MADE A MAXIMUM EFFORT EVERY WORKOUT, THE FORCE WOULD STILL VARY UP AND DOWN FROM WORKOUT TO WORKOUT. 

At this point it should be very obvious that we cannot really avoid cycling of some kind, but we certainly can choose between a high intensity training method, and a low intensity program. We simply must train in a manner that taxes our available strength, or we cannot expect to get stronger. 

There is one exception to this approach. Sometimes athletes have reported muscular gains that can only be due to increasing the flow of blood through the muscle, even though the muscle is not taxed by exercise. Runners have sometimes reported strength gains in the arms, simply because of the increase in the supply of blood.

It may turn out that increasing the supply of blood to a muscle will automatically cause an increase in growth or strength, with a certain level of exercise, or even with no formal exercise. This is a basis for the belief that doing some light pump work in between your heavy training sessions will result in faster growth, because of the increase in blood flow.

Of course, Olympic lifters who train 6 days a week cannot work the same muscles heavy every day, without overtraining. There must either be some light days, of the lifter will have to concentrate on different muscle groups at different sessions.

Many authorities point to the training methods of the Russians when recommending a training method. The Russians have some worthwhile ideas, and some fine lifters, but it must be admitted that having a large field of lifters to pick from enables the Russians to simply pick the most gifted lifters. The Bulgarians have much smaller numbers to pick from so their training has to be very good to compete with the Russians. It is well known that the Bulgarians use a very high intensity approach to training, and I think that we must too, if we are ever able to regain a prominent position in international weightlifting.

Certainly light reps will enable a lifter to build technique, and in the last article, it was mentioned that cycling lifts, while doing heavy assistance exercises, would enable a lifter to build both strength and technique at the same time. It is a point worth mentioning that if a medium heavy barbell is pulled as hard and fast as a lifter can, then that is a form of maximum effort, even though the weight is less than the lifter can actually lift. 

The point of the two articles is that we must adapt high-intensity training methods, and work out closer to the limits of what we are capable. Take-it-easy methods must be replaced. We will have to work out even harder than we are, if we are once again to lead the field of lifting. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!   


Friday, December 17, 2021

Multiple Muscle Building Methods: Which are the Best - Peary Rader (1985)


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 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! 

Blog Archive