Sunday, January 16, 2022

Training Problems - John Grimek

This article is from the final series John Grimek wrote, 
in Robert Kennedy's MuscleMag International magazine.

To gain the right kind of weight and still maintain your symmetry you must exercise regularly. Proper exercise tends to stimulate internal efficiency and thus help one to add weight proportionately. Over-exercising must be avoided, however. Regular exercise done with the proper amount of volume and intensity will server the purpose, but over-working fatigues the body and slows down its efficiency because of its inability to throw off the accumulated metabolic waste from overtraining. 

Most bodybuilders have a tendency to overdo things they feel might be good for them, not realizing that an overdose is worse than none at all! 

Those who take up exercise usually do so to improve themselves. Many bodybuilders assume that if six exercises are good, then it stands to reason that a dozen would be better. Such reasoning is far from being right. Of course, any exercise that accelerates the heart and lung action, such as all forms of leg work, will certainly benefit all internal body processes. The full squat, when done in proper form, and providing your knee joint integrity is sound, is one of the very best leg exercises to do. A few repetitions will convince any skeptic of its value. Breathing becomes deeper and faster after any vigorous leg action, and this is why full squats are one of the best exercises to do. 

To gain bodyweight in the form of muscle it is best to start out with a brief training program. Three sets of full squats, or any other leg movement that will increase heart and lung action, can be used, each set to be followed with an exercise for the chest. More exercises, additional sets, or repetitions should only be included when you feel thoroughly conditioned and ready for this extra exercise . . . not before. 

The following program should prove helpful. 

Chest and Leg Group

Full Squat, 15-18 reps
Pullovers (straight arm), 12-15 reps
Full Squat, 8-10
Dumbbell Flyes, 12-15 
Full Squat, 3-5
Pullovers (straight arm), 10-15

Supplementary Groups

Barbell Shrug, 10-12, then 6-8
Deadlift (conventional), 10-12, then 5-6
Bentover Barbell Rowing, 10-12, 5-6
Press Overhead, 8-10, 3-5
Barbell Curl, 8-10, 3-5

Note: In the first group of chest and leg exercises you begin with a light weight, then increase the weight just enough in the next two series to approach your limit for the number of reps you have planned. For example, employ a weight that will allow you to do the minimum number of repetitions listed, but not to exceed the maximum rep figure . . . otherwise increase the weight. This holds true in all exercises listed. you will notice that each set of leg work is followed by a chest expansion movement using light poundages with dumbbells as a means of supplementing the oxygen demand created by the leg work. Concentrate on capacity breathing during this exercise. 

After you have finished the series of leg and chest exercises proceed to the supplementary exercise group. Here again being light, using more repetitions. then increase the weight to tax the muscles to the limit on the second series (set). Sufficient tissue congestion should ensue to produce muscular growth and additional bodyweight in time. 

Avoid the urge to do more than you can recuperate from quickly. Continue in this manner for a month at least before making changes or adding more exercises. Then, adding one exercise per week thereafter ought to be plenty. Always be conservative in your energy output. This is the secret of gaining muscle weight for most individuals. The less energy it takes you to achieve a thorough congestion of the muscles, the better are your chances to gain faster. 

Additional Remarks

In any weight gaining program the bodybuilder must learn to relax. Stop being a worry wart. Accept things in stride. Eat enough but avoid overeating. To gain it's better to eat smaller meals more often than two or three heavy ones. Supplement your in-between snacks with a gain-weight high protein drink. To 1 quart of milk add 2 or 3 bananas. 2 tsps of honey, 2 tsps of peanut butter, 1 raw egg and finally a serving of protein powder. 

Don't expect to gain pounds overnight. Allow several weeks of training, eating and resting to show that you are on the right road to a better-built physique. In the event that your progress is slow, don't get upset or frustrated. And stop worrying. Worry is bad for gaining weight! 

Arm Development 

Almost without exception the people throughout the world, except those who train with weights, feel that a well developed pair of arms is the apex of power. There's hardly a man alive who wouldn't like to add a couple of inches of muscle on his arm. Big arms always seem to fascinate persons of both sexes, including the young and old. a weight trained man knows that big arms denote nothing except size. Yet an arm that is big and strong, too, is something. No wonder questions relating to the arm never cease. And even though I have not appeared in competition for many many years now, I still get letters asking how I keep my arm bulk, the exercises I do, and how frequently I train.

Some individuals have the idea that I used to do curls by the thousands, or exercise all day long. When I tell them that I did very little curling, they have doubts. "Then how did your arms get so big?" My answer always shocks them, for I reply that when muscles are developed the right, sensible way you don't have to worry about size; it's always there! 

This statement naturally provokes more questions, because those who ask the questions have experienced numerous setbacks and wonder why they "fall away" when they are forced to lay off, while others do not.

I think anyone who develops muscles through constant "muscle spinning" and pumping-up methods, as widely advocated by some, sooner or later learns that such muscle is composed of course tissue and demands constant stimulation to keep its size. Once this stimulation (exercise) is stopped, the muscle shrinks. 

Of course, well developed arms are rarely the product of a single exercise, and not only for the arms, but for all the adjacent groups as well. Just pumping up the biceps is not enough. The entire arm and shoulder assembly must be exercised for maximum results. 

Moreover, it's not necessary to specialize on arms alone, a fallacy that persists throughout most bodybuilding quarters. Instead, better results materialize when you employ a complete training routine, including arm exercises, and then at the finish of those do some additional exercises for the arms and shoulders. Nothing makes the arms, or any muscle group for that matter, respond as fast as this type of training . . . at least that was my own experience whenever I tried it. 

Include only enough exercises, sets and repetitions to congest the muscle -- then quit. When the muscle has been fully congested there is no need to continue. Forcing it more leads to overwork and could nullify the results you are seeking. You can use dumbbells, or barbell or any equipment at your disposal. Just remember to do a few correct repetitions before you begin cheating the weight. Those of you who will do several good reps (70% of your reps performed strictly is a good guideline) and then use a more liberal movement (cheating) to complete the repetitions suggested for the set or sets as the case may be, will obtain better results than those who begin cheating with the very first repetition of a set. Let the muscels you're exercising do the work instead of relying on fast starts that relieve them of the work they are supposed to do.

Better yet, after finishing your workout try the isometric system with an empty bar in a power rack for the arms. For unusual biceps strength and size, emply several positions in the curling movement (30 degrees, 90 degrees, 150 degrees of flexion the resistance should be at its highest point.) and flex to your utmost in each position for five seconds. Rest after each attempt. Follow this sequence with several positions (shoulder level, bar level with nose, bar level with eyebrows, bar level with hairline, 6" above head, 2" from lockout) in the press over head, again flexing with all your might in each position for five seconds. One sustained contraction for five seconds is enough for any position in the power rack with the empty bar. 

For the forearms and wrists use a wrist roller apparatus. 


 Chest and Pectorals

I never realized until lately that there were so many lopsided bodybuilders. Yet in recent months the inquiries relating to this problem have been numerous. The prime concern seems to center around individual pectorals, where one might be thicker, higher, lower or differently shaped from the other. These questions come chiefly from younger bodybuilders who have only recently started training. 

A large part of this problem is mental and postural, although it should be pointed out that perfect symmetry of any muscle group is unusual, especially in the underdeveloped stage. The condition is minimized or eliminated when full development is obtained. There is no need for specialization at this time. 

With younger bodybuilders (adolescents) an unsymmetrical condition of the pectorals is common although it can (and often does) exist in the arms, shoulders, latissimus dorsi and legs also. However, as muscles develop and fill out, this imbalance is minimized and becomes less conspicuous. 

Pullovers influence chest size and pectoral shape, especially if done on an incline or decline angle. Dumbbell flyes on a decline plane will influence the lower section of these muscles more than when done in the supine position. Incline presses activate the upper section better, while the decline variety helps to sharpen the outer and lower edge of this muscle. In cases where one pectoral isn't as fully developed as the other, the use of a wall pulley or cable crossover apparatus can prove advantageous. Chest expanders, either spring or fubber, are a fine substitute also. Anchor one end of the expander to a wall, and stand far enough away to obtain resistance. Keep the arm straight and move it across gthe chest, thus working the pectoral.

Bench presses done with a wide grip activate the outer edge of the pectoral much more than with a narrow grip. The crushers that are still sold in some sporting goods stores can be used to advantage when one pectoral lags in development. Even the dumbbell flye can be employed using only one arm. Of course, to maintain body balance the other arm must hold a slightly heavier dumbbell stationary at the side while the working arm does the full range of movement to exercise the pectoral.

There are other ways in which one pectoral muscle can be exercised. However, the real truth of the matter is that in most cases no actual need exists, and once maximum development is acquired the proportions balance out. So strive for all-around development instead of concerning yourself with one area only. You'll obtain a more pleasing and better-looking physique. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!



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