Thursday, March 31, 2022

Effective Training Principles -- Anthony Ditillo (1978)

Phil Grippaldi, one of America's greatest all time Olympic lifters, started out as a great bodybuilder, and as you can see in this photo, still possesses a very great arm which could be the envy of many bodybuilders. That 18 inch plus arm has great shape and definition. 

Note: I can't believe I am still finding more of Tony Ditillo's articles! Here's a very rare item, courtesy of the late Reuben Weaver, a truly wonderful guy and great supporter of the Iron Game. He was a storehouse of knowledge carried and some of his contributions are still available to us at Joe Roark's IronHistory forum.

First is a letter sent by Anthony Ditillo to Muscle Training Illustrated magazine. \

Next are two photos that he sent with the letter: 

Thank You, Reuben! 

Editor's Note (Peary Rader): 

The author is a longtime contributor to Iron Man but has in the past year or two been too busy with his business to make much in the way of contribution of articles. He has not ceased his training or his study of the game. No matter how much we know about the sport, we never know everything we need to know and so training and study is a continuing growth both physically and mentally. The advice given in this article is the result of many years of training and study of others' training routines. In a nut shell, we could say that each man is an individual with different needs and responses than anyone else and he cannot make progress by "blind" training. He must study himself and experiment with available systems and programs in an intelligent and logical manner. No matter how advanced you are, there is still a lot to learn about effective training. The author asks you to study yourself, use and intelligent approach and develop systems that work best for you based on known and proven principles. If you do this, you will continue to improve. Here at Iron Man we try to bring you a varied quantity of material from different authors and athletes to help you in your own experiments and efforts. 

Note: And there, there's Mr. Rader's mission statement behind his publication of Iron Man magazine. 

The author is quite a strong man himself and his own routine at present included a standing press with 335 for reps and sets; a press from behind neck with 305; a seated press with 315; a shoulder shrug with 705; bentover rowing with 405 and partial presses from the shoulders with 555. All of these are done for about 10 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions. All this has given his a 60 inch chest and 21 inch arms. His advice will help you succeed also. 

The Article . . . 

After fourteen years of study and theoretical application, along with much valuable information passed on to me from my coach Dezso Ban, I have come to the following conclusions concerning physical exercises: 

An increase in your training intensity, an increase in the volume of work done within a given time, and proper exercise style are the main ingredients for assuring continued progress past the beginners stage. 

And along with all this hard work, you must also possess a determination to succeed coupled with great patience. Many years spent properly on correct exercise movements using correct exercises, style, and many hours of sweat and blood will eventually result in success. Indeed, you must SUFFER to gain and without a deep desire to do better and a true love of our sport you are not going to be able to go very far. 

Continually changing your physical goals to emulate or gratify the feelings or others is not the way to go. Nor is it feasible to expect much in the way of results from all this moving around. Just as in geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so in weightlifting, a straight, clean-cut goal is of paramount importance.

By increasing your training intensity, I mean increasing your work output. This can be done by either increasing your repetitions while NOT decreasing the poundage, or increasing the poundage weekly, but keeping the same number of sets and repetitions. An example of both kinds of stimulation would be the following: 

Using 225 for 10 sets of 3 repetitions, until you can perform 10 sets for FIVE repetitions per set. Then you would increase weight. 

The other alternative would be to keep the repetitions at 3 and try to slowly increase the weight of the bar, 5 pounds at a time while keeping the sets and repetitions the same. 

Both are very effective. 

You can also increase your training intensity by fighting against time, thereby performing the same amount of work with less and less rest between sets, and finally . . .  

you can increase the exercise intensity by either slowing down or speeding up the repetitions performed while decreasing your rest time between sets. 

Increasing your training intensity means making your work harder to do and training intensity is necessary for continued progress. If you are ever to advance from beginner to intermediate and perhaps someday to advanced trainee, you will HAVE to learn to intensify your efforts. 

Increasing your volume of work involves either additional sets per exercise or additional movements to work the same area from perhaps a different angle. in my opinion, different mental capabilities are necessary to succeed in either endeavor. 

Some men are able to work quite hard using maximum poundages without much warmup and these men would do quite well using 2 or perhaps 3 different movements for each area with sets ranging between 5 and 7 and repetitions between 3 and 5. 

On the other hand, there are some who have the ability to concentrate intently for many, many sets of the same movement using good style, heavy weight and great exertion. An example would be Dezzi, who can easily perform 25 sets of shrugs using extremely heavy weights with no ill effects such as tiredness, lethargy, irrecuperability, loss of muscle tone or strength. Yet this same man when trying various partial movements within a power rack could not properly recuperate. This, I believe was due to the difference in the grinding movements in the rack as compared to the intense, explosive nature of shrug pulls and high pulls. This is not to say that he could not learn to recuperate on the rack had he the time and desire. 

I am only trying to show the physical and emotional differences of lifters and how different types of training require different capabilities. 

Compound or multiple sets are also useful when trying to increase your volume of work within a given time and while most lifters feel such work is necessary only for bodybuilders, I beg to differ.

The more correctly performed work you can do within a given time, the more progress you should make. It's as simple as that. What MAY be the biggest problem is the necessary reduction in poundages in the beginning until your body becomes accustomed to the stress. There should come a time, however, when you can use just about the same poundages for multiple sets that you once used for the usual single sets. It would then be time to rest for a few days and collect yourself both mentally and physically and for a few weeks perform regular (non-multiple) sets of doubles and singles, to test yourself as to just how your strength has increased through the increased volume and intensity you have coaxed your body to become accustomed to.

I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised as to your progress provided you refrain from excessive cheating to lift heavier poundages and provided you don't stay on the heavy single attempts too long and thereby go stale prematurely. For although singles require very little physical energy as compared to 3's and 5's, they do tax the nervous system to the utmost due to the mental psyching necessary for success. But it IS necessary to register lifts heavy enough to equal your true strength level. Many times a lifter will press 225 for 5 yet fail to ever press 275 for a single and mainly, this is due to not being able to muster up enough nerve force to compensate for the heavier weight. 

It is one thing to squat 500 for 5.
It is another to squat 600 for 1.
Both require concentration; both, practice to perfect. 

Finally, we come to exercise style. It is my opinion that excessive cheating is mostly wasted effort or at best, misdirected stress. 

It is one thing to cheat out a last few repetitions in a set to make the continued performance possible, and another to make every repetition a HIDEOUS spectacle of extreme egoism just to impress nearby youngsters or uninitiated friends. 

To jerk 325 behind the neck is a fine feat of strength but it is NOT a press behind neck! Nor will it build as much muscle or strength as pressing the weight without using your legs. It would be different if you were trying to perform one set of as many reps as possible. Then the last repetitions would help ADD to the intensity of the set, thereby aiding your progress. But to cheat out single attempts until they no longer appear to be the recognized lift is ridiculous!  

If "muscle overload" is needed, there is always the power rack. There you can move enormous weights from awkward positions and work your lifts from sticking points to thereby strengthen your entire lift. We shall get into THIS phase of training at another time. 

For now, all you need to remember is that the stronger you get -- the HARDER it is to get stronger. The more advanced you become -- the more you must specialize to continue to advance and through it all, there is nothing more important than intelligent application of hard, intense work.

Note: Here's an Intermediate Mass routine from Anthony. Note the inclusion of 20 rep squatting, bodyweight movements, and the use of slightly higher repetitions to build mass efficiently. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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