Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Modern Strandpulling, Part Eight - David Webster



The basis of the most famous systems of Swedish gymnastics is that the development of the back is the most essential part in the physical development of the whole body. The information advanced to support this contention undoubtedly proves the claim is correct, and any enthusiast neglecting this part of the physique should immediately correct this omission. 

In this part of the human frame, more than any other, there should be strength, stability and mobility, yet it is the most badly treated of all body parts. Just watch how people sit, stand, and carry loads. You must agree that it is little wonder that what we call a slipped disc has become a "fashionable" complaint. 

Well, before you customers walk out on me, let's get on with more practical information to help you build a back with all the qualities necessary for good appearance and efficiency. 

First of all, before detailing more strandpulling exercises, I am going to ask you to cultivate an appreciation of bodily beauty in all positions and movements. In physique contests I have judged I invariably see some enthusiasts with backs rounded to emphasize the bulk of the pectoral muscles and the hollow back of some famous Continental physical culturists have been caused by the permanent contraction of the abdominals we know so well. Before adopting a position which may be considered some day as a characteristic pose, ask yourself, "Is this position ugly from any angle?" If the answer is truthfully in the negative then rest assured you are on the right track. 

Many strandpulling exercises in other sections of this book have a grand building effect on the back muscles; others with reduced poundages make excellent mobilizers of the spine, and in order to save a second detailing of these exercises I ask you to consult Exercises 19-20, 26-27, 35-36. 

Exercise No. 27 (downward pull) is particularly effective, and if done in fast time as a Rebounding Downward Pull (Ex. 48) you will find the recoil of spring and reflex action of muscle will combine in producing a fairly high poundage pull that gives mighty muscle and mobility. 

The Downward Pull knuckles OUT (Ex. 49) is an effective exercise done by pulling the strands from overhead with straight arms to the position sideways in line with the shoulders, strands passing in front of the face to finish on the chest. 

The Front Chest Pull Anyhow (Ex. 50) 

is a competitive strandpulling movement that is one of the best back builders in the business. The pull is started with arms slightly bent in front of the body, palms down and handles resting on the back of the hands and wrists. The strands are pulled back to the chest, arms straightening during the movement, to finish sideways and in line with the shoulders. 

The important point is that the strands must not go above chin level at any time. It would take lengthy explanations to describe technique, but try to get a competitive puller to demonstrate for you and while you are at it have a look at his upper back, posterior deltoids and muscles between the shoulder blades. If he has practiced this pull the muscles will be worth more than a glance. 

Keeping your hands and handles in the same position, which shortens leverage considerably, do Ex. 51, which is performed like the previous movement, but allows the strands to go as high as you wish providing they finish at the chest with arms straight. This alters the muscle work, making muscles attached to the lower part of the scapula work harder than in the competitive pull.  

Upward Chest Pulls (Ex. 52) are good for limbering up and affect upper and, to a minor degree, lower back. Holding the strands in front of the body, bend forward till the trunk is parallel to the floor and from here the work begins. 

In my variation, the stretching of the body is combined with the stretching of the strands. You pull outwards with straight arms so that the expander finishes across at the same time as the upright position is reached. A lean back at the finish works the muscles in a wide range, and do try to make it a fast, zippy movement; there can be few things worse in a workout than lethargic, lifeless efforts. 

Finally, another span bend (Ex. 53) which gives back mobility . . . 

. . . Lie face down on the floor, arms stretched forward, holding the strands, quite relaxed. Lift head and chest off the ground, not a little, but as much as you can, and as you raise the torso, pull the strands down to the chest. Hold the position for a second, then return to the starting position ready for another repetition. There is a great tendency here to restrict the breathing; avoid this in all exercises. 

Those, then, are our exercises for bulk, definition, suppleness and strength, but all the exercises in the world will be inadequate if they have to combat slovenly, lazy posture which continues in the hours between schedules with strands. 

At all times try to maintain good posture. Have a snap check now as you are reading this; I imagine more than 50% will be in poor positions. Are you? If so, correct it before reading on. 

Walking, running, writing or reading all show varied postures, with good ones being in the minority. It is indeed difficult at first to combine relaxation and good posture, but Oscar Heidenstam and Reg Park give excellent examples of near perfect posture, and can well be copied. 

Observe the fundamentals briefly mentioned in this chapter and you help build a structure both beautiful and one which functions efficiently in all life's tasks. 

Next, in Part Nine: Training Principles

Enjoy Your Lifting!    


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive