Focus and progression

3.3 If I had chosen the squat, deadlift (both the bent-legged and stiff-legged variations, though not both in the same cycle), bench press, seated press, and the pulldown (or a row with my torso supported), and dedicated myself for five years to progressive poundages on those five core movements as the linchpin of my training, I would have gotten near to realizing my full size and strength potential before I was but 20 years old. I would have been better off if I had never heard of any other...

Inversion therapy

18.78 Gravity in general, and the stress of heavy exercise in particular, compress the joints of the spine, and the muscles and soft tissue of the back as a whole, but especially of the lower back. 7is is at the root of many back problems. But with the appropriate therapy this compression can be relieved, leading to a healthier and more injury-resistant lower back. 18.79 One of the simplest measures for taking care of the lower back is to take pressure off the lumbar spine. Not only is this...

Fixed rep target vs a rep range

7.130 I have a preference for fixed-rep target training rather than using a rep range. Perhaps you do not, and that is fine so long as what you use is something you can consistently do well on. 7.131 ere is something comforting, controlled and measured about always performing (for a given exercise, for a given training cycle) a particular number of reps, be it 5, 6, 8, 10 or whatever. If you are using multiple work sets, you would have fixed reps for each set, e.g., 6 and 4, or 5, 5 and 5, or...

In praise of bodybuilding

1.49 Bodybuilding gets some bad press because many people consider bodybuilding as the exclusive territory of excessively narcissistic, drug-using, all-appearance-and-no-function, frivolous freaks. For sure, some bodybuilders do give weight training dreadful publicity because of their gym antics, drug use and dealing, and appalling ignorance of the type of training that is needed by drug-free typical people. But this has nothing to do with what I consider bodybuilding to be. 1.50 Because most...

The Tru Squat machine

18.72 In 1997 I bought a Tru-Squat (from Southern Xercise, see page 481) and with it was able to return to intensive squatting. (Instead of the leg press and stiff-legged deadlift as my core leg and back exercises, I moved to the Tru-Squat, and stiff-legged deadlift from just below knee height.) e Tru- Squat mimics the barbell squat but with major differences and even some improvements. But it is not a barbell squat. If you can barbell squat safely and productively, then stick with that at...

Shoulder external rotators

10.118 e external rotators of the shoulder include two small muscles called the infraspinatus and teres minor. ese are much weaker than the internal rotators, which include the pecs and lats. To distinguish between external and internal rotation of the shoulder, imagine you are standing and shaking hands with someone with your right hand. While in that position, if you move your hand to your right, you are externally rotating your shoulder. Move your hand to the left, and you are internally...

Dumbbell work

10.120 Dumbbells are usually used for detail exercises which have very limited, if any application for the typical hard gainer whose priority is to build substantial size and strength. Barbells, generally speaking, have a tradition for being used for the big and most useful movements. If you have in mind doing the pec fly, lateral raise, concentration curl, triceps kickback and akin exercises with dumbbells, the 'bells will harm your training progress. But if, for example, you use them for...

Difficulttohandle objects

10.145 You may want to follow the examples of Dr. Ken Leistner and Kim Wood and get yourself an odd-shaped and perhaps bulky object for some fun, challenging and potentially productive holding, lifting or carrying, to finish off a workout. A thick bar is just a starter. Logs, logs with handles attached, beams with handles attached, and sandbags can be used. But be very careful not to over-extend yourself, use poor lifting form, get your toes caught under an object that crashes to the floor, or...

Dietary fiber

20.61 If you eat adequately of unrefined carbohydrates, and do not abuse your body with junk food, you should get plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber is crucially important for good bowel habits. You should have at least one bulky bowel movement each day. Adjust your fiber intake until this regularity is the norm. is regularity is essential for getting waste products out of your digestive tract quickly, before they can do any harm. 20.62 Some itemized high-protein diets published in...

Other interpretations of intensity cycling

7.107 A compromise some people may want to pursue is to have two cycles running concurrently. Half of your exercises could be in the intensive stage while the others are only just starting on a new cycle. An advantage of this is that only half your exercises would get full-bore treatment at one time, so your recovery system would get less of a beating than it would if all exercises were to the hilt at the same time. 7.108 An extension of this approach is to have each exercise running in its own...

Conditions to satisfy before trying bodybuilding supplements

20.119 You must have the fundamentals in place before you go experimenting with only possibly useful extras. No supplement will compensate for a diet deficient in a major component. Here are the fundamentals to get in place a. Daily satisfaction of your caloric needs. b. Satisfaction of your daily caloric needs through five or six evenly spaced, evenly sized, easy digested meals. c. Daily satisfaction of your full sleep requirements. d. Production of muscle and might gains through the...

How to react to signs of overtraining

14.26 If you are alert to the symptoms of overtraining, and become aware as soon as you are starting to overdo your training, you have the opportunity to nip overtraining in the bud. Stay out of the gym an extra couple of days before your next workout, rest and sleep a bit more, pay more attention to nutrition, and then reduce your work sets when back in the gym. 14.27 If you need to plug in an extra day or two of rest between workouts on a regular basis, revise your whole training program so...

Bench press alternatives

10.94 e parallel bar dip works more muscle than does the bench press. Prior to bench pressing benches becoming standard fare in gyms, in the fifties, the parallel bar dip was a very popular exercise (as was the strict overhead press). hereafter the bench press became a hugely popular exercise. e bench press is a very good exercise, but its degree of popularity today is excessive relative to the merits of the exercise. e parallel bar dip is potentially an excellent exercise, and one that does...

Strength targets

4.43 Male hard gainers who build to being able to squat 400 pounds, bench press 300 and deadlift 500 for single lifts in good form are much more impressive, relative to the genetic material being worked with, than are the easy-gaining elite. 4.44 e 400, 300 and 500 numbers, for a man of 59 and a solid 190 pounds or so, roughly translate to a 16-inch arm and 45-inch chest, with other girths in proportion. Percentage wise, and relative to bodyweight, these 400, 300 and 500 numbers roughly...

Constant working poundages

7.123 As John McKean explained to me, some of today's old timers, when they were in their prime, used constant working poundages for most of their training. McKean has extensive experience in competitive Olympic weight-lifting, powerlifting and all-round lifting, with the latter being his current focus. A constant poundage means a fixed weight for each exercise, not the same poundage for all exercises. 7.124 is approach ties in with what was explained towards the end of the segment Little Gems,...

The squat

10.45 e squat is potentially the most productive single exercise you can do providing you can perform it safely and progressively. e more efficiently you squat, the greater the potential benefits you can extract from it. How efficiently you squat is mostly a result of your relative torso and leg lengths, and relative femur and tibia lengths. While some people have much better mechanics for squatting than others, most people can squat well enough to obtain great benefits from the exercise, if...