By Arthur Jones
AN INTRODUCTION AND A BRIEF BACKGROUND
While the author may be widely known in the field of physical training only as a result of the recently announced developments which are the subject of this Bulletin, quite a number of readers will probably recognize the name in connection with another field - since, for the past fourteen years, motion-pictures produced by the author have been in constant distribution throughout the world. Included in these credits were the following series of films produced for television, "Professional Hunter," "Wild Cargo," "Capture," "Call of the Wild," and major portions of four other series, as well as several theatrical and special films for television. The most recent film produced by the author was seen on CBS network on Friday, August 28, 1970 at 7:30 in the evening - - titled "Free to Live: Operation Elephant," a one-hour, color special on a major conservation project, the capture and relocation of African elephants.
Before becoming involved in film production, the author was an airline pilot and conducted a large-scale import-export business in wild animals, birds, reptiles and tropical fish - - an occupation which eventually led to the production of films based on conservation themes.
Eight members of the author's family - - father, mother, brother, sister, paternal grand-father, uncle, cousin and brother-in-law - - are medical doctors; or were, when still living. And the author has devoted a great deal of time to research programs in closely related areas - - work dealing with both wild animals and human subjects.
Such work in the field of weight-training dates back approximately thirty years - - and while such research has certainly not been constant for that period of time, several years were spent in such studies; with, until very recently, no thought regarding the commercial possibilities that might result.
As recently as a year ago, it was the author's intention to publish the results of his experimental work in this field without taking credit under his own name; Bill Pearl was primarily responsible for causing a change of plans in that regard. He said, ". . . if you don't take credit under your own name, somebody will try to steal the credit for anything worthwhile that you have produced."
Since no commercial considerations were involved in the development of the new Nautilus training equipment, absolutely no publicity was given to this research program until long after everybody involved was satisfied with the results that were being consistently produced by a high percentage of the trainees using this equipment in experimental training programs; an as a natural result, many people are probably left feeling that the recently announced results are based upon hasty conclusions - - whereas, in fact, the background of research data upon which these conclusions are based is literally enormous.
Secondly, since there is really no practical ground upon which a reasonable comparison between the new equipment and previously-existing types of conventional training equip-ment can be based, it is extremely difficult to even attempt to draw such comparisons.
How, for example could you fairly compare the barbell to any type of training equipment that existed previously? By comparison to any earlier equipment intended for the same purpose, the barbell was literally; a great leap forward, a major breakthrough, capable of producing more in the way of muscular mass and/or strength increases in a few months than any other method of training could produce in a lifetime.
And not the same sort of breakthrough has occurred again; and just as the barbell was an almost complete departure from earlier types of equipment, the Nautilus equipment is also something entirely new. Nautilus machines are not an improvement in equipment'; instead, they represent a new approach to the whole idea of progressive weight-training.
Rather than attempting to design exercises based on the use of conventional training equipment, the problem was approached from an entirely different direction; totally new equipment was designed to meet the needs of human muscular structures.
And in many respects, that was one of the most difficult parts of the problem; since it was first essential to establish just what was required for stimulating increases in muscular size and strength. And since very little in the way of serious work has been done in this field by the scientific community, there was almost nothing to refer to for guidance.
High degrees of results were obviously being produced by training with barbells and conventional pulley devices, but there was certainly nothing even approaching agreement insofar as the best method of training was concerned.
The production of any given result - - regardless of how spectacular it may appear - proves nothing beyond the ability of a particular method to produce a certain result, eventually; and it certainly does not follow that the same degree of results could not have been produced by some other method.
So, rather obviously, in the almost complete lack of anything dependable in the way of guidelines, it was necessary to study the physics of both conventional forms of exercise and the functions of muscular structures.
In the following chapters, a brief - non-technical - outline of the basic physics involved will be attempted; but since this is actually a rather complicated subject, it must be remembered that a full explanation is impossible within the limits of length that must be observed in this bulletin.
For those who might be interested in greater details, a much longer account, a book titled "The Ultimate Development," by the same author, will be available, in a few months. In a total of 99 chapters, the subject of physical training is covered in detail.
BASIC PHYSICS OF CONVENTIONAL EXERCISE METHODS
Almost all conventional exercises are based upon resistance provided by gravity; but even when springs are used as a form of resistance, the result is much the same - such resistance is uni-directional. And while it is possible, with the use of pulleys, to control the direction of resistance -it still remains almost impossible to provide resistance in more than one direction while using conventional training equipment.
There are a few exercises involving conventional equipment that can be performed in such a manner that this limitation regarding the direction of resistance can be overcome - at least for all practical purposes; but since these exercises form the subject of a later chapter, I will ignore them for the moment.
This limitation in direction of resistance is probably the greatest limiting factor effecting most exercises; since it thus becomes impossible to involve more than a small percentage of the total number of fibers contained in a particular muscular structure in any conventional exercise.
Because, while the resistance is provided in only one direction, the involved body parts are rotating; in effect, you are trying to oppose a rotational form of movement with a reciprocal form of resistance - an obvious impossibility. Impossible, at least, with conventional training equipment.
While performing a curl, for example, the movement is rotational throughout a range-of-movement of approximately 160 degrees; at the start of the curl, the movement is almost perfectly horizontal, straight forward - at about the midpoint, the movement is vertical, straight up - at the end, the movement is approximately horizontal again, but in the opposite direction.
Yet, during the entire movement, the resistance was always vertical, straight down. Thus, in practice, although the resistance remains constant, it seems to become heavier as the movement progresses from the starting position to the midpoint - and after the midpoint, seems to become lighter. In the normal finishing position of the curl., there is literally no resistance - having reached that point, it is then possible to hold that position almost indefinitely, with absolutely no work being demanded on the part of the bending muscles of the upper arms.
This occurs because during a curl the moment-arm of the weight is constantly changing as the movement progresses; DIRECT resistance is provided only at the infinitely-small point where resistance is being moved vertically.
A careful scrutiny of conventional exercises will clearly show that this is almost always the case; direct resistance is provided only within an extremely limited range-of-movement, literally an infinitely small range of movement - and in many conventionally exercises, there is no direct resistance at any point.
If the normal strength curve of human muscles exactly matched the apparently changing resistance provided by an exercise like the curl, then the movement would feel perfectly even; that is to say, no point in the movement would seem to be any heavier than any other point. But since, in fact, the strength curve does not match the change in resistance, some points do feel heavier than other points; so-called "sticking points" are encountered, where the weight feels very heavy, as well as points where there is little or no resistance.
Just as jumping is not the best means of moving forward, since it involves the expenditure of effort in a vertical as well as a horizontal direction, trying to provide a rotary movement with constant resistance by using a uni-directional form of resistance is impractical at the very least. In such a case, resistance will only be - can only be - provided during part of the movement.
And even a casual thought should make it obvious that the maximum range-of-movement during which an increasing rate of resistance is even possible is a rotary movement of 90 degrees; after 90 degrees of rotary movement, the resistance must start decreasing. During the first 90 degrees of movement in a curl, for example, the direction of movement is constantly changing from horizontal to vertical, and the weight will thus seem to get heavier - but after 90 degrees of movement, the direction of movement starts changing from vertical to horizontal, and the weight will seem to grow lighter.
Direct resistance will be provided only at the point where the involved body parts (the hands, in a curl) are moving directly upwards, meeting resistance coming from an exactly opposite direction.
If, at that point of direct resistance, the weight is too heavy, then you cannot progress to that point in the movement; but if the weight is light enough to permit a full-range movement - even though heavy enough to require an all-out effort at the point of direct resistance - then you have provided balanced resistance only at one point in the curl. Thus you will be working the muscles properly during a range-of-movement of something less than 1 degree, out of a possible range-of-movement of about 160 degrees.
However, for all practical purposes, the situation is not quite that bad; in fact, you will be providing useful resistance during a range-of-movement of approximately 20 degrees. But still, what about the other 140 degrees of movement?
Now, regardless of the position you assume for the exercise, it remains impossible to produce more than 90 degrees of worthwhile movement; but it is possible to select "which" 90 degrees of movement you choose to exercise. But that subject also comes up in more detail in a later chapter, so I will skip it at this point; except to point out that some positions are far more advantageous than others, since they involve working the muscles in their strongest positions rather than in their weakest positions.
Now - it should not be assumed that the apparent change of resistance that is encountered in conventional exercises such as the curl is always a disadvantage; on the contrary, in many cases it is a distinct advantage.
Returning to the example of the curl, it should be noted that the bending muscles of the upper arms are in their weakest position at the start of the movement, when the arms are straight; and as the arms start to bend, the level of strength increases rapidly. Thus, in this instance the apparently increasing resistance is a very decided advantage; because the resistance is increasing at the same time that the strength of the working muscle is increasing - even if, as happens to be the case, not in proportion.
But still, any increase is better than none; since the muscles need more resistance as the arms are bent - and an incorrect rate of increase is better than no increase.
"But," you might ask, "why do the muscles need more resistance as they contract?"
Because of the shape of the muscles - and because of the manner in which they function.
The well-known "all or nothing" principle of muscular-fiber function states that individual muscle-fibers perform work by contracting, by reducing their length - and that they are incapable of performing various degrees of work; that is to say, they are either working as hard as possible, or not at all. When a light movement is performed, it does not involve a slight effort on the part of a large number of muscular fibers; instead, only the exact number of fibers that are required to perform that particular movement will be involved at all - and they will be working to the limit of their momentary ability. The other, unworking fibers may get pushed, pulled, or moved about by the movement - but they will contribute absolutely nothing to the work being performed.
Thus, as should be obvious, in order to involve all of the muscle fibers in the work, the resistance must be so heavy that all of the fibers are required to move it.
However, in practice, this is extremely difficult to do; because all of the individual muscle fibers cannot be involved in the work unless the muscle is in a position of full contraction.
It should be plain that the muscle could be in no position except its shortest, fully-contracted position if all of the muscle fibers were contracted at the same time; the individual fibers must grow shorter in order to perform work, and if all of the fibers were shortened at the same time, then the muscle as a whole would have to be in a position of full contraction - no other position is even possible with full muscular contraction. Not, at least, unless the muscle is torn loose from its attachments.
But it does not follow that even a position of full contraction will involve the working of all of the individual fibers; because only the actual number of fibers that are required to meet a momentarily imposed load will be called into play.
Thus, in order to involve 100% of the fibers in a particular movement, two conditions are prerequisites; the muscle (and its related body part) must be in a position of full contraction - and a load must be imposed in that position that is heavy enough to require the work of all of the individual fibers.
And in almost all conventional exercises, there is literally no resistance in the fully contracted position - at the very point in the exercise where the greatest amount of resistance is required, literally none is provided.
In the top position of the squat, when the leg muscles are fully contracted, there is no resistance on these muscles - in the top position of the curl, when the bending muscles of the arm are in a position of full contraction, there is no resistance - in the top position of the bench press, when the triceps are in a position of full contraction and the pectorals and deltoids are as close to a position of full contraction as they get in that movement, there is no resistance. Dozens of other examples could be given, but those three should be enough.
But what does the shape of a muscle have to do with this?
While I have never been able to find anything in scientific journals regarding the order-of-involvement of individual muscular fibers in the performance of work (although my being unaware of such studies does not indicate that they have not been done), the very shape of a muscle seems to make this point clear; or, at least, when the shape is considered in connection with other, easily proven, factors.
If a muscle is exposed to rotary, perfectly direct resistance, then it is immediately obvious that the strength of the muscle markedly increases as the position of the muscle changes from one of full extension to one of full contraction; which observation indicates that more fibers are involved in the work when the muscle is in a position of full contraction - or, at least, they are if resistance that will require their assistance is imposed.
And since a muscular structure is thickest in its middle, this extra thickness indicating the presence of a greater number of strands of muscle fibers in that area, it logically follows that this thick midsection of the muscle is the last part called into play in a maximum-possible effort - and that it cannot be called into play unless the muscle as a whole is in a position of full contraction; thus it seems that muscular contraction starts at the ends of a muscle and gradually moves inward towards the middle of the muscle.
In spite of an almost complete lack of scientific studies of the effects of exercise, it is self-evidently true that exercise does produce increases in both muscular mass and strength; and if this is true in spite of the fact that only a small percentage of the actual total number of individual muscle fibers are performing any work at all in conventional exercises, then it logically follows that a form of exercise which involved working all of the fibers would produce an even greater degree of results. Or, at least, that has been the apparently logical assumption that most of our research work has been based upon.
And now we come to the physics of compound exercises...
Most human movements are compound movements, involving the use of several different muscular structures; and in conventional forms of exercises, this becomes another limiting factor.
If, for example, you are trying to exercise your torso muscles, it is necessary in conventional exercises to also involve the work of your arm muscles; and since the torso muscles are far larger and stronger than the arm muscles, the arms fail at a point in the movement where the torso muscles are not being called upon to work as hard as they are capable of doing.
Various forms of chinning exercises, for example, provide a much higher order of work for the bending muscles of the upper arms than they do for the muscles of the torso; you can prove this very easily to your own satisfaction with a simple test involving a few previously-untrained test-subjects. Have each of these subjects perform four sets of regular chins, with a four-minute rest between set, and with each set being carried to the point of failure.
Forty-eight hours later, if they have worked as hard as possible, most such subjects will be so sore that they cannot fully straighten their arms; but this soreness will be almost entirely restricted to the arms - and to the ends of the arm muscles at that. There will be little or no soreness in the torso muscles - and certainly nothing to compare to the soreness in the arms.
Pullovers? Well, in this instance, while it may appear that you are working the torso muscles without involving the arms, a moment of consideration will make it obvious that the arms are still the limiting factor; in bent-arm pullovers, you are limited to an amount of weight that your triceps muscles are strong enough to keep away from your head - and in straight-arm pullovers, the strength of the elbow tendons is the limiting factor.
And in both forms of pullovers, the previously mentioned limitation in regard to worthwhile range-of-movement is very much in evidence; not more than 90 degrees of worthwhile rotary movement is possible - and yet, the latissimus muscles have a total range-of-movement in excess of 240 degrees.
Upon close examination, it will be immediately apparent that all conventional exercises for the torso muscles are limited in somewhat similar ways; using conventional methods, it is simply impossible to provide full-range resistance, or actually-heavy resistance, for the torso muscles. Yet in spite of these obvious limiting factors, great degrees of improvement in the size and strength of these muscular structures can be produced by conventional forms of exercise - eventually.
Years ago, I asked myself, "...what would the results be if such restrictions could be removed, if all of the muscles of the body could be provided with full-range, rotary form, omni-directional, direct, balanced, automatically varying resistance?" And now we are well on the way to getting an answer to those questions.
But make no mistake about one point; barbells and conventional pulley devices are extremely productive if used properly - by comparison to any earlier method of training, the barbell is almost literally a miracle machine. But it is so productive in spite of the limitations listed above, not because of any inherent advantages; and this is simply another indication that some other method of training, without these limitations, and with the inherent advantages of having been designed to provide the known requirements for stimulating muscle growth, would be even more effective.
The use of a barbell is limited by simple, unchangeable laws of physics; barbells cannot provide the required rotary form of resistance - full-range movements are impossible with a barbell in all but a few exercises -barbells do not provide the necessity for automatically varying resistance, resistance that changes during the actual performance of each repetition -barbells provide almost no direct resistance in most exercises, and literally none in many other exercises - barbell resistance cannot be balanced to the strength of a muscle in various position.
THE FUNCTIONS OF MUSCULAR STRUCTURES
While most experienced bodybuilders are convinced that they have little if anything to learn regarding the functions of their most important muscular structures, I have yet to meet a bodybuilder who was aware of the prime function of even the most commonly mentioned muscle in the body, the biceps of the upper arm. But in all fairness, I must also point out the fact that only one medical doctor that I have questioned on the subject - out of a total of over one-hundred doctors - knew the correct answer, and this one well informed individual was a specialist in reconstructive surgery.
The prime function of the biceps is supination of the hand, twisting the hand - in the case of the right hand, in a clockwise manner; and the bending function is strictly secondary. One simple test will quickly prove this in an undeniable manner; bend your forearm back against the upper arm as far as possible, while keeping the hand twisted into a pronated ("goose-necked") position - then place your other hand on the biceps of the bent arm. You will note that the biceps is not flexed, even though the bending function of the biceps has been completed; that is to say, although the arm is bent as far as possible, the biceps has only performed part of its function - and the least important part at that. Now twist the hand of the bent arm into a supinated position - and as you do, you will feel the biceps flex. Full contraction of the biceps results in twisting the hand and forearm - and the biceps cannot fully flex unless this twisting takes place.
For that reason, you can curl more in a normal, palms-up position than you can in a reverse curl, palms-down position; simply because, in the reverse curl position, the biceps is prevented from twisting into a position of full contraction - it is thus impossible to involve all of the available muscle fibers in the work being performed, and the muscle is incapable of performing as much work.
The difference in apparent strength that is so obvious when the normal curl is compared to the reverse curl demonstrates the fact that twisting the forearm increases the bending strength of the arm - or, at least, the momentarily usable strength. This can be demonstrated by comparing usable strength available for twisting a leverage bell in various position; it will be immediately apparent that you can exert a greater twisting force with a bent arm than you can with a straight arm.
In the last chapter we noted that muscles increase their usable strength as they change their position from one of full extension to one of full contraction; and now it should be clear that this apparent variation in strength (or this actual variation in usable strength) is not quite as simple a matter as it might seem at first glance. In the case of the biceps muscle, for example, bending the arm increases bending strength - but it also increases twisting strength - and twisting the arm increases twisting strength - and also increases bending strength.
The above has been intended as only one example of the actual functions of muscular structures; my point being that actual functions and "supposed" functions (or commonly accepted functions) are worlds apart.
And just how do you propose to exercise a muscle in the best-possible manner if you are not even aware of the function of the muscle?
Another example? Well, consider the function of the pectoral muscles - an apparent paradox. If you will perform a one-arm chin (or attempt one), it will be obvious that the pectoral muscles are involved in pulling the arm down and backwards, towards the torso from the front; but if you then perform a parallel dip, it will be equally obvious that the pectoral muscles are then pulling the arms down and forwards. But since a muscle cannot "push" a body part, and can only perform work by pulling, how is it possible for a muscle (the pectoral in this case) to perform work in two apparently opposite directions - first moving the upper arm backwards, and then moving it forwards?
The answer, of course, is that it cannot work in opposite directions; but it can appear to do so in some instances. The contracted position of the pectoral occurs when the upper arm is close to and slightly in front of the body - and when the arm is moved into any other position, then the pectoral will assist in returning it to that fully contracted position, from any direction.
Yet another example. The latissimus muscle; most bodybuilders perform exercises for the latissimus muscles with a wide grip - under the sincere, but badly mistaken, impression that such a wide hand spacing provides more "stretch" than would be afforded by a narrower grip.
Secondly, all conventional forms of chinning and "pull-down" exercises for the latissimus muscles involve working the upper arm muscles; and as noted previously, the weakness of these arm muscles prevents the trainee from working the torso muscles as hard as he should for best results. This being true, then why do most bodybuilders work their latissimus muscles with the arms in their weakest possible position?
We have already seen that the arms are strongest (for bending) when the hands are twisted into a supinated position; this being so, then why make the arms any weaker than necessary - when they are already too weak for the production of best results even in their strongest position? Yet most bodybuilders do exactly that; they work their latissimus muscles while keeping the arms twisted into their weakest possible position.
By simply giving the hands the maximum possible twist in the direction of full supination, the bending strength of the arms will be markedly increased; and it will then be possible to work the latissimus muscles much harder than it would have been with the hands in a pronated position. When the elbows are forced back in line with the shoulders - as is done in behind-neck chinning and pull-down exercises - then the fully supinated position of the hands requires a parallel (palms facing one another) grip. You can have such a bar made in a welding shop for a few dollars - and its use will markedly increase the degree of results you can produce in behind-neck type chinning or pull-down exercises; the hand grips should be perfectly parallel, and should be spaced not more than 25 inches apart.
Another example? The major muscular structures of the thighs and buttocks; these muscles are commonly exercised by attempting to apply resistance that is almost exactly 90 degrees out of phase with the direction of the movement of the body parts being moved by these muscles. In the squat, the weight is pressing down in line with the spinal column; yet neither the thigh nor buttocks muscles are capable of exerting force in an exactly opposite direction - instead, the frontal thigh muscles move the lower legs forwards, and the buttocks muscles move the torso into line with the thighs (or vice versa, the thighs into line with the torso).
In effect, the frontal thigh muscles require a thigh extension for direct exercise - and the buttocks muscles require what I will term a "torso extension" for direct exercise.
A careful review of the above examples will clearly; indicate that most of the major muscular structures do not perform the functions that most bodybuilders think they do - and literally dozens of other examples could be given to prove the same point. So, to be logical about the matter, you must determine the actual function of a muscle before attempting to select an exercise that is intended to develop that muscle.
The biceps muscles bend and twist the arms, so exercises must be provided for both functions - or, if at all possible, one exercise that provides proper resistance for both functions simultaneously.
The pectoral and latissimus muscles move the upper arms - what happens to the hands and forearms is of no concern to the torso muscles, or would be of no concern in a properly designed exercise; but if you must involve the arm muscles in torso exercises - as you must in conventional exercises - then at least do so only with the arms in the strongest possible position.
My real point in this chapter is this; move the involved body part that is of momentary concern into a position where the muscle that moves that member is in a position of full extension - then note the position of the body part. Next, move the body part into a position that results in full contraction of the involved muscle - and again note the required body-part position.
Then try to design an exercise, or an exercise position, which provides resistance over as much as possible of the entire range of movement - but if full-range resistance is impossible, as it will prove to be in most exercises using conventional equipment, then concentrate on providing the resistance in the contracted position.
A moment's consideration of the above paragraph will thus make it obvious that the so-called Scott curling bench is a step in the wrong direction; rather than being an improvement over the regular barbell curl, it actual reduces the overall production of results.
But if the slant had been in the opposite direction, so that the upper arms were held in a position almost parallel with the floor, but with the biceps side of the arm down instead of up, then the exercise would be provided where it would do the greatest amount of good - the resistance would be available in the strongest position of the arms, instead of being limited to the weakest position of the arms.
An almost impossible position to get into? It certainly is, but it can be done - and it can best be done while using a dumbbell, working first one arm and then the other. And after having worked both arms in that fashion, then immediately perform one set of about ten reps of the regular two-hand barbell curl - carried to the point of utter failure.
Perhaps the above points will start your thinking in a logical direction. But don't fall into the all too common trap of doing a particular exercise because you like it - or of avoiding exercises that are difficult. In general, the harder an exercise is, the better its results will be; don't look for ways to make exercises easier - look for ways to make them harder.
Throw a stone into a pool of water, and it will make a splash - and a wave will run to the far end of the pool; the larger the stone, the larger the splash - and the larger the wave. A very similar effect results from any form of exercise - I have named this "indirect effect". When one muscle grows in response to exercise, the entire muscular structure of the body grows to a lesser degree - even muscles that are not being exercised at all; and the larger the muscle that is growing - or the greater the degree of growth - the greater this indirect effect will be.
Until quite recently, this effect was most pronounced as a result of the practice of full squats. It has been repeatedly; demonstrated that the practice of squats - as a single exercise - will induce large-scale muscular growth throughout the body; and while nobody yet understands why this happens, there is no slightest doubt that it does happen. The results are extremely; obvious; for example - if a six foot man weighing 150 pounds is put on a regular schedule of heavy squats, he may gain 50 pounds of muscular bulk within a year, as a direct result of this one type of exercise. But all of this growth will not occur in the legs and the lower back - the areas of the body being worked - in fact, a very marked degree of growth will also occur in the muscles of the shoulders, the chest, the neck, and the arms. While such an individual might have 13 inch upper arms at the start of such a training program, it is almost impossible for his arms to stay that small; by the end of the program, his arms would probably be at least 15 inches. And in almost all cases, the bulk of this arm-size increase will be in the form of muscular fiber - rather than fatty tissue; the strength of the arms will increase in proportion (but not in direct proportion) to the size increase - in spite of the fact that no exercise is employed for the arms at all. All other muscular masses of the body will show the same effect - to a greater or lesser degree.
While it is certainly possible to build an obvious degree of disproportionate muscular size through the employment of an unbalanced program of exercises - and a training program limited to squats would be just that - there seems to be a definite limit to the degree of such disproportionate development that the body will permit; for example, it is difficult to build the size of the arms beyond a certain point, unless the large muscles of the legs are also being exercised.
It is very common for young men on a weight-training program to ignore the development of their legs entirely - while concentrating on their arms and the muscles of the torso; on such a program, the arms will grow up to a point, but then additional growth will not be forthcoming - or at least not until heavy exercises for the legs are added to the training program, and then the arms will almost always start growing again immediately.
Apparently having reached a maximum permissible degree of disproportionate development, the body will not permit additional arm growth until the legs are also increased in size. Or perhaps some other cause/effect relationship is responsible - but the results are obvious, regardless of what the actual causative factors may be. It is not necessary to understand the effect to be aware of its results. While the actual percentile of effect from this factor is not known, it is obvious that it varies within a certain range -apparently depending primarily upon two conditions; (1) the larger the mass of the muscle that is being exercised, the larger the degree of results from indirect effect will be, and (2) the greater the distance between the muscle that is being exercised and the muscle that is not being exercised, the smaller the degree of results will be.
Thus it is obvious that heavily working the arms would have the largest indirect effect on nearby muscular masses, the pectorals, the latissimus, and the trapezoids - and the least effect on the muscles of the lower legs; and it is equally clear that the degree of in-direct effect produced by building the arms would not be as great as that resulting from exercise for the much larger muscles of the thighs or the upper back - all other factors being equal.
From these observations, a number of conclusions are rather obvious; (1) for good results from exercise, it is essential that the training program be well rounded - that some form of exercise be included for each of the major muscle masses of the body, (2) greatest concentration should be directed towards working the largest muscles in the body, and (3) the training sequence should be arranged in such a way that the muscles are worked in order of their relative sizes.
In practice, this last point requires that the thighs be worked first, the latissimus muscles second, the trapezoids third, the pectorals fourth, the upper arms fifth, and the forearms last. Smaller muscles - such as the deltoids - should be worked in conjunction with the larger muscles whose functions they assist; or immediately afterwards, where such simultaneous exercise is not possible through the utilization of some form of compound exercise.
The first two conclusions indicated above are quite obvious, and require no additional explanation - but the third conclusion, the order of performance of exercises, may not be so obvious. It is generally agreed - and long experience has well proven - that the greatest degree of growth stimulation is provided by exercise that works a muscle well inside its momentary reserve of ability; but it is sometimes literally impossible to reach the required condition of induced momentary exhaustion while working a large muscular mass if the system has been previously exhausted by exercises intended for other, smaller muscles. Thus it is important to work the largest muscles first - while the system is still capable of working to the desired degree; secondly, since the largest muscles will also cause the greatest degree of overall indirect effect, this is another important consideration in this sequence of exercise.
FREQUENCY AND EXTENT OF EXERCISE
The subjects of this chapter are perhaps the most controversial issues in the field of physical training today; while there is some agreement on the types of exercise that are most effective, there is nothing approaching agreement on the subject of just how much exercise is required for best results or how frequently it should be repeated. The old expression, "A thousand different experts, a thousand different theories," is almost literally true in this instance.
At least in part, this situation arises from the fact that almost any amount of the right type of exercise can produce striking results in a very high percentile of test subjects; thus, almost any individual will show marked improvements in both muscular mass and strength within a short time after being placed on a weight training program - and this result will be produced in most cases regardless of the actual amount of exercise employed, at least for a while.
But while this is clear evidence of the effectiveness of such methods of exercise, in at least one important respect it is an unfortunate situation - because it has led to a commonly practiced habit of overworking, as opposed to proper training; "if some exercise is good, more is better", seems to be a common - though badly mistaken - theory.
During the Second World War, a number of very large-scale experiments were conducted in this field, and insofar as I have been able to determine, the results of these experiments were unanimous in at least one major conclusion; "there is a definite limit to the 'amount' of exercise that will produce beneficial results - carried beyond that point, exercise will reverse its own previous results, leading to losses in weight, condition, and stamina."
Yet, since then, it has been clearly shown that it is almost literally impossible to overwork insofar as "intensity of effort" is concerned; and to many people, these seem to be paradoxical conclusions - where, in fact, no paradox exists. The problem apparently is one of nomenclature, a simple -if widespread - misunderstanding of terms; "amount of exercise" has been confused with "intensity of effort."
And confused it has been, on an enormous scale - and thus we see thousands of examples of individuals training as much as twenty or more hours weekly, sometimes for periods of several years, in attempts to better their progress; where, in fact, far better results would have been produced in the vast majority of cases if such training had been limited to a maximum of not more than five hours of weekly exercise. And in the author's opinion, best results will be produced in at least ninety percent of all cases if training is limited to less than four hours weekly.
But - because such marathon training programs will produce a marked degree of results if continued long enough - it is almost impossible to convince people who have fallen into such training habits that even better results would have been produced by a much briefer workout routine.
A recent article described the training routine that one young man has followed for a period of seven years, four hours a day, seven days a week -twenty-eight hours of weekly training; and his results, in the end, have been fairly good - if not spectacular. But it is the author's contention that far better results would have resulted in far less time from the practice of a training routine that required only about fifteen percent (15%) of the weekly time that this individual spent training - and if even the same degree of results could have been produced in one third of the elapsed time, then it is obvious that only five percent (5%) of this subject's training was actually required.
The actual requirements for exercise vary on an individual basis, of course - but do they vary on such a scale, on the order of two-thousand percent (2,000%), as was indicated in the above example? I think not. On the contrary, I think that this individual has merely developed a tolerance to this amount of exercise - and I cannot believe that it is an actual requirement.
Within the author's own personal experience, there have been literally hundreds of examples of individuals that have shown far better results than those produced by the above mentioned subject - while practicing a total of less than three percent (3%) of the number of exercise movements that have been employed by that subject within a period of seven years.
This being true - as it is - then what is the possible excuse for such extensive training programs? "Misdirected effort," seems - to the author -to be the only possible answer. Yet such misdirected effort is being employed on a vast scale - in tens-of-thousands of cases.
But what do the results of research indicate? Twenty years ago, in the course of experiments conducted by the author upon his own person, the greatest degree of results came from a program limited to four hours of weekly training - three weekly workouts of exactly; one hour and twenty minutes each.
And while I am fully aware that the results produced by one such case are of no real significance, this experience was at least enough to convince me that the then most common practiced training programs would be improved if reduced insofar as weekly training time was concerned. This conviction was primarily based upon the fact that I had previously been training more than twice as much, and that my progress had been at a standstill for several weeks - but then, almost immediately after reducing my training by approximately sixty percent (60%), I started to gain in both size and strength.
On a much reduced training program, my progress was far faster than it had ever been previously - and I very quickly reached new levels in both muscular size and strength, levels which I had previously considered impossible for me as an individual.
That experience occurred at a time when I had been training for almost ten years - during which span of years I had tried almost literally "everything" in my attempts to better my progress. Nothing was involved except a reduction in the amount of exercise that I was doing previously; otherwise, the training program remained unchanged - I performed exactly the same exercises in exactly the same way, reducing only the number of "sets" of each exercise and the frequency of workouts.
But while one such example proves almost nothing by itself, this personal experience was enough to trigger my thinking into a new direction; since then, almost all of my interest has been directed towards attempts to determine the exact length of training time that is required for the production of best possible results in most case. Twenty years later, the weight of evidence is simply indisputable; "in almost all cases, best results from heavy exercise will be produced by the practice of a very limited number of compound exercises that involve the major muscular masses of the body, and such training should be limited to not more than five hours of weekly training in any case and to about four hours in most cases."
In practice, best results are usually produced by three weekly workouts of less than one and one-half hours each.
INTENSITY OF EFFORT
Thirty years ago, it was noted that, "...the foreman of a crew of manual laborers will almost always be the strongest man in the crew - and he is the strongest because he is the foreman, rather than being the foreman because he is the strongest."
Yet, in almost all cases, the foreman performs far less work than any of the other men in the crew. A paradox? No - on the contrary, simple proof of the effectiveness of heavy exercise for the production of muscular size and strength. The foreman works only when the combined efforts of the other men in the crew cannot produce the desired result - he helps to lift the heavier than normal load; thus his exercise is brief and infrequent, but intense and irregular - and those are the exact requirements for producing the best results in the way of muscular size and strength.
Twenty years ago, the author noted an even more striking example of clear proof of the same theory; the relative sizes of the two arms of an individual that has been training with weights for a period of time long enough to produce marked results. In almost all cases, the left arm of a right-handed weight trainee will be larger than his right arm - usually to a marked degree.
Why? Simply because the left arm of a right-handed man must work harder to perform its share of an equally divided workload; it does not work more, nor differently - it works harder, with a greater intensity of effort. And it responds by growing larger than the right arm.
A right-handed man lacks some degree of "feel" in his left arm - his balance and muscular control are both less efficient in his left arm, and this remains true to at least some degree regardless of the length of time that he has been training both of his arms in an apparently identical manner.
The left arm works harder, so it responds to this increased intensity of effort by growing larger - and in tests of strength that do not involve balance or muscular coordination, the left arm will almost always be stronger as well as larger.
But when I have pointed this out to individual weight trainees - as I have done on repeated occasions - the response had almost always been along exactly the same line; "...well, in that case, I'll do an extra set of curls for my right arm - then it grow larger too."
Having missed the entire point, they assumed that "more" exercise was required - when in fact, this situation is clear proof that all that is required is "harder" exercise.
Intensity of effort is almost the entire answer in itself; lacking the proper intensity of effort, little or nothing in the way of results will be produced by any amount of exercise -At least not in the way of muscular size or strength increases. But given the proper intensity of effort, then very little in the way of exercise is required for the production of best possible results.
And although this has been pointed out repeatedly; to almost literally all of the several million weight trainees in this country, it still remains a largely misunderstood point; the usual practice is to do more individual exercises and more "sets" of each exercise, in the mistaken belief that such an increase in the amount of exercise will also produce an increase in the intensity of effort - which it obviously will not.
In fact, in almost all cases, the exactly opposite effect results; because it is difficult to perform seemingly endless sets of exercise while continuing to exert the maximum momentary level of intensity in each set -and as a result, the workout quickly degenerates into a form of rather hard manual labor.
But such workouts do product results - if continued long enough; another apparent paradox? Perhaps, to some people - but no actual paradox exists in this case either; the results that are produced are a direct result of only one or two sets out of each workout - regardless of the actual number of sets that are being performed. The other sets are literally wasted effort; worse than that, the additional sets beyond the minimum number required actually retard the progress that would have been produced if the workout had been greatly shortened.
"Best results will always be produced by the minimum amount of exercise that imposes the maximum amount of growth stimulation." And any other exercise that is added to the training routine will actually retard progress - in many cases reducing it by as much as ninety percent (90%), and if carried to extremes, additional exercise will result in losses in both strength and muscular size.
But just what is the minimum amount of exercise that will impose the maximum amount of growth stimulation? And that, of course, is the problem. A problem that will probably never be solved to the complete satisfaction of everybody concerned, and the problem that has led to the presently existing great confusion on the subject of just how much exercise is best.
But while it is perfectly true that the exact answer to that question remains unavailable, it is not true that no information on the subject exists; on the contrary, a great deal of very well proven information has been available for many years - and the last few years of research have given us at least a "practical" answer, if perhaps not a perfect one.
Fairly recently, new and rather surprising discoveries were made in connection with the actual mode of functioning involved in muscular contraction; and these true but largely misunderstood disclosures quickly led to the proliferation of theories which produced several forms of so-called "static exercise." One of these - isometric contraction - made the proposition that no actual exercise was required for the production of the maximum possible degree of muscular size and strength; all that was required - according to this theory - was the application of a high percentile of the existing strength level against an unmoving resistance, in a number of various positions.
In theory, the results should have been nothing short of spectacular - but in fact, the results were anything but spectacular; a spectacular failure, perhaps.
Yet the theory behind such exercise is basically sound - as far as it goes; unfortunately; the conclusions that were drawn from the facts that provided the basis of that theory ignored several other well established facts. A "cold" muscle is literally incapable of working within its existing level of reserve strength - and unless an imposed workload is heavy enough to force the involved muscles to work well inside their momentarily existing reserve levels of strength, then very little in the way of results will be produced.
Before it is even capable of anything approaching a maximum effort, a muscle must be properly "warmed-up" by the performance of several repetitions of a movement that is much lighter than its existing level of strength is capable of handling. If not, the muscle will "fail" at a point far below its actual strength level - but such effort, even if carried to the point of muscular failure, will not provide much in the way of growth stimulation; because it is not heavy enough to force the muscles to work inside their existing levels of strength reserve.
Thus, with static exercise, a man can repeatedly work to the point of muscular failure - while producing little or nothing in the way of worthwhile results.
But this does not mean that the theory behind such static exercise is totally worthless; on the contrary, some aspects of this type of exercise are worthy of great consideration, and should be included in any sort of training program. Maximum efforts should be made against an unmoving resistance - in every set of almost every exercise; but only after the maximum possible number of full movements have been performed, when the muscles are so exhausted from the immediately preceding repetitions that they are momentarily incapable of moving the resistance - in spite of a one-hundred percent (100%) effort.
Then - and only then - should such maximum efforts be made; and they should be made because - without them - it is literally impossible to induce maximum growth stimulation.
It is simply impossible to build muscular size or strength by performing that which you are already capable of easily doing; you must constantly attempt the momentarily impossible, and such attempts should involve maximum possible efforts - but only after the muscles have been properly "warmed-up", and only after they have been worked to the point of momentary exhaustion immediately before the maximum possible effort leading to a failure is attempted.
The strength of a muscle depends upon its position - muscles are weakest in their extended positions, and strongest in their fully contracted position; a muscle works by shortening, exerting a pulling force as it contracts -and its strength level increases as it changes position from an extended to a contracted position.
Yet almost all forms of exercise totally ignore this basic characteristic of muscles - and one result is that muscles are overworked in some positions while not being worked enough in other positions; in most cases, the muscle is prevented from working anywhere close to its true strength level -because the resistance employed, if light enough to start a movement with, is far too light to properly work the muscle in its strongest, fully contracted position.
Obvious results are produced by exercise in spite of this shortcoming, but this is merely another proof of the potentially enormous benefits that such exercise is capable of producing; and if this limitation is removed, then even better results can be produced - far better results.
If a man is capable of starting up from the bottom position in a full squat with 300 pounds of resistance added to his own bodyweight, then he can probably do a very "limited range" partial squat with at least 1,000 pounds - yet a thousand pounds would literally crush him helplessly to the floor if he made the mistake of bending his legs more than a few degrees under such a load.
The correct answer to that problem is quite simple - after the fact; but it required many years of research to produce any sort of an answer. An answer that is only now being placed into common practice. The resistance must vary throughout the movement, changing in proportion to the strength of the involved muscles in various positions.
Quite simple - after you have heard it; but so is a wheel - after you have seen one, and yet it took several thousand years of need before something as simple as a wheel was even thought of.
The varying strength of a muscle, however, is not entirely determined by its position -although that is an important consideration; an even more important factor is one I have named "cam action". Muscles work by moving in approximately straight lines, and almost all forms of resistance also impose their forces in approximately straight lines, but muscles cause movement by acting upon body parts that move in a semi-circular fashion. Thus, in order to raise a weight in a straight line, the involved body parts must be rotated - the only other possible method of raising a weight, and in this case it won't rise in a straight line, is by rotating the weight itself. In all cases, "something" must rotate - either the weight or the involved body parts; and in practice, this rotation is usually shared - the body parts rotate to some degree, and the weight rotates to some degree.
Thus, in practice, we encounter so-called "sticking points" in most exercises - a point in the movement where the resistance seems much heavier than it does at other points; and we also encounter points of little or no resistance - where the weight seems to weigh almost nothing.
Parts of these areas of seemingly varying resistance can be attributed to the variations in a muscle's strength in different positions, but cam action is responsible for a large share of these effects.
Fortunately, this problem has been solved - completely. Exercises now exist that are capable of working all of the major muscles of the body in an exactly rotary fashion.
But solving this problem led to another problem; once it became possible to eliminate cam action, then the effects produced by the variations in muscular strength in different positions still remained - removing cam action greatly improved the situation, but a perfect form of exercise had still not been achieved.
Doing away with cam action produced exercise movements that were actually perfectly smooth - the resistance was exactly the same in all possible positions; but it still didn't "feel" even - it felt too heavy at the start of a movement, and too light at the end of a movement.
But now this problem has been solved as well - completely solved; the actual resistance must vary throughout the movement - in exact proportion to the changing strength of the involved muscles. When this is done properly, the movement "feels" perfectly smooth - there are no sticking points, and no areas of light resistance.
FULL SQUATS - PRO AND CON
Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of controversy on the subject of full squats. According to some people, the practice of full squats is an almost certain road to destruction of the knee tendons - and according to others, full squats are the best single exercise in existence. So, just what is the truth of the matter?
Well, to begin with, just what is a full squat? In power-lifting circles, squatting is limited to a point where the tops of the thighs are parallel with the floor - but to a man with heavy legs, that is a full squat; in fact, many of the heavier power-lifters have difficulty going that low -the backs of their thighs are solidly compressed against the backs of their calves long before they reach a parallel position. And that is exactly; why parallel squats are included as one of the three basic power-lifts -instead of full squats. Other-wise, there would have been endless controversy between the lighter men and the heavier men about how low a squat was supposed to be.
Competitive lifting is a dangerous sport - and this is true of both Olympic-style lifting and power lifting, but for different reasons; in practicing the fast lifts, in Olympic lifting, the suddenness of movement is probably the most dangerous factor - such sudden movements, under heavy loads, impose tremendous G forces on both the muscles and tendons. In performing a clean and jerk with 400 pounds, a man may momentarily expose his muscles and tendons to a force that is actually ten times as heavy as the weight being employed; and such forces sometimes tear out tendons or seriously injure muscles.
In performing power lifts, the danger comes from another source - from prolonged exposure to a force that may be more than the skeleton is capable of supporting, regardless of the strength of the muscles involved. At the moment of this writing, at least a few individuals are squatting with over 800 pounds - and since most of these men weight at least 300 pounds, this means that they are actually supporting over 1,100 pounds on their feet, and most of that amount on their spines. In the author's opinion, the human skeleton simply was not designed to support such loads for prolonged periods of time; for any purpose except power lifting competition, all of the benefits that can be provided by squats can be derived without using more than 400 pounds, and in most cases without using more than 300 pounds.
There is no slightest question about the effectiveness of squats; they are certainly one of the most result producing exercises in existence - and, until quite recently, they were the most result producing single exercise in existence. But it is not necessary to do heavy, single attempt squats in order to derive benefit from them; on the contrary, the most result producing version of squats is the practice of sets of from fifteen to twenty repetitions - with the occasional practice of slightly heavier squats on the 10/8/6 system. In that system, you perform three sets of squats in each workout - selecting a weight that will barely permit ten repetitions in the first set, and then increasing the weight approximately ten percent and trying for eight repetitions in the second set, and then increasing it another ten percent and trying for six repetitions in the final set.
If two sets - or a maximum of three sets - of squats are practiced two times weekly, and if a weight is used that will barely permit the performance of between fifteen and twenty repetitions, then this work will stimulate enormous overall growth, while increasing endurance, improving condition, and building great strength in both the legs and lower back as well as building a lesser degree of strength throughout the body from the previously mentioned "indirect effort."
Then, during the third weekly workout, if the 10/8/6 system of squatting is used, this will build almost the ultimate degree of overall bodily strength that can come from squatting - and without the danger of extremely heavy squatting.
Insofar as the "depth of squatting" is concerned, squats should be carried to the point where the backs of the thighs first start to contact the backs of the calves, and at that point the squat should be stopped by muscular action - instead of by bouncing the thighs off of the calves. Performed in that manner - the correct manner indicated here - there is no slightest danger from the performance of squats; not to the knees, at least - and very little danger of any kind if common sense precautions are observed. On the contrary, squats will do more to prevent knee injuries than any other exercise - or any other combination of exercises.
The greatest single disadvantage that squats have is the fact that they are brutally hard if they are practiced in a manner intended to give much in the way of results; and many weight trainees are simply not willing to work as hard as squats force them to. Such people - who exist in their thousands -have been quick to spread the rumors about the supposed danger to the knees from squats; because, then, they have an excuse for not performing them.
Joints are not damaged by normal movements - on the contrary, such movements are required to maintain the normal functioning of joints; held in one position for a period of several days, a joint becomes literally incapable of movement - held in one position a few months, a joint may well become permanently incapable of movement.
And while squatting - as a form of sitting - is much out of style in most parts of this country at the moment, it still remains, world-wide, by far the most common means of sitting; such figures are literally impossible to come by with any degree of accuracy, but if accurate figures were available, I would be more than willing to bet that knee injuries are far more common in this country - where squatting is almost never practiced - than they are in areas where squatting is still done as a routine matter of course.
So - by all means - include squats in your training program, and carry them to the lowest safe position, whatever that may be in any particular case; do them smoothly, under full control at all times, and stop at the bottom by muscular action - that is all that is required, and exactly the same rules apply to every other exercise you can think of.
If you still remain unconvinced, then ask yourself just why I am so anxious to convince you of the value of squats; after all, it makes no slightest difference to me whether you do squats or not - or "how" you do them, if you do them. Squats are not something that I can sell you, nor did I invent them - they are simply a very good form of exercise that cannot be duplicated insofar as benefits are concerned by any other single exercise.
Do them, or don't do them - but if you don't, then you probably will suffer from knee injuries, especially if you play football.
COMPOUND EXERCISES versus SPECIALIZATION
A compound exercise is one that involves more than one muscle - the standing press is a good example, involving the major muscles of the shoulder girdle and the upper arms, the trapezoids, the deltoids, the upper (minor) pectorals, and the triceps; the bench press is a bad example -although it too involves several muscles, the deltoids, the triceps, and the pectorals.
The standing press is a good example because it provides good - if not quite direct - workloads for several major muscles; the bench press is a bad example because it provides reasonably direct work only for the anterior portion of the deltoids, and a lower order of even less direct work for the triceps and pectorals - the primary problem with the bench press apparently being that of direction of movement, the resistance is being moved in a direction that is almost never encountered in any sort of normal activity -and thus the body has never developed great strength for movements in that direction.
But if that is true, then why is it possible for a man to press more on a bench than he can in a standing position? The average, untrained man can't - on the contrary, the average man can press considerably more in a standing position than he can on a bench. In fact, there is actually very little difference between the strength levels of trained individuals if they have been following a well rounded program; an Olympic lifter can usually press about as much one way as he can the other, and it is not uncommon for a man to be able to press more in the standing position than he can on the bench.
In the case of power lifters, it is not surprising that the bench press shows a higher level of strength - since such men specialize on bench presses for years, while doing little or nothing in the way of standing presses.
At the moment, the existing records are approximately 450 pounds in the standing press and 600 pounds in the bench press - a ratio of four to three in favor of the bench press; but such a comparison is actually meaningless, because the range of movement is so much greater, and the speed of movement is so much faster in the standing press. In order to measure power, three factors must be considered - resistance, distance, and speed; and in a comparison between standing presses and bench presses, two of these factors - distance and speed - are totally ignored.
But even a rough estimate that takes all of the necessary factors into consideration will quickly show that far more power is being generated in a standing press of 450 pounds than in a bench press of 600 pounds; which is not surprising, since the body is then working in a far more efficient direction.
The bench press is primarily popular simply because it is far easier than the standing press - and because a man can handle more weight in this movement, especially if he employs "cheating" methods, which are more difficult to do and impossible to conceal in a standing press; but insofar as its ability to develop useful strength, the bench press is an exercise of very limited value - the returns are not in proportion to the effort required.
An equal amount of time and energy devoted to the practice of standing presses will result in at least three times as much benefit - useful strength will be built in a direction of movement that can be employed in almost any sport, especially putting the shot and boxing.
While it might be thought that bench presses would provide the proper direction of movement for boxing, a moment's consideration will make it obvious that this is simply not true - in the last few inches of movement just before landing a heavy blow, a boxer is leaning far forward an his upper arm is in approximately the same position that it is in during the last part of a heavy press. Almost exactly the same position is used in putting the shot.
Many coaches recommend the practice of presses on an incline board for building power for the shot put - but this is a mistake, the direction of movement, the angle involved, is almost exactly the same in a standing press as it is in an incline press - at the point where the greatest power is being produced. Thus standing presses and incline presses both develop power in almost the same direction; but standing presses do so in the performance of a natural movement, much in the same way that the strength will later be utilized in putting the shot - and this is not the case with incline presses. Secondly, standing presses involve all of the muscles of the body - causing the development of balance and muscular coordination, this is not the case with the incline presses.
Quite frankly, the author considers incline pressing a dangerous practice -especially if this exercise is practiced in conjunction with leg presses; to the exclusion of standing presses and squats. It is easily possible to build great strength into the shoulder girdle and upper arms by doing incline presses - and leg presses will also build great power in the thighs and buttocks; but if such power is built in this fashion, a literally dangerous situation has been created - because a man with such development will have created a chain with a dangerously weak link, his lower back. If he attempts to use either or both forms of strength in the performance of a normal activity, he is almost certain to injure his lower back - and it is not impossible to literally break the back if such effort approaches a maximum effort.
Bench presses, incline presses and leg presses are all useful exercises, but they should never be practiced to the exclusion of standing presses and squats - and stiff-legged deadlifts, for the lower back, should always be included in any sort of training program.
Up to this point in this chapter, all of the exercises that I have mentioned are compound exercises - some good ones, some fair ones, and some poor ones; but in most cases, even a poor compound exercise is better than a good isolation movement - because a compound exercise, in addition to developing strength, also leads to great improvements in muscular coordination and balance - a result that does not come from the practice of isolation.
An isolation movement is an exercise that involves only one muscle - or one isolated part of the body; examples are - concentration curls with a dumbbell, thigh extensions, triceps curls and wrist curls. Such movements have their places - especially in the field of restorative surgery and in bodybuilding; but they are of almost no use in a training program designed for athletes - especially football players.
Brief treatment of minor injuries by the use of isolation movements is acceptable practice but only if such treatment is very brief, and only if it quickly leads to the practice of compound movements; otherwise, in almost all cases, such movements will create a situation where additional injury or re-injury is almost certain. This happens because the prolonged employment of isolation movements will lead to the development of isolated areas of strength that are badly out of proportion to the strength of the surrounding tissue.
As supplemental exercise to the employment of compound exercises, isolation exercises are frequently justified - but only in that capacity in the vast majority of cases. There are exceptions, of course; one such exception is the wrist curl - an exercise that will build size in the forearms and strength in the wrists, and without any slightest danger from too much strength in an isolated area. But such exceptions are just that -exceptions; and most isolation movements should be avoided like the plague by athletes during their normal training program.
As a general rule, exercises should be selected that involve several major muscular masses of the body in a compound movement - and where a choice exists, such exercises should involve the greatest possible range of movement. That is one of the main faults in the bench press, the range of movement is too restricted.
If a proper selection of exercises is made, then only a few movements are required to develop almost the ultimate degree of strength and muscular size. The best barbell exercises? In no particular order, they are -squats, stiff legged deadlifts, standing presses, heavy barbell curls and some form of pullover, either stiff-armed or bent-armed. If other equipment is provided - as it should be - then these can be supplemented with various forms of chinning movements and parallel dips.
the vast majority of cases, the
best results will be produced
by the employment of from four
to six of the above exercises
- but if all of the above exercises
are being used in the same workout,
then not more than two sets of
each exercise should be employed,
three times weekly. All of these
exercises are heavy movements
- if performed properly - and
too many sets of such exercises
will lead to a condition of overworking;
results will still be produced
if such overwork is not carried
to extremes, but far better results
will occur much more quickly if
a properly designed training program
IRREGULARITY OF EXERCISE
For the purpose of physical training, if weeks didn't exist, then it might have been necessary to invent them - because the vast weight of evidence clearly shows that a seven day cycle of training is almost perfect for the production of best results from physical training. This is primarily true, it seems, because it provides needed irregularity of training.
The human system very quickly grows accustomed to almost any sort of activity - and once having adapted to such activity, then no amount of practice of the same activity will provide growth stimulation, although it will help to maintain levels of strength that were built previously. Thus it is extremely important to provide as many forms of variation in training as are reasonably possible; but in practice this does not mean that the training program needs to be - or should be - changed frequently. On the contrary, the same basic training routine will serve a man well for his entire active life.
Another apparent paradox? Only an apparent one; in the first place, the "double progressive" system of training provides a great deal of variation in training - secondly, the three-times-weekly training schedule provides even more variety - and finally, if the training program is varied somewhat one day weekly, then all of the variety that is need is well provided.
In the "double progressive" system of training - and this is the basic principal behind all forms of worthwhile exercise - no two workouts should ever be exactly the same. Basically, the system works as follows; a weight is selected that will permit the performance of a certain number of repetitions - but then all possible repetitions are performed with that same resistance, with a constant attempt to increase the number of repetitions being performed. Then, when a certain number of movements become possible, the resistance is increased by a certain percentile - and this will have the effect of reducing the number of possible repetitions.
Some sort of progress should be observed in almost every workout, either the number of repetitions or the amount of resistance should be increased - or both. Even though the movements remain almost exactly the same, the workload is constantly increasing - exactly in proportion to the increases in strength that are being produced; such increases literally must be in proportion - nothing else is even possible.
Thus great variety is provided by this system of training; but caution must be observed to avoid falling into a pattern of performing your workouts in a routine fashion - without really making each set of every exercise a truly maximum effort.
Even more variety of training is provided by the three-times-weekly schedule; a first workout is performed on Monday, then two days later a second workout is performed on Wednesday, then two days later a third workout is performed on Friday - thus, on Sunday, the system is expecting and is prepared for a fourth workout, but it doesn't come. Instead, it comes a day later, on Monday of the next week - when the body is neither expecting it nor prepared for it. This schedule of training prevents the body from falling into a "rut" - since the system is never quite able to adjust to this irregularity of training, and great growth stimulation will be produced as a direct result.
Then, if the actual training program itself is varied insofar as the number of sets and/or the number of repetitions are concerned during one of the three weekly workouts, all of the variety and irregularity of training that are required will be produced.
Yet many thousands of weight trainees - especially bodybuilders - practice six or seven weekly workouts; and in almost all cases, such workouts quickly degenerate into a form of rather hard manual labor - and although some results will be produced, they will not be anything on the order of the results that would have resulted from a properly designed and executed training program. It thus takes such trainees four or five years to produce exactly the same degree of results that could have been produced - and should have been produced - by less than a full year of proper training.
A properly planned and executed training program is nothing short of brutally hard work - results will be produced almost in direct proportion to the actual intensity of effort above a certain point, and no results will be produced by any amount of work below a certain intensity of effort - and I think that most trainees are simply not willing to work as hard as is required for best results.
Where at all possible, it is usually desirable to inspire a sense of competition; but in practice this frequently leads to very poor training habits - emphasis should be placed on form, and no credit should be permitted for the employment of "cheating" methods. While cheating methods should be used - and are of great value if used properly - they should only be employed at the end of a set of exercise movements that have been performed in near perfect form; at that point in the exercise, cheating makes it possible to induce even more growth stimulation than would otherwise have been possible - but if cheating methods are employed to the exclusion of movements performed in good for, then very little in the way of growth stimulation will be induced, and, secondly, it will then become literally impossible to measure the progress of individual trainees with anything approaching accuracy.
And it is essential to carefully observe the progress of all types of physical training - because the requirements for exercise vary to a rather great degree among any group of individuals, although nowhere close to the degree that a lot of people believe. Increasing the workload may produce literally striking results in some individuals, either increasing the rate of growth enormously or stopping it cold in its tracks - and such results can be produced by a variation of less than fifty percent in the workload; thus it is obvious that constant and careful attention must be paid to the true rate of progress of all trainees - and this is only possible when performances are measured on a realistic basic, which is simply impossible if cheating methods are permitted during strength tests, or it they are practiced and recorded during regular workouts and used as the basis for computing rates of progress.
So practice cheating methods -but only after all possible movements have been performed in good form - and then record only the properly performed movements for record keeping purposes.
INDUCING GROWTH STIMULATION
Maximum degrees of growth stimulation can be - and should be - induced by "the minimum-possible amount of exercise"; the minimum amount required to produce certain effects - and once these effects have been produced, then additional amounts of exercise will actually reduce the production of increases in strength and/or muscular size.
At the start of a barbell curl, for example, the arms are in a straight position and the bending muscles of the arms are in extended positions - in that position, the strength of the muscles involved in performing a curl is extremely low; the individual muscle fibers are extended and the muscles as a whole are also extended. Secondly, in that position, it is IMPOSSIBLE to involve more than a very low percentile of the total number of available muscle fibers in the work of starting the curl.
Muscle fibers perform work by contracting, by reducing their length - and in order to contract, they must move; and while it is perfectly true that a certain amount of "slack" exists in muscular structures, and in their attachments, it is nevertheless also true that no significant amount of power can be produced by a muscle without movement. Thus, in effect, as a muscle fiber performs work it contracts (reduces its length), and in so doing it exerts a pulling force - and movement of the related body-part is produced; without such movement of the related body-part, then no significant amount of power can be produced.
If all of the fibers in a particular muscle were contracted at the same time, then obviously the muscle as a whole would be reduced to its shortest-possible length; but this cannot happen unless the related body-part is moved into its position of full contraction as well. If a muscle did contract fully, and if the related body part did not move into its position of full contraction, then the muscle would be torn loose from its attachments; NOTHING ELSE IS EVEN POSSIBLE.
Thus, as should also be obvious, it is impossible to involve all of the fibers of the bending muscles of the arms in the performance of curls in any position except a position of full body-part contraction - which, in the case of the curl, means that the arms must be fully bent, fully supinated, and slightly raised.
With a barbell, it is impossible to perform a curl in such a manner that all of the muscular fibers of the bending muscles will be involved in the exercise; but if all of the related factors are clearly understood, and if exercises are performed in a proper manner (which they seldom are, even by very experienced trainees), then you can at least involve a far higher percentage of the total number of available fibers than you otherwise would.
At the start of the first repetition of a set of ten repetitions of the barbell curl, your muscles are fresh and strong - but in that starting position, you can involve only a very few of the actual number of fibers, simply because most of the fibers cannot perform work in that position; and, secondly, "only the actual number of fibers that are required will be involved in any case" - because, individual muscle fibers perform on an all-or-nothing basis.
You COULD increase the percentile of fibers that are involved, by performing the movement as fast as possible; but this is neither necessary nor desirable - because fast movements performed at a time when the muscles are fresh are extremely dangerous, there is great danger of tearing the muscle attachments loose. And secondly, with fast movement, there is always a tendency to "swing" the weight by overall bodily motion rather than moving it by purely muscular action on the part of the muscles that you are attempting to exercise.
So the first repetition should be performed as rapidly as possible in perfect form; and if any doubt regarding form exists, then the first repetition should be done at a pace somewhat slower than that which would be possible under the circumstances.
But in any case, regardless of how you perform the first repetition, you will be involving only a very small percentage of the total number of muscle fibers available; this is true for several reasons - at the start of the first repetition, it is impossible to involve more than a relatively very few of the total number of fibers, because most of the fibers cannot work in that position - secondly, since all of the fibers are fresh an strong, only a few will be required to move the weight, the number actually needed will be involved, and not one more - and thirdly, at the point in the exercise where it is possible to involve a high percentage of the total number of available fibers, there is no resistance available, and without resistance no exercise is possible.
If you are using a weight with which you can perform ten repetitions of the barbell curl, then a properly performed first repetition may involve only four or five percent of the total number of available fibers - the other ninety-odd percent of available fibers are in no way involved in the exercise.
During an immediately following second repetition, the situation is a bit better; by that point, the previously worked fibers are no longer as fresh and strong as they were during the first repetition, their momentarily-existing strength level has been reduced, and they will not again be capable of raising the weight without the assistance of other fibers - and such assistance will be provided, but only to the degree that is actually required.
Thus, repetition by repetition the percentage of involved fibers becomes greater ; until, finally, by the tenth repetition, you may be using as many as fifteen percent of the total number of available fibers - at which point, the exercise will seem quite hard, and at which point most trainees will call a halt to their efforts.
But at that point in the exercise, very little - or actually nothing - in the way of muscle growth stimulation has been induced; the muscles are already capable of performing at the level being demanded - as was clearly demonstrated by the fact that you could per-form ten repetitions, and did -and thus the muscles are not being forced to work inside their momentarily-existing levels of reserve strength. In effect, the muscles can perform the work being demanded of them - and the can do so without exhausting their reserve; therefore there is no need for them to grow - and under such circumstances, they won't grow, or will do so only very slowly at best.
But if - instead of stopping at the tenth repetition - if you had continued with the exer-cise, forcing the muscles to work much harder than normal, requiring them to work well inside their reserves of strength, then muscle-growth stimulation would have resulted.
How many more repetitions should be done?
As many as possible, regardless of the actual number this may prove to be; the set should be terminated only when it is impossible to move the weight in any position, when the bar literally drops out of your exhausted hands.
Even then - with a barbell - you still won't be involving ALL of the available fibers; but you will, at least, be involving as high a percentage as it is possible to do with conventional forms of exercise - and you will be inducing as much in the way of muscle-growth stimulation as it is possible to do with a barbell, or any other type of conventional training equipment.
And if you are training in that manner, then only two such sets are required - three times weekly - in most cases, and never more than three such sets in any case; doing a larger number of lighter sets WILL NOT produce the same degree of results - and doing a larger number of properly-performed sets would exhaust your recovery ability so much that losses would be produced instead of gains.
Watching a man working out properly is almost frightening - and it is frightening to some people; the intensity of effort is so great that the subject's entire body is shaking, his face will turn dark red - or even purple - and both breathing and heart action will be increased at least one-hundred percent, and frequently far more than that.
Most people are simply not aware that such effort is even possible, and many that are aware of the possibility are totally unwilling to exert such effort; but, for maximum growth stimulation, that is exactly what is required. Left to their own devices, most trainees will make very little progress - because they probably won't work hard enough to induce much in the way of growth stimulation; so, for best results, workouts must be carefully supervised - and it is highly desirable to give a demonstration of the proper intensity of work, in order that new trainees can be made aware of the very possibility of such levels of effort.
Psychological considerations are extremely important as well; if at all possible, the trainee should be able to see the weight that is being moved - and if this movement produces a reasonable level of sound, so much the better. Likewise, the trainee should be fully aware of the actual amount of resistance being moved - and it is important that the poundage figures be as high as reasonably possible.
In designing some of the new exercise machines, it would have been easily possible to vary the leverage to such a degree that ten pounds of actual weight would have taxed the strength of a very strong man; but instead we have employed an almost exact one-to-one leverage ratio, in order that the weight being moved will almost exactly the same weight that would have been used in similar barbell exercise - thus the trainee feels that he is doing something worthwhile, and his progress will be in meaningful jumps.
Such considerations far outweigh the small advantage that would have resulted by employing different leverage - such as the lowered requirement for barbell plates or other form of resistance. Under different leverage conditions, ten pounds may "feel" as heavy as two-hundred pounds - and it will - but the trainee will show much more willingness to work at the necessary level of intensity if he is forced to move two-hundred pounds instead of ten pounds.
SECONDARY GROWTH FACTORS
Regardless of how much growth stimulation is induced, little in the way of results will be produced unless the requirements of several other factors are also provided. Basically these factors are as follows: (1) nutritional, (2) provisions for adequate rest, (3) the avoidance of overwork, and (4) psychological (various).
Most of these factors have been mentioned in the preceding chapters, and it now remains necessary only to view them together; but it should be clearly understood from the start that - in the author's carefully considered opinion __ nothing even bordering upon any form of fanaticism is required by any of these factors. Yet such fanaticism exists on a wide scale in weight training circles today; primarily, I think as a direct result of commercialized fraud - the carefully calculated encouragement of fanaticism, performed for the sole purpose of selling worthless products.
Literally thousands of weight trainees are almost entirely existing upon diets of nearly pure protein, others completely stop or greatly curtail their sexual activities, and quite a number are taking various forms of so-called "growth drugs." And none of these things can be justified in any slightest degree. Maximum possible gains from any sort of training program can be produced while living a completely normal life; and, in fact, there is great weight of evidence that supports the contention that a normal existence is actually a requirement for best possible gains.
A man on a program of heavy physical training will obviously require enough extra calories to supply the energy required by such training - or, at least, he will if he hopes to maintain his existing bodyweight; and if he wishes to gain additional bodyweight, then he will require even more in the way of nutritional factors. But such requirements can come - and, indeed, should come - from a fairly normal diet; such a diet should be well rounded in makeup, and should contain enough protein for meeting the requirements of the moment. Absolutely nothing else in the way of a special diet is required.
There is little or no evidence to support the need for supplementary vitamins - if a well balanced diet is provided; indeed, the great weight of available evidence clearly indicates that such vitamin intake is of absolutely no value.
Where additional protein is required - in the case of a trainee that wishes to gain weight rapidly as a result of his training - this can easily and cheaply be provided from commonly available sources; raw eggs, powdered, non-fat milk solids (powdered milk), and soy powder will provide enough protein for any possible requirements. Two or three daily "milkshakes" made according to the following recipe will provide enough protein for a 250 pound man that is anxious to gain weight rapidly - if taken in addition to a well rounded, normal diet. 1. Four raw eggs 2. One-half cup of soy powder 3. One and one-half cups of powdered milk, non-fat 4. Enough chocolate powder to provide suitable taste 5. Enough skim milk to bring mixture to proper liquid state.
Mixed in a blender, the above mixture provides a very heavy load of well balances protein - at a very low price. For a trainee that wishes to gain weight as rapidly as possible, three such milkshakes should be consumed daily - one shortly after a normal breakfast, a second immediately after work or school, and a third just before retiring for the night.
While the soy powder is the cheapest ingredient in the above mixture -costing only about 40¢ per pound retail - it should be limited to the above ratio; taken by itself, soy protein is not complete, and cannot be utilized by the body properly unless it is mixed with elements provided by the milk and eggs.
But - for some people - soy powder presents a problem; should it be found that it is causing excessive amounts of intestinal gas, then discontinue its use - and in that case, replace it in the mixture with an addition half-cup of milk powder.
Unflavored gelatin is another good source of protein at a low price, but it is a bit difficult to consume in large quantities - simply because, if mixed with cold water, it almost instantly solidifies, and if mixed with hot water it is unpalatable for most people.
Far too much freely available literature exists on the subject of making up a well rounded diet for me to devote any space to it here, so I will simply refer you to any one of several thousand books on the subject. But some care should be exercised in order to make certain that such books do not contain commercial bias.
The requirements for adequate rest are no more involved than those dictated by common sense and good health habits; some people require more sleep than others - so get as much as is normal for you as an individual. Your results will obviously be less if you make a common practice of getting too little rest - but excessive amounts of sleep probably retard your progress also; so simply continue with your normally practiced good habits in regard to sleep.
Other activities should continue as before; better progress will almost always be shown by an individual that is regularly employed in some sort of full-time activity, such as a normal job or a normal load of schoolwork. But - to many weight trainees - the above statement probably borders on heresy; such people thinking - as thousands of them do - that activities should be strictly limited to workouts, eating and sleeping.
Insofar as other sports activities are concerned, their effect upon training progress can be either good or bad; so it becomes a simple matter of "first things first". It will be almost impossible for a man to gain bodyweight rapidly if he makes a daily practice of running several miles; but if such running is a necessary part of his training, then it obviously should be done. The same rule is equally applicable to any other sort of activity -do that which is necessary, or desirable, and the weight training program will markedly increase your strength and improve your overall condition even if it doesn't result in great increases in muscular size or bodyweight under such conditions.
However, many coaches make the mistake of trying to get all things out of the same individual - and this, of course, is literally impossible; if it is considered desirable for a particular athlete to gain forty pounds of bodyweight for football, then such an individual should not involve himself in a heavy program of track activities. Some running should be done weekly - at least twice weekly - by all trainees, but this should be limited to the amount that will maintain the required amount of endurance for running and the existing degree of speed, or it should be, at least, if it is desirable for such subjects to gain weight rapidly.
In the case of overweight or "out of condition" subjects, then almost any amount of running should be employed until such time that the subject has removed the surplus fatty tissue he is carrying; but it should be realized that such an individual will almost never have much in the way of an existing endurance or energy level at the start of such a program - and thus great care must be exercised in order to prevent such a subject from working himself to the point of nervous exhaustion.
It is neither necessary nor desirable to work any individual to a point of such muscularity that no visible fatty tissue remains on the body; on the contrary, better performances will almost always be provided by subjects that show at least some slight degree of fatty tissue in some areas of the body.
Removing the last traces of such fatty tissue almost always involves overwork - and if this is carried to extremes, such overwork can, and probably will, lead to nervous exhaustion. In this respect, individuals vary, of course, but do not expect a well conditioned athlete weighing over 200 pounds at a normal height to show no traces of fatty tissue.
The arms, the shoulders, the chest, and the legs can - and should - show a rather high degree of muscularity, but some slight amount of fatty tissue should remain in the area of the waist and the buttocks.
If such a condition does not exist to at least a reasonable degree - if an extreme degree of muscularity is evident over the entire body - then it is probable that such an individual is being overworked, and the extent of his workouts should be reduced until such time as he is obviously gaining weight.
Psychological factors required for best training progress have already been briefly touched upon, and this is far too complicated a subject for me to attempt to explore it in depth here.
THE LIMITS OF MUSCULAR SIZE
In a recent medical article read by the author, it was stated that the average individual's size, by weight, consists of forty percent muscular tissue; in effect, that an average 150 pound individual would have a total muscular mass of approximately 60 pounds. But even if true, such a ratio of muscular mass to total weight can be demonstrated by the employment of what can only be called rather dubious means. Perhaps - if you include such body parts as the heart, the muscles of the head, feet, hands, skin and internal organs - you might be able to demonstrate such a ratio.
But if consideration is given only to the muscles that are directly employed in performing normal muscular activities, then it will be found that the actual ratio of muscular bulk to total weight is very close to fifteen percent (15%) - little more than a third of that indicated above. An average individual weighing 150 pounds at a height of 5 feet and 11 inches will have approximately 20 pounds of such muscular tissue; thus, if his body weight can be increased to 170 pounds, in the form of additional muscular tissue, this will literally result in a doubling of his muscular bulk.
But if such is true, then why won't his strength be doubled as well? In at least some aspects it probably will be; but as a general rule, strength does not increase in direct ratio to increases in muscular bulk - for a number of reasons. For one thing, bodily leverage is changed as the muscular bulk increases - and almost always to your disadvantage. Secondly, the human circulatory system is not capable of properly supporting muscular bulk beyond a certain degree of development.
Strength of muscle is almost entirely dependent upon its bulk, but it is extremely difficult to accurately estimate the bulk of a muscle; size is frequently confused with muscular bulk - and while great size is obviously required for great muscular bulk, it does not follow that great size presupposes great muscular bulk.
Secondly, most people have no slightest idea of the real relationship that exists between measurements of the circumference of various body parts and the actual muscular bulk contained within those same body parts. The average 150 pound individual previously mentioned might have a 12 inch upper arm measurement - flexed; but increasing that measurement by only two inches, to 14 inches, will literally double the muscular bulk of the upper arm. Thus an increase in the circumference of only about seventeen percent (17%) will produce an increase in muscular bulk of approximately one-hundred percent (100%) - or a doubling of bulk.
While that may sound like a gross overstatement, in fact, it may well be an understatement; if you would stand a man like Bill Pearl, at the weight of 210 pounds, alongside our average 150 pound individual of the same height, the comparison between their arms would be ridiculous. And in total overall muscular bulk, Pearl will obviously display at least four times as much bulk as the smaller man - though only 60 pounds heavier.
Then why isn't he four times as strong as the smaller man? I repeat, in some ways he will be - and he will be far stronger than the lighter man in all ways, everything else being equal. But what degree of this size is useful? That, of course, depends upon how you define "useful." But for most purposes, all of it - any reduction in size would also cause a reduction in strength - and in any activity requiring all-round great strength, all of this size will be useful.
Speed of movement? That, of course, depends upon several things; upon the overall bodyweight, upon the individual's initial potential insofar as speed of reflexes and bodily proportions are concerned, and upon his individual training history. But in almost all cases, it will be far greater than you would probably expect. Some years ago, during the Olympic Games, careful measurements of the speed of movement of most of the athletes involved clearly proved that a weightlifter was the fastest man competing in any sport, and that almost of the weightlifters were faster than the other athletes.
As I said in an earlier chapter, it is expecting far too much from any form of physical training to expect it to produce a super athlete that will be a champion in all sports; this is literally impossible, because the basic requirements for sports are far too varied for such a possibility to be realized. And it is equally obvious that no form of training can produce a champion athlete in any sport - from just "any" individual.
Until quite recently, any form of weight training was looked upon almost in horror by most coaches; if you had stated, thirty years ago, that almost all athletes would now be using weight training, you would have been considered totally insane - and a great deal of that earlier prejudice still exists. At the present moment, almost all coaches have at least heard from reliable sources that weight training is good for athletes - but, knowing little or nothing about it from personal experience and having heard all sorts of highly biased stories about it, many of them are "not quite sure" about it; some obviously are afraid of weight training - primarily, I think, because they know so little about it.
This situation is changing, but a lot of this bias will still exist fifty years from now - or a thousand years from now.
So you can reasonably expect some degree of improvement in any athletic activity from weight training - and in many cases, enormous improvement will be produced; but do not expect miracles. Critically decide exactly what results you are most interested in, and then follow a weight training program that is designed to give the most in the way of the type of results that you are after.
Why do some trainees produce good results from weight-training, while others - using apparently identical program and exactly the same equipment -experience such slow rates of progress that they eventually stop training in disgust?
A tricky question, obviously - and one that cannot be answered in general terms that apply in all cases; but in most cases, the real culprit is a factor that most bodybuilders never heard of, reciprocity failure - which might be defined as the failure to produce expected results. Which definition is not quite as meaningless as it may appear at first glance -although it is one that will require careful explanation.
To readers well versed in the technicalities of photography, the term may be familiar in another context, and my first attempt at an explanation will be based on an example from that field.
Correct exposure of film depends upon several factors; the so-called "speed" of the film being used, the type of light source, the length of time that the film is exposed, and the relative size of the lens aperture, as well as other factors which are of no importance in this example. But in practice, the average photographer is usually concerned with one or two of the above factors; the length of exposure and the size of the lens aperture - or "shutter speed" and "f stop".
If one of these factors is changed, then the other must be changed in exact proportion; if exposure time is doubled, then the aperture must be reduced in area by fifty percent - and so on. And in almost all cases, if this relationship is maintained, the result will be the same insofar as exposure is concerned. More time, less light - or more light, less time; the same exposure in either case.
But the formula doesn't always work. As either end of the scale is approached, it will be observed that actual exposure will always be less than that which was expected from the combination of exposure time and lens aperture being used; never more - always less. If extremely long exposure times are used, then the resulting exposure will be less than that which was indicated by the formula; and if very short exposure times are used, the result will again be underexposure. And this result will be produced in spite of the fact that the formula being used is accurate; or, at least, is accurate within a certain area.
When such a result is produced, it is called "reciprocity failure". The produced result failed to live up to expectations - even though the formula used was correct.
And a very similar factor is encountered in bodybuilding - or in physical training of any kind. Thus, in practice, we find that doubling the length of a workout will not give as much in the way of results - and that a set of one repetition will not produce ten percent of the results of a set of ten repetitions.
But, many weight-trainees seem to think that merely doubling the number of sets, or the number of exercises, will also double their rate of progress; such thinking has led to the recently proposed "total tonnage" theory, a theory which suggests that the only factor of importance is the total amount of weight lifted during a workout - but a theory which, in fact, is so ridiculous that it doesn't even deserve rational consideration or discussion. And please don't write me to state that "...nothing is undeserving of ration consideration." What about the theories of the Flat Earth Society, the people who still don't believe that this planet is a sphere?
However, for the benefit of those readers who might have much background in physics, I will point out that the Total Tonnage theory ignores the factors of vertical distance of movement, and speed of movement - without which factors, no reasonable discussion of power or strength is even possible. And it also ignores the factor of reciprocity failure - which the inventor of the Total Tonnage theory probably never heard of, and certainly doesn't understand.
So much for theory; but just how does this factor apply to physical training in a practical manner?
In simple terms, it can probably best be understood in much the same context that applies in the previously mentioned example from photography; within a certain range - on a certain scale - then the production of results can be calculated with a rather high degree of accuracy, but the upper and lower limits of that scale must be understood and allowed for. In practice, in very simple terms, this means that either "too much" or "too little" exercise will have much the same final results - and that in both cases, these results will be poor.
It also means that the production of best-possible results depends upon a clear understanding of this scale; the trainee must be aware of the limitations - and must stay inside the bounds of most-productive work.
And while a complete understanding of this factor is not going to result even if you memorize this entire bulletin, a practical understanding probably will be reached by readers who take the trouble to read it carefully and with an open mind.
STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE
The subject of this chapter will probably arouse as much heated controversy as any of my other major points of emphasis - even though it is certainly not a new idea; and while it is not my intention to create such opposition to any of the points I am attempting to explain, I feel that an effort to avoid controversy - by writing only on subjects most likely to be widely accepted - is outright dishonesty. Secondly, such a style of writing - or such a selection of subjects - would necessarily avoid many points of importance; all of which are essential to an understanding of the factors involved in a training program capable of producing good results.
Point #1 - There is no slightest evidence which indicates a difference between strength and endurance; accurately measuring one of these factors clearly indicates the existing level of the other. That is to say; if you know how much endurance a man has, then you should also know how strong he is - or vice versa. But such a relationship between strength and endurance is meaningful only in individual cases; it does not hold true for the purpose of comparing the performance of one individual to that of another -thus you cannot fairly compare one man's endurance to another man's strength. Secondly, I am using the term "endurance" only in the sense of "muscular endurance", the ability of a muscle to perform repeatedly under a particular load - I am NOT momentarily concerned with cardiovascular endurance, which is an entirely different matter.
Point #2 - By training for endurance, increases in strength are produce in direct proportion to increases in endurance - and vice versa.
Point #3 - Accurate measurements of muscular mass clearly indicate existing strength levels within a very narrow range of variation - if all factors are taken into consideration. But again, such measurements are only meaningful in individual cases - not for comparison purposes.
Point #4 - Increases in muscular size make strength gains possible - but do not produce such strength gains in direct proportion; and increases in strength force increases in muscular mass, when strength reaches a certain point in relationship to existing muscular mass then no additional strength increase is possible until after an increase in muscular size, and such a size increase will invariable occur if all of the requirements for such growth are provided.
Great misunderstanding in regard to the above points exists primarily because attempts to measure strength and endurance levels have almost invariably been based on different scales; but when the same scale is applied to both measurements, the above mentioned relationships will be obvious. The following example should make this clear.
If you have been training for a period of time and have reached a point where you are capable of a bench press of 300 pounds, and are also capable of performing ten repetitions in the bench press with 250 pounds, you would probably look upon the best single-attempt as an indication of your strength level and the best performance for ten repetitions as an indication of your endurance level; and if so, you would be basically correct in your opinions.
But if you then stopped training for a period of several weeks, and upon resuming training wanted to measure both your strength and endurance after such a layoff, you would probably make an understandable error in the latter measurements - by applying different scales; an error which would lead you to believe that your endurance had decreased more than your strength.
Whereas, in fact, if such measurements were accurately made, it would be obvious that both strength and endurance had decreased in exact proportion.
After such a layoff, you might find that your best single-attempt was one with 270 pounds and that your best performance with 250 pounds was only repetitions. And such results could easily lead to the mistaken conclusion that your endurance had decreased by sixty percent while your strength had decreased by only ten percent.
But you didn't use the same scale for both measurements; while you decreased the single-attempt weight by ten percent, you left the endurance-attempt weight unchanged. If, instead, you had decreased the weight used for the endurance-attempt by the same percentage - in this case to a weight of 225 pounds - then you would still have been able to perform ten repetitions.
Or, taking the reverse approach to the same situation, you might be led into an apparent result that would be so ridiculous that it would be obviously incorrect to anybody; if both test weights remained unchanged, and if you performed four repetitions with 250 pounds - but failed with 300 pounds -would that then indicate a decrease in endurance of sixty percent, and a decrease in strength of one-hundred percent?
Similar examples could be given to establish the validity of the other points listed above, but restrictions of space make this impractical in this bulletin.
SPEED AS A FACTOR
Using normally applied methods, it is literally impossible to accurately measure strength and the figures produced by most currently practiced methods of testing strength have little or no significance. Strength is the ability to produce power - and while it is extremely difficult to measure strength directly, we can measure power; and having done so, a reasonable estimate of strength can be made. "How much can he press?" is a meaningless question - unless we also consider "how far does he press?" and "how fast does he press?" Both of which points - distance and speed - are generally ignored in strength tests.
During a recent workout, one of our test subjects was accurately tested while generating slightly over three horsepower; disregarding the power required for raising a good part of his own bodyweight, he raised 275 pounds a distance of over two feet in less than one third of a second.
Such accurate measurements of strength require a logical approach to the matter and the use of very sophisticated equipment capable of measuring both the distance and speed factors with great accuracy; but - for most applications where measurements of strength are required -such methods are certainly not practical, and they are never inexpensive. Thus, for practical measurements of strength, another - far simpler - method is required.
Apart from actual competitive lifting, the only real need for strength tests exists as a factor required for properly charting training progress - where a subject's performances are compared to his own previous performances. This can be done with a far greater degree of accuracy if such comparisons are not made on the basis of "single attempt" lifts. Relative levels of strength should be determined by comparing a set of several repetitions to another set of exactly the same number of repetitions - but both sets must be maximum possible sets, involving the performance of as many repetitions as possible, stopped only when another repetition is impossible.
But - since maximum possible sets will not always produce the same number of repetitions - it is thus impossible to compare every set of each exercise with every other set of the same movement; accurate comparisons are possible only when maximum possible sets result in the exact same number of repetitions.
In practice, it has been found that comparisons should be made only when maximum possible sets result in ten repetitions - or twenty repetitions, as the case may be. Within a given week of training, at least one such set will usually be performed in every exercise being practiced - and thus it is possible to judge the progress of individual trainees on a fairly regular basis.
But it is important that first sets of a particular exercise be compared only to first sets of the same exercise - and second sets to second sets, etc. Comparing a first set of squats performed during workout with a second set of squats performed during another workout would produce no reasonable basis for comparison.
For the greatest degree of accuracy from such methods of strength measurement, it is best to compare the last performed set of an exercise with the last set from another workout - assuming that both workouts involve the same number of sets, and that the sets being compared involved the same number of repetitions. Or, at least, this will produce greater accuracy of results when you are dealing with well conditioned test subjects. However, when dealing with poorly conditioned subjects, then comparisons should be made on the basis of first sets; many such subjects will perform quite well during a first set, but then display a very great drop in strength when performing a second set of the same exercise.
While it is not necessary to measure the time required to perform a set of an exercise - so long as it is performed at a reasonable pace - it is necessary to consider the time involved for the performance of all the sets included in the workout. A first set should be followed by a second set of the same exercise at an interval of exactly four minutes, and a third set should be performed four minutes later - thus the total time for all three sets will be eight minutes plus the time required to perform the third set, a time somewhat over eight minutes and probably well below nine minutes, depending upon the type of exercise being performed and the number of repetitions employed.
With well conditioned, experienced subjects it is not necessary to actually measure this time factor; such subjects will almost always perform second and third sets a very nearly the exact time specified - having become accustomed to working at a particular pace, they will "feel" when they are ready for another set, and the variation in time will usually be less than ten seconds.
But inexperienced trainees must be timed - and must be informed when to perform the next set of an exercise; if meaningful results for charting progress are desired.
Apart from the above described significance of speed as a factor for measuring strength, it is of even more importance for producing the best results from training. Every repetition of every set of most exercises should be performed as fast as possible - consistent with proper form and safety considerations; which latter point can be disregarded if the selected resistance is proper for the movement being performed.
Insofar as safety is concerned, no additional element of risk will be introduced if the weight is heavy enough - but if the weight is too light for the movement being performed, then some danger of injury will be added. For example; in performing standing presses with a barbell - or any other kind of presses - if the weight is too light, and if the lift is performed with maximum possible speed of movement, then the elbow tendon attachments may be damaged seriously. Exactly similar injuries occur with rather great frequency in baseball - when a pitcher "throws his arm out."
A fast lift involving too little resistance will tend to keep moving at the high point of the movement, and the resulting jerk can cause damage. But if the selected weight is heavy enough, then little or no danger will exist -the bar will stop at or very near the proper high point regardless of how fast the subject attempts to press it.
I will return to this point in more detail in later chapters dealing with the proper performance of exercises; but it should be remembered that best training results will always be produced when exercises are performed with as much speed as possible under the proper conditions. Quite contrary to the stereotyped opinion that most people have of weightlifters - thinking of them as slow, ponderous individuals slowly raising a great weight - well conditioned weightlifters perform at a speed that must be seen to be appreciated; but they literally must do so - the production of much in the way of power is impossible without speed of movement.
NOTE: The following chapter - "Accurately Measuring Power Production" - is included for the purpose of carefully detailing the method required for such measurements; for most readers, it will be of little or no interest, and no significant points will be missed if the chapter is skipped. However, for anybody that is concerned with such accuracy of measurement, the next chapter will probably prove of great interest - detailing, as it does, the only method we have been able to devise for accurately measuring power production by humans.
ACCURATELY MEASURING POWER PRODUCTION
While it is quite simple to determine the resistance employed in strength tests, accurately measuring the time and distance factors is anything but a simple procedure; for anything approaching meaningful accuracy of measurement, two high-speed, synchronous motion picture cameras are required - and it is extremely advantageous if both cameras can be mounted a rather great distance from the subject being tested. The greater the distance, the greater the degree of accuracy of measurement - and an infinite distance would be required for absolute accuracy.
However, for all practical purposes, a distance of 48 feet has proven to be sufficient for a high degree of accuracy. Both cameras should be immovably mounted on sturdy tripods, and should be locked into perfectly horizontal angles of tilt - the lower camera should be placed in line with the estimated low point of the lift, and the higher camera should be at the estimated high point of the lift; both of which points can be estimated in advance with very little error.
For clarity of detail, lenses of the longest possible focal length that will cover the required area should be employed - it being essential to cover only two small areas, not the entire area involved in the lift. It must be understood that the focal length of the lenses will have no slightest effect upon the accuracy of the results produced; perspective - and apparent distortion - are both determined by camera position. All lenses will give exactly the same perspective from a given camera position; contrary to very popular belief, wide-angle lenses do not depict distorted perspective -they merely make it possible to film from a very close position, and the close position is totally responsible for the apparent distortion. Long focal length lenses - telephoto lenses - merely show a larger image than would normally be possible, and the apparent "compression of space" is more noticeable because of the larger image; such apparent distortion exists in an exactly equal degree in pictures made with a lens of any focal length.
Both cameras should be running and "up to speed" well before the lift is attempted - and a "clap-board" must be employed for slating the scenes being filmed, and this should be done even when filming without sound; the individual frames of the two scenes being filmed must be perfectly synchronized in order to accurately measure the time factor - and this cannot be done if some method of synchronization is not employed.
In order to accurately measure both the time and distance factors, two accurately placed "position indicators" will be required; one of these should be exactly the same distance above the floor as the center line of the lowest camera's filming axis - and the other should be in line with the higher camera. Brightly colored, horizontally mounted steel rods are the tools of obvious choice; they are inexpensive and show up well in the filmed scenes.
Four such rods should be used; two low-mounted rods and two higher rods -two rods being required for each of the two "position indicators". As an additional part of the position indicators, a clearly contrasting tape measure or ruler should be vertically mounted between the two horizontal rods most distant from the camera position. This distance measuring device - tape or ruler - should be perfectly accurate, and should be mounted to one side of the centerline of the filmed scenes; otherwise, it will be hidden by the body of the test subject and no measurement of distance will be possible. It must be remembered that most commercially manufactured tape measures are not perfectly accurate - most of them are "short" by at least one-eighth of an inch per foot of length; readings produced by use of such a tape will overstate actual measurements.
Looking through the lenses of the cameras - assuming that you are using true reflex cameras, as you should - only one of the steel rods will be visible from each of the two camera positions; from the high position, you should see only the nearest of the two highest mounted rods, the more distant rod should be completely hidden from view by the closer rod. If it is not, then the rods are not mounted properly in relation to each other -or in relation to the camera. From the lower camera, only the closest of the low mounted rods should be visible. But one end of the measuring device should be clearly visible in the high-camera scene, and the other in the low-camera scene.
While the above description sounds rather involved, it has proven to be a very simple matter to set up such a measuring procedure in a matter of less than ten minutes - once all of the required tools are available. In practice, the most difficult problem proved to be locating synchronous motors for high-speed cameras; almost all synchronous motors for motion picture cameras operate at exactly 24 frames per second in this country -and at 25 frames per second in Europe - and while motors that are capable of filming at speeds of at least 186,000 frames per second are available, if certainly not inexpensive, most such motors do not operate at synchronous speeds.
Thus, if measurement of the time factor with a degree of accuracy surpassing that which is possible with time segments shorter than one forty-eighth of a second is required, it will be necessary to include a clock with a very large dial and a sweep second hand - a hand that completes a full sweep of the dial during each second - and it will be necessary to film with lenses of shorter focal length, in order to include the clock in both scenes. But finding such clocks is not very easy, either.
When filming at 24 frames per second, each second is actually being divided into forty-eight parts - or at least it is if a camera with a rotary, 180 degree shutter is employed; the shutter is closed half of the time - while the film is being transported between frames - and open half of the time, while the exposures are being made. Thus, although you will actually have only 24 frames to work with for each full second of time covered, it is easily and accurately possible to interpolate both time and distance factors during the times when the shutter was closed.
For example: if the subject was moving in a particular frame - and still moving in the next frame - then it is reasonable to assume that he was at the midpoint of both time and distance during the time that the shutter was closed; if the bar of the barbell was forty inches off the floor in one frame, and forty-two inches above the floor in the next frame - then it is probable that it was at a height of forty-one inches during the time that the shutter was closed.
If a greater degree of accuracy is desired, then the only tool that I am aware of that is capable of doing the job is a high-speed camera with a synchronous motor - but such accuracy will never be purchased inexpensively; apart from the initial cost of such cameras and camera motors, such filming consumes file at an enormous rate - some high-speed cameras require 300 feet of film, out of a roll of 400 feet, just to "come up to speed", and this first 300 feet of film will never be of any value, since the camera will not yet be operating at synchronous speed, and since the resulting scene will be overexposed because of both improper and constantly varying exposure factors.
Secondly; if your test subject hesitates even momentarily about executing the lift, the filming will be wasted - because, once up to speed, the last feet of film remaining in the magazine may be used in a matter of two or three seconds, or less.
The two higher rods of the position indicators should be located exactly six feet apart - and the two lower rods should be separated by the same distance; the lift should be performed between the rods, with the subject facing either towards or away from the cameras. For squatting, the subject should have his back to the cameras - for fast lifts involving the arms, the subject should be facing the cameras. These positions are best since they permit an unobstructed view of the barbell from the camera positions.
The subject should be situated so that the bar of the barbell being lifted is as close as possible to the midpoint of a horizontal line drawn from the near position indicator rod to the most distant rod; in effect, the barbell should be three feet beyond the nearest position indicator rod and three feet closer than the most distant rod - as measured from the camera position.
This placement of the barbell is important for accurately measuring distance factors; the bar of the barbell will actually be somewhat lower than it appears to be from the low camera position - when it is above the lower position indicator rod - and higher than it appears to be when viewed from the high camera position, when it is lower than the high position indicator rod. But if the barbell is properly placed, then it will be easily possible to accurately interpolate the height of the barbell at all times during the lift.
To facilitate such interpolation, it has been found that a camera to nearest position indicator rod distance of exactly forty-eight feet should be used; but when using long focal length lenses, it must be remembered that such measurement should be from the nodal point of the lens being used - and that such measurement must be made after the lens has been focused properly. Otherwise - since most such measurements are made from the film plane of the cameras - an error of as much as a foot may be inadvertently introduced into the formula required for correct interpolation of results.
Muscles are literally incapable of performing at a level even closely approaching their momentary ability unless they are properly "warmed-up" in advance by the performance of lighter, exactly similar movements; in effect, you cannot warm-up properly for the performance of heavy bench presses by performing standing presses - you must perform several sets of bench presses with a resistance well below the weight you intend to employ for a maximum attempt.
That much, at least, is clear to practically everybody engaged in weight training; but it does not follow that warming-up procedures are properly understood by the majority of trainees. On the contrary, training progress is usually held well below an optimum rate by the practice of incorrect warm-up procedures.
Warming-up for competitive lifting is one thing - but warming-up for training purposes is an entirely different matter; and the correct procedures have very little in common when one is compared to the other. In a weightlifting contest, you are not concerned with trying to build size or strength as a result of the lifts performed that day; your only concern is an attempt to lift the maximum possible amount of weight for one repetition in good form - thus your warm-up must prepare your muscles for a maximum-possible single effort, while leaving them as fresh as possible.
But in training - where you are concerned with building as much size and/or strength as possible, as a direct result of the lifts performed that day -the correct warm-up procedure will be almost exactly opposite to that which you should employ on the day of a weightlifting competition; in this instance, each set of every exercise should be a maximum possible set - and should leave your muscles totally, if momentarily exhausted.
Quite obviously, if such training is done - as it certainly should be -then it will be literally impossible for you to lift as much for a single attempt as you could have done if you had warmed up with lighter, less than maximum-attempt sets. Thus many trainees avoid such a system of training -because it prevents them from attaining a maximum level of performance for one repetition during each workout; they feel that greater growth stimulation has been provided by one maximum repetition - and that the higher the resistance employed, the greater the growth stimulation.
However, in fact, quite the opposite is true; with such a system of training, only one set of each exercise will provide any growth stimulation at all - and that will usually be far less than maximum growth stimulation. And the other sets have been completely wasted; worse than that, they have exhausted part of the recovery ability while providing nothing in the way of growth stimulation.
If, instead, two or three sets of each exercise are employed, and if these sets employ a reasonable number of repetitions, and if each set of each exercise is carried to the point of absolute failure - then maximum growth stimulation will be provided, with minimum depletion of the recovery ability. You certainly will not be able to lift as much for a single attempt during your training workouts if this system of training is used - but you certainly will build the maximum possible degree of both muscular mass and strength; then, later, in a contest, your strength for a single attempt will be greater than it would have been as a result of any other type of training.
I am not saying - and I do not mean to imply - that maximum attempts for a single repetition should never be attempted in training; on the contrary, they should be - but only on a very infrequent basis, and certainly never more often than once a week. For best results, such attempts should not be performed more frequently than once every two or three weeks - or even once a month.
In practice, best results are usually produced by the 10/8/6 system of repetitions and sets; in this system, a weight is selected that will permit not more than ten repetitions during the first set, and then the resistance is increased for the second set, to a point that will permit not more than eight repetitions, and in the third set the resistance is increased to an amount that will permit six repetitions. But in all cases, all possible repetitions are performed in each set - and the weight is increased at the time of the next workout if it was possible to perform the designated number of repetitions with the weight selected.
Thus, in practice, a subject usually will actually perform only about 8/6/4 repetitions -or possibly 7/5/3 repetitions; when he actually performs 10/8/6 repetitions, then the resistance is increased again.
For single attempts, however, a careful warm-up is extremely essential for several reasons - the most important ones concerning safety; if a maximum attempt is made with a "cold" muscle, greater danger of injury exists. Secondly, if the resistance being employed is at or very near the actual level of strength for one attempt, then such an attempt will always fail -because a cold muscle cannot perform much if any above about eight-five percent of its actual strength level.
SUPERSTITIONS AND MYTHS
Perhaps the heading of this chapter is misleading - since it is not my intention to discuss superstitions and myths "about" weight-training; but, rather, the false beliefs that are so common among weight trainees themselves. Insofar as mention of the literally hundreds of false beliefs about weight training, I will limit my remarks to the few brief mentions made in preceding chapters and the even briefer attention that will be given to such ideas in following chapters; without single exception, such beliefs are totally false and highly prejudicial, and none of them deserve more than passing attention - in any case, thirty years of experience has taught me that attempts to combat prejudice usually have the opposite effect from that desired, so I do not intend to give even more widespread circulation to such ideas or waste my time jousting with windmills.
But while such common beliefs deserve little or no attention, the same is certainly not true in the case of many of the equally false beliefs being circulated among the ranks of present-day weight trainees - people who should know better, but for the most part do not. Many of these beliefs are nothing short of outright fanaticism, and some of them are actually dangerous - yet they are commonly practiced by tens-of-thousands of weight trainees and are supported by no small number of self-appointed "experts", these latter almost always being people with direct commercial interests in the field.
As a result of some of these beliefs - and the fanaticism that they inspire - literally millions of people have been denied the very worthwhile results that weight training could have afforded them; many people - probably most people - treat the whole matter of weight training as a joke, looking upon it in the same light in which rational people view astrology or some way-out religious cult.
While, in fact, there is nothing at all "mysterious" about weight training; on the contrary, it is a perfectly simple, well proven method for inducing physical improvement - by far the most effective method of exercise ever devised. And perhaps that is the reason for its undoing in the eyes of the average man - it is simply too effective; by comparison to the possible results producable by any other method of physical training, weight training produces such large degrees of results that they sometimes appear literally unreal.
But in no small part, the widespread skepticism of weight training is due to the actions and statements of many weight trainees; the very people who should be most interested in promoting something of great value - but who, on the contrary, seem to be determined to cast it in the worst possible light. But of even more direct importance to themselves - since most weight trainees have no commercial interests in the field - such people give widespread acceptance to training ideas that greatly retard their own progress.
Many such trainees pride themselves on their knowledge of anatomy - while having no slightest idea of the actual functions of even the largest of the muscular structures in the body.
For bodybuilders, such lack of knowledge - and such willingness to practice worthless training methods, or methods of far less value than might be desired - is of no real importance to anyone besides themselves; but to others - to athletic coaches interested in employing weight training as supplemental training for sports - the same lack of knowledge can be of very real significance. Training time and training energy is always at a premium in any sport, and it should be employed only in the best possible ways - athletes have neither time nor energy to waste on anything less than the best possible methods of training; weight training is the best possible method of supplementary training for any sport, by far the best - but the best systems of employing this method are certainly not common knowledge among bodybuilders.
I have asked literally hundreds of bodybuilders, "... why do you use wide-grip bench presses?" And the answer has invariably been the same, "...because they stretch my pectorals more than narrow-grip bench presses." But in fact, they do not; on the contrary, wide-grip bench presses actually prevent any stretching of the pectorals - the pectorals attach the upper arms to the front of the chest, and in order to stretch the pectorals it is necessary to move the upper arms as far back as possible, and with a wide grip on a barbell it is literally impossible to move the upper arms far enough back to stretch the pectorals at all.
Exactly the same thing applies to wide-grip "chinning" movements; theses are practiced because they supposedly stretch the latissimus muscles - while in fact, they actually prevent any such stretching.
The list is almost endless, I could give hundreds of other examples of similar false beliefs; but my point is this - out of the literally hundreds of commonly practiced barbell exercises, only a few give the results that most weight trainees think they do. And most of these few really productive exercises are avoided by most body-builders upon one pretext or another, probably because they are simply too "hard".
A bodybuilder reading this bulletin will probably find no mention of many of his favorite exercises; for the good and simple reason that there are other, far better exercises for the same body part - exercises that will actually produce the results that he thinks he is getting in another way. Variations in training are of value if for not other reason than the fact that they prevent boredom - but such diversity of training should be contained within the actually very narrow limits of a few very productive exercise; if not, then results will be far less than they should have been.
In later chapters devoted to exact training programs, the selected exercises have been included only because they are by far the most productive exercises for the particular purposes stated - without single exception, no other exercise will produce as much in the way of results from an equal amount of training time.
The very fact that some poorly chosen exercises and systems of training are capable of producing fairly high degrees of results is no excuse for their employment - much better results can be produced in far less time if training is restricted to better exercises and better systems. And while no system can possibly produce the best results in all cases, a logical approach to the matter will clearly indicate any slight changes that might be required in some individual cases - and the information required for making such judgments is clearly spelled out in the chapters on the proper performances of exercises and the chapter on planning workouts. Close attention should also be given to the priority of exercises.
THE "INSTINCTIVE TRAINING" THEORY
According to a recent theory of training - the "instinctive training" theory - your instincts will invariably guide you into the proper path and pace of training; and while it is certainly true that an experienced trainee will eventually develop a "feeling" in regard to his workouts, this has absolutely nothing to do with instinct.
On the contrary; for anything even approaching the best possible results from training, it is absolutely essential to work in direct opposition to your instincts. If you followed your instincts, you would do quite a number of things - eat as much as possible, sleep whenever possible, defecate, fornicate, lie, brag, steal, run away from danger or fight if simply forced to or if faced with an obviously inferior foe in possession of something that you desired, and avoid any form of physical labor - but you wouldn't lift weights.
The process of education is nothing more or less than an attempt to overcome the instincts - and it is seldom if ever totally successful; while heavy physical training may - and frequently will - result in a feeling of great personal satisfaction, such a feeling is entirely due to conditioned reflexes, not to instinct.
During the actual performance of any form of exercise - with the possible exceptions of fighting or running away from danger - the instincts are almost literally screaming at you to stop; and if you follow those instinctive urges, then exercise will always be terminated far short of the point that would have produced any worthwhile results.
The body will do almost anything in a effort to maintain the status quo -and it is fully capable of anticipating needs with a great degree of accuracy; instinctive hunger pangs proceed the actual need for additional food by as much as several hours - and when any form of exercise is undertaken, the body quickly recognizes the trend and attempts to stop the exercise long before a point of exhaustion is reached.
A very commonly observed symptom following the large scale loss of blood is a total aversion to any activity that might possibly result in additional blood loss; the body cannot then stand much more blood loss, and does everything possible to prevent it. And it is not necessary for a blood loss to be on an actually dangerous scale for this symptom to manifest itself; the body attempts to maintain a definite, but unknown percentile of reserve - and when this reserve is threatened, the system will try to prevent additional utilization or loss.
An exactly similar situation exists in regard to reserves of strength; when a particular workload closely approaches these reserves, the system will rebel against the imposition of any additional workload. But unless a workload does fall well inside the momentarily existing levels of reserve strength, then no demand for additional muscular growth or strength increases is imposed upon the system.
So attempting to follow your instincts will get you literally nowhere in physical training.
Obviously there is a limit beyond which you should not go, but this limitation applies only to the actual "amount" of exercise - not the intensity of effort; maximum intensity of effort is an absolute requirement for the greatest possible degree of growth stimulation - but it must be achieved without totally exhausting the body's recovery ability.
As of the moment - the fall of 1970 - the use of drugs is an unexploded bomb lurking just beneath the surface of all forms of physical training; according to currently wide-spread attitudes, it is a crime to drug a race horse in order to increase its ability - but it seems to be perfectly all right to drug athletes in order to improve their performances.
At a recent physique contest in London, one of the leading entrants was asked which of several brands of high-protein diet supplements he used, whereupon he replied, "... protein? With Dianabol, who needs protein?" Dianabol is the trade name of one of the anabolic steroids, the so-called "growth drugs."
While there seems to be no doubt that the use of such drugs is justified in certain types of cases, there is no possible excuse for their use by a healthy person - and great weight of evidence that strongly counter-indicates such use.
Basically, most of the so-called growth drugs are synthetic forms of male hormones - and massive doses of such drugs may temporarily increase the recovery ability of the body in certain areas; but the body responds to such treatment by immediately reducing its own natural production of such hormones - in an attempt to reestablish the formerly existing chemical balance. Thus any resulting increase in recovery ability is extremely short in duration - and additional doses of the drug must be given at ever increasing levels at very frequent intervals.
Eventually, if such treatment is continued for a long enough period - and in many cases this period is quite short - the body may actually lose its ability to produce such hormones naturally, and a man could literally be turned into a eunuch.
But totally apart from the obvious dangers involved, a great diversity of opinion exists within the medical profession as to the actual growth effects - if any - that are caused by such drugs; many doctors are of the firm opinion that any observed effects are directly due to placebo effect.
Yet such drugs are being used by literally thousands of athletes in this country - and probably by hundreds of thousands; within the last year, a high school football coach strongly recommended the use of such drugs to the author - and bitterly defended their utilization when questioned regarding the justification or propriety of such use. Nor does there seem to be any shortage of doctors that are willing to issue prescriptions for such drugs to healthy high school athletes on the recommendations of coaches.
Eventually, such drug usage will emerge in a major scandal - and the sooner, the better; but in the meantime, an unknown amount of potentially very serious damage is being done to large numbers of young athletes.
Viewed as simply another attempt to "win at any cost", such drug utilization moves directly in the face of good sportsmanship; but in the light of the very real dangers involved, it borders on outright madness.
Worse than that, there is no slightest evidence to indicate that the results - if any - produced by the use of such drugs cannot be duplicated without such use; although they have been widely considered as such, the ever mounting records in weightlifting are certainly no proof of the effectiveness of such drugs. In the Olympic lifts, the greatest degree of recent improvement has been in the performance of the standing press - but most of this has been directly due to great relaxation in the rules governing the performance of this lift; as of the moment, most of the leading heavyweight lifters are capable of "jerking" very little if any more than they can "press".
In fact, the performance of the press has degenerated to such a degree that serious consideration was given to the idea of dropping it as one of the three Olympic lifts.
In power lifting, great strides have been apparent primarily because of the fact that this is a very recently introduced sport; but some individuals were fully capable of executing such lifts in good form with very near present world-record poundage's as long as fifteen years ago - long before the use of growth drugs.
The present record in the bench press is 617 1/2 pounds - but Douglas Hepburn lifted almost 600 pounds in good form well over fifteen years ago; and he did so at a bodyweight far below that of most of the presently-active heavyweight power-lifters.
Insofar as muscular size is concerned, very few men have ever even approached the muscular size attained by John Grimek nearly thirty years ago.
When I mentioned the possibility of serious damages resulting from the use of growth drugs, the coach that was defending their use stated that such cases of damage were extremely rare and that, in any case, all such cases were due to "overdoses." But in fact, such cases of serious damage are far from rare - although they have not been greatly publicized, for obvious reasons - and the entire effect, if any, from such drugs is entirely dependent upon "overdoses". In a healthy individual, the system is fully capable of maintaining a very delicate chemical balance - and the use of growth drugs is intended to momentarily disturb this balance, as it must, if results are to be produced.
RANGES OF MOVEMENT - FLEXIBILITY
With two minor exceptions - both of which are totally unimportant for any sort of normal activity - an obvious increase in the ranges of movement possible for an athlete should follow as a direct result of weight training, regardless of the actual muscular bulk that is developed; in fact, it can be clearly shown that increases in muscular bulk almost presuppose increases in flexibility - because the type of heavy exercises that are required for building great muscular bulk also produce increased ranges of movement.
Partial, limited-range movements simply will not build anything even approaching the maximum possible degree of muscular mass; thus, for producing great muscular bulk, full-range, extremely-heavy movements are required - and such exercises literally force the body parts into positions far outside the normal range of movement possible for an untrained individual.
Extremely heavy power-lifters are not an exception - instead, they are another matter altogether; a very great part of the actual bulk of many of these men is not muscular bulk, it is fatty tissue - which can and will restrict freedom of movement. Such men have - indeed, must have - great muscular bulk, but most of them also have an equal bulk of fatty tissue, both subcutaneous and intramuscular.
Near the end of the last century, in the infancy of modern weightlifting, most lifters were extremely heavy men - many of them weighing over 400 pounds - and almost all of them had enormous waist and upper-thigh measurements; a man of that weight will display obviously restricted movement - unless he is nearly eight feet tall - and he would do so regardless of just what that bulk consisted of, but it is totally impossible to create such bulk in the same areas so long as a reasonable degree of muscularity is maintained.
At or about that same time - around 1890 - the term "muscle bound" was probably originated; but it should have been called "fat bound", since such a condition of restricted movement has absolutely nothing to do with muscle. About thirty years ago, John Grimek - one of the bulkiest muscular men in history - remarked on the subject, "...you can lift weights and be called 'muscle bound', or not lift weights and actually be muscle bound." Grimek was - and probably still is, past the age of sixty - capable of touching both elbows to the floor from a standing position without bending his knees, performing full splits, and many other movements far outside the ranges of possible movement displayed by the average man. Yet his muscular bulkiness was so great that it almost defies description, and literally had to be seen to be believed.
An exceptional case? On the contrary, almost all really bulky, muscular men show far more than the average degree of flexibility; a man that has practiced heavy pullovers will usually be able to put both elbows behind his head at the same time, regardless of how big his arms may be - and a man that has practiced heavy stiff-legged deadlifts will be able to reach far below his feet without bending his knees - and those are the type of exercises that are required for building great muscular bulk. Such great flexibility is not displayed "in spite of the great muscular bulk", on the contrary, such flexibility is possible "because of the muscular bulk" - or, at the very least, it is a direct result of the same type of training that is required for building a large degree of muscular mass.
The average individual will find it impossible to do a full squat while keeping his heels on the floor - because his Achilles tendons have lost much of their flexibility from prolonged inactivity; but many weightlifters can touch their buttocks to the floor behind them while keeping both feet perfectly flat on the floor - and some weightlifters can touch their buttocks to the floor behind them while almost touching their knees to the floor in front of them, while keeping both feet flat on the floor - and a few weightlifters can touch both buttocks and knees to the floor simultaneously, while keeping their feet flat on the floor.
The two exceptions mentioned at the start of this chapter? In some cases -but not in all cases - it is possible to build the size of the legs and/or arms to such a muscular size that the range of bending movement will be slightly reduced; such a man might not be able to squat quite as deeply as he could at a lighter weight - or might not be able to bend his arms as far as he could when it was far smaller - but the actual reduction would never be more than a few degrees, and would never prevent such a man from engaging in any sort of normal activity.
With most individuals, such a reduction in the ranges of movement is not even possible - and in most of the cases where it is encountered, such a reduction in flexibility is caused by obviously abnormal proportions, a result of heredity, and in no case is it of any slightest imprtance.
A given individual will almost always increase his flexibility in proportion to his increases in muscular bulk - although obviously not in direct, one-to-one proportion, since it is possible to increase muscular bulk on the order of four-hundred percent (400%) and such an increase in range of movement is literally impossible.
AVERAGE EXPECTATIONS FROM TRAINING
"How much can I gain - how fast?" An impossible question, obviously - far too many factors are involved for even the possibility of an accurate answer; yet averages do exist, and if careful consideration is given to all of the factors, at least some sort of reasonable goal can be established for most new trainees.
Taking one group of thirty-six test subjects, their average starting measurements were as follows - as contrasted to the average sizes that I expected them to reach if they stayed in training for a period of eighteen months:
BODY PART STARTING EXPECTED AFTER 18 MONTHS Bodyweight 167.19 pounds 195 gain of 27.81 pounds
Normal Chest 37.5 inches 45 " " 7.5 inches
Rib-box 33.25 " 37.5 " " 4.25 "
Waist 32.2 " 32.5 " " .3 "
Right thigh 21.73 " 25.5 " " 3.77 "
Left thigh 21.98 " 25.5 " " 3.52 "
Right calf 14.93 " 16.75 " " 1.82 "
Left calf 14.88 " 17. " " 2.12 "
Right upper arm 12.96 " 17 " " 4.04 "
Left upper arm 12.67 " 17.25 " " 4.58 "
But in order to reach any significant conclusions on the basis of the above figures, it must be remembered that they are "averages." In order to reach the average expected size after eighteen months of training, the lightest subject - with a starting bodyweight of 136 pounds - would have to gain 49 pounds; and the heaviest subject - with a starting bodyweight of 267 1/2 pounds - would have to lose 72 1/2 pounds. At the end of the first eight weeks of training, the lightest subject had gained 13 pounds of bodyweight - and the heaviest subject had lost 10 pounds.
It must also be remembered that the above group of trainees were high school athletes for the most part - almost the entire football squad of a large high school was included; thus the average bodyweight was well above that which would be encountered in a group of subjects selected at random - and the ratio of rib-box size to normal chest size was different from that to be expected in a similar sized group of non-athletes. Having engaged in sports requiring endurance for running, most of these subjects reflected a result of that training in the size of their lungs.
Although more than fifty percent of the subjects had taken part in a very limited weight program the previous year, only one of them had much in the way of training experience with weights; this one subject - with approximately eight months of training experience - was stronger than any other subject in the group, and far stronger than the average for the group as a whole. During initial strength tests, he was able to perform 21 repetitions with 260 pounds in the full squat - and the second strongest subject in the group was able to do only one repetition with 255 pounds, with the average performance being far below that. Yet this one experienced subject's bodyweight - 174 pounds - was only 6.81 pounds above the average weight of the group, and was far below the weight of the larger subjects in the group.
In the immediately preceding eight months of training, this subject had gained 41.5 pounds of bodyweight and had increased his upper arm size by almost exactly three inches - an increase in the actual bulk of muscular tissue in the upper arms of well over one hundred and forty percent (140%). At the end of that period of training, his strength performances were as follows:
EXERCISE REPETITIONS AND RESISTANCE
Full squats 21 with 260 pounds 9 with 290 " 5 with 330 "
Full squats on one leg only 5 with 135 " 50 with 65 "
Bench presses 7 with 215 "
Standing presses 5 with 155 "
Parallel dips 7 with 95 " 18 with 50 "
Regular grip chins on bar 3 with 75 " 18 with 50 "
Strict barbell curls 8 with 130 "
Barbell wrist curls 17 with 120 "
The above performances were recorded when the subject weighted 174 pounds at a height of 5 feet, 8 inches - he was then 17 years and 5 months of age.
Insofar as flexibility was concerned, a comparison between this subject and any other subject in the group was almost ridiculous; his ranges of movement were far greater in every respect - in some cases by as much as 90 degrees of movement. Without bending his knees, he was capable of touching a point more than ten inches below his feet - and his range of elbow movement exceeded 240 degrees, as contrasted to an average range of movement of approximately 150 degrees. In spite of his far larger than average leg size, he was easily and comfortably able to sit with his buttocks, the entire surface of the backs of his thighs, the entire surface of the sides of his calves and the inside surfaces of his feet all in solid contact with the floor - and this position was in no sense a forced position. No other subject in the group could come anywhere close to assuming this same position - not even as a forced position.
In spite of having done no running at all for a period of over two years -and very little at any time in his life - this subject was among the fastest in the group in the 100 yard dash, and among the leading five percent of subjects in the 660 yard run.
While the above described gains and performances are certainly worthwhile results from only eight months of training, this particular subject fell far below expectations; being almost totally lacking in incentive, he simply refused to push himself in training - and avoided training entirely if at all possible. Many subjects are capable of doing much better, some simply cannot do as well - and incentive is not the only factor involved, although it is an extremely important one, perhaps the most important one.
If a healthy - but underweight - subject trains properly and is provided with the nutritional requirements, he must gain weight; but the rate at which he gains will depend upon many other factors as well.
During the first eight weeks of the above mentioned test program, another subject gained 18 pounds - from 138 pounds to 156 pounds - while increasing his muscular bulk and strength enormously; during that period, he added two full inches to his upper arm size - a 100% increase in muscular bulk - while increasing his strength in the standing press from one repetition with 80 pounds to one repetition with 155 pounds, and ten repetitions with 130 pounds. In the same period, his squatting strength increased from eight repetitions with 130 pounds to twenty repetitions with 230 pounds - and he added more than four inches to the size of his normal chest.
In all of the cases mentioned above, these results were obtained from a maximum of four hours of weekly training - and in most cases, from less than three hours of weekly training.
PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ATTITUDES ON TRAINING
Throughout the medical profession a whole, a widespread - although by no means unanimous - attitude of doubt exists on the subject of physical training of any kind; and even if understandable, this is regrettable -leading, as it does, to a great number of confrontations between coaches and doctors. Part of this situation has arisen from the fact that the field of medicine has simply grown too broad for much more than a general knowledge outside the rather narrow limits of various subfields of specialization; but in no small part, it is also due to a prejudicial attitude not unlike that of the average layman.
While a few doctors have made rather limited attempts to investigate the possibilities of exercise, most of these efforts have been narrow in scope and shallow in depth - and very little in the way of widespread attention has been called to the few published reports that have been produced; as a result, it is extremely difficult to find any published reports on such investigations - and almost impossible to find any such reports with real significance.
Part of this apparent lack of interest is obviously a direct result of the presently widespread concentration upon attempts to discover specific chemical treatments for every sort of illness or injury; but it is also a result of the fact that a number of practitioners of fringe branches of medicine have attached themselves very firmly to some types of physical training - and members of the American Medical Association have shied away from exercise in a rather natural, if unjustified reaction to the statements of people that they look upon as quacks.
In many cases, such an attitude is perfectly justified - within the last six months, I read an article by a man calling himself a doctor, in which he made the flat statement that colds were not a result of "germs", that colds were attempts on the part of the body to rid itself of mucus that resulted from eating the wrong type of foods; he then went on to say that such mucus would eventually work its way out through the top of the head, and would then be called dandruff.
In the face of such published statements as that, it is certainly easy to understand the attitude of the average doctor; but in this case, the baby has almost literally been thrown out with the bath water - since most doctors seem to be totally unaware of the possibilities from physical training. And while such ignorance is at least understandable in this age of greatly specialized medicine, the average doctor is not at all hesitant about giving his opinions on the subject - obviously considering himself an expert, even though totally unaware of any of the significant developments that have taken place in the field of physical training during the last fifty years.
Nor is that an exceptional attitude - on the contrary, it is a far too typical attitude; and in a high percentage of cases, doctors are almost violent in their opposition to exercise of any kind. There are exceptions, of course, but one encounters them very rarely indeed.
To at least some degree, this attitude is changing - but it is changing very slowly; another two centuries of such change might produce a situation where the average doctor would admit that exercise was not "entirely bad."
In spite of simply enormous evidence that such treatment is almost the worse possible type of treatment, the average doctor still favors total immobilization of injured body parts - which, in some types of injuries, is the treatment of obvious choice; but which, in the case of most minor muscular injuries, is exactly the opposite approach to full recovery.
More than this, the average doctor still supports the same myths and superstitions encountered in the average layman - in regard to physical training, at least; and in most cases, their advice will be very brief on the subject of exercise, "... don't."
I can offer no constructive advice on this situation - except to say that great care should be used when selecting a physician. In any sport involving violent body contact, numerous minor injuries will inevitably result - and as any coach knows, many good athletes will play an entire season with some sort of minor injury. And while I am certainly not suggesting that anyone should engage in violent activity while suffering the effects of a serious injury, I am trying to clearly say that many muscular injuries can and should be exercised.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSCULAR "PUMPING"
During the performance of any type of muscular work, the involved muscles demand increased circulation - for two primary reasons, in order to provide the additional fuel requirements, and for removal of the larger than normal amount of waste products being produced; in all cases, this increased circulation will result in temporary enlargement of the working muscles -and in any sort of work that can be maintained for a prolonged period of time, a point of balance is quickly reached where the increased circulation can meet the requirements of the muscles without leading to a condition of extreme "pumping".
But when several repetitions of a near maximum intensity of effort are performed consecutively, such movements will quickly produce a condition of extreme muscular congestion - and eventually the muscles will fail, simply because the circulatory system is unable to meet the momentary requirements. A pumped upper arm may temporarily measure a full half-inch more than it normally does - an increase in size that is far out of proportion to the increase in circumference, an increase in bulk on the order of about twenty percent (20%).
When pumped to that degree, an arm will feel stiff and very heavy - which is not surprising, since its actual weight has been greatly, if temporarily increased; flexibility will be temporarily reduced and the arm will hang in a slightly bent attitude when relaxed. In most cases, the degree of apparent muscularity will be reduced - the muscles will look much larger, and will be much larger, but will appear round and smooth, less defined than they normally do. However, in some cases - particularly in an individual with an extreme degree of muscularity - a pumped muscle may actually appear more defined than it normally does.
In most forms of normal work an exercise, the effects of pumping usually occur without being noticed - for example, very few people are aware that their lower legs are usually at least a half-inch larger at night than they are early in the morning; as a direct result of pumping, the calves markedly increase their size during the course of the day. Nor is this a result of poor circulation - it is a result of normal circulation; the calf muscles are working, and require increased circulation - during the night, when they are not working, the circulation requirements of the calves are greatly reduced, and the size of the calves is reduced accordingly.
Insofar as pumping is concerned, weight-training exercises are in no way different from any other form of exercise - the number of repetitions performed and the relative intensity of effort are the only involved factors; but in most forms of exercise, movements are discontinued long before any great degree of pumping is produced. For this reason, many new trainees feel that weight-training exercises are "somehow different" from other forms of exercise - simply because, for the first time within the limits of their experience they notice the effects of pumping. Their limbs feel "tight" and heavy - and many such new trainees are immediately convinced that they are already becoming "muscle bound", as a result of their first workout. But rather than being something to avoid, muscular pumping is a very clear indication that worthwhile efforts are being expended; if no noticeable degree of pumping is produced by an exercise, then it will do very little in the way of building muscular size or strength. However, although a very noticeable degree of pumping is an unavoidable result of any really productive exercise, it does not follow that even an extreme degree of pumping indicates correctness of performance of an exercise. It is easily possible to produce a really extreme degree of pumping - from exercises that will do little or nothing in the way of building either size or strength.
Fairly light movements performed in sets of very high repetitions -especially if such movements are restricted to partial-range movements -will produce the maximum possible degree of muscular pumping; but will do little or nothing in the way of building size or strength.
Two or three sets of about ten repetitions of a heavy movement will produce almost - if not quite - the same degree of pumping; while also inducing maximum growth stimulation.
Assuming an upper arm measurement of 16 inches prior to a workout, a man would probably pump his arm to a measurement of 16 1/2 inches during the course of a proper workout; but two hours later - measured properly and accurately - his arm would be somewhat smaller than it was before the workout, probably about 15 7/8 inches. Measured "cold" (without being pumped) twenty-four hours later, his arm would be back to its normal measurement of 16 inches - or slightly larger, if growth resulted from the workout.
Accurate measurements of various body parts will clearly prove that measurements vary rather widely during the course of an average day - even when you are not training; for example, your upper arms are slightly larger than normal when you first get out of bed in the morning - and slightly smaller for an hour or more after you have eaten a heavy meal. Temperature will also affect your measurements - your arms are usually a bit smaller on cold days, and larger on hot days.
Thus - for any sort of accuracy - measurements should always be taken under precisely the same conditions; but in practice, that is very difficult to do. For that reason, pumped measurements have a very real significance -because the conditions will always be, or should always be, exactly the same at the end of each workout.
Secondly, as long as your training program remains unchanged, your pumped measurements will clearly indicate future growth in advance; if your upper arm normally pumps only one-half inch during a workout, and then shows an increase of three-quarters of an inch as a result of the same type of workout, this is a clear indication that your arm will grow during the following forty-eight hours.
The ability to pump a muscle to a particular size precedes the growth of a muscle to the normal size that would usually be required for the pumped measurement indicated.
Among the ranks of bodybuilders, a great number of outright myths and superstitions on this subject are currently being accepted as a proven fact; for example, many bodybuilders sincerely believe that they can maintain a permanent state of "semi-pump" as a result of their workouts - which, of course, is a literal impossibility.
To at least some degree, such a patently false belief is probably due to outright fraud in some commercial advertisements; various products are offered that will supposedly "promote circulation" and "maintain a pumped condition." And, quite obviously, the two conditions are mutually exclusive - with normal circulation, no degree of pump will be evident - and when any degree of pumping is evident, it is simply an indication that the circulatory system is momentarily unable to meet the requirements of working muscles, or muscles that have been working until a short time earlier.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSCULAR SORENESS
When a muscle that has not been accustomed to heavy workloads is worked intensely - or for a prolonged period of time at a normal level of intensity - then some degree of muscular soreness will usually result; in some cases, this can be literally crippling in its effects - for as long as a week.
There are a number of rather involved theories regarding the actual physiological causes of muscular soreness; but a detailed understanding of the physical and chemical factors involved is not necessary if we are aware of the cause/effect relationship concerned.
Extreme degrees of muscular soreness almost never result from the execution of a single movement - probably because the muscles involved in the movement are not warmed-up enough to make a maximum effort, and thus are momentarily unable to work hard enough to cause much in the way of soreness, even though the movement may be carried to the point of muscular failure.
But some soreness will result from such a movement - and if properly understood, such soreness can be a valuable clue to training progress. Most bodybuilders sincerely believe that the bench press is a direct exercise for the pectoral muscles - and if an untrained individual performs several sets of bench presses, his pectorals will certainly become sore; but if, instead, the same individual performs only about three heavy sets of one repetition each, little or no soreness in the pectorals will result. Instead, the anterior portion of the deltoids will become sore - with the possibility of a very slight amount of soreness, simply an "awareness", in both the pectorals and triceps. And while the bench press is not a direct exercise for any of the muscles of the body - in no sense of the word direct - it will thus be clearly demonstrated that the deltoids are receiving the most nearly direct work from this exercise.
Similar tests can be conducted in order to determine the effects of most types of exercises - with little or no possibility of error; for example -recently, in an attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new type of exercise for the latissimus, we made use of several previously untrained individuals. Some of these subjects performed only regular chinning movements - others performed only behind-neck chinning movements - a few executed "pulldowns" on a conventional latissimus machine - and so on; the entire spectrum of possible exercises for the latissimus muscles was covered, and a few individuals performed one heavy set of each of the various exercises.
Forty-eight hours later, none of these subjects reported much in the way of muscular soreness in the latissimus muscles - and quite a number of them did not even experience an awareness of their latissimus muscles; however, without exception, all of the subjects were sore in other areas -especially in the arms. In many cases, this degree of soreness was so great that the subjects were almost unable to use their arms for several days.
Another group of subjects performed several sets on a new type of latissimus machine - and without exception, these subjects were sore in the latissimus muscles; other areas of soreness occurred in gradually reducing degrees in the pectorals, the trapezoids and the abdominals - which is exactly the result we anticipated. Several subjects reported soreness in the triceps muscles of the upper arms, but they were in understandable error in this belief; the apparent triceps soreness that they reported was actually soreness of the latissimus attachments at the points where these muscles join the upper arms - directly below the mass of the triceps muscles.
In this last group of subjects, no actual arm muscle soreness of any kind was reported - in strong contrast to the results produced in the other groups.
Thus, should you have any question about the effectiveness of a particular exercise, it is quite easy to make use of muscular soreness as a means of testing the exercise; simply avoid any sort of exercise for that particular muscular area of the body for a period of at least ten days, then perform only three heavy sets of one repetition of the exercise in question. Within forty-eight hours, you will have a clear answer to the question.
If a muscle is being exercised regularly, it will quickly become so accustomed to heavy workloads that it will be almost impossible to induce even a slight degree of muscular soreness; thus, if muscular soreness is produced in an area of the body that has been trained for as long as a week, this is a clear indication that you have not been training hard enough - or that you have been performing the movements improperly.
Extreme degrees of muscular soreness can be - and should be - avoided by following a carefully outlined "break-in" program of training for at least a week; and in some cases, as much as ninety days of break-in training may be required. Although, in such cases, prolonged break-in training will not be required because of any considerations due to muscular soreness.
During the first week of training - if at all possible - a trainee should exercise daily for a period of about thirty minutes; during that first week of training, only one set of one exercise should be performed for each of the major muscle masses of the body - and these sets should be terminated before reaching a point of muscular failure. However, it is necessary to work the muscles fairly hard - no amount of light movements will prepare the muscles for the heavy workloads that will follow in the normal course of training.
At least some degree of muscular soreness is almost unavoidable, but it is neither necessary nor desirable to work a new trainee so hard that he will become extremely sore; but should extreme soreness result, then it is absolutely necessary to work the muscles quite hard until such a time that a normal condition returns. If a muscle is worked hard enough to produce an extreme degree of soreness within twenty-four hours, then that muscle should be worked heavily every day until no traces of soreness remain; if not, then the subject will probably be crippled for at least a week.
But while that is certainly true, it is almost impossible to convince a new trainee that he should heavily work a muscle that is already extremely sore; he will tend to feel, rather naturally, that hard work got him into that condition - and when you suggest even harder work as a cure, it may appear that you are suggesting pouring gasoline on a fire as a means of extinguishing it.
But if extreme muscular soreness results within twenty-four hours after a workout - and if no exercise is performed on the second day - then a literally crippling degree of soreness will result on the third day, and the fourth day will usually be far worse.
The worst form of muscular soreness involves the attachments of the tendons and ligaments, and in extreme cases it may be literally impossible to straighten the arms or stand in a normal manner with your heels flat on the floor; in such cases, more exercise - heavy exercise - is the only possible solution. Without additional exercise, normal activity may be impossible for as much as ten days or two weeks. But such a situation can be - and should be - avoided; if a new trainee suffers that sort of results from his first workout, you have probably seen the last of him - although he might be tempted to come around a month or so later and burn your house down, with some possible justification.
Some years ago, a man I knew suffered such a degree of muscular soreness as a result of one hard workout that he spent the next five days in the hospital - and was unable to resume his normal activities as a flight instructor for a period of more than a week after he got out of the hospital; and this man was in fairly hard muscular condition at the time of his first workout - or at least thought he was.
But, if he had returned for a second hard workout on the following day, then most of the prolonged effects would have been avoided - and his degree of soreness would never have approached the point that it actually reached. But trying to tell him that had no slightest effect - with the results mentioned above.
Thus - since new trainees usually cannot, or will not believe that heavy exercise is capable of reversing the effects that were caused by previous heavy exercise - it is best to avoid any sort of training that might produce extreme soreness.
During the first week of training, a new trainee should perform the following basic program of exercises - every day for five consecutive days:
1. Full squats 1 set, 20 repetitions
2. Standing press with barbell 1 set, 10 repetitions
3. Regular grip chinning on bar 1 set, 5 repetitions
4. Bench presses with barbell 1 set, 10 repetitions
5. Regular grip curls with barbell 1 set, 10 repetitions
6. Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 set, 15 repetitions
7. Calf raises on one leg 1 set, 10 repetitions
8. Sit-ups with bent knees 1 set, 10 repetitions
The actual resistance employed should be light enough to permit the designated number of repetitions without exhausting the working muscles -and the first week of training should be conducted under careful supervision, in order to assure that the trainee is performing the exercises properly and is not working to a point of exhaustion.
During the second week of break-in training, the same basic exercises should be employed in the same order - but only three workouts should be performed, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. And two sets of each exercise should be performed during each workout; the first set of each exercise should be performed exactly as that exercise was performed during the first week of training - with the resistance previously used - and the second set should employ approximately ten percent (10%) more resistance, and should be carried almost to the point of momentary exhaustion. The actual number of repetitions performed during second sets of the exercises will depend upon the recovery ability of the individual trainee - but in most cases it will be found that the subject will be able to perform about as many repetitions during second sets as he performed during first sets.
After two weeks of such break-in training, most subjects will be ready for a regular training program - but exceptions will occasionally be encountered; most such exceptions will involve trainees that are either extremely overweight or very thin - and great care is required in the supervision of the training of either type of individual.
While a thin individual may appear to be in good muscular condition, such subjects will almost never have much in the way of recovery ability, and if they are worked too heavily during the first two or three months of training, losses in strength and muscular size may be produced; in such cases, keep the trainee on a basic program of one set of each of ten exercises - movements designed to involve the largest muscular masses in the body - until such time that the subject is obviously gaining weight at a rate of at least one pound per week.
The number of repetitions in each set should be limited to about ten - with the exception of squats, which should be performed for twenty repetitions; but after a normal break-in period, each set of each exercise should be a maximum possible effort, leading to a point of momentary muscular failure.
Unless a thin subject is suffering from an undetected illness, he should gain at least thirteen pounds during the first three months of training -at a rate of one pound per week for thirteen weeks; and if so, then his training program can be increased to two sets of each exercise during each of three weekly workouts after the first three months of training.
But some thin subjects will respond to almost any sort of training in literally spectacular manner - they may gain twenty or thirty pounds during the first month of training; and in such cases, their program can be intensified after they have gained twenty or more pounds of bodyweight.
With overweight subjects, the situation is very similar - with the obvious difference of the weight problem; such individuals desperately need to burn up as many calories as possible, but are almost never in condition to stand much in the way of heavy exercise without a prolonged period of break-in training.
Their diet should be reduced to the minimum point that is capable of maintaining a reasonable level of energy - while providing daily nutritional requirements in the way of protein, vitamins, and minerals; and they should be encouraged to start in a daily program of jogging in addition to their regular workouts. But nothing spectacular in the way of results should be expected - such an individual may require a full year of regular training to reach a condition of reasonable muscularity.
With badly overweight subjects, as many as four sets of ten basic exercises should be practiced - as soon as they are able to perform that number of sets without becoming totally exhausted; repetitions should be on the high side, from fifteen to twenty in each set - and as many as fifty in each set of squats.
AGE AS A FACTOR
Insofar as age is considered as a factor in the production of the best possible rate of gaining in strength and muscular mass as a result of heavy exercise, it will almost always be found that an individual will gain most rapidly at an age of about twenty-five to thirty - at a point well after he has reached physical maturity.
An immature individual may well - and usually will - require several years of training to produce the same degree of results that can be produced by the same individual within a year if training is delayed until after the age of twenty-five.
Over twenty years ago, I helped produce the most striking physical improvement in an individual that I have ever witnessed; this man was a regular army officer then over thirty years of age - and he increased the size of his normal chest by six full inches in a period of three weeks, as a result of only eight workouts, while gaining twenty pounds of solid muscular bodyweight.
From all available evidence, it seems perfectly clear that almost anyone can greatly profit from heavy exercise up to an age of at least sixty - and in fact, it seems that an individual past the age of forty has more to gain than a younger person.
However, certain factors are obviously determined by age; for example, during the Second World War, a large number of wounded servicemen were treated for facial injuries with skin transplants - and in most cases, the skin for these transplants was removed from the buttocks or upper thighs.
Now, twenty-five years later, it is obvious that this was a mistake; many of these individuals are now clearly displaying heavy deposits of fatty tissue in areas where such deposits are not normal.
Thus it appears that skin from an area that normally shows increasing deposits of fatty tissue with advancing age is not changed by being moved to another area of the body - and this is clear proof that such fatty deposits are simply an unavoidable result of age.
While some individuals can - and will - display a high degree of muscularity at any age, other individuals will find it almost impossible to remove all of the fatty deposits from some areas of the body when they are past the age of about forty.
TIME AS A FACTOR
Time is a necessary factor in any measurement of power - and strength is the ability to produce power; thus time must be considered in measurements of strength - and it must also be considered as one of the most important factors involved in training. If a given training program is performed over a period of two hours, the results will be far different from those that would have been produced if the same program had been performed in one hour.
A trainee should start breathing much more rapidly than he normally does within the first minute of his workouts, and his breathing should not return to normal for at least ten minutes after his workouts have been completed. If not, his training pace is much too slow - and worthwhile results will not be forthcoming as fast as they should be.
Very few bodybuilders are willing to work at such a pace, and as a direct result, many such individuals are actually in rather poor physical condition - in spite of their muscular bulk; most such trainees are under the mistaken impression that fifteen or twenty hours of weekly training are required for building great muscular mass, and they cannot - or will not -work at a fast pace for such long periods. But in fact, a greater degree of results can be produced by only about four hours of weekly training - if such training is conducted at the proper pace.
But, personally, I have about reached a point where I no longer even try to convince bodybuilders of this simple fact; most of them are absolutely - if mistakenly - convinced that nothing less than five or six weekly workouts of three or four hours each will produce much in the way of results. And while such individuals never fail to be literally amazed at the results which we consistently produce from a small fraction of that weekly training time, most of them simply refuse to believe the truth even when it is carefully explained to them.
Personally - if twenty hours of hard weekly training were required for the production of the best results - I would consider any possible results badly overpriced, and simply not worth the cost; but in fact, such prolonged training will actually retard progress - rather than promoting it.
The weight of all available evidence clearly proves that the best results will always be produced by less than five hours of weekly training - and in most cases, by less than four hours of weekly training; but such training must be intense, and fast paced. The only allowable periods of rest during a workout should occur between the performances of consecutive sets of the same exercise - and if the workout is properly outlined, even those rest periods can be avoided in many cases, and should be avoided whenever possible.
Nor is this merely a matter of saving time - in fact, the saving of training time is the least important consideration; for building overall condition - improving the heart action, breathing, circulation, and muscular endurance - a fast pace of training is an absolute requirement. If exactly the same training program is performed in twice the proper amount of time, then some - but not much - muscle growth stimulation will be induced, but practically nothing in the way of improved condition will result. The muscles will grow - very slowly - but breathing, the heart action, the circulation, and endurance will remain almost unchanged. And while several years of such training can - and probably will - produce a great degree of muscular size, such an individual would probably be in very poor physical condition.
Far faster muscular growth - and simply enormous improvements in condition - could have been produced, and would have been produced, by performing exactly the same training program in half the time.
Obviously, there is a limit to the speed of training; since it is impossible to perform a second set of an exercise immediately following a first set of maximum-possible intensity. But a properly conditioned individual should be able to perform a second set of an exercise within a period of four minutes following the start of the first set - and a third set four minutes later; and his performance should increase set by set - he should perform better in the second set than he did in the first set, and even better during the third set.
In many cases, it is possible to alternate exercises between various body parts - and in this way rest periods can be almost entirely eliminated; in some cases, this type of training is an absolute requirement for the production of best results - this being true in regard to the chest, the lower legs, and the forearms. No other type of training for those body parts will produce anything even approaching maximum possible results -regardless of how long such training may be continued.
The largest muscles of the upper body should be exercised immediately after a set of heavy exercise for the thighs - while the rate of breathing is still very high; with no slightest rest between the leg work and the upper body movements. The calves and forearms should be exercised without rest for a period of several minutes - as soon as a set of one exercise is completed, a set of another exercise for the same body part should be started. And every set of every exercise should be carried to the point of absolute - if momentary - muscular failure.
In later chapters devoted to exact training routines, a time factor will always be included as an essential part of each training program, and close attention should be given to this factor; if it is not, then results will be far below what they should be.
DEVELOPING SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY
While speed is not a result of flexibility - great speed of movement is impossible without extreme flexibility; thus training for speed must involve training for increased freedom of movement and increased ranges of movement.
Freedom of movement is primarily determined by two factors - the existing power-to-weight ratio, and the muscular fiber to fatty tissue ratio.
Ranges of movement are primarily determined by two other factors - the type of exercises employed, and the amount of resistance used in such exercises.
In both cases, several other factors are involved as well - but these are factors that little or nothing can be done about, so they need not concern us hers; most such factors are hereditarily determined - nuero-muscular reaction time, bodily proportions, tendon attachment points (which effect leverage), and other factors.
Short of outright starvation, it is literally impossible to remove the last visible trace of intramuscular fatty tissue - but this is neither necessary nor desirable; however, excessive amounts of such tissue must be removed if great freedom of movement is desired. And the removal of such tissue will be a long step in the direction of improving the power-to-weight ratio -although it is only one of several required steps.
Fortunately, the additional steps required for removing excess fatty tissue also result in power increases - as well as increasing possible ranges of movement. And the exercises that are required for building great strength also produce increases in ranges of movement. Thus it is easily possible to concentrate on one goal - the building of a very high power potential -while also increasing both freedom of movement and ranges of movement.
Having improved all three factors - power, freedom of movement, and ranges of movement - as much as possible within the limitations imposed by bodyweight restrictions, speed of movement will then be at its optimum level. At least insofar as directly involved physical factors are concerned; thus additional improvement will depend upon improvements in "form" and the development of conditioned reflexes, so-called "muscle memory."
While it is certainly true - as I have tried to make clear in preceding chapters - that there is no significant difference between strength and endurance, that most such "differences" are merely apparent differences which fail to stand up to the light of careful investigation, it does not follow that exactly similar results will be produced by light forms of exercise and heavy forms of the same exercise.
To a large degree, this is true simply because the resistance employed in light exercises is not sufficient to force the body parts into positions that will produce increases in the existing ranges of possible movement. For example: when performing bent-arm pullovers on a flat bench with a light weight, the elbows will seldom be forced much if any beyond the forehead -and little or no improvement in the possible range of movement will be produced. Likewise, since the involved muscles will not be working throughout their entire possible range of movement, it will be impossible to induce a maximum demand for either muscular mass or strength increases.
However, if a much heavier resistance is employed in the same exercise, then the elbows may be forced to a point well behind the head - and much greater increases in power, freedom of movement, and ranges of movement will be produced.
An even more striking example is immediately apparent if we consider the stiff-legged deadlift; many heavy individuals find it impossible to touch their toes with their finger-tips without bending their knees - and no amount of light exercises will do much to correct this condition. However, after a few months of practice of heavy stiff-legged deadlifts, most subjects can reach a point at least several inches below their feet - and some subjects can touch their elbows to the floor from a standing position without bending their knees.
And the practice of the movements required to build such great flexibility will simultaneously result in great increases in both power and freedom of movement - the muscles will become stronger because they are being worked over a greater range, and the fatty tissue which previously restricted freedom of movement will be removed to a great degree.
Thus - directly contrary to widespread popular opinion - it is obvious that vary heavy movements are actually a requirement for developing speed of movement, rather than a practice to be avoided. A particular individual might be quite fast in spite of the fact that he has never practiced any sort of heavy exercise - but the same subject would have been markedly faster if he had engaged in heavy exercises.
During one of the Olympic games, careful testing of the involved athletes clearly proved that a weightlifter was by far the fastest man competing in any sport - and that most of the weightlifters were considerably faster than the non-weightlifters.
Great power is literally impossible without great speed of movement; and the higher the power-to-weight ratio, the faster the resulting speed - all other factors being equal.
Except for bodybuilding purposes - for physique competition - serious attempts to build or maintain perfect muscular proportions are neither necessary nor desirable; a large part of the time and effort expended by bodybuilders is directed towards the attainment of ideal proportions - but trainees involved in any active form of sport should confine their efforts entirely to the development of the muscles that will contribute directly to the performance of their chosen sport. And let the resulting muscular proportions be what they may.
This is not meant to imply that the muscles developed by bodybuilding activities are useless - but in many cases, such development will contribute little or nothing to the performance of a particular sport; and thus the time that would be required for building such development can almost always be used to far greater advantage in other ways.
It is expecting far too much to expect a leading bodybuilder to also be a champion athlete in every form of active sport; but it is also expecting too much to expect a champion athlete in any sport to possess a perfectly proportionate physique.
Certain muscular structures can be developed rapidly and easily - some others require far more time and effort; and when considering a body part that is difficult to develop, such development is not justified unless it contributes directly to the performance of the subject's chosen sport. Nor is maximum possible development of even the muscular structures that are easy to develop justified - unless such development is required.
Regardless of the recovery ability of an individual, definite limits exist insofar as his available energy and recovery ability are concerned - and both of these factors should be utilized to the greatest possible advantage; if energy is wasted - or if the subject's recovery ability is exhausted -in efforts to develop muscular structures that will not contribute directly to the subject's sports activities, then maximum possible benefit from supplemental training will be impossible.
In later chapters devoted to exact training programs, I will detail a number of exact workout schedules - and for best possible results, these should be followed without any slightest change in almost all cases. But if results are less than those expected, then such programs should be reduced - rather than increased - before any other type of alteration is undertaken; when less than optimum results are produced by any schedule of heavy exercise, then it is almost always due to overtraining rather than to undertraining.
Many subjects will be tempted to add some of their favorite exercises to these schedules; but if they do, then overall results will almost always be reduced - because these schedules are carefully designed to induce maximum possible degrees of growth stimulation in a minimum of training time, and such results cannot be produced unless the recovery ability is disturbed as little as possible.
Secondly, as the subjects become conditioned to a schedule of heavy exercise, there will always be a natural temptation to increase the number of sets or the number of exercises - and in some cases this is desirable; but in the vast majority of cases, such increases should be avoided - once well conditioned, the subjects have a feeling of almost boundless energy, and they feel like utilizing this energy in longer workouts, but this is always a mistake. After all, the purpose of training is to increase the athlete's stores of energy while increasing both his strength and muscular efficiency - and if this energy is wasted in workouts of increased length or frequency, then a condition of overtraining will soon result, and progress will be greatly reduced.
Once properly conditioned, an athlete should be able to complete a hard workout - and then, after not more than thirty minutes rest, go through the entire workout again at the same pace without reducing his number of sets, number of repetitions, or number of exercises, and without reducing the amount of resistance by more than five percent (5%). If he cannot do so, then he is overtraining; overtraining insofar as the "amount" of exercise is concerned - not insofar as "intensity of effort" is concerned.
But I certainly do not mean that he should repeat his workouts immediately - merely that he should be capable of doing so.
LAYOFFS FROM TRAINING
In an earlier chapter on the requirement for irregularity of exercise, I mentioned the fact that training should never be permitted to degenerate into a rug - wherein the subject merely goes through the motions without really extending himself; such training will never produce much in the way of worthwhile results, and if continued long enough will usually lead to a loss of interest in training of any kind.
Thus, in the vast majority of cases, best long-range results will be produced if infrequent, irregular - but rather prolonged - layoffs from training are permitted; but such layoffs should not be scheduled in advance - for a number of reasons. If a subject is looking forward to a scheduled layoff from training, then his incentive will usually be greatly reduced -and if he is forced to take an unscheduled layoff, then he will normally return to training with greatly increased enthusiasm.
But totally apart from psychological considerations, although the responsible physiological factors are not at all clear, it is obvious that the system requires rather prolonged - if infrequent - breaks in training. In most cases, such layoffs from training should involve at least a week of almost total inactivity - and in some cases, a month out of training will do more for progress than six months of steady training without a break.
Any degree of strength/endurance that may be lost during such a layoff from training will usually be reestablished within a very short period of time after training is resumed - and in almost all cases, progress towards higher levels of ability will immediately follow.
In fact, best possible performances in many types of sports activities can sometimes be produced only after a layoff; power lifters, for example, are well advised to avoid training entirely for several days prior to a lifting meet. A longer layoff might - and probably would - result in reduced performance levels, but a few days out of training may make it possible to lift more than would otherwise have been possible.
The same sort of results can be observed in any sports activity that requires brief but very intense effort - pole vaulting, shot putting and short dashes are examples of such activities.
In almost all cases, if a month of constant training fails to produce marked degrees of improvement, then the need for a layoff is indicated; and in most such cases, the most desirable period out of training is a full week - or, in fact, a period of ten days, since training would normally be terminated on a Friday and would not be resumed until Monday of the second-following week.
Upon resuming training, at least some degree of muscular soreness can be expected - but another period of break-in training is not normally required. Individuals differ to some degree in their reactions to exercise after a layoff, but in most cases training should be resumed at the same levels at which it was terminated.
in cases involving injuries or
illnesses, layoffs from training
should never exceed a period of
a full month - within that period
of time, any normal physiological
requirements for a break in training
will have been fully met; and
additional periods out of training
will merely reduce the existing
levels of ability without compensation.
"STICKING POINTS" IN TRAINING
Progress as a result of training should be both steady and rapid - and it will be if all of the involved factors are clearly understood and allowed for; but viewed on a short-range scale, occasional "sticking points" will be encountered where additional progress seems impossible.
In almost all cases, such sticking points are a direct result of overtraining - and many of them can be overcome by a brief layoff from training; but in some cases, another answer to the problem is required -one of several possible answers.
Upon encountering a stubborn sticking point, many subjects eventually assume that they have reached the maximum level of their individual potential -but that is almost never the correct answer to the problem; the potential levels of attainment are actually so high that very few individuals ever even closely approach them.
Insofar as strength is concerned, it is literally possible to build the power of the muscular structure to such a point that the skeleton is unable to support the loads that the muscles can easily lift. BUT BUILDING SUCH GREAT STRENGTH DOES NOT REQUIRE EXPOSING THE FRAMEWORK OF THE BODY TO SUCH DANGEROUS LOADS.
Digressing for a moment to the latter point, I want to clearly point out that maximum possible squatting strength - for example - can be produced without ever performing a squat with more than 400 pounds; although it will be necessary to "support" much greater loads in various positions if such strength is to be used without resulting damage to the tendon attachments.
When a subject is capable of rapidly performing 20 repetitions in the full squat with 400 pounds, then his squatting strength for one repetition is about as high as it will ever be, regardless of the system of training he follows; and if not, then it can be built to a maximum level of strength by continuing the practice of full squats with 400 pounds until such time as 30 or 40 repetitions become possible. But in all cases, a point will eventually be reached where the ability to perform a certain number of repetitions with 400 pounds will clearly indicate the ability to squat once with a maximum-possible amount of resistance.
And - while such training will almost entirely remove the potential hazards imposed by squatting with very heavy weights - it will also produce literally enormous increases in "wind", in cardiovascular efficiency, in overall muscular mass, and in overall muscular strength.
Now returning to the initial subject; when a sticking point is encountered that does not respond to a brief layoff from training - or is encountered immediately following a layoff - then one of two possible methods will probably produce results.
If the subject's strength level has not already reached a point where additional resistance would be unwise because of safety considerations, then the resistance should be markedly increased; for example, if a subject has been "stuck" at a point of 10 repetitions in the curl with a resistance of 100 pounds - then the weight should be increased to 120 pounds (by twenty percent). Such an increase in resistance will probably reduce the subject's ability to the point of about three or four repetitions - but if all sets are performed as maximum possible sets, then progress will usually be almost immediately apparent; and in most cases, the subject will soon be able to perform ten repetitions with the increased resistance.
However, if the subject's strength level is already so high that additional large-scale increases in resistance are unwise because of danger to the framework of the body, then it is usually advisable to discontinue that particular exercise entirely for a while - and in such cases, the exercise should be replaced with a somewhat similar movement. For example: if the subject is stuck at a certain number of repetitions in the bench press with 350 pounds, then it might be advisable to discontinue bench presses entirely for a period of several weeks - while replacing them with a similar exercise, bench presses performed with dumbbells, or incline bench presses.
But if none of these methods - layoff, markedly increasing the resistance, or substituting a similar exercise - produce the desired result, then overtraining should be suspected; another layoff is not usually indicated or desirable - but the length and/or frequency of workouts should be reduced. If three sets of each exercise have been practiced, then reduce the number to two sets - and/or reduce the weekly workouts from three to two.
And if results are still not forthcoming, the fault will usually be directly due to the maturity factor - or, if the subject is above the age of twenty-five, then nutritional factors should be suspected.
But such total failure to produce continuing progress is almost never encountered in practice - and when such cases are encountered, the subject is usually suffering from an undetected illness or is not devoting the proper intensity of effort to his workouts.
Apart from intensity of effort, confidence may well be the most important factor for the production of the best rate of training progress; without confidence in his ability to produce good results, a trainee will seldom be able to produce them - and never in proportion to the efforts expended.
It is not the author's intention to go into the possible causative factors behind this situation - nor is it meant to be implied that these factors are identified or understood; quite the contrary, while a very large number of theories exist on this subject, the author has little if any confidence in any of the theories that have come to his attention - and absolutely no intention of becoming involved in a detailed recounting of such theories.
But - beyond any shadow of a slightest doubt - it is clear that lack of confidence in a particular mode of training can, and probably will, reduce the results produced by such training to a marked degree; a similar, if opposite effect is well established in the field of medicine - the placebo effect.
In some cases I completely agree with the methods practiced by coaches in attempts to inspire confidence, and in a few cases I do not agree with the methods being practiced - but my personal likes or dislikes are of no slightest importance; results are what count, and any reasonable method -and some apparently unreasonable methods - that will produce the required results should be practiced.
I could almost literally hammer this point into the ground, with hundreds of examples of cases where confidence - or a lack of confidence - greatly influenced the production of results from physical training; but no amount of repetition can make the above points any clearer.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MEASUREMENTS
So many outright lies have been stated on the subject of bodily measurements during the last few years that I am almost tempted to skip the subject entirely - and I would do so except for the fact that a few points should be established in this regard.
But before I do so, I want to say that the largest muscular upper arm that I ever measured - and certainly one of the largest muscular arms in the world - was the left arm of Bill Pearl; which was 18-5/8 inches measured "cold" and perfectly accurately. Yet many bodybuilders - with arms that are obviously much smaller than Bill Pearl's - claim upper arm measurements of as much as 23 inches; and 19 inch upper arms - if you are to believe current claims - are almost as common as dirt.
The size of the average man's head is between 22 and 23 inches, and I have yet to see a man with muscular arms that even began to approach the size of his head - nor do I ever expect to. But I mention the size of the head in relation to the size of the arms very pointedly - because the apparent size of an individual will depend to a great degree upon the size of his head, and this is especially true when you must judge a man's size by photographs; a man with a larger than average head will always look far smaller than his actual size, and vice versa.
But quite contrary to very common belief, photographs do not make an individual look "heavier" than he or she actually may be; in fact, if any apparent distortion of size is created, the photographed individual will almost always look much smaller than true size. This is especially true when you are dealing with photographs of athletes with great muscular size -while such an individual may appear quite large in a photograph, if so, then he will usually appear to be almost a giant in person.
It seems to be almost literally impossible to photograph a very heavily developed bodybuilder in such a manner that a true impression of his size is given - while such an individual may be very impressive in photographs, he will be almost unbelievable in person. And this is especially true when the accurate height and bodyweight of an individual are given in connection with a photograph.
But in spite of their almost unbelievable muscular size, the actual measurements of such individuals will seldom even closely approach those quoted for them - or by them. On a man of average height, a 16 inch muscular arm is very impressive - a 17 inch upper arm is so large that it may make the individual appear freakish if the rest of the body's muscular proportion is not in proportion - an 18 inch upper must be seen to be appreciated - and a 19 inch upper arm approaches the impossible insofar as size is concerned. True - I once saw a man with upper arms that were over 20 inches in reasonable muscular condition; but he wasn't an average individual - he was just under a full nine feet tall and weighted over 500 pounds.
If such a man weighed as much as he should in order to present a reasonably proportioned appearance, his upper arms might measure as much as 25 inches - but he would have to weigh something on the order of 800 pounds to retain such reasonable proportions at that height.
And that is my entire point, measurements should be in proportion to the height and weight of the individual - totally without regard for what their actual size may be; if not, then an individual will present a freakish appearance. But in fact, some bodybuilders go to great lengths in their attempts to create just such a freakish appearance; some years ago, in northern California, it was quite the "thing" for heavily developed bodybuilders to wear as many as seven carefully tailored, very thick sweaters - merely in an attempt to overstate their already enormous size.
But if clothes are properly cut and fitted, then even the largest bodybuilder can pass through a crowd unnoticed; fairly recently, in New York, my son was waiting in the lobby of a well lighted building when one of the heaviest developed individuals in the history of the world walked by him at a distance of five feet, completely unnoticed - even though my son knew the man, was expecting him, and was looking for him. In well fitted clothing he simply did not stand out, in spite of his literally enormous size.
Then, a few minutes later, another - but much smaller - bodybuilder entered the same lobby, and all eyes were immediately turned in his direction; he appeared enormous - and he also appeared to have escaped from the set of a Frankenstein movie, still in costume as the monster. All he really required in that direction was a bolt through his neck - he already had on a hair coat. Yet such an outrageous appearance was a total creation of his selected costume; and this was clearly proven by the fact that the other, actually much larger, bodybuilder passed unnoticed.
If it appears that the author looks with disfavor upon the antics of such people as the Frankenstein-like character mentioned above, then the reader has gained the proper impression; but while the opinions of the author are of very little importance to anyone apart from himself, the actions of such characters are of great - if totally negative - importance. Because many people judge the entire field of weight-training by such individuals.
And while it has taken the commercial airlines a great number of years to live down the reputation established by the early day barnstorming pilots -without which there would probably never have been any airlines - it now appears that the field of weight training may be forced to go through an even more prolonged period of living down the antics of some bodybuilders, without which the field of weight training could do quite well.
Apart from considerations which will be carefully explained in a later chapter dealing with charting progress, the coach I charge of a class of weight trainees would probably be well advised to do everything possible in the direction of discouraging interest in measurements; too closely watched by an individual trainee, the normal fluctuations in bodily measurements can lead to great discouragement.
If at all possible, it is usually far better to try to concentrate the trainee's entire attention on attempts to better his performances, and if this is done properly, then the matter of measurements will take care of itself quite nicely - when the subject can curl 200 pounds in good form without body-swing, then his arms will be as large as they need to be for any possible purpose connected with any sport just short of wrestling bears.
Without becoming involved in almost endless detail, the subject of this chapter is perhaps the most difficult aspect of weight training to clearly explain - and without such a full explanation, some of the points involved may appear to contradict other points established earlier. However, in fact, no such contradiction exists - regardless of possible appearances.
When the actual progress of an individual trainee is carefully charted over a period of a few months, several rather surprising results will become immediately apparent; for example, while strength levels will increase in a series of gentle curves, increases in size of the involved body parts - and thus apparent increases in muscular mass - will result in a stair-step pattern.
A much clearer understanding of these separate - but interrelated -patterns of growth can be gained by a study of actual charts of human growth. And if this is done, it will be noted that strength increases seem to come in an almost straight, but slightly down-curving line - if such increases are viewed over a long period of time; but a closer view will reveal the fact that the line was actually curving back and forth to a slight degree.
And upon closely viewing increases in the size of the involved body parts, it will be immediately apparent that such increases came in sudden spurts followed by plateaus, in stair-step fashion.
And upon carefully comparing these two different factors of growth, on the same scale, it will be seen that strength increases curved upwards -increasing their rate of progress - immediately following an increase in size of the involved body part, and then gradually curved back into a reduced rate of increase.
From all available evidence, the cause/effect relationship involved seems to be perfectly clear; strength increases at a faster rate immediately after an increase in size makes such a strength increase possible - but then reduces its rate of progress as it nears the maximum strength level for a particular size.
Likewise, there seems to be no necessity for a size increase so long as the existing strength level is lower than that which is possible at the existing size.
Thus, in effect, size increases permit strength increases - and strength increases force size increases.
From the above, it might appear that this disproves a previously established point - the relationship between size and strength; but in fact, it is actually proof of the previously established point. I have never stated -nor have I meant to imply - that there was an absolutely rigid relationship between existing size and strength levels; on the contrary, an obvious range of variation is clearly demonstrable. And while this range is normally so slight that it can and should be totally disregarded, and while it is rigidly limited on the "upside" - there is literally no limit to this range on the "downside."
This is to say; once a muscle has attained the maximum possible level of strength for a particular size, it literally cannot increase in strength until and unless an increase in size is produced. However, even a moment of consideration will make it immediately apparent that the strength of a muscle can "decrease" literally to the point of nothing - without the necessity for any decrease in the size of the muscle.
A sudden and violent sickness can reduce a man's strength almost to the point of zero - with little or no decrease in the size of his muscles; but if his strength is at its maximum level for a particular size, then nothing short of an increase in size can produce an increase in strength. And even then, an increase in size will not "produce" an increase in strength - it will merely make it possible.
In earlier chapters, rather than risking getting bogged down in far too much technical detail, I simply skipped any mention of quite a number of factors that are really of no importance - if they are understood, as they are; but in so doing, I have created a risk of appearing to contradict myself -while in fact, no such contradiction exists.
Additionally, quite a large amount of confusion exists in regard to many of these factors as a direct result of the extremely poor methods of measurement that are almost always employed. Since it is almost literally impossible to measure the actual existing strength level with anything approaching total accuracy, quite a number of people have based their conclusions upon measurements of no slightest significance or even accuracy.
But when accurate measurements are possible - using the methods detailed in an earlier chapter - then a careful comparison of such measurements will produce evidenced upon which significant conclusions can be based.
In a previous chapter, I pointed out the inadvisability of permitting a trainee to direct his attention into the importance of measurements; and that evidence still stands - but it does not follow that trainees should not constantly be aware of their progress insofar as strength is concerned.
On the contrary, such an awareness is almost an absolute requirement for good results from training - since an attempt should be made to improve upon previous performances during every workout.
Secondly, a constant awareness of the actual progress of a trainee is an essential requirement for the person directing that training; without such an awareness on the part of the coach, an individual trainee can - and many trainees will - produce little or nothing in the way of training progress. In most such cases, a failure to progress properly will be a direct result of insufficient intensity of effort. But - regardless of the causative factor - the coach needs to be made aware of such training failure as soon as possible after it occurs. Properly charting the progress of all trainees will provide such an awareness.
While almost any number of possibilities exist for charting purposes, it is usually better to employ a system of charting that will provide the required information in a minimum amount of time and without involving unnecessary detail. In the author's view, such a system should totally disregard measurements except in isolated instances - and should be based entirely upon performances; as the ability increases, the measurements will keep pace.
Because of the general unavailability of accurate strength testing methods, progress should be charted on a basis of performances of sets of a particular number of repetitions - eight, ten, fifteen, twenty, or almost any possible number of repetitions except one repetition.
For most purposes, the ideal number seems to be ten repetitions; but regardless of the number selected for charting purposes, sets involving any other number of repetitions should be disregarded entirely - at least if any degree of accuracy is desired.
THE PRE-EXHAUSTION PRINCIPLE
To begin with, I want it clearly understood that I make no claims that the subject of this chapter is either new or original; on the contrary, the principle I am about to describe has been mentioned in print (although not under the name I am giving it here) several times during the past few years - however, by and large, I think the very great value of this principle has been overlooked. I do not know the name of the originator of this principle, but he took a long step in the direction of improving the results that are possible from weight-training.
Quite a number of examples of the proper application of this principle could be given - but I will restrict myself to three such examples; however, once the basic idea is clear, it should be possible for almost any trainee to use this principle to very great advantage in dozens of ways.
In general terms, the primary purpose of the application of this principle is to overcome one of the serious shortcomings of almost all conventional exercises; properly used, this principle makes it possible to work a particular muscular structure - almost ANY muscular structure - much harder than is normally possible. In almost all conventional exercises involving the functions of two or more muscular structures, a point of failure is reached when the weakest involved muscles are no longer able to perform; and in such cases, very little in the way of growth stimulation is provided for the stronger muscles involved in the same exercise.
For example; in the squat, a point of failure is usually reached when the lower-back muscles fail - and this normally happens long before the much larger and far stronger frontal thigh muscles have been worked as hard as they should be for the production of best-possible results.
But - by "pre-exhausting" the frontal thigh muscles - this problem can be solved; this can best be done in the following manner. First, perform one set of about twenty to thirty repetitions of leg presses - but continue until it is literally impossible to move the weight in any position, regardless of the number of repetitions that are momentarily required. Second, INSTANTLY follow the leg presses with a set of about twenty thigh extensions - with no rest at all between the leg presses and thigh extensions, and again continuing the set to a point where additional movement is utterly impossible. Third, THEN DO YOUR SQUATS - INSTANTLY, with no rest at all following the thigh extensions, not even so much as two seconds of rest.
You will find that very little weight is required for the squats - probably only half (or even less than halt) of the normal amount of weight that you use for squatting; in many cases, as little as 135 pounds will be all that is required for a man that usually squats with well over 300 pounds for 15 or 20 repetitions.
But regardless of the fact that the weight being used is actually very light, when you do reach a point of failure in your squats it won't be because your lower back failed before your thighs were properly worked; your thighs will be worked far harder than they ever were before - and when you fail, it will be because your thighs are exhausted.
In effect, you have removed the "weak link" of lower-back involvement in the squats; by pre-exhausting the frontal thigh muscles before squatting.
Another example. Performing dumbbell "side raises" immediately prior to behind-neck presses. In this case, perform a set of about ten repetitions of STRICT side raises with dumbbells; keep the palms of the hands turned down towards the floor, rather than permitting the palms to rotate forward -maintain a solid "lock" in the elbows, don't permit the arms to bend at all - keep the arms well "back" in line with your shoulders, if held far enough back the arms will "lock-up" in the shoulders at a point just above level -move smoothly and without body-swing - and continue with partial repetitions, following about ten full repetitions, until you are simply unable to move the dumbbells away from your sides.
Then - INSTANTLY - do a set of about ten repetitions of behind-neck presses; with a fairly narrow (slightly wider than shoulder width) grip. And, again, carry this exercise to the point of utter failure.
And now the final example; pullovers immediately followed by pulldowns. In this instance, do a set of as many as fifty repetitions of stiff-arm pullovers, carried to the point of failure - performed on a decline (head lower than feet) bench if you have one available. Then, immediately perform a set of about twelve repetitions of behind-neck "pulldowns" - using a fairly narrow (25 inches wide) grip, and with a bar designed to provide a parallel grip, a grip such that the palms of your hands are facing each other when your elbows are forced back in line with your shoulders.
Done properly, that cycle will "pre-exhaust" your latissimus muscles without tiring your arms - then, during the brief period while your arms are actually stronger than your upper-back muscles, you can take advantage of that momentary condition to use the strength of the arms to work the latissimus muscles much harder than would otherwise be possible.
But - IN ALL CASES - the "recovery time" of the pre-exhausted muscles is very brief indeed, usually something on the order of three seconds, or less; thus, for best results, you must move INSTANTLY from one set of an exercise to the next set of another exercise, with no rest at all, not so much as two seconds of rest.
This principle can be applied to almost any compound exercise; simply decide which muscle you wish to concentrate on, then pre-exhaust that muscle by the performance of an isolation type exercise, and then instantly involve the same muscle in a set of compound movements.
Obviously - when using this system - you WILL NOT be able to use anywhere near as much weight as you normally would in the particular compound exercises involved - in the above examples, these were the squats, the behind-neck presses, and the pulldowns; but you certainly will do far more in the way of stimulating muscle growth.
How many such cycles?
At first, not more than one - later, probably two cycles during each of three weekly workouts; but never more than three such cycles in any workout - and in that case, you would probably be well advised to practice those particular exercises only twice weekly.
And while I promised only three examples, it may be a good idea to add a few more; barbell curls, immediately followed by regular-grip chinning -triceps curls, immediately followed by parallel dips - stiff-arm supine lateral raises, immediately followed by barbell rowing motions. The list is almost endless.
Remember - during a workout, you are trying to build strength, not demonstrate it; the actual amount of weight is of no slightest importance -so long as it "feels" heavy to your muscles.
Try this principle - and try to understand it clearly; once you do, it can be used to simply enormous advantage in workouts conducted for any purpose.
THE HARDER IT SEEMS - THE EASIER IT IS
In the author's opinion, the subject of this chapter is the most important single point raised in the field of physical training during this century; and it is certainly a point that was never raised previously - simple as it is, undeniably true as it is, important as it is, it was apparently totally overlooked because it runs directly counter to widely accepted belief. "The harder a particular repetition seems, the easier it actually is; and, the apparently most-dangerous repetition is actually the safest repetition, by far the safest."
Yet, in spite of the simple, undeniable truth of that statement, literally millions of weight-trainees have wasted billions of hours of training time - because, without single exception that I have ever encountered, or even heard of, apparently all of them sincerely believe exactly the opposite.
In a set consisting of one repetition, there is no basis for comparison; the one repetition is "all things" - it is the easiest repetition, and the hardest, and it is also the safest repetition, and the most dangerous.
But in a set consisting of two or more repetitions - where there is a basis for comparison - then, in all cases if anything even approaching proper form is being maintained, the first repetition is the hardest repetition, and it is by far the most dangerous one. And I want it clearly understood that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that you may or may not be properly warmed-up; the warm-up - or lack of a warm-up - has nothing to do with the matter.
Secondly, it should be clearly understood that the type of equipment being used has nothing to do with the matter either; nor does the particular exercise being performed - nor the amount of weight being used.
Remember, we are concerned here with actualities - not with appearances; we are interested in facts, not opinions.
Keeping it clearly in mind that the following would be equally - that is to say, "perfectly" - true in any possible example, regardless of the exercise involved, no matter how many repetitions were used, and with any possible amount of weight, let us examine what actually happens during the performance of a set of curls with 100 pounds; as opposed to what "seems" to happen. In this example, we will assume that you are capable of performing nine full repetitions - but then fail during an attempt to perform the tenth repetition, in spite of an all-out effort.
The first repetition will seem quite easy, and it will move rapidly; the second will appear to be a bit harder, and will move slower; by the time you reach the ninth repetition, you will be moving very slowly, and that final full repetition will seem very hard; the tenth repetition will not move, and will appear to be impossibly hard.
So much for appearances; now let us see what actually happened. In all ten repetitions the barbell weighted the same, 100 pounds; and during the first nine repetitions the "distance of movement" was the same, approximately two feet.
Now it should be obvious that "something less than 100 pounds of force" was generated during the tenth repetition; because, any amount of force in excess of 100 pounds would have caused movement in the tenth repetition -and since movement was not caused, it is thus clear that less than 100 pounds of force was involved.
And, in the ninth repetition, where movement was produced, it is also obvious that "more than 100 pounds of force" was produced. Even though the movement was actually quite slow - requiring something on the order of three seconds for full movement.
If we measure the actual amount of force being produced in the ninth and tenth repetitions we will find that it works out to about 110 pounds of force in the ninth repetition, and about 80 pounds of force in the tenth repetition.
But in the first repetition movement was faster, far faster - the full movement required only about one-third of a second; the weight was moving nine times as fast during the first repetition as it was during the ninth repetition - and nine times as much force was required to move it that fast, and since nine times 110 equals 990 it should be obvious that the first repetition was much harder than the later, seemingly harder but actually easier repetitions.
In the above example, the first repetition involved the production of approximately twelve times as much power as the tenth repetition did - and it was at least 144 times as dangerous as the tenth repetition; because the danger factor can only be calculated by squaring the differential of force application.
But, in fact, since the first repetition involved not only much more speed of movement but, as well, far greater acceleration factors, it is obvious that the actual danger factor was far greater than a ratio of 144 to 1 would indicate; it was probably something on the order of at least 1000 to 1 -that is to clearly say, the first repetition was probably at least one-thousand times as dangerous as the tenth repetition.
Then why did the tenth repetition "seem" so much harder?"
Because, at that point in the exercise, your muscles were exhausted - and the 80 pounds of force that you were able to generate in a failing attempt to move the last repetition represented 100% of your momentary ability; whereas, during the first repetition, you were fresh and strong, and at that moment you were probably capable of generating something on the order of 3000 pounds of force - and thus the 990 pounds that you actually were required to use represented only about a third of your momentary ability, and felt quite easy for that reason.
Yet out of a totally invalid fear of injury - most weight-trainees avoid the last, seemingly hardest repetitions; thinking that, by so doing, they are avoiding the danger of injury - whereas, in fact, all they are avoiding is the production of best-possible results.
And if a full understanding of the above leaves you feeling a little embarrassed for not having previously been aware of such an obvious point, such a plainly self-evident truth - then remember that millions of people watched a wheel come up out of the east and go down in the west every single day for thousands of years before it occurred to one of them to punch a stick through the middle of a similarly-shaped object and attach it to a sledge.
in fact, "...the
harder a particular repetition
seems, the easier it actually
is; and, the apparently most-dangerous
repetition is actually the safest
repetition, by far the safest."
There has been a great deal of repetition in the earlier chapters - it was intended that there should be; in large part, most of the preceding could be summed up in a very few words, "...work HARDER, but very briefly - and infrequently."
If the reader expected this bulletin to be a long description of the new Nautilus training equipment, then it may prove a disappointment - and for that reason, one of the following chapters will be devoted to a brief outline of the principles incorporated into the new types of equipment; however, the major value of the new equipment is provided by the fact that it makes harder exercise possible - and if the main points outlined in this bulletin are clearly understood, and properly applied, then a rather large part of the value provided by the new types of equipment can be derived from conventional training equipment.
In some cases it is possible to obtain any possible degree of results without the use of any new types of equipment; and in a few other cases the new equipment produces better results primarily because it forces the trainee to perform his exercises in a proper style.
It should be clearly understood that "style of performance" of an exercise - almost ANY exercise - is of utmost importance; and I would like to add that I seldom encountered a weight-trainee who performed any of his exercises in a proper style.
Performed in a proper manner, a total of only eight basic conventional exercises are capable of producing almost any degree of possible results -and far more quickly than most people would believe; these exercises are (1) standing presses with a barbell or with heavy dumbbells, (2) full squats, (3) stiff-legged deadlifts, (4) heavy barbell curls, (5) regular-grip chinning, (6) parallel dips, (7) barbell wrist-curls, (8) one-legged calf raises.
But in practice, most trainees avoid most of the above listed exercise - or attempt to replace them with other, "easier" movements which they hope will provide the same degree of results; probably because they are simply not willing to work as hard as they should for the production of best results.
If, over a period of two or three years of training, the above eight exercises are alternated with a few other basic exercises, then ANY degree of results that are possible with conventional equipment can be produced; these exercises are (9) leg presses, (10) thigh extensions, (11) thigh curls, (12) pulley triceps-curls, (13) behind-neck "pulldowns" performed properly, with a narrow, parallel grip, (14) shoulder shrugs, (15) standing side-raises with dumbbells, (16) the proper use of a "gripping" machine, (17) incline and decline presses with heavy dumbbells, (18) stiff-arm "pullovers" on a decline bench, (19) behind-neck presses, (20) sit-ups on a decline bench, (21) leg-raises on a steep incline bench, (22) "high pulls" - or front rowing with a barbell, (23) side bends with a dumbbell, (24) bent-forward rowing with a barbell.
But it should also be clearly understood that attempting to use all of the above listed exercises at the same time would be a major error; in most cases, not more than ten exercises should be practiced - and best degrees of results will almost always be produced if sets are limited to two, performed three times weekly.
Many people have expressed interest in a "calf machine" based on the Nautilus principles; and while it would be easily possible to build such a machine, I have refused to do so - because it is not required. For the purpose of developing any possible degree of size and/or strength into the major muscles of the calves, all that is required in the practice of one-legged calf raises while holding a dumbbell in one hand.
Properly performed, barbell wrist-curls will build literally huge forearms - and thus it might appear that no new types of equipment would be required in this case either; however, in fact, it seems to be almost impossible to teach people the proper style required - or to get them to practice a proper style once it is understood. So, in this case, the new equipment is a requirement - because it forces the trainee to perform the movements properly.
If only a few actually very simple points are understood - and applied in practice - then almost all trainees can reach their individual limits of muscular size and strength very quickly, and as a result of brief, infrequent workouts; these points are listed below.
1. In order to involve all of the fibers of a particular muscle in an exercise, the muscle must be exposed to heavy resistance while in its position of full contraction. No matter how hard a muscle is worked in any other position, you are not involving the total number of available fibers.
2. But simply working a muscle in its position of full contraction is not enough; while in that position, it must be worked to a point of momentary failure.
3. This should be done in the performance of sets of at least six full repetitions and not more than twenty full repetitions; but in all cases, additional partial repetitions should also be performed until a point is reached where any amount of movement is impossible.
4. Workouts should be designed to include every major muscular structure in the body, with emphasis on the largest muscular masses.
5. Workouts should be outlined in such a fashion that the muscles are worked in their order-of-size; the largest muscles should be worked first, etc.
6. Exercise movements should be performed as rapidly as possible consistent with safety considerations while maintaining proper form.
7. The entire workout should be completed in not more than one and one-half hours; a total weekly training time of four and one-half hours.
8. If a "split routine" involving six weekly workouts is used (and the author's experience indicates that it seldom should be), then no single workout should exceed one hour in length - and total weekly training time should still be limited to about four and one-half hours.
9. In almost all cases, two sets of any one exercise are all that are required for maximum muscle-growth stimulation; and any additional exercise will reduce the production of results. In no case should more than three sets of any particular exercise be practiced.
10, "Bulking up" by the purposeful addition of fatty tissue is always a mistake; very recent evidence indicates that fat cells, once added (and fat cells, unlike muscle fibers, CAN be increased in number), can never be removed - apparently the SIZE of such cells can be reduced, but the actual number of cells will not be reduced by anything short of surgical removal.
Such fatty tissue will add little or nothing to the performance ability of any athlete (with the possible exception of long distance swimmers, and the value is questionable even in this instance); but attempts to remove all remaining visible traces of fat will almost always produce a condition of over-training and result in actual reductions in performance ability.
THE NAUTILUS PRINCIPLES
To begin with, why the name "Nautilus"?
Well, according to Webster's, the Nautilus is a type of shell fish with a "smooth, spiral, chambered shell", and since this is almost an exact description of the spiral pulleys (or cams) that we developed for the purpose of regulating the required variations of resistance provided by the new exercise machines, I thought the name was unavoidably appropriate.
1. Anybody who has ever used a barbell is aware that the exercises provided by the use of such a piece of equipment are not "full range" movements; at some points in most barbell exercises, there is no resistance at all - at the start of a curl, at the end of most forms of curling, at the top position in a squat or a press of any kind. If you can "lock out" under the weight in any position, then you do not have full range resistance; in such a case you are providing exercise for only part of the muscles that you are trying to work.
Full range resistance can be provided ONLY by a machine which rotates on a common axis with the body-part that is moved by the muscles being worked; a "rotational" form of resistance must be provided - and it must rotate on the proper plane. When this requirement is met, then it becomes possible to provide a type of exercise that is "full range" for anybody, and that actually exceeds the range-of-movement that is possible for most people.
2. Barbells and other conventional types of training equipment provide resistance in one direction only - unidirectional resistance; but since the involved body-parts rotate, it is thus impossible to provide more than a literally infinitely small range of direct resistance - and in many conventional exercises, there is no direct resistance at all.
Since the "direction of movement" of the involved body-parts is constantly changing, the "direction of resistance" must change in exact accord, automatically, simultaneously, instantly; again, this requirement can only be provided by a rotary form of resistance.
When the bodily "axis of rotation" that is involved in the exercise is rotating exactly in line with the axis of the rotary resistance, then omnidirectional resistance is provided - literally "all directional" resistance. If your hand, for example, is moving straight "up" - then the resistance is straight "down"; if your hand if moving directly towards the east - then the resistance is exerting its force directly towards the west. The resistance is always exactly 180 degrees out-of-phase with your direction of movement; the resistance is always trying to do exactly the opposite of what you are trying to do.
And while the importance of such "direct" resistance may not be immediately obvious to people unversed in at least basic physics, I think that the following example will make this point quite clear. Your car may weigh 4,000 pounds - and you may be able to push it forwards on level ground; but that does not mean that you are capable of "lifting" such a weight. With omnidirectional resistance, you are ALWAYS lifting the weight - regardless of the direction in which you may be exerting force. If your hands are going "up" - the weight is also going up; if your hands are going "down" - the weight is still going up; if your hands are going in a horizontal direction - the weight is being moved up; no matter what you do, so long as you are producing power for the purpose of causing a body-part movement from a position of extension in the direction of a position of contraction - then you are raising the weight.
The only conventional forms of exercise equipment that come anywhere close to providing this "direct" resistance are thigh-extension machines, thigh-curl machines, so-called "butterfly" machines, and the curling machines built by a man named Clark in San Diego, California; if there are any other types of equipment available that provide this feature, then I am simply not aware of them.
From the above, it should be clear that incorporating a "rotary" form of resistance into an exercise machine provides quite a number of valuable characteristics - full range resistance, direct resistance, and omnidirectional resistance.
3. Barbells do not provide variation of resistance - although, because of certain basic laws of physics, some effective variation of resistance will be encountered in most barbell exercises; for example, in a curl with a barbell, there is literally no resistance at the start of the movement, because the moment-arm of the weight is zero in that position - but after the first 90 degrees of movement, the moment-arm has reached its maximum point, and the resistance will feel (and will be) as high as it becomes during that exercise - then, later, as the movement is completed, the moment-arm returns to zero, and again there is no effective resistance.
In that sense, barbells do provide variation of resistance - but such variation is random and does far more to downgrade the exercises than to improve them.
Because of such random variation, you encounter such things as so-called "sticking points" - places where the weight seems far heavier than it does in other places; and you also encounter places where there is no effective resistance at all.
Human muscles are stronger in some positions than they are in other positions - in general, muscles are strongest in their positions of full contraction; and because of the way in which they function, the position of full contraction is the only position in which it is possible to involve all of the fibers of any muscle. Yet, in almost all conventional exercises, there is literally NO resistance in the position of full contraction - in the only position where it is even possible to involve ALL of a muscle, there is no resistance available to require the involvement of the then available fibers; as an unavoidable result in conventional exercises, muscles are worked only in their weakest positions - and are worked not at all in their strongest positions.
There are a few relatively unimportant exceptions to that general rule -but none of very great significance; these are (1) thigh extensions, (2) leg curls, (3) wrist curls with the forearms on a declined surface, so that the wrists are below the elbows, (4) shoulder shrugs, (5) stiff-legged deadlifts (a very, very good conventional exercise, but one which most bodybuilders avoid entirely), (6) side raises with dumbbells, (7) front raises with any sort of resistance, (8) one-legged calf raises, (9) sit-ups on a decline board, and leg-raises on an incline board, (10) side bends with one dumbbell, and a few others.
With the Nautilus machines, the required variations in resistance are properly provided; the resistance changes throughout the movements - in general, resistance is lowest at the start of an exercise, increases as the movement progresses, and decreases slightly near the end of an exercise. The actual rate of increase varies - depending on a number of factors. But in all cases, the resistance is exactly what it should be in all positions throughout the movements; when a set of an exercise is performed on such a machine, and when the set is carried to a point of momentary failure, then almost literally 100% of the individual muscle fibers contained in the muscles being worked are involved in the exercise - as opposed to less than 18% of the total number of available muscle fibers which are involved in most forms of conventional exercise, and as few as two or three percent of the total number of fibers in some conventional exercises.
4. Balanced resistance occurs in only one position in most conventional exercises; for example, in a barbell curl the resistance is balanced (exactly right) only in the so-called "sticking point" that is encountered about halfway through the movement - if the resistance is higher than the amount that can be handled at the sticking-point, then it is impossible to pass that point in the performance of a repetition using good form, but once the sticking-point has been passed, then the resistance is too low, and before reaching the sticking-point, the resistance is also too low. Thus, in fact, the resistance is "right" - can only be right - at one point throughout the movement.
The Nautilus machines provide perfectly balanced resistance - it is never too high and never too low; there are no sticking-points and no points of little or no resistance - when you might fail in such an exercise, you may fail at any point, instead of always failing at or before the sticking-point, as usually happens in conventional exercises. To a new trainee, however, the "resistance curve" of such a machine might not -probably would not - feel perfectly smooth; while there would be no real sticking-points, it is probable that the resistance would feel heavier towards the end of a repetition than it did at the start - but this is to be expected, because the "resistance curve" is balanced to exactly match the "strength curve" of an individual with balanced development, perfectly proportionate development, and since a man that has been training with conventional equipment has been training only part of his muscular structures (and the weakest part, at that) it is only natural that he would not be as strong as he should be in all area.
Eventually, however, after the machine has been used properly for a reasonable period of time, the movements will start to feel perfectly smooth - the resistance will feel exactly the same in all positions. While in fact, the resistance will be constantly changing - in many cases more than doubling as the movement progresses from a starting position of full extension to a finishing position of full contraction.
5. "Total" exercise cannot be provided by conventional exercise equipment for reasons which should now (following the above explanation) be obvious; conventional exercises involve only a small part of the total number of available muscle fibers - Nautilus machines involve almost all of the available fibers.
6. Rotary resistance is not provided by conventional exercise equipment -since such equipment offers resistance that is reciprocal in nature, moving back and forth, usually up and down but in almost all cases confined to a single direction of movement. But body-parts rotate and it is obvious that a reciprocal form of resistance cannot provide constant resistance against a rotary form of movement.
Nautilus equipment provides the required rotary form of resistance - and again, this requirement should now be clearly understood from the above description.
7. "Directness of resistance" is not provided by conventional forms of exercise; in this sense, the term "direct" refers to the point of application of the resistance - in most conventional exercises, the resistance is imposed against several muscular structures simultaneously, which would be a decided advantage if all of these involved muscles were of equal strength. But in many cases, it happens that some relatively small and weak muscles become involved in the exercises as "weak links" - and it is then literally impossible to work the larger, stronger muscles as heavily as they must be worked for the production of best-possible results.
Several such examples have been mentioned in preceding chapters, so I will limit my examples to only one; in conventional exercises intended for the development of the latissimus muscles, the weak link is provided by the arms - a point-of-failure is reached when the arms are exhausted, long before much of anything in the way of growth stimulation has been provided for the latissimus muscles.
Nautilus equipment overcomes this obvious shortcoming of conventional exercises by directing the resistance against the "prime" body part -rather than attempting to filter the resistance through a weaker, related body-part structure. For example, the latissimus muscles are attached to -and move - the upper arms; what happens to the hands and forearms is of no importance - the resistance is provided against the upper arms, at the elbows, as it must be in order to directly oppose movements powered by the latissimus muscles.
When a point of failure is reached in such exercises, it will be because the latissimus muscles are exhausted - not because the arms were too weak to continue.
The above points should serve as a basic primer of the features incorporated into the new Nautilus training equipment; at a later date, detailed brochures of several types of such equipment will be mailed to each purchaser of this bulletin - these brochures will contain pictures, drawings, charts, diagrams and other types of illustrations that will clearly explain the basic principles involved.
Properly used, such equipment is valuable primarily because it enormously reduces previous requirements in the way of training time, both overall training time and weekly training time; and to an as yet unknown degree, it makes greater degrees of final results possible.
THE NEXT STEP
Using existing types of Nautilus equipment, the most productive routine that we have encountered up to this point requires approximately four minutes of training time to work most of the muscular structures of the upper torso; starting from scratch with a "cold" subject, four exercises are performed in rapid succession - (1) a set of 15 to 20 repetitions on a Pullover-type Torso Machine, (2) a set of 12 to 15 repetitions on a Behind-Neck type Torso Machine, (3) a set of 10 repetitions on a Torso/Arm Machine, pulling the bar to a behind-neck position, and (4) a set of 10 repetitions on the same machine but using a reverse grip, this time pulling the bar to the chest.
The indicated number of repetitions are merely a "guide figure," in practice, a weight should be selected that will permit approximately that number of full repetitions; but then the subject should perform as many repetitions as possible - counting only the full repetitions but continuing with partial movements until it is literally impossible to move the resistance even slightly in any position. Then, when the above indicated number of full repetitions become possible, the resistance should be increased.
The first set, on the pullover-type machine, heavily works the major muscular structures of the upper back and chest over a range of movement of approximately 240 degrees - but the arms are not worked at all, or at least not to a measurable degree; the second set, on the behind-neck type machine, works most of the same muscular structures - but from another angle, in another direction, this time over a range of movement of about 160 degrees. At the end of the second set, the muscles of the upper torso have been worked very hard - far harder than it is possible to work them in any other manner - but the arms are still fresh and strong; thus, for a very brief period, the arms are actually stronger than the torso muscles - a situation has been created (a fleetingly temporary condition that exists for a matter of only a very few seconds) that is the exact reverse of the normal situation.
Normally, the arms are weaker than the torso muscles - and you fail in torso exercises when the arms become exhausted; but now you have reversed that situation - and while it exists, while the arms are actually stronger than the torso muscles, you take advantage of this condition and put it to very good use.
The third set - on the torso/arm machine - is performed instantly after the completion of the second set; in this machine you ARE using the arms -using their strength to enable you to work the torso muscles even harder than they have already been worked by the preceding two sets.
In the fourth set - performed on the same machine but using a different movement - you are again taking advantage of the unbalanced strength relationship; by the end of this last set, the latissimus group of muscles, the upper pectorals, the abdominals, the trapezoids, and several smaller muscular structures will have been worked almost literally "into the ground" - and the bending muscles of the arms will have been worked quite heavily as well. Within a period of about four minutes, you will produce a condition that is literally impossible to produce in any other fashion - regardless of the number of exercises practiced or the number of sets performed, or the amount of time devoted to any other type of training; the degree of "pump" produced throughout the upper torso must literally be experienced to be believed - and regardless of your condition or previous training experience, the first such cycle will leave you in a state of near-shock, and the resulting degree of muscular soreness will be almost crippling.
Performing the same four-exercise cycle at a slower pace - or with rest periods between the different exercises - will NOT produce the same degree of results; but such a pace - and intensity - of work should not be undertaken right from the start of training on the new equipment, a careful break-in period of about a week should precede any really hard work on this equipment. During that first week of break-in training, five consecutive workouts should be performed - at a much slower pace than that indicated above; with only one such cycle in each workout.
Later, two such cycles should be performed in each of three weekly workouts - a total weekly training time for that section of the body of only about twenty-four minutes (two cycles of four minutes each times three weekly workouts = :24); and when performed in the proper manner described above, such brief training will produce far more results than any amount of any other type of training for the same muscular structures.
Additional training over-and-above the amount indicated above will almost always REDUCE the production of results; and in many cases only one such cycle is all that is required in each of three weekly workouts - or two such cycles in each of two weekly workouts.
Other existing types of Nautilus equipment will produce very similar degrees of results in other areas of the body - in a very brief period of training time; the arms can be worked far better than is otherwise possible, in a period of about twelve minutes, producing a degree of pump that usually exceeds a full inch in the case of a muscular individual - the legs can be worked fully (and for the first time, "properly") in an even briefer period.
The machines that are capable of producing the above described results are available now; there is literally no reasonable basis upon which they can be compared to any previously-existing type of training equipment - they are NOT an improvement in training equipment, they are something new, completely different. Or, at least, they can be - if used properly; but just as owning a set of fine brushes does not make you an artist, it should be clearly understood that these machines merely "make such results possible", they do not remove stupidity, ignorance, or lack of understanding - and they are subject to improper use, like any tool.
The primary value of the machines is solidly based on the simple fact that they "make much HARDER training possible"; and if such harder training is practiced on a brief, irregular basis, then best possible results in any individual case literally MUST be produced - but if the machines are overused, it is just as certain that losses will be produced instead. And if the harder training that these machines provide is not used, then results will not be what they could have been - what they should have been, and what they WOULD have been if the machines had been used properly.
And having gone this far, where do we go from here - what is the next step?
The next step is already well underway; having produce full-range, double-direct, omni-directional, rotary form, automatically variable, balanced resistance, we are now working with the first few models of even more advanced types of machines - the "compound" series of machines, machines that work all of the functions of muscular structures, involving literally 100% of the available muscle fibers.
I will not attempt to explain the functions of these machines - but I will say that they will be even better than our present machines; required training time will be reduced even more - final results will be even better - elapsed (overall) training time will be reduced again. Such machines will NOT replace our present machines - just as the currently available machines have not replaced barbells; and in any case, all of the new series of compound machines will not be available for at least several years - but they are coming.
DELAND HIGH SCHOOL TRAINING PROGRAMS
Under the direction of the author and coach Bill Bradford, the Deland, Florida, Public High School is offering special weight-training classes as part of their Adult Educational Program; facilities are located in a separate building on school property and are available on a formal enrollment basis at a fee of $6.00 per fiscal year - payable to the Deland, Florida, Public High School.
Equipment includes a number of Olympic barbell sets, a Universal machine, almost all types of conventional training devices, and Nautilus machines of several types.
Normal training hours are from six to nine in the evening, weekdays except Fridays; however, in fact, the facilities are available for training at almost any hour - day or night, every day of the week - so long as such use does not conflict with regularly scheduled weight-training classes conducted during normal school hours, or athletic training programs conducted immediately after school hours.
The author will personally extend any reasonable amount of cooperation to sincerely interested trainees; but the facilities are NOT available for self-directed training - and we will expect a reasonable attitude and conduct from all trainees.
Quite a number of people from all over the country have written the author for more information regarding these training programs; but in fact, little more can be said - we have the best-equipped training facility in the world, and it is available to anyone, but we cannot (and will not) promise anything more.
Deland is a rather small, "off the beaten path," University town located approximately 40 miles from Orlando and 20 miles from Daytona Beach; in general, living expenses are lower here than in most parts of the country -Deland is NOT a tourist town - and some work is available in the general area, but high wage-scales are not generally available.
Trainees who must work to support themselves while training in DeLand must be willing to accept whatever type of work they may be able to find, and the author cannot extend much if any help in the direction of finding employment.
Interested trainees would be well advised to phone the author at area code 904-228-2884 before visiting DeLand - in order that particular questions that may be of importance can be answered in advance.
TRAINING WITH CONVENTIONAL EQUIPMENT
After reading the preceding few chapters concerning the new types of equipment, some impressionable readers may be left thinking, "... since I don't have the new equipment, why bother to train at all."
But if such an impression has been gained, then it is in grave error; properly used, barbells are extremely productive tools - and to at least some degree, they should be used even by people who do have the use of the new types of equipment.
Men like Schwarzenegger, Coe, Pearl, Columbu - and many others - are products of barbell training; all of the above named men have, or soon will have, used Nautilus equipment - but it was not responsible for their development, all of them were well-known long before they ever heard of the new types of equipment.
Even greater degrees of development will probably be produced by some few individuals in the future - and it is very likely that most such men will use Nautilus equipment; but that will still not reduce the well-proven value of barbell training - and barbells will be in even more common use a hundred years from now than they are at the present.
Twenty-five years ago, I had the distinct impression that the "exact program" was of greatest importance - and such considerations are, of very real importance; but I have long since realized that "how" you train is of even more importance. Properly performed, even in a very few basic barbell exercises will produced good results - improperly performed, and no amount of exercises or sets will produce equal results.
Using only a barbell, one light pair of dumbbells, a flat bench, a chinning bar, parallel bars, a squat rack and one fairly-simple pulley device, an enormous amount of results can be produced in a fairly short time by the proper practice of the following training program...
1. 2 sets of 10 repetitionsfull squats :06 (minutes)
2. 3 sets of 20 " one-legged calf raises :06
3. 2 sets of 10 " barbell standing presses :06
4. 2 sets of 10 " behind-neck chins :06
5. 2 sets of 10 " bench presses :06
6. 2 sets of 10 " regular-grip chins :06
7. 2 sets of 10 " parallel dips :06
8. 2 sets of 10 " barbell curls :08
9. 2 sets of 12 " pulley triceps-curls :06
10. 2 sets of 15 " wrist curls :02
11. 1 set of 10 " regular-grip chins :03
12. 1 set of 10 " parallel dips :03
13. 2 sets of 15 " stiff-legged deadlifts :06
14. 2 sets of 10 " dumbbell side raises :06
The above program - consisting of a total of 27 sets, to be performed in one hour and sixteen minutes, three times weekly - will build great overall strength and muscular mass in almost all cases; and in individual cases where the results produced are below expectations, it is probable that the program should be reduced, rather than increased.
I used the above outlined training program more than twenty years ago - and produced very good results with it - but in light of knowledge gained in the meantime, I would now alter it in several ways; instead of standing presses with a barbell, I would use a slightly different exercise with heavy dumbbells, strict presses with the elbows held back in line with the shoulders and with a parallel grip (with palms of the hands facing each other) - behind-neck chins would be performed with a fairly narrow grip and I would use a bar that permitted a parallel grip in this case also - a set of dumbbell supine lateral raises with nearly-straight arms would be added immediately before each set of bench presses - the barbell curls and pulley triceps curls would be performed alternately - and I would substitute a set of behind-neck presses for the second set of dumbbell side raises.
Performed in the proper manner, the above routine is certainly NOT an easy routine - on the contrary, it is an almost unbelievably hard routine; most trainees are not willing to work as hard as this routine requires for the production of best-possible results - and many trainees are simply not aware that it is even possible to work that hard - but if performed at a normal pace, or in the usual manner, then only a fraction of possible results will be produced.
If a wider selection of training equipment is available, then the previously-described routine involving three leg exercises - leg-presses, thigh-extensions, and squats - could be substituted for the squats in the routine outlined above; and, depending upon the exact equipment available, other changes could be made to improve the workouts - but since the possibilities are almost infinite, I will not attempt to outline all such possible changes.
If the pre-exhaustion principle is clearly understood, then any reasonably-experienced trainee should be able to design his own workouts in order to incorporate this principle; and beginning trainees should limit themselves to much shorter, less complex routines.
An underweight individual desiring to increase his overall size and strength would be well advised to limit his training activities to a program somewhat along the lines of the following routine.
1. 1 set of 15 repetitions stiff-legged deadlifts :04
2. 2 sets of 10 " full squats :08
3. 2 sets of 10 " barbell standing presses :08
.4. 2 sets of 10 " regular-grip chins :08
5. 2 sets of 15 " parallel dips :06
6. 2 sets of 10 " barbell curls :08
7. 2 sets of 15 " wrist curls :04
8. 1 set of 15 " stiff-legged deadlifts :04
Most beginning trainees are far too anxious to make rapid gains in bodyweight - and in most cases, this results in the addition of fatty tissue; an underweight but mature individual can usually gain at least an average of a pound a week for a period of six months by following a very brief (but hard) training program three times weekly - some subjects will respond much faster, but caution is required if addition of fatty tissue is to be avoided, as it almost always should be.
For a period of more than twenty years I used "resulting muscular soreness" as one means of determining the effects of exercises - or, at least, so I thought I was doing; now I am not so sure - in fact, not at all sure.
Most of our new machines produce EXTREME degrees of muscular soreness in previously untrained individuals - and nearly as much in experienced trainees that have not used this equipment before; but one of our recently-developed machines produces absolutely no soreness at all, literally none - while producing all of the other results that are normally associated with severe degrees of muscular soreness.
We simply do not understand "why" no soreness is produced - and this surprising development has led us into a re-examination of the entire subject of muscular soreness and the cause/effect relationships involved. If additional information on this subject becomes available, it will be detailed in supplements to this bulletin.
During the past few months, we have become even more aware of the importance of the time factor in training; it now appears that exercises performed "in cycle" should be spaced as closely as possible - and that best-possible results would be produce only if a literally zero rest period was permitted between sets of different exercises. The initial recovery period of muscular structures is very short; having been worked to a point of absolute failure, most muscular structures are capable of two or three more repetitions after a rest of only three seconds.
Thus, if you are trying to totally exhaust a muscle by performing isolation-type exercises that are immediately followed by compound exercises involving the same muscle, it is obvious that even a few seconds of rest between the different exercises will permit some degree of recovery - which is not desirable; a set of one exercise should IMMEDIATELY follow a preceding set - with, if at all possible, less than one second of delay between the last repetition of the first set and the first repetition of the second set. Resting as much as five seconds between sets will reduce the production of results by as much as fifty percent.
In practice, this means that the trainee must prepare all of the required equipment in advance, and even that the related pieces of equipment should be located as close together as possible; if the trainee must change weights between sets - or even walk across the gym to another piece of equipment -then a large part of possible results will not be produced.
Quite a number of people have written requesting the plans for our new types of equipment - and for awhile, it way my intention to publish the plans for all of our machines; some people - given the exact plans - could duplicate our machines, but I honestly do not believe they could do so for a cost even approaching the selling price of the machines, and I am certain that many people would make serious errors in construction, mistakes that would reduce the productivity of the machines greatly. And since the machines -regardless of how well, or how poorly they were constructed - would be considered Nautilus products by most people, I decided not to publish the plans.
My simple statement to this effect will not influence some people, but it should be clearly understood that several of the features of the machines are very critical insofar as construction is concerned - a slight change can alter the entire geometry of the machines, and greatly reduce their value. So copy them for your own use if you will - but don't be surprised if it turns out to be a bigger job than you expected, or if it happens that the result isn't quite what you desired.
future issues of IRON MAN Magazine,
I will publish exact plans for
the simple modifications of several
types of conventional training
equipment -changes that will greatly
improve the value of many types
of commonly-used equipment.