Friday, February 28, 2014

The Clean and Jerk: Zhabotinsky Analysed - Al Murray (1965)

In weightlifting, as in boxing and wrestling, it is the heavyweights who attract the most spectator interest. This isn't quite fair to men in the smaller classes, who often are better performers - pound for pound - but what really impresses people is absolute performance. And this the heavyweights provide. They lift the heaviest weights!

Often heavyweights are gigantic men whose gross size and crude style detracts from their performances. Fewer and fewer, however, are the men who can win championships on brute strength alone. Such well-build athletes as America's John Davis and Norbert Schemansky established a trend by mastering lifting techniques to an extent that they were almost always able to out-lift more massive competitors.

Only when a true giant such as Paul Anderson comes along - a man who is both huge and quick-moving - are the "smaller" heavyweights at a disadvantage. As a result of this disadvantage, a new crop of heavyweights has arisen, combining size and strength with great athletic ability. The great Schemansky has adapted, packing on about 30 pounds of still well-proportioned mass so that he can continue to lift on equal terms with the giants.

Russia's Vlasov is another big, strongman who is a true athlete with excellent proportions and quick movements.

 But, life being what it is, even a super-athlete like Vlasov cannot remain at the top of the heap forever. Leonid Zhabotinsky, Olympic champ, appears ready to exceed all of Yuri's world marks.

Zhabotinsky is a true giant, inches taller than Anderson at well over six feet in height, and heavier, while retaining athletic proportions. Vlasov believes his younger teammate will be the man to eventually surpass the incredible 600-kilo total on the three lifts. 600 kilos is 1,321 pounds! 

The 26-year-old resident of Zaporozhye, though always large, was typical as a growing boy. He liked soccer football and track and field. He was an outstanding shot putter as a boy, setting a junior record for the Ukraine with a distance of more than 49 feet. Now serving in the Russian army, Zhabotinsky is also in his fifth year as a correspondence student of the Kharkov Teaching Training Institute.

Zhabotinsky was a 'natural' at weightlifting. In 1958, when only 19, he became a master of sport by lifting a total of 974 on the three Olympic lifts! Three years later he accomplished what for most heavyweights is only a dream - a 1100 lb total.

When Zhabotinsky lifted his first 1100 total, Vlasov still had a100-lb lead on his youthful rival. But at the Olympics Zhabotinsky had increased his total to an incredible 1262 lbs and had set a world record of 479.5 lbs in the clean and jerk.

In Tokyo Zhabotinsky greatly impressed me with his lifting, for I had thought that he might be too fun-loving a person to apply himself and make the totals it would take to beat Vlasov. Now, however, Zhabotinsky says he will not give up his heavyweight title without a battle.

We can look forward to another 'battle of the century' between these two heavyweights in September. Perhaps Zhabotinsky will be the first to reach the 1,290 total that Vlasov predicts will be, approximately,  the plateau at which the record will 'stick' for a while before eventually moving on again to 1321.

This month I will analyze film tracings of Leonid Zhabotinsky's clean and jerk, from movies taken during the actual breaking of a world record. The tracings are taken from movies of him lifting 469.5 lbs - a world record mark prior to his Tokyo onslaught.     

Click Pics to ENLARGE

Zhabotinsky's pulling technique for both the snatch and the clean is equal to that of the best technicians in any weight class. 

In the first picture you can see that he adopts a position very close to that which I have advocated over the past few years. His legs are bent at less than the 90 degrees advocated in Russian textbooks. His shoulders are placed ahead of the bar. 

In the second picture you can see that Zhabotinsky has lifted the bar from the floor to his knees. His shins have moved back as the bar moved up until they are nearly vertical. You will note that Zhabotinsky keeps his head, chest and shoulders in front of the bar for as long as possible.

In the third picture you can see that the bar has passed his knees, and that his hips are being swung forward and upward toward the bar as it passes his thighs. But note that he still keeps his face and chest in front of the bar. His forward and upward hip thrust is very vigorous, shown by the fact that in the fourth picture his hip thrust has carried the tremendous weight forward. The shading on the nearside disc in the fourth picture clearly shows this.

In the fourth picture, if you place your finger over Zhabotinsky's head, you will see that his body is nearly vertical and that he is high on his toes. Still referring to this same illustration, you will note that although the bar is passing hip level, his arms are starting to bend. Until this point they have more or less maintained their starting position. It is only at this stage, where Zhabotinsky has completed his leg and body extension, that he bends his arms strongly as he comes high on his toes to add impetus to the bar. It is from this position that he leaps astride (see fifth illustration) in order to lower his body under the massive weight. Owing to the fact that the barbell is traveling upwards and slightly forward, Zhabotinsky is able to pull backward on the bar as he passes through the fifth position. This is only possible and advisable when the hip kick from position three sends the barbell into an upward and forward direction, as seen in position four.

In the fifth picture, the barbell is traveling slightly forward. The forward momentum of the bar, developing through positions three, four, and five, is neutralized by Zhabotinsky's pull back. In the fifth picture, also note that his knees are held well apart to permit his hips to come forward and low, close to the line of his heels. 

Zhabotinsky's forward hip thrust is so powerful that he is one of the few lifters in any class who refrains from jumping back. You can see that the foot positions in the sixth picture are actually slightly ahead of their starting positions.

The seventh position shows the mid-position during recovery and the eighth picture shows Zhabotinsky's starting position for his world record jerk. His body and legs are vertical, his elbows are held forward to secure the bar solidly against his chest and shoulders. His initial dip at the knees prior to the upward leg thrust, which will send the barbell to arms' length, is shown in the ninth picture.

In the tenth picture, he is shown beginning to exert upward force, which is completed as shown in the eleventh picture, where Zhabotinsky is high on his toes as the barbell leaves his chest. is split is not deep, because as the barbell clears his head - due mainly to the leg thrust - he pushes vigorously upward with his arms as he leaps into the fore-and-aft split.

In the twelfth picture Zhabotinsky is solidly balanced beneath the weight, with arms and trunk vertical and the barbell under control. To recover, he tips the barbell back very slightly, using his rear leg as a prop as he pushes upward and backward with his front leg to replace the forward foot into the position shown in the thirteenth picture.

The final illustration shows how Zhabotinsky brings his rear foot up in line to hold this fantastic weight overhead, at which point the referee and judges approved the lift as a then new world record. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A New Approach to Calf Development - John Grimek

It is generally conceded by all weight trainers who strive for muscular development that the most difficult region of the body to develop is the lower leg. These muscles, the calves, are known to be the most obstinate muscles of all muscles to develop, and usually defy the standard means of training.  Because of this many bodybuilders give up trying to acquire a better pair of calves and accept defeat without really trying. This defeatist attitude only encourages further neglect of the calves and complete development in this area may never be realized.

It is also agreed among those who studied various principles of muscle development that no matter what kind of calf shape one possesses improvement is possible to some degree, providing one is willing to work towards that goal. It is further agreed that if the calves are not favorably shaped from the start, the task of achieving outstanding development will not be an easy one. But the fact remains that whenever direct effort is devoted to a specific calf-developing program, definite changes do materialize. 

Naturally when one assumes a hopeless, dejected attitude because the calves fail to respond, then on finds it very hard to apply himself to the task, thus failing to obtain the results that should accrue from persistent training. With this in mind it is necessary to any person seeking better leg development to approach the problem with strong determination and see it through. Vigorous application of this sort will encourage growth even in the most stubborn cases and should produce desirable results eventually.

One perplexing aspect that has puzzled bodybuilders in connection with calf development is that for several decades very few if any new training ideas for calf development have been advanced. Yet during this time many new ideas and training methods for other parts of the body have been made public. Numerous bodybuilders, particularly those who seek to improve their calves, complain that instruction articles relating to the calves are sadly neglected, while articles on other body areas were being featured extensively. Even writers who deal exclusively with certain body parts often omit the treatise on the calves, they complain. Of course the answer is self-explanatory. The fact that the calves do present a developing problem, and since very few new training ideas have been advanced along this line, most writers, many of whom lack outstanding development in this region themselves, hesitate to tackle it because they feel they cannot do justice to the subject. Nevertheless, York did develop such an apparatus some years ago which is known as the Calflex.  

This calf device has excellent developing qualities but only when it is used correctly. When used incorrectly, which it usually is, the results leave something to be desired. The fact that each calf is worked individually against adjustable spring tension makes it difficult for some people to understand its working principle. However, for positive results the action must stem from the ankle and pressure must be exerted by the calf muscle. But too often the individual uses his bodyweight to work the device instead of making the calf and ankle do the work,which is the secret of success when using this apparatus.
In trying to ascertain the reasons for failure to acquire better calves after years of training, I find five faults:

1) Not enough exercise employed to stimulate growth, and lack of persistence on the part of the trainee.

2) Lack of ankle flexibility which prevents complete contraction of the calf to induce further growth.

3) Stretching of the calf muscle is neglected by all who fail to improve their calves.

4) Failing to include an occasional 'jarring' type of exercise to shock these stubborn muscles.

5) Neglect of the new isometric system of sustained contraction, which should help because it stimulates the deeper seated muscles not generally involved in just ordinary action. So this addition to a calf routine should help.

From the foregoing it's suggested that any calf-developing program should include a combination of exercises rather than exercises that contract these muscles only. Of course full contraction of the gastrocnemius and the soleus is desired. But for favorable results all contracting movements must be followed by a stretching exercise to induce speedier growth. And since the calves are of denser tissue that other muscles of the body, consequently they require harder work and of greater variety to fully break down. The calves remain firm and muscular due to our daily activity. And regardless of bodyweight, many a fat man has relatively muscular calves which partially proves that these muscles rarely get fat.

Though these muscles require a lot of work to make them grow, many bodybuilders think they give the calves enough work. Most bodybuilders are afraid to overwork them, but let me assure these fellows that the calves can stand harder work than any other part of the body and chances of overworking the calves are slim indeed. Proof of this are ballet dancers who, as a whole, have better developed calves than almost all other groups. These dancers practice raising up on toes by the hour! If anyone is apt to overwork the calves its the ballet dancer - not the bodybuilder. This example also stresses the inclusion of more exercise for the lower legs in variety and repetitions.

Additional questions on calf development are always prompted whenever ballet dancers are mentioned. In this connection long distance runners and walkers are invariably compared. If a ballet dancer can improve his calves with all that work, why aren't the legs of long distance runners and walkers better developed? The answer is not hard to understand if some thought is given it. Everyone does agree that long distance runners and walkers do include a lot of leg work, and many overwork their calves and also their thighs. But while ballet dancers do include countless repetitions in their repertoire they frequently take rest breaks between dance practice and actual dancing that allows their calves to recover. Runners and walkers, on the other hand, do not get such resting breaks and often continue to trod for hours. What's more, these walkers and runners do not use their calves in exactly the same way as ballet dancers. Dancers, as it can be noticed, derive direct action from their ankles and calves that aids development. Ankle flexibility, of course, imparts peak contraction to the calves which stimulates growth and aids shape. This further proves my contention that ankle flexibility is a factor in calf development. Naturally, heredity and bone structure also play a major role in calf development, although too many fellows come to accept ankle size as the criterion of calf development rather than working them rigorously to induce growth.

Ankle flexibility can be acquired by sitting on a bench and extending the leg. With leg extended the foot, from ankle only, is rotated and moved around in all positions. For progression an iron boot is attached to the foot and the movements repeated. Try to get more twist and turn in all directions, and continue until the calf and ankle begin to tire. This is a good way to relieve congestion of the calf area, which is contrary to a theory advanced a few years ago; that of maintaining a state of congestion for a long time to produce faster growth. This theory failed for obvious reasons . . . the calves failed to respond any faster. The obvious fact is that fresh blood contains the nutrients that the cells need to nourish and rebuild the broken down cells. So it's important to induce freer circulation, not to stymie it. Of course the most asinine theory regarding this system suggests that a sort of tourniquet be applied to the thigh just above the knee while doing calf work. This idea was suggested to hasten complete congestion of the calves and to keep the blood localized. This is a dangerous approach and could easily result in ruptured blood vessels and even invite gangrene. My own theory is that if enough repetitions and variety are used, calf improvement will result.

Here's something else that is overlooked. Whenever the calves are thoroughly pumped up they congest to such an extent as to hinder movement, making further effort very difficult. But if, when this state of congestion is reached, the calves are stretched with foot rotations, calf stretches, toe presses under a leg pressing apparatus, etc., the muscles continue to be worked but with freer action. That's why a variety of congesting and decongesting exercises will prove better for calf development than when only congesting exercises are used.    

Also, certain individuals find they can attain a fuller contraction by bending the knees than by keeping them locked. So an exercise like sitting on a low bench with a weight held over the knee and raising up on toes has advantages. It eliminates the pull on the hamstring muscles of the thighs, yet the bulk of the calves can be thoroughly exercises. But whatever type of exercise helps you to achieve peak contraction, by all means include it.

Stretching exercises react favorably upon the soleus muscle, the large section the calf underlying the gastrocnemius. Stretching is particularly good for those with high or short calf muscles. But best results are obtained when stretching is done after contracting exercises. Of course all types of jumping help to jar stubborn muscles and should be used occasionally.

In regards to repetitions, the lifter should determine which number reacts best for himself, and how quickly he can congest his calves. Some fellows are capable of producing a thorough congestion with 12-15 reps. Others require more sets and reps. However, never do less than 10 but always continue until the calves are fully congested. Then a stretching exercise should be done, and this movement followed again by a contracting exercise and continued in an alternate fashion until the calves feel very full and firm to the touch. To complete the program some static contractions should be made on the power rack. This latter movement should continue for 10 to 12 seconds and repeated if necessary to conclude the calf program.

Following is a list of outstanding exercises that will develop and shape the calves:

Congesting Exercises -
Raise on Toes, one and two legged.
Seated Raise on Toes.
Straddle Hop, weight on shoulders.
Jumping up on Toes by ankle action.

Stretching Exercises -
Calf Stretch with toes on block.
Stiff Legged Deadlift standing on box.
Good Morning exercise.

General Activity -
Broad Jumping, standing and running.
Stair Climbing on toes.
Heel and Toe tap dancing.
Rope Skipping.
Mountain Climbing.
Most Sports.

Static Contraction -
Rise on Toes in power rack.
Start of Leg Curl Exercise, both exercises to include as heavy a resistance as possible. 

 - Article courtesy of Bob Adams - 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Setting Up A Specialized PHA Program - Bob Gajda

Bob Gajda, Sergio Oliva

Bones of Iron is a collection of articles by Matt Foreman that appeared in the Performance Menu journal between 2008 and 2011 along with a few new pieces of material. Foreman's background in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and coaching multiple sports gives him unique perspective and insights into a wide array of elements not only of strength training and competition, but all athletic pursuits and life itself. The chapters are rife with as much humor as helpful training information, and Foreman covers topics ranging from practical guidelines for designing training programs to personal experiences with training and competition.

 - From an interview by Peary Rader with Bob Gajda -

Knowing that most bodybuilders look forward to the time when they can start specialization on some body part or on the entire body for a special purpose, we thought we should get the expert opinion of how the reader could set up his own specialization program and use the new PHA system of training. Bob Gajda being an expert in this field, we asked him some questions and here is the taped result of this interview. We hope it will help you make up your own program to fit your own particular case.

Peary: Bob, when do you think a bodybuilder ought to consider a specialized program?

Bob: I think that, generally speaking, after a man has been on a basic training program for about a year he might consider specialization. Actually, when a man's weak points become obvious he should start considering specialization on these weak areas.

Peary: Bob, do you think that by specialization a man can make changes in his physical shape and structure? For instance, he might have small calves because his ancestors had small calves in proportion to other measurements. Do you feel that he can change his natural proportions through specialization?

Bob: There are things to consider. It is very difficult to change your physical shape, but one can increase the relative size by specialization. For instance, Bill Pearl and Mike Ferraro both had what we call high calves. However, by specialization these men did a marvelous job and by increasing the relative size of their calves they made corrections even though they still retained their natural shape, in this instance, high calves. The other things to consider are that men with small ankle bones may increase their calves a small amount and show greater taper, while men with thick ankle bones would have to increase their calf muscles a great deal more to show the same taper. So I don't believe the bodybuilder should be too concerned with trying to copy someone else's shape, but should do his best to perfect his own natural shape to complete development.

Peary: Is specialization always effective in all cases; can everyone, for instance, make satisfactory progress with specialization exercises? If one man has one arm that is smaller than the other and wants to bring it up - can he do this?

Bob: Yes, this is possible and I do think specialization is always effective. In line with this I want to comment that this principle of continuous circulation which you have been advocating for a long time is of tremendous value in specialization. I used it on my calves by working them all day long to keep the blood circulating in them continuously. You see, if you have two arms of different sizes, it usually because one has been used more then the other and for this reason there is a different muscle density in each arm. This means that you should try to keep the circulation stimulated constantly in the smaller arm until you get it to the size you want.

Peary: When specializing on one body part, do you recommend that you still follow a regular program for the entire body or should one cut down on the general program while specializing?

Bob: There are two ways of answering this. Some men have a higher energy level and more time, and they may want to work the specialized body part 6 days per week, with 3 heavy days and 3 light days. The light days would be just for circulation benefits - in other words, to keep the circulation active in the specialized muscles. If a man is low on energy or time, then he may find it necessary to work only 3 days a week. I would also recommend that he work his regular program for the rest of the body for 3 days per week along with the 6 day a week specialization. All programs, of course, would make use of the PHA system.  

PHA has many advantages for specialization. There is better circulation in that the circulation is continuous and never congested. There is greater "buffering" action and more work can be performed with heavier weights used, thus bringing more sacrostyles (myofibrils) into action. You also save time, but above all you are able to give more emphasis to the part being specialized. 

Peary: Let's use the calves as an example, for many people need specialization on this part.

Bob: We can go one step and say that everyone needs to specialize on calves and I don't think anyone ever overdeveloped them. I also emphasize the deltoids and the waist. Here is what I would do then, in view of this. In every sequence of exercising I performed I would take a calf exercise, a deltoid exercise and an abdominal exercise, then take one additional exercise that I'm specializing on and work it heavy in conjunction with the other exercises.

If I were specializing on the calves I would include at least three calf exercises in each routine. This would place a calf exercise in each of three groups or sequences.

This would be a heavy exercise - by heavy I mean heavy weights so as to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible.

I have always recommended the split system. That is, you work the upper body three days and the lower body three days. I would work the upper body on Monday, Wednesday and Friday heavy, then I would throw in a light leg exercise just for the "buffering" action effect. We want to work the legs lightly but not deplete the nervous energy. Then you would work the legs heavy the other days and then perhaps a light upper exercise or two for the "buffering action."  You would add the specialized exercise or exercises to each sequence each day - in this instance the calf exercises.  

Here is another solution to the problem of the 3-day-a-week program. Many fellows try to include the heavy poundage, mass muscle workouts in every workout every day and this is fatiguing. I would suggest that instead of 3 days a week so heavy, you rather do 4 days a week and arrange the exercises so that you do not do all the heavy exercises any one day, but spread them over several days. For instance, the squats, bench presses, deadlifts and a few others are fatiguing exercises because they take a lot of energy. Instead of trying to do all these exercises in the same workout, do perhaps the bench presses one day, the squats another, and the deadlift yet another, then use some of the lighter type exercises along with them, such as the flyes, curls, triceps presses, situps, sidebends, forearm exercises, calf work, etc. There latter are all on the light side. In other words, don't try to work the large muscle areas every day. I don't mean they are not important, they are most important, but you must arrange them correctly. Dr. Steinhaus told me that it is better to work out 1 hour every day than to work out 3 hours 3 times a week.

On the regular pump system it takes longer to recuperate because of the buildup of fatigue poisons from the congested circulation so that it requires more rest and you can't work as much on specialization. Therefore there is a great advantage in the PHA system for specialization.

Peary: Now Bob, let's get back to a 6-day-a-week split system, that is, working the upper body 3 days and the lower body 3 days, with perhaps some leg work lightly on the upper body day and light upper body work on the lower body day. Let's assume again that wee want to specialize on the calves. Just where will you put the special calf exercises - let's assume you want at least 4 calf exercises.

Bob: First I'd like to make some remarks about calf exercise. Most fellows do nothing but toe raises with knees locked straight. This is good and it works the big gastrocnemius muscles. This however is only half the job,for we must also work the soleus muscle which is also quite large, or should be. You can only work this with the knee bent. With most fellows doing many sets of the donkey calf raise (and this is probably one of the more popular calf exercises), they only get the gastrocnemius muscles and completely neglect the soleus muscles. I prefer to use a lot of different exercises rather than one exercise for a lot of sets, and work the muscle from many different angles, so to speak.

I also feel that anyone doing calf work ought to finish off doing a mile run. This helps to take off any fatty tissue and assures you that you're getting muscle development, and it also helps the metabolism (that is, running does) and helps you have a well-defined physique.

When I specialized on my own calves I was in school and I used to run up stairs to the gym every 55 minutes between classes, and I would do calf raises on one foot at a time and then just stretch them for a minute or so at a time. This stretching is very important for calf development. Also, when walking, climbing stairs or running I would always try to use the calf muscles as much as possible by bending the ankle as much as possible each step. I also like to do jumps on the toes and bounce around. I always finish a calf routine with the stretches. At the end of the day I usually run about a mile and I run with full ankle flexion and come off the toes with a bounce. In other words, I give the calves a shock treatment while running. This is a rough routine and sometimes the calf muscles will cramp up. This is another reason for the stretching.

Peary: Well, Bob, I think this pretty well covers it. We have talked about a lot of things other than specialization, and it seems like we have dwelt on the calf work more, but believe readers will now have the information they need to set up their programs. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Bob: Yes, there is one thing that comes to mind. In setting up the sequence or group of exercises, many fellows are making a mistake. You use about 5 or 6 exercises per sequence and I would always put a calf exercise at the last, then an abdominal about midway, and a deltoid exercise to start the sequence. In between these I would place the heavier exercises like the presses, squats, etc. This gives a sort of pause between the heavies and yet keeps the blood circulating and maintains the "buffering" action of the blood. When I speak of deltoid exercises I'm thinking in terms of dumbbell raises, front, side, or back (leverage exercises). This is a light exercise and of course abdominal work is generally considered light. Calf is not so light so I place it at the end of the sequence.

It is always wise to intersperse some upper body work with the lower body work to bring this blood up from the lower extremities. Now this may seem contradictory, but remember I mentioned doing some light upper body work when working the lower body heavy and vice versa.

Since so much extraneous material came into our conversation, let us summarize the procedure for setting up a specialized program. Again, because it is badly needed, let us decide to specialize on the calves in this example, the basics of which can be applied to other programs.

You will plan a 6-day a week split routine. Monday/Wednesday/Friday will be predominantly upper body work. You may want 3 to 5 sequences depending on your time and energy. Place your special calf exercises at the end of each sequence.

On Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday lower body work would be dominant, and again you would put calf exercises at the last of each sequence. This would give you quite a calf workout since you would be doing about 5 calf exercises each workout or each day, and then finish up with calf stretches and some 'toe' running.

A little light massage is also good for the specialized muscles. Remember it is important to keep the blood circulating through the muscles being specialized, without congestion - just a strong circulation.

Article courtesy of Jack Chrisomalis.    


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Planning of Training - Arkady Vorobiev (1968)

3rd Edition

 - Each chapter completely updated 
 - New illustrations and graphics
 - Better explanations of the proven programs that have been helping hundreds of thousands of lifters
 - Expanded Novice chapter with the details of 3 different approaches to the problem of getting stuck   
 - Special approaches for the underweight and overweight trainee
 - Expanded Intermediate chapter with 18 separate programs and 11 detailed examples
 - Expanded Advanced chapter with detailed examples of 9 different programs
 - Expanded “Special Populations” chapter with example programs for women and masters lifters  
   training through their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s
 - Day-to-day, workout-to-workout, week-by-week detailed programs for every level of training advancement
 - The most comprehensive book on the theory and practice of programming for strength training in print
  - Printed in a new larger format for better display of the programs

Power Snatch - Viktor Kurenstov

Norbert Schemansky

The Planning of Training
(from "Russian Training Methods - Part 4)
Arkady Vorobiev
Coach of the Russian National Team
- translated by Karl Faeth

It is generally useful to divide the training year up into three periods:

1) The Preparatory Period
2) The Contest Period
3) The Transition Period

This is especially valuable for sports which are season oriented - skiing, skating and the like.

In sports branches which are dependent on the change of season, and in particular weightlifting, the entire year should be a single training period, which is dependent on the major championship meet. The training plan is constructed taking into consideration among other things the contests, their number and type. There should be training periods consisting of intensive work, and there should be granted time for the possibility of providing a rest period for the nervous system after an important contest. Periods with reduced training loads should be provided for.

The Long Range Plan

The Central Scientific Research Institute for Sports Questions recommends to work out long range plans which cover a four year period of time. During this period of time one is able to change a Second-Class lifter into a Master of Sports. This process can also be achieved quicker, namely in two to three years.

In a long range plan one sets up or establishes firmly the results which should be reached during the various training stages, and simultaneously one specifies in which manner one is able to realize these results. The attempt to plan or project the training load in kilograms for a lengthy period in the future is useless if one does not also have exact knowledge about the work rate, conditions and circumstances of the lifter, the character of his rest, his sleeping and eating habits, his health, and his well being. It is impossible to anticipate all of this for an extended period of time.

In the plan the calculated results of the lifter are given for each year in the Olympic lifts and in the most important supplementary movements - pressing on an incline bench, pulls for snatching (high and low), and cleaning, knee bends, etc. The planned training in these principle features is carefully plotted.

As an example we will give in the following paragraphs a four year plan for lifters in the middle heavyweight 198.25 lb class of the 2nd qualification class.

First Year

1) The lifter learns a rational lifting technique. For this, the first six months are employed.

2) The body is gradually prepared in order to endure heavy training loads.

3) The results of the lifter should be improved by approximately 45 kg (99 lbs).  In pressing one aims at 115 (253); snatching at 110 (242); and cleaning and jerking at 145 (319).

4) The flexibility and agility in the limbs, especially in he elbows is improved. Besides one works on improving the speed and flexibility of the lifter.

Second Year

1) Lifting technique is improved.

2) Strength-Training.

3) The total results (3 lift total) of the lifter are increased by 70 lbs. In the press the goal is 275 lbs; snatch 264; clean and jerk 352.

4) The training load should at the end of this year, on average, have risen to at least 6 to 7 tons each training day. The weekly load should total 25 to 28 tons. The middle or average value of the training weights (middle intensity) should go up to 263.5 lbs.

5) Periodically one takes time out in order to improve his speed, flexibility, and condition. In the summer one does this on an athletic field, int the winter in the gymnasium and outdoors on skis and skates. Moreover the lifter should work during each training day on one or more of these qualities.

Third Year

1) Strength-Training. The training load and intensity are increased during the year. The training load at the end of this year should have reached on the average at least 7 to 8 tons each training day and the weekly load should have been increased to 30 to 32 tons. The middle intensity is increased by 5 kg (11 lbs). The lifter works on his underdeveloped groups.

2) The lifting technique has improved.

3) The total result is increased by 55 to 66 lbs - in the press up to 297 lbs; snatch up to 286; clean and jerk up to 363-374. In the Assistance Exercises on aims at 319 in the push press, 308 in pressing on the incline bench, and 440 in the squat.

Fourth Year

1) The further development of strength. The training load totals on the average, 7 to 9 tons on each training day and the weekly load 32 to 34 tons. The middle intensity is increased by 264 lbs.

2) Secondly, one sharpens up his technique.

3) The lifter improves his speed, flexibility and condtion.

4) The total result is elevated by 15-20 kg (33-44 lbs). The peak or maximum quotations in the most important Assistance Exercises are increased 5-7.5 kg (11-16.5).

The Yearly Plan for Qualified Lifters

The training plan for qualified lifters is established for one year, whereby one bases everything on the long range plan and takes into consideration the contest calendar. One selects 2 to 3 of the more important contests in which the lifter should seriously participate. The training load is planned by taking into consideration these major contests. Participation in the remaining "second class contests" should in no manner influence the training in any degree. For these contests the lifter does not make any special or particular preparations, he does not dimi8nish or lessen his training load before these contests. In this way the yearly plan is able to be divided into three to four shorter stages, which are determined by the important contests. For each major contest, a certain or definite result is aimed for.

We will now give below an example of the preparations of a qualified lightweight lifter for a contest. The technique of the lifter is good in the Olympic lifts. His best results are 350 kg total (770). Pressing 105 (231); Snatching 105 (231); and Clean and Jerking 140 (308). He calculates so that his results increase as follows: in the Press up to 242, in the Snatch to 236.5-242); in the Clean and Jerk to 313.5-319. The training weights should be increased. In the pulls it increases from 253-264 up to 264-275. In the Jerk up to 341-352. In the Squat he increases 11-22 lbs. His goal is 407-418 for 2-3 repetitions with the bar behind his neck. In Pressing on the incline bench set at a 45 degree angle it is increased 11 lbs from 220-about 130). 
For this he has two months at his disposal. The first month is employed chiefly for strength training with Assistance Movements. Now and then he also works on his technique. At the end of the month he increases the training load on the average by 7 tons (the training previously was 6-6.5 tons). With this the lifter calculates his training load for some of his training days to be 9-10 tons, for the remaining days 4-5 tons.
Two to three weeks after the beginning of training the lifter wants to reach 264-275 lbs in the pulls (2 repetitions); 341-352 in Jerking; 396 in Squats and 220 in Pressing on the incline bench. After a month he starts with these weights in training. For as you know it is easier to increase in weight in these lifts or movements than in the  three contest lifts. During this period his program looks like this: The lifter trains four times per week, Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday. The remaining days are rest days. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Shoulder Specialization

Shoulder Specialization Part One

Assuming that you have been training on a fairly regular and progressive basis, start out on the following: 

 - Train three days per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday).

- For the first week  perform all exercises slowly and carefully with a moderate poundage so that your muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments get used to the exercises.

- Starting the second week do the following -

1) Parallel Squat - 2 x 15 reps
Pick a poundage approximately 50 lbs below your best set of 15 reps and do 15 slow and careful repetitions. This is only a warmup set and should get you in the right frame of mind for your next set, which is an all-out set of 15 reps done almost to failure. If this set is done with only a short breath between the reps, then you should finish in a state of breathlessness. It is also suggested that you do not quite lock out your knees at the top of the movement, which should result in a tremendous pump and burn in the thighs after 15 reps. It should be quite possible to add 5 pounds to your squat almost every workout and you should try to do this as the heavy work will stimulate your metabolism, which will encourage greater muscular growth all over your body, including your shoulders.

2) Standing Calf Raise - 3 x 20
Do three smooth sets with 30 seconds rest between each, aiming for total burn and pump. Your calf block should be at least six inches high and you should endeavor to stretch out at the bottom as much as possible.

3) Seated Press Behind Neck (back against 85-degree upright) - 4 x 8
This is your first deltoid exercise and you should attempt over the next six weeks to handle some really heavy iron. For your first set pick a weight about 30 lbs less than your best set of 8 reps. After a short rest do an all out set of 8 reps to failure. If you can do more than 8 reps then do them. Do not stop at 8 if you can do more. Continue until you cannot move the bar from the behind neck position. If you have stands then you can easily replace the bar without assistance. Take 10 lbs from the bar and after approximately one minute's rest do another all out set aiming for at least 8 reps. Do a final set of 8 reps with another 10 lbs less. It is important to try and increase your poundages as often as possible, so use your first heavy set as a poundage guide, and as soon as you are able to make 10 good reps then you should increase the bar by 5 lbs for your next workout.

4) Standing Side Laterals - 3 x 10
Holding two dumbbells at your thighs so that your knuckles are facing to the front, raise the dumbbells out slightly in front of you in a semi-circle. Do an all out set until you cannot raise them more than about two feet from your thighs. Do another two sets with the same weight allowing only 30 seconds of rest between each set.

5) Head Braced Bentover Barbell Row - 4 x 8
This is primarily an exercise for the large muscles of the back but if you use your mind and concentrate strongly you should be able to activate your rear deltoids quite fully as well. Do this exercise very strictly and concentrate on contracting the rear deltoids and upper back muscles. Follow the same poundage procedure as given for the Press Behind Neck.

6) Bench Press - 4 x 10
Following the same poundage procedure as the Press Behind Neck, perform your benches rhythmically and strictly. This is another exercise where you should be able to increase your poundage quite regularly. As soon as you can do 12 reps on your first heavy set increase the weight by 5 lbs next workout. This is a great exercise for your frontal deltoids as well as your chest.

7) Barbell Curl superset Triceps Pressdown - 3 x 10
Perform a warmup set of both exercises with about 25-30 lbs less than your best weight for 10 reps. Do an all out set of barbell curls and then immediately do a set of strict triceps pressdowns. Rest one minute and do these again using the same poundages.

This concludes the first part of your deltoid specialization routine. After 6 weeks take one full week of rest.

Shoulder Specialization Part Two 

After one week of rest from the first routine spend another full week getting used to this new routine. It is based on approximately four days work per week and you may select and use one of the following layouts:

1) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
2) Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
3) Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
4) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday.
5) An every other day split routine - 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and so on.

This second part of the shoulder specialization program is very strenuous and consists of a lot of work for the deltoids, so it goes without saying that more sleep and good nutritious food is needed. 

The routine consists of doing the shoulders-only on two days per week and the rest of the body on the other two training days. 

Routine for the Rest of the Body Days

1) Squats - 5 x 5
Pick a weight 100 lbs lighter than your best 5 rep squat poundage. Do 8 reps, warming up. Put 50 lbs on the bar and do 5 reps, still warming up. Now, put 50 more lbs on the bar and go all out for 5 reps. After a short rest reduce the bar by 10 lbs and do another 5 reps. After another short rest reduce the bar again by 10 lbs and do 5 reps. Increase the weight whenever possible.

2) Standing Calf Raise - 
Pile enough weight on so you barely get 15 reps. Without removing the weight shake your left leg for a few seconds to relieve the congestion and then do the same with the right leg. Continue doing calf raises aiming to get at least 8 reps. Do the leg shaking bit between each set and continue for set after set until you can do no more.

3) Bench Press - 5 x 6 reps
Use the same poundage system as squats, aiming to increase the weights each workout without cheating. 

4) Chins to the Front - 3 x 10
Do a nice slow warmup of 5 or 6 reps with bodyweight, then do an all out set of 10 reps to failure. As soon as you can get over 10 reps strap weight on, and finish off with another set with bodyweight only.

5) Seated Dumbbell Curls superset Dips - 3 x 8
Do a slow warmup set on both exercises with a weight about 20 lbs lighter than your best 8 rep set. On the dips use only your bodyweight. Now, use all the curl weight you can handle for 8 strict reps and then without rest go into a super strict set of dips. Do another 2 sets using the same weight, attempting to get 8 reps each set. As soon as you can get over 8 reps on your first heavy set increase the dumbbells by 5 lbs and strap 15 lbs. to your waist for the dips.

Shoulder Day Routine

Super Set One -
85 degree seated dumbbell press superset ->
face down incline dumbbell laterals - 1 warmup set and 3 supersets of 8 reps.

Do a warmup set on both exercises using approximately 75% of your best 8 rep poundage. Now do an all out set of seated dumbbell presses. Do these as follows: Hold the dumbbells at your shoulders with your back against the 85 degree upright. Your palms should be facing inwards towards your body. As you press the bells overhead rotate the wrists so that they are now facing the front. Do not quite lock out. When you can't do another rep go over to the standing incline bench which should be set at a 70 degree angle. Lying face down with your head off the bench do a set of dumbbell laterals extending the bells slightly forward with your elbows bent. Reduce each dumbbell by 5 pounds and do another 2 supersets.

Super Set Two -
Upright Row superset ->
Rear Laterals - 1 warmup set, 3 supersets of 10 reps.

Do a warmup set on both exercises using approximately 75% of your best 10 rep poundage. Using a shoulder width grip on the bar slowly pull it up to your chin, and then slowly lower it to your upper thighs without quite locking out your elbows. This is not a trapezius developer but a side deltoid thickener so try to concentrate on those deltoids. When you can't raise the bar higher than your waist go over to a flat bench and sit right at the edge, with your upper body resting along the top of your thighs. Hold two dumbbells beneath your legs and then raise them out to the parallel position and slowly lower to the starting position. So another two hard supersets using the same weights.

Super Set Three -
Seated Press superset ->
Cheat DB side raises - 1 warmup set, 3 supersets of 8 reps.

Do a warmup set of 8 reps with approximately 75% of your best poundages for 8 reps. Sitting comfortably on a bench and holding a barbell at your shoulders with a grip about 3 inches either side of your shoulders, slowly press the bar upwards without leaning backwards and also without quite locking the elbows out at the top. Lower the bar to your neck and continue. When you can't push the bar from your neck pick up two heavy dumbbells. Holding the bells in front of your body raise them using a slight amount of cheating to get them started, but lowering them slowly. Perform another 2 sets with the same poundages.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Squat Proficiency Routine - Ernest Cottrell (1965)

Mel Hennessy

Barbell Hack Squat

 Note differing stroke length in the two men.

Squatting places great physical and psychological demands on the lifter. The lift is far more unstable, as far as the lifter's posture is concerned, as compared to the deadlift . . . even though less weight is normally hoisted in the squat. This unstable, top-heavy posture is the main reason that less weight is lifted, even though more big, powerful muscles are put into play. Oh, sure, you can argue that there are greater leverage differences in the squat's execution, more direct strain on the knee joints, etc., but this is just a cop-out of sorts. It is just more difficult to train the body and mind to cope with these 'obstacles' and the result is more hard work than is usually encountered with other lifts. The fact is, if you really want to be a good, champion squatter, you'll have to make up your mind to train harder than usual on the squat. Period.

Naturally, there are such considerations as sore or damaged knee joints, groin and leg muscle injuries, inconsistent energy reserves, etc., etc. But these problems are normally end products of poor nutrition, lack of rest, inappropriate workloads and negative attitudes that excite the endocrine system and later body chemistry.

A good, healthy, happy and friendly competitive mental attitude is mandatory for physical/chemical well-being, and so is a careful diet. Powerlifters require enormous quantities of certain vitamins and minerals since the great demands they place on their body and will power use up their stored every workout, much like a heavy truck going uphill uses gas, wears parts, etc. Sore joints are partly caused by not warming up properly, but are often caused by a lack of the mineral manganese, which is found in high concentrations in the tendons and connective tissue. Most people are extremely deficient in this mineral - especially the athlete who need it most of all! Tendinitis can sometimes be corrected or minimized by large quantities of this mineral.

100% of the proceeds from The Cowboy Method will be donated to Autism Speaks.

The premise of The Cowboy Method  was born out of Glenn Pendlay’s Texas Method squat program. Pendlay’s Texas Method revolves around a 3x/week squatting program of High Volume on Mondays, Low Volume on Wednesdays and a rep max on Fridays or Saturdays, it is a great program that will yield excellent results for you.


The squat appears to be about the easiest exercise to perform . . . disarmingly simple in performance, and not  requiring any great athletic or gymnastic technique. That is essentially so, but it will fool you when you start to get into the intermediate stages of development where heavier weights are used, stress builds up, and strength and energy demands start to compete with your natural and designed ability to cope with them. I cannot possibly hope to go into the multitudinous facets of this complicated physio-chemical make-up of the stress-oriented athlete at this time, except to say: eat, rest, think, and train properly. This article is primarily involved with the squat exercise and the auxiliary exercises to help you increase your power in the squat.


The squatting muscles are:
1) Gluteus Maximus - extends femur thigh bone; straightens thigh until it is in line with the torso.

2)Quadriceps Femoris group - four divisions: Rectus Femoris; Vastus Lateralis; Vastus Medialis; and Vastus Intermedius - extends lower leg until entire leg is straight.

3) Erector Spinae - extends, or supports vertebral column; straightens and arches torso.

With the barbell high up on the shoulders, the lifter finds himself in a rather unstable, top-heavy posture; his center of gravity is raised and he is prone to topple easily. The actual act of squatting increases this possibility since the motion further destabilizes this shaky posture. The training routine I will give you to increase your proficiency in the squat will do a number of things: increase your squatting coordination, neuro-muscular efficiency, strength, and most of all your confidence to do heavy squats. None of this is separate, or isolated; but rather overlaps and as with a chain, is as strong as its weakest link . . .

The Routine

Warming up, of course, is always important. Here is one very good, and rather unusual general warmup exercise for your squat program (Note: while performing all the exercises herein, use your normal lifting shoes):

1) Bodyweight Multi-Squats -
Stand erect, with feet about 12 inches apart, toes pointed out to the sides. Now squat down fully for about 10-15 reps, then immediately point the toes inward and squat fully for another 10 reps or so. Now, without rest, place feet about 24 inches apart and squat fully for another 10 or so reps. Now comes the good one! Still without resting, immediately spread your feet about 40 inches apart front and back, split style (this will vary depending on your leg length) and do a one-legged squat-stretch, alternating between legs until tired. Be sure to straighten both legs while switching over each rep. Do 1 or 2 sets of this warmup exercise. Rest about 5 minutes, then go to . . .

2) Leg Extensions -
The purpose of this isolated thigh exercise is to more fully strengthen the thigh muscles and the large common tendon that the Quadriceps Femoris group terminates in, and that passes over the knee cap to its attachment, the Tibial tuberosity, on the front of the lower leg just below the knee.

Do this exercise with both legs engaged simultaneously rather than one leg at a time. When the legs are fully extended, hold the weight in this position for 1-2 seconds, then lower slowly and repeat for 4 sets of 5 reps. Rest  about 30-40 seconds between sets. After the fourth set rest about 3-5 minutes and go to . . .

3) Low Position Half Squat
Lack of strength (nerve force) in this low, awkward positions causes lifters to fail to gain upward momentum necessary to overcome gravity and complete the squat. Balance, too, is often lost somewhat at this point, while the lifter tries desperately to compensate for this weakness by altering his posture to bring other muscles and/or skeletal leverage into play to help the leverage-weakened thighs and buttocks. You'll have to experiment with the amount of weight you will use for this exercise. You might start with about 1/2 the normal squatting poundage you use for 4-5 reps, and work up from there.

Hold the bar, and use normal foot placement, as you would for your regular squats. Lower your buttocks fully, not just to a point where the thighs are parallel or slightly; then raise up only half-way, lower and repeat for six reps.

Have something to measure this height with, such as a string tied between the squat racks at such a height that when you are at this desired half-way position it will be at eye-level. Also, be sure to have good spotters or rack catchers while doing this exercise! Do 5 sets of 6 reps, resting 3-5 minutes between sets. Now rest 5-7 minutes and go on to . . .

4) Jump Squats - 
Again, balance is developed - but more importantly extremely violent nerve force is developed in the locking-out of the knees and the straightening of the lower back.

Stand erect, hold two dumbbells at the sides (totaling about 1/4 the weight of your exercise squatting poundage - if you do 400 lbs x 6 reps use two 50 lb dumbbells, lighter at first until you become confident here). Proceed to squat down and jump up as high as possible. When landing on the floor don't stop dead; actually lower yourself right back down into the squat again and immediately repeat smoothly for about 5-6 reps. Do 2-4 sets of this valuable exercise, resting 2-3 minutes between sets. After the last set rest for 5 minutes, then go to . . .

5) Endurance Barbell Hack Squat - 
This is for endurance while you perform one maximum attempt, even though it's done here with high repetitions. Mental tenacity is needed to excite and maintain muscular contractile force - and this exercise will do it.

Hold a barbell at the back of the thighs, just below the buttocks (1/4 the weight of your maximum single effort in the squat). Proceed to squat down as far as possible with your back very straight, eyes to the front. Return to standing position and repeat until you cannot possibly do another rep. Even finish your set with partial hack squats when you are too exhausted to do full reps. Only one set, but completely extend your energy here - when you do all that is humanly possible, then do a few more! Rest about 5-7 minutes, then go on to the last exercise . . .

6) Forced Bodyweight Squat - 
If you think that bodyweight and "calisthenic-type" exercises are for sissies and old men trying to stay in some form of physical shape, you'd better take another look at these exercises. When done properly, such exercises as bodyweight pushups, dips, chins, squats, situps, etc., can do wonders for single-attempt strength lifting. The seemingly endless repetitions definitely develop neuro-muscular coordination (muscle learning), tenacity of nerve-force that is needed to constantly prod a muscle to contract, and then to maintain this contraction without giving up or fatiguing rapidly.

Hold an Olympic bar on your shoulders in your regular squat position, foot placement the same, then proceed to do as many full squats as you possibly can. Don't quit until you cannot move at all from the low position. This is your last exercise so you may want to do more than one set. You be the judge for each training session.

General Information

Beginners should not do this routine until they have exercised hard on the squat for at least one year. Regular training on the squat is sufficient at first, even necessary as it develops good basic muscle learning, etc., in this lift. Faster progress can be had by taking the steps in order.

Intermediate lifters and beyond, while specializing on this program, should do a minimum of bench press and deadlift training so as not to burn out. Naturally, this varies considerably with the individual. You know your limit. I can't set it for you.

Suggested routines are as follows:

Monday - Squat
Tuesday - BP, some DL
Wednesday - Squat
Thursday - Dl, some BP
Friday - Squat
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

Monday - Squat (add one extra set to all exercises)
Tuesday - BP and DL
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Squat (add one extra set to all exercises)
Friday - BP (lots)
Saturday - DL (lots)
Sunday - Rest

This routine DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF YOUR REGULAR STRENGTH TRAINING which needs to be comprises of many near-maximum attempts, but is rather a routine that will definitely be of value to those who are in a slump, burnt out with regular training, have weak spots in their squatting technique and certain areas of strength potential. Use this program for three to eight weeks whenever one of these problems are experienced by you. 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Philosophy of Sequence Training - Bob Gajda

Sergio Oliva

 - The 1966 Mr. America plans not only to outline a new system of training during this coming year, but he also wants to influence each trainee to "think through" his individual program so that each person will eventually develop a philosophy of training all his own.

Bob Gajda training with Sergio Oliva

Dave Draper benching with George Eiferman and Chuck Collras

Although several fine articles have recently been written about the exercise system I use, the P.H.A. (Peripheral Heart Action), to date none has been explicit enough.

In explaining this system I think it is essential to give a little history of how it was developed. In 1963 while attending George Williams College I had the good fortune of participating in a class of Bukh (Danish) gymnastics, along with forty students from the Neils Bukh School, for an hour of continuous drills.

Although the exercise bout was quite rigorous, I found it to be stimulating and almost tonic in effect. Seeking an explanation as to why I felt no fatigue I consulted my professor of physiology, Dr. Arthur Steinhaus, and he explained that the basis of the system of P.H.S. involves the thorough stimulation of the circulatory system.

How Circulation and P.H.A. Function

The meaning of Peripheral Heart Action is this: In addition to a single central heart, of which everyone is naturally aware, the body contains approximately 696 secondary hearts or pumps. Yes, you guessed it, every muscle in your body is a pump. Whenever a muscle contracts, veinal blood - full of oxidative wastes - is forced out and new nourishment enters via arterial blood. For a muscle to perform work it needs a supply of oxygen to break down glycogen (sugar) for energy. The muscle must also have an adequate transport for the removal of the waste incurred from chemical reactions. The veins, which are thin-walled tubes with very little muscle fiber, act in this transport. The returning blood does not have the advantage of the strong pumping action of the heart. Veinal blood must also contend with the force of gravity. Although the veins of the lower extremities do contain valves that prevent back flow, they must depend on muscle contraction for active transport. This explains why runners continue moving after a race. It also explains the value of the Hoffman walk after each set of exercises.

The cardiac muscle (heart) is nothing more than a pump. It needs a returning blood supply, otherwise it cannot function properly. The less blood the heart receives the less it puts out. An example, soldiers standing at attention for long periods drop like flies; the reason being the great strain on the circulatory system due to lack of peripheral heart action. As a result the muscular pumps cannot be utilized. Hence, the blood tends to accumulate (stagnate) in the lower extremities and veinal return becomes inadequate. Consequently, fainting occurs because the heart has no blood to pump to the brain.

Buffer Action

There is no value in congesting blood in any muscle. The sooner the veinal blood is carried back to the lungs for the removal of carbon dioxide the better. The main reason that circulation is so important is because of a unique system of buffers contained in the blood.

The way the buffer system functions is this: Buffers are substances contained in the blood which will neutralize acids or bases so that the pH. of the blood is not altered appreciably. The pH. of the blood is a state of dynamic equilibrium or chemical balance needed for survival. A normal pH. is 7.35. Anything above or below this level would offset the chemical balance of the body. This chemical balance is so important that if the pH. were to drop even a few tenths death would occur. During exercise we build up acids which the buffers must neutralize. If we fail to neutralize the acid build up, we become fatigued. By using the P.H.A. system there is an optimum utilization of the blood buffer action.

The main buffers are:
1) Oxyhemoglobin
2) Plasma proteins
3) Cell phosphate
4) Bicarbonate

Reasons for P.H.A.

Although it is true that every muscle contains buffers, it is also true that no single muscle contains enough to replenish its own loss. For water to be purified it must be filtered over many rocks. Like a stream of water, blood must pass over many muscles to pick up additional buffers. When buffers are used up, lactates (acids) accumulate. The difference between a conditioned athlete and the non-athlete is a phosphate (buffer) reserve. The more progressive training one does, the more buffers you put in the bank, so to speak. It's a type of security to draw on when the need does arrive.

In short, the value of the P.H.A. system is accelerated venous circulation and the optimum facilitation of buffer action.

The Relation of P.H.A. and Current Training Methods

After hearing Dr. Steinhaus explain the theory of P.H.A. my interest mounted and I began to realize its broad possibilities. Naturally my second question was, "Is P.H.A. applicable to weight training?" Dr. Steinhaus believed the system would be ideal since it was based on sound scientific facts.

There is little value in the "pumping system" advocated by present day weight trainers. Actually, pumping exercises have little merit in the development of a healthy body. Results are not long lasting and perhaps even detrimental in many ways. The pumping system favors the development of a condition called "Ischemia." Ischemia is an extreme build-up of an oxygen debt. IT is evidenced by cramp and muscle ache. Also the possibility of extreme dilation of capillaries and veins favors the the development of varicose veins. There are many other chronic effects of the pumping system that I will not enumerate for the sake of brevity.

So what does all this have to do with building big strong muscles? It sounds more like endurance training, and who wants that? Let's consider first what causes hypertrophy. According to Dr. Steinhaus, muscles grow in proportion to the amount of work done in a unit of time (Intensity Factor). No benefit is derived from exercise until a muscle is relaxed or no longer performing work. It is then that the wastes are carried off and new blood enters. When adapting P.H.A. we are applying the above factors to the fullest. The average weight trainer usually rests two to five minutes between sets to recuperate. Have you ever wondered how many additional exercises could be done in that period of time? I do four to six sets. The average weight trainer usually works out from one to three hours daily. So you can see that by doing P.H.A. you have a minimum increase of four times more work done, four times more intensity, and four times more recuperation because of buffer action. What is really astonishing is the fact that you can handle heavier weights for a longer period.

One day my Wednesday training partner, Roger Metz, and I decided to try an experiment. Instead of sequencing our exercises as usual, we did 10 straight sets of dumbbell curls. When using P.H.A. we used 70 lbs for 10 sets. This time we rested about four minutes instead of doing the other exercises. To our amazement we finished with 40 lbs on the final set! The reason for this was inadequate circulation and lack of buffer action.

Practical Application

Caution should be exercised in beginning a course of P.H.A. In most cases moderation is always best. Visiting bodybuilders have often joined me in a workout usually lasting only 20 minutes. Seemingly, they found that they weren't as physically fit as they thought they were.

Too much too soon is just not using good judgement. It is senseless trying to follow the exact routine I use. If you start off right, every workout will be a new challenge and your all-important enthusiasm will remain at a high level. You'll be out of the gym faster, with more time for studies, hobbies, or social interests, and most importantly you will be physically fit. Besides developing big strong muscles with this system, also be developing cardio-vasculatory fitness, which I believe is more important.

The main thing to keep always in mind is your weak points. You've got to emphasize them constantly. Keep circulation, not pump, in the areas where growth is needed. Dr. Steinhaus once told me that any muscle would grow if circulation to a specified area remained constant. So remember that circulation is paramount. Likewise, speed of the transportation of veinal return, and the intensity factor must be given equal consideration.


In outlining your programs keep all of the above in mind. Take three weak points and list them. Example: deltoids, waist, and calves. Now select three of your favorite exercises for each of the three areas. Then list at least one exercise for the other body parts to complete the routine.


Sequence #1
1) One leg calf raise
2) Press behind neck
3) Incline leg raise
4) Bench press
5) Wide chins
6) Barbell curl

Sequence #2
1) Donkey calf raise
2) Side lateral raise
3) Situps
4) Dips
5) Lat pulldown
6) Squat

Sequence #3
1) Leg press toe raise
2) Seated DB press
3) Twists
4) Leg curl
5) Triceps press
6) Deadlift

This type of program is geared for the beginner on a 3-day-per-week programs. It should not last more than one hour. In starting, use 2 sets of 8-10 reps with light weights.

In my next article I will elaborate further on how to program and specialize with P.H.A. 

Article courtesy of Jack Chrisomalis.      


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Nautilus Machines - Vince Gironda (1974)

In our last issue, Vince Gironda, one of the world's foremost bodybuilding authorities, was interviewed by Joe Weider and his astute, in-depth observations concerning the Nautilus machines were published. A few of his comments were, ". . . The basic mechanical concept is erroneous!" And, "This is like self-inflicted torture . . !" Also, ". . . It does not, it cannot and it will not replace conventional exercise equipment . . ."

We left off where Joe Weider had commented on the Nautilus' inability to be versatile enough to exactly duplicate or almost completely approximate actual movements performed during sports activities where it would be of appreciable value as a supplemental training aid. Vince Gironda agreed, and then elaborated further on this important point when space forced us to interrupt his interview. We now continue at this point: 

Vince Gironda (VG): I'll have to agree with you completely, Joe. It amazes me, too. It really baffles me; the only thing I can say is that so many gym instructors, coaches and trainers are ignorant of these facts, and aside from a few basic exercises they give their students, they are basically acting as "social directors." Joe, for many years you and I have worked with these principles and have personally instructed and seen so many athletes dramatically excel at their craft by using these valuable principles or supplemental sports training with conventional barbell equipment.

Joe Weider (JW): Right! And there's absolutely no excuse for this ignorance! Everyone should remember how fantastic athletes such as C.J. Yang and Rafer Johnson, decathlon record holders, Perry O'Brien, Dallas Long and Jay Sylvester, world record holders, developed their sports proficiency - with sensible and specialized weight-training, of course! Also, take Tommy Mason, all-pro footballer, Rod Milburn, record holding hurdler, Bob Seagren, champion pole-vaulter, Al Feuerbach, current shot-put record holder, etc. The sensible weight-trained athletes of the past and present are undeniable proof that the versatility of barbells, dumbbells and pulleys is the best. These men became outstanding champions after introducing this form of supplemental exercise to their sports training program.

VG: Very true, Joe. They got more done with more versatile equipment . . . and at less cost for this equipment, as opposed to limited, complicated, and very expensive equipment that "looked impressive." Nautilus is very much like having a big, shiny and expensive Rolls Royce that can only go down good highways with any degree of efficiency, and has to tread softly on rutted roads and steep hills, as opposed to the strong, rugged Jeep that can go anywhere, do so many things easily and efficiently . . . and it is very expensive.

JW: Precisely, Vince. It really makes you wonder, doesn't it? What about this, Vince. Take a group of people, for instance, that you wanted to run through a series of exercises in "assembly line" fashion for convenience. Just what do you think of the Nautilus machines for this type of conventional mass exercise sessions? Schools, the military, prisons, public and private institutions are almost always looking for quick, convenient and effective methods to introduce exercise to large numbers of persons and groups with less supervision.

VG: Yes, let's face it, Joe. If you have to run large numbers of people through this type of "assembly line" training, to eliminate individual instruction, you first need something practical to do this with that embodies sound exercise principles. The hitch here is that many of the Nautilus machines aren't mechanically sound for most people's physiology. I'll tell you why. You already know how it affected big Arnold and Franco: it tore Arnold's pec and gave him painful tennis elbow, etc. I get letters telling me all the time how these people have to get cortisone shots in their shoulders after having used the Nautilus pullover machine for a time. This machine dictates compulsory arm positioning that is very unnatural and dangerous to the shoulder joint. And this isn't just a problem with neophytes - well-trained men write me debunking this contraption! I really feel sorry for the unwary person who is suckered into using it.

JW: That is one of the most common complaints I've heard - it isn't safe, and it can actually be dangerous.

VG: It sure is. Joe, let me say something else about the Nautilus pullover machine since we're talking about it. The "pullover" exercise that is performed on it is not a good lat exercise. All it does is bring out a faint ribbon in front of the latissimus, but it builds no thickness across the back. It does work the serratus magnus, but so do so many other exercises, such as this exercise. (Here Vince jumped up and went over to a chinning bar attached to a ceiling beam where he lithely jumped up to grasp it and hang motionless for a moment. He then promptly raised his whole body out into a horizontal bar "lever" and held it solidly while talking to me! This robust man of 56 years of age is simple remarkable.) This is just one of the exercises I give for the lats and serratus magnus - and this bar cost me about five dollars! (He then lowered his rigid body very slowly, enjoying every second of it, dropped from the bar and returned to his desk.) There are innumerable exercises for these muscles that certainly don't require equipment costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

JW: That's so right. Can you think of anything else concerning the Nautilus, Vince?

VG: I'm going to say something that will completely bury anything anyone has to say in favor of the Nautilus machines as far as bodybuilding is concerned. Who has it ever produced? Show me one man the Nautilus equipment and system of exercise has actually produced and where it is definitely responsible for his tremendous bodybuilding development. JUST ONE!

JW: I hear Arthur Jones wants to take credit for Casey Viator's development, even though Casey was a popular and well-built bodybuilder long before Jones got him to strap himself into a Nautilus machine.

VG: Right. And I think Casey's physique has suffered as a result, even though Casey liked to do other conventional barbell and dumbbell exercises on the side. Oh, that brings up another interesting point. Arthur Jones says, "Throw away all your conventional exercise equipment!" Why, then, does he use conventional equipment?

JW: I've heard that he says use conventional equipment in conjunction with his Nautilus machines.

VG: Arthur Jones has told me many times - he used to call me on the phone from Florida and talk for two or three hours at a time, several times a week - and he'd tell me, "Throw your conventional equipment away, you don't need it anymore." Period! Just look at his machines. He has conventional devices hanging on his apparatus now. For instance, to do chins to pump up before or after using his machine, etc.

Now let's take his so-called "new concept" in exercise equipment. All he's done is taken a lot of ideas that were already here and being put into practice. Certainly nothing too scientific, or even dramatic. There have been, in the past, many types of strange, odd, impractical and overly complicated pieces of bodybuilding equipment for us bodybuilders to choose from. What was salvaged from this innumerable assortment of is what we have proved through endless application in bodybuilding and use today. These are the ones that have proved themselves to be of benefit - the ones that produced results. Some of the lousy ones hung on longer than should they should have and are still being used by a few uninformed persons, but in general they are neglected and eventually junked, because they have no practical value. Bodybuilders want and need only the best - and will not settle for less.

At this time, Joe, I want to make one point understood: I am not knocking Arthur Jones as a person - in fact he's a good friend of mine, and has been for some time. I am only scientifically evaluating his equipment and methods as I see them.

JW: Sure, I realize this, Vince. That is both honest and healthy - and much more of this in-depth investigation, evaluation and critique should be entered into in the physical fitness field by qualified and concerned parties in order to more fully evaluate the principles, knowledge and ideals - every contribution - of all persons involved.

VG: In this vein, Joe; in the beginning I actually endorsed Arthur Jones contribution to bodybuilding because he introduced - rather injected - energy into this business. He offered something new. He demonstrated the daring ability to be different . . . creative . . . even revolutionary! I admired this in the man. His new concepts caused a lot of people to work harder, think harder, etc. This sort of stimulus always offers nourishment for the journey along the road to man's progress.

JW: History is full of forceful, dynamic persons -definite individuals - who have, through their highly irregular contributions, caused enormous and dramatic changes in the world. Euclid, Plato, Edison, Einstein, Salk, etc., contributed badly-needed medicinal, social and scientific breakthroughs; and Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, etc., contributed destructive, wicked and warring influences that caused nauseating carnage. Both types of influence have to be recognized in proportion to what they offered - and caused to happen - and then what was eventually done to either accept or eradicate the effects of their influence upon the world. I believe we are doing this right now . . . and I also think that bodybuilding will eventually profit immensely from such investigations as we are presenting in these interviews. This Nautilus thing sort of reminds me of Aristotle's powerful influence upon the world when his philosophical and distorted ideas about matter were innocently accepted and believed for centuries before other thinking, inquiring and inventive men proved otherwise . . . and humanity once again began to progress.

VG: Man has always done this. There are only a few who concentrate on the real facts of life and don't distort them. Man, in general, often looks to the dramatic side of things which seem to offer what he wants, when what he actually needs are things that are simple, uncomplicated, and lack garish color. Man gets bored easily, and this boredom, if unchecked, can cause him to look beyond his normal hum-drum existence for something that stimulates his life. And far too often this emotional search distorts his true perspective and limits his ability to possess a sense of penetrating analysis concerning his true needs . . . Exotic and unnatural methods of bodybuilding, for instance, can replace sensible conventional methods for a time 'til the novelty wears off, but then it's right back to the tried-and-true methods once again.

JW: Oftentimes ideas and items that are only available as novelties are presented as earth-shattering breakthroughs in a given field, and then they erupt on the scene as marvels of performance in the field, supposedly possessing intrinsic value. This is due entirely to the dynamic selling force and gall of its promoters. But, so often, this thing's ability to exist as an entertaining novelty only conceals its real worth, and also hides the true value of other basic, conservative and productive items. This dramatic camouflage actually lures otherwise thinking persons into a pseudo-intellectual fog, and before they reason their way out of it, perhaps years of wasteful and nonproductive effort has dissipated their energies. This isn't progress, it's exactly the opposite.

VG: This is what happened years ago when inquisitive bodybuilders pioneered this field. They were very interested, and even devoted to obtaining health, strength and big muscles; and as a result investigated every type of diet, exercise, piece of equipment, method, etc. The result of this inquiry into the new field of bodybuilding, individually and collectively, has caused enormous strides of advancement in the artistic and scientific aspects of bodybuilding and sports. Nutritionists, physiologists, therapists, etc., learned from them - their newly-proved physical results in this field that were unknown before. It didn't start the other way around.

Let's take the chemical sciences, for instance. The amateur investigator of the physical world of the past - called alchemists - were stimulated into an energetic, untiring, greedy and well-documented search for the secret with which to manufacture gold from base elements . . . and this caused our science of chemistry to be realized. It didn't start with scientific concepts; it was developed from accumulated facts. The same is true with bodybuilding. The scientific approach is to take knowledge - known and/or suspected facts - then engineer or weave these into a controlled blend of happenings that do the desired job. Experience first, then the progressive variations follow to further enhance it. The scientist (the instructor, teacher, equipment designer, coach, etc.) has to know the real facts before successful experiments will follow.

JW: When something is "tested" in order to determine its merits, a number of relevant and intelligent considerations of the initial and supporting facts are necessary . . . and are very important if the true measure of the thing's general or specific purpose and function is desired. These considerations must be understood and entered into only by qualified researchers lest the experiments, in reality become failures even while they are being disproportionately praised as successes. True scientists fully realize that the results of their experiments are completely dependent upon their own knowledge of the ingredients they are working with, and their consideration of the "unknown" factors involved. True scientists and researchers also appreciate the separate meanings of the words theory, theorem, and fact - and do not confuse one with the other. It is a theory that the Nautilus machines can be a productive bodybuilding/sports training aid. Its whole principle and resulting mechanical design should be the result of a number of supporting facts concerning anatomy, physiology and exercise methods, etc., in careful and intelligent combination. It is a theorem that the Nautilus is being proposed and/or accepted as a demonstrable truth in this respect. In other words, its usage should prove-out its theory. Theory has to be conclusively demonstrated in connection with its claims before it can even hope to be considered as, and eventually recognized as, a fact. A fact that Arthur Jones' Nautilus machines, method of exercise, and what he claims for both of them, is not factual in theory or demonstration - in fact, the reverse is usually true.

Here's an interesting parallel - a brand-name cola, made from artificial flavorings and coloring, is breaking all records for sales in supermarkets and vending machines. The company manufacturing it is predictably thrilled,as are the stockholders, over the cola's meteoric rise in sales. There is no doubt whatsoever that it is a marvelous success - commercially; but as far as human nutrition is concerned, it is a total failure. This cola is not necessary, it is a novelty. It offers nothing of importance, only an attractive can, exiting taste and feebly quenches the thirst, and perhaps a catchy advertising jingle. But it does require money to purchase it . . . and sometimes it is even harmful to the consumer.

The Nautilus machines are not necessary, they are a novelty. They offer nothing of importance, only an attractive and interesting design. When first trying their 'taste,' there is an interesting newness that only feebly quenches one's thirst for results, and their advertising 'jingle' is certainly catchy . . . but do they take money - lots of it! - to purchase.

VG: Very true, Joe. Their novelty value, in relation to their obvious lack of bodybuilding value, is causing a lot of us to be concerned - even agitated - however, it is stimulating the world of bodybuilding into action and thought, and hopefully reform. Stimulating the mind to think is of great importance to us all.

JW: Do you think there's any room for improvement on Jones' Nautilus machines? I mean by this, improvement without altering them too much since this would tend to change these machines to a point where they would no longer be Nautilus machines.

VG: If he wanted to be scientific about it, he would follow the muscle physiology throughout its complete extension and contraction, as well as consider the many compound functions the muscles have in their job of moving and rearranging the skeleton. It is a vastly complex variety of movements, not isolation of movements. This variety of natural movement is where thorough muscle development takes place, and where conventional exercise equipment reigns supreme.

JW: There is just no real comparison.

VG: The Nautilus machines do not develop the body thoroughly or safely as does conventional equipment. Barbells, dumbbells, pulleys, combined with the various conventional and specialized exercise benches, chinning and dipping bars are the best pieces of exercise equipment available today, and there's no exception. So far, especially where the Nautilus machines are concerned, nothing can compete with this sensible stuff we use today - the stuff that is turning out all the thousands of well-built men all over the world. Just look at the top Mr. Americas on through the other Mr.'s up to the greatest, the Mr. Olympias. They are all products of our conventional bodybuilding equipment.

If these Nautilus machines can do it alone, don't just talk about it . . .
SHOW ME!           

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