Saturday, December 27, 2014

Push-Pull Supersets - Don Ross

Books by Don Ross:

Building Strong Arms (Getting strong), 1984, Anderson World
Thinning your waist (Getting strong), 1984, Anderson World
Secrets of Super Fitness, 1972 
Fundamentals of Bodybuilding, 1985, Collier Books
With Robert Kennedy, Muscleblasting: Brief and Brutal Shock Training, 1988, Sterling Pub Co, Inc.

Supersets were popularized in the early 1960s by in the Weider magazines Mr. America and Muscle Builder. Larry Scott, Harold Poole and Freddy Ortiz attributed much of their development to the superset format. 

A superset is a pair of two exercises that are alternated. For example, do a set of barbell curls. Without resting do a set of seated dumbbell curls, then back to barbell curls, etc. The advantage of supersetting is that it can be done nonstop, especially if you are alternating two body parts such a a curl (biceps) supersetted with triceps presses (triceps). Supersets can be done for the same bodypart, for example, dumbbell curl supersetted with reverse-grip barbell curl. This creates more intensity for increased muscle growth and continuous movement for a fat-burning effect.

In the Push-Pull system each exercise is alternated with one that works the opposing muscle group (the muscles that produce movement in the opposite direction). For example, a set of bench presses, working the pushing muscles, is alternated with bentover barbell rows, which work the pulling muscles. Exercising in this manner allows each muscle group to rest a little longer to maintain strength through a series of sets, while at the same time your workout is intensified by the reduced total training time it takes to do a specific amount of work.

This workout is a 4-way split routine. You may use a 6-day split as well. Do 5 cycles of each superset pariing, and use a weight you can handle for roughly 10 reps.


 1st and 4th Days

Dumbbell Bench Press, superset with 
Bentover Dumbbell Rows - 5 sets of 10 reps (for all supersets listed)

Chest Dips, superset with 
Upright Barbell Rows

Barbell Press Behind Neck, superset with 
Wide Grip Pulldowns

Barbell Front Raise, superset with 
Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown

Bentover Lateral Raise, superset with
Flat Bench Flyes

2nd and 5th Days

Hack Lift, superset with 
Lying Leg Curl

Leg Extension, superset with 
Seated Leg Curl

Standing Calf, superset with
Reverse Toe Raise

Roman Chair Situps, superset with

Incline DB Curls, superset with
Decline Triceps Press

Lying Pulley Curl, superset with
Triceps Pushdown, palms down

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Eleven- Norman Zale (1977)


February, 2015
Grounded in history—but firmly oriented toward the future—Vitamania reveals the surprising story of how our embrace of vitamins led to today’s Wild West of dietary supplements and investigates the complicated psychological relationship we’ve developed with these thirteen mysterious chemicals. In so doing, Vitamania both demolishes many of our society’s most cherished myths about nutrition and challenges us to reevaluate our own beliefs.

Impressively researched, counterintuitive, and engaging, Vitamania won’t just change the way you think about vitamins. It will change the way you think about food.


June, 1996
Vitamania tells how and why vitamins have become so important to so many Americans. Rima Apple examines the claims and counterclaims of scientists, manufacturers, retailers, politicians, and consumers from the discovery of vitamins in the early twentieth century to the present. She reveals the complicated interests--scientific, professional, financial--that have propelled the vitamin industry and its would-be regulators. From early advertisements linking motherhood and vitamin D, to Linus Pauling's claims for vitamin C, to recent congressional debates about restricting vitamin products, Apple's insightful history shows the ambivalence of Americans toward the authority of science. She also documents how consumers have insisted on their right to make their own decisions about their health and their vitamins.

Vitamania makes fascinating reading for anyone who takes--or refuses to take--vitamins. 

 April, 2013
With wit, charm, accessibility, and impeccable scholarship (a powerful and unusual quartet), Harvey Levenstein chronicles the long history of Americans’ food fears, tracing their origins, exposing and debunking the self-serving hucksters who promoted them, and, finally, offering his own ‘cure’:  healthy skepticism. It’s a riveting record of claims and counter-claims, greed and venality, that will keep you reading and, finally, reassessing your own diet.

May, 2014
At the heart of today's optimistic farm-to-table food culture is a dark secret: the local food movement has failed to change how we eat. It has also offered a false promise for the future of food. Our concern over factory farms and chemically grown crops might have sparked a social movement, but chef Dan Barber reveals that even the most enlightened eating of today is ultimately detrimental to the environment and to individual health. And it doesn't involve truly delicious food. Based on ten years of surveying farming communities around the world, Barber's The Third Plate offers a radical new way of thinking about food that will heal the land and taste good, too.

A vivid and profound work that takes readers into the kitchens and fields revolutionizing the way we eat, The Third Plate redefines nutrition, agriculture, and taste for the twenty-first century. The Third Plate charts a bright path forward for eaters and chefs alike, daring everyone to imagine a future for our national cuisine that is as sustainable as it is delicious.

 Chapter Eleven:

The human body is as vast consortium of sophisticated reactions, each moderated by an internal traffic cop usually called a 'coenzyme'. Thousands of coenzymes have been discovered in biochemistry; they prevent your metabolism from 'running' too slow or too fast. But man, like every species, has mutated; no longer is he able to manufacture every necessary coenzyme. Those he cannot make, he must eat . . . and so we have vitamins. Most coenzymes are abundantly available in fresh, raw, unprocessed foods and needed only in trace amounts; an example would be B-12, a teaspoon of which is a lifetime supply. Vitamins are basically an all or nothing nutrient; you either eat them or you don't. If you do have an exceptionally poor diet, however, you may not ingest any of a particular coenzyme and your weight training program remains at a standstill and you may even suffer from a deficiency disease which is more than likely to be dramatically revolting.

It's true that few of you have clinical vitamin deficiencies; it's also true that most people eat a very poor diet. The flood of nutrition provided by frankfurters, french fries, processed cereals and bread, canned fruit and vegetables is lowering your efficiency and interfering with your ability to function normally. Vitamin tablets are the safest products you can add to your diet. Taken for specific reasons and in specific quantities, vitamins can add much to your life.

Can you take too many vitamins? The answer is a qualified NO. You can't take too many natural vitamins, which are food, not medicines. They are what should be on your plate, but owing to modern conditions they are missing. You must therefore supplement your diet. All of the top bodybuilders and weightlifters have been doing it for years. They realize the importance of proper nutrition for strength and health. There is so much scientific proof of improvement through the use of vitamins that it would fill this whole book and then some. New information is coming out of laboratories almost daily and since there are so many scientific reports I have selected only those which I felt would be of primary interest to the weight trainer. If you desire further information concerning vitamins I urge you to purchase one or more of the many publications listed in the reference section of this book [which will be listed after the last chapter].

We classify vitamins on the basis of their solubility. Vitamins A, D, E and K in their natural forms are soluble in fats whereas vitamins of the B complex and C are soluble in water.

Vitamin A

This vitamin occurs naturally only in the animal kingdom but the largest source of all Vitamin A is the carotenes which are synthesized by plants. For instance, the pure sources of this vitamin are found in fish liver oils such as cod and shark, and organ meats such as liver. The plant carotenes are converted into vitamin A within the animal and human body only when conditions for such conversion are conducive to the utilization of the vitamin. If you suffer from liver or gall bladder problems, or you have difficulty digesting fats you are not likely to gain the full benefits from this vitamin. It is not recommended that you depend upon the plant sources of vitamin A, because these plants, such as carrots, spinach, broccoli and mustard greens are very fragile and quite susceptible to oxidation.

Many men worry about taking too much vitamin A because they have heard that fat soluble vitamins have a propensity to accumulate in the liver and cause damage. This has never happened with a natural vitamin A product, only with the synthetic variety. But for those of you who are still concerned about their lack of vitamin A may we suggest that you purchase the water soluble form. This is a dry, powder form of vitamin A that comes in tablet or capsule form and is used in dosages as high as 25,000 international units. Vitamin A is one of the most commonly deficient of all the nutrients.

It's vitamin A which affects the factors which stimulate mucus secretions and which maintains the integrity of the membranes which line the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Vitamin A also is associated with the release of enzymes necessary for the digestion of protein and the proper functioning of the adrenal cortex. It is good sense to take vitamin E at the same time you ingest your vitamin A tablets as the E helps prevent the oxidation of A. Bad skin and poor muscle growth are two more common problems caused by a deficiency of vitamin A.

Vitamin D

Rickets, a disease which plagued many, was produced in laboratory animals in 1919. It was found that if the lab animals were fed diets which contained cod liver oil they remained healthy. The same diet, but with the cod liver oil replaced by other types of oil, produced bone abnormalities. It was not until 1922 that scientists discovered another important factor in cod liver oil besides vitamin A. It was named vitamin D. Soon it was discovered that experimental rickets in laboratory animals could be prevented by exposure to the sun and that if the diet that produced rickets was exposed to the ultraviolet light of the sun, it could cure those who had rickets. This is because human skin and the sinks of animals contain a substance called cholesterol which is transformed into vitamin D-3 when it is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

The best known and understood function of vitamin D is to facilitate the absorption of calcium from food in the intestinal tract. The absorption of phosphorus depends upon the absorption of calcium so that any factor that exerts a favorable or unfavorable effect on one affects the other likewise. Thus by improving the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and by aiding in the maintenance of the normal blood levels of these two body builders, vitamin D makes both available in a concentration that is suitable for growth and development. What happens if you don't get enough vitamin D? Well, as a starter, your muscles lose tone and become weak and flabby, your bones soften and your teeth become especially prone to decay.

The natural form of vitamin D, the type produced in your skin by sunlight or the type that comes from cod liver oil, egg yolks or liver, is called C-3 and should be the only type of vitamin D you use. Vitamin D-12 is produced in plants by irradiating plant sterols with ultra-violet light which causes a very potent type of vitamin D activity, the type which is known to be toxic when used in excessive amounts. This is the form used in the fortification of milk and a number of other foods and is used also in a very large percentage of vitamin supplements. It is fairly safe to assume that if the label of the supplement does not state that the product contains fish liver oil, the source of the vitamin D is irradiated ergosterol and is thus the D-2 form, which you should avoid. Among the conditions which have been induced by vitamin D-2 are kidney stones, heart-artery degeneration, cataracts, abnormal calcium deposits, and excessively high levels of calcium in the blood. The University of Texas (Austin) has conducted two years of research with D-2 and reached the conclusion that even small amounts of irradiated ergosterol can be highly toxic and may be one of the causes of arteriosclerosis. Again for vitamin D use only cold liver oil, egg yolk, liver or supplements that have their vitamin D-3 derived from these natural sources.

The synthetic forms of vitamin D, known as D-2 are regarded by many researchers as not a vitamin, but as a steroid hormone. Irradiated ergosterol is not the natural form of the hormone, and so vitamin D-2 is, in fact, an unnatural growth-promoting steroid hormone, rather than a member of a large family of vitamins. In this respect D-2 is very similar to dianabol or diethylstilbesterol (DES), the unnatural growth-promoting hormones formerly used to fatten livestock and unwary weight trainers.

Vitamin E

The Soviet Union has a little known 'secret weapon' that gives their athletes a burst of superior power. Feeding it to their athletes, the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences Nutrition Institute and the Central Institute of Physical Culture have discovered that it gives a healthy burst of vigor so that average athletes can extend the training capabilities.

The Soviet 'secret weapon' of physical power is known to us as Vitamin E. While our government has only recently recognized it as being essential in the diet, the Soviets are far ahead of us in using this vitamin to boost the physical ability of their athletes. Here is a run-down of the little-known test that were conducted by the Soviet investigators, as reported to the Medical Tribune and hardly mentioned elsewhere.

Doctors selected 34 cyclists and 37 skiers. All were between the ages of 15 and 25. The purpose was to see if Vitamin E could give them extra energy and training vigor during competitive circumstances. In brief, they wanted to learn, once and for all, if Vitamin E could turn an average athlete into a champion. The athletes were divided into two groups. One would be given Vitamin E. The other group would not. Yet both groups would be put through the same difficult training routine and both groups would be given the same high caloric diet to give them the required energy for such responsibilities. About 4200 calories a day were judged suitable for energy performance.

The doctors added that even if you eat a balanced diet with whole grain foods, you still need supplemental Vitamin E in order to meet the challenge of athletic endurance. This controlled program effectively proved that Vitamin E does give an energy boost and helps athletes excel in sports. They also reported that those without Vitamin E were exhausted before the end of the training period and showed symptoms of exhaustion. The athletes receiving Vitamin E had good blood levels of this nutrient. They finished their training sessions with no oxygen deficit. These athletes did feel physically tired, but they were not depleted and could bounce back for the next training session.

The group given Vitamin E received 100 to150 milligrams of Vitamin E if they had a training period of of 1.5 to 2 hours. They received boosted intakes of Vitamin E of 250 to 300 milligrams if they had a training period of 3 to 4 hours, since the longer an athlete has to train, the greater his need for Vitamin E.

The other group received no supplemental Vitamin E, but it is assumed that they ingested about 20 milligrams through their regular diets.

The doctors reported that Vitamin E is helpful for everyone but particularly for athletes in training and performance. The reason is that when your body is subjected to increased physical activity, the metabolic system uses up Vitamin E much more rapidly than under normal circumstances.

Basically, Vitamin E has superior powers  in performing a unique anti-oxidant reaction in the system. It makes more oxygen available to the cells and tissues of the body. This oxygen then promotes more energy, giving a more superior burst of strength. This is the key to the power of Vitamin E.

Every weight trainer knows how valuable oxygen is to give him strength and vigor. Whether doing squats, cleans, deadlifts, bench presses, curls, situps, jogging or swimming, the body needs more oxygen. The more oxygen available, the more the body can respond. Vitamin E has this anti-oxidant effect giving the body better use of more oxygen.
Other European doctors wanted to determine whether Vitamin E can give an athlete a winning body, and they made tests which were reported by the Czechoslovakian medical journal, Acta Universitatis Palakianae Olomucensis (Volume 42). The study was undertaken by Dr. Z Jirka, head of the Institute of Sports Medicine of the Medical Faculty of the Palacky Institute in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia. Here is what Dr. Jirka had to say:

"Vitamin E and especially its most active component, alpha tocopherol, has a widespread activity taking part in a great number of biological processes. Its participation in enzymatic processes influences the activity and metabolism of the muscles, and therefore, it is very valuable to those engaged in athletic pursuits."

Weightlifters and powerlifters have often yearned for the 'strength of a horse'. Tests were conducted at Winfields Farm in Toronto and the National Stud Farm in Oshawa, Canada. Supervised by several doctors over a period of two years, the results indicated that all of you horses out there can also benefit from the use of Vitamin E. Horses given Vitamin E to boost their strength were able to give a much better exhibition of themselves by increasing their strength in jumping competition and by winning 66 percent or more of their contests during their first year of Vitamin E supplementation.

Under supervision, the horses received from 800 to 2000 units of Vitamin E daily. They exhibited increasing bursts of vigor. Many of these horses became champions, this believed to be in part due to the impetus of the 2000 units daily of Vitamin E. In another situation, horses received 5000 units daily with equally amazing improvement in their performance.

Vitamin E helps give you more mileage for your oxygen. As for the horses, the doctors describe it "as if one strapped an aqualung on the horses' backs. It opens up huge reserves of capillary circulation, sets of vessels not ordinarily used, but waiting for emergency demands. It helps to control the passage of fluids through the walls of blood vessels. It may even be a direct stimulant to muscle power. It improves the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These are just a few of its unique and helpful properties."

Build storage-reserve depots of Vitamin E in your body and it can be used to make your workouts more productive by increasing your endurance. When you have a reserve of Vitamin E in your body, your muscles can draw upon it to give your body the needed extra burst of endurance to turn an ordinary workout into a championship caliber one.

The question now remains: From where should you get Vitamin E and how much should be taken? There are many component parts that make up the vitamin which we call Vitamin E. They have been given the names alpha, beta, gamma, etc. (However, scientists have pinpointed the alpha factor or alpha tocopherol as being the most biologically potent compound in the tocopherol family.) The other tocopherols, if they have a function on the human body, remain a mystery. This is why, when you buy Vitamin E, it is available in several forms; mixed tocopherol containing the complete spectrum of Vitamin E; alpha tocopherol, which contains only the active proportion of the vitamin, and the synthetic form which contains only alpha tocopherol.

The richest natural sources of Vitamin E  are wheat germ and wheat germ oil, and as in all vitamins, taking them in their natural form is probably the best. The Shute brothers believe that only the alpha tocopherol should be taken in the treatment of various circulatory problems they discuss in their book, Your Heart and Vitamin E. Some nutritionists agree with the Shutes, others do not, believing that the mixed tocopherols are best; using the premise that as in the case of Vitamin B and C, one should not break up the family in which the nutrient belongs. One thing that all of the nutritionists agree on, however, is not taking the synthetic form of the vitamin. Unless the label on the bottle says that the Vitamin E contained is from natural sources, don't take it.

In their tests, the Soviets administered 50 units of Vitamin E for each half hour that their athletes practiced their sport or engaged in physical activity. This should be a good place for you to start, but try to take in at least 200 units of Vitamin E a day even if you don't train for two hours every day. This is the amount that nutritionists feel is necessary, though I have heard of many physique contestants taking as much as 1000 or 2000 units per day. There is no toxic level known for Vitamin E so don't be afraid to take more than the recommended 200 units.

Also bear in mind that like Vitamins A and D, Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and should be taken with some food that contains rat, er, that should read fat. Many men take their Vitamin E and wheat germ oil immediately after their workout as they seem to find this most effective. Another suggestion is to take it with Vitamin A, as E helps prevent the destruction of A in the body.

Those men who are on all-meat definition diets need extra reserves of Vitamin E. Since the meat contains so much fat, the body's need for Vitamin E is increased, and if it isn't taken, these men will be deficient.

Looking at the other side of the coin, there are some men who have difficulty in handling Vitamin E because it usually comes encased in capsules containing oil. These men can buy chewable Vitamin E tablets which eliminates the oil factor. These tablets could be the answer for them.

Vitamin K

Was discovered following the observation that certain diets produced fatal hemorrhages in laboratory animals. The symptoms looked like scurvy, the Vitamin C deficiency disease, but they did not respond to the administration of Vitamin C. Feeding alfalfa or other green leaves to the sick animals brought about a dramatic relief from symptoms. Many green leaves were studied and those of the alfalfa plant proved to be exceptionally rich in the new factor. A Danish investigator isolated a fat-soluble substance from alfalfa leaves and because it corrected the clotting or coagulation time of the blood, he called it the Koagulation Vitamin. This was shortened to Vitamin K for convenience.

Vitamin K is essential for normal functioning of the liver an for the formation of prothrombin by the liver. Prothrombin is one of several components that react together to form a blood clot. Capillaries become fragile and break down when the body is short of Vitamin K due to the hemorrhages that accompany a shortage of prothrombin. Vitamin K shortages are quite common among individuals with bizarre eating habits such as are quite common among today's teenagers. You are born without any reserves of Vitamin K but microorganisms in the intestinal tract make the vitamin. The acidophilus bacillus, which we mentioned in the chapter on digestive supports, synthesizes the vitamin, though many men use alfalfa tablets routinely, not realizing that their bodies are not capable of extracting the Vitamin K from the alfalfa because the human digestive system is not equipped with the proper type of enzymes to break down the tough, fibrous walls of the alfalfa.

In addition to that available through bacterial synthesis in the intestines, Vitamin K is obtained from green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, egg yolk, soybean oil and liver. The only time it may be necessary for you to take a Vitamin K supplement is when you are ill with some type of digestive disturbance such as colitis, diarrhea, jaundice or a disease which necessitates the taking of antibiotic drugs which destroy the intestinal flora.

B Complex

The members of the B family of vitamins are grouped together because they have several qualities in common. First, they are water soluble and have the problem of being washed away in both normal cooking and especially in the preparation of convenience foods. Another problem with the B vitamins is the relatively poor storage of water soluble vitamins in the body.

A third problem leading to B deficiencies is the tissue depletion such as arises out of special situations such as strain, stress, trauma and fast growing periods. The B's are also very heat liable, that is, they are destroyed not only by the obvious heat involved in cooking, but processing, refining and storage also take their toll.

Many men suffer from B deficiencies even though they are ingesting more than the ordinary recommended daily dietary allowance. This is due to the individual's metabolic make-up and inability to absorb B vitamins adequately from the digestive tract. The National Research Council states in one of their footnotes that RDA are for "healthy people in a temperate climate with a medium work load and food of substantially average quality." This sort of limitation just about rules out everyone who lifts weights or doesn't live a few miles north or south of the tropic of cancer or the tropic of capricorn!

Actually, the main reason that most people suffer from B complex deficiencies is not that 'somebody out there is devitalizing my food' (they are of course), but because they are not taking the responsibility to eat well-planned meals and supplement their diets when appropriate.

In other words, diets are poor due to the fault of the person eating. Dietary deficiencies are basically the result of irresponsibility, carelessness and laziness.

The B vitamins are quite plentiful in nature but you must avail yourself of the foods that contain them and use them daily. Let's have a look at the best understood B vitamins. 

Thiamine (B-1) protects the heart and is indispensable for the health of the nervous system. Thiamine is needed for effective digestion of carbohydrates, natural carbohydrate foods are always accompanied by thiamine, but when you eat refined carbohydrates, such as white sugar and white bread, your body must use its own storage supplies of thiamine to digest the carbohydrates properly. This may eventually lead to a thiamine deficiency. Lack of thiamine leads to insomnia, digestive disorders, lack of appetite, loss of weight and muscle weakness.

Riboflavin (B-2) protects the health of your skin, nails, hair and eyes. Some of the most common symptoms of a B-2 deficiency include cracks on the lips, premature wrinkles and split fingernails.

Niacin or Niacinamide or Nicotinic Acid (B-3). Best known as the anti-pellagra vitamin. Niacin, though not the other two forms of B-3, dilates small capillaries. Many weight men take up to 100 mg. before a workout because they say that they get a better muscle stimulation. The face and neck, and sometimes other bodyparts turn beet-red with the niacin flush which is sometimes accompanied by itching and tingling of the skin. It s a very uncomfortable feeling and it is not recommended as a regular part of your training since such high doses may be difficult, for people with certain abnormalities, to handle.

Pyridoxine (B-6) is involved in protein metabolism and in the production of antibodies. It helps to maintain tissue integrity and lecithin cannot be synthesized when B-6 is deficient. A doctor who was treating patients with B-6 for various conditions found to his amazement that many of the patients reported losing weight and inches without cutting calories. While taking 50 mg. of B-6 daily, it was found that this vitamin sets up some type of body balance between the minerals potassium and sodium which regulate the body's use of fluids. When the mineral potassium was added to the B-6, the combination helped reverse bursitis. Since B-6 is required for the utilization of protein foods and most weight trainers are eating high protein diets, it would be expedient to supplement your diet with at least 100 mg. of B-6 daily. When using separate or isolated B vitamins, remember also to use the entire B complex so that you maintain some sort of balance; he entire B spectrum is required for strength and health, the fractions are only for special purposes.

Biotin (Vitamin H) is also involved in the metabolism of protein and fat. A shortage of biotin causes fatigue and hair loss. Biotin is another one of those vitamis that is synthesized by bacteria in the digestive tract. The daily requirement is as high as 300 mg. though there is no ways of knowing how much is produced in a person's intestines.

Pantothenic acid is one of the most versatile B vitamins and is involved in almost all vital body processes. It increases cortisone production, protects against stress, and speeds recovery from fatigue. In animal tests with pantothenic acid, raw egg white, as an allergen, was injected into animals that were made deficient in pantothenic acid - the animal died of shock. Litter mates that were plentifully supplied with pantothenic acid suffered no adverse effects from the raw egg whites. The daily requirement is approximately 10 mg. but healthy male volunteers were were given 500 times this amount daily for six weeks prior to stress tests. They were then immersed in very cold water for eight minutes. Their stress lasted only eight minutes. but those who were given pantothenic poor diets suffered destruction of protein, loss of salt, loss of blood sugar, and a rise in cholesterol while the group on the pantothenic rich diet suffered none of these problems and there were no toxic effects from taking such large dosages of this vitamin. It looks like the sky is the limit with pantothenic acid and all weight men should take special care to get a sufficient quantity since they work under stressful conditions.

Choline and Inositol must be included in the diet. They, along with the amino acid methionine, are sometimes knows as lipotropics because they are necessary for the formation of body fats known as phospholipids, the most popular of which is lecithin. They are involved in fat metabolism and promote normal distribution of fat throughout the body. Many bodybuilders, in preparation for physique contests take anywhere from 1000 to 5000 mg. of each of these two vitamins daily in the belief that it eliminates unwanted fat and brings out definition It is doubtful if this is effective unless a strict diet is adhered to, which most of the top men follow anyway. There is no toxic level for these vitamins.

Vitamin B-12, like many other members of the B complex, is not a single substance, but consists of several related compounds. B-12 is the antipernicous anemia factor which is formed within your intestine as a result of eating animal products. Strict vegetarians are woefully short of this vitamin and should supplement their diets so as to avoid any possibility of a physical breakdown. The best sources are liver and kidney. Though the RDA is only 8 to 15 micrograms daily, it is not at all unusual for weight trainers to get a weekly injection of 100 to 1000 micrograms because B-12 also has a cell building function and many men start gaining again after five or six injections. It may be that the body was not producing enough B-12 or that the diet was short of this growth producing factor. No one seems to have the answer.

Pangamate or Pangamic acid (B-15). There are three groups of biological activities that have been established for this new member of the B family. It stimulates the adrenal gland and the central nervous system and also decreases the blood cholesterol level as it works to prevent fatty degeneration of the liver. It stimulates metabolism by increasing the amount of oxygen made available for the cells. Last, but not least, it detoxifies the system by neutralizing and excreting poisons and helping to repair damage caused by prolonged use of drugs.

Now that you know the importance of the B vitamins, you probably want to begin eating them at every meal. Here is a list of the best sources:

All whole grain products
Seeds, nuts, beans and peas
Beef and liver
Brewers or food yeast
Wheat germ and wheat bran
Dairy products
Vegetables and fruit

C Complex

How would you like to never be sore again after a hard workout? Even though you have not exercised for months, how would you like to take a good hard workout and not feel the slightest bit sore or tender the next day? "Not possible," you say. No one really knows what causes muscle soreness, but all the researchers seem to agree that it has something to do with either a buildup of toxins in the muscle after unaccustomed exercise or a slight tearing or breaking of tissue under stress.

Vitamin C helps in both of these areas. Try taking 1000 mg of Vitamin C immediately before and another 1000 mg of Vitamin C right after your next rough training session, and look for the results the next day. No soreness, no painful muscles, no grunt and groan with every movement, all accomplished merely by popping a couple of little capsules in your mouth. The most important function of Vitamin C is keeping the collagen -- the intercellular cement -- in a healthy condition. Collagen is the substance which keeps all of your tissues together. A deficiency of Vitamin C causes the deterioration of the collagen and consequently the breakdown of tensile strength of all connective tissues, including the muscles.

Vitamin C helps to build and maintain bones and blood and is essential for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands and assists in the oxygenation of the cells. It is known as an anti-stress vitamin because it helps you to snap back after fatiguing activities. The cholesterol level of the blood is also affected by adequate intake of Vitamin C. In conjunction with the bioflavonoids, Vitamin C corrects capillary fragility and permeability.

Smoking destroys Vitamin C at such an alarming rate that some scientists speak of smokers living in an eternal state of subclinical scurvy. Exposure to cold weather also increases your need for Vitamin C.

There are a number of ways of determining if you are not getting sufficient Vitamin C. Bleeding gums during brushing of the teeth indicates that you may be short of Vitamin C. Weakness, irritability, unaccounted-for weight loss and vague aches and pains accompanied by easy bruising of tissues or black and blue marks are sure signs that you are deficient in this super vitamin.

The best natural sources of Vitamin C are fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruit and their white inner pulp, apples, green peppers, broccoli and turnip greens. The best source of all is rose hips, which are the fruit of the rose,and acerola berries, which are 20 to 40 times as rich in Vitamin C as oranges.  

Natural Vitamin C has greater biological value than ascorbic acid, which is the drug store variety of Vitamin C, because it is made from natural sources, which contain other C complex  factors such as the bioflavonoids. 5000 mg per day is not unusual for a hard training athlete; this is due to the fact that it cannot be stored and is excreted shortly after taken, so it must be replaced daily.

How did we get to be so dependent upon Vitamin C? Blame mother nature. About 60 million years ago, a mutation occurred in the human gene which made it impossible for man, like lower primates, to synthesize vitamin C in his own body, like we some of the B vitamins. This means that unless sufficient vitamin C is eaten every day, preferably several times a day, a degenerative disease called scurvy develops. One researcher believes that scurvy has killed more people since the beginning of time than all other causes combined including wars and bubonic plague!

Speaking philosophically, the science of good nutrition has fallen prey to the same communications gap as have so many of life's other areas. By labeling things, we actually restrict our understanding or at least limit it. I'm not against labels or names. They aid us in identifying things, but they also confine truth to the limits of the label. For instance, vitamin P, by any other name, will still do its terrific job, but how will we know it by any other name? It has several: vitamin U, rutin, hesperin, citrin, flavonoids, and the bioflavonoids. Trying to find out who called it what first is like trying to find out who did the first 500-lb bench press. For most common reference, the bioflavonoids have been used to supplant the other labels.

The bioflavonoids are substances that appear in many fresh foods along with vitamin C. They could be called the sentinels of our capillaries. The capillary is the smallest blood vessel in the body and can be seen only by a microscope. Most are so small that only one blood corpuscle can pass through them at a time. These capillaries connect the smallest arteries with the smallest vein. This is what comprises the entire network of blood vessels throughout your body. Food which is carried in the blood stream passes through their walls by a process known as osmosis. The nutrients are then received by the tissues and waste materials from the tissues passes through the capillary into the blood stream. The bioflavonoids, more than vitamin C, have been found to maintain the integrity of capillaries through which nutrients and waste products pass. The bioflavonoids are, therefore, responsible for maintaining the strength of the capillaries.

Like vitamin C, bioflavonoids are not stored in the body. They are excreted in the urine if an excess amount is taken. During times of stress, like when exercising hard and regularly, your body needs many more times the amount of these substances than it normally gets from the average diet. Though there is no recommended daily amount for bioflavonoids, many men supplement their diets with 1000 mg a day in addition to the amount they get from their diets.

Vitamin B-15

Vitamin B-15 is a vitamin that you have probably never heard of, yet it possesses curative and protective functions similar to vitamin E. The most important functions of vitamin B-15 are to increase the supply of available oxygen in the blood, to detoxify poisons and to make lecithin. It may also be involved in slowing the aging process. The capability of vitamin B-15 to cure or help many forms of heart disease and senility, and to reduce the aging rate, prompted a famous Russian researcher, Dr. Ya Yu Shpirt to remark, "I believe the time will come when there will be calcium pangamate (vitamin B-15) on the table of every family."

Athletes, especially athletes once thought to be past their prime, have benefited greatly from pangamate. It is obvious that since pangamate increases the supply of available oxygen, athletes will have greater 'wind' and more reserve. Other advantages of pangamate to the person engaged in athletic activities include "improved energy, less fatigue, increased muscle size and faster healing of injuries," says the Russian.
In 1957, Dr. N. N. Yakovlev of Leningrad showed that pangamate had a positive effect of metabolism during extensive physical exercise accompanied by a decrease in oxygen saturation and oxygen debt. In 1962, Dr. Leshkevich demonstrated that pangamate had additional positive effects during less strenuous, but prolonged physical exercise, in that utilization of fats as an energy source markedly increased.
Dr. Yakovlev and Dr. Leshkevich reported in 1964 that the earliest manifestation of the effect of pangamate was a decrease in the formation of lactic acid in the muscles and an increase in fat metabolism, which was even noted after a single administration of 5 mg of the vitamin. Less expenditure of muscle glycogen was also noted.
 It was noted that pangamate has a greater effect in exercises of short manifestation when a considerable oxygen deficiency and disturbances in the energy balance occurs. The positive effect of pangamate was more strongly pronounced when given daily for at least three days, and the positive effect was preserved for four days after the last dose.

Dr. Yu L. Karpuchina, also of Leningrad, worked with 67 highly training championship athletes. His results also showed that pangamate had a beneficial effect during muscular activity. This effect maintains normal blood sugar levels and increases the intensity of the process of aerobic oxidation (supplies oxygen better). The beneficial effect becomes progressively more significant as the work performed becomes more, and the less the oxygen demand is satisfied.

Dr. Karpuchina concluded, "Objective data of biochemical examinations have shown that the administration of pangamate creates more favorable conditions in athletes for performance of hard exercises and enhances the biochemical restitution during rest periods. The effect observed was the result of the action of pangamate; it could not be interpreted as a conviction of the athletes that they had been given a substance facilitating performance. When the equivalent amount of glucose was substituted for pangamate, no effect on the biochemical changes in the blood during muscular activity was observed, although the athletes assumed that they had been given the pangamate."

V. A. Alckseev demonstrated that pangamate improved protein utilization. Russian trainers now recommend pangamate with protein to speed muscle development and healing.

Each athlete must be evaluated as a unique individual, but most of the weight trainees that I have worked with are unaware of the existence of pangamate and have little in their diets, and so respond to vitamin B-15 supplements. The best natural food source of pangamate are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, yeast, liver, rice bran and polish, whole grain cereals and apricot kernels. Pangamate, also known as pangamic acid, calcium pangamate or vitamin B-15, is available as a dietary food supplement. The Pharmacological Committee of the Ministry of Health of the U.S.S.R. suggests the use of 100 to 300 milligrams of pangamate daily.

Next: Chapter 12 - Minerals         




Wednesday, December 24, 2014

An Alan Stephan Bulk Course

 -- Note the interesting set/rep/weight scheme used here.

Gaining bulk can be easy, but it takes a harder schedule than the ordinary bodybuilding routine. In this course I will outline three different routines that you will do for four months each. Gaining bulk can be a slow or fast process. This is up to you. How much time and effort you can put into the exercises will decide how long it will take you. In my studio I have seen fellows put on bulk so fast that it at first seems unbelievable, and then there are others who take a long time to get results. Of course, some of this is due to their own particular metabolic rate, but the majority of the difference is found in the individual output of each bodybuilder. The fellow who really buckles down and puts all he has into his exercises and does them as correctly as possible is the fellow who gets the most success the quickest.

There are a few things you have to pay attention to while you are on this course, and that is your sleep and rest, and the kind and amount of food that you eat. Above all you will have to get 8 to 10 hours sleep a night, especially the nights after a workout, or you can consider some of the effort is lost. If you feel tired before starting your workout, lie down for about 10 or 15 minutes and do some deep regular breathing and utterly relax your body. This will help rid your body of the fatigue acids and let energy flow through.

As far as your food is concerned, you have to get at least 15 to 18 ounces of meat a day, preferably beef, a quart-and-a-half of milk, and an eggnog sometime during the day with two eggs in it. Just take a quart bottle 1/2 filled with milk and put in the eggs, add a little honey or flavoring and shake.

There is a product on the market which can be found at most drug stores that is a real help to weight gaining and bulk building, and that is a product called Somagen. It is a concentrated food which is mainly (70%) protein, and also contains a multitude of other food necessities for the body, and especially for the bodybuilder. It comes in one and five pound jars; a pound jar costs about $4.50.

The way my members and I here at the gym take the food is 3 or 4 tablespoons the morning of each workout. The product comes in powdered or granular form. We use the granular because it is easier to handle.

Now you may not be able to do all these things for one reason or another, but the more you do of them the greater your chances at success will be as far as gaining bulk is concerned.

Another rather important thing is to try to maintain a tranquil mind. By this I mean try not to worry about anything as this can keep your weight down to a considerable degree.

I recommend working out just three times a week with as much rest in between as possible. It will take you anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours a workout each time depending on how much rest you take between exercises.

The first of these routines is composed of the following exercises performed in the following manner:


First take a weight that you can handle 10 reps with in the exercise and warm up with it.

 Next take a weight that you can ONLY do 5 reps with, then proceed to do sets with this weight until you have accomplished 25 total reps with it, NO MATTER HOW MANY SETS IT TAKES. 

You will find that this system not only increases you strength greatly, but will put you on the shortest road to gaining bulk. Use this same system for the three different routines, for four months each.

Remember to try and use more weight in the set where you can only do 5 reps. Also increase the weight of your warmup set. You will probably find that to reach 25 reps with this weight of no more weight some sets will be of 1 or 2 reps, and this is the desired effect we're after.

Anywhere up to a minute should be enough resting time for any of the exercises.

1) Military Press:
Stand erect with a barbell at the shoulders which has been brought up from the floor. Then press it overhead to the elbows straight position. Do not bend the knees while pressing the weight. Lower the bar to the shoulders and press it overhead to lockout the number of times indicated. Feet are about a foot apart. Remember to always inhale on the easy part of the exercise (hold the breath during the hard part and then exhale immediately afterwards). This same breathing rule applies to all your exercises.

2) Floor Prone Press With Barbell:
On your back, lie on the floor or something softer if possible like a mat an have a barbell over the stomach, then bending the knees and placing the feet under you to help boost the bar into the air to arms' length with your stomach using a medium grip on the bar. Your feet, shoulders and head should be the only things touching the floor. Now, holding this arch, lower the bar until it touches your stomach then again help boost it into the air and  repeat the number of times indicated in the beginning of the course.  Anywhere up to a minute should be enough resting time for any of the exercises.

3) One Arm Rowing Exercise: 
On a bench or chair place one hand, while leaning over it, and in the other hand have a dumbbell. Then, starting from the elbow straight position pull it as high as you can until it touches your chest, then lower it and repeat as indicated. Alternate using one arm and then the other on succeeding sets. Keep the elbow well alongside the body when bringing up the weight.

4) Heavy Cleans:
Take a medium grip on the barbell and then bring it from the floor to your shoulders in one movement, letting the weight sit on your chest for a moment, and then lowering it to the floor and repeating. It is permissible to bend the legs when cleaning the weight but be sure to straighten out the knees fully when you have the weight up, then you can bend the knees again when you lower the barbell.

5) Dumbbell Prone Press On Bench:
Lie on a bench, about 10 inches wide, holding a pair of dumbbells, then push them to arms' length, holding them there for a second before lowering to the shoulders and repeating. Keep the elbows close to the body as you come down. Keep the hips down and do not let yourself arch.

6) Squat:
Starting with a barbell across the back of the shoulders squat down as far as you can, keeping your heels down, then return to the standing position.

7) Dead Lift From Blocks:
Place a barbell on something so the plates rest on two objects and that when you stand alongside the bar it is just above the knees. Then, taking the bar using an alternate shoulder width grip and using the legs, straighten up with the bar, keeping the elbows straight so that the bar is lifted off the supports. Repeat as indicated. Bouncing the weight off the supports is permissable.


1) Arched Barbell Prones On Bench:
Lie on a bench and start from an overhead position with the bar and lower the weight to the chest using a shoulder width grip. Then, as you push the weight up arch the body. The feet are on the floor and the shoulders and head are on the bench when arching the back. Then lower the weight and the  lower back again touches the bench.

2) Shoulder Shrugs:
Hold a barbell while in the standing position. Use a medium grip. Keep the elbows straight and raise the shoulders as high as you can. Try to touch your ears with your shoulders. Do not let the shoulders drop when you let them down but resist the weight all the way.

3) Rowing Motion:
Start from the leaning over position and stay bent over so that your upper body is parallel with the floor. Keep the knees straight and using an inside (knuckles facing back) grip bring the bar up to the chest, hitting it just below the chest muscles. Straighten the arms out completely after each movement.

4) Heavy Cheating Curl:
Start with a medium grip on the bar while in a standing position. Then, with the palms turned up bring the bar from the thighs to the chest with a slight swing of the body. It is permissible to bend the knees a little as you swing the bar up. Let the bar down as slowly as possible.

5) Clean And Jerk:
Bring the bar to the shoulders from the floor using a medium grip and bending the knees a little. Then, holding the bar on the chest a moment, jerk the weight overhead by bending the legs and straightening them suddenly, and push with the arms as the weight is thrown off the chest. Hold it overhead at arms' length for a moment, then return it to the chest and then to the floor and repeat. Your feet are about a foot apart and remain so throughout the exercise.

6) Bench Squat:
This is performed like the regular squat only you are standing in front of a bench or box and you only go down until your buttocks touch the bench or box.

7) Bent Legged Dead Lift:
Start from the floor and bring the bar up to a standing position using the leg and back muscles. The arms are kept straight and the feet about a foot apart. When in the erect position arch the back and pull the shoulders back.


1) Barbell Prone Press With No Arch:
This is the same as your previous prone press only you do it military with no back arch and keeping the hips on the bench throughout. Use a wide grip and bounce the weight off the chest.

2) one Arm Dumbbell Curls:
Standing holding a dumbbell in one hand swing the weight to the shoulder with a slight movement of the body. The thumb should be kept up throughout the exercise. Bring the weight to the shoulder then lower slowly to the starting position, repeat and alternate arms each set.

3) Heavy Rowing Motion:
This is done like the other rowing motion only you do not keep your back parallel to the floor, but stand slightly up on each repetition as you bring the bar forcefully to the chest.

4) One Arm Side Press:
In the standing position and having a dumbbell at the shoulder in one had push it overhead with a slight side motion of the body. Do not bend the legs and keep the other hand out for balance. Then lower the weight slowly and repeat. Alternate arms each set.

6) Flying Exercise:
While lying on a bench and having two dumbbells overhead with elbows slightly bent lower the dumbbells sideways until they are even with the bench and then bring them overhead again.

6) Parallel Squat:
This is like the other squats only you do not use a bench but go down in the bent knee position so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and no lower. It is possible to use a great amount of weight in this exercise.

7) Dead Lift Stiff Legged:
it is like the other dead lift you have done only your do not bend your knees in this one.

By following these exercises and this repetition, set, and weight scheme you will find yourself much stronger and at the same time put on a great deal of bulk.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Three Squat Routines From Hell - Shawn Phillips

Click Pics to ENLARGE

We learned early on that intensity and variety were the keys to building the kind of legs people might sell their souls to the devil for. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba starts telling Forrest all the different ways he knew how to prepare shrimp? "Well, Forrest, there's shrimp gumbo, shrimp pasta, shrimp Creole, shrimp cocktail, shrimp soup, shrimp meat loaf," blah, blah, blah, etc., etc., etc. 

Well, all you Gumps out there, we know ten times more ways to squat than Bubba knew how to cook shrimp. We did high-rep squats, low-rep squats, 100-rep squats, high-bar squats, low-bar squats, one-and-a-quarter squats, variable-tempo squats, pre-exhaustion squats, descending-set squats, you-name-it squats. Sometimes we did so many squats we'd leave the gym in a hunched-over, ass-to-the-ground squat position. Baby ducks would follow us home.

We did a lot of other leg exercises, but as far as I'm concerned all other leg exercises are just footnotes to the squat. if you refuse to squat, then take a look at your bony-ass legs, and accept the fact that they're not ever, ever going to look much different than they do right now, unless you start wearing nylons and high heels. A lot of people tell me that for one reason or another they can't squat. Leg injuries, back injuries, it just doesn't feel right, squats chafe my groin -- I've heard 'em all. Paul Chek, one of the most innovative physical therapists in the world, makes a living treating patients with back injuries. If they can walk into his office, Paul makes them squat. Consider that the next time you want to tell someone you can't squat.

Following are some squat routines that Bill and I have used over the years with great success. The key isn't necessarily which one you choose to do, but that you do many or all of them. One thing we've learned, and which strength guru Charles Poliquin preaches again and again, is that you should change your routines more often.

"Increasing the Effectiveness of Your Strength Training Program - Charles Poliquin

The body is enormously adaptive. If you're an advanced lifter, doing a routine more than three weeks might lead to stagnation. Recent research has even shown that the amount of motor units recruited during a particular movement decreases each time you do the movement. The body's nervous system learns to do the exercise more efficiently each time. In other words, you might be recruiting 75% of the muscle fibers in the quads during the first week of a squat routine, but by the time 3 or 4 weeks have gone by you might be using only 40-50% of the muscle fibers. You might be using more weight by the third or fourth week yet actually be using fewer muscle fibers. That means the rest of the fibers are taking a vacation! You've got to keep the nervous system 'off-balance' to prevent this type of adaptation from happening.

Here's what I suggest: do each of the following routines for three weeks, one after another. I promise you'll experience leg growth like you've never experienced it before. If I'm lying, I'll take a sitz bath in some holy water and exorcise the demon from my pants. Let me make one distinction before I lay out some routines, though. Although the position of the squat bar -- high on the shoulders, at the base of the neck, versus low on the shoulders -- has generally been regarded as purely a matter of preference, there is a difference. Low-bar squats are generally used by powerlifters. This bar position will allow you to squat heavier poundages, but it isn't necessarily the best for emphasizing the quads. Don't get me wrong, these squats will work the quads all right, but they'll also distribute a lot of the stress on the glutes and the back, whereas high-bar squats will emphasize the quads more -- when you fail, it will be because your legs gave out, not your back or glutes. Of course, this is just another variable that you might want to experiment with: do a few three-week workout cycles using a high-bar squat, and then switch to a couple of cycles of low-bar squats.

Squat Workout Number One:
The Devil's Curse

Before trying this workout, you have to change the way you count. Squatting down and then returning to the starting position is no longer "one." Instead, "one" involves squatting down to below parallel, coming up a quarter of the way, slowly returning to rock bottom, and then coming up all the way: that's one. Quite obviously, these are called one-and-a-quarter squats. 

Before starting your work reps, do three warmup sets of 4 to 6 reps, using slightly heavier weights with each successive set. I recommend keeping the number of warmup reps low, so you won't generate too much lactic acid before you start the actual work sets -- this workout is plenty hard enough -- no need to make it even harder.

After a thorough warmup, start your work sets. Do 5 sets of 6-8 reps, taking approximately 2 seconds to lower the weight, and second to do your quarter rep, and a full 3 seconds to come up. If you need to pause momentarily between reps, go ahead -- this is a tough workout, and you'll be breathing like a steam engine soon enough.

Don't just go through the motions. You must be training to muscular failure on each set. In other words, you shouldn't be able to do another rep. Adjust the weight between reps to enable you to complete your rep goal.

From a functional standpoint, this type of squat will give you damn sore glutes and make you much stronger at the bottom of the squat movement.

1 x 6
1 x 6
1 x 4

Work Sets:
6 x 6 - 
Remember, there are 1 and 1/4 squats. Rest three minutes between each set.

Squat Workout Number Two:
And His Number Shall Be 666

Most of us, ever since we started working out, have done fairly conventional reps - going down in about one-and-a-half seconds and powering up as fast as we possibly can. However, if we periodically change the tempo of the movement (how fast or slow we do it), we accomplish two things: we change the time the muscle is under tension (and tension is the key to muscle growth), and we introduce another training variable to keep the nervous system off balance.

I call this squat workout the "666" workout because, first of all, it involves 6 sets of 6 reps. Here's where the hellish part comes in, though. Take 6 seconds to reach rock bottom, and take 6 seconds to come back to the starting position. Additionally, take a 2-second pause at the bottom of the squat - this will build strength and confidence in the lower part of the squat, which many people lack.

1 x 6
1 x 6
1 x 4

Work Sets:
6 x 6. Take 6 seconds to go down, pause for 2 seconds in the bottom, take 6 seconds to come up.
Rest 2 minutes between each set.

Squat Workout Number Three:
The Ring of Fire Squat Routine

This squat workout involves doing two warmup sets and four conventional sets of squats, but the fourth work set will show you what it's like to set your pants on fire. It burns.

On the 5th set, go to failure, but instead of hiking up your pants, collecting your log book and going home . . . strip some weight off and continue to do squats. After that set is done, strip some more weight off, and continue squatting. How many you can do depends on your age, endurance, and ratio of slow-twitch to fast twitch muscle fibers. Some people may be able to pump out 8 reps on the successive drop sets, while others will have to work hard to get 2 reps on each drop set. Each successive drop set should be done with no more rest than it takes to strip some weight off the bar. 

1 x 6
1 x 6

Work Sets:
10, 8, 6, 4, 2

Triple Drop:
Remove weight and do as many reps as possible at the 3 poundages.

Other Squat Training Tricks

As I mentioned earlier, I know all kinds of ways to squat, and none of them are necessarily better than any other. The secret, if it can be called a secret, is doing all of them over an extended period of time. For instance, if you liked the three squat methods I just laid out, you might want to try any or all of the following methods.

Pre-Exhaustion Squat -- Most of us do squats when our minds and bodies are fresh. Consequently, it takes a little longer to recruit some otherwise stubborn muscle fibers. But what if you did squats when you weren't so fresh? What if your legs were already screaming by the time you saddled up to the squat rack? You might very well tap into some shy muscle fibers. Try this: set up your bar with a formidable weight, but instead of plunging straight into your squats, do a set of 10-12 leg extensions, then, without resting, hit your squats. 

Incline Squat -- Rarely does the position of your feet on the floor change, unless you live in California and have tried squatting during an earthquake. If you were to somehow shift you foot position so you were leaning forward, you would expose your quads to all kinds of different stresses. You'd also know what some of those strippers who dance on five-inch heels feel like after a night of work. Try putting your feet on an incline of about 30 degrees while squatting (so your heels are really elevated). Do the squat as you normally would, but don't lock your knees at the top. Many gyms have platforms for this lying around, and they're usually used to stretch the calves. 

 German Volume Training -- This is the method Charles Poliquin popularized in America. In a nutshell, your goal is to do 10 sets of 10 reps using a constant weight, with only 60 seconds rest between sets. You want to begin with a weight you could lift for 20 reps if you had to. For most people, that would equal about 60% of their 1-rep max. On the surface, it doesn't sound hard, but by the time you get to the sixth or seventh set of 10 reps you'll be howling. Definitely use a timer, because as you get more and more tired you'll find ways to lie to yourself about the rest breaks.


These squat workouts are definitely brutal and may not be something you want to do all the time, but they're just my way of introducing you to different ways to squat, and as mentioned, training variety is one of the secrets to continued progress. Regardless of which squat workout you try, remember to increase the work load each successive workout. This may involve either increasing the weight, or doing more reps per set than you did the previous workout.

Remember, you don't have to make a pact with the devil to get great legs. Hell, you don't even have to sacrifice a chicken. All you have to do is keep squatting and accept the fact that they're never going to get any easier.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Deadlift Techniques - Ron Fernando (1982)

Richard Hawthorne

John Kuc

Chapter 8 -
Weightlifting: Mind Over Matter
Some great stuff from Russ Knipp, David Rigert and others.

Ron Fernando (PLUSA Training Editor)

 Don Blue

 Don Blue, one of the all time powerlifting greats sagely observed that the contest doesn't begin until the weight hits the floor. He, of course, was a brilliant exponent of his own theories as he pulled a multitude of world records in the deadlift and was the official World champion in the tough 148-lb class at the 1973 Worlds. It is truly a shame that the man has spent so many of his competitive years incarcerated, training under the conditions that he had to endure. Who knows what he could have done with the proper diet, medical supervision, equipment and accessories.

This article is a companion to a similar study that I made on championship squatting techniques some time ago. Although the focus of the article is not about Don Blue, many of his theories will explored in depth. The deadlift, unlike the bench press and especially the squat, is a lift where so-called 'artificial aids' (wraps, tight suits, etc.) do not necessarily help. If you look at most of the champion deadlifters, few, if any wear knee wraps or a super-tight squatting suit. The incomparable John Kuc often pulled his deadlifts without a lifting belt, except when he neared World Records-Ville, and then he would put on a standard Olympic lifter's belt and go to it. I truly feel that the deadlift is a good test of total body strength, but due to its apparent simplicity, technique is often overlooked for pure psyche and emotion.

Again, technique is a byproduct of body structure, whether favorable or not -- and consistent application of proven approaches. Quite naturally, one can not change bodily structure for the deadlift (besides, I think that they made the 'rack' illegal back in the Dark Ages). One simply is structurally blessed or is not. That should not be used as an excuse for slacking off on deadlift training.

If you are built like Lamar Gant or Vince Anello -- fine --  the only thing that should concern you is overtraining the lift because of its relative ease for you vis-a-vis squatting and benching. Terry McCormick, John Cole, Walter Thomas, Larry Kidney and Bill Kazmaier are all 800-plus pullers who also happen to be 500-plus benchers as well. I doubt if they would consider themselves 'structurally blessed' for the deadlift. One common denominator of these men is their fierce attention to detail and technique.

 Terry McCormick

Bruce Klemens 1970s Powerlifters Photo Pages:

Terry McCormick has one of the most awesome pulls in powerlifting. His approach to the deadlift, like it is for the other two lifts, is precise and methodical. If one were to analyze his lifts, they would be astounded by the slowness of ascent. In his own words, Terry analyzes his lifting style: 'A lot of guys try to rip the weight off the floor thinking that the momentum will carry them to completion. What usually happens is that the weight slows down after it passes the knee cap and the lift is lost. I try to really stay tight at the bottom, pushing my stomach against my belt and deliberately squeezing the weight off the floor. As it passes my knee cap, I accelerate and lock out.'

Contrast this to the system of Jon Cole who emphasized extreme explosiveness all three of the lifts. Jon was so inhumanly strong in his prime that he would literally rip the weight off the floor, but he would sometimes end up hitching at the top due to a lack of acceleration.

Walter Thomas, Mike Bridges, Veli Kumpuniemi and Bennet Clayton are all excellent exponents of the sumo-style deadlift. Actually, there are two distinct sumo styles, best described as 'fists in' (an extremely wide stance like Kumpuniemi and Bridges where the 'stroke' is shorter and the hands usually wind up between the legs), or the 'fists out' (a more moderate stance like Walter Thomas and his wife Juli use, where the hands wind up either outside the thighs or on top of them after the pull). To Sumo or not to Sumo is a question that probably has plagued lifters for a while, because for certain body types it can be an extremely efficient lift. I can quote Rickey Dale Crain (another fine puller) on this rationale: 'Generally a good hip and thigh (wider stance) squatter will be a good sumo stylist.'

Keep in mind that the sumo is very taxing on the adductors (inner thigh muscles) and that the start will be very slow. Bridges claims that the deadlift done in the sumo manner is nothing more than a 'squat with the weight in your hands rather than on your back.'    

Historically the deadlift was the last of the three original powerlifts to be instituted - the bench press and the squat being the first (the deadlift actually replaced the standing curl as a lift!). Olympic lifters were (and still are) very good deadlifters largely because of the near-perfect body position they need to employ at the outset of a heavy clean or snatch. York Barbell Club members such as Ernie Pickett, Bill Starr and Tommy Suggs were very successful in powerlifting meets in the early sixties. In fact, Bill Starr pulled a record 666.5 (198 lb class) at the 1968 Seniors in Los Angeles and managed to beat a lot of powerlifting 'purists' in the same weight class. Some very common training methods of the day were the old 5-4-3-2-1 system where the lifter would pyramid to the 'apex' of the pyramid and stop. Power cleans were done as well as power snatches and high pulls (the basis of Starr's methods) for assistance work. Then, as well as today, the deadlift was worked but once per week (Jon Cole recommended once every other week to once per month for very advanced lifters).

Some other notable pullers of the day were Gary Young (742 at 242 - 1967), Bill Burtis (615 at 165 - 1968), and of course Wilbur Miller, Felix Gomes, Don Cundy and Con Blue. Don Blue -- he would easily make an entire cover story for PLUSA but information about him is very sketchy -- used the weights as an antidote to the frustration, loneliness and sheer hell that presides within prison. He did not have access to a luxuriously equipped gym; in fact, it had but 360 pounds of weights along with a rusty bar and bench. When the 360 began to get too easy for singles, and even reps (would you believe 40 reps some days!), he scrounged an old Coke crate which he stood on and made the lift harder. Don used this training method -- which is probably the 'prototype' of Jaska Parviainen's Finnish system to set some astounding world records in the 148 lb class. I believe he pulled around 622.

George Frenn has come up with his own high-rep/intensity system. "If you work the muscle groups involved with power cleans, snatch grip hi-pulls and good mornings, one only needs to deadlift once per week. That day should consist of a few warmup sets and then an all out set of 10 reps. You can take the 10-rep sets and translate them into a limit deadlift."

Today's training methods are largely on the cycle system with more shorter-range movements used as assistance work (rack lockouts, for instance), and much more emphasis on bodybuilding -- working the lat muscles as a 'hinge' to assist the deadlift.   

Larry Kidney, back-spotting.

Larry Kidney, though well renowned for his squatting, is a top notch puller who makes good use of the lats and upper back muscles for the deadlift: "As the weight passes the kneecaps, try to FLEX your lats (as if you were trying to do a simple lat spreading movement). This will lock the lift out." Larry recalls how fellow police officer and lifter Louie Hernandez was having trouble with the lockout, and under his guidance worked the daylights out of his lats and rhomboids. His lift zoomed to nearly 700 pounds.

Yes, the deadlift seems simple, until you start training it! One can get lost in the maze of styles,  training philosophies and accessories. After talking with some of the top lifters of the day and doing some homework, I have come up with the following 'conclusions'. 

Training Axioms

1) Examine your body type to see if conventional or sumo will be the most efficient.

2) Work the entire back structure. Fred Hatfield recommends doing a lot of bent rows, shrugs and rounded back deadlifts. Or you can use the Frenn/Starr Olympic pulling method.

3) Pay strict attention to form, no matter what style you use.

4) Accessories -- the general feeling among top pullers is not to become dependent on straps for the grip, unless it is an assistance exercise such as hi-pulls, shrugs, or extra-heavy partials. Some, like Pacifico, prefer doing knuckles-front-grip deadlifts with with straps to avoid the inherent twisting motion that occurs in an over-under grip. If this is done, Pacifico likewise recommends doing a lot of grip work (wrist curls, wrist rollers, holds, etc.). Again, most do not resort to a super-tight suit or excessively tight knee wraps (if at all), because there is no 'recoil' effect in the deadlift.

5) Grit your teeth (if you have any, that is) and PULL LIKE HELL!  


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