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Muscular Size And Shape

by David Martin

The Author gives first-rate training instruction invaluable to the bodybuilder experiencing difficulty in developing both large and shapely muscles. The exercises for calves are of special value.

I wonder if any of my more discerning readers note a subtle difference in the title of this article, in contrast to my previous treatise?

There is a difference. It is the conjunction “and” instead of “or”. For shape and size are not antithetical to the same extent as quantity and quality.

Before I really get down to work, however, I wish to correct two minor errata in my previous article — they were the result of bad proof-reading on my part and not the usual typographical errors so prevalent in other P.C. mags.

beautiful bodybuilder model Josh Joshua

This excellent photo of world-famous weight-trainer and artists' model Josh Joshua is from an album of Josh's photos by Vince.

It is a matter of some concern to your uncle that many American magazines display horrid howlers by type-setters and these many mistakes give the impression that either the American Linotypers are largely illiterate or that Speed has been the altar on which accuracy as been constantly sacrificed. It is a matter of pride, therefore, for me to help BODY CULTURE to maintain its high standard of presentation and it is for this reason I make these corrections (which I should have made in my original submission but for pressure of time).

In the last paragraph and first column of page 24, I refer to tea and lemonade as “a stringent form” of water. The correct term is, of course, “astringent “.

In the last paragraph of the second column on the same page, I appear to say — “an excess of QUALITY and muscle brought a deterioration in quality The passage should read” an excess of QUANTITY in muscle brought a deterioration in Quality

While on the subject of my last article, two more points arise — the first is . . . Why do I suggest grouping the exercises into two sets for opposed muscle groups on alternate nights?

Readers of the July issue of “Vigour” will recall that I said that muscular growth was caused by breaking down muscular cells by exercise into twice the number of cells, some of which die in the process and some of which grow and feed until they in turn are broken down. The usual rest day between periods is to allow the bisected cells to feed and grow and the dead cells to be washed away.

By working groups alternate nights we increase the functional demand — (Functional Demand — nice term coined by the “Iron Man” as a synonym for Metabolism — Thanks, “Iron Man” I) and yet at the same time allow the broken down cells to be nourished and cleansed in the resting muscle. As I said, these were “high pressure” tactics to give you a jolt. You may wonder why I said “water” instead of milk as a weight increaser. To tell you the truth I did not realise that by the time the article was out, milk would again be plentiful. Water is, however, very good and has the advantage of being cheap. Milk is really the best, of course.

I now hear that our old friend, Johnny Grimek, is going to disprove me by lifting more weight at his top bodyweight than he has ever done before. By the time this appears in print, he will have done it. (I never say “probably” when talking of Johnny’s intentions—he never lets us down . . .)

This will not invalidate my theory that muscle cultivated for its Maximum bulk is less efficient than muscle cultivated for maximum strength—it merely means that contrary to appearances, Grimek’s 18.5/8 in. arm is really all solid muscle and not of the ” coarse ” variety (that is, of course, if Grimek’s records are obtained with the 18.5/8 in. arm).

If this is so, what sort of measure would he have if he “souped up” ? (to use a Paschallism).

Now to the shape business.

Muscles arc complex structures, and when we refer to the biceps muscle we at once divide it into two heads with its own name. The triceps obviously has three.

But that is not all. Each of these heads is composed of many fibres — each with its own nerve connection—and through this arrangement it is possible to mould the shape of your physique as docs a sculptor. You will, of course, be limited to a certain extent by bone lengths and leverage lengths, by the points of attachments of the various muscles, and joints. The “Iron Man” refutes this, it says in fact that what governs the size of a muscle is not its leverage but the intensity of contraction. This is similar to the politician’s statement that the coming slumplet is a recession and not a depression. ”Soft roes by any other name . . . Incidentally, the latter rocs arc of the ” red-herring ” variety.

Of course, the intensity of contraction is governed by the leverages, and although the person with poor leverages can annul his deficiencies by working harder at certain exercises, that fact (that he has to work harder) proves the existence of a difficulty and the difficulty is obviously skeletal as a nervous inability to contract intensely enough would not be cured by heavier weights and more repetitions but by mere mental exercise. Of course, mental concentration helps in contraction, but it is auxiliary rather than fundamental.

Another bright “expert” told a friend of mine that a muscle cannot be partially contracted. I am prepared to show him my pectoral “ripple” any time in which separate fibres are contracted, group after group, until the whole muscle is hard.

So we can mould and sculpture our physiques by altering the shape of individual muscles, as well as enlarging those muscles in relation to others???? Of course, and that is why trainers are inundated with requests to alter shapes and size by guys who figure nature gave them a raw deal . . . Henry Atkin is giving personal tuition in this but your Uncle has his own theories about this matter, some of them orthodox, others a little less so. General instruction is perhaps less useful to the individual than personal instruction, but magazines exist for those that want general instruction and postal courses or gymnasium training for those who want the “personal touch”. There is good and bad instruction in both fields. Some magazines are too general and not instructive enough. Some postal courses have more “touch” than personality. After all it is a free country, and our editor is smart enough to know that old adage about — “fooling all the people, some of the time”. We advocate making body culture fun, but we are not “fooling “, we are in earnest. So now to work!

That biceps muscle . . . Does it lack a head? There is no cure for the body-that lacks a head!—but several cures for the biceps with this deficiency. Here are three of the best: —

(1) The bent-over curl (best, perhaps, one-handed with Dumbells. This curl can also be done lying along a bench with the arm over the end. In this position it is impossible to “cheat “.

(2) The chin behind neck (a contradiction in terms, but the best description I know). To get the best out of this exercise, keep the hands fairly close together and grip the chinning bar as if you were going to curl a barbell in the normal manner. It is possible that your bodyweight may be too heavy to do this enough times to get a workout. If so, an overhead pulley bar could be rigged up in which you pull the bar down behind your neck instead of the back of your neck up to the bar. Steve Reeves uses one of these— Alan Stephan docs the orthodox chin.

(3) The Military Press (!) Yes, the old Military’ Press helped the biceps just as the new Olympic press helps the upper fibres of the pectorals. Do your press both with the hands in the normal position and in the curl position.

Quite a few cases of headless biceps arc actually bodiless biceps, so military pressing in the normal manner will build the under body of the muscle throwing the head into relief. If you suspect that this is the case, the following instructions should also be tried.

BODILESS BICEPS  (Three more cures coming up!): —

(1) Military Press, as stated above, with hands exactly shoulder width apart. The maximum effect is over once the bar is above eye-level but carry on right through —after all, you do want deltoid muscles, don’t you?

(2) Reverse curl, i.e., Curling with knuckles uppermost.

(3) Dumbell curl with the dumbell rod lying at right angles to the line of the shoulders and not turning from this line so that at the finish of the movement the end of the rod is pointing backward over your shoulder. To follow through and press overhead as Reuben Martin does (see June BODY CULTURE) is to make sure that every fibre of the main belly of the biceps has had exercise.

Calves are a problem in which leverage has more than its fair say, and the unfortunate result of this is that the old standard of measurements which stipulated that neck, biceps and calves should have more or less identical girths has gone by the board. I rather fancied that old ideal myself. Melvyn Wells and Clancy Ross both looked kind of spindly below the knees and, as 1 say, although leverages make it difficult to build shapely calves on certain people, they do not make it IMPOSSIBLE.

Here’s how to develop calves at the ankle end!

(1) Stand with the toes on a block of wood two inches high, and the heels on terra firma. Hold a dumbell in front as a counterbalance and raise your heels from the ground until the feet arc level with the block and then lower slowly. When this becomes easy-hold a heavy barbell across the front of the deltoids and carry on as before.

(2) Rotate the toes in a wide circle while seated on a box (if you have an Iron Boot, all the better).

(3) Practise rolling into the outer edge of the feet an’i back while holding a barbell on the shoulders.

The calves’ belly is easier to blow up, and orthodox heel raises almost to the absolute tips of the toes, both with the toes on the wood block, and the heels on it, will do most good.

Exercise 2 consists of standing with the heels on the block and raising the toes off the ground. This gets the tibial muscle and gives you a nice shin pad.

For the calf in its upper extremity at the back of the knee the femoral biceps curl, standing and lying down, and with an Iron Boot if possible, is a wonder worker.

The second exercise for this part of the calf is all the Squats in their 57 varieties (Heels up, heels down, feet apart, feet together}. When using squats for calf purposes, use a slightly lighter weight than usual and rock gently in and out of balance.

Many thighs are ruined by the neglect of the Femoral Biceps and although the squats do give this muscle some work, the following routine should help: —

(1) Leg Presses. Bring the knees right over to the shoulders while lowering the weight, and use a really heavy weight.

If you do not have a legpress machine, have a couple of lads standing around to steady the bar—but do try and control it yourself if possible. That will give the biceps femoris a shock !

(2) Prone leg curls with Iron Boot or similar device.

(3) In the upside down cycling position do straightleg scissor kick both laterally and fore and aft. This will stretch the hamstrings and although Iron Boots would be difficult to manage owing to the rods catching the stripped boot itself would add little extra work to the movement. This muscle business is like the old Chinese laundry motto—” No tickie, No washee “… or the Communists’ brutal alternative—” No work, no Eats Well, in weight training, if you don’t work you don’t get muscles! . . .

The Quadriceps of thigh and the Sartorius muscles will always prosper on squats, but it would be perhaps a little helpful if I elucidated the various types of squats for each of the four heads.

The inner lower head (just above inside of the patella) is affected at both ends of a squat, but the best work for it is the full deep squat with the heels raised. If you contract the thigh muscle hard and quickly at the finish of the upward movement or do a little jump, this lower head will benefit a lot. Kicking with an Iron Boot heavily loaded and the thigh raised a quarter of its way to hip-level will give you that inner head so prominent on footballers.

The outer lower head is affected by half squats with the feet wide astride and the knees pulled in. Side leg raising with the Iron Boot also helps this division of the muscle.

The frontal inner head is worked by squats with the knees and feet together and heels on the ground.

Leg raising, both standing up and lying down, also builds this muscle, but best of all is the abdominal raise on the incline board, which literally ties it in knots!

The outer upper head is mainly worked by side leg raising with an iron boot and side bending with the legs astride and a heavy dumbell in one hand.

I am omitting from this discourse the abdominal and spinal and gluteus muscles, as few people suffer from deficiency in these long after taking up weight training.

Some people are worried about prominent clavicles, and the orthodox crucifixes are usually insufficient to affect this condition. Continental pressing will help, but neck-rolling in the wrestlers’ bridge position will build up the sterno-mastoid muscles and the platysma myodes.

If you have a headstrap, lying on the back along a bench, with the head over the end and lifting the weight by the neck alone will also help to cover these bones a little BUT in nine cases out of ten prominent clavicles are the sign of general lack of assimilation and you would be better to concentrate on heavy group exercises for a while first.

Reg. Cooper of High Wycombe writes me on latissimus trouble — he claims to have done 10 million pullovers! . . .

I think his main trouble is the inability to shrug them forward in the approved pouter pigeon manner. This inability is caused by the lack of mobility in the scapula and I am sorry to say weight-pulling docs not help this as it is a matter of relaxation.

Link the hands over the head and pulling very hard, gradually bring them down until they are resting on the top of the cranium. Now keep pulling down and outwards, keeping the elbows back. If you look in a mirror, you will see your shoulder blades trying to sprout like embryo wings—that’s the first stage in the building of that much desired wedge. Now, how do we shrug them forward to fill out the armpits like a flying buttress in reverse?

Ah. this is where Uncle gets his pet exercise in. The Press-on-Back with the half-bridge. . . . Oh, yes, it’s my pet, alright. Here’s how, Reg. and other would-be Eifermcn. (Did you know that Eifer is a German word for ”zeal” ?)

George Eiferman is zealous enough — hence his physique.

Lie on the back with the heels up underneath the buttocks and the feet slightly apart. Pullover with a run a heavy barbell so that the fore-arms are at right angles to the ground with the elbows close into the sides . . . Now raising the buttocks you press the bar over head pushing hard under the triceps with the lattissimus muscles and arching the back as high as you can. The elbows should leave the ground slightly ahead of the lumbar vertebrae and if you do this exercise properly you will gradually “feel your lats. pushing you under the armpits.

It is an unfortunate thing that apart from pulling over bent arm on an incline board, and the rowing boat with the elbows to the sides, few weight exercises hit the lats. at their fullest contractions, i.e., as the arms pass behind the body.

Reuben Martin is fond of the Roman rings, and you only have to see his lats. spread to know why (Phew !). Dips between parallel bars and straight arm pressing to hand balances are good also. Pulley weights used with straight arms and working from shoulder level in front until the arms are behind the body are good, but your Uncle plugs for parallel bars, Roman rings and that Press with Half-bridge. Try them anyway!

No weight lifter handling heavy weights worries about deficient trapezius or deltoid muscles, so if a body-builder is marred this way he must do plenty of Cleans and plenty of presses with heavy weights. (Then, of course, when asked to demonstrate that body-builders are strong, he will not be at a loss.)

Gee, it’s hot to-night ! . . . I feel as if 1 have mentally done all this work myself . . . but I hope YOU haven’t . . . WHY ?

Because these are for special deficiencies and if you have ALL these faults then you need general body-building and not specialisation. Even if you have one of them, do not specialise until you have done at least six months on group exercises. I usually advocate a rest period of one month in four and then is a good opportunity to utilise the increased assimilation caused by the Supra-functional (thanks again, ” Iron Man “) Demand for patching up the hollows among the bulges—Flattening out the pockets in the major drive, as the military experts arc wont to describe the enemy’s minor successes.

The military experts are making tidy lines on a map—so that political experts can make them untidy again, and then send for the military experts to straighten out the kinks once more … (if I judge history aright). Yes, they are making nice lines on a map, about their only contribution to art. You are working on the finest work of art I know. Do you know that this old human body is such a work of art that the galleries of the world are full of artists’ imitations of it ? And although some of those paintings “seem to live ” (the highest praise !), the sad fact is that they do not live. Your muscularly moulded body does live and if you have been exercising it will be living more vitally than any Van Gogh cornfield (and that’s saying something).

More than that, if you have been moulding it well it will have the grace and strength of a Rodin sculpture—plus Movement—Glorious Movement.

The cultured mind works more smoothly and more gracefully than the clumsy probings of the ape. I have in front of me a quotation of which I am very fond, but I do not know its origin —can any reader help me ? Whoever said this sounds like a pal of your Uncle. Here it is . . .

” Men of culture are the true apostles of equality.”

I will send a buckshee copy of Henry Atkins’ book, ” Progressive Body Culture”, to the first reader who gives me the author and source of that pearl of wisdom.

Of course, many so-called cultured men have been snobs and high-hats. But no matter how learned they may be, if they have not discovered that a wider appreciation of beauty means more creation of beauty, then they have not learned the fundamental principle that beauty shared is beauty doubled. How often has your Uncle watched the sunset from a mountain peak and longed for a tender companion to share the view. How often has he risked the curses of a friend by waking him in his mountain eyrie to watch the dawn. That is why we are plugging body-building and trying to help you find your goal. We want to be surrounded by beautiful healthy women and graceful strong men.

Now, I wonder if we have any readers who would like to help Reg. Cooper, of 12, Kitchener Road, High Wycombe?

He writes and tells me he has an amateur club pining away for lack of members. I don’t know him personally, but he sounds a regular guy. How’s about it, Bodybuilders of High Wycombe ?

You will note I have also neglected the Triceps muscle this time, but I will include it in the next article, for already I am hogging too much space.

I believe, however, this is the first time so much ground has been covered in one article on this subject.

That’s the lot for now. Next issue I will be lecturing on Suppleness and Strength.

From BODY CULTURE Volume 1 Number 2, September 1949.