YES, We DO Need Exercise!
THE CASE FOR WEIGHT TRAINING got a shot in the arm recently in a comparative study oi’ the muscular strength and ability of American and European youths. Medical researchers in a major eastern university discovered that Americans are “getting soft” because of the relative ease of daily living, while Europeans with fewer of the “advantages” of modern life were stronger.
The cause of this sad effect has been laid to lack of exercise. No longer do we gel the once necessary exercise such as wood chopping, water pumping, and walking. Central heating, running water, and automobiles have done away with much of the exercise which once kept young Americans in shape.
In the test, young people in America and Europe were asked to perform a series of exercise routines. (One of the exercises was the Leg Raises demonstrated in the May VIM.) Almost 6 out of 10 American youths failed to pass this muscular fitness test . . . while more than 9 out of 10 of the Europeans passed it!
The American youth today may he taller and more handsome and more “vitamin-enriched,” hut lack of exercise has made him inferior to his rugged, hard working ancestors.
It is surprising to many, and alarming to Armed Forces officials that approximately one man out of every three examined by selective service during the Korean War was found unfit for military duty! (This startling fact does not reflect quite so dark a picture, however, since the figures do not cover the healthy young men who enlisted for duty.)
The situation seems to indicate a definite need for such a sport as bodybuilding through weight training, despite the propaganda from various camps that “exercise is for the birds” or that “muscles can he built in bed.” Protein, the much vaunted miracle food, may aid in muscle building, but it does not replace sweat and exercise.
DUMB BELL CURLS are one of the best known, most used, and most effective of the arm exercises. The number of repetitions is probably more important than the weight used, so choose a set of bells you can handle with relative ease. Standing erect with your arms at sides as shown in solid figure, curl the weights to the shoulders, as indicated by dotted lines. The elbows do not move . . . keep them stationary as though they were the hubs of wheels and your forearms were spokes. Inhale as the bells are lowered, hold your breath as you raise the weights, 4nd exhale when weights reach shoulder.
PARALLEL BAR DIPS require no weights . . . except that furnished by your own body. The Dips consist of pressing your body upward between the bars until your arms are straight . . . and lowering it as far as possible. Bars should be about shoulder width apart. Inhale as you lower your body, getting a full breath by the time you reach your lowest point, and then . . . (don’t hesitate) press right back up, holding your breath as your body goes up. Pause slightly and exhale completely when you’re at the topmost position. Keep your chest out, head back throughout the exercise.
DUMB BELL SIDE RAISES are a popular deltoid exercise. (Deltoids, you know, are the impressive mound-like muscles which cap the shoulders.) Standing with your feet about a foot apart and holding the dumb bells in front of your thighs, as shown in the solid figure, raise both your arms outward and upward until you reach the “spread eagle” position shown by the dotted lines. (The knuckles are pointed forward for this exercise.) Pause briefly, exhale, and then lower the weights to their thigh-front positions, inhaling as your arms go downward. Don’t take a rest when the weights are at their lowest point. Instead, raise the dumb bells immediately. Here again, the number of repetitions is more important than the weight used. Don’t try to be a gym hero by grabbing the heaviest weight you can find. Start with a moderate, easily handled weight, and work up.
The Argonauts, Volume 1 № 1 by Physique Press.