27 March 2014

Chaos And Pain Reads Shit So You Don't Have To, Mar 2014 Part 2

Finishing up this month's installment of "CNP Reads Shit So You Don't Have To", we have Muscular Development and Flex.  I didn't bother to review Power because that magazine rarely has anything of interest unless you want to reread tired shit about the Cube Method or Intermittent Fasting, so I passed on it.  I might replace The Box with Power next month and drop Muscle and Fitness altogether, but we'll see where my scatterbrain takes me in the magazine section- you people might end up with MD, Flex, and Fangoria.  In any event, here's the goods from MD and Flex.

Muscular Development Jan 2014
MD is by far and away my favorite bodybuilding rag, and the only magazine outside of Mental Floss and Wired to which I've ever subscribed.  Unfortunately, the Barnes and Noble in which I was reading magazines tossed or sold both their March and April MDs, leaving me only May, which i was hoping to save for next month.  Thus, I dug out January from my personal pile to review for you guys.  Before you get out your powdered wigs and gavels to judge me, bear in mind this magazine is literally jammed to the gills with study synopses they actually fucking cite, and thus keeps me from having to subscribe to a shitload of expensive academic journals.  If you're going to get a magazine subscription to something meatheadish, skip Power and grab MD- it's a far better resource.

Applying a tourniquet to your limbs might cause your opponents on the platform to fatally injure themselves.
A new technique in bodybuilding and strength training of which you may not have heard is called occlusion training, which essentially consists of training with a loose tourniquet tied around the insertion point of the limbs being trained.  I've tried it for squats and it fatigued me like nothing I've ever done in my life.  Studies have recently shown that occlusion training allows trainees to gain more strength and mass with drastically reduced loads- one study with rugby players showed a marked increase in bench press, squat, sprinting, leg power, and testosterone when trainees trained with a thigh occlusion cuff using 70% of their 1RM for 5x5 on bench, squat, and pullups.  Ace bandages in training might be your secret weapon to crushing the opposition on the platform.

Cook CJ, Kilduff LP, Beaven CM. Improving strength and power in trained athletes with 3 weeks of occlusion training.  Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Jan;9(1):166-72.

BREAKING NEWS:  Jogging before squatting kills your gainz.
In a study that should be surprising to absolutely no one on Earth, science has discovered that doing 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at 75% effort trashes your performance in squatting, but not bench press, if you lift right after doing cardio.  Thus, if you're going to practice running away from evangelical Christians/people/bears/boogeymen/whatever it is people practice running away from, do it after your squat workout rather than before.

Cantrell GS, Schilling BK, Paquette MR, Murlasits Z.  Maximal strength, power, and aerobic endurance adaptations to concurrent strength and sprint interval training.  Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Apr;114(4):763-71

This would not inspire me to sleep, but I'd get horizontal, at least.

Get moar sleep to get less fat.
No matter how much I tell people sleep is fucking critical, they make all sorts of excuses for not getting it, most of which revolve around children.  This is what soundproof closets with stout locks are for, people.  If you're not getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, you're pretty much guaranteed to  have larger waist circumference, total body fat, abdominal fat, and surface fat, in addition to less testosterone than people like myself, who put babies in dumpsters, where they belong.

Yi S, Nakagawa T, Yamamoto S, Mizoue T, Takahashi Y, Noda M, Matsushita Y.  Short sleep duration in association with CT-scanned abdominal fat areas: the Hitachi Health Study.  Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Jan;37(1):129-34.

Schmid SM, Hallschmid M, Jauch-Chara K, Lehnert H, Schultes B.
  Sleep timing may modulate the effect of sleep loss on testosterone. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Nov;77(5):749-54.

If you want to be BR00TAL, listen to BR00TAL music.
It's always nice when science catches up to broscience, and I can't count the number of times I've had pseudointellectuals spout nonsense at me about how I train to the wrong kind of music according to science.  As far as I was concerned, science can get fucked- there's a reason why teenage males listen to metal- they have insanely high test levels.  As such, it stands to reason that such music would have a positive effect on aggression and test levels, which science has finally decided it does.  Aggressive music like metal, rap, and dubstep increase sympathetic nervous system activity and testosterone levels.  Once again, the 130lb bitches screaming and crying about the evils of "broscience" can eat a bag of dicks.

Yamasaki A, Booker A, Kapur V, Tilt A, Niess H, Lillemoe KD, Warshaw AL, Conrad C.  The impact of music on metabolism.  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1075-80.

There is no practical upper limit to the anabolic response to protein or amino acid intake- the more protein you eat, the more anabolic the meal is.  The old adage of no more than 30 grams of protein per meal continues to get the fuck kicked out of it, but for whatever reason, the 130lbers of the internet trot that fucker out like it's the first sentence of the fucking Bible.  Pass me that brontosaurus leg, because I'm about to bring on the gainz.  Let the naysaying pussies eat less- it just means more steak for us.

Deutz NE, Wolfe RR.  Is there a maximal anabolic response to protein intake with a meal?  Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):309-13.

Stop asking if coffee is good for you, already.  Of course it fucking is- it raises testosterone and suppresses estrogen.
The eggheads at Harvard come through again, showing definitively that coffee intake results in increased total and free testosterone levels and decreased estradiol.  Fuck eating beans- drink more coffee at every meal.

Wedick NM, Mantzoros CS, Ding EL, Brennan AM, Rosner B, Rimm EB, Hu FB, van Dam RM.  The effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on sex hormone-binding globulin and endogenous sex hormone levels: a randomized controlled trial.  Nutr J. 2012 Oct 19;11:86.

Flex April 2014
Flex has been an old standby in the meathead magazine genre- not too high-brow, yet not too lowbrow, and more hardcore than Muscle and Fitness.  They lack the aggression and the intellect of Muscular Development at Flex, but I suppose they make up for that in a bit of refinement, which in my opinion has little place in bodybuilding.  In any event, it's not a half-bad mag, but it's hardly the best of the bunch.

Cutting your lifts short means cutting your gainz short.
Trainees who use a longer range of motion experience less strength and muscle loss during a layoff, and have greater strength and hypertrophy gains while training, in addition to more fat loss.  Might be time to start mixing in more deficit work, people.

McMahon GE, Morse CI, Burden A, Winwood K, Onambélé GL.  Impact of range of motion during ecologically valid resistance training protocols on muscle size, subcutaneous fat, and strength.  J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):245-55.

I think if the pump I currently have persists for more than four hours, I am supposed to seek medical attention.

Dat pump, bro.
Want to look swole at the club?  Apparently, there's no need to bring dumbbells in your trunk and pump up in the parking lot every hour- apparently if you break your ass hard enough in the gym, you'll stay pumped for two days.  According to a new study by Brett Contreras and his trusty German sidekick, strenuous resistance exercise can result in an acute increase in muscle water content for up to 52 hours.

Schoenfeld, BJ, Contreras B.  The Muscle Pump: Potential Mechanisms and Applications for Enhancing Hypertrophic Adaptations.  J Str Con.  Article published ahead of print. 23 Dec 2013.  Web.  26 Mar 2014.  http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Abstract/publishahead/The_Muscle_Pump___Potential_Mechanisms_and.99586.aspx

Posing for selfies makes you stronger.
One study revealed contractions of biceps and triceps by simultaneously contracting both muscle groups at 90° of the elbow joint, followed by 4-s muscle relaxation (10 repetitions/set, 5 sets/day) for 12 weeks resulted in a 4% increase in muscular size and a significant increase in agonist EMG activities- ~30% at 4 weeks and 40%+ at 12 weeks.  Bros got bigger and stronger by doing a front double biceps in front of a mirror for a few minutes a day.  Fuck do you even lift- do you even selfie, bro?

Maeo S, Yoshitake Y, Takai Y, Fukunaga T, Kanehisa H.  Neuromuscular adaptations following 12-week maximal voluntary co-contraction training.  Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Apr;114(4):663-73.

Sprinkle some leucine on your steak.
Time to add some leucine to your steak and rib rubs!  Stupid science bitches couldn't make my friends more smarter, but apparently some stupid science bitches could make steak more steaker.  According to a new study, five grams of leucine taken with protein maximizes muscle protein synthesis rates. For those of you starting your cut for the beach, you might want to take note- maximizing your protein synthesis can be especially important on a calorically restricted diet.

Churchward-Venne TA, Breen L, Di Donato DM, Hector AJ, Mitchell CJ, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Breuille D, Offord EA, Baker SK, Phillips SM.  Leucine supplementation of a low-protein mixed macronutrient beverage enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis in young men: a double-blind, randomized trial.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb;99(2):276-86.

24 March 2014

Chaos And Pain Reads Shit So You Don't Have To, Mar 2014 Part 1

I will confess this is not a new idea- some dude used to do this on T-Nation periodically.  He did not however, view bodybuilding/training rags as I do- as a Cliff's Notes for training and nutrition journals.  Instead, he just skimmed the mags and provided a bird's eye view into what was doing in those mags.  Despite the invalid criticisms that are sure to pour forth in the comments on this article,  I know for a fact there is value in bodybuilding magazines and intend to cram it down your fucking throats in a super-concise synopsis of useful information.  Yeah, they might just be a means by which advertisers can sell you shit you don't need and a bunch of pictures of sloots wearing too many clothes and dudes generally wearing shit that would only be appropriate in a gay pride parade, but there are kernels of wisdom inside.

You know what? If you guys don't think you can learn something from guys like Sergio Oliva, just ring your call button and Tommy will come back there and hit you on the head with a tack hammer because you're a retard.

Thus, I read The Box, Flex, Muscle & Fitness, Musclemag, Planet Muscle, and Muscular Development to bring you the best the fitness and bodybuilding worlds have to offer without any of the nonsense.  In addition, because I now that in spite of the fact that I am simply recounting what I discovered in these magazines, the intellectually lazy, shit-sipping frittatas of the internet will likely skim the fuck out of this and accuse me of promoting broscience or somesuch ridiculousness because they're too lazy and stupid to use the google machine to find the studies.  As such, I did so for you, because the one thing internet fame has taught me is that the only thing more common than pussies talking shit on the internet is lazy, stupid pussies accusing people far better educated and stronger than they are of "broscience", because it's one of the few words they can spell correctly.

[Edit: This thing ran incredibly long, and you will note the two really fucked up photos in the Musclemag section when I was running out of steam and went a little off the deep end.  Just read the fucking thing anyway, because there's good shit in here.  I chopped it into two parts and the fucker's still long, so this is The BoxMuscle & FitnessMusclemag, and Planet Muscle, and part 2 will be Muscular Development and Flex.]

The Box Mar/Apr 2014
Crossfit’s premier magazine, the Box purports to be “Evidence that CrossFitters do it better.”  In reality, it's a pretty shitty magazine with very little in the way of training advice, a couple of paleo hacks, and a lot of articles about why CrossFit is cooler than sex with your favorite porn star atop the back of a unicorn that is fucking a unicorn in a field of lotus flowers while hopped up on Viagra and molly.  I've seen less braggadocio out of an Italian after Rocky 5 in downtown Philly, and I'll assure that the guido's braggadocio was likely more warranted. Nevertheless, here's the useful shit from The Box:

Yoga is better for active recovery than just about anything, save for possibly sex with another CrossFitter.
“Researchers at the University of Oslo, Norway, drew blood from 10 yoga practitioners before and after a session.  They found that yoga caused 111 genes to wake up, while walking and music-driven relaxation only turned on 38.  Because some of the same genes were affected, scientists hypothesize that yoga, exercise, and relaxation affect some of the same processes but that yoga’s impact on the body is more widespread.”

Qu S, Olafsrud SM, Meza-Zepeda LA, Saatcioglu F.  Rapid gene expression changes in peripheral blood lymphocytes upon practice of a comprehensive yoga program.  PLoS One. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e61910.

FACT: Star Wars fans consume more creatine than Star Trek fans.

Creatine can make you smarter.
Here’s one I didn’t know- researchers have found that suboptimal levels of creatine negatively impact cognitive performance, and that creatine supplementation can improve cognition.

This isn't the study they were citing, as I couldn't find a recent one about this topic, but here's one on the subject: Ling J, Kritikos M, Tiplady B.  Cognitive effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation.  Behav Pharmacol. 2009 Dec;20(8):673-9.

Even paleo chicks go batshit if you tell them they can't have muffins.

Finally!  Someone proposes paleo flour alternatives that are not completely retarded.
This is usually a massive point of contention for me, because flour and paleo don’t belong in the same conversation.  Most baked “paleo” recipes are bullshit, as they use arrowroot flour, which is entirely comprised of carbohydrates and in no way compares to a Paleolithic tuber.  Surprisingly, The Box points this out and recommends:
  • coconut flour, which has 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber for every three grams of carbohydrates 
  • almond flour 
  • tapioca flour, though it mentions that tapioca is similar to arrowroot in its un-paleo nature.
Keep calling CrossFitters pussies, guys.  You'll keep looking like a pack of jealous fucking retards.

CrossFit isn't going to injure the fuck out of you any more than high school soccer would.
Only one small study has been conducted on CrossFit injury rates, and it showed a rate of 3.1 injuries per 1,000 training hours, which is similar to those reported for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting.
  • rhabdo is the participant’s fault, not the sport’s.  “Rhabdomyolosis is the result of inappropriately applied intensity.  It’s simple: Someone did not gauge and manage intensity correctly; the athlete did not slow down or stop when he she should have.”

Also, there was a full page article detailing all of the reasons CrossFitters are better lays than everyone else on Earth.  It was, as you can imagine, pompous and generally retarded.

Muscle and Fitness Apr 2014
Interestingly, Muscle and Fitness, one of the mainstays of the bodybuilding magazine industry, has pretty much thrown in the towel on bodybuilding and strength training.  Instead, they’re switching to a more “fitness” oriented magazine that caters to the CrossFit/reddit's r/fitness/Men's Fitness crowd and turning their back on their former core demographic.  Additionally, what used to be my one monthly magazine purchase (when I was in high school, before you maniacs get overexcited) basically just shills for supplement companies and has no substance now.  While I find this appalling, I highly doubt anyone else gives two shits, so here's what they included in this month's "new" M&F:

John Cena is a sweetiepie.
  • Cena's apparently the nicest person in the world- He is the only celebrity to break the 400 wish mark for the Make a Wish Foundation.
  • Cena currently benches 481 and is on the cusp of 500, in spite of the fact he tore his tricep completely in August.  When asked what his secret was, he said that max effort overhead presses are the best bench accessory.
  • Wears Adidas Powerlift 2.0 shoes, which I know is a rally important anecdote for the internet gym warriors.
  • Is not a terribly good squatter- he's only hitting 5x5x495.
  • Eats clean 6 days a week and faces doughnuts all day the 7th.
Bruce Lee loved the fuck out of circuit training too, but he still went heavy from time to time... someone might want to alert the editors at the Weider headquarters. 

M&F loves circuit training.  
And I mean they love it.  Every fucking program in this issue was a circuit, save for Cena's program.

Planet Muscle Feb 2014
I'm sure many of you have never heard of this magazine or seen it on a newsstand.  I have periodically loved and hated this mag throughout the last ten years, and while it's not quite as jammed with info as other magazines, it's interesting in that it's owned by a small West Coast supplement company that has made the same great but hideously expensive products for the last 50 years and is somehow still in business.  Additionally, PM's article layout is interesting in that it's thoughtful- they usually use the articles early in the magazine to build a knowledge base for understanding later articles.  As such, it's a pretty good primer from lifting and nutrition neophytes.  There are also no shortage of scantily clad sloots in the back of every issue, so you have some nice wank material if you have the ability to orgasm to soft core porn.

Someone finally brought Star Wars into lifting- introducing Yoda 3 Training (Y3T). 

Here's a training program of which I'd never heard, which is fairly unsurprising because I don't really give a rat's ass about programming.  Nevertheless, this training method is the brainchild of a Brit named Neil Hill, who's the trainer of guys like Zach Khan (650 squat and 600lb bench press)and 212 lb Mr. Olympia Flex Lewis (who seems reasonably strong in spite of vehement protests against his form on Bodybuilding.com, which is apparently populated by a lot of people far more jacked than Flex Lewis but curiously bereft of evidence of this fact).  The program is apparently intended to utilize the concept of macro and microcycles for bodybuilding purposes by rotating though three 1 week cycles that rotate rep numbers, exercises, and explosiveness to selectively target Type 1, Type 2a, and Type 2b muscle fibers.  Week 1 is heavy compound movements (8-10 reps), Week 2 is a combination of isolation movements (12-16 reps), and week 3 is something called “total muscle annihilation” that involves a bunch of intensity multipliers like giant sets, drop sets, forced reps, and the like.  For more info, check it out here. Before you claim such a method is useless for your purposes, nebulous as they probably are, I would suggest you check it out, as this could have some interesting applications for strength training if it’s modified somewhat.

Talk your shit guys, but like the dude who took 2nd at the Physique Olympia, Tim Liggins pulls far more bitches than you do and probably outlifts you.  Food for thought.

“As a bodybuilder, you use and not lift weights”- Tim Liggins.
I found this quote to be the most interesting bit of Tim Liggins' interview.  Liggins seems fairly cerebral about his training and while the 5'8", 200 lb bodybuilder isn't fantastically strong, he definitely appears considerably stronger than your average "powerlifter."  He utilizes the aforementioned Y3T system, so the vids I saw consisted of a lot of high rep drop sets and the like, but the dude definitely did a very easy set of 18 reps on his third drop with 80lb dumbbells, which isn't something to sneeze at, given the fact that he'd already done 36 reps with heavier weights.  In any event, I thought the quote above was interesting because it provides some valuable insight into the disparity between the bodybuilding and powerlifting mindset, and if you think about it sheds some light on the reason just about every gym's powerlifters are outbenched by the bodybuilders.

The riot bomber, Zabo.  Longshoreman by day, then hit the gym for a couple of hours each night, and was shredded before a word to describe his condition existed.  At 170, Zabo squat snatched 220, barefoot and without a warmup, then added 50 lbs and cleaned and military pressed it to impress some judges at random (Hise).  Still think bodybuilders are pussies?

Riot Bombing.
The training method with the awesome moniker "riot bombing" was invented by a guy I profiled in Issuance of Insanity 2, Zabo Koszewski, a 1960s bodybuilder who was insanely shredded before being shredded was cool.  Riot bombing is essentially what I do for arms, and it’s definitely brought them up over the last couple of years.  The concept behind it is to essentially drop a massive number of training bombs on your body to force growth in opposing muscle groups simultaneously. To do so, you utilize supersets with crazy volume to bend your body to your will, pairing exercises that utilize opposing muscle groups to ensure that your muscles get a bit of recovery before you pound them.  This phenomenon, of which you are all likely unfamiliar because it's cool to think bodybuilding is bitch made, is called reciprocal inhibition, and is a neurological reflex that causes one muscle to relax when its opposing muscle is contracted.

Riot bombing should feel something like this.

If you feel like trying it, the execution is like a Balkan war criminal- as brutal as it is simple. Do 15-20 sets of of two exercises that target opposing muscle groups, like cheat curls and push downs, and add weight on the 6th and 10th sets so that you’re starting at about 10-15 reps and ending in the 4-8 rep range.  Rest no more than 15-30 seconds in between supersets to maximize pump and shredz and you'll be looking like Zabo in no time.

I would punch my mom in the throat to hold Jenny Poussin’s hand.  She's one of the aforementioned PM sloots.
Planet Muscle has oodles.

Musclemag March 2014
If I'm honest, I've never much cared for Musclemag and could not tell you why beyond their sponsorship by the least reputable major supplement manufacturer on Earth, Muscletech.  Muscletech has never met their label claims, so I would guess my subconscience believes the same to be true about Musclemag.  In spite of that fact, I cracked one open and discovered some useful shit inside, so it's not quite the soulless corporate shill I'd once believed it to be.  It also seems to be trying to shed its meathead image by heading in the direction of promoting "attainable" physiques, so there is a lot more emphasis, at least in this issue, on the 212 Olympians than the big guys.  I couldn't really give a shit less either way, but for those of you who might care, there is that.  For the rest of you, here's the goods from Musclemag:

I know precisely fuckall about pro wrestling, but this chick is a WWE Diva and squats like a motherfucker according to her interviews... and her legs.

For those of you still leg pressing- stop.
A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning pitted the leg press against the squat.  At 6x10 reps 80% 1RM, the squat elicited higher testosterone and growth hormone releases, but the GH release was the truly badass one- 200% higher immediately after training and still 100% higher an hour later.

Shaner AA, Vingren JL, Hatfield DL, Budnar RG, Duplanty AA, Hill DW.  The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise.  Published online in advance of print.  http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/The_acute_hormonal_response_to_free_weight_and.97568.aspx

So unfunny you'd think he was the love child of Billy Crystal and Margaret Cho.

For those of you who like to drag out your training sessions like Steven Wright dragged out jokes, start swilling intra-workout carbs.  
A recent study showed that 6% of your daily carb intake mixed with BCAAs prevented upper respiratory infection in trainees.  Musclemag recommends 20 grams of dextrose or table sugar with BCAAS intraworkout.

I couldn’t find the study on this, but the logic is sound.

Don’t forget your MP3 player on days you're lifting heavy. 
The Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences found that music is not simply a distraction, but it reduces the amount of effort necessary to do the work.  In other words, music “would relieve the severely stressed from self-awareness of one’s own body” and allows trainees to push themselves much harder than trainees who trained without music.

Fritz TH, Hardikar S, Demoucron M, Niessen M, Demey M, Giot O, Li Y, Haynes JD, Villringer A, Leman M. Musical agency reduces perceived exertion during strenuous physical performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013.  http://www.mpg.de/7573048/music-physical-exertion

I call this picture "Anti L-Citrulline."

L-Citrulline makes your dick hard.
A new study showed 50% of men with mild erectile dysfunction cured it with supplementary Citrulline.  Musclemag recommends1.5 to 3 grams of citrulline before lifting or fucking, or after looking at the above picture.  I just got you motherfuckers so good.

Cormio L, De Siati M, Lorusso F, Selvaggio O, Mirabella L, Sanguedolce F, Carrieri G.  Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction.  Urology. 2011 Jan;77(1):119-22.

There is such a thing as self-harm porn.  I know, because I've masturbated to it.

Depressed chicks get horny in the gym.
For those of you who are not into self-harm porn and do not find the above picture appealing, take note- chicks on anti-depressants found the libido dulling effects of the anti-depressants were eliminated after a 30 minute workout.

Lorenz TA, Meston CM.  Acute Exercise Improves Physical Sexual Arousal in Women Taking Antidepressants.  Ann Behav Med. Jun 2012; 43(3): 352–361.

Note Larissa's sexy ass knees.

Scientists somehow found a new ligament in the knee.  
The anterolateral ligament, ALL, seems to be the culprit behind ACL tears.  A weak ALL leads to ACL injuries, it seems.  No one has any fucking clue how doctors missed this ligament up until now.

Stuffing needles into your ears could help get dat sixpack, bro beans.
Auricular acupuncture could be the answer to getting that last bit of fat off your stomach.  Korean scientists conducted a study in which volunteers had 8 weeks of poking in the ears with needles followed by a week of keeping a needle taped into part of their ear and found that weight, body fat, and waist circumference were reduced.

Yeo S, Kim KS, Lim S. Randomized clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people. Acupuncture in Medicine, 2013.

Vindication never tasted so sweet!  Soy protein reduces testosterone post workout.  A recent study showed that soy protein has a direct negative effect on test levels and that it was far worse than whey at blunting post-workout cortisol spikes.

Kraemer WJ1, Solomon-Hill G, Volk BM, Kupchak BR, Looney DP, Dunn-Lewis C, Comstock BA, Szivak TK, Hooper DR, Flanagan SD, Maresh CM, Volek JS.  The effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on acute hormonal responses to resistance exercise in men.  J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(1):66-74.

The Rhino- WR holder in the squat and total at 275 and ripped to fucking bits.

Powerbuilding is a thing again?
Pretty much a staple training method up until the internet ruined powerlifting in the early oughts, powerbuilding is making a comeback as crossover athletes keep popping up.  Guys like Stan Efferding, Johnny Jackson, and Ronnie Coleman are getting bodybuilders to trend more toward strength training as jacked as fuck raw powerlifters eliminate the fat fuck mentality promoted by the thankfully fading multiply set.  Musclemag mentioned the following icons of powerbuilding for you fuckers to check out (and whose lifting routines would not be a bad idea to emulate): Joe Ladnier (who is the powerlifter who convinced me powerlifting wasn't code for "fat men in bulletproof outfits barely moving and calling themselves lifters while narrowly avoiding strokes"), Matt Kroc, Ken Patera, Franco Columbo, Bill Kazmaier, Tom Platz, and Dorian Yates.

Tomorrow or the next day I'll hit you with Flex Magazine and Muscular Development, and then we'll move on to whatever else happens to strike my fancy.  And don't hate, fuckers- you know you just had knowledge dropped on your faces like a ten ton hammer.

The magazines and studies are all cited in place.

Hise, Bob.  The fabulous Zabo Koszewski.  Strength & Health. Aug 1967.  Web.  24 Mar 2014.  http://www.musclememory.com/showArticle.php?sh670820

19 March 2014

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun- Faddism In Exercises And Implements, Part 4- So Snatch And So Clean, Clean

Having covered most of the older training methods and implements, it's time to head into the "modern" era.  In terms of weight training, I would classify the modern era of weight training as the era in which the plate loaded barbell and dumbbell came into wide use, which means that the modern era would begin in the late 1880s.  Though many of the exercises currently in use were invented prior this period, it wasn't until the modern era that training implements came to really resemble those in use today, and was when the exercises currently in use came to be standardized.  While the standardization of the performance of weight training exercises was useful in determining the winner of strength competitions and made naming conventions easier, this was perhaps the most annoying contribution of the modern period.  If you're confused as to why it's annoying, it's because the "standardization" of non-competition exercises leads to a lot of idiotic discussion and quibbling between people too weak to be doing anything other than lifting and eating.

No one is clear on why Triat dressed like a cavalier to teach proto-Bodypump.

Let's move past my hatred of mouthy neophyte lifters, however, and get to the topic at hand- the modern era of lifting.  Though dumbbells, as I've covered in previous installments, had been in use in varying forms since the ancient Greeks, the barbell did not come into wide use until the middle of the 19th Century.  Though he is not necessarily credited with their invention, the man with whom the wide popularity of the barbell is associated is Parisian gym owner and proto-bodybuilder Hippolyte Triat.  In 1849, Triat opened a massive, 9500 square foot gym in downtown Paris with two rows of balconies for spectators, and illustrations of his gym depict the walls filled with racks of fixed-weight barbells.  In his advertising brochures, Triat boasted of having dumbbells weighing over 200 pounds in his gym, though no one is certain whether he was referring to single hand or double handed dumbbells, as the term "barbell" wasn't yet in use (Todd).

Bizarrely unchanged, except that the classes are now taught by prostitutes.

Prior to Triat, the closest thing to the modern fixed weight dumbbell was the "iron wand" which was very similar to the goofy weighted rubber coated bars you see in group fitness classes- they usually weighed two to six kilos and were used, like the modern version, for group fitness.  Triat seems to have drawn upon that idea and created heavier iron wands affixed with weighted globes on either end for increased weight.  This shape then influenced the wands that had been Triat's inspiration, and from then on iron and wooden wands shared the same shape- a fixed bar with globes at either end.  This was from then on referred to as the "French dumbbell" on the continent, though the term "bar-bell" came into use in England in 1870 (Todd).

Though one might have thought that the barbell would have caught on like wildfire after its invention, no one thought to use on in a strength exposition until Austrian strongman Karl Rappo worked onto into his routine late 1870s.  According to a number of his contemporaries, heavy barbells had been in use in the mid-19th Century in Germany, though there's no solid evidence of this- just hearsay.  According to the Germans, they had used solid iron globe barbells until the 1870s, then switched to solid iron bars and hollow bells filled with sand or lead to make their weight adjustable.  Then, in what is perhaps the greatest example of Germanic superiority one might proffer, a German corporation called Heyden began manufacturing plate-loaded barbells in the 1880s.  Well, at least until you consider the fact that George Barker Winship, who I mentioned in a previous entry, patented the plate-loaded dumbbell in 1865.

This thing would have been a bit of a pain in the ass to move.

What we have then, is a mess.  No one is quite sure when and where the plate loaded barbell arose, or exactly when.  What we can be sure of, however, is that modern weight training could not exist without the plate loaded barbell- globe barbells take up far too much room, and they don't afford trainees the ability to easily progress from one weight to the next.  Furthermore, they would have made strength competitions immensely costly and difficult to hold, simply because of the man-hours and work involved in moving massive numbers of heavy barbells.  Finally, without the invention of the modern free-rotating, plate loaded barbell, continued progress in training weights would be severely hamstrung by the stress on and strength requirements of the forearms and hands.

He might have been a fat fucker, but he saved the day on barbells.  Fat people, then, can occasionally be useful to society.

Though heavy lifting in the US all but died out with the death of Winship, it was resurrected in 1902 by Alan Calvert and Calvert's equipment company, Milo, and by Thomas Inch, Calvert's rival and vocal proponent of plate-loaded barbells.  Like the rivalry between Hoffman and Weider that would follow in 40 years, Calvert and Inch argued vociferously in the press about whose products were the better of the two.  Both men offered a plate loaded option, but Calvert offered adjustable-weight globe bells as well, affording trainees to increase training weights by an ounce at a time if they so wished.  Across the ocean, numerous German companies vied for dominance in the weightlifting equipment industry, all producing barbell sets of different sizes in an apparent effort to out-Apple Apple in terms of producing proprietary bullshit useless to people who are unconcerned with brand-whoring.

This brings us, finally, to the Olympic lifts.  In the early days of strongman competitions, there was no set program of lifts.  Instead, competitors agreed upon a few lifts and went at it, mano-e-mano.  There was no standard for the lifts, either- you moved the weight from point A to point B however the fuck you could get it there.  On a deadlift, if you weren't hitching, you weren't trying.  You could muscle out snatches, and you could invent new form on the spot if you'd not before tried a certain lift.  Everyone was there to see weight get moved, and none of the quibbling, insipid, tragically weak bitches of the modern era existed at the time to call bullshit on lifts done by people of whom they were terrified and with weights they could scarcely comprehend.  

The closest that anyone could come to a standard program of lifts was what the British referred to as the "Championship Lifts", they they could not even agree on whether there were four or five of those.  According to Edward Aston, who claimed there were four official but five contested "Championship Lifts" (and never bothered to identify the four official ones), the five lifts the Brits considered "Championship lifts were the one hand clean, two hands clean, one hand anyhow, two hands anyhow, and a single handed snatch or clean (at the choice of the competitor).  Of the three lifts, both hands had to be used at least once, which forced a bit of strategy into the competition by making the lifter choose the lift in which he'd employ his weaker hand (Aston III).

Perikles Kakousis lifting a massive 246lb for Olympic gold in 1904.

Due to the lack of event standardization, however, no one could agree on a bar.  Thus, the first Olympics saw something akin to a one hand snatch and a double-hand clean and jerk being contested, with permutations of these events or just no weightlifting at all occurring until the 1928 Olympics.  By 1928, however, the Olympic committee decided on three lifts- the press, the clean and jerk, and the snatch.  That same year the first modern Olympic barbell was released by the Berg company specifically for use in the Olympics.  That design was then copied by the York Barbell Company, and modern lifting was truly and officially born.

Well, sort of- there was still the matter of how the barbell should get off the floor and to the shoulder.  Despite the fact that pretentious, know-it-all shitheads of the internet might contend that the clean is the only "legitimate" method of getting a weight to one's shoulders, the clean began as one of two methods to shoulder a weight for jerking or pressing.  At the outset, this lift was referred to as the "to the shoulder anyhow" and there was a stark geographical division in the performance of the lift.  Arising out of a long tradition of beer garden lifting and public strength competitions in Germany came the "continental."  According to Arthur Saxon, the "we give zero fucks about your bitch-ass rules and are here to fucking move weight" Germans believed
"it does not matter much how a man gets his weight to his shoulder provided he 'puts it away all right[sic]' afterwards.  The Continental weight-lifter has, of course, to shoulder his bell by the exercise of his own unaided strength, but he may lift it shoulder high with both hands, or by levering it up his body, according to the lift in question"(Saxon 19).  
Quite frankly, since the to the shoulder anyhow was really a barbell adaptation of ancient stone lifting competitions, this method would have made the most sense.  Then, instead of throwing the stone, as the ancient Greeks were wont to do, they simply put the weight overhead and held it there, as throwing an expensive custom-made iron implement would have been dangerous and costly.

In case you're curious as to how the lift was performed, here's Saxon's description:
"The first of these pulls the bell up on to the abdomen in a clean lift with an over and an under grip, as shown in the illustration.  The bell is then lodged on the waist-belt (worn large for the purpose), while the left hand grip is changed to an over-hand one; then with a dip and a jerk it is hoisted up on to the chest, and with another to the chin, preparatory to the final jerk which sends it aloft.  Some even prolong this agony still further, making four, and sometimes five, jerks before they finally reach the chin"(Saxon 52).
That might sound horrifying to the modern form Nazi, but it was brutally effective, and when you look at what the Germans were doing in comparison to their British counterparts, it becomes all that much more obvious- the Olympic gold in the clean and jerk in 1928 for heavyweights was 313.5lbs (set, amusingly, by a German and not a Brit), whereas Austrian Joseph Steinbach continentalled and jerked 380.25 for a double over 20 years earlier.

Steinback obviously derived all of his power from the size of his traps.

As I mentioned, the British focused heavily on "clean lifting", which they judged to be prettier and a better test of skill, rather than brute strength.  Clean lifting was the backbone of British amateur competitions, and formed one of the four British championship lifts.  Because the Brits focused so heavily on those lifts, however, they lacked the requisite strength to compete with the Germans in the "to the shoulder anyhow"(Saxon 20), and it was likely this reason that the Olympic Committee, which had British but no German members at its inception, chose the clean.  Though this method resulted in considerably less weight lifted, it made the event "fair" for British lifters, because if the Olympics had included the continental instead of the clean, no Brit would have even had a a snowball's chance in hell to medal in weightlifting.  Performance of the clean differed from the continental considerably, as it had to be "gripped palms downwards, and brought to the shoulders in a distinct movement while either splitting or bending of the legs"(Eric's Gym).  According to Saxon, most of the early 20th Century lifters used a split, rather than a squat clean, which Saxon found to be stupid, but seemed to find "clean" lifting stupid rather on the whole.

They still barely have a chance at medalling- David Mercer holds one of a whopping seven British medals in Olympic Weightlifting.

Interestingly, the same logic was applied to the overhead portion of the lift.  According to Saxon, Continental lifters were all pressers, whereas the British were fans of the jerk (Saxon 34).  Given the strength advantage held by the Germans over the Brits because of their immense strict pressing strength, both events were included, ostensibly in the interest of fairness.  The difference between the two methods was essentially that the press relied entirely on the strength of one's shoulders and arms, whereas the jerk took the strength of one's arms and shoulders almost entirely out of the equation.  The Germans obviously viewed the jerk with a measure of contempt, but competed in it anyway because their immense pressing strength just made their jerk better.

Serge Redding got shit done on the press.

The press was intended to be conducted in an extremely strict manner, but even from the outset there was dispute as to exactly how it should be performed, and that dispute continued until the event was eventually dropped from the Games in 1972.  Saxon sums up the two methods nicely in The Textbook of Weightlifting:
"[Steinbach], it will be seen, leans right back from the waist and pushes forward with his shoulders (as well as arms) in a diagonally upward motion.  [Saxon], on the contrary, push with arm strength only from an erect position, with hells close together.  Steinbach holds the record, but [Saxon couldn't] recommend his style"(Saxon 54).
Rusev appears concerned he just shit himself.

The jerk, on the other hand, was to be performed just as it is now- continuous, fast movement of the bar from one's shoulders overhead, without pressing the weight out.  In Saxon's time, they primarily squat jerked, which is curious given their split form on the clean.  This may have been due to the fact that the aforementioned Alan Calvert alleged that "splitting in the Jerk was ‘all lost motion.’ He said that the correct thing to do was to drop the body straight down by sitting one the heels – the style used by Milo Steinborn, who did 347¾ lbs"(Webster).  In any event, the rules were never really in dispute and have remained the same to the present day.

Pocket Hercules, proving you can indeed chain-smoke your way to victory.

Like the jerk, the snatch had been performed basically as long as there had been dumbbells heavy enough to make it a worthwhile competitive lift.  Snatching began as a dumbbell event, and then became immensely popular as a unilateral barbell lift, just as the clean and jerk had.  This may be due in large part to difficulty in pressing out a barbell overhead with one hand, especially given the fact that early barbells lacked knurling.  In any event, inclusion of this lift in the Olympic was basically a no-brainer, as it was an old standby in strength competitions in both German beer gardens and effete British gymnasiums.

If Stacie Tovar's not hot enough to save something, it likely doesn't deserve to be saved.

And there you have the development of Olympic weightlifting.  As powerlifting has grown in fame, and given the "brute strength" over trickery and "technique" aspect of the lifts in powerlifting as compared to those of Olympic weightlifting, interest in weightlifting steadily waned over the last 75 years.  That decrease in interest was also no doubt spurred by the dominance of the Eastern Bloc over the West in that sport, which made competing in it even less appealing to Westerners, as being the best Western Olympic weightlifter often means you don't even get to participate in the Olympics.  Crossfit has recently spurred something of a revival in Olympic weightlifting, but given the internet's ability to promote the most insipid arguments and dickless complaints to the forefront of the zeitgeist, even the mighty knee sock juggernaut might not be enough to buoy interest in weightlifting for long (especially if more Crossfitters get paralyzed in freak accidents).  Frankly, hot chicks in booty shorts should be able to save just about anything, so I doubt weightlifting will ever fade from the public view the way other strength training methods have, but it will likely never regain the prominence it enjoyed until the early 1970s.

Archibald, Dresdin.  Weightlifting equipment through the ages.  Lift Up.  2007.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://www.chidlovski.net/liftup/a_wl_equipment_history.asp

Archibald, Dresdin.  The press-out controversy in Olympic weightlifting.  Breaking Muscle.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://breakingmuscle.com/olympic-weightlifting/the-press-out-controversy-in-olympic-weightlifting

Aston, Edward.  Some practical hints on heavy weight-lifting I.  The Superman Magazine.  Nov 1930.  Web.  18 Nov 2014.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Aston/hwl-i/hwl-1.htm

Aston, Edward.  Some practical hints on heavy weight-lifting II.  The Superman Magazine.  Nov 1930.  Web.  18 Nov 2014.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Aston/hwl-ii/hwl-ii.htm

Aston, Edward.  Some practical hints on heavy weight-lifting III.  The Superman Magazine.  Nov 1930.  Web.  18 Nov 2014.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Aston/hwl-iii/hwl-iii.htm

The history and events of Olympic weightlifting.  Crossfit Family.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://crossfusionfitness.com/services/weightlifting/the-events-and-the-history/

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Josef Steinbach.  Wikipedia.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Steinbach

List of Olympic medalists in weightlifting.  Wikipedia.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Olympic_medalists_in_weightlifting

Saxon, Arthur.  The Textbook of Weightlifting.  London: Health & Strength, 1910.

Todd, Jan.  From Milo to Milo: A history of barbells, dumbbells, and Indian clubs.  Iron Game History.  Apr 1995.  Web.  19 Mar 2014.  http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/IGH/IGH0306/IGH0306c.pdf

Webster, David.  The Development of the Clean & Jerk, Part One.  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  7 Nov 2011.  Web.  19 Mar 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/11/development-of-clean-jerk-part-one.html

Weightlifting.  British Weightlifting.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://www.britishweightlifting.org/governance/weightlifting?tmpl=component&print=1

Weightlifting at the 1904 Summer Olympics – Men's two hand lift.  Wikipedia.  Web.  18 Nov 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weightlifting_at_the_1904_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_two_hand_lift

Weightlifting at the 1928 Summer Olympics – Men's 60 kg.  Wikipedia.  Web.  18 Nov 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weightlifting_at_the_1928_Summer_Olympics_-_Men%27s_60_kg

Weightlifting at the 1928 Summer Olympics – Men's +82.5 kg.  Wikipedia.  Web.  19 Nov 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weightlifting_at_the_1928_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_%2B82.5_kg