April-May 2002 Newsletter
Happy summer to all! It's May, we've had the driest season ever here in California, and I am loving it. Sunshine and summer is here. People are walking around all happy, everybody at Gold's is getting in shape for the summer, or for the contest in May and July... busy busy busy. We are loving it.
My past two months were in a training mode, dieting for my contest. I only have two more weeks now and I look forward to stepping on stage again. May 11, Contra Costa Championship in Hayward, Northern California, and May 25, The California State Championship, here in LA, Culver City... By the way, the picture here is 5 weeks out... And between my two contests, I will be doing a photo shoot with the best of the best, Bill Dobbins... so look forward some great new pictures.
My training has been just fine for the first 10 weeks, cardio twice a day, 1 hour at each occasion, walking the stepmill at the gym. Seven days a week. I must say, at times I got really tired of it. But I am hanging there. Weight training about 6 days a week. Now, I added also practising my posing routine for 1 hour a day, so I am just moving all day long, between torturing my clients, I either torture myself, or my dog in the kitchen when I cook my 5 meals and it smells so good and she doesn't get anything. You should see these eyes, like she's been starving for a month or so.
The last two weeks were really challenging. I was so mentally exhausted and physically run down to the ground, that I started to cheat on my diet, more and more often. I just could re-motivate myself. I had to do something. I took two days off, and then I went to do my cardio outdoors, running in the sand by the ocean. During these 10 weeks I got so disconnected with the nature, that it threw me off my balance. These few runs on the ocean helped a lot, I got energized and motivated again and can enter the 2 weeks final without cheating on my diet.
Anybody interested how my diet looks like these days???
Meal 1, 2, 3
9-12 XL egg whites
1 oz uncooked grains (oats, barley, rye)
1/2 oz Peanut butter
Meal 4, 5, 6
8 oz chicken (or beef or lean pork sometimes)
unlimited veggies - broccoli, spinach, asparagus, salad, cauliflower...
1/2 TB olive oil on the salad, or mayo on the chicken, or 1/2 oz nuts or something fatty.
If I don't have time to cook, I just make a protein shake with a piece of fruit blended in it... make it thick and with ice, like the most delicious melted half ice cream.
I also started to use some of the Beverly International supplements. I love these liver tablets... well, love and love... it's sort of hate/love relationship. These suckers are so big, and I eat 6 of them with each meal, I always think I'm going to choke. And believe me, you don't want to chew them. I did once, and it was an interesting experience. I also love Beverly's protein powder, it's the best tasting thing I've ever tried. Yum, yum. One could get easily hooked on these.
My schedule - meals and training is as follows:
5 AM get up
5:30 AM cardio 60 min
7 AM Meal 1
10 AM Meal 2
12 PM weight training 60 min
1 PM Meal 3
3 PM Posing
4 PM Meal 4
6 PM cardio 60 min
7:30 PM Meal 5
And sometimes one little meal later in the evening
Go to bed around 10-10:30 PM
And I cannot believe that the day is over, I didn't even have time
answer your emails, guys!
Another news: I got back my old web domain www.sixftlion.com So now, both domains are useable and pointing to the same place, as www.sixftlioness.com
I have been featured in the May issue of e-magazine Dolfzine, a cute article by Rosemary Wedderburn. Click here to read. Hey, in one of the pictures of my face, I got my big cheek bones retouched and I look weird, fat and fluffy sort of. I couldn't recognize myself at first.
I had to reorder my video "The Lioness"
, so it's back in the stock... Check it out, if you haven't yet. I'll
producing an exercise video after my contest... you know, sort of "Get
these Lion-legs" or something. You will love that tortured. Stay tuned.
Burn fat for the summer - how to get started
As the summer approaches, many of us start thinking about the vacation, beach, Hawaii... and the time you HAVE to take off your layers of t-shirts and sweat pants. And the frustrations set in, because you know what is there... a layer of the winter hibernation, holidays, cookies and food feasts. It's time to get in shape again. I know and you know that we should stay in shape all the time, because it's so much better and healthier for the body. But it's easy to say, and much harder to implement. There's just too many temptations around us. And once we get heavy and eating anything, then we enter the downward spiral (or rather upwards? the body weight is climbing, huh?) and we don't care so much about what we eat and how we look. Until now, when the summer is knocking on the door. So lets talk shortly about your approach how to get in shape, and lose some unwanted fat from your body.
The hardest part is to get started. Once you are "rolling" and losing fat and feeling better, it gets self-motivating and it gets easier and easier. But the start is tough. It's normal that you want to procrastinate and "start tomorrow" and the days pass by and you feel frustrated, more and more. About your weight and about your procrastination. The easiest way how to stop your bad feelings is "do it NOW". And I mean now. While you are reading this newsletter. After you finish this article, take 10 minutes, a paper and a pen, sit down and write down your plan. The first step is done and you'll feel much better.
Maybe you feel a bit reluctant because you don't really know how to do it? You can read about all these "diets" out there, many times each contradicting the other... what is right for you? And all the styles of exercising, sets and reps, cardio slow and long or intense and short and sweet? What is right??? The best thing for your to do is not to worry about this right now. These are "details" that you learn during your journey to your lean body. Just get started. What do you like to do exercise wise? Nothing, you might say... but hey, choose at least one, the least "bad one". You like to swim, go swimming. Do you have pets, go for a walk with Fluffy. Do whatever you feel comfortable with right now. Just do it. So one part here is done...
Now about all the diets? High carb, low carb, high protein, high fat, organic, vegetarian? Again, don't worry so much about this now. You'll learn during the process what your body likes and dislikes, when it responds the best. And what means by "the best"? You eat your meal, you feel energized afterwards, you have sustained energy, you don't feel stuffed of have any digestive problems (gas, bloating etc) and in a few hours (3-4) you feel a bit hungry again. If you feel like this after a meal, that was a good meal for you. If you get tired, sleepy, lethargic, depressed, irritable, bloated... then it says you haven't eaten a "healthy" meal for you. Remember that and do better the next meal. You can have a basic rule in your head: eliminate all sugars and processed foods (cookies, white breads, ice cream, candies) and alcohol. Cook your meals from "raw" materials, vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts... you cannot really get wrong with this approach. This is a good start.
Drink water instead of coffee, juices, smoothies, wine, beer and similar... The more water the better. Work it up to 1-2 gallons a day, eventually. But don't freak out about that amount now, go with a flow. Just add two extra glasses a day now. Next week, add another one. Just have it standing on your night table and drink it the first thing in the morning. Easy. It refreshes you, and you got your extra glass water.
Now you probably question all these proteins, supplements, weight gainers and stuff. Don't worry about it now. Eat your "raw material" foods. Have a piece of protein in each meal, a piece of fruit and veggies and water. Eat small meals, so you get hungry in another 3 hours. It means that you will eat about 5-6 meals a day. Perfect! And just observe how you feel about each meal, as I described before. If you are not fully energized, maybe you can try to eat more meat in the next meal and less carbohydrates? Or vice versa? Just find what your body chemistry likes and what makes you to feel best... I know you would say "pizza and a beer!", I know, I know... You might feel really good while you are chewing it and swallowing it between the beer bottles, but then remember the feeling afterwards. Stuffed, heavy, sleepy... gasy (hmmmm...)... So it was not the best choice, you must agree.
SO now we have a basics for a good start. Do you cardio, eat your small 5-6 meals from natural foods, avoid all the processed and sweet stuff, eat protein with each meal, drink water... what else is missing? Burn more calories (through exercise) than you are consuming (food)... that's makes a deficit that the body needs to take from somewhere, and if you don't skip your meals and eat regularly, the body will tap to your body fat and burn that for the energy... and that's what we want, right? Eventually, add some resistance training (weight training), because it will help you to build more muscles, muscles burn more energy, you create bigger deficit during the 24 hours day and you burn more fat and get leaner. And also nice and shapely, because you can build any muscles you want, some bigger some smaller, just so you create your body to your picture of perfection.
Don't forget to have that picture of your perfect body in your mind.
All the time, every day you wake up and every night before you close
eyes. Visualize, stay positive and believe that you will reach that
And you will. Sooner or later. You need to be persistent, patient,
and hard working. This all is going to be easy, if you have fun. Enjoy
every moment of your journey, every step on your walk, every bite in
healthy foods and watch your body change... In 12 weeks, you can make
dramatic changes and you are all set for a nice lay-out on the beach in
THE HEALING POWERS OF THE MIND
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL, FOCUS , March 1, 1996
A scientist documents links between mental states and health. In the temples of Aesculapius, the ancient Greek god of medicine, patients were regaled and cajoled into good health with performances of song, dance and story. The purpose was to take the patient's mind off the "worry of disease," which was seen as an impediment to healing, and to lift the spirit. For centuries, Western physicians followed this approach, replacing negative thoughts and emotions-such as worry, doubt and fear-with a nourishing elixir of hope, faith and confidence. But the umbilical link between mind and body began to weaken with the advent of modern science. In 1864, Louis Pasteur discovered that microscopic organisms - bacteria - caused a host of diseases. Then, in 1928, Alexander Fleming fortuitously discovered bread mold that killed bacteria. Within a short time, he had isolated penicillin.
"It was a miracle. Penicillin revolutionized medicine," says Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School associate professor of medicine. "It didn't matter whether you were treated by a warm, sympathetic, charming practitioner. Belief had nothing to do with healing." During the past 30 years, Benson has conducted research that has countered the prevailing scientific wisdom treating disease as a bodily affair alone. His studies of how mental processes affect physical well-being are providing scientific documentation of the healing powers of the mind.
In his research, Benson has shown that the harmful physiological effects of stress can be alleviated by focusing one's mind on a repetitive sound, word, phrase or movement. Moreover, he has found that the beneficial physiological effects produced by this mental activity may be enhanced by spiritual beliefs. In a new book to be published in April, "Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief," Benson argues that the "faith factor" is so powerful-and so pervasive in the healing practices of culture after culture-that it may be a part of our biological makeup.
"We seem to be hard-wired to believe in something 'beyond' as a species because it has survival value," says Benson, a cardiologist who was director of the division of behavioral medicine at Beth Israel Hospital for nine years, and now heads the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Deaconess Hospital. Benson's three-decade quest to understand mind-body links may be taking him to the boundaries of theology and medicine, but it began squarely within the scientific tradition. As a cardiology fellow in the mid-1960s, Benson was steeped in teachings that relegated the mind and body to separate realms. "The term mind-body medicine was beyond the pale," he says. Indeed, so strict was the perceived division between body and mind that stress, which was seen as a mental phenomenon, was disregarded as a cause of physical illness. In the late 1960s, as a consequence of a curious clinical phenomenon, Benson began to question the separation. Patients would come to their physicians with high blood pressure and be put on anti-hypertensive drugs. But after awhile, they would start complaining of side effects associated with low blood pressure - suggesting their medication was too strong. It appeared that the patients' blood pressures had been raised to abnormally high levels during their exams, perhaps due to the stress of the visit. "We now call it white-coat hypertension, but it wasn't known at the time," Benson says.
Fascinated by this effect, Benson began a series of animal experiments in the lab of A. Clifford Barger, Robert Henry Pfeiffer professor of physiology, emeritus. He trained squirrel monkeys to control their own blood pressure through feedback techniques. The monkeys that were "rewarded" for increases in blood pressure went on to develop severe hypertension with kidney changes-in other words, the monkeys suffered from cardiovascular disease brought on by their own behaviors.
No More Monkey Business
As his research became known, Benson was approached by a group of young people who practised transcendental meditation. "They said, 'Why are you fooling around with monkeys? Study us,'" Benson says. "If I was beyond the pale with research on stress, this was even further beyond." But the meditators persisted in their desire to be studied. Benson began taking measurements on the meditators in the evening in his lab. He found that meditation led to decreases in heart rate, oxygen consumption, rate of breathing and blood flow.
In essence, meditation appeared to elicit the opposite of the well-known fight-or-flight response. In this response-which is triggered by a real or perceived danger-the sympathetic nervous system releases hormones that increase heart rate, oxygen consumption, and flow of blood to muscles. As Benson continued his research, he found that this "relaxation response" was the consequence of two crucial steps practiced in meditation: repeating a sound, word, phrase or muscular activity and simply returning to the repetition when other thoughts intruded.
Sensing that the two steps were unleashing a basic physiological response, one that protected the body from too much stress, Benson began delving into the history of cultural and religious practices. He found that all cultures and religions-from Judaism and Christianity to Shintoism, Buddhism and Herbert Benson with the Dalai Lama in 1991. Twelve years earlier, the Dalai Lama arranged for Benson to study the meditation powers of the Tibetan monks. "They built in ways to evoke the relaxation response. Prayers, morning vespers, evening vespers, just staring at the horizon," says Benson. He then began instructing non-meditators in the two steps and found the same dramatic physiological response. "This then was a mind-body effect that met the properties of science. There were predictable, reproducible, measurable changes that occurred in the body when you thought a certain way-a mind-body effect," says Benson.
Still, Benson knew that the results were pushing the envelope of accepted medical beliefs. "Back in '68-'69 when I saw the data with transcendental meditation, I really became concerned. Because I knew what kind of struggle would be involved to continue working on this. This was so far beyond what was acceptable science at the time. But I couldn't walk away." In fact, when Benson was offered a grant by a private foundation and was told by the HMS administration that he couldn't take it because it was unacceptable for an HMS scientist to be doing research on meditation, he almost left. The matter came to the attention of the late Robert H. Ebert, who was HMS dean at the time. "He said, 'If Harvard can't take an occasional chance on something new, who can? Let Benson take the money,'" says Benson. With the support of the foundation and HMS, Benson embarked on a series of experiments to determine if the relaxation response could be used to treat hypertension and other conditions (an enterprise that continues to this day). Benson and his colleagues have shown that a mind-body approach-one that couples the relaxation response with nutrition, exercise and cognitive therapies-is a useful tool for helping to treat such conditions as chronic pain, infertility, premenstrual syndrome, and insomnia. They also have found that it can alleviate symptoms associated with cancer and AIDS. But as this supporting data came in, so did doubts from other scientists. To answer the critics, Benson and his colleagues began looking for specific long-term physiological actions triggered by the relaxation response. They found that subjects who regularly elicited the relaxation response had decreased sensitivity to plasma norepinephrine, one of the main hormones released by the sympathetic nervous system to trigger the fight-or-flight response. In addition, they found that the relaxation response brought about changes in the sympathetic nervous system regardless of whether a subject believed in its efficacy. "It'll work whether you believe it or not. Just carry out the steps. Like penicillin," Benson says.
The Power of Belief
But then, in the mid-1980s, Benson and his colleagues began noticing another curious aspect of the relaxation response. Patients who chose to repeat a word or phrase that conformed to their religious or secular beliefs were more likely to continue the practice and therefore to experience beneficial physiological results than those who chose a word or phrase to which they were indifferent.
Benson had earlier witnessed the dramatic effects of coupling the relaxation response with spiritual beliefs while studying Tibetan monks who practice an advanced form of meditation called gTum-mo Yoga. During this meditation, monks are able to raise their skin temperatures 17 degrees while maintaining normal core body temperature. "What they did was to go into the relaxation response and then visualize heat going up and down the center of the body. So they took the basic quiet state and added visualization to create heat," Benson says. "The relaxation response is not a technique. It's a physiological state brought about by many techniques." -- Herbert Benson Benson believes that the brain's ability to create visual images, and to treat those images as real, may lie at the center of a type of mind-body healing. "You are wired in your brain to know what it is to experience feeling well. You can reconstitute that image," says Benson, who has labeled this process "remembered wellness."
After years of struggling against prevailing scientific wisdom, Benson's research is finally being embraced by many in the medical establishment. In the fall, a National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment conference encouraged the acceptance of behavioral and relaxation therapies for treating chronic pain and insomnia.
In his most recent research, Benson has continued to explore the connection between the relaxation response, spiritual beliefs and health. He and his colleagues at the Deaconess Mind/Body Medical Institute have found that people who report feeling "spiritual" also report fewer medical problems. Benson speculates that humans may be genetically predisposed to believe in something beyond because it provides a survival benefit. "We are the most intelligent species that has evolved in terms of what our brain can do. And all the power that comes from that has brought us a knowledge that no other species has-that is, of our own death. That knowledge can be so fundamentally disturbing and depressing that it is counter to survival. A way around that is to believe," Benson says. If history is any guide, a belief in something beyond has been an essential component of human experience, long before the ancient Greeks. He believes that this yearning for "God" is a reflection of a basic biological need. "Seemingly embedded within each of us is a hard-wiring to believe in something beyond. Therefore, one can argue we're wired for God." Adds Benson: "It doesn't matter from a health point of view whether God exists or not. It's still win-win, because there are clear health benefits to believing. And if God does exist, all the better."...
108 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health
In addition to throwing off the body's homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences. The following is a listing of some of sugar's metabolic consequences from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications.
1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
2. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
4. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
5. Sugar can adversely affect children's school grades.
6. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
7. Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
8. Sugar can cause kidney damage.
9. Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).
10. Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).
11. Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
12. Sugar can cause copper deficiency.
13. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
14. Sugar may lead to cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, and rectum.
15. Sugar can cause colon cancer, with an increased risk in women.
16. Sugar can be a risk factor in gall bladder cancer.
17. Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
18. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
19. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which can narrow blood vessels.
20. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
21. Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
22. Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
23. Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
24. Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
25. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
26. Sugar can promote tooth decay.
27. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
28. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
29. Sugar can cause a raw, inflamed intestinal tract in persons with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
30. Sugar can cause arthritis
31. Sugar can cause asthma.
32. Sugar can cause candidiasis (yeast infection).
33. Sugar can lead to the formation of gallstones.
34. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
35. Sugar can cause ischemic heart disease.
36. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
37. Sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
38. Sugar can indirectly cause hemorrhoids.
39. Sugar can cause varicose veins.
40. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraception users.
41. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
42. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
43. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.
44. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
45. Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.
46. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
47. Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
48. Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
49. Sugar can change the structure of protein causing interference with protein absorption.
50. Sugar causes food allergies.
51. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
52. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
53. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
54. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
55. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.
56. Sugar can cause cataracts.
57. Sugar can cause emphysema.
58. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
59. Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
60. Sugar lowers the enzymes' ability to function.
61. Sugar can cause loss of tissue elasticity and function.
62. Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
63. Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
64. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
65. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
66. Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
67. Sugar can cause constipation.
68. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).
69. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
70. Sugar can cause hypertension.
71. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
72. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.
73. Sugar can cause depression.
74. Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.
75. Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.
76. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
77. Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots.
78. Sugar increases the risk of Alzheimer Disease.
74. Sugar can cause a increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves.
75. Sugar can cause depression.
76. Sugar increases the risk of gastric cancer.
77. Sugar and cause dyspepsia (indigestion).
78. Sugar can increase your risk of getting gout.
79. The ingestion of sugar can increase the levels of glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test over the ingestion of complex carbohydrates.
80. Sugar can increase the insulin responses in humans consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.
81 Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.
82. Sugar increases the risk of colon cancer in women.
83. There is a greater risk for Chron's disease with people who have a high intake of sugar.
84. Sugar can cause platelet adhesiveness.
85. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.
86. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
87. Sugar can lead to the hypothalamus to become highly sensitive to a large variety of stimuli.
88. Sugar can lead to dizziness.
89. High sucrose diet significantly increases serum insulin.
90. High sucrose diets of subjects with peripheral vascular disease significantly increases platelet adhesion.
91. High sugar diet can lead to biliary tract cancer.
92. High sugar diets tend to be lower in antioxidant micro nutrients.
93. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for- gestational-age (SGA) infant.
94. High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among adolescents with high sugar diets.
95. Sugar slows food's travel time through the gastrointestinal tract.
96. Sugar increases the concentration of bile acids in stools and bacterial enzymes in the colon can modify bile to produce cancer-causing compounds and colon cancer.
97. Sugar is associated with a substantial decrease in normal time of gestation among adolescents.
98. Sugar can cause a depletion in chromium which is tied to the development and progression of nearsightedness.
99. Sugar can be a risk factor of gallbladder cancer.
100. Sugar is an addictive substance.
101. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.
102. Sugar can exacerbate PMS.
103. Sugar suppresses lymphocytes.
104. Decrease in sugar can increase emotional stability.
105. The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.
106. Sugar can cause inappropriate behavior and decreased performance in children.
107. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit disorder (ADD).
108. The sugar in chewing gum can cause dental caries.
1 Reason why we don't care...
1. The sugar and all the sugary stuff is so damn delicious...
Body Type and Training Strategy
An observational analysis by Charles Staley
Visualize yourself doing a set of bench presses. After nine reps you hit a sticking point and the weight won‚t budge. What happens next could be very important and revealing. You see, there are two kinds of people when it comes to sticking points. There are those who can still get through the sticking point after a ten-second death struggle, and those who hit the wall and die instantly. Which one are you? In seminars, I sometimes ask those who identify themselves as belonging to the first category to move to the left side of the room, and those who belong to the second category to move to the other side of the room. Immediately, an interesting phenomenon becomes apparent. On the left, we have people with ideal weightlifting levers (called dolicomorphs), and on the right, their more brachiomorphic (long-limbed) peers.
Brachiomorphs, those long-armed benchers who hit the wall and crash, are prone to thinking that they‚re genetically disadvantaged. But are they really? Depends on the context. Long-levered athletes can express their strength much more successfully on the playing field than in the weight room. For example, Michael Jordan has a startling vertical jump, yet I wonder what he can parallel squat? Probably nothing to write home about. When you're 6'6", parallel is a long way down!
The "real life" advantages of long levers has been aptly described in the following passage from Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics in Sport (© 1994, Blackwell Scientific Publications, p.p. 81-82): "In some sports, such as weightlifting, athletes with short levers will have an advantage over those who possess long levers, because the weight only needs to be lifted through a shorter distance (Hart, et al. 1991). On the other hand, if an athlete requires a long powerful stroke, such as in swimming, canoeing or rowing, then a longer lever, provided it is accompanied by the muscular power to propel it, has an advantage in these types of sports. The same point can be made in other sports where hitting or throwing are important. For example, velocity generation for a tennis serve, volleyball spike, or a baseball pitch will all be higher for long-levered athletes, if they have the muscle power to rotate the longer segments."
Along the same lines, I recently rediscovered a very interesting article by MI Popichev of the former Soviet Union (1). Popichev advocated a novel approach to improving the vertical jumping ability of young volleyball players by accommodating training strategies to each player's body type. All players were assigned to one of four groups based on the relative length of the trunk, thigh, and lower leg. Popichev then assigned training strategies for each group based on body type.
Lower leg: short
Training Strategy: Speed exercises for trunk extensors; speed-strength exercises for quads; strength exercises for lower legs and feet.
Lower leg: short
Training Strategy: Speed-strength exercises for trunk extensors; speed exercises for quads; strength exercises for lower legs and feet
Lower leg: long
Training Strategy: Speed strength exercises for quads and trunk extensors; speed exercises for lower legs and feet.
Lower leg: long
Training Strategy: Speed exercises for trunk and shin-foot extensors; speed-strength work for quads.
As you can see, when a "segment" is long, either speed or speed-strength exercises were emphasized. Alternatively, short segments were exposed to pure strength training instead. Apparently, I wasn't the first person to individualize training speed based on leverages. In fact, athletes and coaches in the sport of powerlifting have been forced to think outside the box due to the radical thinking of Westside Barbell's Louie Simmons. Check it out*
Powerlifting Goes "Outside the Box"
Until relatively recently, the sport of powerlifting was dominated
a fairly unified training strategy. The lion's share of time and energy
was spent on the three competitive lifts (squat, bench press, and
while whatever energy resources remained were devoted to assistance
such as lat pulldowns, abdominal exercises, calf raises, triceps
and so on.
The predominant progression scheme involved moving from a month of training devoted to five sets of five, moving on to perhaps three sets of three, and continuing to two sets of one as competition neared. In other words, as the cycle progresses, you moved from lower to higher levels of intensity and volume would gradually decrease at the same time.
The only significant alternative to this traditional strategy has emerged through the success of Westside Barbell Club in Columbus Ohio, under the coaching of Louie Simmons. The Westside approach features a much greater emphasis on assistance lifts, with the three competitive lifts assigned to relatively low (50 to 70%) intensities performed at accelerative speeds. Using this strategy, Westside has produced twenty-one lifters with totals exceeding 2100 pounds and six lifters at or above the 2200-pound mark.
Yet despite the success of Westside, many dominant lifters (including Ed Coan, arguably the greatest powerlifter of all time) still prefer the traditional approach described earlier. Why? My personal suspicion is this:
1) By definition, very few athletes have "ideal" levers for their chosen endeavor. Simmons has found a methodology that works for the majority rather than the minority. In particular, the concerted use of elastic resistance in conjunction with standard barbell training develops the capacity to "outrun" the sticking point. Remember, long-levered athletes have more profound sticking points than do their shorter levered peers.
2) Dolicomorphic lifters don't develop significant weaknesses when they restrict themselves to a small number of compound exercises. Therefore, these people with great levers can do quite well simply focusing on the big three lifts.
Of course, powerlifters also employ technical strategies to further shorten their levers, such as utilizing a low bar placement in the squat, employing a wide grip in the bench press, and so on. Nevertheless, if your training strategy capitalizes on your unique leverage profile, you'll be that much better off.
Why Squatting Gives Some People a Big Ass
Here‚s a funny thing: when you have good weightlifting levers, you can get relatively equal quad, hamstring, and glute development just from squatting. On the other hand, if you have long femurs (the bones in the upper legs), relying solely on the squat will give you a big can! Here's why:
As you start to bend your knees, you quickly exhaust your ankle's range of motion or ROM. The only thing you can do now is to sit back. As you do so, it becomes necessary to lean forward to prevent yourself from falling over backward. And of course, leaning forward recruits those glutes like nobody's business. If you want more stress on the quads, you'll need to squat in a manner that maximizes knee flexion. Problem is, for someone with long femurs, every degree of knee flexion requires more range of motion in the ankle as compared with someone with short femurs.
If you're ever in the midst of a large group of athletes from various sports, ask everyone who's had knee surgery to raise their hands. The tallest people will all raise their hands. Long levers put more forces on their corresponding joints.
What Large ROM People Can Learn From Large ROM Exercises
Okay, now that we've considered various related phenomenon, here‚s my essential premise. In the same way that faster lifting speeds work better for exercises that have larger ROMs, faster lifting speeds also work better for people that have larger ROMs. Accordingly, slow speed lifting (typically using heavier loads) is generally more effective for dolicomorphic (smaller ROM) lifters.
This doesn't mean that if you have long levers, you should rely exclusively on accelerative or fast lifting strategies! What I'm suggesting is that you should carefully evaluate your training and see if you're devoting sufficient priority to faster movement speeds.
But what about Olympic Weightlifting?
Athletes who are successful in this sport have short levers. Doesn't this contradict the argument that dolicomorphs should emphasize heavy/slow lifting?
There are several variables to consider with respect to this
First, Olympic weightlifting (unlike powerlifting) requires the
to be accelerated. Second, explosive strength (the primary motor
required for success in the sport) is at least in part determined by
strength levels. In fact, if you remove confounding factors such as
equipment, stance width, depth, and bar placement, most elite Olympic
have squat performances which approach those of their powerlifting
Interestingly enough, Louie Simmons has argued for the idea of less accelerative work and more maximal strength work for these athletes (2), and I‚ve used just such a strategy with several Olympic lifters with very satisfying results.
What Strength Coaches Can Learn From Freaks And Geeks
If the majority of athletes (by definition) have poor weightlifting levers, why subject them to strength training methods and standards that were designed for athletes with ideal weightlifting levers?
For the most part, long-levered athletes shouldn‚t be forced to the powerlifting standard of squatting to parallel. Doing so requires them to squat through a much larger range of motion than someone with shorter levers. The same goes for bench pressing. The majority of athletes are required to apply the most force when the limb is nearly extended, not when it‚s fully flexed. The selection of strength training exercises and loading parameters should reflect this reality.
Why do Throwers Love the Power Clean?
In track and field, the power clean has long been a staple in the training programs of discus throwers. If you compare the clean to all other lifts traditionally performed by these athletes (who are brachiomorphic due to the biomechanical realities of the event), the only distinguishing characteristic is that the power clean is accelerative by definition, while the other lifts are generally done with heavy weight and at slow speeds. Discus throwers tend to love cleans and hate bench pressing because their levers predispose them for success in the former lift and failure in the latter exercise. However, partial ROM bench pressing (where the bar is brought down to a rolled-up towel on the chest) performed acceleratively changes the equation entirely, making the bench press a worthwhile lift for these athletes.
Long-limbed lifters can‚t expect to use the same methodologies as their short-limbed counterparts and expect the same results! Below are the essential differences between training strategies for both types of lifters:
Brachiomorphic Body Type (long limbs)
The lifting emphasis should be on moderate/accelerative work. This body type needs more flexibility training and needs to emphasize distal muscle groups (those toward the extremities). Brachiomorphs need to spend more time on distal muscles since their poor levers predispose them to weaknesses. That means more supplementary work and not just a focus on the major lifts.
Dolicomorphic Body Type (short limbs)
The lifting emphasis here should be heavy/slow. Those with this body type should emphasize proximal muscle groups (those closer to center or core of the body). Dolicomorphs should also emphasize, but not completey restrict themselves to, the big compound movements like squats, benches presses and deadlifts.
The suggestions I've arrived at in this article aren‚t intended to be applied in an all-or-nothing manner! Body type is but one of many factors which must be considered when developing training strategies. Other factors include fiber-type ratio, muscle architecture, health status, and postural considerations. Nevertheless, your training decisions must take your body type into consideration if you wish to experience maximal progress.
Charles Staley currently coaches several national and World-Class athletes in a number of sports, including weightlifting, luge, powerlifting, track and field, jiu jitsu, and judo. Subscribe to Charles' free monthly newsletter, The Unnatural Athlete, by clicking here.
1) Popichev, M.I., Body Types and Jumping Ability in Teen-Age Volleyball Players. Fitness and Sports Review International, Vol 27, number 5, 10/92.
2) Simmons, L. How to Regain Top Form- Part II. Milo: A Journal for
Serious Strength Athletes. Volume 3, Number 1, April 1995, p.p. 26-27.
On a spiritual note
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
Nothing will work unless you do.
It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.
Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
Success is peace of mind, a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming, and not just in a physical way.
You cannot attain and maintain physical condition unless you are
and mentally conditioned. And it is impossible to be in moral condition
unless you are spiritually conditioned. I always told my players that
team condition depended on two factors -- how hard they worked on the
during practice and how well they behaved between practices.
On a funny note - Actual Car Accident Statements
The following are copies of actual written statements submitted to the police on report forms. The drivers were instructed to give brief statements on the particulars of the accident in their own words.
Here are some examples .......
Woman Driver: Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have.
Man Driver: The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.
Woman Driver: I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.
Man Driver: A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face.
Woman Driver: A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.
Man Driver: The guy was all over the road, I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
Man Driver: I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my Mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
Woman Driver: The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in the bush and just his rear end showing.
Man Driver: In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
Woman Driver: I thought I could squeeze between two trucks when my car became smashed.
Woman Driver: I had been shopping for plants all day, and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision. I did not see the other car.
Man Driver: I had been driving my car for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had the accident.
Woman Driver: The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
Woman Driver: I saw the slow moving, sad face, old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.
Man Driver: The other car attempted to cut in front of me, so I, with my right front bumper, removed his left rear tail light.
Woman Driver: I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.
Man Driver: I was backing my car out of the driveway in the usual manner, when it was struck by the other car in the same place it had been struck several times before.
Man Driver: I was on my way to the doctor's with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
Woman Driver: I was taking my canary to the hospital. It got loose in the car and flew out the window. The next thing I saw was his rear end and there was a crash.
Man Driver: As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where a stop sign had never appeared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.
Man Driver: To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.
Woman Driver: My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.
Woman Driver: An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle and vanished.
Man Driver: I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, I found that I had a fractured skull.
Woman Driver: I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the otherside of the roadway when I struck him.
Woman Driver: When I saw I could not avoid a collision I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car.
Man Driver: The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
Man Driver: The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
Man Driver: My girlfriend kissed me. I lost control and woke up in
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