March 2014 8
In the book, “Arnold and Me” by Barbara Outland Baker, the author gives some very telling information about what happened to Arnold at an early age that affected him and influenced him to “crush all enemies” and to succeed on his own terms. An incident occurred during Arnold’s early years that resulted in rejection and a feeling of being “cheated”. Arnold’s parents, had taken his brother Meinhard on a vacation and sent Arnold to a relatives farm instead of bringing him on vacation as well.
“I was sent to my Godmothers farm 50 miles away while they took a vacation to Vienna and Salzburg for 14 days. I was 10 and I didn’t understand that they were going on a vacation when I was left there….the memory recurred so I knew it had an impact on me,” recalled Arnold.
On the other hand, Lee was brought up in a family of near smothering love. A Grandfather, Owen, who loved to have a young Lee accompany him to the gym ,showing him how to workout as a preteen. A Mother who encouraged his bodybuilding, loved his tattoos and even competed with him onstage in a bodybuilding competition.
It appears Arnold grew up with something to prove, an oak chip on his shoulder, whereas Lee was happy go lucky, a bodybuilding natural who reveled in the high volume of reps and sets, training every day, encouraged, loved and with no expectations. He could be a fire extinguisher installer for the rest of his life and his family would never consider that he do anything else.
I was sharing a story on the BBR facebook page yesterday about a funny event that took place between Arnold and Lee back in the 1980’s at probably World Gym. o the family farm on and offstage through the years. Lee was training quads on the leg extension machine when Arnold walks by and says in his thick accent, “Lee, you sure have some big legs. You must be using something to get legs like that.” to which Lee, without missing a beat says “Not all guys have to use stuff, we’re just naturally strong, like your old training partner Franco Columbu who was a lot stronger than you, Arnold”. Arnold smiles and says, C’mon Lee, let’s go in my Hummer” and the two of them left and went for a ride.
This got me wondering what they talked about in that Hummer ride as well as the similarities and differences that these 2 bodybuilding legends had. Lee told me once that around this same time, Arnold use to come train in World Gym in the morning. Joe Gold was there as was Lee. After the workout, the 3 of them would hang out in the gym office and shoot the breeze. I don’t know about you, but I would love to know what they talked about. Lee described Arnold as a true and loyal friend to his best buddies. But so many people were trying to get “at” Arnold, that he had to withdraw and be more distant towards others.
I think Lee and Arnold could have been best of friends if they had been coming up in bodybuilding at the same time. Lee with his Australian accent, sense of humor and love of a good time would compliment Arnold’s high volume approach to training, sense of humor and outlandish personality.
During Arnold’s early years, when he was doing Olympic lifting, I can just hear Arnold trying to coax Lee into doing 1 rep sets of snatches or split jerks.
Arnold: “Ahre you going to try it Lee, don’t be a girly man, I must ahsk you to do just one rep.”
Lee: “For fucks sake, use a weight that you can get 5-6 reps, you douche bag.”
More from the book, “Arnold And Me”: Arnold’s “constant desire to win simply generated each next spontaneous step. His clarity of intention led to such lucid thinking; Arnold acted as if the Almighty Himself coached him.”
This would have driven Lee crazy. Arnold was all about bodybuilding, business and winning in whatever the event was. Lee is laid back, doesn’t want to talk about bodybuilding all of the time and would rather go to the movies with a bucket of popcorn, a Coke and a “pluto pop.”
Friends? Yes. Roommates? Probably not.
I cruised around instagram looking for the latest pictures and here’s what I came up with. It’s always fun to see what others who have a passion for bodybuilding and fitness are up to. Right click, save as to see their instagram user names if you want to follow (stalk) them. My instagram user name is scottyorkfitness. Click on each picture to scroll through. Enjoy!
If I could go back in time and give my 15 year old self some sage advice, it would be:
1) Get a proper haircut
2) Stop masturbating into a sock
3) Buy shares in Apple
4) Start Squatting NOW
Like most of us, my adolescent years in the gym were exclusively spent curling, bench pressing, and pouting in the mirror.
Ultimately, if I couldn’t see the muscle in my bedroom mirror while flexing, it didn’t exist.
Heck, the only person that squatted in my old gym was a fat, furry Lithuanian gentleman who would scream and curse his way through each monstrous rep.
At the time, I reasonably assumed he had:
a) murdered someone,
b) committed a sex crime, or
c) both (maybe even at the same time).
Like a hippo marking his territory with urine, the squat rack was his domain, and besides, I didn’t want to get involved with this dirty, sweaty exercise.
Working out legs was a waste of time, I thought…
What a fool I was!
The Key To A Structurally Sound Physique
Truth is, if you want to build a physique that is muscular and well proportioned, in addition to being super strong, squatting is a must.
Like the mighty deadlift, squatting is a BEAST of a compound, mass building exercise.
It mercilessly works your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core while additionally attacking other stabilising muscles as well.
The problem is squatting is a tough exercise to master and too few people are squatting right – if at all!
So here are five tips which you can implement immediately to improve your form and technique and get that KILLER squat:
1) Arch your Lower Back
Maintaining an arched lower back is essential to good form.
Most injuries from squatting occur from an unnatural ‘rounding’ of the back during the concentric upward phase of the lift.
This puts a huge strain on the lumbar region and NOT the legs. Not good guys.
Top tip: Plump your chest out while squatting to achieve a natural arch.
2) Head Position
Your head should be looking forward – slightly above parallel.
Do not crane your neck upwards or look down at the floor, as this will make your squatting movement unstable and place severe stress on your neck.
Top tip: Pick a spot on the wall just above eye level and concentrate on it during the set.
3) Push from the heels
Over the years, I’ve seen countless people squatting from the front of their feet.
Drive from the heels, goddammit!
This provides a solid, stable platform for your body which allows you to FULLY engage your leg muscles.
Top tip: Perform a set of squats without the bar to perfect the technique of pushing from your heels.
4) Knees Out
While squatting it is essential to keep your knees pointing slightly outwards.
To achieve this, ensure that your feet are pointing outwards (about 20 degrees).
In addition to aligning your body in a more natural stance to perform the movement, this positioning will also help you generate more power in the lift.
Top tip: Develop strength in your thigh abductor muscles to prevent your knees collapsing while squatting.
This last tip can be applied to all weight training exercises you perform.
Too few people warm up and stretch properly before chucking weight around the gym.
In addition to minimising risk of injury, enhanced flexibility – especially in your quads, ankles and hips – will help you craft a super fluid squat with an improved range of motion.
Top tip: During your warm-up for leg day, hold a deep squat as a stretch for two minutes. This well help your muscles and ligaments to loosen up nicely.
So, there we have it guys. You can now go out into the world as fully fledged squatters!
When employing these 5 killer tips, make sure that your from is perfect for every set and every rep you perform from now on.
Remember: perfect practice makes perfect.
Embrace the iron and good luck guys.
If you have any further thoughts or questions, or want to let me know how you get on with these tips, hit me up in the comments section below.
I look forward to hearing from you!
About the author
Henry is an ex-national swimmer and marathon runner with a passion for the iron. When not squatting or power eating you can find him blogging over at GymTalk.
Google Plus Author Profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HenryCroft/
I’m a glutton for punishment.
I especially love training legs. No, I’m not talking about running, walking, skipping or jumping. I’m talking about getting underneath heavy iron in the gym. Heavy enough so that it makes me a little scared. Bodybuilders and powerlifters will know what I mean. So I was reviewing my workout logs from years gone by looking for a special leg workout that I could do.
And I found this:
This workout is from 1992. 20 years ago. It’s taken me about that long to recuperate. I remember doing this workout with former Mr USA, Mr Texas Kelly Hitchcock and another guy. Kelly was the ring leader and we just followed his direction. I used to drive across Dallas, Texas to train with Kelly even in the rain. On my motorcycle. I wanted to get big and Kelly was one of the best in Dallas at that time. I would have driven to Australia to train with Lee Priest if I had had the opportunity.
That’s one set.
Do three more like that.
But we did it.
I remember after the leg press superset, the other kid excused himself to the restroom. After ten minutes or so, we began to wonder where he went. Kelly found him in the showers, sitting on the floor with water pouring down on him. He was fully clothed. Now this part is still hard to believe but you know Kelly well enough by now to know that he “made” this guy come back out and finish the workout. Once we finished, we fell to the floor, fighting for the closest spot to that big old creaking floor fan during scorching hot Texas Summer day in 1992.
It took me a while to get up, to get out and to get on my bike and ride home. We didn’t know anything about post workout nutrition, we ate when we felt better. And we got stronger each week, month, year. Those were good times.
Kelly moved to Tyler, Texas and terrorized unsuspecting gym goers who wanted to get in shape. He opened his own gym and became something of a local celebrity last time I checked. How you nearly kill people in the gym AND become a popular celebrity, I don’t know. But Kelly was made for this. I learned a lot from him and grew a lot. The mental toughness that I observed, absorbed, and draw on to this day was invaluable. You won’t earn that from less strenuous types of exercise. You can read the rest of the workout by clicking on the image – I can’t bear to think about it anymore right now. I know that 2 of us “ralphed” afterwards. But you know what? Looking back, it was one of the best workouts of my life. And I’ll be at the gym later today doing, you guessed it, legs.
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