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Success Secrets

The Training Secret That?s Better Than Steroids


I believe that there are certain ways of performing exercises that will provide you with better and certainly more lasting progress than you get with steroids'secrets' that can save you years of wasted effort. Most of them are for hardgainers. If you're making good progress from conventional exercises, then you don't need these ideas. If you're a stubborn gainer like me, you're in for a treat.

Let's talk about pecs, which have always been very stubborn for me. Most conventional exercises just don't give me results. I don't care how many articles the champs have written about the value of heavy bench presses'that exercise leaves my pecs cold.

I've found a few exercises, however, that can bring out the most pec development. A couple of the ideas came right from Vince Gironda. You'll need a Smith machine (bench press with vertical guides) and V-shaped dipping bars.

The key to the process is that your elbows must move through their maximum arc during the exercise. So the more you can employ movement that directly affects the elbows, the more you're going to activate the pecs.

The first exercise in my stubborn pecs program is Smith-machine bench presses. Set the stops on the machine so the bar rests just on your neck. If the machine has preset stops that leave the bar an inch off your neck, place a board under the bench to achieve the neck touch. (That's important.)

Once you're under the bar, raise your feet off the floor and keep them over your midsection. It's a natural relaxed position that keeps your lower back flat on the bench and requires that all the work comes from your pecs rather than pressing from the floor with your legs. Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. You're going to keep your elbows as close to your head as possible during this exercise, so you'll need to rotate your palms on the bar.

Slowly lower the bar until it touches your neck. Keep your elbows as high as possible. It's an unnatural position for the arms, but it's necessary to ignite the clavicular pecs. Do six reps without letting your elbows stray down toward your torso. Force them to stay back.

The bar will start to slow down as you get tired, and the pain will tempt you to let your elbows drift downward. Don't do it. You want your pecs to do all the work. They'll come smoking out of their hiding place. After six full reps finish off the set with six burns right down on your neck. Push the bar up about six inches and let it come down on your neck again. Remember, the machine stop will keep the bar from crushing your Adam's apple.

When you finish your last burn rep, you won't have enough strength to do anything but crawl out from under the bar. If you don't select a stop that sets the bar actually touching your neck, you'll bang against the machine stop during the burns. You don't want that; you want the stop to be provided by the tension on the clavicular pectoral tie-in. That's the secret.

Do a set of six reps and six burns with a weight. Now comes the bad news. With little rest, decrease the weight by 10 to 20 percent and do another set exactly like the first. Decrease the weight again by 10 to 20 percent and do a third set. You won't believe the pump you'll get in your upper pecs. ALL Now for the lower pecs. Move over to the dipping bars. Unfortunately, this won't work very well if your dipping bars are parallel. You really need to have V-shaped bars like those Vince had in his club. They start about one foot apart and end up three feet apart. It makes a perfect apparatus for igniting growth in the lower pecs. (If you don't have access to V-shaped bars, wide-grip dips will have to suffice.)

Like the first exercise, this one has to be done in a specific way in order to get the most from it. You reverse your palms so you get a movement very similar to the one you got on the Smith machine. The key again is to get those elbows moving.

Your palms aren't completely reversed but sort of diagonal across the bar so your elbows are out and away from your torso. Hold your feet forward under your face. Your back is rounded, not arched. Slowly lower to the very bottom of the range. Don't cheat by doing half reps. As you lower your body, let your elbows travel forward, not to the rear. Once you hit bottom, slowly push your body back to the top while keeping your elbows in the forward position.

All right, here's the key to making this exercise really effective: Don't go to full lockout and try to pull your arms together. You're trying to use the pecs-biceps connection more than the pec-triceps connection.

Admittedly, this movement is unusual, but that's what makes it so effective. Try to keep your arms together. Nothing can pull those elbows straight but your pecs. Your triceps will want to press your arms straight, but don't let them. If you force the pecs to work in this fashion, you won't believe how effective it is.

Editor's note: Get All 33 of Larry Scott's reports. Thousands of words of pure training inspiration'a treasure! It includes a three-ring binder and table of contents for easy reference, all for the low cost of $87. Mention that you saw this offer in IRON MAN and receive, free, the 'Larry Scott's Peak Biceps' DVD. Call (800) 225-9752 to order.

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Success Secrets

You can enjoy the same freedom from joint pain if you learn to use rather than abuse your machine.


One of the great pleasures of attending physique or trade shows is the chance to spend time with old friends and share memories and new training ideas. The other day I got to spend some time with Bill Pearl in Chicago. Quite a few years ago, when Bill had his health club in Pasadena, California, he ushered me into the world of forearm training. Before that I relied entirely on biceps work to build my forearms. Bill made me realize how much I was limiting my arm size by ignoring forearm work. No question, it was a breakthrough for my arm training. It was with great pleasure that I reminisced with Bill about the good old days.

We were both laughing over some shared event, and gradually the conversation drifted around to the following:

'Larry, you've been training now for a long time. How are your joints holding up?'

Casually, I replied, 'You know, Bill, I don't have trouble with any of my joints at all.'

'Really, that's amazing. My shoulders just kill me. I can hardly sleep, they hurt so bad. I guess it's all those years of heavy bench pressing.' 'Bill, I used to have so much trouble with my knees, I would have to carry a small tripod with me on the airplane to prop up my legs. It was the only way I could avoid the pain. They'd ache so bad, I could hardly stand it on long flights.'

Bill and I are not the only ones who suffer. At a recent seminar in Hawaii that introduced Bio Phase training, I asked the following question: 'How many here are suffering from some type of injury? Maybe it's a sore elbow or aching knees, or could it be those horrible painful shoulders?'

About 30 percent of the fellows raised their hands, some with a wry, knowing smile, as if to say, 'Yes, that's the name of the game.' Most of those who raised their hands had trained for many years and were carrying good size.

I asked them, 'How would you like to get rid of those aches and pains and make better gains at the same time?'

The wry smiles were immediately replaced by very interested, though somewhat doubtful, expressions.

A wise Greek philosopher, while watching the ancient Olympics, made this oft-quoted comment: 'The human body is the only machine that works better the more it is used.'

Where did we go wrong? Why is it that most of the fellows who have been using their machine for 10 years or more are all suffering some kind of connective-tissue irritation? Could it be we have not been using but abusing our machines? I think that's the case. Granted, we could all drop our poundage by 50 percent to avoid the joint failure, but then our size would also drop. Is there another answer?

How do you infuse some fountain of youth into your sore joints? The answer is the same one I gave Bill Pearl, which he's using right now: Change, change, change.

A tennis racket weighs less than a pound, but it isn't long before the serious player performing the same serve day after day develops tennis elbow. Is it any wonder that using a heavy-weight workout with little variation begins to cripple us?

The human machine does work better the more you use it, but the key is to use it with wide variation. Once you begin to limit the amount of variation in your program, you begin to develop residual fatigue. It takes longer and longer to warm up the joints and poorly oxygenated connective tissue. Before long the pain leaves the gym with you and crawls into bed with you at night.

How do we make these changes in our programs? You might be thinking there just aren't that many really good exercises.

I agree that some exercises are better than others, but if we sprinkle in some of the less effective ones in order to keep ourselves from suffering from joint inflammation, won't that in itself help us make better gains? How many weeks do we lose nursing a bad elbow'or worse yet, a bad shoulder? (If you can get a bad shoulder to heal in less than six months, you're lucky.) Bad knees? They don't ever get any better.

The best thing to do is find exercises that do not cause pain of any sort. That will help get circulation into the injured area. Don't rely on warmup-induced endorphin release to mask the pain. The injury is still there. Find exercises that don't cause pain when you can't warm up. Those will accelerate healing. Ice the injured area until it goes numb each night. Take aspirin, as it's a mild anti-inflammatory.

Once you've rehabilitated your aching joints, treat them with constant change; they'll last a lifetime without pain. It was necessary to warm up for five or 10 minutes on each bodypart when I was in my 20s and training the old way. Now that I'm in my 50s and training with Bio Phase, I no longer need to warm up at all, but I change my workout program every night. The vectors of stress are constantly changing. I do occasionally get hurt, but the next workout on the same bodypart will have me doing entirely different exercises. So the pain disappears within the week. And on most exercises I'm using heavier weights than ever.

You can enjoy the same freedom from joint pain if you learn to use rather than abuse your machine. IM

Editor's note: Get all 33 of Larry Scott's reports'thousands of words of pure training inspiration'in a three-ring binder with a table of contents for easy reference, all for the low cost of $87. Mention that you saw this offer in IRON MAN and receive 'Larry Scott's Peak Biceps' DVD. Call (800) 225-9752 and order now.

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Success Secrets

Dumping an Old Flame (the One in Your Joints)


One of the great pleasures of attending physique or trade shows is the chance to spend time with old friends and share memories and new training ideas. The other day I got to spend some time with Bill Pearl in Chicago. Quite a few years ago, when Bill had his health club in Pasadena, California, he ushered me into the world of forearm training. Before that I relied entirely on biceps work to build my forearms. Bill made me realize how much I was limiting my arm size by ignoring forearm work. No question, it was a breakthrough for my arm training. It was with great pleasure that I reminisced with Bill about the good old days.

We were both laughing over some shared event, and gradually the conversation drifted around to the following:

'Larry, you've been training now for a long time. How are your joints holding up?'

Casually, I replied, 'You know, Bill, I don't have trouble with any of my joints at all.'

'Really, that's amazing. My shoulders just kill me. I can hardly sleep, they hurt so bad. I guess it's all those years of heavy bench pressing.' 'Bill, I used to have so much trouble with my knees, I would have to carry a small tripod with me on the airplane to prop up my legs. It was the only way I could avoid the pain. They'd ache so bad, I could hardly stand it on long flights.'

Bill and I are not the only ones who suffer. At a recent seminar in Hawaii that introduced Bio Phase training, I asked the following question: 'How many here are suffering from some type of injury? Maybe it's a sore elbow or aching knees, or could it be those horrible painful shoulders?'

About 30 percent of the fellows raised their hands, some with a wry, knowing smile, as if to say, 'Yes, that's the name of the game.' Most of those who raised their hands had trained for many years and were carrying good size.

I asked them, 'How would you like to get rid of those aches and pains and make better gains at the same time?'

The wry smiles were immediately replaced by very interested, though somewhat doubtful, expressions.

A wise Greek philosopher, while watching the ancient Olympics, made this oft-quoted comment: 'The human body is the only machine that works better the more it is used.'

Where did we go wrong? Why is it that most of the fellows who have been using their machine for 10 years or more are all suffering some kind of connective-tissue irritation? Could it be we have not been using but abusing our machines? I think that's the case. Granted, we could all drop our poundage by 50 percent to avoid the joint failure, but then our size would also drop. Is there another answer?

How do you infuse some fountain of youth into your sore joints? The answer is the same one I gave Bill Pearl, which he's using right now: Change, change, change.

A tennis racket weighs less than a pound, but it isn't long before the serious player performing the same serve day after day develops tennis elbow. Is it any wonder that using a heavy-weight workout with little variation begins to cripple us? ALL The human machine does work better the more you use it, but the key is to use it with wide variation. Once you begin to limit the amount of variation in your program, you begin to develop residual fatigue. It takes longer and longer to warm up the joints and poorly oxygenated connective tissue. Before long the pain leaves the gym with you and crawls into bed with you at night.

How do we make these changes in our programs? You might be thinking there just aren't that many really good exercises.

I agree that some exercises are better than others, but if we sprinkle in some of the less effective ones in order to keep ourselves from suffering from joint inflammation, won't that in itself help us make better gains? How many weeks do we lose nursing a bad elbow'or worse yet, a bad shoulder? (If you can get a bad shoulder to heal in less than six months, you're lucky.) Bad knees? They don't ever get any better.

The best thing to do is find exercises that do not cause pain of any sort. That will help get circulation into the injured area. Don't rely on warmup-induced endorphin release to mask the pain. The injury is still there. Find exercises that don't cause pain when you can't warm up. Those will accelerate healing. Ice the injured area until it goes numb each night. Take aspirin, as it's a mild anti-inflammatory.

Once you've rehabilitated your aching joints, treat them with constant change; they'll last a lifetime without pain. It was necessary to warm up for five or 10 minutes on each bodypart when I was in my 20s and training the old way. Now that I'm in my 50s and training with Bio Phase, I no longer need to warm up at all, but I change my workout program every night. The vectors of stress are constantly changing. I do occasionally get hurt, but the next workout on the same bodypart will have me doing entirely different exercises. So the pain disappears within the week. And on most exercises I'm using heavier weights than ever.

You can enjoy the same freedom from joint pain if you learn to use rather than abuse your machine. IM

Editor's note: Get all 33 of Larry Scott's reports'thousands of words of pure training inspiration'in a three-ring binder with a table of contents for easy reference, all for the low cost of $87. Mention that you saw this offer in IRON MAN and receive 'Larry Scott's Peak Biceps' DVD. Call (800) 225-9752 and order now.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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