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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Arnie’s bodybuilding book – a workout just lifting it

YOU might have already seen the Government campaign to alert parents andchildren to the increasing problem of obesity.

I like the simplicity of the advertisement and believe it can get the message across. The start has a good point and touches on natural food sources being best. It then shows how fast food has become an increasing worry through our even faster lives.

I recently purchased another book that I’ve wanted to read for some time, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. This touches on everything from nutrition to bodybuilding as an art right through to what made Arnie one of the best bodybuilders around.

It’s a thick book and you could get a good workout from just lifting it. It’s amazing to think even to this day what an effect Arnie has on the bodybuilding world.

This then got me thinking about other training methods that are adopted in the modern era and they are generally old-fashioned techniques that work. Does this mean that old is better?

I happen to say ‘yes’ to this question. Take Arnie, a man with huge belief in his ability but someone who took notice of what the old training methods were. Arnie wasn’t the first Mr Olympia but he was the first to win it seven times.

Like he mentions in this book, he looked at the winners that had beaten him before he won the first Mr Olympia. He recognised what had worked for them and used their exercises and his new customary techniques to develop the best physique ever.

He was brought up on hardcore gyms in a cellar with equipment that was homemade or years old. Developing the nickname the ‘Oak’ didn’t come from brand-new modern equipment. The physique was developed from power-lifting-type equipment that would look unconventional but would create power and strength like no other bodybuilder.

I’m not just saying ‘yes’ because of what Arnold Schwarzenegger believed in but I honestly believe that, in whatever way you train, old is better.

Let’s take Mixed Martial Arts; it is renowned for serious conditioning and most of the techniques derived are from exercise developed well before Ultimate Fighting Championship was well known. Look at Sean Sherk and API (Athletic Performance Inc) who train him and other UFC fighters. They call their training ‘caveman training’, generally because climbing ropes, hitting tyres, bear crawling, running up hills and slamming punch bags on the floor are old-fashioned techniques developed not necessarily back in the caveman era but from decades and centuries ago.

You don’t see them with a hula hoop or on a pole – believe me that’s what some people call a workout. Instead they intensely work their bodies to the point where they can get into the octagon and withstand the onslaught of the other fighter.

I happened to stumble across a really bad example of ‘new’ training when I was flicking through the Sky channels the other night. Here were two women demonstrating what looked like a saddle, but it looked more like one of these rodeo things you get at an amusement park without the head. Anyway, one sat on it and picked up a pair of dumbbells while this saddle thing started moving side to side and up and down. The woman said you don’t need to do any work, as the machine will do it for you.

I haven’t laughed as much since watching Airplane all those years ago. These two women talked mostly about how their friend bought one and she looked amazing. So where was this friend?

You could spend £400 on this equipment or you could go running, which costs you nothing. Again running is considered the best of all conditioning exercises, plus running goes back to the beginning of time, nothing older-fashioned than that. Just to prove I’m not being sexist, there happened to be two men on another channel advertising the saddle thing. They were actually worse at describing its benefits.

Going back to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is a man I’ve admired for years, more so because I base my training heavily on weights.

As I was flicking through the exercise pages it was clear that Arnold never complicated his training. The system was maybe different but the exercises were ones we all know and use now.

I guess old is sometimes better – and when you consider what can be achieved, then why consider new?

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