The Right and the Wrong Way to Train

Earle E. Liederman

I remember some years ago a young man came to me asking my advice regarding the treatment of his own body. He had a fairly good physique. As I remember, his arm measured about 14 inches when flexed. This young man told me that he had been exercising a little more than three years. However, during the last year or more, he had not made any noticeable gain. Therefore, he was not only anxious, but somewhat discouraged over his progress, as naturally he would be.

I asked him what form of training he had been following, and he told me. He never gave progressive exercising a thought but continued working every day at a monotonous drill that gave him a fairly good development, but no weight behind his muscles. He looked drawn and slim, and although he could move every muscle of his body at will, yet they were not of the kind that are pleasing to the eye. I took this man in hand and outlined a course of progressive work for him to follow, and in less than seven months his arm had increased to over 15 ½ inches, thereby gaining as much in that short period of time as he had gained in more than twice that time while following non-progressive methods. Today he is one of the finest built athletes in this country.

A short while ago another young chap, a student of Columbia University came to see me. He had done a lot of work on the rings, the parallel bars and on the horse, but had never developed any really good looking muscle. He was very much dissatisfied with his progress, notwithstanding the fact that his gym instructor had assured him that he had developed about as far as he could go.

I told him frankly that he could keep up this kind of work until feathers grew on frogs, but it wouldn’t get him anywhere. Well to make a long story short, this chap put himself under my instruction. I gave him a carefully selected number of exercises, planned to develop his arms, chest, abdomen and legs, which he followed faithfully for three months.

At the end of this time he had gained a full inch and a half around the biceps, two inches in chest expansion and more than one inch around his thighs. Needless to say, he was delighted. I have since instructed at least a half dozen men from this man’s fraternity, all of whom were equally well pleased with the results of their work.

What I Mean by Progressive Work

By progressive work I do not mean increasing the number of motions. I mean that the resistance you are working against must be made heavier as your muscles increase in strength. I am a firm believer in performing exercises that tire the muscles within ten repetitions. Of course, there are certain parts of the body that are exceptions in this case, such as the neck and thighs, possibly the abdominal region. For if too great a strain is placed upon these parts, serious results may develop. However, for the arms, chest and shoulders the student should never perform any movement that requires more than ten repetitions in order to tire the muscles if rapid gain in development is the object. The neck should be tired in less than twenty-five repetitions, likewise the thighs and the abdominal muscles.

© Progressive Training – The Wrong and the Right Way to Train by Earle Liederman

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