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PART I: FITNESS AND BODYBUILDING
What Is Fitness?
Physical fitness involves the development of all of the body's physical capabilities.
For example, when exercise physiologists tested weightlifters and bodybuilders about twenty years ago they found these men had tremendous strength and muscular development, but that most of them lacked the endurance that comes from cardiovascular training. Their muscles were in great shape, but not their heart and lungs.
Lifting weights, it was then decided, leads to an unbalanced physical development. But then it occurred to somebody that that kind of a standard should work both ways. If you test a long-distance runner, you will generally find he has enormous capacity for endurance but, unless he has done some kind of resistance training, he will tend to lack strength, especially in the upper body. He is also unbalanced.
But things have changed a lot since that time. It is now difficult to find a weightlifter or bodybuilder who doesn't do some kind of aerobic training, and many endurance athletes -- particularly swimmers -- include a lot of strength-training in their workouts. And it is working: the totally fit athlete is not only healthier, but he has an edge over his competitors as well.
I have always followed this principle in my own training. Having been a competitive swimmer and soccer player before I became a bodybuilder, I knew what being in shape really means. So I always included a lot of, running and stretching movements in my workouts along with progressive-resistance weight training.
Total fitness, as I see it, has three components:
(1) Aerobic conditioning. Aerobic activity is anything that uses up a lot of oxygen. Oxygen is delivered to the muscles by the cardiovascular system -- the lungs, heart and circulation of the blood. This system is developed by continuous, high-repetition exercise such as running, swimming, jumping rope, riding a bicycle, etc.
(2) Flexibility. Muscles, tendons and ligaments tend to shorten over a period of time, which limits our range of motion and renders us more liable to injury when sudden stresses are placed on these structures. But we can counteract this tendency by stretching exercises and physical programs such as yoga.
(3) Muscular Conditioning. There is only one way to develop and strengthen the muscles: resistance training. When you contract the muscles against resistance, they adapt to this level of effort. The best and most efficient way of doing this is through weight training.
Beyond this, once we have the body in shape, we have to learn to use it. This is where sports and athletic activities come in. But we cannot fully enjoy the act of physical play if we haven't developed the basic physical systems with which we have been endowed.
Nutrition and diet are also essential. It makes no sense to make demands on the body if you haven't given it the nutrients it needs to function properly. Therefore an important part of this program involves learning how and what to eat to maximize health and energy.
But of all these areas the one which is most often misunderstood -- and which in many ways incorporates the widest range of benefits -- is weight training. And the reason that progressive-resistance weight training is so valuable to building and maintaining health and strength become obvious once you take a look at the nature of the muscle that makes up the human body.
The Nature of Muscle
There are three kinds of muscle in the body, each with its own characteristics.
(1) Smooth muscle is found in the walls of internal or visceral organs such as blood vessels and intestines.
(2) Cardiac muscle is the tissue that makes up the heart, and it can be strengthened by cardiovascular, high-repetition exercise.
(3) Skeletal muscle is the system of long muscles that control the movement of the body. It is this kind of muscle, under voluntary control, that weight training is designed to strengthen and condition.
Muscle has one simple function -- it contracts. Nothing else. That is why our bodies are designed with opposing muscles or sets of muscles. When you extend or move a part of the body in one direction, it takes the contraction of an opposing muscle to bring it back.
We have muscles because of gravity. Our planet's gravitational field holds us prisoner, and the purpose of muscle is to overcome this basic force. If we lived on a larger planet with a stronger gravitational field, we would have larger muscles. If evolution had prepared us for life on the moon with its one-sixth earth gravity, our muscular structure would be correspondingly lighter.
Muscle is highly adaptive. It changes according to the demands put upon it. For example, a friend of mine broke his leg skiing and was confined to a hospital bed for several weeks. When the cast finally came off, I could hardly believe how thin and weak the injured leg had become. Kept immobile by the cast, the muscles had shrunk noticeably.
The same sort of thing happened to our astronauts who spent so much time in Skylab. I was discussing physical fitness with some NASA officials recently and they told me that these men practically had to learn to walk all over again after returning from long periods of weightlessness in space. Outside the earth's normal gravitational field, their muscles had become maladapted for moving around the planet.
When you lift a weight, or work against some other sort of resistance, you are, in effect, creating an artificial gravitational field. When I was training to win my Mr. Olympia titles and was lifting enormous weights every day in the gym, it was as if I were living on a giant planet like Jupiter instead of the earth. As a result, my body was forced to adapt to this extra effort and my muscles became stronger and more massive.
Since I train these days as much for flexibility, coordination and endurance as for strength, my physique has changed. But by going back to my former hard training for six months or so, I could build myself back up from 215 to my solid 240-pound competition weight. Other people may not be able to make gains like this -- a lot of it is genetic -- but the basic principle is the same: use a muscle and it gets bigger and stronger; fail to subject it to sufficient stress and it will get weaker and smaller.
Muscle Size and Strength
The shrinking of a muscle due to underuse is called atrophy. The increase in size of muscle when it is subjected to greater amounts of stress is called hypertrophy.
Muscle tissue itself is composed of bundles of fibers. These fibers are really tiny, and they are wrapped together and bound in a sheath of tissue for strength. We are each given a certain number of these fibers at birth, and we can't increase them through diet, exercise, or any other means. But we can do a lot to alter their size and strength.
Strength is a matter of several factors:
(1) The number of fibers in a muscle.
(2) The number of fibers that participate in any given muscular contraction.
(3) The strength and thickness of the individual fibers.
When you attempt to contract a muscle, you are actually only using a percentage of the fibers that are theoretically available to you. You use only the number that you need to use.
If you keep trying to work against heavier and heavier amounts of resistance, the body adapts by causing more and more of the muscle fibers to engage in the contraction. This takes some time, and there is obviously a physiological limit to this process. But it remains true that the way you get stronger through resistance training is by forcing the muscles to call on increased numbers of muscle fibers to do the work you are asking of them.
In this way, the body is not like a machine. If you connect a 10-horsepower motor to a 12-horsepower load, it will burn out. But if you demand a 12-horsepower effort from a 10-horsepower body, it becomes a 12-horsepower body.
Other things happen to the muscles when you train and condition them. The fibers become enlarged, the sheath covering the muscles gets tougher and the body creates more capillaries to carry more blood to the area.
Exercises like calisthenics, running or swimming are the fixed-resistance kind. That is, no matter how long you do them, you are always contracting the muscles against the same amount of resistance. You may learn to do the movements for longer periods of time, which means your endurance has improved, but you will not get any stronger no matter how many repetitions you do.
To keep getting stronger, you have to keep increasing the resistance so that the muscles must continue to adapt. This is called progressive-resistance training. This is the principle that is used in weight training and bodybuilding.
Progressive-resistance training is a great equalizer. It never gets easy. You may be lifting 10 pounds and I may be lifting 100 pounds, but as long as we are both working at the limit of our strength, we are essentially doing an equal amount of work. All that counts is that we are forcing the muscle to work hard enough to make it adapt.
What Is Bodybuilding?
Although bodybuilders lift weights in order to achieve their physical goals, bodybuilding is not an activity in which the absolute amount of weight you can lift is important. The aim of bodybuilding is to use a sufficient amount of weight for each exercise to cause the adaptive changes in the body that result in the creation of an ideal blend of mass, muscularity, symmetry and proportion.
Weightlifters train with weights, too, but they are only interested in learning to lift as much weight as possible, and then only for the few particular lifts that are involved in competition.
It was long thought that bodybuilders weren't really all that strong, that the mass they developed in the gym was somehow not "real" muscle. This is simply not true. Strength is a necessary by-product of the development of mass and the success of bodybuilders in recent strongman competitions proves it.
But the use of weights in progressive-resistance training is a common denominator among bodybuilders, weightlifers, athletes training for certain sports, individuals with injuries trying to rehabilitate their bodies, and all those millions who are now training for health and fitness.
Weight training, in its most general sense, just means doing some movement or activity using added weight to increase the difficulty. This would include putting weights on your ankles before you run, or swinging a lead-filled bat before your turn at the plate, but usually we restrict the meaning to contracting your muscles in certain, prescribed exercises against the resistance of dumbbells, barbells or resistance exercise machines.
Bodybuilders actually have more in common with the man training for fitness than with competition weightlifters. After all, both are more interested in physical self-improvement than in breaking lifting records.
But there is a large difference in degree. It is as if bodybuilders were Formula I racing cars, and the average man a reliable sports-sedan. Both want a certain degree of performance, but on two distinct levels. The technology that comes out of Grand Prix racing eventually filters down to the family car, and, in the same way, the discoveries made by serious bodybuilders in the gym can be adapted and made use of by those who are using weights to stay trim and healthy.
You may personally have no desire to train for hours a day to become a Mr. America, but exercise physiologists have shown us how much alike in their physical needs are the athlete and the non-athlete. If you apply the techniques that work for champions, only at a level of intensity that suits your own purposes, you will be able to share in the same process that creates, shapes and firms the human body, melts away unwanted fat, and builds a strong, dependable cardiovascular system.
Weight Training -- What to Expect
Most men don't really know what to expect from weight training. For instance, it is common in gyms to find some skinny guy just starting training who assures everybody, "I want to get into better condition, but I don't want to get too big." But, the thing is, getting really big is tremendously difficult if not impossible for most people. It takes some eight to twelve years of intense, determined, mind-boggling work to produce a Mr. Olympia physique, and that's only if you have the right genetic potential in the first place. After all, you wouldn't expect necessarily to be able to run a sub-four-minute mile just by practicing a lot. You have to have the talent for it.
But that doesn't mean there is no benefit from weight training for the average man. Quite the contrary. For all but a few there is a definite increase in strength and muscular size along with an improvement in shape and contour of the muscles. The body gets firmer as muscle fibers become more dense and fat is burned off. The body becomes strong, hard and lean instead of weak, soft and fat.
Some people will change a lot, and others somewhat less. But even seemingly small changes can make a dramatic change in your physique. An inch or two extra around the chest coupled with a loss of a couple of inches around the middle will completely transform how you look. You can never step outside your natural somatotype -- the actual structure of your body as determined by your genes -- but you can accomplish a great deal within those limits.
It is difficult to increase muscle mass by more than 5 pounds a year. If you have already had extra mass at one time, it is a lot easier to get it back than it is to create it in the first place. A really talented athlete might be able to build 10 pounds of muscle mass a year, but that is a lot.
However, if 5 pounds a year doesn't sound like much, think of it this way: 5 pounds a year is 25 pounds in 5 years. That means a 150-pound man could expect to weigh 175 pounds five years from now with hard training and without gaining any fat.
But, remember, even if you don't really want to get any bigger, all you are doing is increasing your strength to its natural optimum and letting the muscles assume whatever mass is natural to them. A certain amount of mass comes with the territory. The chances of its getting out of hand are pretty remote. And there are a lot of bodybuilders who were never able to develop themselves quite enough who can testify to that!
Meanwhile, as your body improves a psychological benefit comes along with it. You feel better because your training gives you more energy. You feel better about yourself as well, and have greater self-confidence. This affects how you act, and how people treat you. You look better, which makes you feel better. And when you feel better, you naturally end up looking better. It's kind of a non-vicious circle, and it works.
On the Other Hand...
In my experience, only a handful of people out of any group get interested enough in training to want to go into it more seriously. However, you might be one of that handful. If you are -- and you may be and just not know it yet -- let me assure you that the exercise programs outlined in this book are fundamental to bodybuilding as well as weight training for conditioning, and that nothing you learn here will be wasted.
In another section, for those who are interested, I will deal in more detail with the differences between conditioning workouts ...
The complete program for building and maintaining a well-conditioned, excellently proportioned body—for a lifetime of fitness and health.
In Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men, legendary athlete Arnold Schwarzenegger shows you how to achieve the best physical condition of your life. For every man, at every age, Arnold outlines a step-by-step program of excercise, skillfully combining weight training and aerobic conditioning. The result—total cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
Arnold's program of exercise features stretching, warm-up and warm-down routines, and three series of exercises, each more ambitious than the last, all calculated to help you progress at your own speed. In addition, Arnold contributes important advice about equipment, nutrition and diet, and getting started on your program of exercise.
Special sections of Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men cover training for teenagers, exercises designed to keep you in shape on the road or when you can't get to the gym, and the regimen Arnold followed to win his seven Mr. Olympia titles.
Illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Arnold and other top bodybuilders, Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men will help every man look great and feel terrific.
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.
Description du livre Time Warner Paperbacks, 1988. Etat : New. book. N° de réf. du vendeur M0722176341