11.12.2012

Small waists in danger.

I always wondered why in 90ties small waists of bodybuilders were so common and nowdays they are not so much. All people around blame only drugs and their use in sport, but I never blamed only this one reason. Off course part of it is true, but I also start to study other factors such training, because it is NOT about drugs only....

I tried to find out various routines in 90ties and now. And I found out several training things which changed as well and which may kill your waist line no matter you will be natural. First of all - heavy basic exercises. I know in my country people around 2002-2004 started to be keen on routines. Those routines were constructed for powerlifters - not bodybuilders. And those which were transformed to public exercise were not focused on the body elegance but the mass and strenght no matter where it will be. Basic exercises were always basic - and always peresent in the bodybuilding as well, however they were not trained as they are trained now.

Most people now goes for really heavy weights here (ego-factor is the worst thing in this LOL). You may see young aspiring bodybuilders, whose are not specialized yet, train sets about 3-4-5 reps range, or even trying the max weights. So they will build big core at the real beggining of their journey, as what kills the small waist the most is static contraction of the core - all squats, bad way trained rows and MAINLY HEAVY DEADLIFTS. I talked with Charles Glass about that and he agreed especially for women deads, which are even heavy may do the most damage in this area. There is few gifted people who will stay small in waist but most of people will build solid waist on that.

In 90ties rep range was wayyyy higher - 15-20 reps, only few people went below 8 and almost nobody under 6. Women did only regullar squats - not the front ones as well as any others variants - and bent over rows, only very few of them did rack pulls or deads and if so, than again in higher rep range. Also the exercise was more about squeezing and pulling, not about the explosive strenght many people trains now.

Second factor is the overtraining of the core - which is now so popular thing for general public, that it is wide spreaded in most gyms at least in Europe. Overtraining the core is same as its neglecting - it is not good, may lead to injuries and also builds solid waist. The only core exercise needed for me are planks, which in combination with vaccum training and pullovers for abs helps train the core while staying flat.

Third factor is popularity of crossfit in Europe - it is new in Czech republic now and yes it may lead to increase of endurance - but you have to know it is training focused on stamina - not nice body. The purpose is fitness in meaning of combined strenght and endurance, not shaping you the elegant way. All squats with barbell over the head leads to small side-movements which strenghts the obliques, all heavy lifts above the head does that too. Thanks to combination of weight exercise and cardio (as most of exercise is lighter weight for some time) surely will help you loose the fat, and have nice abs, but also count with the fact the core will grow to sides...

These factors nowdays leads to state that even average trainees have thicker waistlines than in the "golden era" and therefore even beggining bodybuilders starts offten with their waistline previously damaged. And one more sad truth you will not like - once you build up your strong but thick waist you will be never able to trim it down. So if you are gifted with the nice V shape and nice lines - be smart and do not destroy it by training.

Machine comparisons

I was always advocate of the simpliest possible way of training as the basics is usually the best and any other inovation works less efective, however now I re-setled to USA (www.pronutrifit.com ) and training in Golds gym Venice, where I might explored various machines I never listened about in Czech republic I would like to compare various machines, why I like or dislike them and which are my favorites. You may find my trainings on my youtube channel (www.youtube.com/princessteel ) too.

First of all European machines - most of production in my homecountry is local, I always seen some of them not good because all ranges of motion were usually flat, in one line and therefore not natural. Also it is the same as with barbell when you need slightly different range of motion for each side - for example because of the injury or post-injury state. Therefore I always had only complementary exercises on machines.

Most gyms in my homecountry now see brand Hammer Strenght as the best one and gyms equipped by them are the most visited. Many people in my country believe Hammer machines are the best ones. Me personally prefere others brands and I will explain why. Most hammers I was using were way better than home-produced "old fashioned" machines as they had round and more natural range of motion and they moved more smoothly than the old fashioned machines - therefore the movement was more natural for the body. Big plus of these machines I like till nowadays is the easy adjustment of seats and arms of machines. Anyway still most of them has one disadvantage - they have not a free range of motion as when you train with dumbells. And me having various injuries and one elbow different than the other offten feel a little discomfort in the injured arm.

In Europe forgotten and not known anyway are Nautillus machines. I say forgotten as in the old gym I used to work out in 2005-2009 they had some very old fashioned nautillus machines I actually liked, but those were almost UNIQUE there. Here in USA I found them in Golds again and I have to say they are GREAT and here is the exeption in my rules - majority of nautillus machines have round range of motion plus they allow different movement by each arm up and down and to sides. Some range of motion goes inward or outward - very natural way you train with dumbells as well. This really huge range of motion in all sides and natural ways this machines support are more difficult on good techinque (as the machine is not LEADING you as the "old fashioned ones" ) but great for training, allowing use all advantages of machine training and weights training in one. I really LOVE those and my favorites are back pulldowns, back seated rows. deltdeck, chest press, side laterals, shoulder press and biceps curl machine.

On the same line I found some machines from Precor. Those have same advantages and I like rear lateral machines and back pulldowns and some arm machines. They also allow different movement of left and right side and also have very ergonomical range of motion. The minus here is adjustment of seats, in both it is also easy but a little bit less than hammers. However I really felt in love with some machines from these two unknown brands in Europe...

What takes to Lifefitness machines which started to spread around Europe now I like their cardio stuff, but I remember that what I did not like on them was always the adjustment of them... Plus they work good but I never felt they allow free movement to sides and left and right side separately.

So still if you are building mass - train as simple as possible with cables, barbells and dumbells anyway if you want to use machines do it, but take those which will allow you the most possible free range of motion to all sides and ideal state - left and right side separate from each other. Hope my small review will help you too.

10.05.2012

Thoughts about women side of sport in bodybuilding and WPD

Hi all after longer break made by my resetling to USA, what took some time, anyway I am back in blogging about sport I love, fitness tips and training. And I have a lot of new inspiration. Today I would like to think about criteriums in our sport in female part, especially in FBB and WPD.

Time to time I have a feeling people tend to look at only one criterium according which they place competitors - not only fans, but unfrotunatelly also judges. That means that I see how the sport flows from one main criterium to another - some time it is size, some time it is hardness or conditioning. Anyway problem is that our sport have not only ONE criterium - but a set of them. And therefore we always have to have in mind that we can not judge only according one main criterium.

I think I already wrote it in "misunderstanding to bodybuilding" topic, where I wanted to show it is not only SIZE (many newbies try to achieve any way) but much more than a SIZE only. And in female part of the sport this is much more essential understanding. However seeing last Olympia results in FBB and also trying to compete in new class - WPD myself, so watching changes there as well made me to think that instead size judges from some reason decided to push up hardness in FBB and narrowness and conditioning in WPD however I do not have a feeling it is right decision.

WHY? Let me explain. For years we heard around the women part of the sport discussions about feminity. Maybe even from the start of the sport itself - we may watch the "feminity" question even in "Pumping Iron II - the Women". This semi-document was taped in 80ties, on the early beggining of the sport... So really this question is background for female sport. Anyway in PI II is a really nice passage Carla Dunlap says about feminity and I will borrow it. She says that feminity is very offten and I would say commonly mistaked by "sexuality" and it is not true. But if talking about "feminity" majority of people will see the centerfold image of Playboy girl and as Carla says in documentary film "It is a huge slap to face of all women as this image is not real". I will add not only it is not real (and nowadays in digital retouche times even less) but it is also  bad criterium for JUDGEMENT. If we will think that feminity = being "sexy" according the major culture sexual view, how you want to judge it. We all have different tastes - someone like small breasts, someone big, some prefere blond, some brunettes... and I may continue. So here is no "solid" base for judging.

But if we will think that "feminity" may mean more ELEGANCE and SYMETRY - we have base for judging, as putting two bodytypes one to another we may clearly say which one of them have thick waist or tiny waist, short legs or too long torso - and same as I talked about "being gifted" means have no distracting parts and good proportions - this is it. Well it will be not fair to those who are not gifted but searching for the top class is not fair at all - you can not play basketball on the top level if you are 4´5" and if you have 6´10" you probbably will be not great jockey. All sports have some preferences and in bodybuilding it should be this in the first instance. Especially in female part of the sport.

So how to judge classes where it is about muscles in the first instance but we want to differ them from mens world and try to bring a "more feminine factor" to it? My opinion - for ages female perfect shape was not toothpick, but hourglass - that is why so many women in the past tie their waists, for ages archetype of X frame appears in art, culture etc.. So feminine symetry and elegance for sure means TINY WAIST, X frame, smyetry in left-right part and no overdeveloped parts. Those are perfectly visible and clear criteriums.

Therefore if I would like to bring more feminity to sport in first round I would put away ALL COMPETITORS who are missing ny atribute of this.

During years many not well build competitors bring into the game the "hardness and conditioning" criteriums - as they simply could not beat well build ones by structure, so they at least started to come more and more conditioned... in last years (and still - as Olympia showed) this criteriums started to play prime role in the sport, what brought on top stages types with thick waists, narrow hip-waist line (that is for me totally men shape), with short legs, long torso, too short lats - but hard, what offten means very hard dieting, hard chemistry (why to deny it) and therefore total loss of the facial lines (if you have 3% of bodyfat and you have to be on stage totaly dehydrated - your face will look hard, menly, bone structure will appear and the "feminine part" will disappear).

This all lead to one other thing - elegant types slowly dissapeared from stages. If someone come, than usually will not get a chance - and therefore the transition everyone calls about is not possible to make. Why? As hardness comes in female sport so far, that mostly it is necessary to use drugs which leads exactly to above mentioned "structural changes" (narrow hips, thick waist, loss of the X frame) - so you have a choice to stay elegant but loose, or to come harder and loose the real FEMINITY.

So what I would do - either in FBB or in WPD, as in WPD the conditioning and "narrowness" plays bigger role now than the feminine X frame and elegance - In first round I would take away all girls - no matter the CONDITIONING factor - who have 1) thick waist, 2) too long or too short torso to the whole bodystructure, 3) too short legs, 3) any distracting parts as overdeveloped one part over others or GUT - I would put away all competitors with gut at all, as in female part of the sport this should be taken as really distracting, again important is - NO MATTER OF THE CONDITIONING!

In few shows - even on WPD, which was declared as "return to elegance" - I seen girls who had no X frame, even girls with gut, girls with too high lats and therefore long toothpick torso in finals because they were conditioned or even hard more than others without this "frame problems" and I think again IF WE WANT TO BRING ON BACK THE REAL FEMINITY - this should not be.

After we will put away all girls having "structural problems" we will have a group of girls with good structure - tiny waistline, no gut - flat abs, wide shoulders, no distracting parts. THAN may come the size/hardness factor in bodybuilding and conditioning factor in WPD. I think if this would happen the face of the sport would change toward more appreciatted shapes and forms overally again.

And one thing to all above said. It is necessary to divide hardness and leaness or conditioning. I think I also already talked about that - but still these two things are mixed up and we may even read in some expertizes after the contest that the "competitor was not conditioned" when he was (all muscles visible, no significant fat layer) but was not HARD and on the other part many people says they "do not want to be hard" when they simply have problems to come lean = they have somewhere the layer of fat under the skin. So no fat and low water under the skin = leaness, hardness = structure of the muscle usually made by maturity, drugs and years of repeated diets when the density of the muscle increases. And if I would be really picky - from reasons above - I would root for females being only lean but not hard as it leads to problems with feminine look, or at least WPD being only lean (while I already witnessed hard types in top on the shows).