By: Josh Bryant
During high school I worked at a hardcore gym, it exposed me to a wide arrange of characters, like one member whom challenged another member to a dual in 1997. You read that correctly, a dual in the latter part of the 20th century.
Another old-time powerlifter with a mullet known as “The Veteran” threatened me with seriously bodily harm after missing a 405 squat. Needless to say, I came back and smoked the four wheels like Rob Ford smokes crack rock in a drunken stupor.
I still remember the tension between this huge black dude we nicknamed “Zeus” and this yolked up cat we called “The White Power Guy” because of his white power tattoos. My friends and I debated for hours who would reign victorious if these two truculent terrors escalated to fisticuffs.
To this day, one of my proudest moments is when Zeus asked me to spot him on the bench press my senior year of high school, speaking to me like a capable equal.
A few years earlier, the former owner of the gym used to snort coke and then take his drums up on a rafter, beat ‘em and scream; it was sort of macabre but if you got past that, it made for an aggressive deadlifting atmosphere!
This brings us to James “Fed” Carrol, one of the lifters who frequented the gym and the bouncer at the local “burlesque” show. Over time, our conversations ranged from the emotional imbalances plaguing some exotic dancers to unorthodox training techniques.
One example of the latter came from his stint behind bars. From this experience, he spoke of a dude named ‘Red’ who had a massive chest (or ‘hood’) and the biggest ‘back arms’ he had ever seen, both of which he developed by doing 500 push-ups every morning before ‘chow.
Fed would talk about how Red would slow down the negative and try to feel the muscle contract when doing push-ups. Purposeful muscle intention, Red claimed, was his secret to building a herculean hood.
Fed was not a science guy, he did hard time and preferred hard work over hard data.
As a kid I remember the “Yukon Hercules” writing about Chuck Sipes, focusing with purposeful intention on the muscle he was working with isolation movements.
This concept seemed logical, so what does science have to say?
Research recently revealed that when you focus your mind on a specific muscle during a workout, you work that muscle 22 percent harder according to EMG (measures the electrical activity of muscles).
The study showed this when subjects bench pressed 50 percent of their one-repetition max, it did not hold true with 80 percent intensity.
Red was a very strong man, a push-up would have been close to 50 percent, or maybe even less, of his true limit. Science backs what he says.
Great to see Penn State catching up with the state pen!
The lad at the gym that tries to “feel” his deadlifts and has perpetually light days needs to put on some Vagisil, quit being cute and pile on some pig iron; heavy bench presses needed to be performed as explosively as possible in a movement intention style.
Let’s talk some “bro science”, shall we?
Movements classified as “shaping” bicep curls, flys, leg extensions, need to be performed in a muscle intention style to maximize results. Purposely contract and “feel” the muscles working.
The question remains, muscle intention or movement intention?
You have to do both to maximize muscularity.
Snyder, B. J., & Fry, W. R. (2012). EFFECT OF VERBAL INSTRUCTION ON MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING THE BENCH PRESS EXERCISE. Journal Of Strength & Conditioning Research (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins), 26(9), 2394-2400.
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